(Type A Standard Cargo Ship)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2017 Bob Hackett

E June 1943:
Koyagishima. Laid down at Kawaminami Kogyo K.K., as a 6,440-ton Type 1A Standard Cargo Ship for Itaya Shosen K. K., Kobe. [1]

E August 1943:
Launched and named MITSUKI MARU.

September 1943:

18 October 1943:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport. Alloted IJA No. 1122.

23 November 1943:
MITSUKI MARU departs Woosung harbor, near Shanghai, in a convoy also consisting of BENGAL and KENWA MARUs and several unidentified ships with an unknown escort. The convoy carries the main strength of the IJA 36th Division.

27 November 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

6 January 1944:
MITSUKI MARU departs Wasile Bay, Halmahera, Moluccas for Manila in a convoy also consisting of BENGAL, KENWA, ODATSUKI, RYUSEI TONEGAWA and TOUN MARUs and one unidentified merchant escorted by subchasers CH-36 and CH-45.

9 January 1944:
Arrives at Davao.

20 January 1944:
At 0900, MITSUKI MARU departs Manila for Kau, Halmahera in convoy H-14 also consisting of ADEN, KENWA, KUROGANE, MOJI, RYOCHI, TONEGAWA and UGO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-103 and subchaser CH-46.

22 January 1944:
At 1150, arrives at Cebu, Philippines.

23 January 1944:
At 0900, departs Cebu.

27 January 1944:
At 1456, arrives at Kau.

14 February 1944:
At 1400, MITSUKI MARU departs Halmahera for Manila in convoy M-12 also consisting of FUSO, KENWA, KUROGANE, MIZUHO, TONEGAWA, and WALES MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-105 and minesweeper W-4.

16 February 1944:
At 0145, KENWA MARU is attacked by a submarine unsuccessfully (probably LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's (USNA ’32) USS CREVALLE (SS-291). At 2000, W-4 is detached.

5 March 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

7 March 1944:
MITSUKI MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMO-08 also consisting of ADEN, MEXICO, MIZUHO, TONEGAWA and WAZAN MARUs and three unidentified merchants escorted by destroyers HASA and TSUGA.

8 March 1944:
Arrives at Kirun (Keelung).

13 March 1944:
Departs Kirun. After departure, the convoy splits into two parts.

17 March 1944:
The first part arrives at Moji.

18 March 1944:
The second part arrives at Moji.

21 April 1944:
MITSUKI MARU departs Tungchiaoshan (Tangjiqiozshan), near Shanghai, in the Take ("Bamboo") convoy. The escorts include SHIRATAKA (F) carrying Rear Admiral Kajioka Sadamichi (former CO of KISO), CO, 6th Escort Convoy Command, destroyers ASAKAZE, SHIRATSUYU and FUJINAMI, kaibokan KURAHASI, CD-20 and CD-22, minesweeper W-22, subchasers CH-37 and CH-38 and gunboats ATAKA and UJI and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU No. 7. The convoy is carrying troops of the IJA's 32nd and 35th divisions (about 30,000 troops) via Manila to reinforce Biak and Hollandia, New Guinea.

IJA transports MITSUKI, BRAZIL KAZUURA, TENSHINZAN (AMATSUSAN) MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1 carry the 32nd Division from China bound for Mindanao, Philippines. IJA transports ADEN, TAJIMA and YOZAN MARU, carry the 35th Division from China bound for Manokwari, New Guinea. FUKUYO, KANAN, MANSHU, TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA), TEIKO (ex-Vichy French D’ARTAGNAN), UNKAI MARU No. 12 and WALES MARU and an unidentified ship are bound for Manila.

E 25 April 1944:
CD-22 is detached.

13 May 1944:
At 0355, MITSUKI MARU departs Wasile Bay, Halmahera in a convoy also consisting of ATLAS BRAZIL, KAZUURA and TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA) MARUs escorted by minelayer SHIRATAKA, patrol boat PB-104, subchaser CH-38 and auxiliary netlayer KOREI MARU.

14 May 1944:
Arrives at Lembeh anchorage, Celebes.

20 May 1944:
At 2105, the convoy arrives at Manila.

6 July 1944:
At 1245, MITSUKI MARU departs Miike in convoy MOMA-02 also consisting of HIYAMA, JINZAN, KOKKA, MANTAI, RYOFU, SEATTLE, SHOZAN,TENSHIN, TOKUSHIMA and YASUKUNI MARUs and four unidentified merchants escorted by destroyer HATSUSHIMO, kaibokan KUSAGAKI, CD-1, CD-22 and minesweeper W-34.

12 July 1944:
At 2110 , convoy MOMA-02 arrives at Takao.

13 July 1944:
In the early morning, MITSUKI and MANTAI MARUs arrive at Takao.

14 July 1944:
At 1900, MITSUKI MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMA-21C also consisting of HIYAMA, JINZAN, KOKKA, MANTAI, SAINEI, SEATTLE, SHOKEI, SHOZAN, TENSHIN, TOKUSHIMA, YAMATAMA and YASUKUNI, MARUs and tankers AYAGIRI, AYAZONO, MITSU and SHONAN, MARUs and three unidentified merchants escorted by kaibokan KUSAGAKI, CD-1, CD-22 and minelayers MAESHIMA, ENTO and minesweeper W-34.

16 July 1944:
At 0946, LtCdr Harold E. Ruble's (USNA ’33) USS PIRANHA (SS-389) torpedoes and sinks SEATTLE MARU at 19-17N, 120-15E. The transport is carrying 4.285 IJNAF personnel. 296 troops and passengers, 25 gunners and 45 crewmen are KIA. HIYAMA and SHOZAN MARUs rescue survivors. Over the next six hours, Captain (later Rear Admiral-Ret) William V. O'Regan’s (USNA ’23) wolf pack, nicknamed the "Mickey Finns", consisting of LtCdr Duncan C. MacMillian's (USNA ’26) USS THRESHER (SS-200), LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Novell G. Ward's (USNA ’35) USS GUARDFISH (SS-217) and Ruble's USS PIRANHA closes in and decimates the convoy.

At 2300, MacMillian's THRESHER torpedoes and sinks SAINEI MARU at 18-53N, 119-32E. 21 troops and passengers on board, and three crewmen are KIA. At 2350, Ward's GUARDFISH torpedoes and sinks JINZAN MARU. 38 troops, one passenger, seven gunners, two watchmen and three crewmen are KIA. Two minutes later, Ward torpedoes and sinks MANTAI MARU. 72 military and 43 crewmen are KIA.

17 July 1944:
At 0034, GUARDFISH torpedoes and sinks HIYAMA MARU. The ship was loaded with 2 companies of an Army group totaling 101 troops, of whom four along with four of the crew were KIA. W-34 and CD-1 rescue survivors. At 0345, MacMillian's USS THRESHER torpedoes and sinks SHOZAN MARU at 18-50N, 119-43E. 500 AZUSA MARU survivors, 125 troops, 24 gunners and 64 crewmen are KIA.

19 July 1944:
At 1920, convoy TAMA-21C arrives at Manila.

28 August 1944:
At 0400, MITSUKI MARU departs Yulin, Hainan Island in convoy YUTA-11 consisting of ATLAS, HOKOKU, KOKKA and SAIHO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-104 and subchaser CH-21.

2 September 1944:
Arrives at Kirun, Formosa (Keelung, Taiwan).

5 September 1944:
MITSUKI MARU departs Kirun for Moji in convoy TAMO-25 also consisting of ATLAS, HENGSHAN, KOKKA, MEIRYU, SAIHO, TATSUSHO and TATSUTAMA MARUs escorted by patrol boats PB-102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224) and PB-104 and subchaser CH-21. Soon after leaving Kirun, KOKKA MARU runs aground. Later, she is refloated and returns to Kirun.

11 September 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

29 September 1944:
At 1500, MITSUKI MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-27 also consisting of EIMAN, EIWA, HAMBURG, KINE, KISHUN, MEIRYU, SHIROTAE, SAGAMIGAWA, SHINETSU, SHINWA, YAMAHAGI, YAMAKO (SANKO) and YASUKUNI MARUs and TAMON MARU No. 15 and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan CD-130, torpedo boat HATO and auxiliary submarine chasers CHa-151, CHa-163. MITSUKI MARU is carrying 4,711 troops and elements of the IJA 2nd Tank Division.

5 October 1944:
At 0630, arrives at Takao. Disembarks troops and cargo.

12 October 1944:
Mako, Pescadores. Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s (USNA ’10) Task Force 38 launches heavy air strikes on Formosa. TF 38’s carrier aircraft sink MITSUKI MARU at 23-30N, 119-34E. Two soldiers and four crewmen are KIA.

Author's Note:
[1] Not to be confused with MITSUKI MARU, 3893grt, IJA No. 428, sunk by a mine on 20 December 1942.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

- Bob Hackett

Back to IJA Transports