RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(MIIKE MARU, prewar)

IJA MIIKE MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2016 Bob Hackett
Revision 4


1 February 1940:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd as Yard No. 760, an 11,249 passenger-cargo ship for Nippon Yusen Kaisha Kisen (NYK) (Japan Mail Steamship Company), Tokyo.

12 April 1941:
Launched and named MIIKE MARU.

30 September 1941:
Completed.

15 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Converted to a troop transport, painted gray and AA armament fitted. Alloted Army No. 888.

7 December 1941:
Gulf of Siam (Thailand). At 0300, MIIKE MARU departs Phu Quoc Island, French Indochina (Vietnam), with transports TOHO and ZENYO MARUs escorted by kaibokan SHIMUSHU. Later that morning, the group rendezvouses at sea with seven unidentified transports carrying three battalions of the IJA 55th Infantry Division escorted by No. 2 Escort Unit's light cruiser KASHII. At 1035, all units depart for landing sites in Siam.

8 December 1941: Operation "E" - The Invasion of Malaya:
Beginning at 1000, troops are landed at four points on the Kra Isthmus, Siam (Thailand). MIIKE, TOHO and ZENYO,MARUs land troops at Nakorn Sri Thammarat, S Siam, covered by SHIMUSHU. The transports carry 1,510 men including the IJA 143rd Regimentís 3rd Battalion and 50 trucks.

13 December 1941:
Arrives at Singora.

28 December 1941:
Lands troops at Nakhon in a heavy storm.

15 January 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

E January 1942:
Arrives at Bangka Island anchorage, Celebes.

29-31 January 1942: The Invasion of Ambon Island, Ceram Island. Moluccas, Netherlands East Indies:
MIIKE MARU departs Bangka anchorage, near Menado, with the Ambon invasion convoy also consisting of IJN transports HINO, KIRISHIMA, YAMAFUKU and YAMAGIRI MARUs, IJN aircraft transport KATSURAGI MARU, IJA transports AFRICA, RYOYO and YAMAURA MARUs and IJA Air Defense ship ZENYO MARU carrying Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) HatakeyamaKoichiro's (39) (former CO of KINUGASA) Kure No. 1 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF), elements of the Sasebo SNLF and the 228th Infantry Regiment.

Escort is provided by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka (41)'s DesRon 2ís light cruiser JINTSU, DesDiv 8ís ASASHIO, MICHISHIO, ARASHIO and OSHIO, DesDiv 15ís HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 16ís TOKITSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE, MineSweepDiv 11ís W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12, SubChasDiv 1ís CH-1 and CH-2, and Patrol Boat Squadron 1ís PB-34. Seaplane tenders CHITOSE and MIZUHO arrive at Ceram and provide air cover for the invasion convoy.

30/31 January 1942:
Landings by the No. 1 Kure SNLF proceed during the night at Hitu-Iama on the north coast and by the IJAís 228th Infantry Regiment on the southern coast of Laitamor. Only a few Dutch detachments are in the area to contest the landing at Hitu-Iama and the defending infantry and machine-gun crews are quickly overwhelmed. The bridges on the road leading to Paso are left intact allowing the Japanese to speedily advance south across the Hitu Peninsula. Other landings occur around Hutumori. Batugong falls on 31 Jan.

3 February 1942:
Ambon is secured.

17 February 1942: The Invasion Timor Island:
Timor is divided into two separate colonies governed by Holland and Portugal. Portugese East Timor is neutral, still Japan decides to invade. The IJA is responsible for the landings at Kupang, Dutch West Timor. The IJN is responsible for the landings at Dili on the Portuguese NE coast of the island.

At 0500, MIIKE MARU departs Ambon for Koepang, Dutch Timor in an invasion convoy also consisting of transports transports AFRICA, RYOYO, YAMAURA and ZENYO MARUs escorted by DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE and YAMAKAZE, patrol boats PB-1, PB-2 and PB-34, MineSweepDiv 21's W-7 and W-8, and a subchaser. En route, KUNIKAWA MARU joins the convoy from Kendari, Celebes (Sulawesi).

The Timor invasion convoy carries the IJAís 38th Divís 228th Infantry Regiment and an IJN Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF). CruDiv 5's HAGURO and NACHI, DesDiv 6's INAZUMA and IKAZUCHI and DesDiv 7's AKEBONO provide distant cover. Air cover is provided by seaplane carrier MIZUHO.

20 February 1942:
At 0235, landings are made east and west of Cape Mali. At 0315, the landings are completed against enemy resistance.

11 March 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

17 March 1942:
Departs Ujina for Singapore via Takao, Hong Kong and Saigon.

12 April 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

29 April 1942:
Arrives at Ujina via Takao.

30 April 1942:
Departs Moji for Singapore via Takao and Saigon.

18 June 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

9 July 1942:
Arrives at Ujina.

17 July 1942:
Arrives at Pusan, Korea.

19 July 1942:
Departs Pusan.

21 July 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

15 August 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

29 August 1942:
MIIKE MARU departs Takao and joins convoy No. 256 also consisting of IJN transport KOSEI MARU and two unidentified merchant ships.

24 September 1942:
MIIKE MARU departs Pusan carrying one company of the IJA 7th Field Heavy Artillery Regiment.

2 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

October 1942 ~ January 1943:
MIIKE MARU makes three voyages to Rabaul.

E November 1942:
MIIKE MARU departs Shanghai for Moji carrying about 5,000 IJA soldiers and 70 prisoners-of-war (POWs) including about 20 USMC North China Marines. MIIKE MARU travels up the China coast to near Chinwangtao, then across to the Korean peninsula and then to Moji.

31 January 1943:
MIIKE MARU carries 1,500 men to Rabaul as replacements for the Kawaguchi Detachmentís 124th Infantry destroyed on Guadalcanal. She steams unescorted

31 January 1943:
MIIKE MARU is joined by minelayers YURIJIMA and subchasers CH-36, CH-37 at 34-45N, 132-05E that escort her northward.

E 1 February 1943:
The escorts are detached off Fukajima.

18 April 1943:
Departs Moji. MIIKE MARU carries most of the 54th Divisionís 121st Infantryís Gun Company, part of Rapid Fire Gun Company, part of Signal Company and most of the regimentís horses. she also carries soldiers for the newly formed 30th Independent Mixed Brigade. She travels without escort.

23 ~ 24 April 1943:
Arrives at Shanghai. Disembarks troops and horses.

27 April 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

4 July 1943:
MIIKE MARU departs Singapore in convoy No. 615 also consisting of AKI, KACHIDOKI (ex-American PRESIDENT HARRISON), KUROSHIO, KINUGASA, KIRISHIMA, OMUROSAN and TEIKO (ex-Vichy French MARUs escorted by an unknown warship.

5 July 1943:
Arrives at Miri, Borneo.

6 July 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques, Indochina (Vung Tau, Vietnam).

8 July 1943:
MIIKE MARU departs St Jacques in convoy "J" also consisting of transports AKI, KACHIDOKI, KINUGASA, TEIKO and tankers KIRISHIMA KUROSHIO and OMUROSAN MARUs escorted by destroyer WAKATAKE.

E 10 July 1943:
TEIKO MARU is detached for Manila.

11 July 1943:
MIIKE MARU arrives at Mako and departs later that day in convoy ďMĒ also consisting of AKI, KACHIDOKI, KINUGASA, KIRISHIMA, KUROSHIO, OMUROSAN and TEIKO MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by patrol boat PB-2.

12 July 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

13 July 1943:
Departs Mako.

16 July 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

19 July 1943:
MIIKE MARU departs Shanghai in a convoy also consisting of SETSUZAN,TOSAN and TSUKUBA MARUs. MIIKE MARU again carries most of the 54th Divisionís 121st Infantryís Gun Company, part of the Rapid Fire Gun Company, part of the Signal Company and most of the regimentís horses. TSUKUBA MARU carries most of the 54th Divisionís 121st Infantry Regiment HQ, 5th and 9th Companies, most of the Gun and Rapid Fire Gun Companies and most of the Signal Company. TOSAN MARU carries the 2nd Battalion (less 5th Company) and SETSUZAN MARU carries the 3rd Battalion (less 9th Company).

30 July 1943:
Arrives at Saigon. Disembarks troops and horses.

10 September 1943:
At 1600, MIIKE MARU departs Moji escorting convoy HI-09 consisting of tankers NICHINAN and TATEKAWA MARUs and seven unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA.

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

E 23 September 1943:
Arrives at Singapore. [1]

10 October 1943:
At 1358, MIIKE MARU departs Singapore in convoy HI-12 also consisting of two unidentified merchants escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU.

16 October 1943:
At 1422, arrives at Takao.

17 October 1943:
At 1306, departs Takao.

21 October 1943:
At midnight, the convoy arrives at Moji.

21 December 1943:
MIIKE MARU departs Moji in convoy HI-27 also consisting of transports KUNIKAWA and TSUKUSHI MARUs, oilers KYUEI and OTORISAN MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE.

24 December 1943:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa. MIIKE, MAYASAN and NOTO MARUs are detached.

1 January 1944:
At 1200, MIIKE MARU departs Manila in the ďQĒ Convoy also consisting of NOTO MARU and landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU escorted by torpedo boat MANAZURU.

3 January 1944:
At 0300, arrives at Takao. That same day, MIIKE MARU departs Takao in a convoy also consisting of ARIMASAN, NOTO and TOZAN MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ships MAYASAN and SHINSHU MARUs escorted by light cruiser KASHII.

7 January 1944:
At 1830, arrives at Moji.

20 January 1944:
At 1200, MIIKE MARU departs Moji for Singapore in convoy HI-37 also consisting of tankers AMATSU, OMINESAN and OTOWASAN MARUs, passenger-cargo ships MIIKE and NOTO MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ships KIBITSU and MAYASAN MARUs and an unidentified ship escorted by kaibokan MIYAKE and KANJU.

MIIKE and NOTO MARUs carry elements of the 53rd Division's 3rd Echelon: Division headquarters (main); Hq, 119th Infantry Regiment; 3rd Battalion, 119th Infantry; 53rd Engineer Regiment and 53rd Signal Regiment and troops of unknown units.

29 January 1944:
At 1200, arrives at Singapore.

16 February 1944:
At 1600, MIIKE MARU departs Singapore in convoy HI-42 consisting of tankers MIRI and SEISHIN MARUs and two unidentified vessels escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA.

25 February 1944:
At 1025, arrives at Keelung.

26 February 1944:
At 0900, departs Keelung.

28 February 1944:
At 0600, arrives at Moji.

28 March 1944:
Convoy Higashi Masu ("East Pine") No. 5 departs Darien, Manchuria consisting of ASOSAN, NOTO and TOSAN MARUs.

30 March 1944:
Higashi Masu No. 5 arrives at Pusan, Korea. That same day, off the SE coast of Korea, MIIKE MARU joins the convoy carrying about 4,000 men of the 35th Div Hq and 219th Infantry Regiment. Also aboard are eight 75mms of 2nd Battalion, 4th Independent Mountain Artillery Regiment and its 5th and 6th Companies.

3 April 1944:
Arrives at Yokohama. Destroyer SATSUKI and kaibokan KASADO and MANJU and CD-4 join HIGASHI MATSU No. 5 as escorts.

7 April 1944:
At 0330, MIIKE MARU departs Tateyama in convoy Higashi Matsu ("East Pine") No. 5 also consisting of ASOSAN, NOTO, SEIYO and TOSAN MARUs escorted by destroyer SATSUKI and kaibokan KASADO and MANJU and CD-4.

24 April 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

26 April 1944:
At 1640, MIIKE MARU departs Palau for Tokyo in convoy Higashi Masu No. 5 also consisting of ASOSAN, TOSAN and NOTO MARUs escorted by destroyer SATSUKI and kaibokan KASADO, MANJU and CD-4. MIIKE MARU is carrying 752 passengers and crew including an IJA unit and civilian men, women and children being repatriated plus the ashes of 26 soldiers KIA.

27 April 1944:
90 miles N of Palau. At 0100, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Frederick J. Harlfinger's (USNA í37) USS TRIGGER (SS-237) torpedoes and hits and damages ASOSAN MARU. At 0103, TRIGGER also hits and damages MIIKE MARU. At 0250, as ASOSAN MARU is lowering its boats, a second torpedo hits her in No. 1 hold and sets the ship on fire.

At 0430, as ASOSAN MARU is being abandoned, Harlfinger torpedoes and blows the bow off kaibokan KASADO. Fuel flowing from MIIKE MARU catches fire and sets the ship abaze. MANJU manages to rescue 822 survivors, but MIIKE MARU drifts away and burns for two days.

28 April 1944:
MANJU, totally crammed with survivors, arrives back at Palau and lands them.

29 April 1944:
MIIKE MARU sinks at 08-34N, 134-53E. Nine passengers, 7 gunners and 2 crewmen are KIA.


Authorís Notes:
[1] On 27 Sep Ď43, in Operation "Jaywick", the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) Special Operations Executive organized a limpet mine attack on Japanese shipping at Singapore. The RAN used former Japanese fishing boat KOFUKU MARU, renamed KRAIT. On 2 Sep, a small group of Allied servicemen sailed from Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia through the Java Sea. On 18 Sep, three two-man canoes launched a night attack at Singapore. MIIKE MARU, although probably present, was not damaged in the attack. See Peter Cundall's excellent http://www.combinedfleet.com/Cundall_Jaywick.htm for more on JAYWICK.

Thanks go to Allan Alsleben of Oregon, John Whitman of Virginia, Fontessa-san of Japan, Peter Cundall of Australia and Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Bob Hackett


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