(MEIYO MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011-2014 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 1

7 March 1939:
Tama. Laid down by Tama K.K. Zosensho shipyard as a 5,627-ton cargo ship for Meiji Kaiun K.K., Kobe.

27 October 1939:
Launched and named MEIYO MARU.

24 June 1940:
Completed. Her registered port is Kobe. Departs Tama that same day.

12 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a transport (Ippan Choyosen). [1]

20 September 1941:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport under internal order No. 1093 and attached to the Kure Naval District. Her home port is Kure. Starts her conversion to her military duty at Kure Naval Arsenal. Recalled Navy Captain (Later KIA, Rear Admiral posthumously) Koizumi Hisao (34) (ex-XO of KAMOI) is appointed CO.

27 September 1941:
The conversion is completed.

E December 1941:
MEIYO MARU is attached to Kure Naval District as an auxiliary transport, (Ko) category. [2]

6 December 1941:
Departs Uraga, Kanagawa Prefecture for Osaka.

8 December 1941:
Arrives at Osaka.

10 December 1941:
Departs Osaka for Moji.

11 December 1941:
Arrives at Moji.

12 December 1941:
Departs Moji for Chinnampo, Chosen (now N Korea).

15 December 1941:
Arrives at Chinnampo.

21 December 1941:
Departs Chinnampo for Kure.

24 December 1941:
Arrives at Kure.

28 December 1941:
Departs Kure for Yokosuka.

31 December 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

7 January 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

11 January 1942:
Arrives at Miike.

12 January 1942:
Departs Miike for Tokuyama, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

13 January 1942:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

15 January 1942:
Departs Tokuyama for Sasebo.

17 January 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

19 January 1942:
Departs Sasebo for Saigon, Indochina (now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).

25 January 1942:
Arrives at Saigon.

8 February 1942:
Departs Saigon for Osaka.

16 February 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

21 February 1942:
Departs Osaka for Moji.

24 February 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

25 February 1942:
Departs Moji for Dairen, Manchuria (now Dalian, China).

28 February 1942:
Arrives at Dairen.

3 March 1942:
Departs Dairen for Kure.

7 March 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

11 March 1942:
Departs Kure.

14 March 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

22 March 1942:
Departs Osaka.

25 March 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

26 March 1942:
Departs Moji for Dairen.

1 April 1942:
Arrives at Dairen.

7 April 1942:
Departs Dairen for Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan).

15 April 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

17 April 1942:
Departs Takao for Kirun (now Keelung, Taiwan).

19 April 1942:
Arrives at Kirun.

20 April 1942:
Departs Kirun for Shibaura, Tokyo.

29 April 1942:
Arrives at Shibaura.

30 April 1942:
Departs Shibaura and arrives that same day at Yokosuka.

19 May 1942: Operation “MI” – The Battle of Midway:
MEIYO MARU is attached to Combined Fleet, Second Fleet in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake’s (35) (former CO of KONGO) Midway Invasion Force.

Departs that same day Yokosuka for Saipan, Marianas, carrying the 11th Construction Unit in a convoy with auxiliary transports AZUMA, HOKUROKU and KEIYO MARUs escorted by destroers KAGERO and ARARE.

24 May 1942:
Arrives at Saipan.

28 May 1942:
Departs Saipan for Wake Island (Renamed Otori Island after its capture).

31 May 1942:
Arrives at Wake.

2 June 1942:
Departs Wake, heading towards Midway, with ammunition ship SOYA and auxiliary transport YAMAFUKU MARU escorted by Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Miyamoto Sadachika's (39) (former CO of YAEYAMA) 16th Minesweeper Unit consisting of auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No. 3, SHONAN MARUs No. 7 and No 8 and subchasers CH-16 and CH-17.

4 June 1942:
At 0843, a PBY "Catalina" flying boat discovers Captain Miyamoto's minesweeper group heading towards Midway.

6 June 1942:
Due to IJN’s defeat at Midway, Operation “MI” is cancelled. The convoy reverses its course towards Wake.

8 June 1942:
Arrives back at Wake.

9 June 1942:
Departs Wake for Truk, Central Carolines.

13 June 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

28 June 1942:
At Truk anchorage. Auxiliary ammunition ship KOTOKU MARU transfers two Type 96 triple 25mm AA guns to MEIYO MARU. [3]

29 June 1942:
MEIYO MARU departs Truk via Bougainville to Guadalcanal carrying airfield construction workers in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transports AZUMA, AZUMASAN, HOKUROKU, KANTO and MATSUMOTO MARUs, auxiliary ammunition ship KOTOKU MARU escorted by light cruiser YUBARI (F) DesDiv 29’s YUZUKI and OITE, DesDiv 30's UZUKI and DesDiv 34’s AKIKAZE. The convoy carries a Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) and 11th and 13th construction units.

6 July 1942: Operation SN:
Arrives at Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. Disembarks the 11th and 13th construction units. YUBARI is detached and departs for Truk the same day.

E July 1942:
Departs Guadalcanal and arrives at Truk.

20 July 1942:
Attached to Combined Fleet, in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inoue Shigeyoshi ‘s (37) (former CO of battleship HIEI) 4th Fleet, Transport Unit. Departs Truk for Guadalcanal.

26 July 1942:
Arrives at Guadalcanal.

29 July 1942:
Departs Guadalcanal for Santa Isabel Island, Solomons.

30 July 1942:
Arrives at Santa Isabel Island. Departs later that same day for Rabaul, New Britain.

1 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. MEIYO MARU is attached to Vice Adm. Gunichi Mikawa (38) (former CO of KIRISHIMA), newly established 8th Fleet and assigned to transport the 5th Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) to Guadalcanal in the context of “SN” Operation (Establishment of airbases in the South Pacific).

7 August 1942: American Operation "Watchtower" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's (USNA ‘04) (former CO of USS ASTORIA, CA-34) Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (MOH-'14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (USNA ’06) (former CO of USS VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (Admiral, posthumouly) John S. McCain's (USNA ’06) Task Force 63's land-based aircraft, lands Maj Gen (later Gen/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening the campaign to retake the island.

That same day, Mikawa dispatches MEIYO MARU and supply ship SOYA, both carrying 519 men of 5th Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF), 3rd and 5th Kure SNLFs and the 81st Guard Unit, escorted by minelayer TSUGARU and two small warships to Guadalcanal to repel the invasion.

8 August 1942:
At 1245, after the Japanese learn more of the size of the American landing force, Mikawa recalls the convoy to Rabaul.

14 miles W of Cape St. George, New Britain. At 2000, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's (USNA ‘32) old USS S-38 (SS-143) at 04-50S, 152-40E. Munson torpedoes and scores two hits on MEIYO MARU’s aft port side. At 2005, the transport sinks taking down with her 342 troops and 31 crewmen including her Captain, Koizumi Hisao.

25 August 1942:
Removed from the Navy’s list under internal order No. 1581.

Authors Notes:
[1] See Zatsuyosen home page for full explanation.
[2] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.
[3] Additionally, MEIYO MARU’s armament comprised 8cm guns and 7.7mm MGs.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

-Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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