(NANKAI MARU No. 2 prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2016 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 3
E 1940:
Osaka. Laid down by Osaka Zosensho K.K. shipyard for Toyo Sangyo K.K. as a 1,960-ton cargo ship, part of the Peacetime Standard Ship (D) Type Program.

6 May 1940:
Launched and named NANKAI MARU No. 2.

7 November 1940:
Completed and registered in Nagoya. Her Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) is 1,080-tons. [1]

E 1941:
Her NRT is changed to 1,075-tons. [1]

6 December 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

10 December 1941:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport, (Otsu) category and attached to the Yokosuka Naval District with Yokosuka as homeport under internal order No. 1623. [2]

15 December 1941:
The conversion to her military duty is completed.

17 December 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

E February 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

18 February 1942:
Supplies auxiliary seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU with 50m3 of 9AG, 50m3 of 87AG and 2,050m3 of mineral oil.

30 April 1942:
At 1300, comes alongside auxiliary ammunition ship KOTOKU MARU to get some electric welding.

1 May 1942:
From 1300-1600, comes alongside KOTOKU MARU and loads 90-tons of water.

2 May 1942:
At 0800, loads drums. From 0925-0935, sustains an airstrike without damage.

3 May 1942:
At 1430, separates from KOTOKU MARU.

4 May 1942:
At 1015, comes alongside KOTOKU MARU and loads coal ‘til 1745. Separates later in the day.

12 May 1942:
At 0700, KOTOKU MARU comes alongside and transfers coal and aviation drums. Separates later that same day.

13 May 1942:
At 1330, KOTOKU MARU comes alongside and transfers coal.

14 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

22 July 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

E August 1942:
Arrives at Saipan, Marianas.

2 August 1942:
Departs Saipan in convoy with IJA transport YAMAFUKU MARU escorted by the auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

5 August 1942:
At 1155, arrives at Truk, Central Carolines.

24 October 1942:
Departs Truk for the Marianas Archipelago in unnumbered convoy also consisting of auxiliary distilling ship NIPPO MARU.

26 October 1942:
NIPPO MARU is detached from the convoy.

27 October 1942:
Arrives at Guam (renamed Omiya Island after its capture), Marianas.

30 October 1942:
Departs Guam.

2 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

E December 1942:
Departs Truk.

4 December 1942:
Arrives at Nauru Island.

7 December 1942:
At 1300 departs Nauru escorted by auxiliary patrol boat KYO MARU No. 7. First sails to Jaluit then Truk.

E December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

30 March 1943:
Departs Truk with navy auxiliary transport AKIBASAN MARU.

2 April 1943:
Arrives at Saipan from Truk separately auxiliary transport AKIBASAN MARU. Auxiliary subchaser KYO MARU No. 8 meets the ship shortly before arrival.

4 April 1943:
Departs Saipan for Guam.

9 April 1943:
At 1400 departs Saipan with NANYO MARU No. 1 and Navy transport KENRYU MARU escorted by auxiliary subchaser KYO MARU No. 10. At some point en route KYO MARU No. 10 is detached and returns to Saipan.

14 April 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

24 May 1943:
Departs Truk for Rabaul in convoy No. 1242 also consisting of IJA storeship MANKO MARU with unknown escort.

29 May 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

8 August 1943:
At 1530, departs Truk for Nauru escorted by auxiliary gunboat HEIJO MARU and auxiliary minesweeper HAGOROMO MARU to 51-00N, 157-05E where auxiliary subchaser SHONAN MARU No. 8 is to take over escort from HAGOROMO MARU.

14 August 1943:
At 0500, expected to arrive at Nauru.

2 September 1943:
Departs Truk for Japan in convoy No. 4902 also consisting of auxiliary transport KIKUKAWA MARU, auxiliary stores ship HARUNA MARU, requisitioned (B-AK) BOKUYO MARU, IJA transports KAIKO and TAIAN MARUs escorted by destroyer IKAZUCHI and kaibokan MUTSURE.

N of Truk. At 1356, LtCdr Merrill K. Clementson’s (USNA ’33) USS SNAPPER (SS-185) is making an approach on the convoy when MUTSURE detects the submarine on her sonar. MUTSURE increases speed to 16 knots and charges the submarine. At 1401, at 900 yards LtCdr Clementson fires three torpedoes “down the throat” at MUTSURE. One hits and blows the bow off the kaibokan and another hits the small escort in the engine room. At 1413, MUTSURE capsizes to port and sinks at 08-40N, 151-31E. As she sinks, her pre-set depth-charges explode killing some survivors in the water. IKAZUCHI foregoes a counter-attack and rescues other survivors including MUTSURE's CO, LtCdr Tomidokoro Kotaro, but 46 crewmen are KIA. USS SNAPPER escapes.

12 September 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

E September 1943:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives in Tokyo Bay at unknown dates.

21 September 1943:
At 1300, departs Tokyo Bay for Truk in convoy No. 3921 also consisting of auxiliary repair ship HAKKAI MARU, auxiliary collier/oiler MIKAGE MARU No. 18, auxiliary transports KIKUKAWA and HIYOSHI MARUs, requisitioned (B-AK) YAMAKUNI MARU, IJA transport TAIAN MARU escorted by kaibokan OKI and FUKUE.

E September 1943:
At some point, NANKAI MARU No. 2 probably encounters some mechanical trouble and returns back to Japan.

29 September 1943:
Arrives at Tokyo.

E October 1943:
Departs Tokyo.

E October 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

22 October 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

E October 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

1 November 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk via Ogasawara Gunto (Bonins) in convoy No. 3101 also consisting of auxiliary transport MUKO MARU, requisitioned (B-AC) collier HIDAKA MARU, requisitioned (B-AK) KONEI MARU, IJA transports TAIKOKU and HAGURO MARUs and civilian passenger/cargo ship SHIBAZONO MARU escorted by destroyers ASANAGI, IKAZUCHI and INAZUMA, and auxiliary gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2.

5 November 1943:
The convoy arrives at Chichi Jima, Bonins. ASANAGI is detached.

E November 1943:
Departs Chichi Jima at an unknown date. Later the convoy splits in two with the section known as convoy No. 3001 consisting of HIDAKA and TAIKOKU MARUs and NANKAI MARU No. 2 escorted by destroyer IKAZUCHI.

10 November 1943:
At 1000, auxiliary minesweeper WA-6 joins the convoy in position 10-46N, 150-47E.

12 November 1943:
About 110 nms NNE of Truk. The convoy is intercepted by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Harry Hull’s (USNA ‘32) USS THRESHER (SS-200). At 2200, Hull fires three torpedoes and hits MUKO MARU. At 2218, she sinks at 09-02N, 152-46E. 18 crewmen are KIA.

13 November 1943:
At 0900, arrives at Truk.

23 November 1943:
At 1500, departs Truk for the Marshalls towing oil barge No. 35, in convoy No. 5223 also consisting of auxiliary transport CHOKO MARU and auxiliary distilling ship NIPPO MARU escorted by escorted by cable-layer TATEISHI and subchaser CH-40. [3] [4]

1 December 1943:
During the night the tow to oil barge No.35 breaks and the barge is abandoned. At 0830, arrives at Kwajalein, Marshalls, less NIPPO MARU that was previously detached for Ponape, Carolines.

21 December 1943:
At 1000, departs Kwajalein escorted by auxiliary minesweeper SHOWA MARU No. 7 and auxiliary subchasers CHa-18 and CHa-19.

23 December 1943:
At 0400, arrives at Mili Atoll, Ratak Chain, Marshalls with a cargo of aviation gasoline and aircraft parts to be delivered to the 22nd Air Flotilla.

While at anchor and not having unloaded her cargo, NANKAI MARU No. 2 sustains an airstrike from Task Force 51 with about 30 Douglas SBD “Dauntless” dive bombers escorted by Grumman F6F “Hellcat” fighter-bombers and USAAF 12 Bell P-39 “Airacobra”. She sinks at 06-05N, 171-43E. Casualties are unknown.

5 February 1944:
Removed from the Navy’s list under internal order No. 526.

Authors' Notes:
[1] NRT is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). It is calculated by subtracting non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's gross register tonnage (GRT). Net register tonnage (NRT) is not a measure of the weight of the ship or its cargo, and should not be confused with terms such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

[2] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

[3] CH-40 apparently was detached from convoy No. 5233 and made port at Rabaul on or before 26 November.

Some sources say CH-30 rather than CH-40.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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