(NAMINOUE MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2014 Bob Hackett
Revision 2

15 June 1936:
Tama. Laid down by Mitsui & Co. shipbuilding as yard no. 224, a 4,731-ton passenger-cargo ship for the Osaka Shosen Kaiska (OSK) Line of Osaka.

7 October 1936:
Launched and named NAMINOUE MARU.

26 December 1936:
Completed. She can accommodate twelve 1st class, 556 2nd class and 774 3rd class passengers and carries a crew of 887. NAMINOUE MARU is placed in service on OSK’s Okaska~Kobe~Naze~Naha (Okinawa) route.

7 July 1937: The "First China Incident" and the Beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War:
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) troops on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops across the river think they are under attack. They fire live round back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to the Peiping (Beijing) suburb of Wanping to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

August 1937:
Chartered by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and converted to a Byoinsen (hospital ship).

19 November 1937:
Departs Ujina to transport wounded to the homeland.

22 November 1937:
Arrives at Shanghai:

25 November 1937:
NAMINOUE MARU departs Shanghai carrying sick and wounded troops.

27 November 1937:
Arrives at Moji and departs.

28 November 1937:
Arrives at Ujina.

14 December 1937:
Departs Ujina . -

15 December 1937:
Arrives at Moji and departs.

17 December 1937:
Arrives at Shanghai

19 December 1937:
Departs Shanghai .

21 December 1937:
Arrives at Moji and departs.

22 December 1937:
Arrives at Ujina:

7 January 1938:
Departs Ujina .

8 January 1938:
Arrives at Moji

9 January 1938:
Departs Moji

12 January 1938:
Arrives at Qinhuangdao

15 January 1938:
Departs Qinhuangdao

18 January 1938:
Arrives at Moji and departs

19 January 1938:
Arrives at Osaka

2 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Armu (IJA) and allotted Army No. 222

6 December 1941: Operation “E” – The Invasion of Malaya:
NAMINOUE MARU departs Pulo Condor for Singora, Siam (now Songkhla, Thailand) accompanying the Singora Invasion Unit. This combined IJN/IJA operation is under operational control of the IJA.

The IJN Singora Invasion Unit consists of minelayer HATSUTAKA (F), transport NOJIMA MARU, seaplane tenders KAMIKAWA, SANYO and SAGARA MARUs, destroyers AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, MURAKUMO and YUGIRI, minesweepers W-1, W-4, W-5 and W-6, subchaser CH-8 and minesweeper tender EIKO MARU.

The IJA Singora Invasion Unit is under command of LtGen Yamashita Tomoyuki’s 25th Army. Troops involved are elements of 5th Division (5th Heavy Company, Kawamura Detachment Brigade, 5th Engineer Battalion, 5th Rec Battalion) 1st Tank Battalion with 37 Medium Type 97 and 20 Light Type 95 tanks, 9th Railroad Engineer Battalion, 11th Engineer Battalion and various air units. Troops are carried by Army transports AOBASAN, ASAKA, ATSUTASAN, KANSAI, KYUSHU, NAKO, SADO and SASAGO MARUs and Army landing craft depot ship SHINSHU (RYUJO) MARU. One Ship AA Regiment and one Ship Signal Regiment are also carried on the transports. Further Invasion Units are destined for Kota Bharu, Malaya.

7 December 1941:
At 2340, the Invasion Convoy arrives at Singora. The landings proceed without strong opposition.

September 1942:
The IJA releases NAMINOUE MARU from her role as a hospital ship and she is converted to a troop transport. Painted grey overall and fitted with AA guns.

27 September 1942: Oki Transportation Movement:
Departs Saeki for Rabaul in convoy Oki Part 1 also consisting of transport KAMO MARU escorted by destroyer TAKANAMI and patrol boat PB-46. NAMINOUE MARU carries 290 soldiers bound for the 17th Army in charge of the recapture of Guadalcanal, one Daihatsu barge, two Shohatsu landing craft and a cargo of gravel.

7 October 1942:
Off New Ireland. At 1145, LtCdr Lucius H. Chappell’s (USNA '37) USS SCULPIN's (SS-191) crew sight smoke on the horizon. At 1232, they incorrectly identify the targets as a HATSUHARU-class destroyer, a 6,000-ton cargo tranport (AK-AP) and a large 10,000-ton transport making 14 knots on an eastwardly course. At 1320, Chappell fires four bow torpedoes at NAMINOUE MARU. SCULPIN's crew hears three hits. One of the torpedoes hits NAMINOUE MARU in her No. 3 hold and causes flooding and a list to port. Later, she sinks at 03-14S, 151-33E. SCULPIN evades the escort's counter attack. TAKANAMI rescues 279 survivors. Two men of the 51st Hospital Ship Medical Section are KIA. [1]

Author's Note:
[1] One Japanese source claims three seamen were KIA, but another record says 11 men were KIA.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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