(Sister NAPLES MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2018 Bob Hackett

21 August 1918:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. as Yard No. 422, a 5, 857-ton passenger-cargo ship for Kawasaki Shipyard Co., Ltd.

18 October 1918:
Launched and named KIFUKU MARU.

During construction, renamed TAIFUKU MARU No. 29.

6 November 1918:

June 1928:
Sold to Kokusai Kisen, K. K. (International Steamship Co.).

Sold to Ogitsu Maritime Co., Ltd.

5 October 1940:
Following a merger, transferred to Nissan Steam Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Tokyo. Renamed NIKKI MARU.

28 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a cargo ship and allotted Army No. 132.

17 March 1943:
NIKKI MARU departs Saeki in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy "H2" also consisting of HANKOW and MEIZAN MARUs escorted by minelayer YURIJIMA and patrol boat PB-31.

E 18 March 1943:
At 29N, the escorts are detached .

16 April 1943:
NIKKI MARU departs departs Palau escorting a convoy consisting of KURAMASAN, NISSHUN, TEIKAI (ex German FULDA) MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 3 escorted by subchaser CH-38.

18 April 1943:
At 1230, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Bernard F. McMahon's (USNA ’31) USS DRUM (SS-228) torpedoes and sinks NISSHUN MARU at 02-02N, 148-27E. 35 men are KIA. CH-18 rescues the survivors that include a number of impressed Korean "comfort" women.

24 April 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

9 May 1943:
NIKKI MARU departs Rabaul for Palau in convoy R-09 also consisting of CHOKO, FUKKO, TATEISHI, YAMABUKI and YODOGAWA MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 15 escorted by subchasers CH-23 and CH-38.

11 May 1943:
NE of Manus. At 0730, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Edward C. Stephan's (USNA ’29) USS GRAYBACK (SS-208) fires two torpedoes at YODOGAWA MARU at 00-40N, 148-55E. YODOGAWA MARU is set afire and sinks. Two men are KIA.

17 May 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

30 November 1943:
At 0300, NIKKI MARU departs Rabaul in a convoy also consisting of AWA, HIMALAYA, SHINYU, SHOHO, and WALES MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-37 and CH-38. At 2310, the convoy is attacked by Consolidated PBY "Catalina" seaplanes. HIMALAYA MARU is hit and sinks at 02-47S, 150-25E. 27 troops and seven crewmen are KIA.

8 December 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

10 February 1944:
At 0600, NIKKI MARU departs Wasile, Halmahera in a convoy also consisting of CHUKA and MOJI MARUs escorted by minelayer WAKATAKA .

At 2340, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from the CO of WAKATAKA that reads: “At 2239 received a torpedo attack in position 01-43N, 129-30E. Dropped 9 depth charges. Results unknown. No damage to us.” This was another attack by USS HAKE. LtCdr Broach claimed a hit on a cargo ship forward of the bridge.

13 February 1944:
At 0300, arrives at Manokwari, New Guinea .

14 February 1944:
At 0700, departs Manokwari escorting NIKKI and MOJI MARUs.

15 February 1944:
At 0900, arrives at Bosnek, southeast shore of Biak Island.

17 February 1944:
At 1000, departs Bosnek escorting the same two ships.

18 February 1944:
At 0830, arrives at Sarmi.

21 February 1944:
At 1700, NIKKI MARU departs Sarmi for Manokwari in a convoy also consisting of MOJI MARU escorted by minelayer WAKATAKA. The conyoy is carrying elements of the IJA's 36th Division, shipping officials and stevedores.

22 February 1944:
At 2233, LtCdr Cyrus C. Cole's (USNA ’35) USS BALAO (SS-285) torpedoes NIKKI MARU. The ship begins sinking by the stern at a 45 degree angle. The ship’s captain lashes himself to the compass. At 2327, the ship splits aft of the bridge causing the stern to rise to the surface, so the captain survives. NIKKI MARU sinks at 00-11N, 135-54E. Over 50 troops and eight crewmen are KIA. WAKATAKA foregoes counter-attacking the submarine and begins rescue operations.

23 February 1944:
At 1700, WAKATAKA and MOJI MARU arrive at Manokwari.

24-25 February 1944:
At midnight, WAKATAKA departs and continues rescue operations. By the 25th, she rescues 141 men.

26 February 1944:
At 1530, WAKATAKA arrives at Kau, Halmahera.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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