(NANKAI MARU prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011-2018 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall
Revision 5

1 October 1931:
Nagasaki. Laid down by Mitsubishi Zosen K.K. Nagasaki Zosensho shipyard as the fifth of six diesel-driven high speed cargo ship, for Osaka Shosen (OSK) K.K., Osaka. [1]

5 July 1932:
Launched and named NANKAI MARU.

14 January 1933:
Completed and registered at Osaka. Her gross and net registered tonnages are respectively 8,409-tons and 5,105-tons. Later, her gross registered tonnage (G.R.T) and net registered tonnage are changed to 8,416-tons and 5,114-tons respectively.

E March 1934:
NANKAI MARU is placed on O.S.K.’s Far East ~ New York service with outbound calls at the Philippines ~ Hong Kong ~ Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan) ~ Shanghai ~ Guangzhou ~ Kobe ~ Ise Wan (Bay) ~ Yokohama ~ Los Angeles ~ Cristobal, Panama ~ Puerto Colombia, Colombia ~ New York ~ Hampton Roads ~ Savannah and homeward bound calls at Cristobal ~ Los Angeles ~ Yokohama ~ Osaka ~ Shanghai ~ Hong Kong ~ and the Philippines.

14 July 1936:
Departs Los Angeles for Yokohama.

29 July 1936:
Arrives at Yokohama.

E June 1938:
Placed on OSK's New York ~ Europe route.

23 September 1938:
Arrives at San Francisco.

E 1940:
Her net registered tonnage is changed to 5,114-tons.

E 1940-1941:
Placed on Dairen (now Dalian) route.

3 December 1940:
Departs Kobe for New York.

7 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a transport (Ippan Choyosen). [2]

18 August 1941:
Starts conversion to her military role in Sasebo Naval Yard.

15 October 1941:
Captain Maki Akira (32) is posted Supervisor.

10 November 1941:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport under internal order No. 1391 and attached to the Sasebo Naval District as an auxiliary transport, (Ko) category. Her home port is Sasebo. [3]

20 November 1941:
Assigned to Combined Fleet, Third Fleet, to transport troops to the Southern Area.

27 November 1941:
Conversion is completed.

28 November 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

4 December 1941:
Arrives at Palau, Carolines.

1 January 1942:
Departs Palau.

4 January 1942:
Arrives at Malalag, Davao Gulf, Philippines.

5 January 1942:
Departs Malalag and arrives that same day at Davao.

7 January 1942:
Departs Davao and arrives that same day at Magnaga Bay, NE part of Davao Gulf, Mindanao, Philippines where the invasion convoy is assembled.

9 January 1942: Operation "H" - The Invasion of Celebes, Netherlands East Indies:
The invasion convoy unit consists of eight IJN transports: KINAI, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, KATSURAGI, SHOKA (4467 GRT), KOSHIN (6530 GRT), CHOWA and AMAGISAN MARUs, carryng Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mori Kunizo's (40)(former CO of SATA) Sasebo No. 1 and 2 Combined SNLF of about 2,500 men. The transports are accompanied by supply ships SHINKO (545 GRT) and OHA MARU (future IJN KURESAKI).

The convoy is escorted by MineSweepDiv 21's W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12 in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji's (38) 1st Base Force with light cruiser NAGARA, SubChasDiv 1's CH-1, CH-2 and CH-3 and patrol boats PB-1, PB-2, PB-34.

The convoy is organized into two echelons. The first echelon consisting of SHOKA, KOSHIN and CHOWA MARUs accompanied by SHINKO and OHA MARUs departs at 0100, cruising at nine knots.

The second echelon consisting of NANKAI, KINAI, HOKUROKU, AMAGISAN and KATSURAGI MARUs departs at 1000 that same day, cruising at 12 knots.

11 January 1942:
At 0110, the Menado occupation force with NANKAI, KINAI, SHOKA (4467 GRT), KOSHIN (6530 GRT), CHOWA and AMAGISAN MARUs arrives at No. 1 landing operation floating anchorage (Menado Roadstead) and prepares for landing troops N and S of Menado port. At 0315, the first landing forces depart transports and land at 0400.

At 0130, the Kema (small port on NE coast of Minahasa Peninsula, SE of Menado) occupation force, with HOKUROKU and KATSURAGI MARUs, arrives at No.1 landing operation floating anchorage (Kema Roadstead). At 0345 , the first landing troops depart the transports and land at 0420.

Later, 334 men of Cdr (later Captain) Horiuchi Toyoaki's Yokosuka No. 1 SNLF (Air) are dropped successfully from Mitsubishi G3M1-L Nell converted transport aircraft in the Menado-Kema area. The paratroops seize Langoan airfield.

At 1540, AMAGISAN MARU receives slight damage by a near miss during an attack by three Dutch aircraft.

13 January 1942:
Departs Menado for Bangka anchorage, Celebes (now Pulau Bangka, Sulawesi).

17 January 1942:
At 1120 PB-1 arrives back at Menado escorting KATSURAGI, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, and KINAI MARUs. At 1517 PB-1 arrives back at Banka and refuels from auxiliary fleet oiler SAN CLEMENTE MARU.

20 January 1942:
Arrives at Bangka.

21 January 1942:
Departs Bangka for Kendari, Celebes in convoy.

23-24 January 1942: The Invasion of Kendari, Celebes:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji’s (38)(former CO of KAGA), Kendari Invasion Convoy consists of NANKAI, KINAI, SHOKA (4467 GRT), KOSHIN (6530 GRT), CHOWA and AMAGISAN MARUs carrying Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mori Kunizo's (40) (former CO of SATA) Sasebo No. 1 and 2 Combined SNLF.

Escort is provided by DesRon 10’s light cruiser NAGARA, DesDiv 15’s HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 16’s TOKITSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE, MineSweepDiv 21’s W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12 and Subchaser Div 1’s CH-1 and CH-2. The 11th Seaplane Tender Division’s CHITOSE and MIZUHO provide distant support.

During the night, SNLF forces land N of Kendari. Two hours later they reach their main objective – the Kendari airfield which is captured after little resistance by KNIL (Dutch) troops. Kendari Air Base is considered the best in the Dutch East Indies and is immediately put into operation by the Japanese 21st Air Flotilla.

25 January 1942:
25 Japanese fighters land on Kendari’s airfield.

26 January 1942:
27 bombers land on Kendari’s airfield followed by a lot more of them later. The airfield is extremely important as the Japanese could now control the important life line from Australia to Java Island and they could also bomb Java Island (Surabaya Naval Base among others) itself.

27 January 1942:
At 1330 PB-1 departs Kendari escorting AMAGISAN, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, and KINAI MARUs.

29 January 1942:
At 0445 arrives at Bangka.

2 February 1942:
Departs Bangka with for Staring Bay, Celebes.

3 February 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay. A primary naval base is soon established there.

6 February 1942: The Invasion of Macassar, Celebes:
The Macassar invasion convoy consists of JN transports NANKAI, KINAI, HOKUROKU, MATSUE, MONTEVIDEO and YAMASHIMO MARUs. The transports are accompanied by auxiliary oiler SAN CLEMENTE MARU, acting as a replenishing vessel.

The convoy is organized in two echelons. The first echelon, with KINAI, NANKAI and HOKUROKU MARUs carries Captain Mori’s Sasebo Combined Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) (Rikusentai) Macassar Occupation Force .

The second echelon, with MATSUE, MONTEVIDEO and YAMASHIMO MARUs carries the 5th and 6th Naval Construction Units (Setsueihan).

Both echelons depart successively Staring Bay with SAN CLEMENTE MARU escorted by light cruiser NAGARA, DesDiv 8’s ASASHIO, MICHISHIO, ARASHIO and OSHIO, DesDiv 15’s HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 21’s WAKABA, NATSUSHIN and NENOHI and SubChasDiv 2’s CH-13, CH-14 and CH-15. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro's (38)(former CO of FUSO) CarDiv 11's CHITOSE, MIZUHO and SANUKI MARU provide distant support.

9 February 1942:
Macassar Strait. During the landing of the Sasebo Combined SNLF invasion force, DesDiv 15's NATSUSHIO is torpedoed and sunk by Lt (later Rear Admiral) James C. Dempsey's (USNA ’31) old submarine USS S-37. NATSUSHIO is only loss suffered by the IJN in the action.

16 February 1942:
Departs Macassar.

25 February 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

10 March 1942:
Assigned by Navy Ministry to Sasebo Naval District.

18 March 1942:
Departs Sasebo and arrives that same day at Miike.

19 March 1942:
Departs Miike for Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture.

22 March 1942:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

24 March 1942:
Departs Yokkaichi and arrives that same day at Kobe.

26 March 1942:
Departs Kobe for Sasebo.

28 March 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

31 March 1942:
Departs Sasebo for Singapore, Malaya.

7 April 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

24 April 1942:
Departs Singapore for Dungun, Malaya.

25 April 1942:
Arrives at Dungun.

29 April 1942:
Departs Dungun for Moji.

6 May 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

8 May 1942:
Departs Moji for Ujina, Hiroshima Prefecture.

9 May 1942:
Arrives at Ujina.

10 May 1942:
NANKAI MARU is assigned to Second Fleet for the upcoming “MI” Operation to transport the IJA “Ichiki” Detachment under IJA LtCol Ichiki Kiyono.

18 May 1942:
ZENYO and and NANKAI MARUs depart Ujina carrying LtCol Ichiki Kiyonao's IJA detachment. ZENYO MARU carries the Ichiki Detachment’s headquarters and main body. NANKAI MARU carries the remaining elements of the task force built around Colonel Ichiki’s 28th Infantry: four infantry companies, one machine gun company, one infantry gun platoon, one engineer company, and one antitank company.

19 May 1942:
Arrives at Moji. The 8th Independent rapid fire company joins the Ichiki Detachment for a total 2,507 men.

20 May 1942:
Departs Moji at 0400 for Saipan, Marianas in convoy with ZENYO MARU unescorted. At Bungo Suido meets up with 4 ship convoy consisting of KIRISHIMA, KANO, YAMAFUKU MARUs and TOA MARU No. 2 GO escorted by destroyers SHIRANUI and KASUMI and proceeds with them.

25 May 1942:
At 0835 arrives at Saipan and joins the other transports involved in the “MI” Operation.

28 May 1942: Operation “MI” -The Battle of Midway:
NANKAI MARU carrying Ichiki’s detachment troops and supplies is in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35) Midway Invasion Force with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (41) Transport Group also consisting of TOA MARU No. 2, KIYOSUMI, ZENYO, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, AZUMA, GOSHU, KANO, KEIYO, KIRISHIMA and HOKUROKU MARUs, oiler AKEBONO MARU escorted by DesRon 2’s light cruiser JINTSU with DesDiv 15’s KUROSHIO, OYASHIO, DesDiv 16’s AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, YUKIKAZE and DesDiv 18’s destroyer-transports ARARE, KASUMI and SHIRANUHI.

Rear Admiral Fujita Ruitaro’s (38) 11th Seaplane Tender Division’s CHITOSE and KAMIKAWA MARU provide air cover. The Midway Invasion Force departs Saipan and heads to Midway Islands.

3 June 1942:
The convoy is bombed by nine B-17s. NANKAI MARU is undamaged. Then the convoy is attacked by torpedo-carrying PBY amphibious patrol planes. AKEBONO MARU is torpedoed and KIYOSUMI MARU is strafed. NANKAI MARU is again undamaged.

4 June 1942:
The convoy is contacted by PBY P-12; one of eleven VP-44 launched from Midway that morning on a search/strike mission. Seaplane carrier CHITOSE launches three Mitsubishi F1-M "Pete" fighter float biplanes to intercept the flying boat. They engage P-12 at 500 feet and shoot it down into the sea. Lt (j.g.) Robert Whitman and four of his ten-man aircrew are lost. [4]

6 June 1942:
Due to IJN’s defeat at Midway, Operation “MI” is cancelled.

13 June 1942:
NANKAI MARU arrives at Truk, Carolines. Ichiki Detachment disembark.

19 June 1942:
Returns to duty. Departs Truk. Arrives at an unknown date at Guam, Marianas (renamed Omiya Island by the Japanese after its capture).

26 June 1942:
Departs Guam for Ujina with transport ZENYO MARU via Bungo Suido (Straits) escorted by patrol boat PB-35.

1 July 1942:
Arrives at Ujina.

3 July 1942:
Departs Ujina and arrives that same day at Kure.

4 July 1942:
Departs Kure for Yokohama.

6 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

11 July 1942:
Departs Yokohama and arrives that same day at Yokosuka. Later at 1700, departs for Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan) escorted by destroyers YUKIKAZE and TOKITSUKAZE.

15 July 1942:
At 1900 arrives at Takao.

21 July 1942:
Departs Takao for Rabaul, New Britain, still escorted by destroyers YUKIKAZE and TOKITSUKAZE.

28 July 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

31 July 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Basabua, New Guinea escorted by minelayer TSUGARU and subchaser CH-28. The group is attacked by aircraft and forced to abandon the mission part way to destination.

3 August 1942:
Arrives back at Rabaul.

4 August 1942:
Following IJN’s defeat at Midway, the campaign third phase’s is revised. NANKAI MARU is assigned to transport the 14th and 15th Naval Construction Units to New Guinea.

6 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul, New Britain for Buna, New Guinea in a convoy also consisting of KINAI and KENYO MARUs escorted by light cruiser TATSUTA, destroyers YUZUKI and UZUKI and subchasers CH-30 and CH-23 carrying 3,000 men of the 14th and 15th Naval Construction Units, their construction equipment, vehicles, and some army supplies.

7 August 1942:
Following American landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi, the convoy is recalled by Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa (38), commander of the newly established 8th Fleet, when it is only part way to its destination. Arrives back at Rabaul later that same day.

8 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul still in same convoy.

9 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul back again.

12 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul still in same convoy.

13 August 1942:
Arrives at Basabua. Troops disembark. Departs late that day.

14 August 1942:
Departs Basabua for Rabaul.

15 August 1942:
Arrives back at Rabaul.

24 August 1942: Operation “RE” Rabbi (Rabi) - Milne Bay, Papua, New Guinea:
Departs Rabaul for Rabi in a convoy also consisting of KINAI MARU carrying about 850 men of the No. 5 Kure Special Naval Landing Force led by Cdr Hayashi Masajiro and a company of the No. 5 SLNF led by Lieutenant Fujikawa, the 10th Naval Construction Party and 2nd Air Advance Party totaling about 360 engineers and non-combat personnel. Rear Admiral Matsuyama Mitsaharu (40) (ex CO of TAKAO) escort consists of CruDiv 18’ TENRYU and TATSUTA and DesDiv 17’ TANIKAZE, URAKAZE and HAMAKAZE and subchasers CH-22 and CH-24.

25 August 1942:
Near Kitava Island, Trobriand Islands. In the afternoon, the convoy is spotted by a RAAF Lockheed "Hudson" light bomber Soon thereafter, 12 RAAF Curtiss P-40 "Kittyhawks" fighters and a Hudson bomber strafe the convoy and attempt to bomb the transports with 250-lb bombs near Rabi Island. Only limited damage is sustained and no ships are sunk.

At 2330, the convoy arrives at Milne Bay. Due to dense fog, landings take place considerably further E of Rabi, between Wahahuba and Ahioma. This gives the Australian garrison time to prepare their defense, and means their P-40s are unhindered in their operations.

26 August 1942:
In the morning, P-40s escort a strike of Boeing B-17s “Flying Fortresses” that bomb the invasion force. NANKAI MARU and URAKAZE are damaged. This air strike forces the convoy to retreat before unloading is completed. Only about 1,150 of the Japanese troops and two Type 95 "Ha-Go" light tanks get ashore. The convoy departs Milne Bay for Rabaul.

28 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

E 3 September 1942:
The Japanese high command orders a withdrawal from Milne Bay. Departs Rabaul with KINAI MARU escorted by light cruisers TATSUTA, TENRYU and destroyer HAMAKAZE.

5 September 1942:
Arrives at Milne Bay and undertakes evacuation of previously landed troops. Departs later for Rabaul.

E 7 September 1942:
Arrives back at Rabaul and probably undergoes some battle-damage repairs until 25 Sep '42.

25 September 1942:
Repairs are completed. Returns to duty.

10 October 1942:
Attached to Combined Fleet, under Navy’s secret order No. 145. NANKAI MARU’s primary mission is to transport LtGen Harukichi Hyakutake’s 17th Army’s troops and IJN SNLF troops to Guadalcanal in a “High Speed Convoy”.

12 October 1942: - First Assault Convoy for Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal:
Departs Rabaul for Guadalcanal via Shortlands in a “High Speed Convoy” also consisting of IJA transports SADO, SAKITO and SASAKO MARU and IJN auxiliary transports KYUSHU and AZUMASAN MARUs escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Takama Tamotsu’s (41) DesRon 4’s AKIZUKI (F), Desdivs 2’s YUDACHI, HARUSAME, SAMIDARE, MURASAME and DesDiv 27’s SHIGURE, SHIRATSUYU and ARIAKE.

The convoy carries about 4,500 troops including the IJA’s 16th Regiment, two battalions of the 230th Infantry Regiment and 824 men of the No. 4 Maizuru Special Naval Landing Force ( SNLF) from Rabaul and Shortlands. The ships also carry a battery of 100-mm guns and a battery of 150-mm howitzers, the 38th Field AA battalion, the 45th Field AA Battalion, one company of the 47th Field AA battalion, the 1st Company of the 38th Engineer Regiment, the 1st Independent Tank Company, one section of the 38th Division Signal Company, ammunition and provisions. Air cover is provided by the 11th Air Fleet and the R-Area Air Force's floatplane fighters.

At 1400, about 100 miles from Shortlands’ anchorage, the convoy is attacked by 30 aircraft of the ‘Cactus Air Force’. At 1530, a second attack occurs. Both are ineffective however and the ships sustain no damage. The convoy arrives at Shortlands later that same day.

13 October 1942:
The convoy departs Shortlands and arrives at midnight at Tassafaronga. Unloading operations are undergone.

14 October 1942:
At dawn, Mitsubishi A6M "Zekes" fighters from carriers HIYO and JUNYO and floatplane fighters of the R-Area Air Force provide cover over the unloading operation. At 0600, a flight of six Grumman F4F "Wildcat' fighters strafe the transports. One F4F is lost and another damaged as is a floatplane fighter.

At about 1030, the transports are attacked by the “Cactus Air Force” (later Air Sols) from Henderson Field, Guadalcanal with a force of 25 aircraft including 12 Douglas "Dauntless" SBD dive-bombers, three USAAF P-39s and one P-400 “Airacobra” fighters, eight F4F fighter and one PBY-5 “Catalina” armed with two torpedoes. An SDB or the PBY hits SASAKO MARU and starts a fatal fire. She is beached and becomes a total loss, but her troops, tanks, and guns are landed successfully.

At 1145, NANKAI MARU, having completed her unloading, departs the area for Buin, escorted by destroyer ARIAKE. At 1150, after most of the remaining transports had landed almost all of their troops and heavy equipment, a flight of 11 B-17 “Flying Fortress” heavy bombers from Espiritu Santo attack the transports. AZUMASAN MARU is hit and beached. At about 1330, in another American air attack KYUSHU MARU is hit by a bomb, set afire and beached. Their troops, tanks, and guns are landed successfully, but the tank fuel and ammunition they carried are lost. Both ships burn out and become total losses.

16 October 1942:
Arrives at Buin, Bougainville Island, Solomons.

17 October 1942:
Departs Buin for Rabaul.

18 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Probably undergoes maintenance.

22 October 1942:
Returns to duty.

25 October 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Kobe.

3 November 1942:
Arrives at Kobe. Probably undergoes maintenance and repairs.

29 November 1942:
Departs Kobe for Sasebo.

1 December 1942:
At 1340 arrives at Sasebo. Tethers at No. 10 buoy. Her current CO is Navy Captain Maki Akira (32).

Early December 1942:
In late Oct ’42, a Japanese directive called for an airbase to be built at Munda Point, New Georgia southern coast, about 150 nms NW of Guadalcanal. The airfield is operational for fighters on Dec 17 but a 1,500 foot extension for bombers is needed. Therefore, NANKAI MARU is assigned to transport the 17th Naval Construction Unit, the 21st AA Unit with six guns (25mm and 7.7mm) and related supplies and ammunition to the Solomons.

2 December 1942:
Start of loading operations. Replenishes fresh water, loads supplies.

3 December 1942:
Replenishes fuel tanks.

4 December 1942:
Loads building material.

5 December 1942:
Loads assorted goods and clothing material. Completes loading operations.

6 December 1942:
449 engineers and men of the 17th Naval Construction Unit and 31 troops embark. At 1830 departs Sasebo in an unnumbered convoy bound for Rabaul also consisting of auxiliary transport KAGU MARU and escorted by minesweepers W-3 and W-5.

7 December 1942:
At 1700, the minesweepers depart. KAGU and NANKAI MARUs proceed unescorted.

8 December 1942:
At 1615, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral/ComSubLant) Vernon L. Lowrance's (USNA ’30) USS KINGFISH (SS-234) intercepts KAGU and NANKAI MARUs. Lowrance fires three Mark-14 torpedoes N of Okino-Tori-Shima at 22-49N, 136-07W. One strikes NANKAI MARU, but fails to explode. The two transports continue the voyage.

12 December 1942:
NANKAI MARU proceeds to some gunfire trials.

13 December 1942:
At 1340 patrol boat PB-1 meets the convoy and provides escort to its final destination.

14 December 1942:
At 1700 arrives at Rabaul. 15 troops disembark.

15 December 1942:
16 troops disembark.

16 December 1942:
Due to frequent allied airstrikes some sandbags are placed on NANKAI MARU to provide additional protection against splinters.

17 December 1942:
Simpson Harbor, Rabaul is bombed and strafed by allied aircraft twice that day from 0850-0920 and from 2000-2130. NANKAI MARU is undamaged.

18 December 1942:
Two 17th Naval Construction Unit’s men disembark.

19 December 1942:
Goes alongside supply ship SEIA MARU and transfers her supplies till Dec 21.

21 December 1942:
From 1335-1350 sustains another airstrike again with no damage. Transfer operations are completed. NANKAI MARU separates from SEIA MARU.

22 December 1942:
From 0840-0920 sustains another airstrike again with no damage.

23 December 1942:
Under South Seas Force No. 76 instruction, NANKAI MARU is to be temporarily fitted with AA guns for the forthcoming “XXIII operational mission” to the south (Munda). 164 21st AA Unit’s troops embark.

24 December 1942:
Fitted with six 13mm AA guns from the 31st/2 AA Unit. That same day from 1045-1115 USAAF B-17 “Flying Fortresses” bomb Simpson harbor again. NANKAI MARU is not hit but KAGU and KOZAN MARUs are damaged.

25 December 1942:
From 0135-0320 sustains another airstrike again with no damage. Three passengers embark. At 1300 departs Rabaul for Munda escorted by destroyer UZUKI.
About 25 nms WSW of Cape St George: LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) William E. Ferrall's (USNA ’27) USS SEADRAGON (SS-194) intercepts the two ships.

At 1725, in position 05-02S, 152-33E, Ferrall torpedoes and damages NANKAI MARU with one hit forward of her bridge causing some flooding in No. 3 hold.

At 1755, UZUKI while attempting to tow the damaged transport, collides with NANKAI MARU in position 05-10S, 152-40E, and is disabled.

Destroyers ARIAKE and URAKAZE are ordered to tow the two disabled ships back to Rabaul. At 2030, ARIAKE and NANKAI MARU are bombed by B-24 "Liberators". ARIAKE is damaged by near-misses.
At 2344, NANKAI MARU, towed by ARIAKE shelters in Eber Bay, New Britain.

26 December 1942:
Destroyer UZUKI arrives back at Rabaul towed by destroyer URAKAZE. NANKAI MARU departs Eber Bay, still towed by ARIAKE, and also arrives back at Rabaul. Three passengers and 128 troops disembark.

27 December 1942:
From 2300-2350 another airstrike is sustained but no further damage inflicted. Auxiliary transport KEISHO MARU comes alongside NANKAI MARU. Ammunition, supplies are transferred to KEISHO MARU as well as 164 21st AA Unit’s troops and six 13mm AA guns from the 31st/2 AA Unit.

28 December 1942:
Transfer operations are completed. KEISHO MARU separates from NANKAI MARU. Three other air raids are sustained that same day without further damage (from 0315-0510, from 0715-0825 and from 1840-2230).

29 December 1942:
Repair ship HAKKAI MARU comes alongside NANKAI MARU. A hull inspection by divers is proceeded to estimate the damage made by the torpedo hit and patch the hull. From 1840-1910 another airstrike is sustained with no additional damage.

30 December 1942:
Hull inspection is completed. Repairs are started. Two other bombing are sustained with no additional damage (from 0310-0450 and from 0810-0830).

31 December 1942:
From 0330-0510 another airstrike is sustained with no additional damage.

1 January 1943:
From 0200 to 0540 another airstrike is sustained with no additional damage.

2 January 1943:
Internal repairs are made and water pumped out (till Jan 4) and hull repairs are being undergone (completed Jan 16). Three other bombings are sustained that same day without any further damage (from 1000-1020, 1210-1230 and 2115-2145).

3 January 1943:
Two other aerial attacks are sustained without any further damage (from 0400-0500 and 1145-1210).

4 January 1943:
Pumping out the water is completed. From 1020-1115 another airstrike is sustained without damage to the ship.

5 January 1943:
Five bombings raids hit Rabaul that day but no further damage is inflicted to NANKAI MARU. However destroyer UZUKI is further damaged by bombs. (These raids occur from 0725-0800, 0900-0910, 1018-1105, 1300-1335 and 1510-1600). Loading operations start (completed Jan 10).

6 January 1943:
From 1050-1100 another bombing hits the anchorage with no damage sustained. Repair ship HAKKAI MARU comes alongside NANKAI MARU. Divers carry a new hull inspection.

7 January 1943:
Two other aerial attacks (from 1140-1150 and 1450-1540) are sustained without any further damage.

10 January 1943:
From 1820-1840 another airstrike is sustained without damage to the ship.

11 January 1943:
Two other aerial attacks (from 0900-0915 and 1050-1110) are sustained without any further damage.

12 January 1943:
Temporary battle-damage repairs on NANKAI MARU are completed and vessel undergoes trials. Departs Rabaul and returns back arriving that same day.

13 January 1943:
Comes alongside water-supply ship KOAN MARU. Replenishes 300-tons of fresh water.

14 January 1943:
Rabaul is bombed again from 1305-1540. No damage sustained by the ship.

15 January 1943:
Two other aerial attacks (from 0340-0500 and 1800-1840) are sustained without any further damage.

16 January 1943:
Repairs are completed. Another bombing raid from 2030-2400 is sustained with no damage.

17 January 1943:
From 0000-0340 another airstrike is sustained without damage to the ship.

18 January 1943:
Rabaul is bombed twice that day from 0010-0230 and 0900-0915. No damage.

20 January 1943:
At 1500 departs Rabaul for Truk in a convoy also consisting of KAIHEI and TAIFUKU MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-18 and CH-22.

22 January 1943 :
Steffen Straits. At 1200 CH-18 and CH-22 are detached. Also at 1200, subchaser CH-12 escorts the convoy to its final destination.

24 January 1943 :
At 1030 arrives at Truk. Loads weapons (til 28 Jan).

28 January 1943:
Loading operations are completed.

31 January 1943:
At 0800 NANKAI MARU transfers to anchorage and undergoes repairs to one of her anchors.

1 February 1943:
At 0700 repair ship AKASHI start emergency repairs to NANKAI MARU.

2 February 1943:
Undergoes maintenance and repairs (til 2 Mar).

13 February 1943:
Loads assorted goods.

15 February 1943:
NANKAI MARU’s hull emergency repairs continue to be performed by repair ship AKASHI’s personnel (til 22 Feb).

3 March 1943:
NANKAI MARU’s external degaussing cable emergency repair is performed by repair ship AKASHI’s personnel (til 3 Mar).

4 March 1943:
Loads fresh food.

5 March 1943:
Undergoes testing to her external degaussing cable.

7 March 1943:
Undergoes general maintenance (till Mar 8).

8 March 1943:
At 0700 departs Truk for Sasebo to be provided with permanent repairs. Sails with auxiliary minelayer KAHOKU MARU. Escorted by destroyer NAGANAMI.

16 March 1943:
At 0600 MAGANAMI is detached. At 1600 arrives at Sasebo and tethers to buoy No. 6.

18 March 1943:
Unloads empty bottles, crates, etc.

19 March 1943:
Unloads cookware equipment.

20 March 1943:
Undergoes general care and maintenance (til 26 Mar).

25 March 1943:
Unloads depth-charges.

26 March 1943:
Get some new clothing material for her crew to replace the ones damaged in the strikes.

29 March 1943:
At 0930 enters Sasebo naval yard dock No. 5 to undergo a hull inspection.

30 March 1943:
Undergoes inspection of her 8cm gun shells (til 31 Mar).

2 April 1943:
At 0930 undocked and at 1030 tethers to No. 10 buoy.

3 April 1943:
Undergoes general care and maintenance (til 17 Apr).

10 April 1943:
Loads cookware equipment and replenishes fuel.

17 April 1943:
Loads sake wine.

18 April 1943:
At 0930 departs Sasebo and arrives at 1400 that same day, at Nagasaki.

20 April 1943:
Docks at Mitsubishi Engineering and Shipping K.K. shipyard.

21 April 1943:
Undergoes permanent repairs (til 26 May).

25 May 1943:
Navy Captain Maki Akira (32) is confirmed as CO.

28 May 1943:
Preparations for undocking operations are made. Supplies are transferred from warehouse (til 31 May).

1 June 1943:
At 1730 undocked. Undergoes further repairs (til 16 Jun).

17 June 1943:
Repairs are finally completed. At 0900 departs Nagasaki arriving at 1500 that same day at Sasebo. Tethers at buoy No. 3. Assigned, under telegram No. 743, to a transport mission with calls at Dairen ~ Kobe ~ Kure and Maizuru.

18 June 1943:
Loads shells and depth-charges. Replenishes fresh water tanks (til 20 Jun).

21 June 1943:
Loads 300-tons of fuel.

22 June 1943:
At 1500 departs Sasebo for Dairen.

24 June 1943:
At 1830 arrives at Dairen and docks at pier No. 3.

25 June 1943:
Loads pig iron, hemp fiber and other sundries totaling 7,621-tons.

27 June 1943:
At 1700 departs Dairen for Kobe via Shichihatsu To (Chilbal To) (island), S of Chosen (Korea).

28 June 1943:
At 2200 arrives at Shichihatsu To.

29 June 1943:
At 0830 departs Shichihatsu To for Kobe.

30 June 1943:
Assigned, under telegram No. 54, to a transport mission (effective when at Maizuru).

1 July 1943:
At 0700 arrives at Kobe. Unloads pig iron, hemp fiber and other sundries totaling 3,124-tons (til 4 Jul).

5 July 1943:
At 0940 departs Kobe arriving at 1115 that same day at Osaka. Members of the 231st quartering party, currently assigned to ships under construction No. 4560, No. 5239, No. 5282, No. 5283, No. 5284, No. 5285, No. 4700, No. 4701 and to Daihatsu 17m landing craft, embark. Loads 130-tons of steel. Departs later at 1800 for Kure.

6 July 1943:
At 0945 arrives at Kure and docks at Yoshiura port. Unloads 4,480-tons of pig iron (till Jul 9).

9 July 1943:
At 1700 departs Kure for Moji.

10 July 1943:
At 0600 arrives at Moji. Tethers at buoy No. 4. Assigned, under telegram No. 304, to transport 231st quartering party men. Loads 2,000-tons of cement for 231st quartering party. NANKAI MARU is temporary given one Type 93 single 13mm MG and other weapons under internal instruction No. 3481.

11 July 1943:
Replenishes 1,030-tons of fresh water. At 1700 departs Moji for Maizuru.

12 July 1943:
At 1430 arrives at Maizuru and docks at the commercial port. Begins to embark the 231st quartering party men and load military goods and materials (til 17 Jul ).

13 July 1943:
Loads food.

14 July 1943:
Embarks Captain Saneyoshi Toshio as Supervisor. Disembarks Captain Maki.

17 July 1943:
No. 891 squad of 231st quartering party embarks. Loading operations are completed.

18 July 1943:
At 1000 departs Maizuru for Mutsure with TATSUHARU MARU with minelayer NARYU as escort. Later, because of a submarine threat in the Sea of Japan, minelayer YURIJIMA joins the three ships at Hinomisaki and helps escorts the two merchant ships west.

19 July 1943:
At 1100 arrives at Mutsure. Later transfers at Moji.

21 July 1943:
At 1100, departs Moji for Singapore in convoy HI-03 also consisting of tankers NICHINAN (5175 gt) and OMUROSAN MARUs and transports AWA and SEIA MARUs escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA.

22 July 1943:
Formosa Straits. At 0900, while enroute to Takao, fast passenger liner ASAMA MARU joins the convoy. At 2355, SEIA MARU is torpedoed and badly damaged by three of six torpedoes fired in a surface radar attack by LtCdr Eugene T. Sands' (USNA ’30) USS SAWFISH (SS-276) at 30-54N, 125-15E. She goes dead in the water. Later, the ship is taken in tow by NICHINAN MARU (5175 gt) and together they head back to Japan. Depth-charges are dropped with no result.

23 July 1943:
Depth-charges are dropped against an unidentified submarine without any result. KARUKAYA is detached to assist torpedoed SEIA MARU. In the morning, AWA and ASAMA MARUs split from the now unescorted convoy and steam ahead.

24 July 1943:
At 2300 convoy HI-03 arrives in Takao vicinity and catches up with AWA and ASAMA MARU. The reformed convoy resumes its course to Takao.

25 July 1943:
At 0800 convoy HI-03 consisting of ASAMA, NANKAI and AWA MARUs and tanker OMUROSAN MARU arrives at Takao. At Takao, the convoy is joined by cargo ship ARIMASAN MARU and kaibokan ETOROFU. NANKAI MARU loads fresh food.

26 July 1943:
At 1600, convoy HI-03 departs Takao for Singapore.

29 July 1943:
At 1650, surfaced German U-511 inbound from France encounters Singapore-bound convoy HI-03. The sight of a strange-looking submarine causes confusion aboard OMUROSAN MARU and her gunners fire three shells at U-511, before the mistake is cleared up. The skipper of ETOROFU inspects U-511 and personally apologizes for the attack.

1 August 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Singapore’s naval port. Loads assorted goods and other supplies for the 231st quartering party (til 3 Aug).

3 August 1943:
Retains the Type 93 single 13mm MG borrowed from the 231st quartering party and one Navy gun. Seven members of 231st quartering party, four soldiers and nine workers are embarked, At 1450 departs Singapore , alone for Car Nicobar Island, Andamans. Tests the Type 93 single 13mm MG.

4 August 1943:
Malacca Straits. At 0900 Kaibokan SHIMUSHU joins NANKAI MARU to provide escort.

6 August 1943:
Indian Ocean. At 1130 arrives at Car Nicobar. Assigned to a transport mission under secret instruction No. 051534 (ports of call: Bintang Island ~ Singapore ~ Osaka ~ Shimizu). Four soldiers are disembarked. Unloads supplies.

10 August 1943:
No. 891 squad of 231st quartering party embarks.

15 August 1943:
At 1400 departs Car Nicobar escorted by submarine chaser CH-20.

17 August 1943:
Malacca Straits. At 1855 Subchaser CH-20 is detached.

18 August 1943:
At 1500 arrives at Singapore’s commercial port. Transfers to quarantine anchorage and undergoes a disinfection procedure (til 23 Aug).

23 August 1943:
Nine temporary workers and two soldiers of the 231st quartering party are disembarked.

24 August 1943:
At 1050 departs Singapore’s commercial port and arrives at 1900 that same day at Bintang Island, S of Singapore. Starts loading 5,100-tons of bauxite (til 25 Aug).

25 August 1943:
At 1700 departs Bintang harbor and anchors that same day in Bintang waters.

26 August 1943:
Weigh anchors and at 1625 tethers to pier at Singapore’s Keppel commercial port. Starts loading of 1,160-tons of lead and 800-tons of rubber (till Aug 28).

28 August 1943:
Loading is completed. At 1400 departs Singapore for Moji via Mako, Pescadores, in the "Rinji A" (Special) convoy also consisting of tanker KYOKUTO MARU with aapparently no escort.

3 September 1943:
Transport AKI MARU joins the convoy as it arrives at Mako at 1040.

4 September 1943:
57 troops embark. At 0620 the convoy departs Mako, now escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE.

7 September 1943:
At 2050, arrives at Moji.

8 September 1943:
Five troops disembark. At 1400 departs Moji for Osaka.

9 September 1943:
At 0945 arrives at Osaka, tethering at buoy No. 8. Disembarks 52 troops. Starts unloading of 1,160-tons of lead and 800-tons of rubber (til 11 Sep).

10 September 1943:
Assigned to fleet transport group under secret instruction No. 594, dated Jul 20 ‘43. The naval ensign is hoisted.

11 September 1943:
Completes unloading operations. At 1200 departs Osaka and arrives at 1300 that same day at Kobe.

12 September 1943:
At 1200 departs Kobe for Shimizu, Shizuoka Prefecture.

13 September 1943:
At 1340 arrives at Shimizu. Starts unloading 5,100-tons of bauxite (til 15 Sep). Assigned under telegram No. 326 to a transport mission starting at Yokohama.

15 September 1943:
At 0500 departs Shimizu and arrives at 1630 that same day at Yokohama. Starts loading ammunition and materials (til 19 Sep).

19 September 1943:
At 0600 departs Yokohama and at 0730 arrives at Yokosuka.

20 September 1943:
At 0900 departs Yokosuka for Kobe carrying 1000 small mines for eventual transit to Singapore.

21 September 1943:
At 1200 arrives at Kobe and tethers to the buoys mooring system.

23 September 1943:
Merchant Captain Yamauchi Kano is appointed Supervisor. Unloads materials. Loads ammunition.

24 September 1943:
Loads ammunition and materials (til 27 Sep ).

28 September 1943:
At 1700 departs Kobe for Kure.

29 September 1943:
At 1430 arrives at Kure. Tethers to buoy No. 11.

E October 1943:
Living quarters for personnel transported are set-up.

1 October 1943:
Loads raw food items, weapons, ammunition and fuel. Fitted with two Type 93 twin 13mm MGs.

2 October 1943:
Loads 13mm MGs ammunition and others supplies. Undergoes ship’s general maintenance and weapons’ maintenance (till Oct 5).

5 October 1943:
Start loading weapons (till Oct 7).

6 October 1943:
Loads provisions and assorted goods.

7 October 1943:
Loading operations are completed. 87 troops embark.

8 October 1943:
567 troops embark. At 1000 departs Kure and arrives at 1930, that same day at Hesaki.

9 October 1943:
Departs Hesaki arriving later at Mutsure. Transfers later to Moji.

12 October 1943:
At 1700 departs Moji for Takao in convoy HI-13 also consisting of tankers AMATSU and KYOKUEI MARUs and transport/cargo ships SANUKI, MIZUHO, AOBASAN, FUSO and MANILA MARUs escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan TSUSHIMA.

14 October 1943:
Tests Type 93 13mm MGs and Vickers 7.7mm “HI” Type.

16 October 1943:
At 1846 the convoy arrives at Takao.

18 October 1943:
At 1557 the convoy departs Takao for Samah, Hainan Island.

21 October 1943:
At 1709 the convoy arrives at Samah.

24 October 1943:
At 2200 the convoy departs Samah for Singapore.

30 October 1943:
At 1546 the convoy arrives at Singapore’s naval port. Disembarks 144 troops.

1 November 1943:
14 soldiers disembark. 192 troops embark.

2 November 1943:
At 0900 departs Singapore for Surabaya in convoy also consisting of transports SANUKI and AMAGISAN MARUs escorted by destroyer HIBIKI.

4 November 1943:
SANUKI and AMAGISAN MARUs and destroyer HIBIKI separate from NANKAI MARU and head for Padang.

5 November 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya, Java. Starts unloading 4,500-m3 of cargo and loading of 2,500-m3 (til 15 Oct ). Disembarks 91 troops.

7 November 1943:
Eight soldiers disembark. Loads military supplies and replenishes fuel tanks.

10 November 1943:
114 troops disembark.

12 November 1943:
Four soldiers disembark.

15 November 1943:
Loads rations.

16 November 1943:
Loading operations are completed. 199 troops are embarked. Departs Surabaya escorted by minesweeper W-12.

17 November 1943:
W-12 develops engine trouble from a faulty condenser. The convoy anchors for five hours off Kabanramari Island, Postiljon Archipelago, while W-12 carries out engine repairs. Then departs for Ambon, Moluccas.

20 November 1943:
At 0730 the convoy arrives at Ambon. 567 troops are disembarked. Starts unloading 1,400-m3 of cargo (till Nov 22).

22 November 1943:
Unloading operations are completed. Four soldiers embark. At 1200 departs Ambon alone as minesweeper W-12 has been previously detached. Later auxiliary subchaser SHONAN MARU No.17 joins as escort.

24 November 1943:
Sustains an airstrike without damage. At 1030 arrives at Kau, Halmahera Island, Moluccas. SHONAN MARU No.17 is detached. Assigned to another transport mission under telegram No. 381 with ports of call at Balikpapan, Borneo ~ Bintang ~ Singapore and Shimizu. Four soldiers disembark, one embarks. Starts unloading of 1,600-m3 of materials and power cables totaling 50,000-m (til 26 Nov).

26 November 1943:
At 1100 departs Kau in convoy also consisting of ASAHISAN MARU.

27 November 1943:
At 1200 torpedo boat KARI joins the escort.

28 November 1943:
At 1200 ASAHISAN MARU is detached N of Kran waters, Moluccas. Later, minelayer ITSUKUSHIMA provides escort.

30 November 1943:
ITSUKUSHIMA is detached at the entrance of Macassar where at 1000 NANKAI MARU arrives. One soldier disembarks.

1 December 1943:
Starts unloading of trade goods, building materials, timber and drums (till Dec 3).

4 December 1943:
Unloading operations are completed. 85 troops are embarked. At 1000 departs Macassar for Balikpapan.

5 December 1943:
At 1700 arrives at Balikpapan.

6 December 1943:
Starts unloading of trade goods, building materials and drums (til 11 Dec).

11 December 1943:
Between 0100 and 0200 sustains an airstrike without damage. Unloading operations are completed. 217 troops are embarked.

12 December 1943:
At 0700 departs Balikpapan.

14 December 1943:
At 2000 arrives at Banka Strait S entrance.

15 December 1943:
At 0700 exits Bangka Strait.

16 December 1943:
At 1500 arrives in Bintang Island waters.

17 December 1943:
At 0930 arrives at Bintang. Starts loading 7,500-tons of bauxite (til 18 Dec).

19 December 1943:
Loading operations are completed. At 1000 departs Bintang arriving at 1630 that same day at Singapore’s commercial port.

20 December 1943:
Replenishes water tanks and loads 1,615-tons of fuel.

21 December 1943:
At 1000 departs Singapore for Moji via Takao in convoy SA-20 also consisting of tankers TATEKAWA, ITSUKUSHIMA and OMUROSAN MARU escorted by torpedo boat KARI and kaibokan SHIMUSHU.

27 December 1943:
At 1500 the convoy arrives at Takao. Both escorts are detached and destroyer SHIOKAZE takes over escort of the convoy.

28 December 1943:
At 0800 the convoy departs Takao.

1 January 1944:
At 1730 the convoy arrives at Moji. NANKAI MARU transfers later to Mutsure.

2 January 1944:
At 0800 departs Mutsure arriving at 1800 that same day at Kure and tethering to oil jetty. Unloads 1,083-tons of fuel.

3 January 1944:
302 troops disembark.

4 January 1944:
Transfers to naval port and tethers to mooring system. Loads clothing material.

5 January 1944:
Loads rations.

6 January 1944:
At 0800 departs Kure arriving at 2100 that same day at Kobe.

7 January 1944:
Assigned to another transport mission under secret order No. 48 with ports of call at Shimizu ~ Kobe ~ Kure ~ Moji ~ Singapore ~ Surabaya ~ Makassar ~ Ambon and Pomalaa, Celebes.

8 January 1944:
At 0900 departs Kobe in convoy No. 8108A consisting also of Naval oiler TAKASAKI escorted by minesweeper W-24, arriving that same day at Kushimoto Wan (Bay), Wakayama Prefecture.

9 January 1944:
Departs Kushimoto Wan arriving at 2030 that same day at Shimizu.

10 January 1944:
Departs Kushimoto Wan arriving that same day at Shimizu. Starts unloading 7,500-tons of bauxite (til 13 Jan).

16 January 1944:
At 0400 departs Shimizu arriving that same day at Owase, Mie Prefecture.

17 January 1944:
Departs Owase arriving at 1700 that same day at Kobe.

18 January 1944:
Undergoes disinfection procedure with hydrocyanic acid gas.

19 January 1944:
Troops living quarters are subject to cleaning procedure.

20 January 1944:
Start loading vehicles parts and other sundries totaling 2,210-m3 (til 21 Jan).

22 January 1944:
At 1600 departs Kobe for Kure.

23 January 1944:
At 1300 arrives at Kure.

24 January 1944:
Start loading weapons, ammunition, torpedoes, vehicles parts, boats parts, medical supplies, clothing, oil drums and other sundries totaling 5,370-m3 (til 27 Jan).

28 January 1944:
Loading operations are completed. 535 soldiers embark. At 1330 departs Kure for Mutsure.

29 January 1944:
At 0900 arrives at Mutsure and transfers later to Moji.

1 February 1944:
At 0700 departs Moji for Singapore in convoy HI-41 also consisting of tankers MIRI and NAMPO MARUs - the latter joining from Sasebo as the convoy steams south - and transports AWA, ASAMA and TEIA (ex-French Liner ARAMIS) MARUs escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA.

Minesweeper W-27 joins the convoy.

3 February 1944:
W-27 is detached.

10 February 1944:
At 1300 arrives at Seletar, Singapore’s naval port. 55 troops disembark.

12 February 1944:
62 troops disembark. At 1000 departs Singapore for Surabaya.

15 February 1944:
At 1500 arrives at Surabaya. 78 troops disembark.

16 February 1944:
Starts unloading of weapons, ammunition, torpedoes and machinery parts totaling 4,239-m3 (til 18 Feb).

19 February 1944:
Unloading operations are completed. Loads electrical machinery with probes and assorted goods totaling 640-m3.

20 February 1944:
Loading operations are completed. Embarks 82 troops. At 1335 departs Surabaya for Macassar escorted part way by patrol boat PB-104.

22 February 1944:
At 1330 arrives at Macassar. 61 troops disembark. Starts unloading weapons and other sundries totaling 2, 500-m3 (til 25 Feb).

26 February 1944:
Unloading operations are completed. Starts loading Daihatsu landing craft and bombs totaling 1, 330-m3 (til 27 Feb).

27 February 1944:
Loading operations are completed. Embarks 373 troops. At 0900 departs Macassar for Padamaran Island anchorage, Celebes.

28 February 1944:
Arrives at Padamaran anchorage. Transfers later to Pomalaa. Unloads 720-m3 of cargo. Disembarks 319 troops. Later transfers again to Padamaran anchorage. Departs later and at 2000 enters Choro (Tioro) Strait.

29 February 1944:
At 0730 exits Choro Strait and enters Buton Strait where torpedo boat KIJI joins NANKAI MARU. Later that day, N of Flores Sea, NANKAI MARU is torpedoed and hit by an unidentified submarine at 04-13S, 123-43E but torpedo is a dud. Two depth-charges are dropped and two shells fired with no result. Both ships resume their course to Ambon. [5]

1 March 1944:
At 1610 arrives at Ambon. Disembarks 537 troops. Starts unloading Daihatsu landing craft, electrical machinery with probes, weapons, ammunition, rations, heavy oil drums and other sundries totaling 2,732-m3 (till Mar 5). NANKAI MARU’s hull point of dud torpedo impact is inspected and emergency repairs carried to prevent some eventual flooding.

5 March 1944:
Unloading operations are completed. Starts loading weapons totaling 500-m3 (til 6 Mar).

6 March 1944:
Loading operations are completed. Embarks 137 troops. At 0845 departs Ambon.

7 March 1944:
At 1740 enters Choro (Tioro) Strait.

8 March 1944:
At 0646 exits Choro Strait. At 1512 arrives at Padamaran and transfers to Pomalaa. Unloads goods totaling 40-m3. Later returns back to Padamaran.

9 March 1944:
At 0553 departs Padamaran.

10 March 1944:
At 0035 enters Macassar waters.

11 March 1944:
At 0650 exits Macassar waters.

12 March 1944:
At 2000 enters Banka Strait.

13 March 1944:
At 0750 exits Banka Strait.

14 March 1944:
At 1720 arrives at Bintang. Starts loading 7,500-m3 of bauxite (til 15 Mar).

16 March 1944:
Loading operations are completed. At 1620 departs Bintang arriving that same day at Terkolein.

17 March 1944:
Departs Terkolein arriving at 1325 that same day at Singapore’s commercial port.

18 March 1944:
Loads 1,554-tons of fuel.

19 March 1944:
67 troops disembark. Probably undergoes some maintenance and repairs.

28 March 1944:
153 troops embark.

29 March 1944:
At 0950, departs Singapore for Moji in convoy HI-54 also consisting of tankers KYOKUHO and MIRI MARUs and transport ARIMASAN MARU escorted by kaibokan AWAJI and subchaser CH-7. [6]

31 March 1944:
At 1624 arrives at Saint Jacques.

8 April 1944:
Undergoes ship’s cleaning procedure.

9 April 1944:
Loads raw food and fresh water.

10 April 1944:
Loads 22 funerary urns. Embarks three soldiers.

14 April 1944:
At 0800, convoy HI-54 is joined by convoy HI-56 and departs Saint Jacques for Moji via Takao in joint convoy HI-54/HI-56 also consisting of tankers ASANAGI, OTORISAN, SARAWAK, KYOKUHO and MIRI MARUs tanker NICHINAN MARU NO. 2 and transport ARIMASAN MARU and allegedly cargo ship TOKUSHIMA MARU and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by kaibokan AWAJI and subchaser CH-7.

19 April 1944:
At 1230 arrives at Takao. Departs later that day for Mutsure. Destroyer KURETAKE probably joins as an additional escort. At some point NICHINAN MARU No.2 detaches and heads for Shanghai.

24 April 1944:
At 1930 arrives at Mutsure.

25 April 1944:
Departs Mutsure arriving at 1100 at Moji. 22 funerary urns are landed. 264 troops disembark. Starts unloading 800-tons of bauxite (till Apr 26).

26 April 1944:
Unloading operations are completed. At 1900 departs Moji for Niihama, Shikoku.

27 April 1944:
At 0630 arrives at Niihama. Starts to unload 6,500-tons of bauxite (til 2 May).

2 May 1944:
Unloading operations are completed. At 0700 departs Niihama arriving at 1540 that same day at Kobe.

3 May 1944:
Enters shipyard for repairs, new fittings and maintenance (till May 23). Two new Type 96 twin 25mm AA guns are fitted on both sides of bridge top. and two AA guns directors on both sides of bridge top. A Type 93 single 13mm AA MGis moved to the quarter deck. A radio Direction Finder (RDF) loop antenna is fitted on the starboard bridge and a hydrophone detector on the port hull.

Other changes include new storehouses for 8cm and 25mm ammunition. Expanded storehouse for depth charges with 15 DCs storage’s capacity. Paravanes' storage is changed for lower front deck.

Maintenance and repairs includes tightening rivets at dud torpedo point of impact, coating upper and lower hulls of ship’s boats and of diesel engines with replacement of faulty parts.

4 May 1944:
Unloading of ammunition.

15 May 1944:
Docks at Mitsubishi Engineering and Shipping K.K. shipyard.

19 May 1944:

23 May 1944:
Loads ammunition. Repairs are made to Daihatsu landing craft.

24 May 1944:
At 0900 departs Kobe. 25mm AA guns are tested the other new fittings calibrated. [7]

25 May 1944:
Arrives at Tachibana Wan (Bay), Kyushu.

26 May 1944:
Departs Tachibana Wan arriving at 1000 that same day at Miike. Daihatsu landing craft are commissioned. Starts loading 8,000-tons of coal (till May 30).

27 May 1944:
Assigned to another transport mission under Navy’s secret order No. 271857 with ports of call at Osaka ~ Kobe ~ Kure ~ Moji ~ Singapore ~ Makassar ~ Surabaya and Bintang.

30 May 1944:
At 1430 departs Miike for Osaka.

1 June 1944:
At 1015 arrives at Osaka.

E 2-5 June 1944:
Unloads 8,000-tons of coal.

6 June 1944:
At 0900 departs Osaka arriving at 1100 that same day at Kobe.

15 June 1944:
Completes loading of steel, raw materials, commercial goods and other sundries totaling 5, 732-tons. At 1800 departs Kobe for Kure.

16 June 1944:
At 1015 arrives at Kure. Loads supplies.

17 June 1944:
Loads assorted goods, depth-charges and fuel.

18 June 1944:
Loading of boats, weapons, ammunition and other vehicles totaling 2, 141-m3 is completed.

19 June 1944:
Embarks 1,138 troops. At 1500 departs Kure for Mutsure.

20 June 1944:
At 0700 arrives at Mutsure.

21 June 1944:
Two soldiers embark.

22 June 1944:
At 1945 departs Mutsure and joins HI-67 convoy that departed Moji for Singapore on June 20 but had been assembling at Mutsure, consisting of tankers MIRI, OTORISAN, SARAWAK and SHINEI MARUs and transports GOKOKU, MANJU, KINUGASA, ASAKA, ASAHISAN and HAKOZAKI MARUs escorted by destroyer KURETAKE, minelayer SHIRATAKA, kaibokan HIRADO, KURAHASHI, CD-5 and CD-13 and subchaser CH-61.

E 26 June 1944:
CD-2 and destroyer ASAGAO join convoy HI-67.

29 June 1944:
At dawn, LtCdr (later Captain) Anton W. Gallaher's (USNA ’33) USS BANG (SS-385) picks up convoy HI-67. Gallaher makes a long "end-around" in daylight. At about 1500, he fires all ten torpedoes in his bow and stern tubes at three ships. He damages MIRI and SARAWAK MARUs. Both oilers are hit in the bow, but each manages to proceed to Manila.

30 June 1944:
At 1830 the convoy arrives at Manila. GOKOKU, SARAWAK and MIRI MARUs are detached.

1 July 1944:
Disembarks 406 troops. Tanker MIRI MARU comes alongside and transfers to NANKAI MARU 266 troops.

2 July 1944:
17 soldiers embark. Completes unloading of shells totaling 400-tons.

3 July 1944:
At 0600, HI-67 departs Manila.

9 July 1944:
At 1640 HI-67 arrives at Seletar, Singapore’s naval port.

10 July 1944:
285 troops disembark.

11 July 1944:
Completes unloading of weapons, ammunition and other sundries totaling 20,000-m3. At 1230 departs Seletar, Singapore for Macassar.

16 July 1944:
At 1600 arrives off Macassar.

17 July 1944:
Arrives at Macassar port. 182 troops disembark.

20 July 1944:
Completes unloading of weapons, supplies and other sundries totaling 17,000m3 and power cable totaling 75,000m. Loads 140m3 of provisions and other sundries.

21 July 1944:
244 troops embark.

24 July 1944:
At 0650 departs Macassar arriving that same day at Kota Baru, Borneo.

25 July 1944:
Departs Kota Baru and arrives at 1730 that same day at Balikpapan. Disembarks 240 troops.

26 July 1944:
56 troops disembark.

29 July 1944:
Loads fuel.

30 July 1944:
Completes unloading weapons, ammunition, steel materials and aviation gasoline drums totaling 3,500 m3.

3 August 1944:
Takes aboard 17 funerary urns. 178 troops embark.

E 4-7 August 1944:
Loads 5,000 aviation gasoline drums and other sundries totaling 4,200-tons.

8 August 1944:
At 0800 departs Balikpapan arriving at 2100 that same day at Kota Baru.

9 August 1944:
At 0600 departs Kota Baru for Surabaya.

10 August 1944:
At 1700 arrives at Surabaya. Disembarks 46 troops.

E 11-14 August 1944:
Completes unloading 3,000 aviation gasoline drums and other sundries totaling 1,300-tons.

15 August 1944:
Takes aboard 1 funerary urn. Embarks 200 troops.

16 August 1944:
At 1130 departs Surabaya.

17 August 1944:
From 0200-0700 anchors off Cape Semaran (now Semarang), Java.

20 August 1944:
At 1700 arrives at Bintang.

E 20-21 August 1944:
Loads 6,500-tons of bauxite.

22 August 1944:
At 1430 departs Bintang arriving at 2000 that same day at Singapore’s naval port.

25 August 1944:
Tethers at Navy’s pier. Unloads 177-tons of asphalt. Loads 1000 gasoline drums. Transfers later to anchorage.

26 August 1944:
From 1000-1700 weighs anchor and transfers to Singapore’s commercial port.

6 September 1944:
At 0630 departs Singapore for Moji in fleet convoy HI-72 also consisting of ASAMA, RAKUYO, ZUIHO, SHINCHO and KACHIDOKI MARUs (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) escorted by Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39) (victor of Wake Island and former CO of KISO) 6th Escort Convoy Command’s destroyer SHIKANAMI, kaibokan HIRADO (F), KURAHASHI, MIKURA, CD-11 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-19.

11 September 1944:
S China Sea. 100 miles NE of the Paracel Islands. At 0910, convoy HI-72 is joined by convoy MAMO-03 consisting of IJA landing craft depot ship KIBITSU MARU, IJN transport (ex-armed merchant cruiser) GOKOKU MARU and IJN transport (ex-seaplane tender) KAGU MARU escorted by minesweeper W-12.

12 September 1944:
S China Sea. E of Hainan, China. At 0155, Cdr (later KIA) Thomas B. Oakley’s (USNA ’34) USS GROWLER (SS-215) torpedoes and sinks flagship HIRADO at 17-54N, 114-59E. Her CO, Cdr Segawa Iwao, and 106 sailors are KIA. Rear Admiral Kajioka is also KIA. He is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously. At 0500, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Eli T. Reich’s (USNA ’35) USS SEALION (SS-315) torpedoes RAKUYO MARU, but she stays afloat for another 13 hours, sinking at 1820 that evening. She is carrying 1,318 Allied POWs, of whom 1,051 are lost in addition to nine crewmen.

At 0530, Reich also torpedoes and scores two hits on NANKAI MARU’s starboard side in holds No. 3 and No. 6. The ship is carrying 525 passengers, 6,500-tons of bauxite, 4,000 gasoline drums, 77 mail parcels and 18 funerary urns. A big explosion from the gasoline drums in No. 6 hold engulfs the ship with fire and her depth-charges on stern explode as well. NANKAI MARU goes dead in the water due to mechanical breakdown caused by the shock of explosion. From the exploding ship, passengers jump in the sea. NANKAI MARU manages to float several hours but finally sinks by the stern at 0845 in position 18-15N, 114-21E, taking with her 196 passengers and three crewmen.

240 miles south of Hong Kong. At about 0700, SHIKINAMI is torpedoed by USS GROWLER and sinks at 18-16 N, 114-40 E. MIKURA rescues eight officers and 120 men, but her CO, LtCdr Takahashi Tatsuhiko and an unknown number of other crewmen are KIA. At 2254, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Paul E. Summers' (USNA ’36) USS PAMPANITO (SS-383) torpedoes and sinks KACHIDOKI MARU with 950 Allied POWs aboard. 12 crewmen, 431 POWs and 45 passengers are lost. USS PAMPANITO also sinks ZUIHO MARU at 19-23N, 111-50E. There are no casualties, but her 8,000-tons cargo of needed aviation gas and oil is lost.

The Japanese rescue a few POWs from the two prison ships. Survivors are transferred to KIBITSU MARU. The rest of the convoy heads towards Samah, Hainan Island.

10 November 1944:
Removed from the Navy List under internal order No. 1258.

Authors Notes:
[1] NANKAI and HOKKAI MARUs were an improved version of 1930 built KINAI MARU and her three sisters. As opposed to KINAI MARU’s Swiss made Sulzer engines, NANKAI MARU was powered by Mitsubishi MS-type diesels that gave better performance with less fuel oil consumption.
[2] See Zatsuyosen home page for full explanation.
[3] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.
[4] Five surviving members of 44-P-12's aircrew were rescued at 1455 (local) 6 June by PBY-5 of VP 23. But unfortunately one of them died the next day, bringing the total KIA to six. PBY 44-P-12 was the only PBY lost in combat with Japanese forces during the battle of Midway.
[5] No record of this attack is listed in the allied files.
[6] Subchaser CH-7 was allegedly escorting the MATSUKAWA MARU convoy to Port Blair at this time.
[7] NANKAI MARU’s armament varied as follows:
3 Aug ‘43: Two 8cm/25 short guns, one Type 93 single 13mm MG and minesweeping equipment.
1 Oct ‘43: Two 8cm/25 short guns, two Type 93 twin 13mm MGs, one Type 93 single 13mm MG, one Vickers 7.7mm “HI” Type and minesweeping equipment.
E May ‘44: Two 8cm/25 short guns, two Type 96 twin 25mm guns, two Type 93 twin 13mm MGs, one Type 93 single 13mm MG, one Vickers 7.7mm “HI” Type, hydrophone detector and minesweeping equipment.
E Sep ‘44: Two 8cm/25 short guns, two Type 96 twin 25mm guns, two Type 93 twin 13mm MGs, one Type 93 single 13mm MG, one Vickers 7.7mm “HI” Type, 10 depth-charges, hydrophone detector and minesweeping equipment.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan, Erich Muehlthaler of Germany to the late John Whitman of Virginia and to Jean-François Masson of Canada. Also thanks to Matthew Jones of Mississippi, USA.

-Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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