RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(Sister OSAKA MARU, prewar)

MOJI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2017 Bob Hackett
Revision 3


30 January 1922:
Laid down at Yokohama Dock Co., Ltd.’s shipyard as Yard No. 95, a 3,757-ton cargo ship for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) K. K., Tokyo.

15 August 1922:
Launched and named MOJI MARU.

15 September 1922:
Completed.

1922- 1941:
In service with the NYK Line.

May 1926: Departs Calcutta, India for Kobe.

25 July 1928:
Sold to Kinkai Yusen K.K., Tokyo.

1938:
Renamed MOZI MARU.

30 July 1938:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Allotted Army No.646.

19 January 1939:
Released back to her owners.

8 September 1939:
Repurchased by NYK.

8 July 1941:
Re-requisitioned by the IJA.

4 September 1941:
Released back to her owners.

30 September 1941:
Re-requisitioned by the IJA. 5-inch guns are fitted fore and aft.

4 December 1941: At 0900, MOJI MARU departs Haha-jim, Bonin Islands in Rear Admiral Kasuga Atsushi's (37)(former CO of CHOKAI) 5th Base Force's Invasion Force also consisting of transports CLYDE, CHERIBON, CHINA, DAIFUKU, KOGYOKU, MATSUE, NICHIMEI, VENICE and YOKOHAMA MARUs.

The Invasion Force is covered by minelayer TSUGARU (F), GunbtDiv 7, SubChasDivs 59 and 60 and MineDiv 15 and auxiliary seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU. Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo’s (38)(former CO of YAMASHIRO) CruDiv 6’s AOBA (F), KINUGASA, KAKO and FURUTAKA provides gunnery support.

8 December 1941: Operation "G" (G Sakusen) - The Seizure of Guam:
At 0100, the transports begin landing MajGen Horii Tomitaro’s 55th Infantry Regiment, 55th Division’s Headquarters, 3d Company, 55th Cavalry, 55th Division plus an anti-tank platoon, 144th Infantry Regiment of 2,673 men, 144th Infantry Artillery Unit, 1st Battalion, 55th Mountain Artillery Regiment with twelve 75mm mountain guns, 1st Company, 55th Engineer Regiment’s 3rd Company (less one platoon) and 10th Independent Engineer Regiment.

The Invasion Force also lands naval units of the 5th Defense Unit Detachment 15th Naval Base Headquarters and 15th Communications Unit. Japanese troops quickly overrun Guam's few United States Marine Corps defenders.

10 December 1941:
At 0400, the Japanese land about 400 troops at Dungcas Beach, N of Agana. MajGen Horii Tomitaro’s IJA South Seas Detachment of about 5,500 men also lands at Tumon Bay and at Talafofo Bay. At 0600, after token resistance by USMC and local constabulary, the United States Governor officially surrenders Guam.

14 January 1942:
At 1330, MOJI MARU departs Apra Harbor, Guam for Rabaul, New Britain in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide's (former CO of OI) Invasion Fleet also consisting of CHERIBON, CHINA, CLYDE, TAIFUKU, MITO, HIBI, VENICE, and YOKOHAMA MARUs carrying 5,300 men.

17 January 1942:
Near Lamotrek Island. Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39)(former CO of KISO) light cruiser YUBARI, seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and four destroyers join MineDiv 19’s minelayers OKINOSHIMA and TSUGARU and two destroyers escorting the Invasion Fleet

23 January 1942:
MOJI MARU departs Truk for Rabaul in an invasion fleet consisting of CHERIBON, CHINA, CLYDE, HIBI, MITO, TAIFUKU, VENICE and YOKOHAMA MARUs escorted by auxiliary netlayer SHUKO MARU and auxiliary subchasers KYO MARU No. 8 and KYO MARU No. 10.

25 January 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

October 1942:
MOJI MARU departs Java for Singapore. She carries 385 Australian prisoners-of-war (POWs), commanded by Major L. J. Robertson, Royal Australian Engineers.

October 1942:
Arrives at Singapore. Disembarks POWs who are taken to Changi Jail.

12 January 1943:
MOJI MARU departs Penang, Malaya for Moulmein, Burma (now Mawlamyine, Myanmar) in convoy S-28 also consisting of NICHIMEI MARU (4,693 grt) escorted by subchaser CH-8 and auxiliary netlayer CHOKO MARU.

MOJI MARU is carrying an unknown number of IJA troops and 450 American, prisoners-of-war (POWs), including sailors from cruiser USS HOUSTON (CA-30) and 385 Australian POWs. NICHIMEI MARU is carrying 1,562 IJA troops and 965 Dutch POWs. The POWs are being transported to Burma to work as slave labor building the Burma-Thailand Railway.

15 January 1943:
Gulf of Martaban. 50 miles from Moulmein. At about 1520, a flight of USAAF Tenth Air Force Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” heavy bombers of the 7th Bombardment Group’s 9th Bomb Squadron based at Pandasewar (“Panda”) air base, India attacks the convoy On their first pass, their bombs straddle NICHIMEI MARU and cut communications. On their next pass, two bombs hit NICHIMEI MARU and the bombers return to strafe the convoy. NICHIMEI MARU takes on a 15 degree list.

The bombers next target MOJI MARU and damage her with near-miss bombs. Her aft 5-inch gun blows up trying to fire at the planes and kills its crew. About 12 Australian POWs, including two survivors from cruiser HMAS PERTH, are also KIA.

At 1550, NICHIMEI MARU sinks at about 13-37N, 97-25E. About 40 Dutch POWs, 97 IJN soldiers and five gunners and crewmen are KIA. MOJI MARU circles around picking up survivors from NICHIMEI MARU for about here hours. About 925 POWs and 1,465 Japanese survive.

16 January 1943:
Arrives at Moulmein. Disembarks troops and POWs.

19 May 1943:
At 0530, MOJI MARU departs Saeki in convoy K-519 also consisting of CLYDE, KANAYAMASAN, KOCHI, KOYO, NITTAI, SAIPAN and YAMAGATA MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO, minesweeper W-18 and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU No. 6.

21 May 1943:
W-18 and TAMA MARU No. 6 are detached.

E 28 May 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

24 June 1943:
MOJI MARU departs Palau in convoy FU-405 also consisting of CHINZEI, KENRYU, NISHIYAMA (SEIZAN) and SHICHISEI MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-17.

1 July 1943:
At 29N, minelayers NUWAJIMA and YURIJIMA and auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 and TAMA MARU No. 6 join convoy FU-405

2 July 1943:
Arrives at Saeki.

12 August 1943:
At 0730, MOJI MARU departs Saeki for Palau in convoy O-208 also consisting of FUKKAI, HIBI, MATSUE (SHOKO), UMEKAWA, SHICHISEI, YASUKUNI (3,025t) and YASUSHIMA MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-46, subchaser CH-11 and auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU and TAKUNAN MARU No. 3. At latitude 29N, TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and TAMA MARU are detached to return to Saeki.

21 August 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

27 August 1943:
MOJI MARU departs Palau in convoy SO-705 also consisting of HIBI, MATSUE (SHOKO), UMEKAWA and SHICHISEI MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-17.

3 September 1943:
MOJI MARU arrives at Rabaul.

22 September 1943:
MOJI MARU departs Rabaul in convoy O-206 also consisting of TOTAI, TOYU and YAWATA MARUs, and an unidentified Maru escorted by subchasers CH-18 and CH-37.

29 September 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

30 September 1943:
CH-18 returns to Rabaul.

5 October 1943:
MOJI MARU departs Palau in convoy FU-506 also consisting of TENCHO, TOTAI, TOYOKAWA, TOYU and YAKUMO MARUs escorted by kaibokan IKI.

E 14 October 1943:
OI and YACHIYO MARUs and TAMA MARU No.7 join the escort.

15 October 1943:
Arrives at Saeki.

31 October 1943:
At 0600, MOJI MARU departs Saeki for Palau in convoy O-112 also consisting of DELAGOA, EHIME, YAWATA, KANJO, UME, CHIHAYA, TENCHO, UMEKAWA, YAMAGATA, NICHIAI, MOJI and HOZUGAWA MARUs escorted by minesweepers W-18 and W-17, auxiliary subchasers TAKUNAN MARU No. 8, CHIYO MARU No. 8 and auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, TOKUHO MARU No. 10 and AOI MARU. That night, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Robert E. Dornin's (USNA ’35) USS TRIGGER (SS-237). Dornin claims two sinkings, but, in fact, scores no hits. The escorts counterattack, but are also unsuccessful.

2 November 1943:
At 0048, LtCdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutter's (USNA ’35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) torpedoes and sinks YAWATA MARU at 28-20N, 135-20E. Four gunners and 64 of the crew are killed. At 0220, Dornin's TRIGGER attacks the convoy again, and sinks DELAGOA MARU carrying men of the 248th Fighter Regiment, some of whom together with 12 Army civilians, seven gunners and 68 crewmen are KIA.

At 0321, Dornin torpedoes and sinks UME MARU at 28-40N, 135, 25E. 36 passengers, 25 gunners and 24 crewmen are killed. At 0418, Cutter's SEAHORSE attacks and sinks CHIHAYA MARU (ex-Dutch TJISAROEA) at 29-31N, 134, 50E. Six crewmen are KIA. At 0845, Cdr (later Admiral) I. J. Galantin's (USNA ’33) USS HALIBUT (SS-232) torpedoes and sinks EHIME MARU at 28-20N, 134-48E. Five gunners and all 79 of the crew are KIA.

3 June 1944:
At 1600, MOJI MARU departs Truk in an unnumbered convoy also consisting of transports IMIZU MARU, cargo ships KOJUN, NITCHO and TATSUTAGAWA (1,923 grt) MARUs and oiler KYOEI MARU and 14 unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan CD-6, subchasers CH-20, CH-31, CH-32 and CH-51 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-66. MOJI MARU is carrying several hundred naval personnel and navy civilian employees.

7 June 1944:
At 1140, arrives at Saipan.

11 June 1944:
Saipan. Fear of an imminent Allied invasion causes all navigable ships to flee. At 0400, MOJI MARU departs Saipan in convoy No. 4611 also consisting of auxiliary transport MARU, IJA transports, BATAVIA, BOKUYO, FUKOKU, HINKO, IMIZU, INARI, NITCHO, REIKAI, SHINTO, TATSUTAGAWA and TENRYUGAWA, MARUs, auxiliary netlayer KOKKO MARU and 16 unidentified ships escorted by torpedo boat OTORI, kaibokan CD-4, subchasers CH-33, CH-55, auxiliary minesweeper Wa-6 and auxiliary subchasers CHa-20 and CHa-50.

12 June 1944:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s (USNA ’10) Task Force 58’s carriers ESSEX (CV-9), LANGLEY (CVL-27) and COWPENS (CVL-25) attack the convoy and sink BATAVIA, BOKUYO, FUKOKU, HINKO, IMIZU, NITCHO, REIKAI, SHINTO, and TENRYUGAWA MARUs, torpedo boat OTORI and auxiliary netlayer KOKKO MARU and damage kaibokan CD-4, subchasers CH-33, CH-50 and CH-51, auxiliary subchaser CHa-20 and auxiliary minesweeper Wa-6.


Task Force 58’s planes also sink MOJI MARU. 53 crewmen and five gunners are KIA.


Authors' Notes:
[1] Not to be confused with small (318-ton) oiler MOJI MARU.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and reader Ralph of USA for a major revision in Rev 1. Thanks also go to John O'Keefe of Littleton, CO for info in Rev 3.

- Bob Hackett


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