(NAGARA MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)
IJA NAGARA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2012-2015 Bob Hackett
28 March 1933:
Yokohama. Laid down at Yokoma Dockyard Co., Ltd as a 7,142-ton cargo ship for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), Tokyo.
28 April 1934:
Launched and named NAGARA MARU.
28 August 1934:
Completed and registered at Tokyo.
1 June 1940:
Marseille, France. The German Luftwaffe conducts the first day and night air raids on Marseille. Large British and French vessels at anchor in the harbor, port facilities and factories suffer damage by dive-bombing. NAGARA MARU,
anchored in NYK’s private quay and flying a Japanese national Hinomaru “meatball” flag, is also damaged by nearby bombs.
19 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Alloted IJA No. 912.
17 February 1942:
At 0800, NAGARA MARU departs Mutsure in No. 56 Army Division Convoy, No. 1 Section also consisting of AOBASAN, HARUNA, KYUSHU, NAKO, and SAKITO MARUs escorted by destroyers ASAGAO, KARUKAYA and minelayer HIRASHIMA.
20 February 1942:
At 1600, NAGARA MARU departs Camranh Bay in the 10th Malaya Reinforcement Convoy consisting of two divisions: 1st division: NAGARA, AOBASAN, NAKO, KYUSHU, SADO, KANSAI and MARUs 2nd division: SAGAMI, SAKITO, SASAKO, HIROKAWA
and CANBERRA MARUs. The convoy is escorted by light cruiser SENDAI and destroyers FUBUKI and SHIKINAMI.
22 February 1942:
At 1800, both divisions arrive at Singora.
15 March 1942:
AOBASAN MARU arrives at Singapore.
19 March 1942: "U" transport operation to Burma (U sakusen yuso):
The First Burma Transport Convoy departs Singapore consisting of 32 ships with main body of the 56th Division: AOBASAN, KAZUURA, KIZAN, GLASGOW, KUSUYAMA, KOTOHIRA, SANKO, SAKITO, SHINAI, SHINRYU, SHUNSEI, SYDNEY, SHINANOGAWA,
SUMATRA, GENOA, TATEISHI, TSUYAMA, TOKIWA, NAKO, NAGARA, NICHIRAN, NAPLES, HAVRE, HARUNA, HIBURI, HOFUKU, HOKUMEI, MYOKO, MOMOYAMA, YAE MARUs and two others.
25 March 1942:
The First Burma Transport Convoy arrives at Rangoon.
28 May 1942:
At 0900, NAGARA MARU departs Hesaki south through the Bungo Straits in a convoy also consisting of transports RYOYO, NAGARA and YAMAURA MARUs and tanker OTOWASAN MARU escorted by minelayer NASAMI.
11 August 1942:
Manila. In the early afternoon, 179 American POWs, including Generals Wainwright and King and most of the senior officers in the Philippines, arrive by train at Pier 7 and board NAGARA MARU. At 1700, the ship departs
for Takao, Formosa.
14 August 1942:
Arrives at Takao.
16 August 1942:
The POWs are disembarked and transferred to IJA SUZUYA (OTARU) MARU, a 864 grt coastal steamer, and depart for a POW camp in Karenko, Formosa.
29 September 1942:
At 2300, NAGARA MARU departs Singapore to Rabaul, New Britain in a convoy also consisting of transports NOTO, SAGAMI and KINUGAWA MARUs escorted by destroyer MATSUKAZE and two unidentified warships. NAGARA MARU is
carrying 600 British (mostly Royal Artillery) POWs (the "Gunners 600").
4 October 1942:
Arrives at Belawan, Sumatra. Loads an Army unit and their horses.
Arrives at Surabaya, Java and departs.
19 October 1942:
Arrives at Kapoko, New Britain.
6 November 1942:
At 1400, NAGARA MARU departs Rabaul for the Shortland Islands, Solomons in an unnumbered convoy also consisting of ARIZONA, SHINANOGAWA, TOYO, YAMAZUKI, TEIYO, YUROI, TOYOKUNI and OIGAWA MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HIYODORI,
minelayer SHIRATAKA, minesweeper W-15 and subchaser CH-16.
8 November 1942:
At 1020, the convoy arrives at Ballale, Shortlands. One POW dies en route. The other POWs are disembarked to build an airfield. All 577 of the "Gunner 600" sent to Ballale are subsequently killed by their captors or die.
Of the 23 Gunners not sent on to Ballale, 18 Gunners survive the war.
13 November 1942: - The Naval Battles for Guadalcanal:
At 1730, NAGARA MARU departs Shortlands for Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal, Solomons with ComDesRon 2’s Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (41) Reinforcement Group’s troop transports BRISBANE, CANBERRA, SHINANOGAWA, SADO,
ARIZONA, NAKO, HIROKAWA, KINUGAWA, YAMAURA and YAMATSUKI MARUs escorted by Tanaka’s DesRon 2’s HAYASHIO, AMAGIRI, KAGERO, KAWAKAZE, MAKINAMI, MOCHIZUKI, NAGANAMI, OYASHIO, SUZUKAZE, TAKANAMI and UMIKAZE.
The transports are carrying 38th Army Division and Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops, equipment and provisions Air cover is provided by the 11th Air Fleet and the R-Area Air Force's floatplane fighters.
NAGARA MARU is carrying the the 5th and 6th Companies of the 230th Infantry Regiment and the 38th Division's Medical Unit
14 November 1942:
At 0849, as Tanaka's Reinforcement Group proceeds down the "Slot" between the New Georgia and Santa Isabel Islands, the 23-ship convoy is sighted by a reconnaissance Douglas "Dauntless" SBD dive-bomber from USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6).
At 0908, the SDB attacks a transport, but is shot down by Japanese fighters.
Off Guadalcanal. At 1250, 18 Marine Corps SBD dive-bombers and seven USN Grumman "Avenger" TBF torpedo-bombers attack the convoy. Mitsubishi A6M "Zekes" shoot down some aircraft, but are engaged by Grumman F4F "Wildcat' fighters
and cannot stop the attack.
NAGARA and CANBERRA MARUs are bombed and sunk. Destroyers AMAGIRI and MOCHIZUKI rescue 1,500 survivors of the two transports. The Americans also damage cargo ship SADO MARU that is detached to the Shortlands with destroyers
AMAGIRI and MOCHIZUKI carrying MajGen Tanabe Suketomo, CO of the IJA’s 38th Division and other survivors. Most equipment, ammunition and food the the sips were carrying is lost.
 The Japanese also lose BRISBANE, SHINANOGAWA and NAKA MARUs and about 450 men KIA in the 13 Nov '42 action. Although troop losses and other casualties for individual ships are unknown, the destroyers rescue more than 4,700 men.
Thanks go to John Whitman of Virginia for troop info in the revisions.
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