(NANA MARU, prewar)
IJN NANA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2011 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall
17 June 1939:
Aioi. Laid down by Harima Zosensho K.K. shipyard as a
6,757-ton passenger/cargo ship for Kokusai Kisen K.K., Tokyo, but is purchased
on the stocks by the Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK) Line of Osaka.
16 April 1940:
Launched and named NANA MARU.
29 June 1940:
Completed and registered in Osaka.
E June 1940:
Placed on OSK’s Japan ~ West Africa regular run.
E July 1940:
Britain, at war in Europe, puts limitations on merchant
ships calling on their African ports. NANA MARU is the last ship to sail from
Japan before OSK's West Africa commercial service ends.
21 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a transport (Ippan
1 October 1941:
Registered in the IJN under internal order No. 1168
and attached to the Maizuru Naval District.
12 October 1941:
Osaka. Conversion to an auxiliary transport is
completed at Osaka Iron Works K.K.
E November 1941:
Re-attached to Vice Admiral (later Admiral)
Tsukahara Nishizo’s (36) (former CO of CV AKAGI) 11th Air Fleet, Supply Unit as
an auxiliary transport (Ko) category. NANA MARU’s home port is Takao, Formosa
(now Kaohsiung, Taiwan). The 11th Air Fleet Supply Unit also consists of
auxiliary aircraft transports KAMOGAWA, KEIYO and LYONS MARUs, ammunition ship
TATSUGAMI MARU and auxiliary transports AMAGISAN, NIKKOKU MARUs and HINO MARU
No. 5. 
5 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao, Mindanao, Philippines.
7 January 1942:
Departs Davao for Tarakan, Borneo.
10-11 January 1942:
Arrives near Tarakan waters. Later, provides
supplies to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto’s (39) Tarakan
21 January 1942:
At 1700, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose
Sueto's (39) Balikpapan Invasion Convoy departs Tarakan, Borneo with IJN
transports NANA, ASAHISAN, TATSUGAMI, KANAYAMASAN, SUMANOURA, KUMAGAWA, TOEI
(4,004 GRT) and NITTEI MARUs and IJA transports KURETAKE, HAVANA, EHIME,
LIVERPOOL, TEIRYU (ex-German AUGSBURG), HITERU, TSURAGU, HANKOW and NISSHO MARUs
carrying the Balikpapan Invasion Force consisting of MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo’s
56th Mixed Infantry Group (Sakaguchi Detachment) and the Kure No. 2 Special
Naval Landing Force (SNLF) escorted by patrol boats PB-36, PB-37, PB-38,
minesweepers W-15, W-16, W-17, W-18 and SubChasDiv 31's CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12.
Cover is provided by light cruiser NAKA with DesDiv 2's YUDACHI,
SAMIDARE, MURASAME, HARUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO and DesDiv
24's KAWAKAZE and UMIKAZE. Seaplane tenders SANUKI and SANYO MARUs provide air
Poor weather hampers air reconnaissance by ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) forces, but ABDA Air finally locates the
invasion force. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) William A. Glassford's Task
Force 5's light cruisers USS MARBLEHEAD (CL-12), BOISE (CL-47) and Cdr (later Captain) Paul H.
Talbot's (USNA '18), DesDiv 59's old destroyers PARROTT (DD-218), POPE (DD-225), JOHN D.
FORD (DD-228) and PAUL JONES (DD-230) are ordered to stop the invasion force,
but BOISE runs aground and MARBLEHEAD develops engine trouble. DesDiv 59 is
detached and increases speed to arrive at Balikpapan at midnight on January 23.
23 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo:
the invasion force until it is almost to Balikpapan. At 1050 (local time), the
convoy is attacked by three enemy aircraft, which are repulsed. At 1625, nine
Dutch Martin Model 166 (139WH-3) (B-10) bombers and four light bombers from
Samarinda attack and hit transports NANA and TATSUGAMI MARUs.
At 1646, NANA MARU is hit in No. 6 hold by a bomb, splinters from others
that land to port alongside the same hold adds to the fires raised. At 1650, No.
5 hold’s aviation gasoline ignites and explodes. Navigation becomes impossible
and over the following hours the flames take a firm grip. At 1730, the Abandon
Ship order is given. Finally, at 2100, after a huge explosion, NANA MARU sinks
at 01-18S, 117-43E.
5 February 1942:
Removed from the Navy’s list under internal order
Authors notes :
 See Zatsuyosen home page for full explanation.
There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as
supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.
Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.
-Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall
IJN Transports Page