(PACIFIC MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2014 Bob Hackett
Revision 3

3 April 1920:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. as a 5,873-ton cargo ship for Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha.

1 July 1920:
Launched and named PACIFIC MARU.

18 November 1920:

In service on Kawasaki’s North Pacific Express route serving North America.

30 September 1922:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Barry Dock, Cardiff, Wales, England.

26 December 1922:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Lisbon, Portugal.

March 1931:
Sold to Tamai Shosen (Steamship Company), K. K. and registered in Hashidate.

July 1937:
The Second Sino-Japanese War begins.

Chartered by the Imperial Army (IJA).

12 January 1938:
Departs Ujina.

13 January 1938:
Arrives at Moji and departs.

16 January 1938:
Arrives at Shanghai:

19 January 1938:
Departs Shanghai:

22 January 1938:
Arrives at Moji and departs

23 January 1938:
Arrives at Ujina.

1 February 1938:
Departs Ujina.

2 February 1938:
Arrives at Moji and departs.

5 February 1938:
Arrives at Shanghai:

7 February 1938:
Departs Shanghai:

10 February 1938:
Arrives at Moji

11 February 1938:
Arrives at Ujina.

26 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Armu (IJA) and allotted Army No. 260.

18 December 1941: The Invasion of the Philippines -“M” Operation (M Sakusen):
At 1700, PACIFIC MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Rear Admiral Hara Kensaburo's (37)(former CO of TAKAO) 1st Lingayen Invasion Unit with 27 other IJA transports escorted by DesRon 5's light cruiser NATORI, DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE, HARUKAZE and MATSUKAZE, DesDiv 22's FUMIZUKI, MINAZUKI, NAGATSUKI and SATSUKI, minesweepers W-15 and W-16 and subchasers CH-1, CH-2, CH-3 CH-13, CH-14 and CH-15.

The Japanese main invasion at Lingayen Gulf consists of three transport echelons and carries the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army. The first echelon is composed of 27 transports from Takao under Rear Admiral Hara , the second echelon of 28 transports under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji (39) and the third echelon of 21 transports from Keelung under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto (39).

24 December 1941:
Lingayen Gulf. Between 0110 and 0430, the Lingayen Invasion Convoy lands troops at Lingayen.

21 January 1942:
At 1000, the 32-ship "2nd Infantry Division Movement" departs Moji for Mako Pescadores. PACIFIC MARU is in the Movement’s 3rd Transportation Unit also consisting of MOTOYAMA, KIZAN, REIYO and TSUYAMA MARUs escorted by CruDiv 9’s light cruiser OOI and DesDiv 32’s ASAGAO, FUYO and KARAKAYA.

26 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

February 1942:
Departs Mako.

February 1942:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina to assemble for the invasion of Western Java, Netherlands East Indies (NEI).

18 February 1942: "J" Operation (J Sakusen): - The Invasion of Java, NEI:
PACIFIC MARU is attached to Vice Admiral Takahashi's Third Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s Western Java Seizure Force. Departs Camranh Bay in a convoy comprised of 56 troop transports. They carry the 2nd Infantry Division for the invasions of Merak and Bantam Bay, Java escorted by light cruisers YURA and NATORI, DesDivs 5, 6, 11, 12 and 22.

Fifteen transports head for Merak, Java including PACIFIC, AKITSU, KOYO, HOKOKUMEI (later NIKKEI), COLUMBIA, ATLAS, RYUNAN, MOMOYAMA, KIZAN, REIYO, TSUYAMA, SYDNEY and SHINSHU MARUs. Seven transports go to Eretan Wetan. Seaplane tender SANYO MARU provides air cover.

1 March 1942:
Arrives at Merak, Java. Lands troops of the IJA’s 2nd Infantry Division.

9 March 1942:
Arrives at Bantam Bay.

13 March 1942:
Departs Bantam Bay.

16 March 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

30 July 1942:
PACIFIC MARU departs Imari for Shanghai in an unidentified convoy also consisting of MITO, SURABAYA, ROKKO and an unidentified ship escorted by minelayers KAMOME and TSUBAME and auxiliary minelayer KAHOKU MARU.

1 August 1942:
At 1745, arrives at Woosung, China. Soon thereafter, enters the Whangpo River to Shanghai.

30 December 1942:
PACIFIC MARU departs Tanjong Priok, the port of Batavia, Java (now Jakarta, Indonesia) for Singapore carrying IJA troops and at least 74 prisoners of war (POWs), including ten general officers and other many high-ranking British, Dutch, Australian and American military and civilian officials. The ranks of the POWs include the former Governor General of the Dutch East Indies, Jonkheer Tjarda van Starkenborgh-Stachouwer and the commander of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger-KNIL), LtGen Hein Ter Poorten.

MajGen Saito Yaheita, IJA 25th Army Commander, meets Starkenborgh-Stachouwer at the dock prior to his embarkation and presents him with gifts of mosquito coils, cigars an other small items.

1 January 1943:
Arrives at Keppel Harbor, Singapore. Disembarks the POWs to await onward transportation.

26 January 1943:
Caroline Islands, SE of Palau. PACIFIC MARU is in an unidentifed convoy also consisting of cargo ships BUYO MARU and FUKUREI MARU No. 2.

About 270 miles north of Dutch New Guinea. At 1041 (K), LtCdr (later KIA) Dudley W. Morton’s (USNA ’30) USS WAHOO (SS-238)(later lost) fires two torpedoes at PACIFIC MARU and two at FUKUREI MARU No. 2. Hit, she takes on a list to starboard and sinks by the stern at at 02-04N, 140-10E.

At 1047 (K), WAHOO fires three torpedoes at BUYO MARU and gets two hits that stop her. At 1133 (K), WAHOO fires another torpedo and hits BUYO MARU, but it is a dud. At 1135 (K), Morton fires a torpedo that hits her amidships. The passengers and crew abandon ship. BUYO MARU sinks a few miles off shore at 01-54N, 134-57E. She was carrying 1,126 IJA troops and 269 Indian labor POWs. About 1,000 survivors take to the water.

At 1136 (K), submerged WAHOO tracks PACIFIC MARU at 6 knots, but cannot close the target. At 1155 (K), while tracking PACIFIC MARU, WAHOO sights an unidentified tanker, but again but cannot close. WAHOO’s batteries are nearly depleted so Morton surfaces and watches PACIFIC MARU and the unidentified tanker steam over the horizon.

At 1315 (K), LtCdr Morton battle surfaces at the scene of the sinking of BUYO MARU and orders a battery charge. Amidst the debris, he finds approximately 20 boats ranging from scows to motorized launches. Life jacketed survivors are in the boats and the sea within easy range of Japanese held territory. Morton orders his deck gun to shell the largest boat. In response, WAHOO receives a long burst from a Japanese 7.7-mm machine gun. Morton replies with his 4 inch deck gun and .50 caliber machine guns that destroy the boats. By 1400 (K), 86 troops, 1 crewman and 269 Indian POWs are KIA. Later, Japanese ships arrive, rescue the remaining survivors and take them to Palau. [1]

WAHOO departs the area at flank speed to intercept PACIFIC MARU and the unidentified tanker. At 1530 (K), sights smoke and charges course to intercept. At 1721 (K), Morton submerges on course and continues his approach at flank speed. At 1829 (K), WAHOO fires three torpedoes at the tanker and gets one hit. At 1841, Morton surfaces. At 2025 (K), WAHOO fires two stern torpedoes at the tanker and gets a hit just aft of amidships that breaks her back and probably sinks her. [2]

At 2036 (K), Morton commences an approach on PACIFIC MARU that opens fire on WAHOO with her deck guns using flashless gun powder. At 2129, WAHOO fires two stern torpedoes at PACIFIC MARU (misidentified as ARIZONA MARU) and gets two hits. Morton claims a sinking: however, WAHOO's unreliable BuOrd Mark 14-3A torpedo exploders most probably fail to detonate on impact. PACIFIC MARU sustains only light damage.

February-May 1943:
Probably receives temporary repairs at Palau, then departs for Japan where she probably undergoes permanent repairs at an unknown location.

11 May 1943:
PACIFIC MARU departs Saeki escorting convoy K-511 also consisting of MIKAGE MARU No. 20, ASAKAZE, YAMAFUKU and SHINRYU MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO and minelayer NUWAJIMA.

E 12 May 1943:
NUWAJIMA is detached at 29N.

17 November 1943:
Truk. At 0700, PACIFIC MARU departs Saeki for Palau in convoy No. 708 also consisting of TOKOKAWA, ALASKA, TAIKO, KAYO, KIBI TAIEI MARUs and YAMAZURU MARU towing a tokugata unkato midget supply submarine, escorted by patrol boat PB-31 and auxiliary subchasers AOI MARU and TOKUHO MARU No. 10.

12 December 1943:
At 1200, PACIFIC MARU departs Palau escorting convoy N-206 also consisting of ALASKA, RYUA, CEYLON, KAITO and KAIKA MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-37 and CH-38.

19 December 1943:
At 1910, the convoy is attacked by PBY “Catalinas”, but they are driven off. At 2040, a second attack develops. KAITO MARU carrying troops and coal is hit set on fire and later sinks at 04-35N, 151-21E the following day. At 2132, in another attack PACIFIC and ALASKA MARUs are both hit. PACIFIC MARU is damaged, but ALASKA MARU has to be abandoned. The survivors are rescued by CH- 37.

20 December 1943:
ALASKA MARU sinks at 03-45N, 151-30E. At the time, the ship was loaded with 12000 m3 of food rations, clothing, arms and general goods. One crewman is killed in the action. KAITO MARU also sinks at 04-35N, 151-21E. 262 troops and 26 crewmen are KIA.

20 December 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

23 February 1944:
At 0600, PACIFIC MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMO-05 also consisting of CEYLON, CHIHAYA, NIPPO, SAN LUIS, FRANCE, SHUNTEN, MUTSUYO (BOKUYO) and ASO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-38, auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU, auxiliary subchaser TAMA MARU No. 7 and an unidentified warship. [2]

27 February 1944:
At 2058, LtCdr (later KIA) John A. Moore's (USNA ’32) USS GRAYBACK (SS-208)(later lost) torpedoes and sinks CEYLON MARU at 31-35N, 127-47E with 4000-tons of bauxite, 300-tons of canned sugar and 200 military passengers. 95 troops and 46 crewmen are KIA.[3]

29 February 1944:
Arrives at Mutsure.

23 March 1944:
PACIFIC MARU departs Moji for Takao in convoy MOTA-13 also consisting of tankers and cargo ships YOKO, HIGANE, BIZEN, SHINEI, SHOKA, MATSUMOTO, HENGSHAN (KOZAN), YOKO and YULIN MARUs and TOYO MARU No. 2 and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan KURAHASHI and subchaser CH-26.

30 March 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

15 April 1944:
Departs Takao.

19 April 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

24 May 1944:
PACIFIC MARU departs Miri for Moji in convoy MI-04 also consisting of CHOHAKUSAN MARU and tankers CHIYODA, SHUNTEN and TAKETOYO MARUs escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE and torpedo boat HATO.

29 May 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

16 June 1944:
PACIFIC MARU departs Kau, Halmahera for Manila in an unidentified "M" series convoy also consisting of ATSUTA, GENKAI, HINODE, TEIYU (ex-Italian CARIGNANO) and TSUKUBASAN MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-5 for several hundred miles before she is detached and returns to Kau.

3 July 1944:
PACIFIC MARU departs Manila in convoy MAYU-04 also consisting of HOKUSHIN MARU and four unidentified ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE and ASAGAO and kaibokan CD-2.

7 July 1944:
Convoy MAYU-04 arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island.

15 July 1944:
PACIFIC MARU departs Hainan Island for Takao in convoy YUTA-09 also consisting of JUNPO, MACASSAR, MURORAN TATSUWA and TEIRYU (ex-German AUGSBURG) MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE and auxiliary gunboats PEKING and HUASHAN (KAZAN) MARUs.

19 July 1944:
At 0532 (I), LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Norvell G. Ward's (USNA ’35) USS GUARDFISH (SS-217) SJ radar makes contact on an escorted convoy heading NNW at 22,500 yards. At 0610 (I), GUARDFISH submerges and tracks the convoy. At 0743 (I) Ward fires his last four forward torpedoes from 1,000 yards and gets two hits.

At about 0745 (JST), TEIRYU MARU is torpedoed port side in the lower part of the boiler room that completely floods. At 0746 (I), GUARDFISH’s crew hears a hit on the second ship in the convoy, but they also hear a torpedo pass over their submarine. Ward judges one of his torpedoes made a circular run. At about 0753, TEIRYU MARU splits in two amidships and sinks at 19-08N, 116-13E about 400 km SSE of Hong Kong. 108 passengers, three auxiliary gunners and 38 crew are killed. From 0749 to 0800 (I), GUARDFISH suffers many depth charges from two of the escorts, but survives. At 1808, the convoy arrives at North San Fernando.

21 July 1944:
PACIFIC MARU departs North San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines in convoy YUTA-09 also consisting of TATSUWA, MACASSAR, MURORAN and JUNPO MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE, kaibokan CD-10 and auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU. At 2255, after leaving port, PEKING MARU runs aground at 17-31N 120-22E and is left behind.

At an unknown date the convoy is ordered to return to North San Fernando because of fears of American submarines. Kaibokan CD-10 joins the convoy near North San Fernando.

24 July 1944:
At North San Fernando, HAKOZAKI MARU is coaled by TATSUWA MARU.

26 July 1944:
Convoy YUTA-09 and convoy MATA-25 depart North San Fernando. MATA-25 consists of HAKOZAKI, SEIGA, SHINFUKU MARUs, NISSHO MARU No. 18 and two unidentified merchants escorted by subchaser CH-48, auxiliary netlayer KISHIN MARU, auxiliary subchaser SHONAN MARU No. 8 and an unidentified small warship.

28 July 1944:
At 1545, the convoys arrive at Takao.

16 October 1944:
At 1820, PACIFIC MARU departs Imari Bay in convoy MOMA-05 consisting of DAIHAKU, KOMEI, TENSHO, DAISHO, TATSUURA, TAIYO, ESASHI, DORYO, PACIFIC, AOKI, TAIZAN (ex-British ST QUENTIN), SAIHO and SUGIYAMA MARUs escorted by kaibokan KASADO and CH-17, CH-18, CH-23 and CH-28.

21 October 1944:
At 1600, arrives at Takao. KASADO is detached.

23 October 1944:
At 0900, departs Takao and shelters in a bay on S Formosa, sailing at 2300.

24 October 1944:
At 1830, arrives at Sabtang Island anchorage.

25 October 1944:
At 0400, departs Sabtang Island.

26 October 1944:
At 0403, DAISHO MARU is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Maurice H. Rindskopf's (USNA ’38) USS DRUM (SS-228) at 19-30N, 120-44E. She takes down about 1600 men, most of whom belonged to the 57th Independent Brigade and 10th Maritime Advance Battalion. At 0655, Rindskopf also torpedoes DAIHAKU MARU carrying 3,150 troops of the 75th Mixed Brigade, 150 horses, 35 boats and 60 military dogs at 19-07N, 120-42E. The forepart sinks, although the aft part remains afloat and is successfully beached in Lapoc Bay. 1557 soldiers and three crewmen are KIA.

W of Dalupiri Island. At 0710, TAIYO MARU is torpedoed by LtCdr Richard W. Peterson's (USNA ’31) USS ICEFISH (SS-367) and sinks at 19-04N, 120-36E. A cargo of gasoline she is carrying for "kaiten" human-torpedoes ignites and sends flames hundreds of feet into the air. About 2,200 troops, 17 gunners and 13 crewmen are KIA. 22 landing craft, 26 horses and 21 motor vehicles are also lost.

28 October 1944:
At 1230, anchors in Lapoc Bay.

29 October 1944:
At 0700, departs Lapoc Bay. At 1600. arrives at N San Fernando.

30 October 1944:
At 0700, departs N San Fernando. At 1600, arrives at Santa Cruz.

31 October 1944:
At 0500, departs Santa Cruz. At 0950, KOMEI MARU is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins' (USNA ’33) USS GUITARRO (SS-363) at 15-18N, 119-50E. The ship was loaded with 3,500 cubic meters of goods and 775 troops. 346 troops, three armed escorts and 10 crewmen are KIA.

At 1010, PACIFIC MARU is also torpedoed and sunk by GUITARRO at 15-15N, 119-56E. The ship is carrying 300 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops and war supplies. She lowers her boats, but 24 SNLF troops, 27 gunners and 23 crewmen are KIA.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Sources vary on KIA data.

[2] The identity of the tanker and whether she was, in fact, sunk are unknown.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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