RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(MAEBASHI MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

MAEBASHI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2016 Bob Hackett


5 January 1921:
Laid down at Yokohama Dock Co. as Yard No. 82, a 7,005-ton cargo ship for Nippon Yusen Kaisha K.K., Tokyo.

2 July 1921:
Launched and named MAYEBASHI MARU.

2 August 1921:
Completed.

6 July 1935:
Sold to Nanyo (South Seas) Kaiun, K. K., Tokyo.

1938:
Renamed MAEBASI MARU.

6 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Assigned Army No. 722.

18 December 1941: The Invasion of the Philippines -“M” Operation (M Sakusen): At 1700, MAEBASHI MARU departs Takao, Formosa for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Rear Admiral Hara Kensaburo's (37)(former CO of TAKAO) 1st Lingayen Invasion Unit with 27 other IJA transports escorted by DesRon 5's light cruiser NATORI, DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE, HARUKAZE and MATSUKAZE, DesDiv 22's FUMIZUKI, MINAZUKI, NAGATSUKI and SATSUKI, minesweepers W-15 and W-16 and subchasers CH-1, CH-2, CH-3 CH-13, CH-14 and CH-15.

The Japanese main invasion at Lingayen Gulf consists of three transport echelons and carries the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army. The first echelon is composed of 27 transports from Takao under Rear Admiral Hara , the second echelon of 28 transports under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji (39) and the third echelon of 21 transports from Keelung under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto (39).

24 December 1941:
Lingayen Gulf. Between 0110 and 0430, the Lingayen Invasion Convoy lands troops at Lingayen.

21 January 1942:
MAEBASHI MARU departs Mutsure with transports ATSUTA, BRAZIL, COLUMBIA, DAINICHI, FUSHIMI, GENOA, HOEISAN, KIZZAN, MOTOYAMA, PACIFIC, REIYO, SOMEDOMO, SYDNEY, TAKETOYO, TATSUNO TOFUKU, TOKIWA and TSUYAMA MARUs escorted by CruDiv 9's light cruiser OI and DesDiv 32's ASAGAO, FUYO and KARUKAYA. The transports are carrying the 2nd Infantry Division.

26 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores. Later, the convoy departs for Camranh Bay.

2 April 1942:
Cruiser KASHII, kaibokan SHIMUSHU and destroyers SHIKINAMI and HATAKAZE depart Singapore escorting 45 transports including MAEBASHI, ALASKA, AYATOSAN, CELEBES, CHILE, KAMO, KYOKUSEI, KOFUKU, KUNITAMA, LONDON,MACASSAR, MANJU, MIDORI, MIIKESAN, NAGATO, RYOGA, RASHIN, RAKUYO, SINGAPORE, SHINYU, SHINYO, SHINKYO, TAMAHOKO, WAKATSU, WAL ES, YAMAFUJI and YASUKAWA MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 3, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and YOSHIDA MARU No. 3 and fifteen unidentified ships carrying the IJA's 18th Infantry Division. Meanwhile at 1825 HATSUTAKA departs Penang returning there at 2322.

3 April 1942:
At 0700, HATSUTAKA departs Penang returning there at 1022.

4 April 1942:
The convoy arrives at Penang. At 0730 escort duties are taken over by HATSUTAKA, SHIMUSHU and three destroyers of DesRon 5. KASHII is detached from the convoy and returns to Singapore the same day.

7 April 1942:
At 1138, the convoy arrives at the Rangoon rivermouth.

14 October 1942:
MAEBASHI MARU departs Singapore for Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar) carrying 1,700 Australian, Dutch and American prisoners-of -war (POWs) from Java to work on the Japanese’s Burma-Thailand railway. [1]

22 October 1942:
Arrives at Rangoon.

23 June 1943:
At 0815, MAEBASHI MARU departs Takao for Moji in convoy No. 275 also consisting of CHOJUN, RISSHUN, ROKKO, SAN LUIS, SEKKO, TEIKA (ex-Vichy French CAP VARELLA), TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA) and YASUKUNI MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

29 June 1943:
At 0850, arrives at Moji.

12 August 1943:
MAEBASHI MARU departs Sasebo in convoy No. 186 also consisting HIROTA MARU and five unidentified merchant ships escorted by patrol boat PB-2.

14 August 1943:
Arrives at Ssu Chiao Shan (now Sijiao Island), Shengsi Archipelago, China.

24 August 1943:
MAEBASHI MARU departs Takao escorting convoy No. 767 also consisting of MANSHU, SEIZAN and TARUSHIMA MARUs and one unidentified merchant escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA.

28 August 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

30 August 1943:
MAEBASHI MARU departs Manila in convoy No. 3111 also consisting of TAIAN and TENCHO MARUs and five unidentified merchants escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA.

4 September 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

13 September 1943:
At 1200, MAEBASHI MARU departs Manila in convoy No. 3112 also consisting of KINKASAN MARU escorted by destroyer FUYO.

18 September 1943:
At 1600, arrives at Palau.

28 September 1943:
At 1200, MAEBASHI MARU departs Palau for Rabaul in convoy N-805 also consisting of KINKASAN, NISSHU, TONEI and TOUN MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-16 and CH-38. MAEBASHI MARU is carrying 2,367 IJA troops including replacements for the 13th, 23rd, 45th Infantry Regiments of the 6th Division, 229th and 230th Infantry Regiments of the 38th Division, South Sea Garrison Unit and the 61st Construction Duty Company of the 8th Area Army plus other passengers, ammunition, 10 heavy vehicles, 40 oil drums, hemp rope, pontoons, etc.

30 September 1943:
373 miles ESE of Palau. At 0640, LtCdr George H. Wales' (USNA ’29) USS POGY (SS-266) torpedoes and sinks MAEBASHI MARU at 01-00N, 139-28E. The IJA transport is carrying 2,367 IJA troops and other passengers, ammunition, 10 heavy vehicles, 40 oil drums, hemp rope, pontoons, etc. She takes down 1,389 troops and 13 gunners and 48 crewmen.


Author's Note:
[1] The POWs considered MAEBASHI MARU a “Hell Ship” because of conditions they were forced to endure while aboard.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and to the late John Whitman and Fontessa-san of Japan for info on IJA units carried by MAEBASHI MARU.

Bob Hackett


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