(ONOE MARU prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2008-2016 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 8

15 June 1939:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima Shipbuilding’s yard as a 6,667-ton cargo ship for Nippon Yusen (NYK Line) K.K., Tokyo.

26 December 1939:
Launched and named ONOE MARU.

15 March 1940:

4 April 1940:
Departs Yokohama for Calcutta, India on NYK’s route.

August 1941:
Arrives in Australia.

16 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

27 August 1941:
Registered in the IJN.

5 September 1941:
Rated an auxiliary transport in the Kure Naval District. Captain Kikuchi is appointed Supervisor.

5 October 1941:
Kobe. Begins conversion to an ammunition ship at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard.

19 October 1941:
The conversion is completed.

5 December 1941:
Arrives at Kure.

7 December 1941:
Assigned to support of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (former CO of KONGO) Second Fleet’s deployment.

10 December 1941
Departs Kure for Mako, Pescadore Islands carrying 4,500-tons of supplies and weapons.

14 December 1941
Arrives at Mako.

1 January 1942
Anchored off Mako.

1 February 1942:
Reserve Captain Ozawa Satoru is appointed Supervisor.

18 February 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
ONOE MARU is attached to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hiraoki Kumeichi’s (39)(former CO of HIEI) 9th Base Force in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s Western Java Seizure Force. Departs Camranh Bay, Indochina in a convoy comprised of 56 troop transports.

19 February 1942:
Departs Takao.

1 March 1942:
Reassigned directly to the Combined Fleet.

3 March 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay. Refuels from tanker TEIYO MARU.

4 March 1942:
Supplies ammunition to cruiser NACHI.

13 March 1942:
Supplies ammunition (170 shells) to battleship HIEI. On 1 March, HIEI fired 210 14-inch and 70 6-inch shells at old destroyer USS EDSALL.

15 March 1942:
Supplies ammunition to cruisers TONE and CHIKUMA. On 1 March, between them, they fired 844 8-inch and 62 five-inch shells at USS EDSALL.

18 March 1942

25 March 1942
Departs Staring Bay.

26 March 1942
Arrives at Kendari.

28 March 1942:
Departs Kendari.

6 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

June 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
At Truk. ONOE MARU carries army and fleet replenishment supplies in support of the operation.

15 June 1942:
Departs Kure.

16 June 1942:
Departs Kure and arrives at nearby Hashirajima.

22 June 1942:
Departs from off Hashirajima but klater that day returns to anchor off Hashirajima.

20 July 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for Kure. Arrives at Kure.

25 July 1942:
Departs Kure for Hashirajima. Arrives at Hashirajima.

14 August 1942:
Assigned to the Guadalcanal Reforcement Force.

16 August 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for Rabaul.

13 October 1942:
Departs Truk in convoy also consisting of ammunition ship HIDE MARU and storeship KINEZAKI escorted by destroyer YUZUKI. At some point HIDE MARU and KINEZAKI detach for Rabaul.

18 October 1942:
Arrives at Shortland. Probably off loads munitions.

22 October 1942:
Off Rabaul. At about 1100, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Edward C. Stephan’s (USNA ’29) USS GRAYBACK (SS-208) torpedoes and damages ONOE MARU at 04-50S, 153-00E. The ship suffers a cracked hull at the bow. She returns to Rabaul that same day and undergoes emergency repairs by repair ship HAKKAI MARU.

16 December 1942:
Arrives at Kure Navy Yard. Undergoes permanent repairs and begins conversion to an auxiliary transport.

15 February 1943:
Captain Ozawa Satoru, CO of ONOE MARU, is appoined Supervisor of oiler ARIMA MARU as an additional duty.

1 March 1943:
Rerated an auxiliary transport.

18 April 1943:
Conversion and repairs are completed. Departs Kure.

20 April 1943:
At 0600, ONOE MARU departs Saeki, Kyushu, in convoy No. 420 consisting of KINKASAN and KOYU MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-46.

28 April 1943:
At 1440, arrives at Palau.

8 May 1943:
Departs Palau escorted by submarine chaser CH-33.

12 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

21 May 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 4521 also consisting of NICHIRO, TATSUMIYA, NICHIZUI, MOGAMIGAWA and YAMAGIRI MARUs and storeship MAMIYA escorted by destroyer YUZUKI.

30 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka .

13 June 1943:
At 1000 departs Yokosuka.

15 June 1943:
At 1725 arrives at Ominato. Undergoes servicing and repairs.

22 July 1943:
Departs Ominato.

24 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

27 July 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3727 also consisting of TOYU and TOKYO MARUs escorted by destroyer YUZUKI.

4 August 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

2 November 1943:
Rabaul. 75 North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium-bombers of the 5th Air Force's 3rd, 38th and 345th Bomb Groups, escorted by 70 Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" fighters raid airfields and Simpson Harbor. Stores ship MANKO MARU is sunk with unknown casualties. ONOE MARU is damaged in the raid as are CruDiv 5’s HAGURO and MYOKO, destroyer SHIRATSUYU, subtender CHOGEI, minesweeper W-26, repair ship YAMABIKO MARU, stores ship HAYASAKI and many others. Of 40 ships in the harbor, only 10 escape damage.

25 November 1943:
ONOE MARU departs Rabaul for Truk a convoy consisting of KAMOI MARU and HOSHI MARU No. 5 and possibly others escorted by subchaser CH-40. While patrolling west of Mussau, New Guinea, LtCdr (later Cdr) James W. Davis' (USNA ’30) USS RATON's (SS-270) lookouts sight two Japanese cargo-type ships, with an escort of two “destroyers” and a Rufe float plane. Davis' trails the convoy.

26 November 1943:
275 miles NW of Kavieng, New Ireland. At 2116, LtCdr Davis torpedoes and sinks ONOE MARU with only one crewman KIA, at 00-40N 148-20E. CH-40 counterattacks, but is damaged by the explosion of her own depth charges. Four subsequent attempts by USS RATON to sink the remaining freighters are defeated by the escorts’ countermeasures.

27 November 1943:
At 0605, USN codebreakers intercept a message from CH-40 that reads: “Picked up captain and 195 members of the crew of ONOE MARU which sank at 2240. Headed for Truk at 0020 but could not use radio because of damage sustained while making depth charge attack.”

5 January 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
Thanks go to John Whitman of the USA for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages. Thanks also to Matthew Jones for help in identifying COs.

Photo credit and special thanks for general assistance goes to Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

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