RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(KURAMA MARU, prewar)

KURAMA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2018 Bob Hackett


22 June 1929:
Laid down at Uraga Docking Corporation as Yard No. 359, a 6,769-ton cargo ship for Yamashita Steam Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Tokyo.

24 June 1930:
Launched and named HOKUSEI MARU.

1930:
After launching, sold to Kokusai Kisen, K. K. (International Steamship Co.), Kobe. Renamed KURAMA MARU.

10 February 1931:
Completed.

1931-1937:
In Kokusai Kisen's service.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident ("First China Incident"):
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) troops on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops across the river think they are under attack. They fire live rounds back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to the Peiping (Beijing) suburb of Wanping to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

1937:
KURAMA MARU is chartered by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) for service as a troop transport.

10 November 1937: H Sakusen (Operation "H") The Invasion of Hangzhou Bay, China:
KURAMA MARU is a member of one several 4th Fleet's invasion convoys transporting the IJA's 10th Army.

E 1938:
Released by the IJA back to her owners.

2 January 1942:
Requisitioned by the IJA. Allotted Army No. 386.

7 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Attack on the Southern Philippines:
At 1630, KURAMA MARU departs Mako for Aparri, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hara Kensaburo's (37)(former CO of TAKAO) Fourth Surprise Attack Force with IJA transports AKIURA, ARIZONA, KAZAUURA, KEIYO, MATSUKAWA and YUZAN MARUs. Haraís force is escorted by DesRon 5ís light cruiser NATORI (F), DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE, HARUKAZE, MATSUKAZE and HATAKAZE and DesDiv 22 ís FUMIZUKI, MINIZUKI, NAGATSUKI and SATSUKI, minesweepers W-15, W-16 and W-19 and subchasers CH-1, Ch-2, Ch-3, CH-14 and CH-15.

10 December 1941:
At 0550, the invasion unit arrives off Aparri, N Luzon, Philippines and begins to land troops of the IJA 48th Infantry Division. The invasion unit's objective is the capture of the airfield at Vigan. NATORI provides fire support, bombarding the shoreline.

12 December 1941:
Off Takao, Formosa. At 1800, KURAMA MARU departs No. 3 anchorage zone in an invasion convoy also consisting of AKIURA, ARIZONA, KAZUURA, MATSUKAWA and OYAMA MARUs bound for Aparri, Philippines escorted by destroyers NAGATSUKI and MINAZUKI and minesweeper W-15.

17 December 1941:
The invasion convoy departs Takao for Lingayen Gulf.

9 February 1942:
East China Sea. About 2200, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Frank W. Fenno's (USNA '25) USS TROUT ( SS-202) fires three torpedoes and gets one hit that sinks KURAMA MARU at 28-25N, 122-03E. 58 passengers3:03 PM 3/20/2018 and crewmen are KIA.


Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muethlthaler of Germany.

-Bob Hackett


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