KYUSUISEN!

(NIPPO MARU, prewar)

IJN NIPPO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2016 Berend van der Wal, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall


14 April 1936:
Laid down at Kobe by Kawasaki Zosensho K.K. as a 3,763-tons cargo ship for Okazaki Honten K.K.

16 September 1936:
Launched and named NIPPO MARU. [1]

10 November 1936:
Completed and registered at Kobe.

24 December 1936:
Chartered to Osaka Shosen K.K. (OSK). Departs Kobe for Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan).

E December 1936:
Arrives at Kirun. Departs there and arrives at Takao, Formosa (now Kaoshiung, Taiwan).

1937:
Her owners are restyled to Okazaki Honten G.K.

1938:
Requisitioned by the IJA as Army transport No. 612.

5 June 1938:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores and departs later that day.

1939:
Release to her owners.

30 July 1941:
Departs Kobe for Kirun.

E August 1941:
Arrives at Kirun. Departs there and arrives at Takao.

24 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

28 August 1941:
Koyagi Island, Nagasaki. Conversions for military duty starts at the Kawaminami Kogyo Zosensho K.K. shipyard.

5 September 1941:
Registered as an auxiliary water tanker attached to the Sasebo Naval District under instruction No. 1025.

31 October 1941:
The conversion is completed.

October 1941:
Attached to the Mako Guard District as an auxiliary water tanker, Otsu category. [2]

December 1941:
Departs Mako.

31 December 1941:
Assigned to troop transport mission.

12 January 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao later that day.

13 January 1942:
Departs Takao and arrives at Mako later that day.

15 January 1942:
Assigned to troop transport mission under Mako Guard District secret instruction No. 7.

18 January 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Kirun later that day.

23 January 1942:
Departs Kirun and arrives at Mako later that day.

29 January 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Kirun later that day.

30 January 1942:
Departs Kirun and arrives at Mako later that day.

7 February 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Kirun later that day.

11 February 1942:
Departs Kirun and arrives at Takao later that day.

14 February 1942:
Departs Takao and arrives at Kirun later that day.

E 15 February 1942:
Enters drydock at Kirun shipyard for maintenance and repairs.

5 March 1942:
Undocked. Departs Mako and arrives at Kirun later that day.

9 March 1942:
Departs Kirun and arrives at Mako later that day.

13 March 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao later that day.

18 March 1942:
Departs Takao and arrives at Mako later that day.

22 March 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao later that day.

25 March 1942:
Departs Takao and arrives at Mako later that day.

26 March 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao later that day.

29 March 1942:
Departs Takao and arrives at Mako later that day.

3 April 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Kirun later that day.

6 April 1942:
Departs Kirun and arrives at Takao later that day.

10 April 1942:
Departs Takao and arrives at Mako later that day.

12 April 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Kirun later that day.

15 April 1942:
Departs Kirun and arrives at Mako later that day.

21 April 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Kirun later that day.

24 April 1942:
Departs Kirun and arrives at Takao later that day.

26 April 1942:
Departs Takao and arrives at Mako later that day.

3 May 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao later that day.

5 May 1942:
Departs Takao and arrives at Kirun later that day.

8 May 1942:
Departs Kirun and arrives at Mako later that day.

12 May 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao later that day.

15 May 1942:
Assigned to troop transport mission under Mako Guard District secret instruction No. 37. Attached to Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo’s (36) Fourth Fleet. That same day, scheduled to be fitted with one Type 92 7.7mm type A MG and five type 38 Arisaka rifles under Navy’s secret instruction No. 5990.

20 May 1942:
Scheduled to depart on 21 May 1942 for Truk, Central Carolines and load fresh water at Palau, Western Carolines under Combined Fleet secret instruction No. 666.

25 May 1942:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao later that day.

27 May 1942:
Departs Takao.

1 June 1942:
Arrives at Palau.

2 June 1942:
Departs Palau.

7 June 1942:
Scheduled to arrive at Truk.

E 2 ~ 7 June 1942:
Departs Palau. Calls at Rabaul, Kavieng, Ponape, Kwajalein, Wotje, Taroa, Jaluit, Gilbert and Truk.

12 June 1942:
Scheduled to be fitted with one 8cm/40cal deck gun under Navy’s secret instruction No. 7246.

15 June 1942:
At 0900, departs Truk with fleet oiler NOTORO with only air escort.

19 June 1942:
At 1230, arrives at Rabaul.

16 July 1942:
Departs Truk in convoy with auxiliary collier/oiler MIKAGE MARU No. 18 escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

18 July 1942:
At 1000, arrives at, and later the same day, departs Ponape, Eastern Carolines.

2 August 1942:
Arrives at Wotje, Marshalls.

3 August 1942:
Auxiliary patrol craft I GO NICHIEI and ASHITAKA MARUs come alongside and are replenished with boiler water.

4 August 1942:
Auxiliary patrol craft HIGASHINIHON MARU comes alongside and is replenished with 3t boiler water.

13 September 1942:
At 0900, arrives at Kwajalein, Marshalls.

14 September 1942:
Replenishes small freighter FUDO MARU No. 2 with fresh water.

15 September 1942:
At 0700, departs Kwajalein.

18 October 1942:
Attached directly to the Combined Fleet.

24 October 1942:
Departs Truk in an unnumbered convoy also consisting of IJN auxiliary transport NANKAI MARU No. 2 without escort.

26 October 1942:
NANKAI MARU No. 2 is detached.

27 October 1942:
Arrives at Saipan, Northern Marianas.

30 October 1942:
Departs Saipan in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary oiler SHOYO MARU.

1 November 1942:
KENYO and SURUGA MARUs escorted by auxiliary cruiser UKISHIMA MARU join the convoy.

2 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

25 December 1942:
Begins a salvage operation with the converted rescue vessel MIE MARU to salvage the submarine I-33.

29 December 1942:
The I-33 is raised and refloated successfully.

2 March 1943:
Departs Truk towing submarine I-33 with auxiliary gunboats HEIJO and CHOUN MARUs.

16 March 1943:
Arrives at Bungo Suido escorted by patrol boat PB-46, torpedo boat HATO, and auxiliary gunboats HEIJO and CHOUN MARUs.

18 March 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

21 March 1943:
Departs Kure.

22 March 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

27 March 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

28 March 1943:
Arrives at Innoshima.

13 April 1943:
Departs Innoshima and arrives at Kure later that day.

18 April 1943:
Departs Kure.

19 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka in convoy No. 8419A also consisting of IJN auxiliary transport NAGATA MARU, IJA transport TAIKO MARU and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by auxiliary gunboat HIYOSHI MARU No. 2 GO.

21 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

3 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3503 with IJN ammunition ship NARUTO MARU escorted by torpedo boat OTORI. The convoy sails at 10 knots.

10 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk. At 1400, departs Truk in convoy with NARUTO MARU still escorted by torpedo boat OTORI for Eniwetok. En route calls at Ponape and Falalap (Woleai), Eastern Carolines.

21 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

21 June 1943:
Her owners are changed to Mitsubishi Kisen K.K. and registry port to Tokyo.

E July 1943:
Captain Ito Kumataro is appointed supervisor.

9 July 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 7091 escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2 GO bound for Ponape. The ships sail at 10 knots.

23 August 1943:
Departs Truk.

25 August 1943:
Arrives at Ponape.

7 September 1943:
Departs Ponape in convoy with ASAYAMA MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

9 September 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

22 October 1943:
Departs Truk in TEI No. 3-1 transport run with EIKO, YAMAGIRI MARUs, MIKAGE MARU No. 18 and possibly others escorted by destroyer YUZUKI. .

23 October 1943:
The convoy arrives at Ponape, disembarks troops and departs later that day likely with light cruiser TATSUTA and DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI, SUZUNAMI and HAYANAMI as distant cover escorts.

24 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

26 October 1943:
Departs Truk in TEI No. 3-2 transport run with EIKO, YAMAGIRI MARUs, MIKAGE MARU No. 18 and possibly others likely with light cruiser TATSUTA and DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI, SUZUNAMI and HAYANAMI.

27 October 1943:
The convoy arrives at Ponape, disembarks troops and departs later that day likely with light cruiser TATSUTA and DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI, SUZUNAMI and HAYANAMI as distant cover escorts.

28 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

5 November 1943:
At 1300, due to depart Kwajalein.

7 November 1943:
At 0900, arrives at Truk.

23 November 1943:
At 1400 departs Truk in convoy No. 5233 also consisting of IJN auxiliary transports CHOKO MARU (3515 GRT) and NANKAI MARU No. 2, escorted by cable layer TATEISHI and subchaser CH-30. NANKAI MARU No. 2 tows oil barge NANYU No. 35, a 670 ton dumb barge. [3] [4]

E 23 ~ 24 November 1943:
NIPPO MARU is detached with TATEISHI.

25 November 1943:
At 1530, arrives at Ponape.

26 November 1943:
At 0600, departs Ponape.

29 November 1943:
At 0630, arrives at Kwajalein.

7 December 1943:
At 1100, departs Ponape escorted by destroyer HIBIKI.

9 December 1943:
At 0400 (ETA), arrives at Kusiae (now Kosrae), Eastern Carolines and departs later that day.

11 December 1943:
Arrives ar Ponape.

16 December 1943:
At 0500, departs Ponape escorted by destroyer HIBIKI.

18 December 1943:
At 0640, arrives at Truk.

3 January 1944:
Departs Truk.

4 January 1944:
Arrives at Mortlock, Central Carolines.

13 January 1944:
Departs Mortlock.

14 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

24 January 1944:
At 0500, departs Truk for Eniwetok in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transport OKITSU MARU escorted by destroyer SUZUKAZE and subchaser CH-33.

26 January 1944:
NW of Ponape, Carolines. LtCdr (later Cdr) George G. Molumphy’s (USNA’31) USS SKIPJACK (SS-184) intercepts the convoy. At 0003, Molumphy fires four torpedoes and scores two hits on SUSUKAZE at 08-51N, 157-10E. The destroyer sinks rapidly with a heavy loss of life including Cdr Yamashita Masao (52). CH-33 commences an unsuccessful search for the submarine, then rescues 22 survivors while OKITSU and NIPPO MARUs clear the area.

About 146 nautical miles N of Ponape. SKIPJACK continues to track the convoy. At 0400, Molumphy torpedoes and hits OKITSU MARU in her starboard hold No. 4. The transport floods and begins sinking by the stern. ‘Abandon Ship’ is ordered. At 0425, OKITSU MARU sinks at 09-24N, 157-45E, taking down 169 Navy passengers and seven crewmen.

A torpedo room accident during this attack damages SKIPJACK, requiring her to return to Pearl Harbor for repairs where she arrives on 7 Mar.

27 January 1944:
Arrives at Ponape.

29 January 1944:
Departs Ponape (likely escorted by CH-33).

7 February 1944:
Departs Ponape in a convoy consisting also of YUBAE MARU and auxiliary storeship KITAKAMI MARU with TAKUNAN MARU No. 2 and SHONAN MARU No. 5 (some may have joined en route), escorted by CH-33.

10 February 1944:
The convoy arrives at Truk.

17 February 1944: American Operation "Hailstone" - The Attack on Truk:
Beginning at dawn, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s (USNA ’10) Task Force 58's five fleet carriers and four light carriers, supported by six battleships, ten cruisers and 28 destroyers, launch air attacks on airfields, shore installations and ships in the lagoon. Mitscher launches 30 strikes of at least 150 aircraft each. The strikes are launched about every hour.

At 1600, at the Natshushima anchorage (east of Dublon Island) undergoes an air attack (3 Grumann TBF Avengers from USS ESSEX (CV-9). Receives a direct hit in the coal hold and in the engine room. Unable to proceed to the harbor. At 1800, ordered to return. At 2300, sustains another hit in the engine room.

18 February 1944:
At 0310, sinks at the Natshushima anchorage at position 07-22N-151-56E with no casualties. In two days of raids, Task Force 58 sinks 31 transports and 10 naval vessels (two cruisers, four destroyers and four auxiliary vessels, destroys nearly 200 aircraft and damages severely about 100 more. Truk is eliminated as a major fleet anchorage for the IJN

31 March 1944:
Removed from the Naval list under internal order No. 508.


Authors notes :
[1] Not to be confused with IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) (1,942 GRT, ’44), IJA shared transport (ex-Swedish NINGPO) (6,079 GRT, ’38) or auxiliary oiler (10,528 GRT, ’44).

[2] There were two categories of Kyusuisen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

[3] Some sources say CH-40 rather than CH-30.

[4] If in convoy, CH-40 apparently was detached from convoy No. 5233 and made port at Rabaul on or before 26 November.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

Berend van der Wal, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.


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