YUSOSEN!

(NICHIEI MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

IJN NICHIEI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement



© 2000-2016 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 15


4 September 1937:
Kobe. Laid down by Kawasaki Shipbuilding as a 10,018-ton merchant tanker for Nitto Kogyo Kisen, Tokyo.

15 April 1938:
Launched and named NICHIEI MARU.

30 June 1938:
Kobe. Completed.

4 July 1938:
Departs Yokohama for San Francisco.

31 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN and registered in the Kure Naval District.

10 November 1941:
Kobe. Begins conversion to a naval auxiliary at Kawasaki Dockyard.

25 November 1941:
The conversion is completed.

3 December 1941:
Departs Sana.

6 December 1941:
Arrives Puolo Condore Islands.

7 December 1941:
Departs Puolo Condore Islands.

8 December 1941:
Off the Poulo Condore Islands, Indochina. Meets and refuels naval forces. Later that day arrives at Camranh Bay.

E 13 December 1941:
Departs Camranh Bay.

17 December 1941:
Arrives at Mako.

E 18 December 1941:
Departs Mako.

22 December 1941:
Arrives at Camranh Bay.

4 January 1942:
Refuels destroyer SHIRAYUKI.

10 January 1942:
Refuels destroyers SHIRAYUKI and HATSUYUKI.

11 January 1942:
Refuels destroyers SHIKINAMI, AYANAMI and ISONAMI.

14 January 1942:
Departs Camranh Bay.

15 January 1942:
Arrives at St Jacques.

17 January 1942:
Departs St Jacques.

20 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

22 January 1942:
Departs Mako.

26 January 1942:
Arrives at Camranh Bay.

28 January 1942:
Refuels heavy cruisers MOGAMI and MIKUMA.

31 January 1942:
Refuels heavy cruisers KUMANO and SUZUYA and No.3 Torpedoboat unit.

6 February 1942:
Departs Camranh Bay escorted by torpedo boat KIJI.

8 February 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

17 February 1942:
At Anambas Islands anchorage refuels destroyer ISONAMI.

18 February 1942:
Refuels destroyers ISONAMI and AYANAMI.

7 March 1942:
At Singapore refuels various 7th Squadron vessels.

10 March 1942:
Refuels captured British ship MATA HARI with bunker fuel oil.

11 March 1942:
Arrives at Singapore and moors alongside tanker SHOYO MARU.

14 March 1942:
Repair ship IJN ASAHI's technicians start repairing NICHIEI MARU's twelve centimeter binocular lens.

16 March 1942:
Repair of the binocular lens is completed. Moors alongside IJN SANYO MARU. Provisoned with water and fresh food.

17 March 1942:
NICHIEI MARU is part of the Malaya Area Fleet Replenishment Force. At 0800, departs Singapore with SANYO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-35 and arrives at Batu Pahat later that day.

18 March 1942:
Departs Batu Pahat.

19 March 1942:
At 1120, NICHIEI MARU, SANYO MARU and PB-35 arrive at Penang, Malaya. PB-35 moors alongside NICHIEI MARU.

20 March 1942: Operation “D” – The Seizure of the Andaman Islands.
NICHIEI MARU, SANYO MARU and the Andaman Islands Invasion Force depart Penang, escorted by light cruisers YURA and SENDAI, destroyers YUGIRI, URANAMI, ISONAMI and ASAGIRI and the 1st Minesweeping Division.

21 March 1942:
Arrives at Puket (now Phuket, Thailand). Disembarks 21 army personnel and is provisioned with fresh food and departs Puket later that day.

22 March 1942:
Arrives at Mergui, Burma (now Myanmar). Departs later that day.

23 March 1942: Operation “D” – The Seizure of the Andaman Islands.
Indian Ocean. NICHIEI MARU and the Andaman Islands Invasion Force arrive at the Andaman Islands. NICHIEI MARU provides fuel replenishment for naval forces landing troops at Port Blair. That same day, seven (later 18) Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" flying boats of the Toko Naval Air Squadon arrive at Port Blair from Sabang, Sumatra and begin flying reconnaissance missions in the Indian Ocean. A week later, several H6Ks fly 700 miles from Port Blair to reconnoiter Ceylon as part of Operation "C".

26 March 1942:
Arrives at Mergui and refuels heavy cruiser KUMANO.

27 March 1942:
At 1700, NICHIEI MARU and SURUGA MARU depart Mergui escorted by patrol boat PB-35.

29 March 1942:
At 0745, arrives at Phuket.

1 April 1942: Operation "C "– The Raids in the Indian Ocean:
NICHIEI MARU provides fuel replenishment for Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (37)(former CO of HARUNA) Second Expeditionary Fleet that conducts raids against merchant shipping in the Bay of Bengal with CruDiv 4's CHOKAI, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, KUMANO, MIKUMA and MOGAMI, CarDiv 4's light carrier RYUJO and SubRon 5's light cruiser YURA and destroyers AYANAMI, YUGIRI, ASAGIRI and SHIOKAZE.

2/3 April 1942:
Port Blair is attacked by two Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" and a Consolidated LB-30A (British B-24) "Liberator" of the USAAF's 7th Bomb Group from their base in India.

4 April 1942:
NICHIEI MARU departs the Andaman Islands.

11 April 1942:
Arrives at Singapore. Refuels heavy cruisers KUMANO and SUZUYA.

12 April 1942:
Refuels heavy cruisers MIKUMA and MOGAMI.

30 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure from Singapore.

22 May 1942:
Departs Kure.

26 May 1942:
At 1900 arrives at Apra Harbour, Guam.

28 May 1942:Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
The Transport Group's Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (41) (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2's light cruiser JINTSU departs Saipan escorting oiler AKEBONO MARU, transports KIYOSUMI, ZENYO, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, AZUMA, KEIYO, GOSHU, KANO, HOKUROKU, KIRISHIMA and NANKAI MARUs and TOA MARU No. 2.

At 1745 NICHIEI MARU departs Apra and joins with with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro's (38) Seaplane Tender Div 11's CHITOSE and KAMIKAWA MARU departing Saipan. Seaplane Tender Div 11 is to set up a seaplane base at Midway's Kure Island or Eastern Island. NICHIEI MARU, CHITOSE and KAMIKAWA MARU are stationed about 3.5 miles astern of Tanaka's main transport group.

30 May 1942:
CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, MIKUMA, KUMANO and SUZUYA and DesDiv 8's ASASHI and ARASHIO rendezvous with the Transport Group and NICHIEI MARU.

3 June 1942:
The convoy is bombed by nine B-17s. Later, the convoy is also attacked by torpedo-carrying Consolidated PBY-5 "Catalina" patrol planes that hit oiler AKEBONO MARU.

6 June 1942:
MOGAMI and MIKUMA, heading for Wake Island, are attacked by SDB dive-bombers from the USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and USS HORNET (CV-8). MIKUMA is hit by bombs and sinks with the loss of 650 sailors. MOGAMI and destroyers ARASHIO and ASASHIO are hit by bombs and damaged. They rescue MIKUMA's survivors and depart for Truk.

7 June 1942:
NICHIEI MARU refuels collision-damaged MOGAMI using the stern-to-bow technique.

13 June 1942:
NICHIEI MARU arrives at Truk.

15 June 1942:
Departs Truk.

16 June 1942:
Arrives at Guam.

21 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

24 June 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

26 June 1942:
Transits the Bungo Straits escorted by destroyer HATAKAZE in a convoy also consisting of hospital ship HIKAWA MARU.

7 August 1942: American Operation “Watchtower” – The Invasion of Guadalcanal, Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's (USNA’08) Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher’s (USNA’06) Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain's (USNA’06) Task Force 63’s land-based aircraft, lands Maj Gen (later Gen/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandergrift’s 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening the campaign to take the island.

24 June 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

11 August 1942:
Departs Kure with the Guadalcanal transport support unit advance force.

17 August 1942:
NW of Truk. About noon, NICHIEI MARU, in convoy with oiler SHINKOKU MARU, is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) William S. Stovall's (USNA ’29) USS GUDGEON (SS-211) at 07-40N, 151-05E. Both oilers are hit by torpedoes fired in a submerged attack, but both suffer only light damage. Possibly, one or more of the Mark-14 torpedoes that hit the oilers was a dud.

28 August 1942:
Truk. Temporary repairs are completed, perhaps by repair ship AKASHI. Departs Truk with SHINKOKU MARU.

4 September 1942:
Arrives at Kure. Enters dry dock for repairs.

5 November 1942:
Undocked.

7 November 1942:
Kure. Repairs are completed. Departs Sasebo.

13 November 1942:
In 06-50N 147-30E destroyer ASANAGI meets up with NICHIEI MARU.

14 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

27 January 1943:
Captain-Ret Okano Ikkan (36) is appointed Supervisor.

1 February 1943:
At 1750 in 27-30N 132-30E sights an enemy submarine.

4 February 1943:
At Shortland refuels destroyer SAMIDARE.

6 February 1943:
At Shortland. TSURUMI comes alongside to starboard and 3500 tons fuel oil transferred.

7 February 1943:
TSURUMI departs.

E 18 February 1943:
NICHIEI MARU is joined at sea by minesweeper W-16 that escorts her to Balikpapan.

24 February 1943:
Owner's name is restyled as Nitto Kisen.

30 April 1943:
At 1600, arrrives at Truk's north channel escorted by destroyer HATSUYUKI.

8 May 1943:
At 0600, departs Truk by the north channel.

25 May 1943:
Captain-Ret Okano is appointed Commander. At 2155 in 28-26N 141-15E avoids an enemy submarine.

22 June 1943:
Departs Truk for Rabaul escorted by destroyer MINAZUKI to offload fuel to fleet oiler NARUTO and then steam to Tarakan and Balikpapan.

18 July 1943:
Departs Kure.

23 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

July 1943:
Departs Truk for Tarakan.

1 August 1943:
At 0700, departs Tarakan with a cargo of refined oil in convoy consisting of NICHIEI and KOKUYO MARUs with an unknown escort.

2 August 1943:
At 1800, arrives Balikpapan. Loads a cargo of crude oil.

18 September 1943:
Departs Truk with the fleet in a sortie to Brown Island, Eniwetok in response to raids on Tarawa, Makin and Abemama Atolls launched by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Charles A. Pownall's Task Force 15's USS LEXINGTON (CV-16), USS PRINCETON (CVL-23) and USS BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24).

Vice Admiral Ozawa Jizaburo (37)(former CO of HARUNA), in tactical command, leads the fleet's first section: BatDiv 1's YAMATO and NAGATO, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, (followed by ZUIHO on 19 Sep '43), CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, light cruisers AGANO, NOSHIRO and destroyers. Vice Admiral Kurita Takao (38) leads the second section with his Advance Force of CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA and CHOKAI.

21 September 1943:
Arrives at Brown Island. Transfers 592 tons fuel oil to heavy cruiser TONE and 570 tons fuel oil to heavy cruiser CHIKUMA.

25 September 1943:
No contact is made with Task Force 15. The fleet returns to Truk.

26 September 1943:
At Truk transfers 635 tons fiel oil to heavy cruiser TONE and 600 tons to heavy cruiser CHIKUMA.

6 October 1943:
NICHIEI MARU is attacked and missed by torpedoes from an unknown submarine at 05-13N, 134-55E. [1]

13 October 1943:
At 1800, arrives at Surabaya.

18 October 1943:
At 1452, departs Surabaya in an unnumbered convoy consisting of oilers NICHIEI and KENYO MARUs escorted by patrol boat No. 102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224).

20 October 1943:
At 1005, arrives at Balikpapan. Loads a cargo of oil.

23 October 1943:
At 0750, departs Balikpapan with a cargo of oil for Truk in a convoy consisting of NICHIEI and KENYO MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-6.

1 November 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Truk in a convoy consisting of NICHIEI and NISSHO MARUs escorted by destroyer SHIMAKAZE. Enters Truk by the south channel.

2 November 1943:
NICHIEI and NISSHO MARUs escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and SHIMAKAZE depart Truk for Rabaul.

10 November 1943:
Arrives at Tarakan in a convoy consisting of tankers NICHIEI and SHINSHU MARUs (ex cargo) and an unknown ship. Loads a cargo of oil.

17 November 1943:
Departs Tarakan in convoy consisting of oilers NICHIEI and SHINSHU MARUs and are met enroute to Balikpapan by auxiliary subchaser CHa-36.

3 November 1943:
CruDivs 4's ATAGO, CHOKAI, MAYA, TAKAO, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA and MOGAMI, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and MOGAMI and destroyers depart Truk for Rabaul to attack U.S. forces that landed at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville on 1 November.

4 November 1943:
130 miles W of Kavieng. NICHIEI and NISSHO MARUs are damaged by AirSols aircraft based at Guadalcanal.

At 0542, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: “NISSHO MARU received bombing attack. Fires broke out.”

At 0625, USN codebreakers decrypt another message that reads: “Two B-24’s attacked. NISSHO MARU suffered hit in upper section of engine room and is unable to navigate.”

At 0900, USN codebreakers decrypt another message that reads: “NISSHO MARU is unable to navigate. She is drifting and receiving bombing attack from enemy planes in position 00-21 N, 150-54 E.”

At 0920, USN codebreakers decrypt another message that reads: “NISSHO MARU received a second bombing attack. Fuel oil gushing out.”

At 1015, USN codebreakers decrypt another message that reads: “Attempted towing NISSHO MARU, but because of enemy air attack released towline and discontinued towing. Considering extent of damage and repeated enemy air attacks am taking crew aboard temporarily. NISSHO MARU has 9 dead and 14 wounded.”

CruDivs 4's CHOKAI and destroyer SUZUNAMI enroute from Truk for Rabaul arrive to assist the tankers. Destroyer AMATSUKAZE, on an aircrew transport run to Rabaul, is also diverted to assist the damaged tankers.

6 November 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

2 December 1943:
At 1700, departs Singapore in unescorted convoy consisting of oilers NICHIEI, TERUKAWA (ex cargo) and KYOKUTO MARUs.

11 December 1943:
Destroyers SHIMAKAZE and TAMANAMI join the convoy about longitude 135 degrees E. Later, the convoy stops at Palau.

12 December 1943:
Departs Palau. The same convoy is now numbered 1040.

15 December 1943:
At 1730, arrives at Truk.

December 1943:
Transfers fuel to TONAN MARU No. 3 and NISSHO MARU.

16 December 1943:
Truk. Refuels destroyer AMAGIRI.

17 December 1943:
Unloads drummed fuel.

19 December 1943:
Loads food.

20 December 1943:
Loads supplies, clothing and ammunition.

22 December 1943:
Truk. Refuels carriers HIYO and RYUHO that arrive from Palau on aircraft ferry duty.

26 December 1943:
NICHIEI MARU departs Truk for Surabaya, Java in a convoy consisting of oiler KYOKUTO MARU escorted by destroyers UZUKI and AMAGIRI.

29 December 1943:
Destroyer HAYANAMI joins the escort after leaving Palau.

30 December 1943:
UZUKI and AMAGIRI are detached at 14-00N, 135-00E.

2 January 1944:
HAYANAMI is detached at 130E longitude. Patrol Boat No. 102 takes over.

6 January 1944:
At 1800 arrives at Surabaya, Java.

9 January 1944:
At 1415 departs Surabaya for Balikpapan, Borneo escorted by submarine chaser CH-2.

11 January 1944:
At 0000 off the southern tip of Laut Island meets up with oiler KAMOI. At some point CH-2 is detached and escorts cargo ship ASAKA MARU back to Surabaya. At 1445 the convoy arrives at Balikpapan. Takes on a cargo of heavy oil.

17 January 1944:
At 0825, departs Balikpapan in convoy KU-702 consisting of oilers KYOKUTO and NICHIEI MARU, escorted by patrol boat PB-2. KYOKUTO MARU carries 7, 900-tons of fuel oil; NICHIEI MARU carries 10,032-tons of heavy oil.

22 January 1944:
At 1345, destroyers SHIMAKAZE and TANIKAZE join the convoy at longitude 130 degrees East replacing patrol boat PB-2 that is detached for Palau.

26 January 1944:
At 1030, arrives at Truk.

27 January 1944:
Refuels battleship FUSO with 1, 325-tons. Transfers 6,730 tons No. 3 grade fuel oil to TONAN MARU No.3.

28 January 1944:
While tied up to TONAN MARU No. 3’s starboard side, transfers 400 tons of No. 1 Grade Fuel oil.

5 February 1944:
At 1600, departs Truk in the "NICHIEI MARU" convoy consisting of oilers NICHIEI, KYOKUTO and KOKUYO MARUs escorted by destroyers OITE, SHIMAKAZE and IKAZUCHI.

11 February 1944:
At 1300, arrives at Davao. Refuels SHIMAKAZE with 149-tons of heavy oil.

12 February 1944:
At 1240, departs Davao with only SHIMAKAZE as escort.

15 February 1944:
At 0907, arrives at Balikpapan. Loads a cargo of oil. Takes on food provisions and embarks 19 passengers.

16 February 1944:
Embarks 30 more passengers.

20 February 1944:
At 1530 arrives at Palembang. Disembarks passengers.

22 February 1944:
At 1130 departs Palembang.

24 February 1944:
At 1415 arrives at Singapore.

11 March 1944:
At 0730, convoy HI-48 departs Singapore consisting of oilers NICHIEI, KUROSHIO, OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, TATEKAWA, ITSUKUSHIMA and SEIYO MARUs, transport/cargo liners AWA, SANUKI, TEIA (ex-French ARAMIS) and HOKUROKU MARUs and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokans MIYAKE, SHIMUSHU, IKI and ETOROFU.

14 March 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Ban Phong Bay, Indochina.

15 March 1944:
At 1100, departs Ban Phong Bay.

18 March 1944:
About 160 nautical miles ESE of Hong Kong. At 0114, HOKUROKU MARU is hit by four torpedoes fired by LtCdr Lowell T. Stone's (USNA ’29) USS LAPON (SS-260), One hit causes an induced explosion. The auxiliary transport blows up blows up and sinks taking down 25 guards, 55 crewmen, including Captain Itokawa Suetada (36) and eight of 256 passengers. TEIA MARU sends off a report of the attack. Later that day, KASHII MARU joins the convoy.

19 March 1944:
At 0600, kaibokan SHIMUSHU runs aground, but later that day is refloated. At 1600, the convoy arrives at Takao.

20 March 1944:
At 1300, departs Takao.

25 March 1944:
At 0500, arrives at Moji.

26 March 1944:
At 1830 arrives at Kure.

31 March 1944:
Transfers from No. 15 buoy to No. 26 buoy. At 1100 departs Kure.

1 April 1944:
At 0807 arrives at Kobe and drydocked at Kawasaki Zosen.

5 April 1944:
At 1015 transfers to Kawasaki Zosen wharf.

15 April 1944:
At 1026 drydocked.

22 April 1944:
At 0700 undocked. Transfers to C buoy, arriving at 1000.

E 23 April 1944:
Arrives at Tokuyama Fuel Depot.

24 April 1944:
Undertakes trials.

25 April 1944:
At 1423 arrives at Kure.

1 May 1944:
At 1434 departs Kure.

2 May 1944:
At 1635 arrives at Mutsure.

3 May 1944:
At 0445, departs Moji in convoy HI-61 consisting of empty oilers NICHIEI, TATEKAWA, AZUSA, JINEI, EIYO, AKANE, OTORISAN, SARAWAK and ASANAGI MARUs and perhaps HAYASUI, and passenger cargo ship MIZUHO MARU escorted by escort carrier TAIYO, destroyers ASANAGI, HIBIKI and INAZUMA and kaibokan SADO, KURAHASHI and CD-5, CD-7 and CD-13. NICHIEI MARU carries 109 replacements for the 25th Special Base Force.

7 May 1944:
JINEI MARU is detached because of engine trouble.

8 May 1944:
About 0615, at 19-19N, 120-00E, LtCdr Victor B. McCrae's (USNA ’32) USS HOE (SS-258) attacks the convoy and gets a hit on the AKANE MARU. She is detached from the convoy and returns to Takao, Formosa for repairs.

9 May 1944: Operation "A-GO" - The Defense of the Marianas.
At 2055, arrives at Luzon. NICHIEI, TATEKAWA and AZUSA MARUs are detached from the convoy to participate in the planned "A-GO" operation.

11 May 1944:
At 1625, departs Manila in an unnumbered convoy consisting of NICHIEI and TATEKAWA MARUs escorted by HIBIKI and INAZUMA and an unidentifed escort.

14 May 1944:
Tawi Tawi Bay. At about 0300, while patrolling on the surface, LtCdr (later Cdr) Thomas W. Hogan’s (USNA ’31) USS BONEFISH (SS-223) intercepts a three-tanker convoy making 14 knots consisting of NICHIEI, TATEKAWA and AZUSA MARUs with three destroyer escorts. Hogan fires his last five torpedoes at the largest oiler. He claims two hits and a sinking, but, in actuality, none of the oilers are damaged. At 0420, one of the torpedoes explodes under destroyer INAZUMA and sinks her with 161 sailors KIA, including Comdesdiv 6, Commander Tomura Kiyoshi (49), and Commander Tokiwa Teizo (58). HIBIKI rescued 125 survivors. The two remaining destroyers charge and drop twenty heavy depth charges, but USS BONEFISH slips away. NICHIEI MARU drops depth charges and opens fire also.

15 May 1944:
At 1800 arrives at Balikpapan (No.5 Pier). Loads a cargo of oil.

17 May 1944:
Disembarks and embarks passengers. At 1030, departs Balikpapan for Tawi Tawi escorted by kaibokan MANJU and destroyers ASASHIMO, SAMIDARE, HAMAKAZE and HIBIKI. Shortly after departure from Balikpapan, a magnetic mine explodes close to NICHIEI MARU and the tanker receives some damage, but is able to continue.

19 May 1944:
The convoy is attacked by an enemy submarine, NICHIEI MARU drops depth charges. Later this day, at 1250, the convoy arrives at Tawi Tawi.

23 May 1944:
At 0640, departs Tawi Tawi for Davao in a convoy consisting of NICHIEI, TATEKAWA, KOKUYO and SEIYO MARUs escorted by destroyers HIBIKI, AKISHIMO and HAMAKAZE.

24 May 1944:
Off Saranagani Islands, Mindanao. In the early afternoon, lookouts aboard LtCdr Charles H. Andrews' (USNA ’30) USS GURNARD (SS-254) sight a convoy they identify as consisting of two oilers, "two cargo ships" and three destroyers. Slipping past the escorts, Andrews fires four torpedoes at an oiler. At 1517, TATEKAWA MARU is hit by two torpedoes the first in oil tank No. 6 and the second in the engine room. She is set ablaze. Ten of her armed guard gunners and 17 crewmen are killed. TATEKAWA MARU sinks at 05-45N, 125-43E.

25 May 1944:
At 0200, arrives at Davao.

29 May 1944:
Refuels destroyers HIBIKI and MINAZUKI.

30 May 1944:
Refuels destroyer HAMAKAZE.

31 May 1944:
Refuels cruiser HAGURO and destroyers AKISHIMO, SHIRATSUYU and HARUSAME.

1 June 1944:
Refuels destroyers HIBIKI and ASAGUMO.

4 June 1944:
Refuels kaibokan CD 22.

5 June 1944:
Refuels cruiser MYOKO.

8 June 1944:
Refuels cruiser MYOKO.

12 June 1944:
Refuels destroyer SHIGURE.

13 June 1944: Operation “A-GO” - The Defense of the Marianas:
Tokyo. The CINC, Combined Fleet, Admiral Toyoda Soemu, (33) (former CO of HYUGA), activates A-GO.

Davao. That same day, battleship FUSO transfers most of her fuel oil to NICHIEI MARU and the 1st Supply Force's oilers SEIYO and KOKUYO MARUs and Navy fleet oiler HAYUSUI.

14 June 1944:
At 0330 departs Davao towards Philippine Sea refueling point with the 1st Supply Force and destroyers HATSUSHIMO, SHIRATSUYU and old destroyer TSUGA. Refuels destroyer SHIGURE.

15 June 1944:
90 mile SE of Surigao Strait. At 0343 SEIYO MARU collides with and sinks SHIRATSUYU at 09-09N, 126-51E with the loss of 104 sailors including her CO, LtCdr Matsuda Kuro (55), promoted Captain posthumously.

16 June 1944:
At about 1000, at 11-00N, 130-00E, NICHIEI MARU and the 1st Supply Force's Naval fleet oiler HAYUSUI and oilers KOKUYO and SEIYO MARUs rendezvous with Vice Admiral Ugaki Matome's (40) (former CO of HYUGA) aborted Operation "Kon" Task Force's Bat Div 1's YAMATO, and MUSASHI, Cru Div 5's HAGURO and MYOKO, DesRon 2's light cruiser NOSHIRO and Des Div 4's OKINAMI, SHIMAKAZE, ASAGUMO, MAIKAZE and MICHISHIO and DesRon 10's YAMAGUMO and NOWAKI. Ugaki's force is refueled promptly, then Ugaki's force and the 1st Supply Force head north to join Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (37)(former CO of HARUNA) First Mobile Fleet's Main Body.

At 1650, Ugaki's force and the 1st Supply Force rendezvous with Ozawa. The 1st Supply Force begins to refuel the Mobile Fleet. NICHIEI MARU refuels battleship YAMATO (1470 tons) between 1024 and 1045; destroyers YAMAGUMO (200 tons) between 1205 and 1210; NOWAKI (215 tons) between 1415 and 1417; HAMAKAZE (177 tons) between 1605 and 1626; AKISHIMO (140 tons) between 1812 and 1820; ASASHIMO (103 tons) between 2036 and 2059; and KISHINAMI (120 tons) between 2310 and 2354.

17 June 1944:
At 0700 NICHIEI MARU refuels cruisers ATAGO (490 tons) between 0645 and 0658; KUMANO (392 tons) between 0703 and 0718; and CHOKAI (unknown amount) between 0956 and 1007 and then again at 1113 to 1128 (a total of 600 tons); and MOGAMI (475 tons) between 1125 and 1135. At 2000, the refueling generally is completed. At this time, the First Mobile Fleet is at 12-15N, 132-45E. The 1st Supply Force stands by to rendezvous with the the 2nd Supply Force's oilers GENYO and AZUSA MARUs enroute from Guimaras. All six oilers then depart the area for a designated standby point at 14-40N, 134-20E.

20 June 1944: - The Battle of the Philippine Sea:
NICHIEI MARU is in the 1st Supply Force with destroyers HIBIKI, YUNAGI, TSUGA and HATSUSHIMA. They are attacked by LtCdr J. D. Blitch's seven Grumman "Avenger" TBF torpedo-bombers, 12 Curtiss "Helldiver" SB2C dive-bombers and 16 Grumman "Hellcat" F-6F strafers from Task Force 58's USS WASP (CV-18).

SEIYO MARU and HAYASUI are hit by bombs. Destroyer YUKIKAZE scuttles SEIYO MARU (three crewmen KIA). The 2nd Supply Force's oiler GENYO MARU is also damaged by bombs and later scuttled by destroyer UZUKI with apparently no casualties. Later that day, NICHIEI MARU departs the area for Okinawa with the 1st Supply Force.

23 June 1944:
At 1523 arrives at Bacolod. Refuels the Mobile Fleet's destroyers for their return to Japan.

24 June 1944:
Receives 4960 tons fuel and rice rations from tanker MANEI MARU.

26 June 1944:
At 0225 departs Bacolod. Joins up with RYOEI, OKIGAWA and AZUSA MARUs escorted by destroyers HATSUSHIMO, YUKIKAZE and UZUKI and kaibokan CD-22 and MANJU. (Oiler KOKUYO MARU and destroyer HIBIKI may have been in convoy as far as Okinawa or even Kure- conflict with this ships TROM)

1 July 1944:
At 2105 arrives at Mutsure.

2 July 1944:
At 0717 departs Mutsure and later that day arrives at Kure. From 2045 refuels battleship YAMATO. Ten oil barges come alongside NICHIEI MARU and take on cargoes of fuel oil.

4 July 1944:
No. 9 fuel barge comes alongside and more oil is transferred. Tanker RYOEI MARU arrives alongside to take most of the balance of the cargo.

4-16 July 1944:
Transfers fuel to nine other barges. Loads food and provisions. Undergoes repairs to her hull and additional AA machine guns are fitted.

17 July 1944:
At 0755 departs Kure in a convoy also consisting of RYOEI, AZUSA and OKIGAWA MARUs escorted by destroyers SATSUKI, YUZUKI and UZUKI, kaibokan MANJU and submarine chasers CH-30 and CH-33.

20 July 1944:
At an unknown location, refuels subchaser CH-33.

23 July 1944:
At 0847 arrives at Manila. RYOEI MARU (with unknown escort/s) arrived three days later. Refuels subchasers CH-30 and CH-33.

27 July 1944:
At 0558, departs Manila in the "NICHIEI MARU convoy" consisting of oilers NICHIEI, OKIGAWA and RYOEI MARUs escorted by DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI and UZUKI and SATSUKI and kaibokan MANJU.

29 July 1944:
At 1255, a fire breaks out in RYOEI MARU's engine room, but is successfully extinguished.

1 August 1944:
At 1539 arrives at Singapore.

2 August 1944:
Arrives at Pulau Bukum, in Singapore Port.

3 August 1944:
Departs Pulau Bukum and arrives later the same day at Pulau Sambu.

4 August 1944:
Departs Pulau Sambu and later that day at 0921 arrives back at Singapore.

6 August 1944:
At 0736 departs Singapore and arrives later that day at 1650 at Lingga anchorage.

7-9 August 1944:
Re-fuelling operations at Lingga.

9 August 1944:
At 0830 departs Lingga for Singapore Strait where the ship refuels destroyer YUZUKI.

10 August 1944:
At 0800, NICHIEI MARU departs Singapore in the "NICHIEI MARU" convoy consisting of oilers OKIGAWA and RYOEI MARUs escorted by DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI and UZUKI and SATSUKI and kaibokan MANJU.

11 August 1944:
At 1740, OKIGAWA MARU and SATSUKI are detached and return to Singapore.

17 August 1944:
At 1350, arrives at Mako. Refuels destroyer YUZUKI again and departs at 1750.

21 August 1944:
At 1716, arrives at Kure still in convoy. Moves to Hashirajima fleet anchorage. Refuels light carrier RYUHO.

22 August 1944:
Hashirajima. Refuels battleships HYUGA and FUSO and destroyer YUKIKAZE.

23 August 1944:
Refuels destroyers KUWA and MAKI and later that day arrives at Kure.

27 August 1944:
At 1430 drydocked at Kure Naval Dockyard.

2 September 1944:
At 1425 undocked.

6 September 1944:
At 0702 departs Kure later that day at 1725 arrives off Hesaki Light House.

8 September 1944:
At 1100, NICHIEI MARU departs Moji in convoy HI-75 consisting of oilers NICHIEI, RYOEI, YOHO, TOHO (1944 built), SERIA, AMATO and MANEI MARUs and passenger liner ASAMA MARU, cargo-passenger SAIGON MARU and flying boat tender AKITSUSHIMA escorted by escort carrier SHINYO and DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI and UZUKI and kaibokan KANJU, MIYAKE and MANJU. NICHIEI MARU carries 60 passengers.

12 September 1944:
In the morning, SAIGON MARU, YUZUKI and KANJU are detached for the China coast. They later rejoin at Takao.

13 September 1944:
At 1400, arrives at Takao. Refuels kaibokan MIYAKE.

14 September 1944:
The convoy is increased by the addition of oilers FUJISAN MARU (1944), KUROSHIO and TAIHO MARUs, torpedo boat HIYODORI and kaibokan CD-28. At 1630, the convoy departs Takao. Soon thereafter, AMATO MARU, and at 1900, YUHO MARU develop engine problems and are detached.

16 September 1944:
At 2330, KANJU, suffering rudder problems, collides with SERIA MARU, but there is little damage.

17 September 1944:
At 1000, SAIGON MARU and AKITSUSHIMA with escorts YUZUKI and UZUKI split from the convoy and head for Manila. Enroute, SAIGON MARU carrying 700 mines and 100 depth-charges, is sunk by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Reuben T. Whitaker's (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER (SS-249) at 14-20N, 120-05E. Six crewmen including her CO, Captain (Rear Admiral posthumously) Kameyama Minegoro (44), are KIA. YUZUKI and UZUKI rescue SAIGON MARU’s survivors.

18 September 1944:
At 1040, kaibokan KURAHASHI joins the escort.

19 September 1944:
At 1500, AMATO MARU rejoins the convoy.

20 September 1944:
During the day, NICHIEI, KUROSHIO, TAIHO and FUJISAN MARUs and carrier SHINYO all suffer engine or rudder problems, but the convoy remains intact.

22 September 1944:
At 1300, arrives at Singapore.

24 September 1944:
At 0731 departs Singapore.

25 September 1944:
Off Palembang. Tankers SHOSEI MARU and HASU MARU (ex ROBERT L. BARNES) transship some of their oil cargoes to NICHIEI MARU.

26 September 1944:
Off Palembang. Tanker YUHO MARU transships some of her cargo to NICHIEI MARU.

27 September 1944:
At 0925 departs Palembang.

28 September 1944:
At 1030 arrives at Singapore.

2 October 1944:
At 1700, departs Singapore for Moji in convoy HI-76 consisting of oilers NICHIEI, NICHINAN, RYOEI, FUJISAN, KUROSHIO, TARAKAN and TOHO MARUs, ex-seaplane tender KIMIKAWA MARU and cargo ship TEIHOKU MARU (ex-French PERSEE). Escort is provided by escort carrier SHINYO and kaibokan KANJU, MANJU, MIYAKE, KURAHASHI, CD-28 and torpedo boat HIYODORI.

8 October 1944:
South China Sea. At 0100, LtCdr Henry D. Sturr’s (USNA ’33) USS BECUNA (SS-319) attacks the convoy at 14-12N, 115-53E. Sturr fires four torpedoes and claims two hits on KIMIKAWA MARU. She is detached from the convoy and heads for Manila escorted by HIYODORI and CD-28.

11 October 1944:
At 1510 arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island. Refuels kaibokan MIYAKE.

13 October 1944:
At Yulin refuels Kaibokan MANJU.

16 October 1944:
Yokohama. From the Combined Fleet's headquarters at Keio University, Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Kusaka Ryunosuke (41)(former CO of AKAGI) releases a dispatch that assigns NICHIEI MARU to Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (38)(former CO of KONGO) First Striking Force's 1st Supply Force with oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, YUHO, OMUROSAN, RYOEI and BANEI MARUs, kaibokan CHIBURI, YURISHIMA, kaibokan CD-19 and CD-27 and minesweeper W-34. Later, IJA oilers HAKKO and NIPPO MARUs are also assigned to Kurita's force.

17 October 1944:
Early in the morning, RYOEI MARU is ordered to detach with MANJU and MIYAKE and head for Mako. The same day, the Combined Fleet orders NICHEI MARU sent to Coron escorted by KURAHASHI.

18 October 1944:
Sana (Samah), Hainan Island. Refuels kaibokan KURAHASHI and CD-32. At 1830, NICHEI MARU, KURAHASHI and CD-25 depart Sana. The escort CO advises the ships to make for Ulugan Bay, Palawan because Coron is within the range of American land-based aircraft.

22 October 1944:
At 1755 arrives at Ulugan Bay, Palawan.

23 October 1944:
Refuels kaibokan KURAHASHI.

24 October 1944:
At 2048 departs Ulugan for Coron.

25 October 1944: Operation "SHO-I-GO"(Victory) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
At 1330, CruDiv 21's ASHIGARA and DesDiv 7's KASUMI and USHIO overtake CruDiv 7's heavily damaged KUMANO limping towards Coron. At 1630, the group arrives at Coron where they refuel from NICHIEI MARU.

26 October 1944:
Refuels cruisers NACHI and KUMANO and destroyers HATSUSHIMO, OKINAMI, KISHINAMI, SHIMAKAZE, SHIRANUI and HATSUHARU.

27 October 1944:
Coron. NICHIEI and YUHO MARUs refuel cruisers ASHIGARA and NACHI, destroyers AKISHIMO, HAMANAMI, KISHINAMI, URAKAZE and SHIMAKAZE, SHIRANUI, URANAMI, KASUMI and USHIO (twice) and Hospital Ship MURO MARU.

28 October 1944:
NICHIEI MARU departs Coron for Manila.

29 October 1944:
At 0925 arives at Manila.

31 October 1944:
At 1839 departs Manila for Singapore via Miri escorted by kaibokan KURAHASHI and CD-32.

E 1 November 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

7 December 1944:
Departs Lingga.

8 December 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

10 December 1944:
At 1600 departs Singapore escorted by kaibokan CD-19.

12 December 1944:
Arrives at Lingga Anchorage.

13 December 1944:
Departs Lingga.

14 December 1944:
Arrives at Camranh Bay.

16 December 1944:
Departs Camranh Bay escorted by destroyers KASUMI and HATSUSHIMO.

17 December 1944:
At 0715 arrives at St Jacques.

21 December 1944:
Departs St Jacques escorted by kaibokan CD-19.

22 December 1944:
Arrives at Camranh Bay.

23 December 1944:
Departs Camranh Bay.

24 December 1944:
Arrives at Saigon.

26 December 1944:
Departs Saigon escorted by kaibokan CD-17 and CD-19.

29 December 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

3 January 1945:
Departs Singapore for Moji loaded with 13,000 tons fuel oil and 205 passengers, escorted by kaibokan CHIBURI, CD-17 and CD-19.

6 January 1945:
Gulf of Thailand, 60 miles NE of Kota Bharu, Malaya. LtCdr (later Cdr) Thomas L. Wogan’s (USNA ’30) USS BESUGO (SS-321), patrolling the mouth of the Gulf, picks up a target on SJ radar. In a night surface attack, LtCdr Wogan fires six torpedoes; three strike home and sink NICHIEI MARU at 06-57N, 102-57E. Captain Okano is KIA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

25 January 1945:
At 1119, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: “From: Acting Commander, NICHIEI MARU. Received a torpedo attack, three fish, and sank in position 06-45N, 102-55E at 2220 on 6 January. Secret documents went down with the ship. Killed: 3 officers, 15 POs, 24 enlisted and 29 others for a total of 71. Survivors 134.”

10 March 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
[1] According to COMSUBPAC's Submarine Operations Research Group's (SORG) reports, the unknown submarine may have been LtCdr George H. Wales' USS POGY (SS-266) that fired four Mark 14 torpedoes at a 10,00-ton oiler at 1800 that day at 05-03N, 134-42E without getting a hit.

Thanks for assistance goes to Gengoro Toda of Japan, Allan Alsleben of Oregon, Gilbert Casse of France and Erich Muehlthaler of Germany. Thanks also go to the late John Whitman for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages and Rob Stuart of Canada and Berend van der Wal of the Netherlands for additional info in 1 Rev 13 about the seizure of the Andaman Islands in Mar '42.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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