(MATSUMOTO MARU in NYK colors prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2009-2018 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 6

28 October 1920:
Yokohama. Laid down at Yokohama Dock as a 7,025-ton cargo ship for Suzuki Shoten, K. K.

6 April 1921:
Launched and named MATSUMOTO MARU.

5 May 1921:
Completed. Ownership is transferred to Nippon Yusen K.K. (NYK Line), Tokyo.

23 March 1929:
Captain Kaneko Bunzaemon's MATSUMOTO MARU arrives at Hong Kong from Hamburg, Germany on NYK's Yokohoma-Hamburg route. That same day, she departs for Shanghai.

25 March 1929:
East China Sea. While enroute to Shanghai, MATSUMOTO MARU receives an S.O.S. message from Italian destroyer MUGGIA (ex-Austrian CSEPEL), on patrol between Xiamen and Shanghai. Near Amoy, in dense fog and darkness, MUGGIA had run aground on the Finger Rocks near Hea Chu Island. The destroyer floods and begins to sink. Abandon Ship is ordered. MUGGIA’s crewmembers escape by boat and land on some rocks. That night, MATSUMOTO MARU is unable to locate the Italians.

26 March 1929:
After the fog clears, MATSUMOTO MARU’s lookouts find MUGGIA’s crewmembers clinging to the rocks.

27 March 1929:
Arrives at Shanghai. MUGGIA’s 76 rescued crewmembers are disembarked at their home station.

7 April 1929:
Arrives at Yokohama. Later, the Italian government presents a silver medal to Captain Kaneko and some of his officers. [1]

19 August 1929:
Copenhagen, Denmark. MATSUMOTO MARU is in a collision with the Danish royal family yacht "DANNAEBROG", an 1879-vintage paddle steamer.

2 March 1935:
Departs Singapore for Hamburg via Suez, Port Said, Le Havre, London and Rotterdam.

20 August 1938:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army with assigned number No. 690.

20 January 1939:
Released to her owners.

15 May 1939:
Requisitioned by the IJN as an “Ippan Choyosen” (general requisitioned transport).

6 March 1940:
Requisitioned by the IJN as an “Ippan Choyosen”.

7 August 1940:
Released to her owners.

11 September 1940:
Released to her owners.

26 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as an “Ippan Choyosen” .

30 October 1941:
MATSUMOTO MARU’s owners are advised by internal instruction No. 1294 that the ship is going to undergo conversion to an auxiliary transport.

31 October 1941:
Kure Navy Yard. Begins conversion.

10 November 1941:
Registered as an auxiliary transport in the Kure Naval District under internal order No. 1391 with Kure as home port.

27 November 1941:
The conversion is completed. Assigned directly to the Combined Fleet. Chartered to transport the No. 1 Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) for planned amphibious operation at Legaspi, Philippines.

28 November 1941:
Departs Kure.

1 December 1941:
Departs Kure.

6 December 1941:
Arrives at Palau.

12 December 1941:
Luzon, Philippines. MATSUMOTO MARU lands troops of the No. 1 Kure SNLF at Legaspi. Troop transports HARUNA, MYOKO, SHINRYU, SHINANOGAWA, YASUKAWA and YAMAFUKU MARUs also land troops at Legaspi.

18 December 1941:
Departs Legaspi.

22 December 1941:
Lands troops at Davao.

7 February 1942:
Transport MATSUMOTO MARU departs Davao in a convoy consisting of oiler HAYATOMO and other unidentified ships escorted by auxiliary gunboats MANYO MARU and TAIKO MARUs.

9 February 1942:
MATSUMOTO and HAYATOMO escorted by auxiliary gunboats MANYO MARU and TAIKO MARUs are detached and later anchor at Pata on the south coast of Jolo.

10 February 1942:
MATSUMOTO MARU remains at Jolo. The remainder of the convoy departs for Tarakan, Borneo.

29 May 1942:
At 1030 departs Futtsu, Tokyo Bay in convoy also consisting of tanker KYOEI MARU No.3, cargo ships TATSUHA, HAKKO, SHICHISEI and GYOKO MARUs escorted by the destroyer HATAKAZE. The MATSUMOTO MARU is bound for Miike.

2 December 1942:
Rabaul. Suffers a near-miss bomb dropped by a USAAF B-17 “Flying Fortress”.

19 December 1942:
Departs Truk.

27 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

3 January 1943:
Departs Yokohama in convoy No. 1103 also consisting of SHINFUKU, HOKUTO MARUs and BANSHU MARU No.3 escorted by minesweeper W-18.

6 January 1943:
Arrives at Muroran, Hokkaido.

9 January 1943:
Departs Muroran in convoy No. 2109 also consisting of TAIKAI, NIKKIN, KAIKO, FUKI, SHOBU, ESUTORU, CHOSEN and TONAN MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat KEISHIN MARU.

12 January 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama.

16 January 1943:
Departs Yokohama.

20 January 1943:
Arrives at Otaru.

22 January 1943:
Departs Otaru.

28 January 1943:
Arrives at Osaka.

2 February 1943:
Departs Osaka.

3 February 1943:
Arrives at Kure. Begins conversion to an auxiliary fleet oiler.

1 March 1943:
Registered in the Kure Naval District as an auxiliary transport (oil supply).

3 March 1943:
Reclassified as Tokusetsu Unsosen (Kyuyusen) (auxiliary oiler) from Tokusetsu Unsosen (Zatsuyosen) (auxiliary transport).

10 March 1943:
The conversion is completed. Departs Kure.

12 March 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

19 March 1943:
Departs Sasebo. Arrives at Moji.

22 March 1943:
Departs Moji.

26 March 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

28 March 1943:
Departs Takao.

31 March 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

9 April 1943:
Departs Manila.

14 April 1943:
Arrives at Miri.

17 April 1943:
Departs Miri.

20 April 1943:
Arrives at St. Jacques, Indochina.

21 April 1943:
Departs St. Jacques.

27 April 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

30 April 1943:
Departs Takao likely in convoy No.257 also consisting of USSURI, TAMON, SHOYO, NITTETSU MARUs and seven unidentified merchant ships escorted by the destroyer ASAKAZE.

1 May 1943:
USSURI MARU is slightly damaged at 27-23N, 141-43E by a torpedo from LtCdr Otis J. Earle’s (USNA ’30) USS STINGRAY (SS-186). Soon after TAMON MARU suffers engine trouble and straggles from the convoy.

2 May 1943:
Straggler TAMON MARU is sunk by USS STINGRAY at 27-18N, 121-38E, taking down 81 crewmen.

9 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama.

May 1943:
Undergoes hull system maintenance and repairs to a damaged emergency oil tank.

27 May 1943:
Departs Yokohama.

29 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

1 June 1943:
Departs Kure.

3 June 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

10 June 1943:
Departs Miike with SEINAN MARU and joins convoy No.165 also consisting of SEINAN, YAWATA, GYOKO and NICHIAI MARUs and six unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE.

15 June 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

19 June 1943:
Departs Takao in convoy No.756 also consisting of YAWATA MARU without escort.

22 June 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

25 June 1943:
Departs Manila in a convoy also consisting of YAWATA MARU escorted by auxiliary netlayer KOREI MARU.

E 26 June 1943:
Patrol Boat PB-103 joins the convoy but detaches later that day and returns to Cebu.

E 28 June 1943:
At 07-30N 116-10E near Balabac Island KOREI MARU is detached and joins a convoy from Tarakan bound for Manila consisting of Naval oilers SATA and SHIRIYA. Meanwhile YAWATA MARU detaches for Balikpapan.

29 June 1943:
Arrives at Miri.

3 July 1943:
Departs Miri.

6 July 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

7 July 1943:
MATSUMOTO MARU departs Singapore in unescorted convoy No. 603 also consisting of tanker SHOYO MARU and an unidentified merchant ship.

9 July 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques.

13 July 1943:
MATSUMOTO MARU departs St Jacques in unescorted convoy No. 410 also consisting of tanker SHOYO MARU and two unidentified merchant ships.

19 July 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

20 July 1943:
At 0800, MATSUMOTO MARU departs Takao in convoy No. 284 also consisting of SHOUN, BIYO, NANEI, HIROTA, ARGUN and KISHU MARUs and three unidentified merchant ships.

25 July 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

26 July 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

27 July 1943:
Departs Kobe.

27 July 1943:
Arrives at Shimotsu.

2 August 1943:
Departs Shimotsu. Arrives at Osaka.

5 August 1943:
Departs Osaka.

7 August 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

10 August 1943:
At 1400, MATSUMOTO MARU departs Moji in convoy No. 185 also consisting of tankers CHIYODA, TACHIBANA, TONAN, SAN RAMON, YAMAMIZU and NICHIRIN MARUs, passenger-cargo ships KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), TEIBI (ex-French BERNARDIN DE SAINT-PIERRE) and GINYO MARUs, cargo ship ASUKA MARUs and one unidentified ship escorted by kaibokan SADO.

11 August 1943:
Off Nagasaki convoy No. 184 consisting of tankers FUSHIMI MARU No. 3, SHUNTEN MARU and one unidentified merchant ship without escort merges with the convoy.

15 August 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

15 August 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

17 August 1943:
Departs Takao. That same day, arrives at Mako.

18 August 1943:
At 1300 departs Mako in convoy No. 766 also consisting of CHIYODA, SHUNTEN, TAIRYU, TENCHO MARUs, FUSHIMI MARU No. 3 and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE.

23 August 1943:
At 1350 arrives at Manila.

26 August 1943:
At 1230 departs Manila in convoy No. 917 also consisting of TAIRYU, SHUNTEN, KYOEI and CHIYODA MARUs, FUSHIMI MARU No. 3, OGURA MARU No. 3 and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE. The convoy is bound for Balikpapan and at an unidentified point MATSUMOTO and CHIYODA MARUs and FUSHIMI MARU No. 3 are detached.

30 August 1943:
Arrives at Miri.

31 August 1943:
Removed from the Navy List under Internal order No. 1776.

1 September 1943:
Registered in the Kure Naval District. From this date, under control of the wartime Civilian Shipping Administration (Senpaku Uneikai) and chartered to IJN as a kaigun-haitosen, (B/C) with a civilian crew, controlled by Kure Naval District. [2]

6 September 1943:
Reported at Batavia awaiting escort.

7 December 1943:
At 1100 arrives St Jacques from Mako in convoy also consisting of BIZAN, SUNGSHAN (SUZAN), LONDON MARUs and one unidentified ship.

28 February 1944:
Departs Takao.

29 February 1944:
MATSUMOTO MARU departs Keelung in convoy TAMO-07 also consisting of tankers SHOUN MARU and TOYO MARU No. 3 and ASANAGI MARU and 19 unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyers ASAGAO, HARUKAZE and NAMIKAZE, minesweeper W-18 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-74.

E 3 March 1944:
ASAGAO is detached.

7 March 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

8 March 1944:
Arrives at Osaka.

12 March 1944:
Departs Osaka.

21 March 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

23 March 1944:
MATSUMOTO MARU departs Moji for Takao in convoy MOTA-13 also consisting of tankers YOKO and CHIHAYA MARUs and HIGANE, BIZEN, SHOKA, SHINEI, PACIFIC, another ship also named CHIHAYA, HENG SHAN (KOZAN), YOKO and YULIN MARUs and TOYO MARU No. 2 and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan KURAHASHI and subchaser CH-26.

30 March 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

15 April 1944:
Departs Takao in convoy TAMA-16 also consisting of tankers OGURA MARU No. 1, TAKETSU (BUTSU), SANKO (YAMAKO), HAKUBASAN MARUs and cargo ships OMINE and BIZEN MARUs and nine unidentified merchant ships escorted by light cruiser KISO, destroyers HASU and TSUGA, torpedo boats SAGI and HAYABUSA, subchaser CH-9, auxiliary subchasers CHa-9 and TAKUNAN MARU No. 3.

19 April 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

22 April 1944:
At 0615, MATSUMOTO MARU departs Manila with fleet tanker ASHIZURI in convoy MI-02 (outward) consisting of tankers TACHIBANA, NITTETSU, HAKUBASAN, SANKO (YAMAKO), TAKETSU (BUTSU) MARUs and YAMAMIZU MARU No.2 and OGURA MARU No. 1 escorted by patrol boat PB-38.

23 April 1944:
At 2000, arrives at Pagdanan Bay, Palawan.

25 April 1944:
At 1925, arrives at Marudu Bay, North Borneo.

26 April 1944:
At 0800, departs Marudu Bay and at 1755, arrives at Jesselton.

27 April 1944:
At 0915, departs Jesselton.

28 April 1944:
At 0045, arrives Brunei Bay, Borneo. Later that day at 1325, arrives at Miri.

4 May 1944:
At 1030, MATSUMOTO MARU departs Miri for Moji in convoy MI-02 (return ) also consisting of tankers TACHIBANA, NITTETSU, HAKUBASAN, SANKO (YAMAKO), TAKETSU (BUTSU), TENSHIN, NISSHIN, SHINCHO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 and cargo ships KENSEI, TAIHEI, AKAGISAN and TAIYU MARUs and passenger ship KURENAI MARU escorted by kaibokan AWAJI, torpedo boat SAGI and patrol boat PB-38. At 2100, anchors in Imuruan Bay, NW Borneo.

5 May 1944:
At 0530, departs Imuruan Bay.

6 May 1944:
At 0801, LtCdr Francis D. Walker's (USNA '35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) torpedoes and sinks NISSHIN MARU at 07-19N, 116-52E. At 16,801-tons, she is the largest ship in the convoy. 15 crewmen are KIA, but the fate of her 291 passengers is unknown.

7 May 1944:
At 2000, anchors Ulugan Bay, Palawan.

8 May 1944:
At 1130, departs Ulugan Bay.

10 May 1944:
At 1330, arrives at Manila. KENSEI, TAIHEI, TENSHIN, AKAGISAN and TAIYU MARUs and passenger ship KURENAI MARU are detached.

13 May 1944:
At 0552, departs Manila, The convoy is reinforced by auxiliary gunboats PEKING and CHOJUSAN MARUs. Cargo ship SEISHO MARU joins.

16 May 1944:
At 1705, the convoy arrives at Takao. MATSUMOTO, SEIYO and HAKUBASAN MARUs and auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU are detached.

21 May 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

22 May 1944:
MATSUMOTO MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMA-19 also consisting of 21 unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU, CD-2 and CD-17 and auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

26 May 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

29 May 1944:
Departs Manila.

17 June 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

20 June 1944:
At 1900, MATSUMOTO MARU departs Singapore for Miri in convoy SHIMI-04 also consisting of NICHINAN (5175 gt), NANSEI, ZUIHO and KOTOKU MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2 and another ship also named NICHINAN MARU (2732 gt) escorted by minesweeper W-18 and auxiliary minesweepers KIKU MARU and CHOUN MARU No. 6.

24 June 1944:
At 1145, arrives at Miri, Borneo.

27 June 1944:
At 1650, MATSUMOTO MARU departs Miri for Moji in convoy MI-06 also consisting of MATSUMOTO, YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2, UNKAI MARU No. 5, TACHIBANA, TOKUWA, KOTOKU, NICHINAN (5175 gt), NANSEI, ATAGO, ZUIHO and BAIEI MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan CD-14, patrol boat PB-38 and minesweeper W-18. At an unknown point, tanker CERAM MARU joined the convoy.

E 1 July 1944:
W-18 is detached from the convoy.

2 July 1944:
At 0845, arrives at Manila.

7 July 1944:
Departs Manila.

12 July 1944:
Arrives at Miri.

19 July 1944:
MATSUMOTO MARU departs Miri in convoy MI-10 also consisting of tankers HAKUBASAN, SHUNTEN, TAKETSU (BUTSU), KOTOKU, NICHINAN (1945 gt) CHIYODA, KOSHIN and SHIMOTSU MARUs and DAIZEN, HIDA, HINAGA, KENZUI, TEIFU (ex French BOUGAINVILLE) and FUYUKAWA MARUs, WAKO GO and 11 unidentified ships escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE, kaibokan YASHIRO, CD-3, minelayer MAEJIMA, auxiliary gunboats PEKING and KAZAN (HUASHAN) MARUs.

E 24 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.

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

28 July 1944:
At 1040, LtCdr Francis D. Walker's (USNA '35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) torpedoes and sinks HAKUBASAN MARU at 16-28N 119-38E. She was carrying 7,351 tons of oil and 710 tons of rubber. Three crewmen are KIA.

2 August 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

19 August 1944:
Departs Takao with SEIGA and HAKOZAKI MARUs having joined convoy.

28 August 1944:
Arrives at Kobe. Departs that same day.

29 August 1944:
Arrives at Shimotsu.

6 September 1944:
Departs Shimotsu.

3 October 1944:
Arrives at Osaka.

4 October 1944:
Departs Osaka.

8 October 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

15 October 1944:
Departs Moji.

16 October 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

18 October 1944:
At 0700, MATSUMOTO MARU departs Imari Bay (near Moji) for Miri via Cape St. Jacques, Indochina in convoy MI-23 also consisting of EBARA, MUNEKATA, HIKACHI (NISSHO), KOSHIN, EININ, RITSUEI, YAMASONO, ENRYAKU (ENREKI), SHOEI (2854 gt), HIROTA, UNSEN, YOKAI, and SHIROTAE MARUs and YUZAN MARU No. 2 and survey ship HAKUSA escorted by kaibokan CD-14, CD-20, CD-34, CD-38, CD-39, CD-46 and patrol boat P-102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224).

19 October 1944:
Off Sasebo. At 1600, CD-34 detects an unknown submarine. CD-38 attacks and drops about 30 depth charges. A friendly aircraft collaborates with the kaibokan. The kill is confirmed by a heavy-oil slick and many interior ship fittings found floating on the sea.

20 October 1944:
Anchors in Raro Bay, Chosen (Korea).

22 October 1944:
At the Shushan anchorage, E of Shanghai.

24 October 1944:
75 miles ENE of Foochow, China. At 1000, HIROTA, UNSEN and YOKAI MARUs are detached for Takao escorted by PB-103 and PB-38.

25 October 1944:
Formosa Strait. At 0208, Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Richard H. O'Kane's (USNA '34) USS TANG (SS-306), running on the surface, torpedoes and sinks EBARA MARU at 25-04N, 119-35E. 11 crewmen are KIA.

One of the torpedoes fired at EBARA MARU strikes onrushing MATSUMOTO MARU and she comes to a halt. Machine guns on her bridge open fire and drive the submarine under where the water depth is a mere 131 feet.

The Convoy commodore aboard HAKUSA orders the convoy dissolved. CD-34 is tasked with the rescue of survivors and conducting anti-submarine operations in the area. One cutter and a 6-meter motor boat are lowered to pick up the survivors of MATSUMOTO and EBARA MARUs. USS TANG commences another attack, but one of her remaining Mark-18 torpedoes commences a circular run. The lookouts on CD-34 first spot the torpedo and then witness an explosion, which sinks the submarine.

The convoy speeds onward. Nine American submariners are found drifting on the surface including Captain O'Kane. CD-34 rescues the survivors and later claims to have sunk USS TANG, but, in fact, the submarine was sunk by one USS TANG’s defective Mark-18 torpedoes. CD-34 also rescues several survivors of EBARA MARU. At 2000, the ships arrive at Chuanchow Bay where MATSUMOTO MARU is successfully grounded. However, she lists heavily.

26 October 1944:
MATSUMOTO MARU capsizes and becomes a total loss. No casualties are sustained.

Author's Notes:
Little data were found detailing MATSUMOTO MARU's movements during most of 1942. Readers with access to such data are requested to post the information on on the Discussion & Questions board or the IJN Ship Message Board.

[1] In the 1930's, Captain Kaneko becomes master of NYK's new 11,616-ton passenger-cargo liner (later converted to a submarine tender) HEIAN MARU.

[2] See the YUSOSEN! home page for an explanation of Sempaku-Uneikai, Kaigun-Haitosen, etc.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan and Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

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