RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(KURAMASAN MARU, prewar)

KURAMASAN MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2016 Bob Hackett


20 December 1926:
Tama. Laid down by Mitsui Bussan Kaisha, as Yard No.132, a 1,996-ton cargo ship for the Mitsui Line, Tokyo.

4 May 1927:
Launched and named KURAMASAN MARU.

16 June 1927:
Completed.

1928~1929:
In service on Mitsui Line’s Kyushu ~ Dairen, Manchuria ~ Shanghai, China route.

20-28 January 1932: The "First Shanghai Incident":
Shanghai. In protest over the Kwantung Army's occupation of Manchuria, the Chinese boycott import and sale of Japanese goods. The Japanese retaliate by burning Chinese factories and shops. The Japanese Consul-General demands that Shanghai's Mayor Wu T'ieh-ch'eng dissolve all anti-Japanese organizations, pay compensation and end anti-Japanese agitation. Although Mayor Wu agrees, the IJN dispatches the Shanghai Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) of about 2,500 troops to evict two divisions of the Chinese 19th Route Army from Shanghai.

29 January 1932:
Huangpu (Whangpoa) River, Shanghai. Tender NOTORO’s E1Y3 floatplanes, anchored in the Yangtze River, launches ten low-level attacks on Chinese positions that result in a heavy loss of civilian lives and property. The Chinese unify against the Japanese who are unable to capture Shanghai. Large-scale fighting breaks out. KURAMASAN MARU, in port at the Mitsui wharf, is used as a place of refuge from the combat for Japanese residents for 20 days..

26 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA and converted to a troop transport. Allotted Army No. 85.

September 1941-May 1942:
KURAMASAN MARU makes troop transport runs between Japan and Saigon, Vichy French, Indocina (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

26 May 1942:
At 0830, KURAMASAN MARU departs Takao, Formosa for Ebisu Bay in convoy No. 215 also consisting of transports KINE and MANKO MARUs and six unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer FUYO.

29 May 1942:
Arrives at Ebisu Bay.

30 November 1942:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Saeki for Palau in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy “D” also consisting of KENKOKU MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-46.

30 November 1942:
Arrives at Saeki. Later that day, the convoy departs with minelayer NATSUSHIMA as an additional escort.

E 1 December 1942:
At 29N, the two escorts are detached.

13 December 1942:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Saeki for Rabaul in an unidentified convoy carrying the 23rd Army’s 51st Infantry Division.

24 February 1943:
Departs Ujina.

3 March 1943:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Saeki in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy “E2” also consisting of DENMARK, YAMABUKI and GENMEI MARUs escorted by minelayers NATSUSHIMA and NUWAJIMA.

E 4 March 1943:
The escorts are detached at 29N.

E 8 March 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

16 April 1943:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Palau in a convoy also consisting of NIKKI, NISSHUN, TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA) MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 2 escorted by subchaser CH-38.

18 April 1943:
Near Truk. At 1230, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Bernard F. McMahon's (USNA ’31) USS DRUM (SS-228) torpedoes and sinks NISSHUN MARU at 02-02N, 148-27E. 35 men are KIA.

24 April 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

16 June 1943:
At 1150, KURAMASAN MARU departs Rabaul in convoy 609 consisting of ADEN, HOFUKU, TAIKO, SHINYUBARI and YAMAFUKU MARUs and one other unidentified ship escorted by subchasers CH-16, CH-23 and CH-39. En route, CH-16 is detached for Rabaul.

23 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

31 August 1943:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Saeki in convoy O-106 also consisting of transports KAYO, SHOBU (2,005 GRT) and YURI MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by torpedo boat HATO, minelayer YURIJIMA, auxiliary netlayer TAISHU MARU, auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No. 6 and TAMA MARU No. 7, auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU and auxiliary patrol boat TAITON MARU.

E 1 September 1943:
At 30N, auxiliary netlayer TAISHU MARU, auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU and auxiliary patrol boat TAITON MARU are detached .

E 2 September 1943:
Auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No. 6 and TAMA MARU No.7 are detached at 28N.

E 4 September 1943:
At 25N, YURIJIMA is detached.

9 September 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

18 September 1943:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Palau in convoy FU-807 also consisting of ASOSAN, KEMBU (ex-British EMPIRE BLOSSOM), NICHIAI, SHICHISEI MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and SHINSEI MARU No. 17 escorted by and patrol boat PB-31.

E 26 September 1943:
The convoy is joined by auxiliary minesweepers OI and TAMA MARUs and TAMA MARU No. 7 at 30N, 134E. Later, the convoy arrives off Fukajima and is dissolved.

12 October 1943:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Saeki in convoy O-205 also consisting of NAPLES, SAIHO TAISHO and TOSHO MARUs.escorted by patrol boat PB-31.

22 October 1943:
At 0900, arrives at Palau.

29 October 1943:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Palau in convoy SO-904 also consisting of MACASSAR, NAPLES and TAISHO MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-37 and CH-38.

6 November 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

5 December 1943:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Rabaul in convoy O-504 with two unidentified merchant ships with unknown escort.

23 December 1943:
KURAMASAN MARU departs departs Palau for Wewak with escorting convoy "Wewak No. 16" consisting of ASO, CHINZEI and SHOHO MARUs escorted subchaser CH-35 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-61.

25 December 1943:
KURAMASAN MARU is detached and joins minelayer SHIRATAKA detached from convoy "Wewak No. 15" to escort her to Hollandia.

27 December 1943:
Arrives at Hollandia.

29 December 1943:
Departs Hollandia with SHIRATAKA.

2 January 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

9 January 1944:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Palau for Saeki, Japan in convoy FU-905 also consisting of HIDAKA, SHIRANESAN, SORACHI and TOYOKAWA MARUs escorted by torpedo-boat SAGI and subchaser CH-26.

20 January 1944:
260 km SE of Cape Muroto. At 0103, LtCdr Wayne R. Merrill's USS BATFISH (SS-310) attacks the convoy on the surface. Merrill fires eight torpedoes and gets two hits in HIDAKA MARU’s No. 4 hold. She loses power, steering and communications and drifts for many hours. At 1456, HIDAKA MARU sinks by the stern S of Shiono Misaki at 31-32N, 135-58E. 14 passengers and 2 crewmen are KIA.

E 21 January 1944:
Arrives at Saeki.

11 March 1944:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Takao for Manila, Luzon, Philippines in convoy TAMA-10 also consisting and transports ATLAS, BANSHU, MITO and SHINKYO MARUs and tanker SAN PEDRO MARU escorted by auxiliary subchasers CHa-45, CHa-55, CHa-70, HINODE MARU No. 15 and MISAGO MARU No. 2.

14 March 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

20 March 1944:
At 0630, KURAMASAN MARU departs Manila for Kau, Halmaheras in convoy H-22 also consisting of ANSHU, ATLAS, BENGAL, KUNIKAWA, MITO, SHINKYO and TOYOOKA MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HAYABUSA and minesweeper W-30.

23 March 1944:
Zamboanga Sea. At about 1530, auxiliary subchaser KYO MARU No. 12 joins the escort. W-30 is detached.

24 March 1944:
At 1430, KUNIKAWA MARU is detached and proceeds alone to Balikpapan Bay, Borneo arriving that same day.

About 28 nms E of Cape Chinaka, SE Mindanao, Philippines. LtCdr (later Cdr) Walter T. Griffith’s (USNA '34) USS BOWFIN (SS-287) makes radar contact with the convoy. At 2348, Griffith’s first salvo scores two hits on BENGAL MARU at 05-38N, 125-58E that sinks rapidly at 05-37N, 125-58E. 161 passengers, four gunners and 41 crewmen are KIA. About the same time, BOWFIN also torpedoes and sinks SHINKYO MARU. 49 passengers and 12 crewmen are KIA.

6 April 1944:
KURAMASAN and MITO MARUs depart Davao and join convoy H-23 that departed Manila on 31 March for Kau, Halmahera Island consisting of BUNZAN, HINODE, MIYAURA, TAIYU and TATSUJU MARUs escorted by patrol boats PB-103 and PB-105.

10 April 1944:
At 1753, arrives at Kau.

31 May 1944:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Wasile, Halmahera Island in convoy H-23 also consisting of DAIYU, ETAJIMA, ROKKO and TOUN MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by minelayer AOTAKA and minesweeper W-4.

12 June 1944:
At 0800, departs Manila for Wasili in convoy H-29 also consisting of FRANCE, HIBI, JUNPO, MACASSAR, TAIYU and YAMAGIKU MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-10, patrol boats PB-103 and PB-105 and subchaser CH-45.

17 June 1944:
HIBI MARU is detached for Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines.

23 June 1944:
At 1710, convoy H-29 arrives at Halmahera Island.

26 June 1944:
At 0430, KURAMASAN MARU departs Kau, Halmahera in a convoy also consisting of JUZAN and SHOEI MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 17 escorted by destroyer HOKAZE and minesweeper W-22.

29 June 1944:
At 0805, auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 5 joins the escort.

30 June-1 July 1944:
The convoy calls at Buli Bay, Gebe Island, Kofiao Island, Sawao and Boano Islands. At 1600, arrives at Ambon, Ceram, N.E.I.

4 August 1944:
At 1330, KURAMASAN MARU departs Ambon in an unnamed convoy also consisting of KANTO, SHINTAI MARUs. and TATSUYASU? MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-26, CH-34 and CH-35 and minesweeper W-12.

5 August 1944:
CH-26 is detached for Ambon.

6 August 1944:
KANTO MARU is detached for Waha, Wangiwangi Island. At 1400, the remainder of the convoy arrives at Staring Bay, Celebes.

17 August 1944:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Staring Bay for Makassar, Celebes escorted by gunboat NAGARA MARU.

20 August 1944:
Arrives at Makassar.

14 October 1944:
KURAMASAN MARU departs Surabaya, Java for Ambon, Ceram, Moluccas.

1 November 1944:
Departs Makassar, Celebes for Ambon with an unknown escort.

2 November 1944:
Dutch East Indies. At 0845 (H), LtCdr Irvin S. Hartman’s (USNA ’33) USS BARBERO (SS-317) fires four torpedoes at KURAMASAN MARU, but they miss. Soon thereafter, the escort begins dropping depth charges.

Makassar Strait. At 1154, BARBERO fires three more torpedoes and gets at least one hit that sinks KURAMASAN MARU at 04-25S, 118-24E. 16 passengers and 5 crewmen are KIA.


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

-Bob Hackett


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