(MEIGEN MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

19 February 1920:
Tsurumi. Laid down by Asano Zosensho K. K. shipyard as Yard No. 32, a 5,467-ton cargo ship for Taisho Kaiun K. K., of Dairen (Dalian), Manchuria (now China).

6 June 1920:
Launched and named MEIGEN MARU.

24 July 1920:

Ownership is transferred to Meiji Shipping Co., Ltd. of Kobe. MEIGEN MARU is placed on their Japan ~ W coast of North America service.

6 February 1931:
13 miles north of Point Cloates. During the early hours cargo ship SHUNSEI MARU, enroute from Nanking to Fremantle, strikes a reef and is stranded. Both MEIGEN and MIHO MARUs receive orders to approach and offer assistance. MIHO MARU carrying a cargo of wheat enroute from Port Adelaide, Australia for Shanghai, is proceeding along the West Australian coast, and is expected to reach the stranded ship about noon. Meanwhile, MEIGEN MARU, enroute from Shanghai, is expected to make landfall in the vicinity of North West Cape the next day.

14 February 1931:
Originally MEIGEN and MIHO MARUs wer expected to pull SHUNSEI MARU to safety, but now it is considered too dangerous for them to approach and render assistance. Both ships depart the area to continue their voyages. MEIGEN MARU goes to Fremantle to load wheat. The next month, a west Australian tug arrives, refloats SHUNSEI MARU and assists her to safety.

July 1937:
The Second Sino-Japanese War begins. MEIGEN MARU is chartered by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop ship.

13 September 1937:
MEIGEN MARU departs Moji for secret location "A" in a convoy also consisting of transports GYOKO, HANGKOW, KIMI, OME, SAMARANG, TAKAO, TATESHI, TONE, UGO, UME and YUKI MARUs. MEIGEN MARU carries 491 men and 327 horses of the 2nd Battalion HQ, 14th Field Medium Artillery Regiment, 4th Company, 14th Field Medium Artillery Regiment and part of 3rd Company, Transport Unit, 6th Field Medium Artillery Brigade, 14th Field Medium Artillery Regiment (15cm howitzer)

14 September 1937:
Arrives at secret location "A" and begins unloading.

17 September 1938:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army as a troop transport. Allotted IJA No. 340.

28 June 1940:
Released by the IJA back to her owners.

26 October 1941:
Re-requisitioned by the IJA.

13 December 1941 - Operation “E” – The Invasion of Malaya:
At 0830, departs Camranh Bay in the IJA 5th Infantry Division Transportation Movement. MEIGAN MARU is in TransDiv5 with KUROHIME, NICHIRYU, NIKKI, RYUUN SUEZ,TACOMA and TOHO MARUs. The Movement carries the main body of the 5th Infantry Division.

16 December 1941:
At 1900, arrives at Pattani, Siam (Thailand).

9 February 1942: Operation "L" - The Invasion of Palembang:
MEIGEN MARU departs Camranh Bay for Palembang in an invasion convoy also consisting of ARGUN, BUYO, GINYO, HIROKAWA, INABASAN, KENZUI, LIMA, MACASSAR, RAKUYO, SHINSEI, SINGAPORE (later SHONAN) and TSUSHIMA MARUs and supply ship NOJIMA escorted by light cruiser KASHII, DesDiv 20's ASAGIRI, and YUGIRI, kaibokan SHIMUSHU, minelayer HATSUTAKA, mineweeper W-6 and SubChasDiv 11's CH-9.

14 February 1942:
Six Bristol "Blenheim" light bombers of Royal Air Force No. 211 Squadron attack the convoy and sink transport INABASAN MARU and damage several others.

15 February 1942:
In the largest capitulation in British military history, the Straits Settlement of Singapore falls to the Japanese. LtGen Arthur E. Percival, RA, surrenders his numerically superior, but ill-equipped and poorly led, force to LtGen Yamashita Tomoyuki and his victorious 25th Army.

16 February 1942:
Near Palembang, Sumatra. The invasion transports land elements of the IJA 16th Army’s 229th Infantry Regiment and a battalion of the 230th Infantry Regiment, five batteries of the 38th Mountain Artillery Battalion and one company each of the 38th Transport and 38th Engineer Regiments.

27 February 1942:
MEIGEN MARU and the transport convoy depart Palembang for Singapore.

3 March 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

22 March 1943:
MEIGEN MARU departs Surabaya, Java for Ambon, Moluccas in a convoy also consisting of two unidentified ships escorted by unidentified warships.

Java Sea. At about 1900, LtCdr William S. Post’s (USNA ‘30) USS GUDGEON (SS-211) fires two torpedoes at MEIGEN MARU and gets one hit that sinks her about 30 miles N of Surabaya at 06-31S, 112-47E. Eight crewmen are KIA.

At about the same time and place, GUDGEON also torpedoes and damages the two unidentified ships and evades a DC attack by the escorts.

Released by the IJA back to her owners that day.

Author's Notes:
[1] No data were found for MEIGEN MARU's movements from Mar '42 to Mar '43. Readers with access to any such data are requested to post the information on the Discussion and Questions board or j-aircraft.org's IJN Ship Message Board

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Photo credit to "Ships of the World - 2006/2008" via J. Ed Low.

Bob Hackett

Back to IJA Transports