(Bogota entering Singapore Harbor)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2010 Bob Hackett and Erich Muehlthaler

Revision 2

Wesermünde, Germany. Laid down at Schiffbau-Gesellschaft "Unterweser" A. G., as a 1,230-ton freighter for Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd) Line of Bremen, Germany.

15 March 1938:
Launched and named QUITO. Sponsored by Mr. José Ignacio Burbano Rosales, consul of the Republic of Ecuador at Bremen.

9 June 1938:
Completed and delivered to Norddeutscher Lloyd.

14 June 1938:
Departs Bremen under Captain Maximilian Schneider on her maiden voyage with cargo for the west coast of South America. After arrival, employed in coastal shipping service between harbors on the northern and western coasts of South America. Stationed at Guayaquil, Ecuador.

21 August 1939:
Departs Callao, Peru.

24 August 1939:
Arrives at Guayaquil, Ecuador. The following day receives the first of several pre-arranged war warning signals. Remains at Guayaquil.

1 September 1939:
Danzig, Baltic Sea. At 0445, old German battleship SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN opens fire on the Polish military depot at Westerplatte. German troops invade Polish territory.

3 September 1939: The Second World War Begins:
Noon. Germany does not reply to an ultimatum from Prime Minister Arthur Neville Chamberlain to Germany to withdraw its forces from Poland, consequently a state of war now exists between Great Britain, France and Germany.

4 January 1940:
QUITO departs Guayaquil for Coquimbo, Chile.

12 January 1940:
Arrives at Coquimbo. Sister ship BOGOTA arrived the previous day.

After several futile negotiations with the Chilean Government to sell the vessel, Captain Schneider is finally instructed to wait for a dark night to depart Coquimbo for Yokohama.

4 April 1941:
Authorities at Callao, Peru inform the British C-in-C America and West Indies that QUITO and BOGOTA applied for clearance from Coquimbo and might attempt to break out on 14 or 15 April. Canadian armed merchant cruiser (ex-Canadian National liner) HMCS PRINCE HENRY is ordered to establish a patrol off Coquimbo. PRINCE HENRY patrols the area for two weeks, but QUITO and BOGOTA make no effort to sail. On 19 April, PRINCE HENRY is directed to Antofagasta, Chile to watch that port.

18 May 1941:
Departs Coquimbo for Yokohama. BOGOTA also departs that same night, but the two ships do not sail together towards Japan.

27 June 1941:
Arrives at Yokohama.

28 July 1941:
Officially requisitioned by the Deutsche Kriegsmarine (German Navy) as a Marine Sonderdienst (auxiliary) Versorgungs Schiff (supply ship).

October 1941:
Departs Yokohama.

27 October 1941:
Arrives at Shanghai, China. QUITO is manned by a German crew, but several Japanese officers are observed on board. Takes on a cargo of gasoline, fuel oil and food. She is painted gray and green with her name painted out. She flies Japanese merchant and military flags. The small vessel is not fitted with guns for commerce raiding, but Allied Naval officers believe that she is being used as a supply ship for raiders in the southern Pacific.

31 October 1941:
Departs Shanghai.

10 September 1942:
Chartered to Teikoku Senpaku K.K., Tokyo, a Japanese Government financed shipping company, renamed TEISHU MARU and given signal code JGER. [1]

16 July 1943:
Penang, Malaya. Kapitänleutnant (LtCdr) Fritz Schneewind's U-511 is the first German U-boat to arrive at the base.

Summer 1943:
The Kriegsmarine decides to send U-boats to operate in the Indian Ocean. The first group of U-boats arrives at Penang at the end of September 1943, after the tropical monsoon rains period. Thereafter, this group of U-boats is named "Monsun".

19 August 1943:
Dutch Ltz II (LtCdr) Wopke J. de Vries' submarine O-24 makes an unsuccessful attack on a Japanese "tanker" (actually QUITO) enroute from Singapore to Penang. QUITO reports having avoided a submarine attack that same day 229° and 9 km from White Rock Lighthouse in the Malacca Straits at 04-00N, 100-31E.

20 August 1943:
At 1520 (JST), after receiving news of the attack on QUITO, auxiliary gunboat CHOSA MARU (2,538 grt) departs Penang. Immediately after arrving on the scene, CHOSA MARU starts an anti-submarine sweeping operation. At about 1820, CHOSA MARU is hit by one torpedo from O-24 and sinks at 1830. Five crewmen are KIA.

September 1943:
QUITO arrives at Jakarta and loads submarine spares from German blockade runner ALSTERUFER. Later, QUITO proceeds to Penang.

6 November 1943:
At dusk QUITO and Korvettenkapitän (Cdr) Wilhelm Dommes' U-178 depart Penang for Singapore. Despite continous activity by surface anti-submarine and air patrols, LtCdr L. W. A. Bennington's submarine HMS TALLY HO, based at Columbo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) has maintained a close patrol off Penang from 2 November. Now, TALLY HO's lookouts spot the German ships. About 15 minutes later, Bennington fires five torpedoes from 1,000 yards on a 120° track angle, spread over two target lengths, aimed individually. One torpedo turns left sharply and runs down the port side of TALLY HO; the others miss. The Germans increase speed and make off. [2]

8 November 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

December 1943:
QUITO is scheduled to depart Jakarta (formerly Batavia), Java (Indonesia) for Balikpapan, Borneo at the first convenient opportunity after December with 1,000 tons of submarine diesel oil. [3]

A mobile torpedo balancing station is established aboard QUITO.

26 February 1944:
At 1900, QUITO departs Penang for Singapore. [3]

March 1944:
Departs Singapore for Japan in an unknown convoy.

June 1944:
Yokohama. Enters No. 2 Drydock of Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K. Yokohama Zosensho. Undergoes conversion to an auxiliary submarine depot ship.

22 August 1944:
Leaves No. 2 Drydock. Completes conversion and departs Yokohama for Kobe to load torpedoes, but is stranded enroute. Minor flooding occurs. Two IJN destroyers tow her to a nearby bight for makeshift repairs.

September 1944:
QUITO is towed to Kobe, where she is overhauled.

1 October 1944:
At 0800, QUITO departs Moji for Singapore in convoy HI-77 also consisting of oilers KAIHO, OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, ITSUKUSHIMA, AKANE, HAKOZAKI, TAIHO and ARITA MARUs, transports MANJU (ex-SANTOS) and KINUGASA and ORYOKU MARUs, and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan CHIBURI and CD-19, CD-21 and CD-27. Arrives at Arikawa Bay that same day.

2 October 1944:
Departs Arikawa Bay for Singapore.

5 October 1944:
ORYOKU MARU detaches for Kirun. The rest of HI-77 arrives at Takao. Before departing later that day, kaibokan ETOROFU and SHONAN join the escort.

6 October 1944:
About 1410, LtCdr (later Captain) James B. Grady's USS WHALE (SS-239) fires five torpedoes and sinks 10,000-ton oiler AKANE MARU. CD-21 rescues survivors and searches for the attacking submarine, but at 1757, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles W. Wilkins' USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) torpedoes and sinks CD-21.

7 October 1944:
W of Manila. A wolf pack consisting of LtCdr (later Captain) Arnold H. Holtz’s USS BAYA (SS-318), LtCdr Henry D. Sturr’s BECUNA and LtCdr Francis W. Scanland, Jr’s HAWKBILL (SS-366) attacks convoy HI-77 and sinks KINUGASA MARU.

12 October 1944:
At 1500, the remainder of HI-77 arrives at Singapore.

November 1944:
Incessant Allied air and submarine attacks render Penang untenable as an operational base for submarines. The German U-boats withdraw to Jakarta. Fregattenkapitän (Jr Capt) Wilhelm Dommes (former CO of U-178), Chef im Südraum (Chief, Southern Area) moves his headquarters from Penang to Singapore.

4 November 1944:
QUITO departs Singapore with Korvettenkapitän Heinrich Timm's U-862, but a drive shaft coupling fails and U-862 has to put about for repairs at Singapore. [3]

November 1944:
Jakarta is ordered to keep Kapitänleutnant Oskar Herwartz's U-843 at Surabaya until QUITO arrives. [3]

December 1944:
QUITO arrives at Balikpapan and loads 1149 cubic metres of fuel oil and 80 cubic metres of lubricating oil. [3]

19 December 1944:
Arrives at Surabaya. Delivers 475 cubic metres of fuel oil to Korvettenkapitän Jürgen Oesten's U-861. [3]

21 December 1944:
Departs Surabaya.

23 December 1944:
Arrives at Jakarta. U-861's Engineering Officer reports that the oil is satisfactory.

Jakarta becomes the main German U-boat operating base in the Far East. Singapore and Surabaya are repair ports. U-boat fuel is brought to these ports from Balikpapan by QUITO and BOGOTA that also transport supplies between the southern bases.

13 March 1945:
At 1647, Surabaya signals “Subchaser No. 2 is to leave Surabaya on 14 March for Batavia where she is to pick up German vessel QUITO waiting to proceed to Kota Baru and escort her to the south end of Laut Island and then return to Surabaya.” [3]

20 March 1945:
At 1201, the Resident Naval Officer (R.N.O) at Jakarta signals Balikpapan, "Please supply German vessel QUITO with 300 drums of lubricating oil on 21st. [3]

4 April 1945:
QUITO escorted by subchaser CH-3, departs Jakarta for Balikpapan, Borneo to load fuel for U-boats. [3]

11 April 1945:
At 1730, the Chief, Surabaya Fuel Depot, signals that German vessel QUITO loaded 500 drums of fuel, kept in solidified form at 101 degrees. He requests to be informed of the amount of fuel, etc. required by German submarines, and states that Surabaya Fuel Depot will endeavor to meet the demands. He further states that the army has agreed to produce the necessary turbine oil produced at Palembang using crude oil from Central and Southern Sumatra. [3]

12 April 1945:
From 1920 to 2045, while QUITO is approaching Balikpapan, she is strafed and slightly damaged by three (probably RAAF) B-24 “Liberator” heavy-bombers. During the attack, as a result of a near miss, the radio operator falls overboard and is lost. [3]

27 April 1945:
At 1900, QUITO departs Balikpapan for Jakarta at 12 knots. She transmits her estimated positions for 28-30 April which are intercepted by the codebreakers of the USN Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, (FRUMEL), Australia. [1]

29 April 1945:
Off Tanjong Puting, Borneo, Netherlands East Indies. LtCdr James L. McCallum’s USS BREAM (SS-243) torpedoes and sinks QUITO at 04-11S, 111-17E.

30 April 1945:
QUITO was scheduled on passage from Balikpapan to Jakarta with fuel for U-boats. Her ETA was 2000 on 30th. At 1615, the R.N.O. Jakarta, signals that QUITO was not sighted in the vicinity of the rendezvous that morning and requests that an immediate search be arranged. The R.N.O. says that Jakarta has been unable to communicate owing loss of her code books. He further states that QUITO’s scheduled positions were at 3-40S, 112-30E at 1200 on 29th, at 0600 on 30th at 04-30S, 111-58E, and at 1200 on 30th at 04-50S, 108-00E, steering 220. [2]

1 May 1945:
At 1710, the R.N.O. Jakarta signals that although careful search was carried out that morning in vicinity of QUITO's estimated position, there was no sign of her. The area searched was the Java Sea west of a line joining Indramayu Cape and Fox Shoal. He further requests an immediate report after southern shore of - - - is searched by float planes from Surabaya. [3]

5 May 1945: Germany Ceases Hostilities with the United States and Great Britain:
Tokyo. German naval attaché, Admiral Paul Wennecker (former CO of Panzerschiff DEUTSCHLAND/LÜTZOW) and Deutscher Admiral Ostasien (German Admiral, East Asia) sends the code-word signal "Lübeck" to all U-boats in Asia. It signifies that Germany has ceased hostilities.

The Kriegsmarine base commander at Jakarta, Korvettenkapitän Dr. Hermann Kandeler (formerly of DKM raider THOR), announces that Adolf Hitler is dead and that Germany has ceased hostilities in the West, but continues to resist Soviet forces overrunning Berlin.

9 May 1945:
At 2014, the Chief of Bureau of Military Affairs requests information as to the condition of QUITO. [3]

10 May 1945:
At 1632, the Chief of Staff, 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet, signals "German tanker QUITO proceeded to Balikpapan to transport oil, and while standing by in that port enemy aircraft struck the Tarakan area. QUITO left for Batavia on 27th April and was due to arrive on 30th. At 1800, on 28th, she was sighted north west of Matashiri Island on a westerly course. Search for her was carried out later on but no contact was made. At 1530, on 29 April, OTOME MARU was shelled by a British submarine north of Matashiri Island and sank. QUITO is believed to have been torpedoed and sunk by this same British submarine." [3]

Authors' Notes:
[1] Also known as TEIJU MARU. [2] In light of subsequent experience with torpedoes on this patrol, the failure of this attack was almost certainly due to faulty torpedoes.

[3] The source of these data are transcripts of decrypts of Japanese radio messages by the USN Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, (FRUMEL), Australia.

Some sources refer to QUITO as KITO GO, the Japanese reading of the name QUITO, but the Japanese never operated the ship by themselves.

Special thanks goes to Hans McIlveen of the Netherlands for information regarding FRUMEL decrypts. Thanks for assistance also go to Peter Cundall of Australia and Sander Kingsepp of Estonia.

-Bob Hackett and Erich Muehlthaler.

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