(Japanese wartime ore carrier by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett

E 1941:
Tsurumi, Yokohama. Laid down at Nippon Kokan K.K., as a 5,949-ton ore carrier for Nippon Kisen K. K., Tokyo.

Launched and named NIKKO MARU.

November 1942:

13 August 1943:
At 1240, NIKKO, MARU departs Mako (Bako), Pescadores for Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), Indochina, in convoy No. 315 consisting of SUEZ, TOSAN, BISAN, SUNGSHAN (SUZAN), BELGIUM, CHINKO, RISSHUN, SEISHIN, CHILE, JAMBI, KOKKO and WALES MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

15 August 1943:
At 0500, KOKKO and WALES MARUs are detached for Kirun (Keelung) and Hong Kong respectively.

21 August 1943:
At 1005, arrives at Cap St. Jacques, then proceeds up river to Saigon.

14 November 1943:
At 1200, convoy No. 4114 consisting of UDO, NIKKO, CHIYO and HOKKO MARUs escorted by destroyer YUZUKI, kaibokan FUKUE and patrol boat PB-46 departs Truk. HOKKO MARU is towing damaged subchaser CH-10.

19 November 1943:
NE of Asuncion Island, Northern Marianas. In the early morning hours, Cdr (MOH, posthumously) Samuel Dealey's (USNA '30) USS HARDER (SS-257) makes radar contact off the port quarter of the convoy. Dealey attempts to contact two other boats of his wolfpack, USS PARGO (SS-264) and SNOOK (SS-279), but all radio frequencies are jammed by the Japanese. Dealey makes an "end-around" then submerges 15,000 yards ahead of the convoy.

Before Dealey's crew can work out a good solution, HARDER is detected by YUZUKI’s sonar and Dealey has to snap-shoot to avoid being rammed by one of the transports. At 0415 (JST), 5,384-ton HOKKO MARU is hit. At 0435, she sinks at 22-27N, 147-15E. 24 crewmen and 21 passengers are KIA.

Dealey swings HARDER around and fires his four stern tubes. At 0435, UDO MARU is hit and badly damaged. YUZUKI takes UDO MARU in tow, but at 1040, the transport's hull splits and the aft part of the ship sinks.

CHIYO MARU takes up towing CH-10 and heads for Chichi-Jima with FUKUE. Later, NIKKO MARU is ordered back to assist in the tow of UDO MARU. At 1850, NIKKO MARU arrives back on the scene, but experiences great difficulty trying to tow UDO MARU. Finally, the wreck is abandoned and sinks a few hours later. Five crewmen are KIA.

The escorts counterattack and drive HARDER deep under a thermocline layer of colder water. Dealey's crew counts 64 depth depth charges dropped over the next five hours during which time they reload all tubes.

Early in the afternoon, HARDER surfaces and again takes up the chase. That night, Dealey closes to within 1,000 yards of the convoy. He fires four Mark 14-3A steam torpedoes at a transport, but they all run deep and pass under the target. Dealey makes another end-around and submerges 12,000 yards ahead of the convoy. At 2355, he fires three bow torpedoes and gets two hits, one amidships and another in NIKKO MARU's stern.

20 November 1943:
The Japanese get all NIKKO MARU's pumps running and efficiently control the flooding. In the early morning hours, HARDER fires five more torpedoes at her, but all miss. The last torpedo makes a circular run, forcing HARDER to submerge.

Dealey attempts to battle-surface, but NIKKO MARU finds the range first and straddles HARDER, forcing her down again. Out of torpedoes, Dealey departs the area.

Later, NIKKO MARU sinks at 22-47N, 147-20E. 45 crewmen and 50 gunners are KIA.

-Bob Hackett

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