FUSETSUKAN!

(TSUBAME by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Minelayer MAESHIMA:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2008-2014 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
Revision 4


14 July 1942:
Laid down at Nippon Kokan Tsurumi Yard as a HIRASHIMA-class netlayer/minelayer.

18 April 1943:
Launched and named MAESHIMA.

31 July 1943:
Completed. [1]

19 October 1943:
At 1200 minelayer MAESHIMA is due to join convoy No.106 /MA-07 consisting of SHONAN MARU and eleven unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE as additional escort.

21 October 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

13 February 1944:
Departs East Pratas Island escorting convoy No. 454 consisting of two unidentified ships.

16 February 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

4 March 1944:
MAESHIMA and destroyer ASAGAO join convoy the escort of convoy MOTA-07 consisting of TEIKA (ex French CAP VARELLA), YAMAHAGI, RONSAN, CHIYODA, SUGIYAMA, KENSEI, SARAWAK, HAKUROKO, RIKKO, ATAGO, KONSAN and NITTATSU MARUs and NISSHIN MARU and one unidentified merchant ship (from MOTA-05) escorted by destroyer AMAGIRI and minesweeper W-30.

7 March 1944:
HAKUROKO MARU falls behind with engine problems, but later catches up at 1620.

8 March 1944:
YAMAHAGI and TEIKA (ex-French CAP VARELLA) MARUs are detached for Kirun (Keelung), Formosa (Taiwan).

9 March 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

E 12 March 1944:
MAESHIMA meets up with convoy MOTA-09 then consisting of TEIRITSU (ex French LECONTE DE LISLE), MATSUE, SAN LUIS, TAKETOYO, HAMBURG, KYOKUZAN, MURORAN, BATOPAHAT, BUNZAN, DAIYU and SHOEI MARUs, HINO MARU No. 1 and tanker OGURA MARU No. 2 escorted by patrol boat PB-38 and destroyer WAKATAKE.

13 March 1944:
Off the China coast at 1844 in 25-58N 121-34E a submarine is detected and attacked by PB-38.

14 March 1944:
In the Formosa Strait at 1138 PB-38 attacks another submarine contact without result.

15 March 1944:
At 1845 arrives at Takao.

20 March 1944:
MAESHIMA departs Takao for Mereyon with old destroyer WAKATAKE and patrol boat PB-38 (ex-DD YOMOGI) escorting combined convoys NISHI MATSU No. 2/TAPA-06 consisting of MATSUE, CHUYO and HAMBURG MARUs. The convoy is carrying two infantry battalions, a pioneer company and some artillery.

26 March 1944:
N of Palau. The next day, during a violent rain squall, LtCdr Charles F. Brindupke's (USNA ’32) USS TULLIBEE (SS-284) makes radar contact on a convoy consisting of a large passenger-cargo ship, two medium-sized freighters, a destroyer, and two other escorts. Brindupke makes several surface runs on the transport, but keeps losing her in rain squalls. USS TULLIBEE finally closes to 3,000 yards and fires two bow torpedoes. About two minutes later, USS TULLIBEE is rocked by a violent explosion and sinks at 134-45E, 09-30N.

27 March 1944:
At about 1000, a single survivor is rescued by WAKATAKE. The convoy arrives at Palau. [2]

1 April 1944:
Departs Kirun with subchaser CH-46 escorting convoy TAPA-08 consisting of one unidentified merchant ship.

7 April 1944:
Arrives at Palau. A submarine is sighted immediately before arrival.

30 April 1944:
At 1700, convoy TE-04 departs Yulin, Hainan Island for Yawata, Kyushu, consisting of iron ore carriers KINREI, YULIN, SHORYU, DAIYOKU, TOYOHI and DAIBU MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-1 and auxiliary gunboat KAZAN MARU.

3 May 1944:
MAESHIMA joins the escort.

4 May 1944:
At 0008, LtCdr Donald F. Weiss' (USNA ’29)USS TINOSA (SS-283) torpedoes and sinks TOYOHI MARU at 20-50N, 118-00E. At 0106, LtCdr Anton R. Gallaher's (USNA ’33) USS BANG (SS-385) torpedoes and sinks KINREI MARU at 20-50N, 117-55E. At 0113, Weiss' USS TINOSA torpedoes and sinks DAIBU MARU at 20-50N, 117-55E. At about 0300, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral/MOH) Lawson P. Ramage's (USNA ’31) USS PARCHE (SS-384) torpedoes and sinks SHORYU and DAIYOKU MARUs at 20-50N, 117-55E. There are fairly heavy casualties: TOYOHI MARU sinks with 16 gunners, 15 watchmen and 56 crewmen, KINREI MARU with six crewmen KIA; DAIBU MARU with one gunner only missing, presumed drowned after KAZAN (HUASHAN) MARU took the crew off and unsuccessfully attempted to tow the wreck; SHORYU MARU with two gunners, 20 passengers and 42 crewmen KIA and DAIYOKU MARU with 15 gunners, two passengers and 20 of the crew KIA.

7 May 1944:
The remnants of convoy TE-04 arrive at Takao, Formosa.

11 June 1944:
At 0645, MAESHIMA departs Takao with torpedo boat SAGI, patrol boat PB-38, minesweepers W-17, kaibokan CD-18, auxiliary subchaser CHa-95 and four unidentified warships escorting convoy MI-05 joins consisting of KENEI, HINAGA, NIPPO, FUYUKAWA, SURAKARUTA, TATSUJU and SHOEI MARU, tankers TACHIBANA, NITTETSU, TOA, CERAM, SANKO (YAMAKO), AYAKIRI, AYANAMI, OEI, TOKUWA, TAKETSU (BUTSU), MARIFU and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 and fleet oiler NOTORO plus thirteen other unidentified ships. Shortly after departure, TOA and SHOEI MARUs are detached for Takao.

Tankers SAN DIEGO and JINEI MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 8 depart Takao to join MI-05 with ARIMASAN, MANILA, MIIKESAN and USSURI MARUs.

13 June 1944:
At 1555, LtCdr John D. Crowley's (USNA ’34) USS FLIER (SS-250) torpedoes and damages MARIFU MARU, carrying 299 troops and 5 aircraft, at 15-57N, 119-42E. The ship is taken in tow by MIIKESAN MARU and later reaches Manila.

15 June 1944:
The convoy arrives at Manila. Many ships are detached.

18 June 1944:
MAESHIMA departs Manila with kaibokan CD-14 and CD-18, torpedo boat SAGI, patrol boat PB-38, minesweeper W-17, auxiliary subchasers CHa-22 and CHa-95 and two unidentified warships escorting convoy MI-05 consisting of fleet oiler NOTORO, tankers TACHIBANA, SAN DIEGO, BAIEI, KENZUI, ATAGO, JINEI, AYANAMI, CERAM, OEI and TOKUWA MARUs, YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2, and KYOEI MARU No. 8 and cargo/transports ARIMASAN, HINAGA, NIPPO (ex-Swedish NINGPO), TATSUJU, SURAKARUTA, TEIFU (ex French BOUGAINVILLE), ROKKO, DAIZEN, MIIKESAN, NICHIYO, HIDA and SEIWA MARUs.

14 July 1944:
At 1900, MAESHIMA departs Takao for Manila with kaibokan KUSAGAKI, CD-1, CD-22 , minelayer ENTO and minesweeper W-34 escorting convoy TAMA-21C consisting of MANTAI, MITSUKI, JINSAN, SEATTLE, YASUKUNI, TENSHIN, YAMATAMA, SAINEI, HIZAN (HIYAMA), KOKKA, SHOZAN, TOKUSHIMA and SHOKEI MARUs and tankers SHONAN, MITSU, AYAGIRI and AYAZONO MARUs and three unidentified merchant ships.

16 July 1944:
At 0946, LtCdr Harold E. Ruble's (USNA ’33) USS PIRANHA (SS-389) torpedoes and sinks SEATTLE MARU at 19-17N, 120-15E. The ship was carrying 4,285 IJNAF personnel. 45 crewmen, 25 gunners and 296 passengers and troops are KIA. HIYAMA and SHOZAN MARUs rescue the survivors.

Over the next six hours, Captain William V. O'Regan’s (USNA ’23) wolf pack, nicknamed the "Mickey Finns", consisting of LtCdr Duncan C. MacMillian's (USNA ’26) USS THRESHER (SS-200), LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Novell G. Ward's (USNA ’35) USS GUARDFISH (SS-217) and Ruble's USS PIRANHA closes in and decimates the convoy.

At 2300, MacMillian's THRESHER torpedoes and sinks SAINEI MARU at 18-53N, 119-32E. 21 troops and passengers on board, and three crewmen are KIA.At 2350, Ward's USS GUARDFISH torpedoes and sinks JINZAN MARU. 38 troops, one passenger, seven gunners, two watchmen and three crewmen are killed – a total of 51 dead. Two minutes later, Ward torpedoes and sinks MANTAI MARU. 72 military passengers and 43 crewmen are KIA.

17 July 1944:
The attacks continue. At 0034,Ward's USS GUARDFISH torpedoes and sinks HIYAMA MARU. The ship was loaded with 2 companies of an Army group totaling 101 troops, of whom four along with four of the crew were KIA. W-34 and CD-1 rescue survivors. At 0345, MacMillian's USS THRESHER torpedoes and sinks SHOZAN MARU at 18-50N, 119-43E. CD-1 and W-34 again rescue the survivors. 24 Gunners, 125 troops, 500 AZUSA MARU survivors and 64 crewmen are killed.

19 July 1944:
At 1920, convoy TAMA-21C arrives at Manila. That same day Convoy MI-10 departs Miri with destroyer ASAKAZE, kaibokan YASHIRO and CD-3 and auxiliary gunboats PEKING and KAZAN (HUASHAN) MARUs consisting of DAIZEN, HIDA, HINAGA, KENZUI, TEIFU (ex French BOUGAINVILLE), KOSHIN and FUYUKAWA MARUs, WAKO GO, and tankers HAKUBASAN, SHUNTEN, TAKETSU (BUTSU), CHIYODA, KOTOKU, NICHINAN (1945 gt) and SHIMOTSU MARUs plus 11 unidentified ships.

E 23 July 1944:
Arrives at Manila where convoy MI-10 is joined by tankers OEI MARU and KYOEI MARU No. 6 and KAKOGAWA, TSUKUBASAN, ROKKO, RASHIN, KUROGANE, FRANCE, MYOGI MARUs and UNYO MARU No.7. It is possible MAESHIMA joins the convoy at this point, or later at Takao.

27 July 1944:
At 1100, reconstituted convoy MI-10 departs Manila.

28 July 1944:
At 1040, HAKUBASAN MARU, carrying 7,351-tons of oil and 710-tons of rubber is torpedoed by LtCdr Francis D. Walker's (USNA ’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) and sinks at 1305 at 16-28N, 119-38E taking down three of her crew.

2 August 1944:
Arrives at Takao. ASAKAZE and YASHIRO are detached. KUROGANE, FRANCE and RASHIN MARUs are probably also detached. HAKOZAKI MARU joins the convoy.

4 August 1944:
Departs Takao.

10 August 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

24 September 1944:
At 0800, MAESHIMA departs Mutsure in convoy TAMA 29A consisting of warships only - auxiliary minelayer SHINKO MARU and fast transports T. 135 and T. 136. At 1740, arrives at Tomie.

27 September 1944:
At 0700, departs Tomie.

30 September 1944:
At 0700, arrives at Amoy.

2 October 1944:
At 0900, departs Amoy. At 1840, arrives at Mako.

6 October 1944:
At 0925, departs Mako. At 1625, arrives at Takao.

9 October 1944:
At 0900, departs Takao. At 1020, arrives Saei, Formosa departing at 1300. At 1645, arrives at Toko, southern Formosa.

10 October 1944:
At 0400, departs Toko. At 1815, arrives at Sabtang Island, Luzon Strait.

11 October 1944:
At 0830, departs Sabtang Island. At 1835, arrives at Musa Bay, Fuga Island.

16 October 1944:
At 0900 departs Musa Bay. At 1800, arrives at Lapoc Bay, Luzon.

18 October 1944:
Solamague Bay, near Lapoc Bay. At 1050, begins unloading. SHINKO MARU and T. 135 return to Lapoc Bay to discharge. At 1300, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Gerald F. Bogan's (USNA ’16) Task Group 38.2's carrier aircraft begin bombing attacks. SHINKO MARU and T. 135 are bombed and both sink.

At Salomague, T. 136 is bombed heavily. After the bombers depart, the ship is wracked by internal explosions and sinks. MAESHIMA, tied up alongside the pier, is attacked by aircraft and severely damaged. MAESHIMA is beached at 17-46N, 120-25E.


Author's Notes:
[1] According to some Japanese sources MAESHIMA was completed on 14 July.

[2] The Japanese claim a sinking, but the survivor noted that Brindupke fired two Mark-18 torpedoes at 3,000 yards. USS TULLIBEE probably was sunk by one of her own torpedoes that made a circular run.

Thanks goes to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France for general assistance.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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