(MEITEN MARU prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011-2017 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 2

23 April 1938:
Laid down by Tama Zosensho K.K. shipyard as a 4,474-ton cargo ship for Meiji Kaiun K.K., Kobe.

16 September 1938:
Launched and named MEITEN MARU.

5 December 1938:
Completed and registered in Kobe.

E January 1940:
Chartered to Mitsui Bussan K.K. and placed on their Kobe ~ Dairen commercial service.

E March 1940:
Arrives in the Philippines.

2 December 1940:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

16 December 1940:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport, (Ko) category under internal order No. 980 and attached to the Yokosuka Naval District. Her home port is Yokosuka Naval Base. [1]

18 March 1941:
Departs Yokosuka and departs to the South Seas area. [2]

20 May 1941:
Captain Miyasaka Ichiro (41) (former CO of auxiliary gunboat KAMITSU MARU) is appointed Supervisor.

3 July 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

15 August 1941:
Departs Yokosuka and departs to the South Seas area.

24 September 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

2 October 1941:
Begins conversion at Yokusuka Naval Yard to her military auxiliary transport role.

23 October 1941:
Departs Yokosuka and operates off the Nanyang district, China. At an unknown date, returns at Yokosuka.

10 December 1941:
The conversion is completed. Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Truk at unknown dates.

15 January 1942:
Arrives at Guam.

21 January 1942:
Departs Truk for Rabaul attached to the invasion fleet (that mostly left two days later) consisting of TAIFUKU, MITO, CLYDE, VENICE, HIBI, MOJI, YOKOHAMA, CHERIBON and CHINA MARUs with auxiliary netlayer SHUKO MARU and auxiliary subchasers KYO MARU No. 8 and KYO MARU No.10 as close escorts. MEITEN MARU sails later bringing aircraft reinforcements.

25 January 1942:
Arrives off Rabaul. Unloads aircraft equipment and three disassembled Mitsubishi Type-0 Reisen A6M “Zeke” carrier fighters assigned to the Okamoto-tai, Chitose-Kokutai, 24th Air Flotilla, which is then equipped with obsolete Mitsubishi Type-96 A5M “Claude” carrier fighters.

28 January 1942:
At 1555 arrives at Rabaul.

29 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Later departs at an unknown date.

10 September 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

19 September 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

29 September 1942:
Captain Kamo (first name unknown) is appointed supervisor. Captain Miyasaka is posted Supervisor of auxiliary transport (ex-minelayer) NICHIYU MARU.

15 October 1942:
Arrives at Shanghai, China.

18 October 1942:
Departs Shanghai and returns at an unknown date.

3 November 1942:
Departs Shanghai.

5 November 1942:
Arrives at Mille (Mili) Atoll, Marshalls. 500 men of Shanghai Special Navy Landing Force (SNLF) disembark. Departs for Yokosuka at an unknown date.

20 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Elements of the 3rd Yokosuka SNLF disembark.

26 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

29 November 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

1 December 1942:
MEITEN MARU shifts from the Zatsuyosen (Ko) category to the Zatsuyosen (Otsu) category. Departs Osaka for Yawata. [1]

3 December 1942:
Arrives at Yawata.

5 December 1942:
Departs Yawata for Tamano.

6 December 1942:
Arrives at Tamano.

14 December 1942:
Enters dock at Mitsui shipbuilding for maintenance and repairs.

17 December 1942:

20 December 1942:
Departs Tamano for Kure.

21 December 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

22 December 1942:
Departs Kure for Miike.

24 December 1942:
Arrives at Miike.

26 December 1942:
Departs Miike for Truk.

6 January 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

10 February 1943:
Departs Truk for Palau.

15 February 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

23 February 1943:
Departs Palau for Niihama, Shikoku with an unidentified escort.

3 March 1943:
An unidentified auxiliary minesweeper from 31st Group joins the convoy at 30-34N, 131-16E and escorts it to Saeki.

4 March 1943:
Arrives at Niihama.

7 March 1943:
Departs Niihama and arrives the same day at Kure.

9 March 1943:
Departs Kure for Miike.

10 March 1943:
Arrives at Miike.

13 March 1943:
Departs Miike for Palau.

20 March 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

31 March 1943:
Departs Palau for Truk.

5 April 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

20 April 1943:
At 1200, departs Truk for Palau in a convoy also consisting of SANSEI MARU (3266 gt) and oiler KYOEI MARU escorted by subchaser CH-33.

26 April 1943:
At 0800, the convoy arrives at Palau.

6 May 1943:
MEITEN MARU departs Palau and arrives the same day at Angaur, Palaus.

9 May 1943:
Departs Angaur for Hakodate, Hokkaido in convoy P-509 that is bound for Saeki, also consisting of KIMISHIMA, TOKO, EHIME, TOUN, BUNZAN, SHUNSHO, TAIYU and CHIHAYA MARUs, escorted by minelayer YURIJIMA.

E 16 May 1943:
Minesweeper W-18 joins the convoy at 26-56N, 133-26E.

18 May 1943:
The convoy arrives at Saeki.

22 May 1943:
MEITEN MARU arrives at Hakodate.

25 May 1943:
Departs Hakodate for Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture.

27 May 1943:
Arrives at Shiogama.

30 May 1943:
Departs Shiogama for Muroran, Hokkaido.

31 May 1943:
Arrives at Muroran.

1 June 1943:
Departs Muroran for Yokosuka.

5 June 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

9 June 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Saipan.

16 June 1943:
Arrives at Saipan.

18 June 1943:
Departs Saipan with some passengers, a deck loaded with landing-craft and a cargo of ammunition.

20 June 1943:
About 225 nms WNW of Saipan, she is intercepted by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) William B. Sieglaff’s (USNA ‘1931) USS TAUTOG (SS-199). At 0515, Sieglaff torpedoes and hits MEITEN MARU port side in her engine room at 15-57N, 140-57E. She goes dead in the water and is abandoned. At 1500, MEITEN MARU sinks. Casualties are unknown.

1 December 1943:
Removed from the Navy List under internal order No. 2564.

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

[2] The Japanese called the 1919 WW1 mandated islands of Truk, Yap, Palau, Saipan etc. the Nanyo (South Seas) area.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan. Thanks go also to the late Luke G.A. Ruffato of Italy for providing additional information on Chitose-Kokutai aircraft. Thanks also go to Matthew Jones of Mississipi for IJN COs' info.

Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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