TOKUSETSU JUNYOKAN!

(Bangkok Maru by Ueda Kihachiro)

IJN SAIGON MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2008-2014 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
Revision 4


9 December 1936:
Kobe. Laid down at Mitsubishi's shipyard as a 5, 351-ton cargo ship for Osaka Shosen K. K. (O.S.K), Osaka.

28 April 1937:
Launched and named SAIGON MARU.

30 September 1937:
Completed. Departs Kobe for Bangkok. Arrives eight days later.

1937-1941:
In service on O. S. K’s Japan, Saigon, Bangkok route. Makes one voyage every three weeks.

13 June 1941:
Departs Kobe for Bangkok.

21 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

20 September 1941:
Registered as a auxiliary cruiser in the Kure Naval District.

23 September 1941:
Aioi. Undergoes conversion at Harima Zosen to an armed merchant cruiser. Four 120-mm (4.7-inch) single mount guns, one 7.7-mm machine gun and provisions for carrying and launching 500 mines are fitted.

14 October 1941:
The conversion is completed.

Late 1941:
Conducts patrols in the Kii and Bungo Straits. Also lays mines and escorts convoys.

9 December 1941:
Departs Saeki.

31 December 1941-1 January 1942:
Lays mines to Kii Channel between Honshu and Shikoku Islands.

9 April 1942:
Arrives at Saeki.

15 May 1942:
Departs Saeki.

31 May 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

11 June 1942:
Departs Kure.

19 June 1942:
Arrives at Saeki.

14 July 1942:
Departs Saeki.

16 July 1942:
Arrives at Saeki.

26 July 1942:
Arrives at Shimonoseki.

30 July 1942:
Departs Shimonoseki.

9 September 1942:
Departs Saeki.

14 September 1942:
Arrives at Saeki.

14 October 1942:
Departs Kure.

15 October 1942:
Arrives at Shimonoseki.

16 October 1942:
Departs Shimonoseki.

19 October 1942:
Arrives at Saeki.

24 October 1942:
Departs Saeki.

26 October 1942:
Arrives at Saeki.

4 November 1942:
Departs Saeki.

5 November 1942:
Arrives at Saeki.

26 December 1942:
Departs Saeki.

27 December 1942:
Arrives at Saeki.

19 February 1943:
Anchors off Hiro.

20 February 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

21 February 1943:
Departs Kobe with sister BANGKOK MARU.

22 February 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

28 February 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk with BANGKOK MARU and carrier CHUYO (acting as a ferry) escorted by DesDiv 31/2nd section's destroyers KIYONAMI and ONAMI. SAIGON MARU carries 1,497 troops of Cdr (Captain, posthumously) Sugai Takeo's (50) No. 7 Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF).

8 March 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

12 March 1943:
Departs Truk for Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands with BANGKOK MARU escorted by KIYONAMI and ONAMI.

17 March 1943:
Arrives at Betio, Tarawa. Disembarks No. 7 Sasebo SNLF troops.

20 March 1943:
Departs Tarawa.

27 March 1943:
Arrives at Saipan. KIYONAMI and ONAMI.are detached.

E 30 March 1943:
SAIGON and BANGKOK MARUs are met by torpedo boat HATO at 28-00N, 134-32E .

1 April 1943:
Off Fukajima. HATO is detached.

2 April 1943:
Arrives at Saeki. SAIGON MARU is detached.

10 April 1943:
Departs Saeki.

13 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

21 April 1943:
Departs Kure.

28 April 1943:
Arrives at Saeki

14 June 1943:
Departs Kure.

19 June 1943:
Arrives at Chinkai.

8 July 1943:
Departs Chinkai.

9 July 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

13 July 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

22 July 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

28 July 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

29 July 1943:
Arrives at Maizuru.

3 August 1943:
Departs Maizuru.

12 August 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

19 August 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

20 August 1943:
Arrives at Chinkai.

22 August 1943:
Departs Chinkai.

2 September 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

7 September 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

12 September 1943:
Arrives at Chinkai.

14 September 1943:
Departs Chinkai.

16 September 1943:
Arrives at Yura.

23 September 1943:
Departs Yura.

25 September 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

6 November 1943:
Departs Saeki.

29 November 1943:
Arrives at Saeki.

1 December 1943:
Departs Saeki.

2 December 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

15 December 1943:
Departs Kure.

19 December 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

2 January 1944:
Departs Yokosuka.

6 January 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

20 January 1944:
Redesignated an auxiliary gunboat. Reassigned to the 18th Escort Squadron, General Escort Command. Begins minelaying duties. Eventually, the squadron lays 12,000 mines in the East China Sea.

23 January 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

28 January 1944:
Arrives at Maizuru.

1 February 1944:
Two addtional Type 96 25mm (twin barrel) mounts are fitted.

3 February 1944:
Departs Maizuru.

5 February 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

13 February 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

20 February 1944:
Arrives at Saeki.

26 February 1944:
Departs Saeki.

27 February 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

6 March 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

15 March 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

22 March 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

25 March 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

26 March 1944:
Two addtional Type 96 25mm (twin barrel) mounts are fitted.

4 April 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

6 April 1944:
Arrives at Saeki.

10 April 1944:
Departs Saeki.

11 April 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

17 April 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

24 April 1944:
Arrives at Kirun (Keelung), Formosa (Taiwan).

26 April 1944:
Departs Kirun.

29 April 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

1 May 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

2 May 1944:
Arrives at Saeki.

5 May 1944 :
Departs Saeki.

6 May 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

11 May 1944:
Departs Sasebo with minelayers TOKIWA, SHINKO and KOEI MARUs escorted by minelayer TAKASHIMA, submarine chasers KAII and CH-58 and torpedo boat TOMOZURU.

14 May 1944:
Arrives at Mako.

E 15 May 1944:
Formosa Straits. SAIGON MARU is attacked by an unidentified enemy submarine.

16 May 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

19 May 1944:
Departs Kirun.

22 May 1944:
Arrives at Shimonoseki.

25 May 1944:
Departs Shimonoseki. Later that day, arrives at Sasebo.

3 June 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

8 June 1944:
Arrives at Saeki.

11 June 1944:
Departs Saeki.

12 June 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

15 June 1944:
Departs Sasebo for minelaying operations in the Philippines area.

19-20 June 1944:
Off Okinawa. The 18th Escort Squadron consisting of SAIGON MARU, auxiliary minelayers SHINKO MARU and TOKIWA (F), small minelayer TAKASHIMA and auxiliary minelayer KOEI MARU lays 1,650 mines. Torpedo boat TOMOZURU, subchaser CH-58 and patrol boat KAII provide escort.

22 June 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

30 June 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

1 July 1944:
Arrives at Kure.

13 July 1944:
At 1600, SAIGON MARU departs Mutsure for Manila in convoy HI-69 consisting of escort carriers KAIYO and TAIYO each loaded with aircraft, KIMIKAWA, AKI, ASAMA, KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), MANKO MARUs and tankers KOEI, HAKKO, OTOWASAN, OMUROSAN, KUROSHIO, HARIMA, SERIA, TENEI MARUs and possibly MANJU MARU escorted by escort carrier SHINYO, light cruiser KASHII and kaibokan CHIBURI, SADO, CD-7 and CD-17.

SAIGON MARU carries 750 Type 93 mines, 200 depth charges and 3-tons of drugs among other cargo.

18 July 1944:
Near Takao, Formosa. About 0600, LtCdr (later Cdr) John J. Flachsenhar's (USNA ’35) USS ROCK (SS-274) fires four torpedoes at HARIMA MARU, but misses. Cdr Alan Banister's (USNA ’28) USS SAWFISH (USS 276) then fires nine torpedoes at the convoy. HARIMA MARU is hit by a single torpedo, but remains able to steam.

At 1055, LtCdr Roger M. Keithy's (USNA ’35) USS TILEFISH (SS-307) torpedoes and heavily damages CD-17. The convoy continues to Manila without stopping at Takao as originally planned, but damaged CD-17 and HARIMA MARU do put into Takao.

19 July 1944:
At 2100, arrives at Manila.

1 August 1944:
Lays mines to Lamon Bay, Luzon.

5 August 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

8 August 1944:
Departs Takao.

9 August 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

12 August 1944:
Departs Kirun. SAIGON MARU carries sugar and timber to Japan.

15 August 1944:
Captain Kameyama Minegoro (44) is appointed CO.

16 August 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo. Undergoes repairs and refit at Sasebo Navy Yard.

8 September 1944:
At 1100, SAIGON MARU departs Moji for Singapore in convoy HI-75 consisting of oilers NICHIEI, RYOEI, TOHO (1944 built), SERIA, YUHO, AMATO and MANEI MARUs and passenger liner ASAMA MARU, and flying boat tender AKITSUSHIMA escorted by escort carrier SHINYO, kaibokan KANJU, MANJU and MIYAKE and DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI and UZUKI. SAIGON MARU is carrying 700 mines and 400 anti-invasion coastal mines.

12 September 1944:
In the morning, SAIGON MARU, YUZUKI and KANJU are detached for the China coast. They later rejoin at Takao.

13 September 1944:
At 1400, arrives at Takao.

14 September 1944:
The convoy is increased by the addition of oilers FUJISAN (1944), KUROSHIO and TAIHO MARUs, torpedo boat HIYODORI and kaibokan CD-28. At 1630, the convoy departs Takao. Soon thereafter, AMATO MARU, and at 1900, YUHO MARU develop engine problems and are detached.

16 September 1944:
At 2330, KANJU, suffering rudder problems, collides with SERIA MARU, but there is little damage.

17 September 1944:
At 1000, SAIGON MARU and AKITSUSHIMA with escorts YUZUKI and UZUKI split from the convoy and head for Manila.

18 September 1944:
Off Manila Bay. At 1048, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Reuben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER (SS-249) torpedoes and sinks SAIGON MARU carrying 700 mines and 100 depth-charges, at 14-20N, 120-05E. Six crewmen are KIA. DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI and UZUKI hunt for the submarine, but Whitaker evades. YUZUKI and UZUKI rescue SAIGON MARU’s survivors, not including Captain Kameyama. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

10 November 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
Thanks go Allan Alsleben of Oregon Thanks also go to Gilbert Casse of France and John Whitman of Virginia for their contributions to revisions..

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


Back to Auxiliary Cruisers Page