(KUMAGAWA MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2010-2018 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 8

23 January 1933:
Yokohama. Laid down at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding as a 6,641-ton cargo ship for Toyo Kaiun, K. K.

5 December 1933:
Launched and named NICHIYO MARU.

31 March 1934:
Completed at 7,508 gross register tons. Owner is Toyo Shosen K. K. (Oriental Steam Ship Corporation).

March 1934:
Chartered by Kawasaki Kisen K. K.

December 1934:
Chartered by the Mitsui Co., Ltd. In service on their New York route.

28 December 1936:
The owners name is restyled as the Oriental Marine Transport Corporation. Continues charter to the Mitsui Co., Ltd.

13 September 1937:
Arrives at Ujina. That same day, NICHIYO MARU is requisitioned by the IJA as an Army transport with allotted number 392.

Arrives at Shanghai.

21 November 1938:
Enters dock at Tama Zosensho, K. K.

30 November 1938:

10 July 1939:
Enters dock at at Tama Zosensho, K. K.

20 July 1939:

15 January 1940:
Arrives at Shibaura.

16 January 1940:
Conducts opposed landing practice at Sagami Nada.

10 February 1940:
Enters dock at at Tama Zosensho, K. K.

1 March 1940:

1 April 1940:
Arrives at Ujina, departs and later arrives at Shibaura.

17 April 1940:
Renamed KUMAGAWA MARU. [1]

26 August 1940:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

27 August 1940:
Arrives at Osaka Ironworks shipyard.

20 September 1941:
Begins conversion to a general transport. Registered as an auxiliary transport (charter) in the Maizuru Naval District.

26 October 1941:
Completes conversion. Assigned to the Combined Fleet's Third Feet in the Second Base Force as an auxiliary charter ship.

Reassigned to the First Base Force. Captain Yoshida Shiro (36) is appointed Supervisor.

20 January 1942:
Loads special cargo aboard auxiliary gunboat SHINSU MARU and empty auxiliary minelayer SHINKO MARU and embarks Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops for the invasion of Balikpapan, Dutch Borneo.

21 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Dutch Borneo:
Arrives at recently seized Tarakan, Dutch Borneo. At 1700, KUMAGAWA MARU departs Tarakan in the Balikpapan Invasion Force consisting of transports SUMANOURA, TSURUGA, KURETAKE, LIVERPOOL, HITERU, EHIME, HAVANA, HANKOW, TEIRYU (ex-AUGSBURG), ASAHISAN, NITTEI, KANAYAMASAN and TOEI MARUs. The invasion convoy carries MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo’s 56th Mixed Infantry Group (Sakaguchi Brigade) and the Kure No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF).

Allied aerial reconnaissance spots the invasion convoy. Admiral (later Senator) Thomas C. Hart,(USNA ’97) Commander ADBAFLOAT, orders Cdr Paul H. Talbot's (USNA ’18) DesDiv 59's old flush deck, four-stack destroyers USS PARROTT (DD-218), USS POPE (DD-225), USS JOHN D. FORD (DD-228) and USS PAUL JONES (DD-230) to intercept the convoy before it reaches Balikpapan. At 2130, the transports begin disembarking their troops. DesDiv 59 increases speed so as to arrive at Balikpapan at midnight.

23 January 1942:
At 1050, the convoy is attacked by three enemy aircraft, which are repulsed. At 1625, the convoy is attacked by nine heavy and four light-bombers. In a fierce action TATSUKAMI MARU suffers slight damage, but NANA MARU is sunk (casualties unknown). The later was hit in No. 6 hold by a bomb, splinters from others that landed to port alongside the same hold added to the fires raised. Navigation became impossible and over the following hours the flames took a firm grip, finally at 2100 after a huge explosion the ship sank at 01-18S, 117-43E.

24 January 1942:
At 0045, Dutch Navy LtCdr C. A. J. van Well Groeneveld's (former CO of HMNS K-XIV) submarine HMNS K-XVIII, operating on the surface due to the weather, fires four bow torpedoes at the light cruiser NAKA, flagship of the IJN's covering force, but misses and hits transport TSURUGA MARU port amidships, sinking her with the loss of one crewman and 38 troops. The covering force moves eastwards to carry out antisubmarine sweeps. Cdr Talbot's DesDiv 59 arrives from the south. At 0316, they begin their first attack firing their 4-inch guns and launching ten torpedoes at the anchored transports, but all their torpedoes miss. Talbot orders another attack. At 0330, POPE hits and sinks transport SUMANOURA MARU. Many troops are KIA and only nine of her crew of navy sailors survive. At 0335, USS PARROTT and USS PAUL JONES hit transport TATSUKAMI MARU with torpedoes in a deep fuel tank, the resultant flooding caused her to sink by the stern, and four of her crew lost their lives. POPE and PARROTT sink the 2nd Base Force's patrol boat PB-37 (casualties unknown) with torpedoes and gunfire.

At 0345, JOHN D. FORD sinks transport KURETAKE MARU with gunfire and torpedoes. Another transport suffers damage from gunfire and torpedoes but remains afloat. KUMAGAWA MARU suffers slight damage in the engagement. At 0350, Talbot's DesDiv 59, their torpedoes gone, departs southward. The Japanese Force seizes Balikpapan.

22 March 1942:
Transfers hospital equipment and supplies to auxiliary hospital ship ASAHI MARU for use in the invasion of Christmas Island.

25 March 1942:
At 1200 departs Macassar escorted by destroyer AMATSUKAZE. Apparently meets KIMISHIMA MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-36 en route.

29 March 1942: Operation "X" - The Invasion of Christmas Island:
ComDesRon 4 Rear Admiral Nishimura. Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet's Occupation Force departs Bantam Bay, Java. The Occupation Force consists of KUMAGAWA MARU and transport KIMISHIMA MARU, carrying about 850 men of the 21st, 24th Special Base Forces and the 102nd Construction Unit, and fleet oiler AKEBONO MARU.

The escort consists of light cruisers NAKA (F), CruDiv 16's NAGARA and NATORI, DesDiv 9's MINEGUMO and NATSUGUMO, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE, DesDiv 22's SATSUKI, MINAZUKI, FUMITSUKI and NAGATSUKI and patrol boats PB-34 and PB-36.

31 March 1942:
At 0945, Nishimura lands the Occupation Force and seizes the island. The small British-Indian garrison surrenders at once. The phosphate-rich island is too small on which to build a port or an airstrip.

1 April 1942:
Arrives at Bantam Bay, Java.

27 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure. Conducts practice maneuvers for the capture of Kiska island.

14 May 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru. Embarks the Maizuru No. 3 Special Naval Landing Force.

19 May 1942:
Departs Maizuru.

21 May 1942:
Arrives at Ominato. Conducts practice landing operations in Kawauchi Bay.

28 May 1942: Operation "AL" - The Seizure of Attu and Kiska:
KUMAGAWA MARU departs Mutsu Bay, Kawauchi in Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro's (36) Northern Force with Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ono Takeji's (44) Kiska Invasion Force’s transport HAKUSAN MARU, auxiliary cruiser ASAKA MARU, seaplane tender KIMIKAWA MARU escorted by CruDiv 21’ light cruiser KISO, destroyers HIBIKI, AKATSUKI and HOKAZE.

1 June 1942:
The Invasion Force arrives at Paramushiro. KUMAGAWA MARU arrives at 1810.

2 June 1942:
At 1200 departs Kakumabetsu Bay, Paramushiro Island.

7 June 1942:
The Invasion Force lands troops on Kiska.

8 June 1942:
At 0250 KUMAGAWA MARU arrives at Kiska with AWATA, ASAKA and HAKUSAN MARUs. She disembarks materials and personnel necessary to construct a seaplane base.

13 June 1942:
Departs Kiska.

20 June 1942:
At 1306 departs Paramushiro.

27 June 1942:
At 0616 arrives at Ominato.

28 June 1942:
At 2155 departs Ominato.

29 June 1942:
At 1306 arrives at Maizuru.

10 July 1942:
At 1130 departs Ominato.

15 July 1942:
An unknown officer is appointed Supervisor.

16 July 1942:
Run aground in the Onekotan Straits, Kuriles. To lighten the load, KUMAGAWA MARU’s cargo is transferred to destroyer IKAZUCHI.

18 July 1942:
Refloated with the assistance of destroyer KAMIKAZE and kaibokan ISHIGAKI. Towed towards Kataoka Bay, Shumushu Island.

20 July 1942:
Arrives at Kataoka Bay. At 1130 arrives at Kakumabetsu Wan.

12 August 1942:
At 1330 departs Paramushiro and at 1932 arrives at Shumushu.

16 August 1942:
At 0740 departs Shumushu and at 1355 arrives at Paramushiro.

18 August 1942:
At 1100 departs Paramushiro.

25 August 1942:
At 1700 arrives at Kataoka Wan.

26 August 1942:
At 1248 departs Kataoka Bay.

28 August 1942:
At 1850 arrives at Otaru.

31 August 1942:
At 0258 departs Otaru.

1 September 1942:
At 1600 arrives at Hakodate, Hokkaido.

18 September 1942:
Departs Hakodate.

21 September 1942:
Arrives at Tateyama.

23 September 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

10 October 1942:
Enters dock at the Asano Shipyard. Begins conversion to an auxiliary oiler.

13 February 1943:
Completes conversion.

15 February 1943:
Transferred to the Maizuru Navy District as an auxiliary transport (oil supply). Departs Yokosuka.

17 February 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

20 February 1943:
Departs Kure.

27 February 1943:
At 11-52N 148-45E destroyer OITE meets up with KUMAGAWA MARU.

28 February 1943:
Arrives at Saipan.

13 April 1943:
At 0700 departs Truk with Naval storeship KITAKAMI MARU, Naval transports CHIHAYA and HAKUSAN MARUs escorted by auxiliary submarine chaser SHONAN MARU No. 3.

18 April 1943:
At 0940 arrives at Jaluit.

2 May 1943:
KUMAGAWA MARU departs Truk escorted by subchaser CH-31.

3 May 1943:
Arrives at Ponape.

4 May 1943:
At 1500, KUMAGAWA MARU departs Ponape escorted by subchaser CH-31.

6 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

11 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk and then at 1200 departs for Palau in convoy No. 7 consisting of SANTO and KUMAGAWA MARUs escorted by destroyer KIYONAMI.

16 May 1943:
At 1500 arrives at Palau.

6 June 1943:
Arrives at Kure. Undergoes repairs.

3 August 1943:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Kobe.

6 August 1943:
Departs Kobe.

7 August 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

16 August 1943:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Saeki.

21 August 1943:
Departs Saeki with fleet oiler ONDO for Seletar, Singapore via Manila and Tarakan.

28 August 1943:
At 1600, arrives at Manila with ONDO.

14 September 1943:
KUMAGAWA MARU and tanker NISSHO MARU depart Palau in convoy No. 8142 escorted by destroyer OITE and submarine chaser CH-33. The convoy sails at 12 knots.

18 September 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

27 September 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 7272 also consisting of fleet oiler AZUMA MARU escorted by destroyer ASANAGI for Palau. Later tankers SHINKOKU MARU and HAYATOMO apparently join the convoy.

1 October 1943:
At 1425, AZUMA, KUMAGAWA and SHINKOKU MARUs and HAYATOMO arrive at Palau escorted by destroyer ASANAGI.

5 October 1943:
At 0700, KUMAGAWA MARU and fleet oiler AZUMA MARU depart Palau at 11 knots for Balikpapan.

9 October 1943:
Makassar Strait. At about 1100, LtCdr Marvin J. Jensen's (USNA ’31) USS PUFFER (SS-268) torpedoes and damages KUMAGAWA MARU off Balikpapan at 01-07N, 119-30E.

11 October 1943:
Subchaser CH-6 escorts KUMAGAWA MARU while she is towed to Balikpapan.

14 December 1943:
Auxiliary transport ENOSHIMA MARU delivers food and supplies to the crew of KUMAGAWA MARU torpedoed two months earlier.

15 December 1943:

16 December 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya. Undergoes lengthy ( one year) battle damage repairs.

26 December 1944:
Arrives at Singapore. Departs that same day for Cap St. Jacques in convoy SHISA-32 consisting of AKASHI, KENEI and KIYO MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 17 (escorts unknown).

4 January 1945:
Arrives at St. Jacques, Indochina.

12 January 1945:
Off Cape St. Jacques. Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain’s (USNA ’06) Task Force 38 aircraft sink tankers KUMAGAWA (seven crewmen and 98 passengers KIA) and AKASHI (21 crewmen, 21 gunners and 64 troops KIA) MARUs and transports SHINSEI carrying 1,266 Army troops, aviation spares and bombs (22 crewmen, eight gunners and 64 passengers KIA) and TOYU carrying 510 passengers, rubber, fuel and building materials (23 crewmen one soldier and 28 other passengers KIA) MARUs with bombs and torpedoes at 10-20N, 107-45E.

10 March 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Also sometimes known as SHUMAGAWA MARU and TAMAGAWA MARU.

Thanks to Gilbert Casse of France for his contribution to revisions.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

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