(MATSUKAWA MARU, prewar)
IJN/IJA MATSUKAWA MARU :
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2014-2017 Bob Hackett
31 January 1938:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Zosensho, K. K. as Yard No. 631,
a 3,825-ton cargo ship for Kawasaki Kisen (“K” Line), K. K.
30 May 1938:
Launched and named MATSUKAWA MARU. 
11 November 1938:
Completed. Placed in “K” Line’s service.
20 February 1939:
MATSUKAWA MARU is requisitioned by the Imperial
Navy (IJN) as an Ippan Choyosen (B-AK)
20 September 1939:
Returned by the IJN back to her owners.
28 November 1941:
MATSUKAWA MARU is requisitioned by the IJA and
assigned as troopship No. 976.
7 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Attack on the Southern Philippines:
At 1630, MATSUKAWA MARU departs Mako, Pescadores
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, and YUZAN MARUs.
The transports carry Col Tanaka’s 1st Raiding Force Detachment consisting
of two companies of the 1st Battalion and the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Formosan
Infantry Regiment, 48th Division. Other units transported are the 11th IJAAF
regiment, elements of the 28th and 40th Ground Support Airbases (Battalion
size), one company of the 9th Ground Support Depot Airbase, the 40th AA
Detachment, the 123th, 297th and 298th truck companies, the 56th Labor
Construction Company, two Aviation Signal Air Defense detachments and one
Weather Aviation Meteorological company.
Hara’s force is escorted by DesRon 5’s light cruiser NATORI (F), DesDiv
5's ASAKAZE, HARUKAZE, MATSUKAZE and HATAKAZE and DesDiv 22 ’s 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.
The landing force is attacked by three Army Air Force B-17 bombers of the
14th Squadron including one piloted by Captain Colin Kelly. They drop 600-lb and
100-lb bombs. NATORI evades the first bomb attacks, but receives a near-miss off
her port side when she attempts to approach minesweeper W-19 of No. 2 Base
Force. W-19 is hit, grounded and then given up as a total loss. DesDiv 5's
HARUKAZE is also damaged slightly by near misses.
13 December 1941:
16 December 1941:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa.
22 April 1943:
MATSUKAWA MARU departs Surabaya (Tandjung Perak,
Harbor) for Ambon in a convoy consisting of AMAGI, KUNITAMA and NISHI and
probably MAEBASHI MARUs, both bound for for Liang, Ambon escorted by two unidentified
warships. Together MATSUKAWA and AMAGI MARU transport 2061 POW’s (1716 British
Royal Air Force and 345 Dutch). KUNITAMA MARU carries 1,071 mostly Dutch POWs.
The transports also carry bombs, ammunition and drummed AvGas and foodstuffs.
29 April 1943:
Arrives at Ambon, Ceram, Moluccas. The POWs are forced
to unload the cargo.
30 April 1943:
The convoy arrives at Amahai, S. Ceram. KUNITAMA MARU
debarks her POWs. 8 POWs died en route. The other POWs are again forced to
unload cargo for the next three days. The POWs are to be slave labor in the
construction and expansion of airfields.
5 May 1943:
The convoy departs Amahai and later that day arrives at
Haruku (Haroekoe) island. The POWs are to be slave labor in the construction and
expansion of airfields.
25 March 1944:
MATSUKAWA MARU departs Singapore for Port
Blair, Andaman Islands in a convoy also consisting of cargo ship KONAN MARU No.
1 escorted by minelayer Ma-4, subchaser CH-7 and auxiliary submarine chaser
26-27 March 1944:
The convoy arrives at Pangkor, then Penang, Malaya.
CH-7 is detached to return to Singapore. At some point minesweeper W-7 the joins
2 April 1944:
Arrives at Penang.
3 April 1944:
8 April 1944:
Arrives at Penang.
9 April 1944:
14 April 1944:
Indian Ocean. Arrives at Port Blair, Andaman Islands.
23 June 1944
Kega Point, Vichy French Indochina. MATSUKAWA MARU
strikes a mine at 13-34N, 109-18E and suffers damage.
25 June 1944:
At 1240, MATSUKAWA MARU departs Saigon, Vichy French
Indochina in convoy SAMA-08 also consisting of MAYA and YAMABUKI MARUs escorted
by subchasers CH-19 and CH-43. MATSUKAWA MARU is loaded with brown rice.
26 June 1944:
Off Nha Trang Bay, Vichy French, Indochina, TSURUSHIMA
MARU joins the convoy.
30 June 1944:
Off Manila Bay. At 0312, LtCdr (later Captain) Arthur E.
Krapf's (USNA ’34) USS JACK (SS-259) torpedoes and sinks TSURUSHIMA MARU at
14-15N, 119-40E. 44 crewmen, 18 gunners and 15 of her 330 passengers are KIA.
The convoy scatters, but at 0422, JACK torpedoes and sinks MATSUKAWA MARU
at 14-25N, 119-45E. Two crewmen, five gunners, 15 soldiers and nine passengers
 Also known as MATSUGAWA MARU and to POWs as CHO SAKI MARU.
Thanks go to Erich Muethlthaler of Germany. Thanks also go to reader Ralph and to Peter Cundall of Australia for info in Rev 1.