(Type A Standard Cargo Ship)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2017 Bob Hackett

E April 1943:
Koyagishima. Laid down at Kawaminami Kogyo K. K. as a 6,481-ton Type 1A Standard Cargo Ship for Toyo Kisen, (Oriental Steamship, Co.) K. K. of Tokyo.

E June 1943:
Launched and named NICHIYO MARU.

18 July 1943:
Completed. Soon after completion, departs Japan for Rabaul, New Britain in an unknown convoy.

E 1943:
Requisitioned by the IJA as a Haitosen, an army/civilian shared employment (A/C-AK) ship. Alloted IJA No. 5185.

7 August 1943:
At 1100, NICHIYO MARU departs Rabaul in a convoy also consisting of IJN food stores ship ARASAKI and SUMIYOSHI MARUs and HINO MARU No. 5 escorted by subchasers CH-24 and CH-10.

9 August 1943:
Arrives at Shortland, Bougainville.

20 August 1943:
Guam, Marianas. At 0635, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Merrill K. Clementson’s (USNA ’33) USS SNAPPER (SS-185), patrolling west of Guam, spots two ships in Apra Harbor. Clementson patiently waits for the ships to depart. [1]

27 August 1943:
After one week, Clementson decides to make a submerged attack. A Japanese patrol boat is less than two miles away. At 1523, SNAPPER fires a spread of four torpedoes, three at the nearest ship, 8,359-ton transport TOKAI MARU and fourth at NICHIYO MARU. Clementson gets two hits that sink TOKAI MARU by the stern in shallow water in the harbor. Damage, if any, to NICHIYO MARU is unknown. SNAPPER clears the area for deeper water.

26 December 1943:
At 0920, NICHIYO MARU departs Sasebo for Takao, Formosa in convoy No. 124 also consisting of HAVRE, HIDA, HAKUSHIKA, MOJI and FUJI MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

31 December 1943:
The convoy arrives at Takao less FUJI and HAKUSHIKA MARUs detached earlier.

18 June 1944:
NICHIYO MARU departs Manila, Philippines for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-05 now consisting of cargo/transports ARIMASAN, HIDA, HINAGA, NIPPO (ex-Chinese NINGPO), TATSUJU, URAKARUTA, TEIFU, ROKKO, DAIZEN, MIIKESAN, and SEIWA MARUs, fleet oiler NOTORO and tankers TACHIBANA, JINEI, SAN DIEGO, BAIEI, KENZUI, ATAGO, AYANAMI, CERAM, OEI and TOKUWA MARUs, YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2, and KYOEI MARU No. 8.

23 June 1944:
At 1257, arrives at Miri.

25 June 1944:
At 1915, NICHIYO MARU departs Miri for Singapore in convoy MISHI-03 also consisting of fleet oiler NOTORO and ARIMASAN, AYANAMI, BAIEI, DAIZEN, FUYUKAWA, HIDA, HINAGA, JINEI, KENZUI, MANILA, NIPPO (ex-Swedish NINGPO), ROKKO, SAN DIEGO, SEIWA, SURAKARUTA, TATSUTAMA (ex-American SS ADMIRAL Y. S. WILLIAMS), TOA and TEIFU MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 8 escorted by kaibokan CD-18, torpedo boat SAGI, minesweeper W-17, subchaser CH-21 and auxiliary minesweepers CHOUN MARU No. 6 and TOSHI MARU No. 2.

28 June 1944:
South China Sea. Off Singapore. At 2100, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Reuben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER's (SS-249) radar picks up the convoy. Whitaker, operating in relatively shallow water (150 feet) decides to wait until after the moon sets to make a surface attack.

29 June 1944:
At 0117, two or three torpedoes hit NIPPO MARU, transporting 598 troops and 30 other passengers. NIPPO MARU breaks in two and sinks by the bow. 10 crewmen, two passengers and 75 soldiers are KIA. Two or three torpedoes hit NOTORO. She goes dead in the water, but remains afloat. The escorts begin blindly dropping depth charges. Whitaker, still on the surface, leaves the area on four engines.

30 June 1944:
At 1437, convoy MISHI-03 arrives at Singapore.

3 November 1944:
At 1000, NICHIYO MARU departs Moji for Miri in convoy MI-25 consisting of AKAGISAN, ATAGO, DAIRETSU, DAIA, DAIEI, DAISHU, DAITO, GYOSHIN, KENSEI, HINAGA, KACHOSAN, KINSEN, NIKKO, OJIKASAN, OTSUSAN, SHINKYU, SHOEI, RYUSHO and YAMAMURA MARUs and YUZAN MARU No. 2 and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by kaibokan CD-23, CD-33, CD-51, CD-52 and CD-130 and auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU.

8 November 1944:
KACHOSAN, KINSEN and NIKKO MARUs and the unidentified ship are detached for Kirun. NICHIYO and AKAGISAN MARUs are detached for Takao.

23 November 1944:
At 1530, NICHIYO MARU departs Takao for Manila in convoy TAMA-32A also consisting of AKAGISAN, HAGIKAWA, SORACHI, JINYO, SHOEI, WAYO, MINO, SHIROUMA (HAKUBA) and SHONAN MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 63 and SS No. 6 (KIDOTEI) escorted by destroyer KURETAKE, kaibokan CD-1, CD-3, CD-8, CD-28 and CD-54 and subchasers CH-17, CH-18, CH-37 and CH-38. Soon after leaving, the convoy anchors along the coast.

24 November 1944:
At 0400, departs Formosan coast.

25 November 1944:
At 2200, arrives at Musa Bay, Fuga Island.

27 November 1944:
At 0400, departs Musa Bay. At 1645, arrives at Lapoc Bay.

28 November 1944:
At 0600, departs Lapoc Bay. At 1800, arrives at N San Fernando.

29 November 1944:
At 0600, departs N San Fernando.

30 November 1944:
At 0500, arrives at Manila.

5 December 1944:
At 0950, NICHIYO MARU departs Manila for Ormoc Bay, NW Leyte in convoy TA No. 8 also consisting of AKAGISAN,and SHIROUMA MARUs, SHINSEI MARU No. 5 and transport LST No. 11 also escorted by DesRon 31's UME, MOMO and SUGI and SubChasDiv 21's CH-18 and CH-38. The convoy carries 4,000 soldiers. News of the American landings at Leyte landing causes the convoy to head for San Isidro, Leyte.

7 December 1944:
At 0900, arrives at San Isidro and commences unloading. At 0930, about 70 USAAF B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers attack. All the convoy's freighters are deliberately beached. All the ships are bombed and destroyed and destroyers UME and SUGI damaged. 350 troops are KIA and the bulk of the equipment lost.

Authors’ Notes:
[1] LtCdr Merrill K. Clementson’s was unaware that the two ships in the harbor were damaged TOKAI and NICHIYO MARUs. On 27 Jan ’43, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Glynn R. Donaho’s (USNA ’27) USS FLYING FISH (SS-229) fired two torpedoes at TOKAI MARU anchored in Apra Harbor and got one hit that caused damage, but did not sink her. It is unknown what sort damage, if any, immobilized NICHIYO MARU before Clementson’s attack, perhaps engine trouble.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

- Bob Hackett

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