(NISSHO MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011-2018 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 10

10 August 1937:
Yokohama. Laid down by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. as a 10,526-ton tanker for Showa Tanker K. K., Tokyo.

12 June 1938:
Launched and named NISSHO MARU. [1]

29 November 1938:

19 June 1939:
Departs Yokohama.

30 June 1939:
Arrives at San Francisco. Later, transports fuel oil from the United States west coast to Japan under charter to Taiyo Kaiun, K. K.

12 September 1940:
NISSHO MARU arrives at Batavia (Jakarta), Java (Indonesia) carrying the Japanese Minister of Commerce, Kobayashi Ichizo. At a conference at Java's Selabintanah resort, Kobayashi demands the Dutch East Indies provide Japan with 3,150,000 metric tons of petroleum annually and give a five-year guarantee of delivery. The Dutch Government representatives refuse saying it is a commercial, not governmental, matter.

26 July 1941:
The United States, Great Britain and the Dutch East Indies place an embargo on oil exports to Japan to counter Japanese aggression in Asia.

23 February 1942:
NISSHO MARU is requisitioned by the IJN and registered as an auxiliary transport (oil).

20 April 1942:
Yokohama. Begins conversion to Naval oil tanker at Mitsubishi.

10 June 1942:
Captain Kurata Shichiro (34)(former ComDesDiv 27) is appointed Supervisor.

2 July 1942:
The conversion is completed.

10 July 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

11 July 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

13 July 1942:
Departs Kure.

17 July 1942:
Arrives at Ominato.

19 July 1942:
Departs Ominato.

22 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

25 July 1942:
Departs Yokosuka. Later that day arrives at Yokkaichi.

27 July 1942:
Departs Yokkaichi.

29 July 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

11 August 1942:
Departs Kure.

12 August 1942:
At 1500 arrives at Tokuyama.

15 August 1942:
At 1230 departs Tokuyama.

21 August 1942:
At 1800 arrives at Kwajalein.

29 August 1942:
At 0700 departs Truk apparently without escort.

3 September 1942:
Transits the Bungo Straits heading north. [2]

4 September 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

6 September 1942:
At 1315 departs Kure.

7 September 1942:
Departs from an anchorage off Kitsuki.

15 September 1942:
At 0800 arrives at Rabaul

16 September 1942:
At 1300 departs Rabaul.

17 September 1942:
At 1200 arrives at Shortland.

18 September 1942:
At 0600 departs Shortland.

25 September 1942:
At 1730 arrives at Sasebo.

1 October 1942:
At 1500 departs Sasebo.

4 October 1942:
Transits the Bungo Straits northbound in a convoy also consisting of tanker TOHO MARU.

5 October 1942:
At 0800 arrives at Kure and at 1715 departs Kure.

12 October 1942:
Tankers TOEI and NISSHO MARUs meet up with destroyer YUZUKI and later that day at 1300 arrive at Truk.

17 October 1942:
Truk. Refuels cruiser AOBA.

18 October 1942:
Truk. Refuels oiler KENYO MARU.

19 October 1942:
At 0600 departs Truk.

24 October 1942:
Bungo Straits. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Roy S. Benson’s (USNA ’29) USS TRIGGER (SS-237) spots NISSHO MARU riding high in the water in ballast. Benson sets up and fires a spread of four torpedoes and gets at least one hit near the target's stern. NISSHO MARU’s screws stop and she begins emitting heavy white smoke aft, but soon gets underway. Benson fires his last torpedo as NISSHO MARU moves off, but misses.

25 October 1942:
Submarine tender CHOGEI begins towing NISSHO MARU. Minelayers NASAMI and NATSUSHIMA, Submarine chaser CH-36, Patrol Boat PB-31 and Auxiliary cruiser SAIGON MARU all provide an escort.

27 October 1942:
At 1400 arrives at Kure. Begins battle-damage repairs.

15 April 1943:
Repairs are completed. Departs Kure.

27 April 1943:
Due to arrive at Singapore.

1 May 1943:
At 1900 departs Singapore.

2 May 1943:
At 2000 due to arrive at Batu Pahat.

3 May 1943:
At 0800 due to depart Batu Pahat.

4 May 1943:
At 0900 due to arrive Palembang.

31 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

21 June 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

23 June 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

27 June 1943:
Departs Kure.

18 July 1943:
Departs Singapore in a convoy with KENYO MARU.

19 July 1943:
Attached to the Kido Butai as a fleet tanker.

29 July 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Truk.

19 August 1943:
At 1200 in 01-04N 119-29E minesweeper W-16 meets up with tanker NISSHO MARU, bound for Surabaya from Palau.

4 September 1943:
At 0840 departs Balikpapan. Joins convoy No. 2607 consisting of KYOEI, NISSHO, PACIFIC, YAMAYURI and TAKAOKA MARUs, fleet oiler NOTORO escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE and auxiliary gunboat MANYO MARU.

6 September 1943:
Captain Tonomura Senzaburo (40)(former CO of ERIMO) assumes command.

8 September 1943:
At 0900 an unidentified destroyer and an auxiliary vessel join the convoy.

10 September 1943:
An unidentified oiler and auxiliary vessel are detached. At 1600 arrives at Palau.

14 September 1943:
NISSHO MARU and tanker KUMAGAWA MARU depart Palau in convoy No. 8142 escorted by destroyer OITE and submarine chaser CH-33. The convoy sails at 12 knots.

18 September 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

24 October 1943:
At 1730 destroyer SANAE departs Balikpapan escorting NISSHO and KOKUYO MARUs bound for Palau.

26 October 1943:
At 0700 SANAE ceases escort.

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

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

4 November 1943:
130 miles W of Kavieng. NISSHO and NICHIEI MARUs are damaged by AirSols aircraft based at Guadalcanal. [3]

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.

30 November 1943:
At Truk.

December 1943:
Receives fuel from tanker NICHIEI MARU.

27 December 1943:
Between 0720 and 2000 receives 5000 tonns No.1 grade fuel oil and 2000 tons No. 2 grade fuel oil from TSURUMI.

28 December 1943:
At 0445 TSURUMI casts off from NISSHO MARU.

4 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk. (sic, dubious entry)

9 January 1944:
Repairs completed

10 January 1944:
Departs Truk for Surabaya escorted by destroyer TANIKAZE.

14 January 1944:
At 1200, at 08-56N, 134-30E, patrol boat PB-102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224) takes over as escort.

19 January 1944:
At 1200 arrives at Balikpapan.

22 January 1944:
Arrives at Surabaya, Java. Drydocked. Undergoes repairs by the IJN's No. 103 Repair Facility.

15 February 1944:
Undocked. Departs Surabaya escorted by patrol boat PB-104 and later arrives at Balikpapan. Takes on a cargo of oil.

21 February 1944:
At 1647, NISSHO MARU departs Balikpapan in a convoy consisting of fleet oilers KYOKUTO and KOKUYO MARUs escorted by destroyers SHIMAKAZE and IKAZUCHI.

25 February 1944:
75 miles S of Davao, Philippines. NISSHO MARU is in an unidentified convoy with fleet oiler KYOKUTO MARU. At about 0100, LtCdr (later Cdr) Victor B. McCrea's (USNA ’32) USS HOE (SS-258), acting on a code-breaker's ULTRA message, attacks the convoy. McCrea fires four torpedoes in a surface radar attack and gets two hits on KYOKUTO MARU at 05-55N, 126-05E that cause heavy damage.

At 0220, McCrea fires all ten bow and stern torpedoes in a surface radar attack. He gets five hits that sink NISSHO MARU at 05-50N, 126-00E. Captain Tonomura and 37 crewmen are KIA. Tonomura is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

31 March 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] NISSHO MARU was also known as NISSYO MARU using the "kokutai" method of converting kanji names to English.

[2] Tanker SHINKOKU MARU also transits the straits that same day, but it is unclear if the ships were together.

[3] AirSols was a joint command for Allied air units in the Solomon Islands campaign of World War II, from April 1943 to June 1944. It was subordinate to the Allied Pacific Ocean Areas POA Command. AirSols superseded and absorbed Cactus Air Force, which controlled Allied air units in the Solomons during 1942–43. AirSols units came from elements of the: United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and the Thirteenth Air Force, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).

Thanks go the late John Whitman of Virginia, USA for input to Rev 1 and to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France and Mr. Matthew Jones of Missisippi, USA.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

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