(OLYMPIA, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013 Bob Hackett

20 January 1927:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Zosen Kaisha as Yard No. 428, a 5,612-ton cargo ship for Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha, Tokyo.

30 June 1927:
Launched and named OLYMPIA MARU.

30 August 1927:
Completed and placed in Mitsubishi's service.

2 June 1930:
Begins conversion from steam to an oil propulsion machinery.

2 August 1930:
Installation of a Mitsubishi Sulzer two stroke six cylinder diesel engine is completed. The new engine produces 582 h.p.

27 August 1933:
Arrives at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

21 July 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and allotted IJA No. 756.

3 September 1941:
Receives official order and begins conversion to an Army auxiliary aeronautical repair ship at Mitsubishi, Shimonoseki.

25 October 1941:
Completes conversion. The IJA’s 18th Shipping Air Depot is organized and carried aboard OLYMPIA MARU.

31 October 1941:
Arrives at Ujina then departs and arrives at Osaka.

16 November 1941:
Departs Osaka.

20 November 1941:
Arrives at Takao.

21 November 1941:
Departs Takao.

22 November 1941:
Arrives at sea oral.

24 November 1941:
Departs sea oral.

3 December 1941:
Arrives at St. Jacques, Indochina (Vung Tau, Vietnam).

4 December 1941:
Arrives at Saigon.

16 January 1942:
Departs St. Jacques.

21 January 1942:
Arrives at Singora, Siam (Thailand).

25 February 1942:
Departs Singora.

28 February 1942:
Arrives at Singapore, Malaya.

3 March 1942:
Departs Singapore.

6 March 1942:
Arrives at Palembang, Sumatra.

29 March 1942:
Departs Palembang.

30 March 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

4 April 1942:
Departs Singapore.

7 April 1942:
Arrives at Batavia, Java (Jakarta, Indonesia).

20 May 1942:
Departs Batavia.

28 May 1942:
Arrives at Palembang.

29 May 1942:
Departs Palembang.

1 June 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

9 June 1942:
Arrives at St. Jacques.

22 June 1942:
Arrives at Shanghai, China.

29 June 1942:
Departs Shanghai.

5 July 1942:
Arrives at Osaka and departs. Arrives at Kobe.

7 July 1942:
Enters dock. A bandstand for a 100mm gun is fitted on the bow.

8 July 1942:

13 August 1942:
Departs Kobe and arrives at Osaka.

14 August 1942:
Undergoes modifications.

19 August 1942:
OLYMPIA MARU departs Ujina in convoy No. 152 bound for Mako also consisting of TATSUHO MARU and three unidentified merchant ships without escort.

August 1942:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa.

30 August 1942:
Arrives at Hong Kong.

2 September 1942:
Departs Hong Kong

13 September 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

25 September 1942:
Departs Singapore.

1 October 1942:
Arrives at Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar).

2 October 1942:
Departs Rangoon.

13 October 1942:
Arrives at Ujina.

14 October 1942:
Departs Ujina.

24 October 1942:
Arrives at Moulmein, Burma (now Mawlamyine).

8 November 1942:
Departs Moulmein.

9 November 1942:
Arrives at Rangoon.

7 December 1942:
Departs Rangoon.

12 December 1942:
Arrives at Penang, Malaya.

9 January 1943:
Departs Penang and arrives at Singapore.

8 February 1943:
Departs Singapore.

13 February 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya, Java.

30 April 1943:
Departs Surabaya.

1 May 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

June 1943:
Ownership is transferred to Mitsubishi steam ship Co., Ltd. (Tokyo).

8 June 1943:
Departs Singapore.

25 June 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya.

30 June 1943:
Departs Surabaya.

1 July 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

14 July 1943:
OLYMPIA MARU departs Palau in convoy FU-406 also consisting of IJA transports RYUYO, TAGA, UMEKAWA, YAMAGATA and YAMAFUKU MARUs escorted by Patrol Boat PB-31.

E 21 July 1943:
Minelayer NUWAJIMA and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 join the convoy.

23 July 1943:
Off Saeki the convoy is dissolved.

24 July 1943:
Arrives at Niihama, Shikoku.

29 July 1943:
Departs Niihama.

30 July 1943:
Arrives at Wakamatsu.

31 July 1943:
Departs Wakamatsu.

1 August 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

20 August 1943:
Departs Kure.

25 August 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya.

31 August 1943:
Departs Surabaya.

1 September 1943:
Arrives at the port of Singapore. Moored in a roadstead near Singapore.[1]

3 October 1943:
Departs Singapore and proceeds southward.

20 February 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

February 1944:
Enters Dock.

February 1944:

4 July 1944:
OLYMPIA MARU departs Singapore for Miri, Borneo in convoy SHIMI-05 also consisting of ASAKA, HAKUSHIKA (HAKUROKU), HOFUKU, KUROGANE, MEXICO RASHIN, SAN DIEGO and TATSUBATO MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by torpedo boat SAGI and minesweepers W-17 and W-18.

8 July 1944:
At 1842, arrives at Miri, Borneo.

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

11 July 1944:
At 1830, the convoy anchors in Kimanisu Bay, SW of Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.

12 July 1944:
At 1300, the convoy departs Kimanisu Bay. At 1015, TAKETSU MARU is detached and begins a return journey to Miri.

16 July 1944:
From 0820 until 1400, the convoy is accompanied by torpedo-boat HIYODORI and coast defense ship MIKURA. At 2035, the convoy arrives safely at Manila.

19 July 1944:
After unloading, the 18th Shipping Air Depot engages in the maintenance of “Kamikaze” suicide planes. Later, the unit's personnel are incorporated into the 41st Army’s Simbu Group as infantrymen.

15 August 1944:
At 0550, OLYMPIA MARU departs Manila in convoy H-33 (part 1) also consisting of CHINEZI, HAVRE, HACHIJIN, KUNIYAMA, MEXICO, MISAKI, TOYO and IWASHIRO MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-28 and subchaser CH-46.

17 August 1944:
Arrives at Cebu, Philippines. OLYMPIA, MISAKI, CHINZEI, TOYO and IGA MARUs are detached.

30 August 1944:
Departs Cebu.

17 September 1944:
Departs Manila.

21 September 1944:
About 200 aircraft of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's (USNA ’10) Task Force 38 strike Manila throughout the day. Planes from TG 38.1, TG 38.2 and TG 38.3 sink destroyer SATSUKI taking down 52 of her crew. OLYMPIA MARU survives all attacks without sustaining damage.

Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi, (38)(former CO of KIRISHIMA), CINC, Southwest Area Fleet, advises the Supreme Commander of Japanese Forces in the Southern Area, Field Marshal, Count, Terauchi Hisaichi, CINC, Southern Army, to transfer all supply ships from Manila to the relative security of Coron Bay off Palawan Island, Philippines. At 1715, Terauchi issues the order.

22 September 1944:
At 0300, OLYMPIA MARU departs Manila for Coron. Bay, Calamian Islands in the Taihi (refugee) convoy with AMAHI (TENHI), BAIKAL, CHINZEI, DAITEN, EKKAI (ex-Panamanian MORAZAN), KOGYO, TAIEI MARUs and IRAKO and food supply ship IRAKO carrying a deckload of reconnaissance floatplanes escorted by minelayer AOTAKA, auxiliary subchasers SHONAN MARU No. 11 and HAKKO MARU, CHa-60 and CHa-61.

23 September 1944:
By 1400, all the ships in the convoy arrive at Coron Bay, Busuanga Island, Palawan.

24 September 1944:
At 0550, 96 Grumman F6F “Hellcat” fighters and 24 Curtiss SB2C “Helldiver” dive-bombers of Vice Admiral Mitscher’s (USNA ’10) Task Group 38.3’s Air Group 18 from USS INTREPID (CV-11), AG-31 from USS CABOT (CVL-28) and AG-19 based on Mitscher's flagship USS LEXINGTON (CV-16) take off to attack the anchorage at Coron Bay, 340 miles away.

Busuanga Island. At 0855, Air Group 31’s fighter-bombers start their attack on the convoy's ships dispersed around the island. They sink OLYMPIA MARU by the stern at 11-58N, 120-02E. Two passengers, three gunners and 14 crewmen are KIA.

Author’s Notes:
[1] On 27 Sep ‘43, in Operation "Jaywick", the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) Special Operations Executive organized a limpet mine attack on Japanese shipping at Singapore. The RAN used former Japanese fishing boat KOFUKU MARU, renamed KRAIT. On 2 Sep, a small group of Allied servicemen sailed from Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia through the Java Sea. On 18 Sep, three two-man canoes launched a night attack at Singapore. OLYMPIA MARU was not damaged in the attack. For more on this atack see Operation "Jaywick"

Thanks go to Erich.Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Bob Hackett

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