(RYUYO MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2017 Bob Hackett

17 November 1919:
Uraga. Laid down at Uraga Dock Co., Ltd., as Yard No. 156, a 6,709-ton cargo ship for Yamashita Kisen K.K., Kobe.

13 February 1920:
Launched and named EGYPT MARU.

2 March 1920:
Completed and sold to Kokusai Kisen, K. K. (International Steamship Co., Ltd.), Kobe.

Sold to Ueno Steamship Co., Ltd.), Osaka. Renamed RYUYO MARU.

19 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Allotted Army No. 720.

17 December 1941: Operation "M" (M Sakusen) -The Invasion of Lamon Bay, S Luzon, Philippines:
At 1500, RYUYO MARU departs Koniya, Amami Oshima, Ryukuyus for Lamon Bay in an Invasion Force also consisting of IJA transports BENGAL, DAINICHI, DURBAN, KAIMEI, KAYO, KITANO, KOFUKU, LISBON, NAGATO, NICHIREN, RYOKA, SHINSEI, SHINSHU (4182 GRT), TAIAN, TATSUNO, TOFUKU, TOYAMA and TOYOHASHI MARUs and TAMON MARU No. 5.

The Army force consists of Gen (later Field Marshal) Count Terauchi Hisachi’s Southern Expeditionary Army. Its 14th Army, under LtGen Homma Masaharu, fields MajGen Morioka Susumu's Invasion Unit of about 7,000 troops consisting of elements of the 16th Infantry Division: 20th Infantry Regiment, 22nd Field Artillery Regiment, HQ and II Battalion, 16 HQ Company, 16th Engineer Battalion, 16th Recon Battalion, 3/45 AA Company, 16th Transport, 16th Signal Company, 16th Medical Unit and 16th Veterinary Unit. Two AA and one Signals regiments are stationed on transports.

The naval force consists of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35)(former CO of KONGO) Southern Force, Philippines Invasion Group that includes Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo’s (35)(former CO of YAMASHIRO) Third Fleet.

Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji’s (38) (former CO of KAGA) Invasion Unit consists of his 1st Base Force HQ, aboard light cruiser NAGARA, 1st Quartermaster Ports and Docks Unit and 1st Naval Signal Unit, aboard HAKUSAN MARU, 1st Naval Guard Unit, aboard KIMISHIMA MARU, 1st Naval Survey Unit in SENKO MARU and Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mori Kunizo's (40)(former CO of SATA) Sasebo No. 1 and 2 Combined Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) aboard MYOKO MARU.

The convoy’s escort consists of light cruiser NAGARA (F), heavy cruiser ASHIGARA, destroyers TOKITSUKAZE, YUKIKAZE, KAWAKAZE, SUSUKAZE, UMIKAZE, YAMAKAZE, minelayer AOTAKA, minesweepers W-7 and W-8, auxiliary gunboat/minelayer IKUSHIMA MARU, auxiliary gunboats BUSHO, KEIKO, KANKO and MYOKEN MARUs, auxiliary subchasers SHONAN MARU No. 17 and TAKUNAN MARU No. 5 and auxiliary netlayer FUKUEI MARU No. 15.

24 December 1941:
At 0200, the Invasion Force arrives at Lamon Bay. The landings proceed without strong opposition.

14 January 1943:
RYUYO MARU departs Saeki in the "Hinoe No. 3 Go" convoy also consisting of BENGAL, ENGLAND, DAINICHI, SHONAN, NAGATO, ZUISHO and TOFUKU MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO, minelayer YURIJIMA and subchaser CH-37.

E 15 January 1943:
Escorts YURIJIMA and CH-37 are detached at 29N.

4 April 1943:
At 1200, RYUYO MARU departs Palau in convoy No. 3202 also consisting of NAGATO, RYUZAN, SHANGHAI, SHONAN and YASUSHIMA MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-2.

9 April 1943:
Off Mindoro. At 0600, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) John E. Lee's (USNA '30) USS GRAYLING (SS-209)(lost) fires three torpedoes and gets two hits that damage SHANGHAI MARU at 13-05N, 121-43E. Later, Lee fires two more torpedoes and gets another hit that sinks SHANGHAI MARU. All hands (45 crewmen) are KIA.

10 April 1943:
At 1100, arrives at Manila.

9 July 1943:
RYUYO MARU departs St. Jacques in convoy No. 591 also consisting of HOKUAN, ICHIYO, NASUSAN, RYUOSAN, SEISHIN and NICHIAI MARUs escorted by auxiliary minelayer MA-4.

12 July 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

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

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

23 July 1943:
Arrives at Saeki where the convoy is dissolved.

7 August 1943:
RYUYO MARU departs Takao for Yulin, Hainan Island in convoy No. 314 also consisting of cargo/ transports FUKUJU, HAMBURG, KENSEI (ex-British HINSANG) and LONDON MARUs and tankers KONSAN and NITTETSU MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

KOTO MARU No. 2 GO is detached from the convoy at an unknown date and place.

11 August 1943:
Arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island, China.

12 August 1943:
Arrives at Samah, Hainan Island.

9 September 1943:
RYUYO departs Takao in a convoy escorted by kaibokan TSUSHIMA and two unidentified warships in either nine ship convoy No. 201 or three ship convoy No. 204. (NB: it is unclear to which convoy each ship belongs) The convoys also include HIROTA, HITORA (ex-Panamanian RAMONA), TAIRIN, TOFUKU and TOKO MARUs and six unidentified merchants.

12 September 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

October 1943:
Sold to Yamamoto Steamship Co., Ltd, Kobe.

11 November 1943:
At 1600, RYUYO MARU departs Moji for Takao in convoy No. 113-MA-07 also consisting of ANYO, ARABIA, CHIYO, DAKAR, HIDA, NACHISAN, NANEI, NITTETSU, SYDNEY, TAMAHOKO and TOSEI MARUs escorted by destroyer KURETAKE.

13 November 1943:
At 0556, LtCdr Robert E. Dornin's (USNA '35) USS TRIGGER (SS-237) torpedoes and sinks NACHISAN MARU at 32-55N, 125-09E. KURETAKE drops five depth charges that damage TRIGGER slightly.

21 November 1943:
At 1140, arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

28 November 1943:
At 1700, RYUYO MARU departs Takao in convoy No. 780 also consisting of cargo ships BIZEN, CHIYO, KINSHU, NICHIWA, NIPPONKAI, NORWAY, RYUUN, TOSEI and YAMAHAGI MARUs and tankers SAN DIEGO MARU and OGURA MARU No. 1 and four unidentified ships escorted by destroyer FUYO and kaibokan KANJU.

3 December 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Manila.

28 December 1943:
RYUYO MARU departs Wasile, Halmahera, Moluccas for Manila in an unidentified convoy also consisting of five unidentified ships, two of which are escorts. RYUYO MARU is carrying 88 passengers and an unknown cargo.

1 January 1944:
NW of Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines. At 0200 (H), LtCdr Frank G. Selby's (USNA '33) USS PUFFER (SS-268) picks up six ships on SJ radar. At 0220 (H), Selby is able to make out four ships with an escort on the portside and another aft. One appears to be a destroyer. At 0303 (H), PUFFER fires her bow tubes at the convoy. At 0307, PUFFER fires her stern tubes. Of the seven torpedoes he firesd, Selby gets four hits that sink RYUYO MARU at 08-26N, 122-52 and damage another ship. One passenger and six crewmen are KIA.

At 0303 (H), the escorts drop 5 DCs, later followed by three more, but PUFFER evades.

Authors Notes:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

- Bob Hackett

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