RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(KYOKKO MARU at Tasmania, Australia prewar)

IJA Transport KYOKKO (ex-YPRES) MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

2016 Bob Hackett


11 May 1920:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima Shipbuilding as Yard No. 45, a 6,784-ton passenger-cargo ship for Teikoku Kisen Kaisha, K. K., Kobe.

6 September 1920:
Launched and named YPRES MARU.

1 October 1920:
Completed.

July 1924:
Sold to Dai Nippon (Wakayama Esumi).

7 April 1928:
Sold to Yamashita Kisen Kaisha, K. K., Kobe. K. K. and renamed KYOKKO MARU.

11 October 1938:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA)and alloted Army No.958.

Released back to her owners.

Re-requisitioned by the IJA and converted to a troop transport.

26 April 1942:
KYOKKO departs Singapore carrying about 1,500 prisoners-of-war (POWs): 1,000 Dutch, 300 British and 200 Australians.

21 May 1942:
Arrives at Moji, Kyushu. Two Dutch POWs die. The POWs are disembarked. Most are sent to POW camps in Honshu.

21 March 1943:
KYOKKO MARU and PENANG MARUs depart Kaimana for Ambon, Moluccas escorted byminelayer AOTAKA and another unidentified warship. At 1000, the convoy is attacked by two USAAF North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium bombers at 04-09S 133-11E. . PENANG MARU is near-missed off her port stern quarter and bow. At 1515, a Consolidated USAAF B-24 heavy bomber attacks the convoy and near misses KYOKKO MARU's stern. Both ships are lightly damaged.

3 May 1943:
KYOKKO MARU departs departs St Jacques, Vichy French Indochina in convoy No. 492 also consisting of SEINAN, ARGUN MARUs and six unidentified merchants escorted by subchaser CH-9.

9 May 1943:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan).

20 June 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya, Java.

7 July 1943:
At 1400, KYOKKO MARU departs Moji in convoy No. 173 also consisting of ASAKA, GYOKUREI, HIROTA, MURORAN, RYUKO and TAIYU MARUs and tankers KOSHIN, ZUIYO MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 2 escorted by torpedo boat HAYABUSA and patrol boat PB-36.

8 July 1943:
At 1620, NACHISAN MARU departs Sasebo for Takao and joins convoy No. 173.

13 July 1943:
At 0950, the convoy arrives at Takao. NACHISAN MARU departs at 1300 for Hong Kong. The main convoy departs later.

15 July 1943:
Arrives at Kirun (now Keelung), Formosa.

19 September 1943:
At 0950, KYOKKO MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Moji in convoy No. 205 also consisting of transports CHINA, DENMARK, FUKUJU, SEIZAN and TEIKA (ex Vichy French CAP VARELLA) MARUs, oiler HOKUAN MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-2 and auxiliary TOYO MARU No. 3.

20 September 1943:
The convoy is joined by transports BIYO,JINZAN, KENZUI, TATSUHA and TOSEI MARUs and ore carrier GINREI MARU.

24 September 1943:
At 1600, the convoy arrives at Moji less HOKUAN MARU that was detached earlier.

12 November 1943:
KYOKKO MARU departs Takao for Manila in convoy No. 777 also consisting of TATSUHARU MARU and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by torpedo boat TOMOZURU. KYOKKO MARU is carrying 81 soldiers (hospital orderlies), medical supplies, foodstuffs and 300,000 yen.

15 November 1943:
Off San Antonio, Philippines. At 0930, LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's (USNA '32) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) torpedoes and sinks KYOKKO MARU at 14-52N 119-56E. Two crewmen and eight soldiers are KIA.


Author's Notes:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Bob Hackett


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