(NITTETSU MARU in wartime by Ueda Kihachiro)


Tabular Record of Movement

© 2015 Berend van der Wal, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall

Innoshima. Laid down by Osaka Iron Works K.K. for Nissan Kisen K.K., Tokyo as a 5,993-tons ore carrier.

November 1942:
Launched and named NITTETSU MARU.

10 December 1942:
Scheduled to be requisitioned from 13 December 1942 under Third Secret Military Preparation instructions.

10 February 1943:
Completed as a primary emergency oil tanker. Registered by the IJN as a general transport (refueling ship). Attached to the Kure Naval District. During trials outside Innoshima port a canon test fails and causes engine failure. Emergency anchoring. Repairs start.

12 February 1943:
Departs Innoshima. Arrives at Kure later that day. Loads charcoal, boiler water, oil tank equipment, canteen goods, consumables, mail and embarks three passengers.

18 February 1943:
Departs Kure.

21 February 1943:
Arrives at Miike. Loads charcoal. Departs Miike later that day.

23 February 1943:
Arrives at Wakamatsu.

26 February 1943:
Loads charcoal. Departs Wakamatsu.

27 February 1943:
Arrives at Moji. Later anchors in Mutsure for permanent repairs of the damaged engine and placement of a new signal boom.

6 March 1943:
At 1600, departs Moji and arrives at Mutsure. Departs there later that same day in convoy No. 134 also consisting of HAWAII, MIKASA, YAMAHAGI and TSUSHIMA MARUs escorted by destroyer SANAE.

11 March 1943:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores. Embarks a pilot and four passengers.

12 March 1943:
At 1000, departs Mako in convoy No. 376 with THAMES MARU and tanker SAN LUIS MARU without escort. The convoy sails at 9.5 knots.

17 March 1943:
Arrives at St. Jacques, French Indochina. Disembarks six passengers. Embarks five passengers. The pilot is replaced. Departs St. Jacques at 2200 in convoy No. 565 also consisting of SAN LUIS and DELAGOA MARUs escorted by torpedo boat SAGI. En route SAN LUIS MARU is detached to Palembang.

20 March 1943:
At 1300 arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore. Unloads building material, weapons, the pilot and five passengers.

26 March 1943:
Ship equipment loaded and installed. Loads boiler water, canteen goods and private supplies. Departs Seletar and arrives at Singapore later that day. Anchors at the west anchorage for machine tool repairs.

28 March 1943:
Undergoes a water pressure inspection.

8 April 1943:
Loads charcoal, water, and canteen goods. Repairs are completed. Departs Singapore. Arrives at Seletar later that day.

9 April 1943:
Departs Seletar.

12 April 1943:
Arrives at Miri, Borneo.

14 April 1943:
Unloads crude oil. Departs Miri at 1030 with converted tanker TERUKAWA MARU escorted by minesweeper W-7.

15 April 1943:
The convoy meets up with incoming tanker TAKETSU (BUTSU) MARU and W-7 is detached to escort the tanker to Miri.

17 April 1943:
At 1000, arrives at St. Jacques. Departs the same day in convoy No. 488 also consisting of TERUKAWA MARU and one unidentified merchant ship without escort.

23 April 1943:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa (Now Kaoshiung, Taiwan).

30 April 1943:
Loads 6000 fiber for ship equipment, charcoal, water and embarks nine passengers. Departs Takao later that day, likely in convoy No.257 also consisting of USSURI, TAMON, SHOYO, MATSUMOTO MARUs and seven unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE.

1 May 1943:
USSURI MARU is slightly damaged at 27-23N, 141-43E by a torpedo from LtCdr Otis J. Earle’s (USNA ’30) USS STINGRAY (SS-186). Soon after TAMON MARU suffers engine trouble and straggles from the convoy.

2 May 1943:
Straggler TAMON MARU is sunk by USS STINGRAY at 27-18N, 121-38E, taking down 81 crewmen.

5 May 1943:
At 0800, the convoy arrives at Moji.

7 May 1943:
Arrives at Kobe. Unloads fiber and disembarks nine passengers.

9 May 1943:
Departs Kobe. Arrives at Shimotsu later that day. Unloads crude oil.

14 May 1943:
Departs Shimotsu. Arrives at Osaka later that day.

15 May 1943:
Departs Osaka.

16 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure. Undergoes repairs to a leaking oil tank.

26 May 1943:
Loads boiler water and rations. Departs Kure later that day.

27 May 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama. Loads aviation fuel. Departs Tokuyama later that day.

28 May 1943:
Arrives at Wakamatsu. Loads fuel and boiler water.

29 May 1943:
Departs Wakamatsu. Arrives at Mutsure later that day.

4 June 1943:
At 1200, departs Mutsure in convoy No. 162 also consisting of tanker OGURA MARU No. 2 and eight unidentified merchant ships escorted by patrol boat PB-2.

8 June 1943:
At 2140, arrives at Takao.

11 June 1943:
Arrives at Yulin, Hainan possibly after being detached from convoy No. 397. Departs there and arrives at Samah (Sanya), Hainan. Later that day. Unloads 2,369 cans of aviation fuel.

13 June 1943:
Departs Samah.

16 June 1943:
Arrives at St. Jacques.

19 June 1943:
Departs St. Jacques.

22 June 1943:
Arrives at Miri. Loads petroleum and military mail.

24 June 1943:
Departs Miri.

28 June 1943:
Arrives at Manila. Loads sundries, canteen and private goods and embarks four passengers.

5 July 1943:
At 1059, departs Manila in second part of convoy No. 856 also consisting of SHUNTEN MARU and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by patrol boat PB-103 as far as 16N.

9 July 1943:
Arrives at Takao. Loads canteen and private goods. Disembarks one passenger. Embarks 63 passengers.

13 July 1943:
At 1200, departs Takao and arrives at Mako. Departs there later that day in convoy No. 281 consisting of tanker OGURA MARU No. 2 and six unidentified merchant ships escorted by second class destroyer KARUKAYA.

16 July 1943:
At 1702, arrives at Moji.

18 July 1943:
Arrives at Mutsure.

19 July 1943:
Departs Mutsure and arrives at Moji later that same day. Unloads 261t goods.

20 July 1943:
Departs Moji.

21 July 1943:
Arrives at Shimotsu. Unloads oil.

25 July 1943:
Departs Shimotsu. Arrives at Osaka later that day. Tows oil barge NANYU No. 41.

26 July 1943:
Departs Osaka.

29 July 1943:
Arrives at Moji. Departs there and arrives at Wakamatsu later that day. Loads 1,326 kg charcoal sumi (harder charcoal from magnolia heartwood), 100kg malt and private goods.

30 July 1943:
Departs Wakamatsu and arrives at Moji later in the day. Supplied with rehydration, canteen and food products.

31 July 1943:
Departs Moji towing oil barge NANYU No. 41 and calls at Mutsure. Departs there later and arrives at Moji later that same day. At 1330, departs Moji in convoy No. 182 with seven unidentified merchant ships with MATSUWA as the sole escort.

5 August 1943:
At 1800, due to arrive at Mako. Departs there later that same day.

7 August 1943:
Departs Takao for Yulin, Hainan Island, China in convoy No. 314 also consisting of transports LONDON, HAMBURG and RYUYO MARUs and KOTO MARU No. 2 GO, cargo ship KENSEI (ex-British HINSANG) MARU, civilian cargo ship FUKUJU MARU and tanker KONSAN MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

8 August 1943:
Unloads malt. Loads heavy oil type b, 500 kg food and canteen goods and carbon fil water.

11 August 1943:
Arrives at Yulin.

16 August 1943:
At 0700, departs St Jacques in convoy No. 502 also consisting of FUKUJU, KENSHO, LONDON, KENSEI (ex British HIN SANG) and CELEBES MARUs without escort.

17 August 1943:
Ordered to load oil at Singapore with SAN LUIS MARU and OGURA MARU No. 2.

19 August 1943:
At 1600, arrives at Singapore.

23 August 1943:
A message is sent advising the ship will be derequisitioned from 27 August 1943.

31 August 1943:

1 September 1943:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary oiler attached to the Kure Naval District.

17 October 1943:
Departs Manila for Takao in convoy No. 871 also consisting of tanker CHIHAYA MARU and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by torpedo boat HAYABUSA and auxiliary patrol boat ROKKO MARU.

19 October 1943:
Arrives at Takao

27 October 1943:
Designated auxiliary oiler No. 19.

11 November 1943:
At 1600, departs Moji for Takao in convoy No. 113-MA-07 also consisting of HIDA, NANEI, TAMAHOKO, RYUYO, DAKAR, CHIYO, TOSEI, ANYO, SYDNEY, ARABIA and NACHISAN MARUs escorted by destroyer KURETAKE.

13 November 1943:
At 0556, Cdr (later Captain) Robert Edson "Dusty" Dornin, USS TRIGGER (SS-237), makes a submerged approach on the convoy. After the convoy zigs, Dornin finds himself between two columns of ships, but USS TRIGGER has no torpedoes remaining in her bow tubes. She empties her stern tubes at the last and biggest ship, believed to be a transport, from a pointblank range, 800 yards (730 m). The target, auxiliary transport NACHISAN MARU, carrying a large deck cargo, takes two hits: one aft and one under her stack.

About 60 miles SW of Saishu-to, Chosen (Quelpart Island) (now Cheju, South Korea). NACHISAN MARU sinks quickly at 32-55N, 125-09E. Dornin takes USS TRIGGER deep. KURETAKE drops five depth charges that damage USS TRIGGER slightly. Dornin comes to periscope depth to find the target has sunk.

Captain Kawagoe Tadamitsu (33) and all hands (45 crewmen) are KIA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

21 November 1943:
At 1140, arrives at Mako. Later sails to Singapore and returns to Osaka.

2 December 1943:
Reported at anchor off Kuching (or Miri).

8 December 1943:
Scheduled to be registered again as an auxiliary oiler under Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 422.

31 January 1944:
Departs Wakamatsu. At 0920, departs Moji for Takao in convoy No. 133 also consisting of tankers TAKETSU (BUTSU), YAMASACHI (YAMAKO) and SHINCHO MARUs and YOZAN, SHOHO, CLYDE, OSAKA, MATSUEI (SHOEI), ASAHISAN, YAMAGATA, SORACHI, FUKKO, SHINYU, and TOYO MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 3 escorted by patrol boat PB-31 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3.

6 February 1944:
At 1500, arrives at Takao.

20 February 1944:
Scheduled to be registered again as an auxiliary oiler under Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 216.

28 February 1944:
At 1600, departs Miri in convoy MIMA-03 also consisting of TAKETSU (BUTSU), SAN DIEGO and YAMASACHI MARUs escorted by the old destroyers KARUKAYA and KURETAKE. At some mid point partway KURETAKE detaches and minesweeper W-17 joins.

4 March 1944:
At 1445, arrives at Manila.

7 March 1944:
At 1200, departs Manila in MATA-10 convoy also consisting of tankers TACHIBANA, TAKETSU (BUTSU), YAMASACHI (YAMAKO) and SAN DIEGO MARUs, OGURA MARU No. 1 and cargo ships TARUYASU, TAITO, KENWA, KOHO and SORACHI MARUs escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA and minesweeper W-17.

12 March 1944:
At 1200, arrives at Takao.

15 March 1944:
At 1200, departs Takao in convoy TAMO-11 also consisting of TAITO, MUTSU, HINODE, MANILA, MANKO, ASAHI, KANO, BELGIUM, SORACHI, KOHO, TARUYASU, KENWA, KENZUI, BRAZIL and KENNICHI MARUs and UNKAI MARU No. 12 and oilers TACHIBANA, SAN DIEGO and SANKO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 escorted by destroyers SHIGURE and NOKAZE, minesweeper W-17 and subchasers CH- 37 and CH-38.

16 March 1944:
At 1600, TOYO and TEIKA (ex-French CAP VARELLA) MARUs join the convoy.

21 March 1944:
At 0430, MANKO, ASAHI, and TOYO MARUs are detached from the convoy.

22 March 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

5 April 1944:
At 0240, departs Imari Bay for Takao in convoy MOTA-16 also consisting of OGURA MARU No. 1, TACHIBANA, TENSHIN, SANKO, HIROTA and MITSU MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-38 and minesweeper W-18.

11 April 1944:
At 1027, arrives at Takao.

15 April 1944:
At 1100, departs Takao in convoy TAMA-16 also consisting of MATSUMOTO, BIZEN, HAKUBASAN, YAMASACHI, TAKETSU (BUTSU), OMINE, TOSHO, JOGU, SORACHI, SHIRAHAMA, SHONAN MARUs, OGURA MARU No.1, YAMAMIZU MARU NO. 2 and YOSHIDA MARU No.3 escorted by light cruiser KISO, old destroyer HASU, torpedo boats SAGI and HAYABUSA and auxiliary sub-chasers CHa 9 and TAKUNAN MARU No.3. It is possible subchaser CH 9 also was an escort. The convoy sails at 8.5 knots

19 April 1944:
At 1312, arrives at Manila.

22 April 1944:
At 0615, departs Manila in convoy MI-02 (outward) also containing fleet oiler ASHIZURI and tankers TACHIBANA, HAKUBASAN, YAMASACHI, TAKETSU (BUTSU), MATSUMOTO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 and YAMAMIZU MARU NO. 2 escorted by torpedo boat SAGI and patrol boat PB-38.

23 April 1944:
At 2000, arrives at Pagdanan Bay, Palawan.

25 April 1944:
At 1925, arrives at Marudu Bay, North Borneo.

26 April 1944:
At 0800, departs Marudu Bay. At 1755, arrives at Jesselton, Borneo.

27 April 1944:
At 0915, departs Jesselton.

28 April 1944:
At 0045, arrives at Brunei Bay, Borneo. At 1325, arrives at Miri.

4 May 1944:
At 1030, departs Miri in convoy MI-02 consisting of tankers MATSUMOTO, TACHIBANA, HAKUBASAN, YAMASACHI, TAKETSU (BUTSU), NISSHIN, TENSHIN and SHINCHO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 and YAMAMIZU MARU NO. 2 and cargo ships KENSEI, TAIHEI, AKAGISAN and TAIYU MARUs and passenger ship KURENAI MARU escorted by kaibokan AWAJI, torpedo boat SAGI and patrol boat PB-38. At 2100, anchors in Imuruan Bay, NW Borneo.

5 May 1944:
At 0530, departs Imuruan Bay.

6 May 1944:
At 0801, LtCdr (later Captain) Francis D. Walker's (USNA ’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) fires torpedoes at the largest ship in the convoy, NISSHIN MARU. Three hit aft and heavy flooding begins. At 0810, she sinks at 07-19N, 116-52E. 15 crewmen are KIA but the fate of her 291 passengers is unknown. The escorts counter-attack and drop 13 DCs, but without success.

7 May 1944:
At 2000, anchors at Ulugan Bay, Palawan.

8 May 1944:
At 1130, departs Ulugan Bay.

10 May 1944:
At 1330, arrives at Manila. TENSHIN, KENSEI, TAIHEI, AKAGISAN and TAIYU MARUs and passenger ship KURENAI MARU are detached.

13 May 1944:
At 0552, departs Manila in convoy MI-02 now also containing tankers MATSUMOTO, TACHIBANA, HAKUBASAN, YAMASACHI, TAKETSU (BUTSU), TENSHIN and SHINCHO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 and YAMAMIZU MARU NO. 2 and cargo ship SEISHO MARU escorted by kaibokan AWAJI, torpedo boat SAGI, patrol boat PB-38 and auxiliary gunboats PEKING and CHOJUSAN MARUs.

15 May 1944:
At 1515, an unidentified auxiliary subchaser joins the escort.

16 May 1944:
At 1705, arrives at Takao. MATSUMOTO and HAKUBASAN MARUs, cargo ship SEISHO MARU, auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU and the unidentified auxiliary subchaser are detached.

17 May 1944:
At 1527, departs Takao.

18 May 1944:
At 1520, arrives at Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan). KAMO, CHIKUZEN and CHOSAN MARUs and old destroyer HASU join the convoy.

23 May 1944:
At 1625, arrives at Shushan Islands E of Shanghai and departs ther at 2357.

25 May 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Moji.

3 June 1944:
At 0415, departs Imari Bay for Miri in convoy MI-05 consisting of KENEI, HINAGA, NIPPO, FUYUKAWA, SURAKARUTA, TATSUJU, IKOMASAN and SHOEI MARUs, TOYO MARU No. 3 and tankers TACHIBANA, TOA, CERAM, YAMASACHI, AYAKIRI, AYANAMI, OEI, MARIFU, TOKUWA, TAKETSU (BUTSU), and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 and fleet oiler NOTORO plus eleven other unidentified ships, escorted by kaibokan CD-18, minesweeper W-17, torpedo boat SAGI and patrol boat No. 38, auxiliary sub-chaser CHa-22 and two unidentified escorts.

8 June 1944:
Arrives at Kirun. TOYO MARU No. 3 is detached.

9 June 1944:
Departs Kirun.

11 June 1944:
The convoy is joined by cargo ships/transports ARIMASAN, MANILA, MIIKESAN and USSURI MARUs and tankers JINEI, BAIEI, SAN DIEGO MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 8 from Takao. Minelayer MAESHIMA, kaibokan CD-14 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-95 join the escort. TOA and SHOEI MARUs are detached.

13 June 1944:
LtCdr John D. Crowley's (USNA ’34) USS FLIER (SS-250) torpedoes and damages MARIFU MARU at 15-57N, 119-42E. She is taken in tow by MIIKESAN MARU, escorted by torpeodo boat SAGI.

15 June 1944:
The convoy arrives Manila. Damaged MARIFU MARU arrives later and is detached. NITTETSU MARU is detached from convoy.

21 June 1944:
Scheduled to be registered again as an auxiliary oiler under Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 558.

27 June 1944:
Departs Manila in convoy MI-07 then also consisting of SHIROGANESAN, TAKETSU (BUTSU), YAMASACHI (YAMAKO), OEI, KENEI, TAIKAI, KAKOGAWA, CHIHAYA, RYUSHO, OYO, TAIEI and SAN LUIS MARUs escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan YASHIRO.

2 July 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Miri.

10 July 1944:
At 1550, departs Miri in convoy MI-08 consisting of MEXICO, SAN DIEGO, ASAKA, OEI, TAKETSU (BUTSU), YAMASACHI, SAN LUIS, OLYMPIA, TATSUBATO, RYUSHO, CHIHAYA, HAKUSHIKA (HAKUROKU), RASHIN, KUROGANE MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by kaibokan CD-18, torpedo boat SAGI, and minesweeper W 17.

11 July 1944:
At 1840 anchors at Kimanis Bay.

12 July 1944:
At 1015, TAKETSU (BUTSU) MARU is detached and returns to Miri. At 1300, departs Kimanis Bay.

16 July 1944:
At 0820, torpedo boat HIYODORI and kaibokan MIKURA join the escort but detach at 1400. At 2035, the convoy arrives at Manila.

23 July 1944:
Departs Manila for Moji convoy MI-08 consisting of MIZUHO, MANILA, ARABIA, TATSUBATO, HAKUSHIKA (HAKUROKU) MARUs and tankers SAN DIEGO, SAN LUIS, MIRI, CHIHAYA, RYUSHO and SANKO MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6, escorted by kaibokan, CD-1, CD-18 and CD-28, torpedo boat SAGI, minesweeper W-17, minelayer ENOSHIMA and subchaser CH-61. The convoy speed is eight knots.

27 July 1944:
At 0920, auxiliary subchaser CHa-74 and auxiliary transport OYO MARU join the escort. At 1605, the convoy arrives at Takao and is again reorganized.

30 July 1944:
Departs Takao in the convoy that now consists of ZUIHO, CHIHAYA, SAN DIEGO, SAN LUIS, BOKO (ex British SAGRES), MANILA, SANKO, TSUYAMA, ARABIA, RYUSHO, MIRI, TATSUBATO, YAGI, TOUN and EIHO MARUs, escorted by torpedo-boat SAGI, kaibokan CD-1, CD-18, minesweeper W-17 and auxiliary netlayer KISHIN MARU. The convoy speed is 7 knots.

1 August 1944:
At 1400, the convoy arrives at Kirun after it is suspected that enemy submarines had gained contact.

4 August 1944:
At 1600, the convoy departs Kirun and heads up the Ryukyu Islands bound for Kyushu.

8 August 1944:
At 1400, arrives at Naha, Okinawa.

9 August 1944:
At 0530, departs Naha. Later that day N of Okinoshima, LtCdr (later Cdr) Robert A. Keating's (USNA ’33) USS BARBEL (SS-316) torpedoes and sinks IJA cargo ship YAGI MARU with three gunners and 31 crewmen KIA and merchant cargo ship BOKO MARU (ex-British SAGRES) with unknown casualties at 27-56N, 128-47E. W-17 and CD-1 carry out an antisubmarine sweep and drop 21 depth charges that cause some damage to USS BARBEL. Afterwards, the convoy heads out of the area at full speed making evasive movements. At 1200, the convoy arrives at Koniya, Amami-O-Shima.

11 August 1944:
At 0400, the convoy departs Amami-O-Shima.

13 August 1944:
At 2030, arrives at Moji.

27 August 1944:
At 0800, departs Moji for Miri with destroyers SHIOKAZE and KURETAKE, minesweeper W-17 and minelayer YURISHIMA escorting convoy MI-17 also consisting of tanker SHIMOTSU MARU and cargo ships BAIKAL, AMAHI, DAITEN, NORWAY, ARAOSAN, NICHIZUI, HOKUREI, SHUYO, SORACHI MARUs and SHINYO MARU No. 8 and possibly YOZAN MARU, and two unidentified ships, escorted by destroyers SHIOKAZE and KURETAKE, kaibokan CD-18, minesweeper W-17 and minelayer YURISHIMA.

1 September 1944:
Arrives at Mako. Detached together with SORACHI MARU and one unidentified ship.

8 October 1944:
At 0700, departs Manila for Miri in reorganised convoy MI-19 also consisting of DAISHU, SAN LUIS, DAIZEN, HIDA, SAN DIEGO, EIKYO, TOKUWA, SHUNTEN, TATSUBATO and YOSHU MARUs escorted by kaikoban CD-18 and CD-26, patrol PB-105. subchaser CH-19 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-56.

9 October 1944:
About 1700, LtCdr Henry D. Sturr’s (USNA '33) BECUNA (SS-319) torpedoes and damages SAN LUIS MARU, but she is able to continue. LtCdr Francis W. Scanland’s (USNA '34) USS HAWKBILL (SS-366) also torpedoes SAN LUIS MARU about the same time. At 1804, USS BECUNA torpedoes and sinks TOKUWA MARU. 10 crewmen are KIA.

10 October 1944:
SHUNTEN MARU and two escorts are detached with damaged SAN LUIS MARU and head for Sandakan, Borneo.

12 October 1944:
Palawan Passage. LtCdr (later Captain) David H. McClintock’s (USNA '35) USS DARTER (SS-227) fires four torpedoes at two ships in the convoy, but inflicts no damage.

14 October 1944:
At 0208, torpedoed and sunk off the Borneo northwest coast, 10 km west – northwest of Jesselton (N06.00-E119.59), by LtCdr (later Captain) Bladen D. Claggett’s (USNA '35) USS DACE (SS-247). 12 Men are KIA. USS DACE also damages DAIZEN and EIKYO MARUs.

Authors notes :

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

Berend van der Wal, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.

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