Stories and Battle Histories of Imperial Army Landing Craft Depot Ships

25 November 2017

By Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall with Sander Kingsepp

(LISBON MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

The Imperial Army's SHINSHU MARU was the world's first landing craft carrier ship. She could carry a total of 2,200 assault troops and was purposely designed to transport landing vessels and troops to a landing area. She launched Daihatsu landing craft quickly from a gate at her stern or from gates at the side. AKITSU and NIGITSU MARUs were under construction as passenger liners, but taken over by the IJA before completion. Both ships were fitted with flight decks, but had no hangars. Aircraft were stored below the flight decks on the main deck. Conventional aircraft were to be able to fly off, but not land aboard. AKITSU and NIGITSU MARUs were essentially aircraft ferries.

MAYASAN and TAMATSU MARUs were also converted to landing craft depot ships while under construction on the ways. Both ships were fitted with stern ramp gates for launching large landing craft stored in the holds. The ships were used effectively as troop transports. KIBITSU, HYUGA and SETTSU MARUs were Standard Type M cargo ships converted to landing craft depot ships on the ways. They launched their landing craft through stern doors. Their tonnage varied about 200 tons between ships of the class.

TAKATSU (KOZU) MARU was another cargo ship converted to a landing craft depot ship while under construction. Her Daihatsu landing craft were stored on an upper deck and handled by cranes. KUMANO MARU was also converted from a cargo ship while under construction. She was fitted with a flight deck, but had no hangar and the deck was not large enough to allow landing of aircraft.

Tabular Records of Movement:
IJA Landing Craft Depot Ships:
(Classes link to specifications summaries)


Shinshu Maru (revised 8/4/2012)


Akitsu Maru(revised 5/4/2013)

Nigitsu Maru (posted 11/25/2017)


Mayasan Maru (revised 11/25/2017)

Tamatsu Maru (posted 6/4/2011)


Kibitsu Maru (revised 9/8/2012)

Hyuga Maru (posted 4/2/2011)
Settsu Maru (posted 6/17/2011)


Takatsu Maru (revised 12/1/2012)


Kumano Maru (posted 3/19/2011)

Bibliography of Sources

About the Authors

Mr. Robert Hackett is a military historian and researcher. Retired from the United States Air Force and later from the aerospace industry, he resides on the coast of Florida.

Mr. Peter Cundall is a maritime historian and researcher who specializes in merchant ships. He resides in Australia.

Mr. Sander Kingsepp, a native of Estonia, is also a military historian and researcher. A talented linguist, Sander's translations of Japanese source materials have greatly enhanced these TROMs.

Questions to the authors concerning these TROMs should be posted on the Discussion and Questions board.

Discussion & Questions