(MEISHO MARU prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2015 Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall

22 April 1940:
Asano, Yokohama. Laid down by Nippon Kokan Zosensho K.K. shipyard for Meiji Kaiun K.K. as a 2,737-tons cargo ship.

13 August 1941:
Launched and named MEISHO MARU. [1]

29 November 1941:
Completed and registered at Kobe.

14 October 1942:
At entrance to Tokyo Bay collides with HITORA MARU. HITORA MARU's bow is slightly damaged. Damage to MEISHO MARU is unknown.

2 December 1943:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a general requisitioned transport attached to the Kure Naval District.

December 1943:
Assigned directly to the Navy’s Department.

5 December 1943:
Departs Kure.

6 December 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

11 December 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

12 December 1943:
Arrives at Saeki, Kyushu.

13 December 1943:
At 0100, departs Saeki for Palau in convoy O-302 also consisting of IJA transport TOTAI MARU and an unidentified merchant ship escorted by minelayer YURIJIMA, minesweeper W-17 and auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No. 6 and TAMA MARU No. 7.

At 2311, LtCdr Robert E. Ward's (USNA ’35) USS SAILFISH (SS-192) torpedoes and sinks TOTAI MARU at 30-25N, 132-320E. The cargo of incendiary bombs catches fire and this spreads to the cargo of HE bombs, which explode and sink the ship. Three passengers, 12 gunners and 22 crewmen are killed.

E 14 December 1943: At 29N, TAMA MARU No. 6 and TAMA MARU No. 7 are detached.

24 December 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Palau, Western Carolines.

1 January 1944:
Registered in the Navy’s list as an auxiliary transport (Otsu) category attached to the Kure Naval District with Kure as home port under instruction No. 16. Assigned to Vice Admiral Kusaka Jinichi’s (37) Southeast Area Fleet. [2]

9 January 1944:
At 0730, departs Palau for Rabaul via Truk in convoy O-904 also consisting of IJA transports SHUNKO (4,027 GRT), HOZUGAWA and KOSEI (1,943 GRT) MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-24 and CH-39. The convoy sails at 8 knots.

E 12 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

E 13 January 1944:
Departs Truk for Rabaul in convoy O-904 also consisting of IJA transports SHUNKO (4,027 GRT), HOZUGAWA and KOSEI (1,943 GRT) MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-24.

16 January 1944:
45 miles NW of New Hanover. At about 0230, nine PBY "Catalina" flying boats attack convoy O-905 with bombs and torpedoes. They sink SHUNKO MARU (20 crewmen and 30 passengers KIA) at 02-30S, 149-42E and sink HOZUGAWA (three crewmen KIA) and MEISHO (12 crewmen KIA) MARUs at 02-20S, 149-42E. CH-24 and KOSEI MARU escape undamaged.

10 March 1944:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 427.


Authors notes :
[1] Not to be confused with Std. 2TM tanker (2,854 GRT, ’44).

[2] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.

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