YUSOSEN!


(Type 2TL by Ueda Kihachiro)

MUNAKATA MARU:

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


21 June 1944:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima Zosensho as a 10,045-ton Type 2TL wartime Standard Merchant Tanker for Showa Tanker Co., Ltd.

6 September 1944:
Launched and named MUNAKATA MARU.

30 September 1944:
Completed.

18 October 1944:
At 0700, MUNAKATA MARU departs Imari Bay near Sasebo via Cape St. Jacques, Indo-China for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-23 also consisting of EBARA, HIKACHI (NISSHO), MATSUMOTO, KOSHIN, EININ, RITSUEI, YAMASONO, ENREKI (ENRYAKU), SHOEI, HIROTA, UNZEN, YOKAI and SHIROTAE MARUs, YUZAN MARU No. 2 and survey ship HAKUSA escort by kaibokan CD-14, CD-20, CD-34, CD 38, CD-39, CD-46 and patrol boats PB-38 and PB-102.

20 October 1944:
Anchors in Raro Bay off South Korea.

22 October 1944:
At the Shushan anchorage, E of Shanghai.

24 October 1944:
75 miles ENE of Foochow, China. At 1000, HIROTA, UNZEN and YOKAI MARUs are detached for Takao escorted by P-103 and P-38.

25 October 1944:
Formosa Strait. At 0208, Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Richard H. OíKaneís USS TANG (SS-306), running on the surface, torpedoes and sinks EBARA MARU at 25-04N, 119-35E.

MATSUMOTO MARU, following behind EBARA MARU, alters course intent on ramming TANG, but one of the torpedoes fired at EBARA MARU strikes onrushing MATSUMOTO MARUís No. 1 hold. Her bow plunges under and she comes to a halt. Two machine guns on her bridge open fire and drive the submarine under where the water depth is a mere 131 feet.

The convoy speeds onward. CD-34 drops a few depth-charges. Nine American submariners are found drifting on the surface including Captain OíKane. CD-34 rescues the survivors and later claims to have sunk TANG, but, in fact, she was sunk by one of her own defective Mark-18 torpedoes. CD-34 is detached with the POWs for Takao, Formosa. At 2000, convoy MI-23 arrives at Chuanchow Bay where MATSUMOTO MARU is grounded; however, she lists heavily.

26 October 1944:
MATSUMOTO MARU capsizes and becomes a total loss. At 0600, the convoy anchors outside Amoy Harbor, and departs the same day at 1800.

29 October 1944:
At 0700, the convoy departs Amoy for Cape St. Jacques.

30-31 October 1944:
Aircraft attack the convoy, but no damage is sustained.

4 November 1944:
At 1803, arrives at Cape St. Jacques.

9 November 1944:
At 0235, departs Cape St. Jacques.

12 November 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

17 November 1944:
MUNAKATA MARU departs Singapore in convoy HI-80 also consisting of TENEI, MATSUSHIMA, RYOEI, ARIMASAN, KUROSHIO, NICHINAN and KAIHO MARUs escorted by light cruiser KASHII (F), kaibokan MANJU, UKURU, NOMI, KASADO, MIYAKE, CD-17, CD-23 and CD-51 and minelayer NIIZAKI.

20 November 1944:
At 1240, CD-17 is detached for Saigon.

27 November 1944:
At 0930, RYOEI and ARIMASAN MARUs escorted by NIIZAKI are detached for Takao.

4 December 1944:
HI-80 arrives at Sasebo.

31 December 1944:
At 0820, MUNAKATA MARU departs Moji for Singapore in convoy HI-87 also consisting of fleet oiler KAMOI and tankers TENEI, KAIHO, HASHIDATE, KUROSHIO, MATSUSHIMA, MIRI, MITSUSHIMA and SARAWAK MARUs and passenger-cargoman TATSUWA MARU escorted by destroyers SHIGURE, HATAKAZE and DesDiv17ís HAMAKAZE and ISOKAZE and kaibokan KURAHASHI, YASHIRO, MIKURA and CD-13. Light carrier RYUHO provides air cover.

7 January 1945:
East China Sea. The convoy is sighted by "Loughlin's Loopers" submarine wolf pack consisting of Cdr (later Rear Admiral/MOH) Eugene R. Fluckey's USS BARB (SS-220) and LtCdr Evan T. Shepard's PICUDA (SS-382), later joined by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles E. Loughlin's QUEENFISH (SS-393).

28 n miles NW of Fukikaku, Formosa. At 0905, in high seas, Shepard's PICUDA inflicts severe damage with four torpedo hits on MUNAKATA MARUís bow at 25-42N, 121-08E. She is assisted by kaibokan KURAHASHI, then proceeds separately to Kirun (Keelung).

9 January 1945:
Keelung. MUNAKATA MARU is moored at Quay No. 18 during an air attack by Task Force 38. Her gunners fire 135 rounds of 25-mm and 326 rounds of 13-mm AA. Two Smoke pots are released. Although a plane passes directly overhread, only minor damage is suffered by MUNAKATA MARU.

10 January 1945:
An over flight by reconnaisance planes results in MUNAKATA MARU's gunners firing a further 84 rounds of 25-mm and 115 rounds of 13-mm AA.

15 January 1945:
At 1015 and 1245, further attacks by TF 38 result in MUNAKATA MARU's gunners firing 195 rounds of 25-mm and 112 rounds of 13-mm. One smoke pot is released. Despite this, the ship is targeted by three aircraft, but suffers only light damage.

21 January 1945:
Keelung. Carrier aircraft of Vice Admiral John S. McCainís Task Force 38ís USS YORKTOWN (CV-10) and CABOT (CVL-28) attack Kirun from 0910 to 1525. Seven smoke pots, 105 rounds of 25-mm and 1060 rounds of 13-mm are fired. At 1448, two bombs hit amidships causing a large fire that spreads throughout the ship. Aboard MUNAKATA MARU, one AA gunner and three crewmen are KIA.

22 January 1945:
MUNAKATA MARU suffers further air attacks. Four more crewmen are wounded. 260 rounds of 13-mm AA are fired. The ship continues to burn and explode and becomes a Comprehensive Total Loss.


- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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