(Type C Escort by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Escort Matsuwa:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2006-2019 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 11

20 February 1942:
Tamano. Laid down at Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding’s yard as kaibokan No. 311.

19 April 1942:
Launched and named MATSUWA.

23 March 1943:
Completed and registered in the Sasebo Naval District. Assigned to the First Marine Escort Division. Cdr (Captain, posthumously) Odawara Kenichi (48) is Commanding Officer.

6 April 1943:
At 0800 departs Sasebo.

8 April 1943:
At 2200 arrives at Takao.

16 April 1943:
At 0900 departs Takao and at 1700 arrives at Mako.

19 April 1943:
At 0600 departs Mako and at 1800 arrives at Takao.

22 April 1943:
At 1020 departs Takao in convoy No.746 consisting of KAZAN MARU and one unidentified merchant ship with MATSUWA as sole escort.

25 April 1943:
At 1300 arrives at Manila.

1 May 1943:
At 1130 departs Manila in convoy No.845 consisting of CHOKO, NISHIYAMA (SEIZAN), ASAKA and AWAJI MARUs escorted by MATSUWA. At some point MATSUWA is detached.

6 May 1943:
At 1700 arrives at Palau.

9 May 1943:
At 1100, MATSUWA departs Palau for Manila escorting convoy No. 3207 consisting of MEIKAI, HORAI, INDUS, KIYO, HEIAN and KIZAN MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 17. During the voyage, HORAI and KIYO MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 17 are detached.

15 May 1943:
At 1116, LtCdr (later Captain) Phillip D. Quirk's (USNA ’32) USS GAR (SS-206) torpedoes and sinks MEIKAI MARU at 13-10N, 121-50E. 12 crewmen are KIA. At about 1221, that same day, LtCdr Quirk torpedoes and sinks INDUS MARU with unknown casualties. MATSUWA makes several counter-attacks dropping depth charges during and after the action, but without effect. In poor weather, MATSUWA rescues 1,648 survivors of the two marus. USS GAR evades and escapes.[1]

16 May 1943:
At 1100, the convoy arrives at Manila.

21 May 1943:
At 1800 departs Manila in convoy No. 915 consisting of KINUGASA MARU with MATSUWA as the sole escort.

25 May 1943:
At 1100 arrives at Balikpapan.

29 May 1943:
At 1825 departs Balikpapan escorting KYOKUTO MARU bound for Truk.

3 June 1943:
At 1600 MATSUWA arrives at Manila.

8 June 1943:
At 1500 departs Manila in convoy No.3501 also consisting of AKASHI, HAMBURG, HIMALAYA, SHOSEI, RONSAN and SHINNO MARUs with MATSUWA as sole escort.

11 June 1943:
At 1600 in 10-48N 111-36E RONSAN MARU is detached for Miri.

15 June 1943:
At 1100 arives at St Jacques.

16 June 1943:
At 1700 departs St Jacques.

18 June 1943:
At 1200 arrives at St Jacques.

21 June 1943:
At 1600 departs St Jacques in convoy No.404 consisting of KONSAN, KYOKUYO, HAVRE (5652 GRT), SHINKYO, TAINAN (5407 GRT), RONSAN MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships with MATSUWA as sole escort.

27 June 1943:
At 1000 arrives at Takao.

30 June 1943:
At 0900 departs Takao in convoy No.277 consisting of HIDAKA, TENSHIN MARUs, a ship called MINSHO MARU (MINSEI MARU?), and six unidentified merchant ships with MATSUWA as the sole escort.

4 July 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

5 July 1943:
At 1000 MATSUWA arrives at Sasebo. Docked for repairs and maintenance.

28 July 1943:
Departs Sasebo to search for survivors of minelayer HIRASHIMA sunk by LtCdr Eugene T. Sand's (USNA ’30) USS SAWFISH (SS-276) the previous day at 33-34N, 127-42E.

31 July 1943:
At 1330 departs Moji in convoy No.182 consisting of tanker NITTETSU MARU, cargo ships FUKUJU, LONDON and RYUYO MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships with MATSUWA as the sole escort.

5 August 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

13 August 1943:
Mako, Pescadores. At 1000, convoy HI-05 arrives from Moji consisting of TATEKAWA, OTOWASAN, HAKUYO MARUs and two unidentified ships. ASAKAZE is detached and replaced by MATSUWA. HAKUYO MARU is also detached.

19 August 1943:
At 1700, HI-05 arrives at Singapore.

24 August 1943:
At 1400, MATSUWA departs Singapore escorting convoy HI-06 consisting of KAGU MARU, oilers TATEKAWA and OTOWASAN MARUs and fleet oiler ASHIZURI, together with one unidentified merchant ship.

3 September 1943:
At 0930, arrives at Moji. Transfers to Sasebo and undergoes repairs.

8 September 1943:
At 1045 departs Sasebo and at 1600 arrives at Moji.

10 September 1943:
At 1600, MATSUWA departs Moji escorting convoy HI-09 consisting of tankers NICHINAN (5175 gt) and TATEKAWA MARUs, cargo-passenger ship MIIKE MARU, Army landing craft transport AKITSU MARU and two unidentified ships probably tankers MIRI and OTOWASAN MARUs.

21 September 1943:
At 1830, the convoy arrives at Cap St Jacques (near Saigon), Indochina.

28 September 1943:
At 1900, MATSUWA departs Cap St. Jacques for Moji escorting convoy HI-10 consisting of ASAMA, MIRI, TATEKAWA MARUs and probably OTOWASAN MARU.

5 October 1943:
At 0700 kaibokan TSUSHIMA departs Takao as additional escort for HI-10

6 October 1943:
At 0900, convoy HI-10 merges with convoy MA-06 consisting of FUJI and ORYOKU MARUs.

9 October 1943:
At 0730, the convoys arrive safely at Moji.

10 October 1943:
At 0930 departs Mutsure and at 1550 arrives at Sasebo. Docked for repairs.

19 October 1943:
At 0600 departs Sasebo and at 1700 arrives at Moji.

22 October 1943:
At 1100, MATSUWA departs Moji for Takao escorting convoy No. 108 (first part) consisting of tanker KOSHIN MARU and cargo ships HAKUSAN, RYUSEI, KENAN, FUKUJU, NARITA and ODATSUKI MARUs.

26 October 1943:
At 0940 the convoy arrives safely at Takao.

28 October 1943:
At 1607, departs Moji with kaibokan ETOROFU escorting convoy HI-17 consisting of passenger ships ASAMA MARU, Army landing craft depot ship AKITSU MARU, transport SAKITO MARU, and tankers OMUROSAN, TATEKAWA and ITSUKUSHIMA MARUs.

1 November 1943:
At 1115, arrives at Takao. Passenger ship KACHIDOKI MARUs (ex-American PRESIDENT HARRISON), tankers TAKASAKI and OTOWASAN, OTORISAN and TARAKAN MARUs join the convoy.

2 November 1943:
At 1200 the convoy departs Takao.

4 November 1943:
At 0400, destroyer FUYO departs Manila to meet convoy HI-17 incoming from Takao. At 1900, the convoy arrives at Manila. AKITSU MARU and FUYO are detached.

5 November 1943:
At 1900 departs Manila escorting convoy HI-17.

6 November 1943:
ETOROFU is detached from the convoy.

11 November 1943:
At 1000, arrives at Singapore.

12 November 1943:
LtCdr (reserve) Fujimoto Eisa is appointed the CO.

20 November 1943:
At 0700 MATSUWA departs Takao and rendezvous with AKITSU MARU at 21-22N, 120-00E and escorts her to Takao, arriving at 1500.

21 November 1943:
At 0650 departs Takao but returns at 1740.

23 November 1943:
At 1530, departs Takao for Cape St. Jacques escorting convoy No. 340 consisting of SYDNEY, TONAN, SHOHEI, SHINNO, YASUKUNI, SEKINO MARUs, KAIJUN GO (ex Chinese HAI SHUN), tanker ZUIYO MARU, small Vichy French cargo ship BERYL and four unidentified ships. In the next four days, five ships are detached for various reasons.

26 November 1943:
YASUKUNI MARU detaches for Yulin.

28 November 1943:
Off Indochina. At 0412, Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Walter T. Griffith's (USNA ’34) USS BOWFIN (SS-287) torpedoes and sinks TONAN MARU. 84 crewmen are killed. About the same time, SYDNEY MARU is hit by three torpedoes and goes down within five minutes. Five Gunners and 38 crewmen, a total of 43 are KIA. USS BOWFIN attacks another merchant but is hit aft and damaged by a shell from the merchant's 5-inch gun, but Griffith is able to escape further damage. Later, the convoy is joined by subchaser CH-9, and puts into Camranh Bay at 1245.

30 November 1943:
At 0945, the convoy departs Camranh Bay.

1 December 1943:
At 1300, arrives at Saigon.

7 December 1943:
At noon, MATSUWA departs Cap St. Jacques for Takao escorting convoy No. 447 consisting of GINYO, CHIHAYA, HOKUAN and TEIKO (ex French D'ARTAGNAN) MARUs.

13 December 1943:
At 1600, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from the CO of MATSUWA that reads: "CHOEI MARU [unknown tonnage] was in convoy which departed Takao for Balikpapan at 1600, 6 December. At ------, 8 December due to water leaking in and her engine room breaking down she was drifting. At 1644 [6 Dec] we sighted her in position 17-05 N, 116-04 E, rescued her whole complement of 7 men, shot holes in her bottom and sank her.”

16 December 1943:
50 km SW of Takao. At 0447, LtCdr (later Captain) Robert D. Risser's (USNA ’34) USS FLYING FISH (SS-229) torpedoes and sinks GINYO MARU. 118 passengers, three guards and 66 crewmen; a total of 187 are killed. The convoy steams on for Takao and arrives there later that day. MATSUWA remains behind searching for the submarine. Later, she is joined by kaikoban TSUSHIMA from Takao, but their combined search is unsuccessful and USS FLYING FISH slips away.

20 December 1943:
At 1825 MATSUWA and TSUSHIMA arrive at Takao.

26 December 1943:
At 1230 MATSUWA joins convoy HI-27 and departs Takao for Singapore escorting KUNIKAWA, TSUKUSHI, KYUEI and OTORISAN MARUs.

27 December 1943:
At about 1100, in the second of two submerged attacks, LtCdr Risser's USS FLYING FISH successfully torpedoes and sinks tanker KYUEI MARU at 21-25N, 118-05E. 54 crewmen are KIA. MATSUWA rescues survivors and the ships continue their voyage.

January 1944:
LtCdr Tsuchitori Akira is appointed Commanding Officer.

2 January 1944:
At 1500 arrives at Singapore.

8 January 1944:
At 0800, departs Singapore escorting convoy HI-28 consisting of tanker OTORISAN MARU and cargo liner NOSHIRO and LONDON MARUs.

16 January 1944:
At 0230 MATSUWA detaches from the convoy to undertake a submarine hunt that concludes at 2240. With the convoy far ahead MATSUWA heads to Takao.

17 January 1944
At 2240, the convoy, now unescorted, arrives at Moji.

18 January 1944:
At 0900 arrives at Takao.

20 January 1944:
At 1700 departs Takao in convoy No.236 consisting of TEIKAI (ex German FULDA) and ROKKOSAN MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships with MATSUWA as the solitary escort.

26 January 1944:
At 0900 MATSUWA, having detached, arrives at Sasebo. Later that day the convoy arrives at Moji.

1 February 1944:
At 0700, MATSUWA departs Moji escorting convoy HI-41 consisting of transports AWA, ASAMA, TEIA (ex- French Liner ARAMIS) and NANKAI MARUs and oiler NAMPO MARU plus another unidentified ship probably MIRI MARU.

2 February 1944:
At 0730, minesweeper W-27 joins the escort.

3 February 1944:
At 0200, minesweeper W-27 is detached.

11 February 1944:
At 1430 arrives at Singapore.

16 February 1944:
At 1600, MATSUWA departs Singapore escorting convoy HI-42 consisting of tanker SEISHIN MARUs, cargo-passenger MIIKE MARU and cargo liner NOTO MARU.

25 February 1944:
At 1045, the convoy arrives at Keelung, Formosa. It is joined by transport ASAMA MARU and cargo pasenger ship ORYOKU MARU and kaibokan SHIMUSHU.

26 February 1944:
At 0900, departs Keelung.

28 February 1944:
At 0600, arrives at Moji.

29 February 1944:
At 0830 MATSUWA arrives alone at Sasebo. Docked for repairs.

12 March 1944:
At 0600 departs Sasebo and at 1700 arrives at Moji.

19 March 1944:
At 0530 departs Moji with destroyer HARUKAZE escorting convoy HI-55 consisting of ASANAGI, OTORISAN, KACHIDOKI, RYOEI, TARAKAN and TENSHIN MARUs. Six other vessels including KAGU, ORYOKU and SHIMPO MARUs joined the convoy to sail as far as Formosa.

24 March 1944:
At 1200 arrives at Takao. HARUKAZE and the six additional ships are detached and torpedo boat HATO joins the escort.

26 March 1944:
At 0900 the convoy departs Takao. Soon after tankers RYOEI MARU and TENSHIN MARU experience engine problems and return to Takao.

2 April 1944:
At 0440 USS HAKE attacks the convoy in 01-58N 106-15E and severely damages TARAKAN MARU, the forepart of which breaks off and sinks. HATO escorts the damaged tanker to Singapore, arriving the next day. At 1900 the rest of the convoy arrives at Singapore.

4 April 1944:
At 1500 MATSUWA, which has stayed behind to hunt USS HAKE arrives at Singapore.

8 April 1944:
At 1200 departs Singapore in convoy HI-56 also consisting of SARAWAK, ASANAGI, OTORISAN, TOKUSHIMA MARUs and one unidentified ship escorted by torpedo boat HATO and kaibokan MATSUWA.

11 April 1944:
At 1130 arrives at St Jacques and merges with convoy HI-54 consisting of NANKAI, ARIMASAN, KYOKUHO and MIRI MARUs escorted by kaibokan AWAJI and possibly Sub-chaser CH-7.

14 April 1944:
At 0800 departs St Jacques.

19 April 1944:
At 1300 arrives at Takao. The old destroyer KURETAKE joins the escort immediately before arrival. At 1800 the ships depart.

24 April 1944:
Arrives at Moji. At 1700 MATSUWA detaches and heads to Sasebo, arriving later that day. Undergoes repairs.

13 May 1944:
At 0400, MATSUWA departs Sasebo and meets up with kaibokan IKI (F), CD-9 and CD-15 escorting fast convoy HI-63 consisting of cargo liners/transports SANUKI, AWA, TEIA (ex French ARAMIS), USSURI and NISSHO MARUs, and IJA landing craft depot ships TAMATSU and KIBITSU MARUs, tankers KYOKUHO, SANYO, RYOEI and OTOWASAN MARUs. SANUKI MARU and other transports, except TAMATSU, KIBITSU and NISSHO MARUs carry troops bound for Burma.

18 May 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Manila. TAMATSU, KIBITSU and NISSHO MARUs are detached.

20 May 1944:
At 2000, the remaining eight ships in HI-63 depart Manila with the same escort.

24 May 1944:
LtCdr (later Cdr) James W. Davis' (USNA ’30) USS RATON (SS-270) attacks the convoy. In a series of attacks, Davis torpedoes and sinks kaibokan IKI and lightly damages MATSUWA at 01-17N 107-53E. IKI breaks into three sections and sinks in less than twenty minutes. A total of 160 sailors, including IKI’s skipper Cdr Nakao Kushuo are KIA; 18 are rescued by ETOROFU. Rear Admiral, the Baron, Ijuin Matsuji’s (43) (former CO of KONGO) 1st Escort Convoy Command’s is also KIA. He is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously.[2] The rest of HI-63 escapes unscathed. MATSUWA engages in a submarine hunt then proceeds to Singapore.

25 May 1944:
At 1130 MATSUWA arrives at Singapore. For the rest of the month the ship undergoes repairs.

27 May 1944:
At 2000, the convoy arrives at Singapore.

6 June 1944:
At 0730, MATSUWA and kaibokan CD-9 depart Singapore escorting convoy HI-64 consisting of OTOWASAN MARU and three unidentified merchant ships likely including TEIA MARU (ex French ARAMIS) and tanker NIYO MARU.

15 June 1944:
At 0600, arrives at Moji. Prior to this MATSUWA has detached and at 1030 arrives at Sasebo. Undergoes repairs.

16 July 1944:
At 0600 departs Sasebo.

17 July 1944:
At 0700 arrives at Saiki.

20 July 1944:
Departs Saiki and at 1900 arrives at Moji.

24 July 1944:
At 0800 departs Moji and later that day arrives at Imari Wan.

26 July 1944:
At 0600, MATSUWA departs Imari Bay with kaibokan CD-14, minesweeper W-18, auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU and patrol boat No. 38, auxiliary patrol boats EIFU, FUYO, KASUGA and NUNOBIKI MARUs escorting convoy MI-13 consisting of tankers SHINCHO, TEIKON (ex German WINNETOU), TOKUWA, KYOEI and ATAGO MARUs and cargo ships HIYORI, DURBAN, KIZAN, KINIYAMA, URAL, SHIROTAE, KOKUSEI, CHINA, HIGANE, MATSUURA, RISSHUN, KAZAN and ATLAS MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and OGURA MARU No. 2.

31 July 1944:
At 1745 the convoy arrives at Takao. SHIROTAE, CHINA and MATSUURAs are detached and tankers SHIMPO and ZUIYO MARUs and cargo ship SHINKO MARU join the convoy. TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and CHOHAKUSAN MARU are detached from the escort and replaced by kaibokans KUSAGAKI and YASHIRO and destroyer ASAKAZE. Naval Transport T. 3 also joins.

4 August 1944:
At 0830, the reconstituted convoy departs Takao.

7 August 1944:
At 2205, at 14-50N, 119-57E kaibokan KUSAGAKI is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskin's (USNA ’33) USS GUITARRO (SS-363). 97 of KUSAGAKI's crew are KIA, 30 others drift throughout the night. In the morning, the survivors, including CO LtCdr Ozaki, are rescued by ASAKAZE and taken to Manila.

8 August 1944:
At 0900, the convoy arrives at Manila. MATSUWA arrives after unsuccessfully hunting the submarine at 1600.

9 August 1944:
At 0200 departs Manila escorting MATA-26 with kaibokan CD-6, CD-9, CD-16, YASHIRO, MATSUWA and subchaser CH-58 consisting of TAKETSU (BUTSU), IKOMASAN, SHINEI, HINAGA, KACHOSAN, ASAKA, KENEI and ASAKA MARUs and fourteen other unidentified merchant ships.

10 August 1944:
At 1029 SHINEI MARU is torpedoed and sunk off Cape Bolinao in 16-15N 119-45E by USS GUITARRO. Soon after Minesweepers W-38 and W-39 arrived to bolster the escort.

12 August 1944:
YASHIRO assists KACHOSAN MARU from the convoy.

14 August 1944:
In the eye of a major typhoon, the war-built tanker TAKETSU (BUTSU) MARU breaks up, although as a result of weather or a drifting mine is unclear. IKOMASAN and ASAKA MARUs are both stranded on islands in the Bashi Islands Group, North of Luzon. Both are later refloated.

15 August 1944:
At 1300 MATSUWA arrives at Saei.

17 August 1944: Operation "SHO-1-GO" (Victory) - The Defense of the Philippines:
At 0600 MATSUWA departs Saei and later arrives at Mako from Takao with old destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan, SADO, ETOROFU and HIBURI, all sent by the 1st Surface Escort Division to strengthen the escort of convoy HI-71 comprised of new fleet tanker HAYASUI, food-supply ship IRAKO, tankers NIYO and TEIYO MARU and transports TEIA (ex French ARAMIS), AWA, NOTO MARU, HOKKAI, NOSHIRO MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ships TAMATSU and MAYASAN MARUs escorted by destroyers FUJINAMI and YUNAGI, five kaibokan HIRATO, KURAHASHI, MIKURA, SHONAN and CD-11 and escort carrier TAIYO. Her 631st Naval Air Group provides air cover with 12 BN5 “Kates”. Part of the “SHO-I-GO” Operation, convoy HI-71 is transporting troops and supplies for the defense of the Philippines.

At 0800, in typhoon weather, convoy HI-71 sorties from Mako for Manila. Two hours after leaving NIYO MARU suffers engine problems and returns to Mako.

18 August 1944:
At 0524, LtCdr (later Captain) Louis D. McGregor's (USNA’30) USS REDFISH (SS-395) torpedoes and damages EIYO MARU. ASAKAZE and YUNAGI are detached to escort her back to Takao.

Off Cape Bolinao, Luzon. At 2210, LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's (USNA ’32) USS RASHER (SS-269) torpedoes and sinks oiler TEIYO MARU in a surface radar attack. 41 crewmen and 58 passengers are KIA. At 2222, Munson torpedoes and sinks carrier TAIYO at the rear of the convoy. Because of the fire and speed of sinking, most of her crew are lost and about 790 passengers perish; but by some miracle, Captain Sugino Shuichi (46) is among the just over 400 surviving crew and passengers. At 2310, RASHER, still on the surface, hits transport TEIA MARU (ex French ARAMIS) with three torpedoes using radar bearings. The ex-French liner is set afire and sinks. TEIA MARU was carrying 4,795 Army and 427 civilians. 2,316 troops, 275 passengers, six guards, four gunners, 10 special lookouts, and 54 crewmen are KIA.

19 August 1944:
The convoy splits into two groups. Just past midnight, RASHER, still running on the surface, closes on an eastbound group of three large ships and one escort. At 0033, LtCdr Munson puts two radar-directed torpedoes into the port sides of AWA and NOSHIRO MARUs. Both ships beach themselves near Port Currimao. LtCdr (later Cdr) Charles M. Henderson's (USNA ’34) USS BLUEFISH (SS-222) and LtCdr (later Captain) Gordon W. Underwood's (USNA ’32) USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) join in the attack on HI-71. At 0320, USS BLUEFISH hits and sinks HAYASUI. Captain Sugiura Keizaburo (49) is KIA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously. The number of survivors is unknown. USS SPADEFISH hits TAMATSU MARU with two torpedoes and the big IJA anding craft depot ship rolls over and takes down 4,755 troops and 135 crewmen. HI-71 makes for San Fernando.

22 August 1944:
Hidai Bay, 25 miles W of Manila Bay. Cdr (MOH, posthumously) Samuel D. Dealey’s (USNA ’30) USS HARDER (SS-257) torpedoes and sinks both MATSUWA and kaibokan HIBURI at 14-15N, 120-25E. 134 of MATSUWA's crew including her CO, LtCdr Tsuchitori, and 154 of HIBURI's crew are lost. LtCdr Tsuchitori is posthumously promotred Cdr.

An intercepted Japanese mesage reads: "At 0650, heard sound of motor dead ahead. We increased speed and found one of the MATSUWA's motor boats with a machinist and six men. Position 14-25N., 120-00E."

10 October 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
[1] The authors acknowledge that the statement from our Japanese source that "MATSUWA rescues 1,648 survivors of the two marus" seems incredible for a kaibokan.

[2] Australian diver/photojournalist Kevin Denlay reports that in 2004 divers from M/V EMPRESS out of Singapore located the bow section of IKI laying on its starboard side in about 50m/165ft of water. However, although they searched nearby, they did not find the rest of the wreck.

Thanks for assistance go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan and Mr. Gilbert Casse of France . Thanks also go to Mr. Aki of Japan, Jeff Donahoo of Iowa and Matthew Jones of Ohio, USA for help in identifying kaibokan COs. Thanks also go to the late John Whitman for info on Japanese intercepts.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

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