(SANUKI MARU - Fujimi box art)
IJN Seaplane Tender SANUKI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement
Copyright 1998-2014 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall
8 February 1939:
29 August 1938:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding as a 7, 189-ton cargo ship for Nippon Yusen K. K.
Launched and named SANUKI MARU.
1 May 1939:
8 May 1939:
Departs Nagasaki for Shanghai and Dairen.
2 June 1939:
10 July 1939:
Arrives at London.
17 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN. Begins conversion. Two 150-mm/45 cal single mount guns, two 80-mm single mount guns, two 13.2-mm single mount machine guns and a catapult are installed.
5 September 1941:
Completes conversion. Registered as converted seaplane tender in the Maizuru Naval District. Captain-Retired Tsuyuki Senji (36) is the Commanding Officer.
SANUKI MARU's aircraft complement is six Type 95 Kawanishi E8N2 "Dave" two-seat float biplanes with two E8N2s in reserve. Her aircraft code is IB-xx and her call sign JGBN. She is attached to the Third Fleet, 2nd Base Force.
25 September 1941:
Takao, Formosa. Attached to the HQ of the 2nd Base Unit, Third Fleet.
7 December 1941:
Takao. Auxiliary gunboat NAMPO MARU comes alongside and receive lubricants and water. The crew of the auxiliary gunboat is based on the vessel until the following day. Crews from auxiliary gunboats KISO MARU and ASO MARU are also based on board until 9 December. At 1805, SANUKI MARU departs Fangliao escorted by patrol boat PB-1.
8 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Invasion of the Philippines:
Tung Ch'ang, Formosa. SANUKI MARU is a unit of the Third Surprise Force. At 0540, she departs Tung Ch'ang and the same day arrives at Batan Island, Philippines. Participates in the Luzon Strait landing at Batan Island. At 0730, arrives off Batan Island and departs at 1810. By 0950, she unloads stores and materials for the projected emergency airstrip to be built at Basco.
10 December 1941:
Luzon, Philippines. SANUKI MARU moves to Camiguin Island with destroyer TACHIKAZE and patrol boat PB-1. At 0925, two platoons of the Sasebo Combined Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) are landed. SANUKI MARU debarks the rest of the materials needed to set up a seaplane base. Her seaplanes are to land here after flying missions over Aparri, but rough seas make the base untenable and six seaplanes are damaged beyond repair. The base is abandoned.
11 December 1941:
Returns to Tung Ch'ang.
14 December 1941:
Continues to provide air support from off Camiguin Island with auxiliary gunboat ASO MARU acting as escort.
17 to 29 December 1941:
Supports the landings at Lingayen, Davao and Jolo Island.
18 December 1941:
Departs Takao for Vigan, Luzon. Her aircraft complement is now six Type 0 Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete" two-seat reconnaissance float biplanes with two E8N2 Daves in reserve.
20 December 1941:
Arrives at Vigan, Luzon. Begins air operations.
21 December 1941:
Vigan, Philippines. A floatplane base is established and 16 floatplanes arrive: six F1Ms from SANUKI MARU, six F1Ms and an E13A from SANYO MARU and three E7Ks from light cruisers NAKA and NATORI.
Departs that same day for Davao.
23 December 1941:
SANUKI MARU is hit by American coastal defense guns, but not damaged seriously.
That same day, SANUKI MARU arrives at Davao Bay. She begins air operations and her aircraft immediately engage an incoming raid by Dutch flying boats from GVT-2 and GVT-5. In a running battle, the pilots from SANUKI MARU claim four flying boats shot down, but, in fact, only one is lost.
6 January 1942:
Departs Davao and moors on west side of Samal Island.
7 January 1942: The Invasion of Dutch Borneo:
The 21st Air Flotilla's tenders SANUKI and SANYO MARUs provide air cover for Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (39) (former CO of AOBA) Tarakan Occupation Force that departs Samal Island anchorage that day.
The Tarakan invasion convoy carrying MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo's 56th Mixed Infantry Group (Sakaguchi Brigade) and the Kure No. 2 SNLF includes Army transports TSURUGA LIVERPOOL, HAVANA, KURETAKE, NICHIAI, HITERU, TEIRYU, HANKOW and EHIME MARUs, Navy transports KUNIKAWA, KANO, KAGU, KOKUYO and RAKUTO MARUs. The convoy? escort is provided by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji's (39) DesRon 4's light cruiser NAKA with DesDiv 2's HARUSAME, SAMIDARE, YUDACHI and MURUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO and MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO and DesDiv 24's UMIKAZE, KAWASKAZE, YAMAKAZE and SUZUKAZE.
Rear-Admiral Hirose's No. 2 Base Force includes patrol boats P-36, P-37 and P-38, Minesweeper Division 11's minesweepers W-13, W-14, W-15, W-16, 30th Minesweeper Division's W-17, W-18 and Subchaser Div 31's CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12 and other auxiliary ships.
8 January 1942:
Arrives at Sarangani Bay.
9 January 1942:
At 1515, joins SANYO MARU.
11 January 1942:
Rear Admiral Hirose's Force invades Tarakan, Borneo. SANUKI MARU is at Sebuku Bay in support of the Tarakan landings.
13 January 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan.
24 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo.
SANUKI and SANYO MARUs provide air cover for the Balikpapan invasion convoy of 16 transports carrying the Sakaguchi Brigade and the Kure No. 2 SNLF escorted by DesRon 4 and Rear Admiral Hirose's No. 2 Base Force.
Hirose's Occupation Force lands at Balikpapan. SANUKI MARU departs Tarakan.
25 January 1942:
Arrives at Sangkulirang Bay and departs later that day.
26 January 1942:
SANUKI and SANYO MARUs arrive at Balikpapan with their aircraft.
27 January 1942:
Balikpapan. At 1259, from an altitude of 15.000 feet, five Boeing B-17E "Flying Fortresses" of the USAAF's 19th Bomb Group at Malang, attack SANUKI MARU. On the first run two of her F1M2 Petes are damaged. At 1309, the bombers return for a second attack. Two near-misses explode under the waterline close off portside foreship. The outer hull planking is dented up to 6 feet between frames 120 to 132. The explosions open seams over a length of 25 deet below the waterline causing complete flooding of No. 2 hold and partial flooding of No. 1 hold. Bombs and ammunition are offloaded onto small cargo ship KUREHA MARU No. 3.
The B-17's crews also claim two land-based Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M "Zekes"shot down.
30 January 1942:
With both holds pumped out and made watertight, SANUKI MARU? planes mount an anti submarine watch around Balikpapan.
31 January· February 1942:
Mounts an anti submarine watch over Makassar Straits.
6 February 1942: The Invasion of Makassar, Celebes:
Staring Bay, Kendari, Celebes. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji's (38) (former CO of SUZUYA) NAGARA departs the anchorage with the Makassar Occupation Force's six troop transports carrying Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mori Kunizo's (40) Sasebo Combined Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) escorted by DesDiv 8's ASASHIO, MICHISHIO, ARASHIO and OSHIO, DesDiv 15's HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 21's WAKABA, HATSUSHIMO and NENOHI, 21st Minesweeper Div's W-7, W-8 and the 2nd Subchaser Div's CH-13, CH-14 and CH-15.
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro's (38) (former CO of FUSO) CarDiv 11's SANUKI MARU, CHITOSE and MIZUHO provide distant support for the Occupation Force.
7 February 1942:
Patrol Boat PB-36 together with auxiliaries KAINAN MARU No. 3 and EIKO MARU No. 2 provide escort for SANUKI MARU as she operates off Makassar.
9 February 1942:
Makassar Strait. During the landing of the Sasebo Combined SNLF invasion force, DesDiv 15's NATSUSHIO is torpedoed and sunk with the loss of eight sailors, by Lt (later Rear Admiral) James C. Dempsey's (USNA ·1) old submarine USS S-37. NATSUSHIO is the only loss suffered by the IJN in the action.
24 February 1942:
SANUKI MARU is at Balikpapan, Dutch Borneo. That day, a SANUKI MARU F1M2 and two A6M2 "Zekes" of the Tainan Air Group based at Balikpapan engage a twin-engined flying boat and claim a victory. 
25 February 1942:
Balikpapan. SANUKI MARU undergoes urgent temporary hull repairs from repair ship YAMABIKO MARU.
28 February 1942:
Works alongside are completed.
6 March 1942:
Repairs are almost complete. Small cargo ship KUREHA MARU No. 3 arrives alongside and 200 bombs are loaded.
7 March 1942:
Loading of a further 87 bombs from KUREHA MARU No. 3 is completed.
10 March 1942:
The Third Fleet is disbanded. SANUKI MARU is assigned to Rear Admiral Sugiyama Rokuzo's (38) (former CO of HYUGA) Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet. Her aircraft code is changed to ?-xx· Departs Balikpapan.
12 March 1942:
Arrives at Awarawar. Loads more bombs from KUREHA MARU No. 3 then departs later that day for Santo Tomas in Lingayen Gulf.
16 March 1942:
SANUKI MARU arrives off Manila to assist in the blockade.
23 March 1942:
Departs Lingayen Gulf.
24 March 1942:
At 1000, torpedo boat OTORI joins ship until 1100. At 1230, arrives at Halsey Bay, Culion Island.
3 April 1942:
Departs from Halsey Bay.
4 April 1942:
Arrives Olongapo and receives bunker fuel from oiler NARUTO and water from ASAYAMA MARU.
5 April 1942:
6 April 1942:
Arrives at Halsey Bay.
7 April 1942:
Departs from Halsey Bay.
8-11 April 1942:
Operates at sea off Bacolod, Negros, Panay, Bohol Is and Cebu.
9-10 April 1942:
Lt (j.g.) Robert B. Kelly's USS PT-34 is bombed, strafed, set afire and forced ashore at Cauit Island, Cebu by four Japanese floatplanes, probably F1M2 Petes from SANUKI MARU.
During the day, a Pete from SANUKI MARU engages a Curtiss P-40E "Warhawk"of the 3rd Pursuit Squadron operating from Del Monte, Mindanao. Neither plane is lost in the ensuing combat.
Cebu, Philippines. SANUKI MARU covers the landings of the Kawaguchi Detachment's 35th Infantry Brigade HQ and the 124th Infantry Regiment with light cruiser KUMA, DesDiv 2's SAMIDARE and MURASAME and KIJI, gun boat BUSHO MARU and two sub-chasers.
12 April 1942:
SANUKI MARU launches four F1M2s to bomb the USAAF airfield at Del Monte. A P-35A "Guardsman", orbiting the air field, engages the Petes, while two P-40Es take off to intercept them. An F1M2 is shot down by one of the P-40s, but the other three F1M2s bomb the airfield. They wreck a B-17E and damage two others. At 1815, entes Cebu Port.
13-14 April 1942:
Operates at sea off Bohol Strait and Panay Island.
15 April 1942:
Arrives at Romblon.
16 April 1942:
Panay, Philippines. SANUKI MARU covers the landings of the Kawamura Detachment's 9th Infantry Brigade HQ and the 41st Infantry Regiment with KUMA, DesDiv 24's UMIKAZE, KAWAKAZE and YAMAKAZE and KIJI.
17 April 1942:
19 April 1942:
Arrives at Olongapo.
26 April 1942:
Departs from Subic Bay.
28 April 1942:
Anchors off Zamboanga.
29 April 1942:
Arrives at Parang (near Jolo).
2-8 May 1942:
At Subic Bay. Participates in the reduction of Corregidor Island.
3 May 1942:
Supplies torpedo boat KIJI with lubricating oil and then departs Parang for Subic Bay.
9 May 1942:
Departs from Subic Bay and arrives at Manila later that day.
16 May 1942:
Departs from Manila.
17 May 1942:
Arrives at Coron and departs later that day.
18 May 1942:
Arrives at Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island. Provides water to captured ship PRINCESS OF NEGROS (later TOYOHIME MARU.)
19 May 1942:
Provides water to auxiliary gunboat KISO MARU. Later that day departs Puerto Princesa.
20 May 1942:
Arrives at Cuyo and departs later that same day.
21 May 1942:
Arrives at Manila.
2 June 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takeda Rokukichi (36) (former CO of HOSHO) assumes command.
14 June 1942:
16 June 1942:
Arrives at Cebu.
18 June 1942:
20 June 1942:
Arrives at Davao. Over the next few days conducted anti submarine air patrols.
2 July 1942:
Departs Davao with AMAGISAN MARU and auxiliary netlayer TOKO MARU No. 1 Go.
7 July 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo. Departs Sasebo the same day for Nagasaki.
Enters dockyard at Mitsubishi, Nagasaki.
14 July 1942:
Assigned to the Philippines Area Fleet. SANUKI MARU? aircraft tail codes are changed to ?-xx·
6 August 1942:
Departs Nagasaki and later that day arrives at Sasebo.
7 August 1942: American Operation Watchtower- The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's (USNA '08) Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (MOH '14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (USNA '06) (former CO of USS VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain's (USNA '06) (former CO of USS RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 63? land-based aircraft, lands Maj Gen (later Gen/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandergrift's 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening the campaign to retake the island.
15 August 1942:
22 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.
23 August 1942:
24 August 1942:
Arrives at Shortland.
25 August 1942:
Departs Shortland and later that day arrives at Tonolei anchorage.
26 August 1942:
27 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.
28 August 1942:
The "R" Area Air Force is formed under Rear Admiral Jojima Takatsugu (40) (former CO of SHOKAKU). SANUKI MARU is in No. 2 Group of his 11th Seaplane Tender Division.
The seaplane unit is to augment the IJN's land-based aircraft in the Guadalcanal area. The unit uses Type 0 Aichi E13A1 "Jake" monoplanes for long-range reconnaissance and anti-submarine missions, Type 0 Nakajima A6M2-Ns "Rufe" fighters and F1M2s for light bombing, convoy-escort duty and to complement the A6M2-Ns in the fighter role. The R-Area Air Force is based in Shortland Harbor, but Rekata Bay on Santa Isabel Island, 135 miles NW of Lunga Point on Guadalcanal, serves as the unit's forward staging base.
3 September 1942:
Arrives at Kavieng.
14 September 1942:
Guadalcanal. During an attempt to retake Henderson Field, the R-Area Air Force provides air support. The tenders SANYO, SANUKI and KAMIKAWA MARUs and CHITOSE launch 19 F1M2s, each armed with 60-kilogram bombs, escorted by two of KAMIKAWA MARU's A6M2-N "Rufes".
Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. At 1810, Gruman F4F-4 Wildcats intercept the F1M2s. A Marine F4F-4 of fighter squadron VMF-224 shoots down an F1M2 from CHITOSE, while another Wildcat breaks up a formation and damages two of SANUKI MARU's F1M2s.
15 September 1942:
16 September 1942:
Arrives at Kavieng.
18 September 1942:
Arrives and anchors off Buin.
20 September 1942:
24 September 1942:
Shortlands. SANUKI MARU is bombed and damaged by a USAAF B-17E.
25 September 1942 :
Departs from Shortland and arrives off Buin where an air-raid takes place. Departs Buin.
26 September 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.
27 September 1942:
3 October 1942:
Arrives at Manila.
6 October 1942:
12 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.
15 October 1942:
16 October 1942:
Arrives at Shortland.
That same day, at Santa Isabel, Solomons, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) George D. Murray's (USNA '10) Task Force 17, formed around USS HORNET (CV-8) strikes the R-Area Air Force's seaplane base at Rekata Bay.
17 October 1942:
An air-raid takes place at Buin Anchorage.
18 October 1942:
The ship transfers from Buin to Maifu Island anchorage.
20 October 1942:
Runs aground on nearby Elo Island, but destroyer YUGURE pulls the ship off.
22 October 1942:
Departs Shortland leaving her floatplanes behind.
23 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul and departs later that day for Japan.
30 October 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Undergoes repairs.
2 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka to nearby Kisarazu.
3 November 1942:
Departs Kisarazu to Yokosuka.
5 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka. SANUKI MARU's aircraft are coded "P3-xx".
10 November 1942:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35) (former CO of KONGO) plans to land 14,500 men, heavy weapons and supplies of LtGen Sano Tadayoshi's 38th "Hiroshima" Infantry Division and the 8th Special Naval Landing Force on Guadalcanal. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (41) (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2? twelve destroyers will escort an 11-ship high-speed reinforcement convoy.
13 November 1942:
Arrives at Shortland to air-raid and heads for nearby Tonolei Bay before returning to Shortland later that day and departs that evening.
14 November 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.
That same day, U.S. Navy and Marine aircraft attack Tanaka's troop transports. They are opposed by Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M "Pekes" of the 204th Naval Air Group (NAG) from Buin and by eight F1M2s from Rekata Bay. Two of the Petes are from the battleship HIEI, sunk the previous night in naval action. Three F1M2s are from SANYO MARU, two from KUNIKAWA MARU (including the flight leader) and one from SANUKI MARU. An F4F-4 of VMF-112 attacks one of SANYO MARU's floatplanes, but the Pete pulls up sharply and knocks the wing off the Wildcat. The American pilot bails out 10 miles NW of the Russell Islands, but is later rescued by natives.
The Americans claim two Zekes and six Petes shot down for the loss of one Wildcat. The 204th NAG loses two Zeros. Five of the R-Area Air Force's eight floatplanes, three of which were damaged, return to Rekata. One of HIEI's F1M2s is lost. SANYO MARU loses two planes, one in the mid-air collision, the other is forced to ditch in the water.
15 November 1942:
Near Buraku, Russell Islands. Marine Captain (later MOH/BrigGen, ANG/Governor, SDak) Joseph J. Foss is leading eight Marine Wildcats escorting two SBDs and a Gruman J2F "Duck" float biplane on a search and rescue sweep looking for LtCol (MOH, posthumously) Harold W. Bauer, CO of VMF-212 who was shot down the day before by a Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke” fighter while strafing troop transports at low level. The Marines encounter two of SANUKI MARU's F1M2s. The Petes separate and take evasive action, but both are shot down.
Air-raids at Rabaul.
19 November 1942:
Departs from Rabaul.
20 November 1942:
Arrives at Shortland.
21 November 1942:
Departs Shortland for Tonolei Bay and assists in rescue operations of sister SANYO MARU.
22 November 1942:
Arrives back at Shortland.
23 November 1942:
Departs Shortland on further rescue operations of SANYO MARU.
24 November 1942:
Arrives back at Shortland.
25 November 1942:
Departs Shortland and shortly after arrives at Tonolei Anchorage.
26 November 1942:
Moves from Tonolei anchorage to the northern mouth of the eastern side of Shortland but the ship is sighted and attacked by aircraft. Departs area.
29 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
30 November 1942:
1 December 1942:
SANUKI MARU is rerated an auxiliary transport.
5 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
11 December 1942:
16 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
17 December 1942:
20 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Departs Rabaul a few days later.
31 December 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.
7 January 1943:
Arrives at Fusan (Pusan), Southern Korea.
9 January 1943: Operation (HINOE-GO) - The Reinforcement of New Guinea:
SANUKI and SAGARA MARUs depart Fusan with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kishi Fukuji's (40) flagship light cruisers KITAKAMI and OI. Their first transport echelon in operation "HEI No. 1" embarks the IJA's 20th Infantry division. KITAKAMI and OI both also embark troops. These ships sail separately from the others.
14 January 1943:
At 1030, arrive at Palau.
16 January 1943:
At 1600, depart Palau.
19 January 1943:
At 1530, arrive at Wewak, New Guinea. Disembarks troops.
20 January 1943:
Wewak. Attacked by four B-24's of the 90th Bomb Group, but they are driven off by A6M "Zekes" from JUNYO's fighter squadron flown into Wewak to provide close protection. Two B-24's are damaged. At 0200, SANUKI MARU and the convoy depart Wewak for Palau.
22 January 1943:
Arrives at Palau.
31 January 1943:
Arrives at Tsingtao, China. Embarks the IJA's 41st Infantry Division.
4 February 1943:
Departs Tsingtao with Transport group Hinoe-Go No. 3. The group is divided into four units with the 1st unit again consisting of SAGARA and SANUKI MARUs escorted by KITAKAMI and OI.
10 February 1943:
Arrives at Palau.
17 February 1943:
Departs Palau escorted by KITAKAMI and OI and destroyers YUGUMO and KAZAGUMO.
20 February 1943:
Arrives at Wewak. Disembarks troops.
21 February 1943:
24 February 1943:
Arrives at Palau.
28 February 1943:
7 March 1943:
21 March 1943:
N of Sorol Island. At 1100, SANUKI MARU is attacked by LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) John A. Tyree's (USNA '33) USS FINBACK (SS-230) at 07-43N, 139-54E. Tyree fires three torpedoes in a submerged attack and claims two hits; but the torpedoes inflict only light damage indicating that one or more may have been duds.
27 March 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.
31 March 1943:
1 April 1943.
Arrives at Maizuru.
13 April 1943.
Captain (Retired) Takeda is relieved of command by a new, but now unknown, Captain.
5 June 1943:
6 June 1943:
Arrives at Nagasaki.
9 June 1943:
Nagasaki. Begins installation of equipment at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard.
24 September 1943:
Equipment installation is completed.
25 September 1943:
10 October 1943:
Arrives at Moji.
12 October 1943:
At 1600, departs Moji with fleet convoy HI-13. The convoy consists of transport/cargo ships SANUKI, NANKAI, MIZUHO, AOBASAN, FUSO and MANILA MARUs and tankers KYOKUEI and AMATSU MARUs escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan TSUSHIMA.
16 October 1943:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa.
18 October 1943:
21 October 1943:
Arrives at Samah, Hainan Island.
24 October 1943:
30 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore at 1546.
2 November 1943:
At 0900, departs Singapore in an unnamed three-ship convoy consisting of SANUKI, AMAGISAN and NANKAI MARUs escorted by destroyer HIBIKI.
4 November 1943:
AMAGISAN MARU is detached from the convoy and heads for Sumatra.
5 November 1943:
SANUKI and NANKAI MARUs and HIBIKI arrive at Surabaya.
4 December 1943:
Off Pomelaa, Celebes (now Sulawesi). A mine damages SANUKI MARU that is loaded with nickel while she is enroute to Singapore. The mine causes medium damage.
Arrives at Singapore and undergoes repairs.
11 March 1944:
At 0730, departs Singapore in fast convoy convoy HI-48 consisting of transports SANUKI, TEIA (ex-Vichy French ARAMIS), HOKUROKU and AWA MARUs and tankers OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, TATEKAWA, ITSUKUSHIMA, SEIYO, NICHIEI and KUROSHIO MARUs and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan MIYAKE, SHIMUSHU, IKI and ETOROFU.
14 March 1944:
Gulf of Thailand. SANUKI MARU is damaged by a mine. The damage causes her to drop out of the convoy on the French Indochina coast.
At 0425, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from SANUKI MARU that reads: "At 0250 in position 10-31N, 108-40E, we struck a contact mine on the starboard side forward. The ----- place is flooding but there appears to be no further damage. We are proceeding to St. Jacques to investigate our condition ----.
8 April 1944:
Arrives at Tokuyama.
Undergoes repairs at Harima shipyard, Aioi.
13 May 1944:
At 0400, departs Moji in fast convoy HI-63 consisting of IJA landing craft depot ships TAMATSU and KIBITSU MARUs, transports SANUKI, AWA, TEIA (ex-Vichy French ARAMIS), USSURI and NISSHO MARUs, tankers KYOKUHO, SANYO, RYOEI and OTOWASAN MARUs escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA, IKI, CD-9 and CD-15. SANUKI MARU and other transports, except TAMATSU, KIBITSU and NISSHO MARUs carry troops bound for Burma.
18 May 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Manila. TAMATSU, KIBITSU and NISSHO MARUs are detached.
20 May 1944:
At 2000, the remaining eight ships in HI-63 depart Manila with the same escort.
24 May 1944:
LtCdr (later Cdr) James W. Davis' (USNA '30) USS RATON (SS-270) attacks the convoy. In a series of attacks, Davis torpedoes and sinks kaibokan IKI and lightly damages MATSUWA MARU at 01-17N 107-53E. A total of 160 sailors, including IKI's skipper LtCdr Nakao (57) are KIA; 18 are rescued by ETOROFU. Nakao Kusuo is promted to Cdr, posthumously. Rear Admiral Ijuin Matsuji (43) (former CO of KONGO) is also KIA. He is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously. The rest of the HI-63 escapes unscathed.
27 May 1944:
At 2000, arrives at Singapore.
1 June 1944:
Departs from Pulau Dapur and later that day arrives at Batavia (Jakarta).
3 June 1944:
4 June 1944:
Arrives at Surabaya.
11 June 1944:
Departs from Surabaya.
13 June 1944:
Arrives at Bintan and loads bauxite.
15 June 1944:
Departs Bintan and arrives at Singapore later that day.
17 June 1944:
At 0400, departs Singapore in fast convoy HI-66 consisting of transports SANUKI, HOKKAI and AWA MARUs and tanker OMUROSAN MARU escorted by light cruiser KASHII, escort carrier KAIYO and kaibokan CHIBURI, CD-7 and CD-11. The convoy hugs the continental coast avoiding deep water as much as possible.
26 June 1944:
Arrives at Moji at 1300, then departs and arrives at Kure the same day.
27 June 1944:
Departs Kure. Arrives at Yoshiura (near Kure).
28 June 1944:
Departs Yoshiura and later that day arrives at Osaka.
5 July 1944:
Departs Osaka and soon after arrives at Kobe.
6 July 1944:
Enters drydock for repairs by Mitsubishi Jukogyo at Kobe.
31 July 1944:
2 August 1944:
Arrives at Miike.
5 August 1944:
Captain Kamioka Kohyo (48) (former XO of ASHIGARA) assumes command. Departs Miike and later that day anchors off Mutsure.
6 August 1944:
7 August 1944:
Arrives off Kobe.
8 August 1944:
Departs from off Kobe and arrives at Amagasaki. Loads coal.
11 August 1944:
Departs Amagasaki for Kobe.
18 August 1944:
Departs Kobe and later that day arrives outside Kure port.
19 August 1944:
Enters Kure port.
21 August 1944:
22 August 1944:
Arrives at Hesaki.
23 August 1944:
Departs Hesaki and soon after arrives at Mutsure.
25 August 1944:
At 0630, departs Moji after arriving earlier that day from the Mutsure anchorage. SANUKI MARU is part of fast convoy HI-73 consisting of IJA landing craft depot ship KIBITSU MARU, ex-armed merchant cruiser GOKOKU MARU, ex-seaplane tender KAGU MARU, tankers TOHO, OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, TAIHO, FUJISAN, HAKKO, AMATO, TOA and KUROSHIO MARUs and fleet storeship IRAKO escorted by escort carrier UNYO, light cruiser KASHII and kaibokan CHIBURI, CD-13, CD-19, CD-21 and CD-27. Later that day, the convoy is joined briefly by transports MIZUHO, ARABIA and KOKURYU MARUs and tanker MANEI MARU that all depart the following day.
26 August 1944:
At 0900, MIZUHO, ARABIA and KOKURYU MARUs are ordered away because of excessive smoke. MANEI MARU remains at Kyushu because of engine problems.
29 August 1944:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa. Departs that same day and arrives at Tsoying (near Takao).
30 August 1944:
Off Saei. The convoy splits. KIBITSU, GOKOKU and KAGU MARUs (and probably IRAKO) head for Manila. The remaining ships head for Singapore.
3 September 1944:
TOA MARU strikes a mine S of Saigon and is lightly damaged, but able to continue.
5 September 1944:
At 0954, arrives at Singapore. Later that same day, SANUKI MARU arrives at Seletar, Singapore.
9 September 1944:
10 September 1944:
Arrives Banka Straits and anchors off Pulau Dapur.
11 September 1944:
Departs Pulau Dapur.
12 September 1944:
Anchors off Japara. Departs later that same day.
13 September 1944:
Arrives at Surabaya.
17 September 1944:
At 0833, departs Surabaya in an unnumbered convoy consisting of SANUKI and IKUTAGAWA (ex-Calitea II, a former Italian banana boat later converted to an armed merchant cruiser, then a transport) MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-11.
18 September 1944:
At 1600, arrives at Makassar, Celebes. Later that evening departs.
25 September 1944:
26 September 1944:
Arrives at Balikpapan. During October departs Balikpapan and proceeds back to Japan.
3 November 1944:
Arrives at Osaka.
25 November 1944:
At 2000, departs Moji in fast convoy HI-83 consisting of transport/cargo liners SANUKI, ORYOKU and NISSHO MARUs (all for Manila) and tankers KYOKUUN, SEISHIN, HARIMA, TOA and EISHO MARUs for Singapore. Another unidentified ship in the convoy is bound for Takao. Escort is provided by escort carrier KAIYO and kaibokan CD-35, CD-63, CD-64 and CD-207.
26 November 1944:
30 November 1944:
At 0600, convoy HI-83 arrives at Takao. The Manila contingent including SANUKI MARU are detached from the convoy. SANUKI MARU remains at Takao.
9 December 1944:
At 1731, departs Takao in convoy TAMO-31 consisting of SANUKI MARU and tanker NICHINAN MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan CD-13 and CD-31. SANUKI MARU is loaded with sugar, naval goods and survivors.
15 December 1944:
At 1640, anchored off Kyokin To, Chosen.
16 December 1944:
At 0545 departs Kyokin To. At 1905, arrives and anchors at Karatsu Wan, Kyushu.
17 December 1944:
At 1335, arrives at Moji.
21 December 1944:
Departs Moji. Anchors overnight in the Terajima Straits
22 December 1944:
Arrives at Miike, Fukuoka, Japan.
25 December 1944:
Departs Miike. Later that day, arrives at Kuchinotsu.
26 December 1944:
Departs Kuchinotsu and later that day arrives at Mutsure.
27 December 1944:
Departs Mutsure and later that day arrives at Kure.
31 December 1944:
Departs Kure and later that day anchors on the west side of Sanagishima before sailing on to Kobe.
6 January 1945:
Majuro, Marshall Islands. Cdr Gordon W. Underwood's (USNA '37) USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) departs on her third war patrol for the Yellow Sea area leading a wolfpack consisting of LtCdr (later Captain) Stephen H. Gimber's (USNA '35) USS POMPON (SS-267), LtCdr (later Rear Admiral/ComSubPac) John H. Maurer's (USNA '35) USS ATULE (SS-403) and LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Joseph B. Icenhower's (USNA '36) USS JALLAO.
26 January 1945:
At 0800, SANUKI MARU departs Moji via Sasebo and Takao for Singapore in fast convoy HI-91 also consisting of transport KITSURIN MARU and tankers TOJO and EIYO MARUs escorted by destroyers NOKAZE and KAMIKAZE and kaibokan SHONAN, KUME, CD-25 and CD-53.
SANUKI MARU, bound for Takao, is carrying 52 Type 1 EMBs and 167 men of the 43rd Shinyo Squadron, as well as 26 Type 5 EMBs and 183 men of the 101st Shinyo Squadron.
28 January 1945:
Yellow Sea. NE of Shanghai, China, off Kokuzan To. Cdr Underwood's SPADEFISH and Gimber's POMPON make contact with a three ship convoy with four escorts. POMPON makes two night submerged approaches, but the escorts drive her off each time. At about 0200, while two escorts pin down POMPON astern of the convoy, Underwood's submerged SPADEFISH slips in on the disengaged side of convoy and attacks.
At 0313, Underwood fires three torpedoes at SANUKI MARU and all three hit. She sinks at 33-55N, 122-55E taking down all 78 EMBs and all of the 43rd Shinyo Squadron's men and but 20 men of the 101st Shinyo Squadron.
Underwood also torpedoes and sinks kaibokan KUME with the loss of 89 of her crew. Destroyers KAMIKAZE and NOKAZE, probably laden with survivors, are detached from the convoy to Mako, Pescadores.
Captain Kamioka is killed in action. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.
Removed from the Navy List.
 This probably was LT (jg) John M. Robertson's PBY-5 No. 42 of PATWING 10, an ex-Dutch Catalina (Y-boat) transferred to the USN in Java. PBY-5 No. 42 left Surabaya at 0600; 0215 sighted transports at Makassar, 0300 ordered to bomb them; 0510 being attacked by fighters; 0535 reported; 0716 reported attack by fighters - no further word received, crew MIA.
 CNO info says SANUKI MARU was repaired at Harima shipyards and resumed operating in May '44.
Special thanks for assistance in developing this TROM go to Mr. Andrew Obluski of Poland and Mr. Jean-Francois Masson of Canada. Thanks also go to John Whitman for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages and to Gilbert Casse of France.
Thanks go to Toda Gengoro of Japan for information in Revision 1. Thanks also go to reader Loic Mahe of Toulouse, France for spotting an error on the 15 November 1942 entry.
- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.
Seaplane Tender Page