(NOTORO by Takeshi Yuki )
IJN Seaplane Tender SANYO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2018 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.
Revision 11

26 December 1929:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi shipbuilding.

11 July 1930:
Launched and named SANYO MARU.

15 October 1930:
Nagasaki. Completed as a passenger-cargo ship for the Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK), K. K. Line.

7 November 1930:
Departs Kobe.

November 1930:
Completes a voyage between Yokohama and New York at the record speed of 25 days, 17 1/2 hours.

February 1931:
Arrives at Tsingtao, China.

Arrives at Kobe. Later, departs on another voyage to New York. Returns to Kobe.

February 1932:
Departs Kobe for Savannah, Georgia.

April 1932:
Arrives at Manila and sails to Pulupandan. Later, arrives at Kobe, then departs on another voyage to New York.

December 1932:
Commences 8th voyage from Boca Grande.

Makes three voyages, Kobe to New York and return and Kobe- New York. During the year undergoes a survey and her gross tonnage is re-amended to 8,360.

February 1934:
At Santo Nino for 12th voyage.

Makes a round trip Kobe-New York and return (voyages 13 and 14).

1935, 1936, 1937, 1938 and 1939:
Each year makes three voyages, Kobe to New York and return and Kobe- New York.

July 1938:
OSK Line extends their route from New York to London and Hamburg, Germany.

August 1940:
At Saigon.

Departs Kobe for Texas City, Texas. Returns to Kobe.

6 August 1941:
Sasebo. SANYO MARU is requisitioned by the IJN and begins conversion to a 8,360-ton seaplane carrier/tender. Two 150-mm/45 cal single-mount guns, two Type 93 13-mm single-mount machine guns and a catapult are installed.

15 August 1941:
Completes conversion and is rerated a converted auxiliary seaplane tender. Attached to the Sasebo Naval District. Recalled Captain Fujisawa Takamasa (35) is the Commanding Officer.

SANYO MARU is issued call sign JJLC. Her aircraft complement is six Type 0 Mitsubishi F1M2 “Pete” scout float biplanes and two Type O Aichi E13A1 "Jake" three-seat reconnaissance floatplanes with two Type 95 Nakajima E8N2 "Dave" two-seat reconnaissance float bi-planes in reserve. Her assigned aircraft code is "ZIII-xx."

10 September 1941:
Reassigned to the Third Fleet in the 12th Seaplane Tender Division with auxiliary seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU. Moves to Camranh Bay, Indochina.

22 November 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

27 November 1941:
Arrives Sana.

2 December 1941: Operation “E” – The Invasion of Malaya:
At 1200 departs Samah, Hainan Island with KAMIKAWA MARU and the main invasion force carrying the IJA 5th Infantry Division.

5 December 1941:
At 1000 arrives at Pulau Panjang (Hon Panjang), southern FIC. The ship operates from this location providing air cover.

6 December 1941:
At 0100 departs Pulau Panjang and later that day at 0900 anchors in Ream Bay.

8 December 1941:
Japanese forces land on the Kra Isthmus of Thailand and NE Malaya.

9 December 1941:
At 1200 departs Ream.

10 December 1941:
At 1000 arrives at Pulau Condore.

11 December 1941:
At 0500 departs Pulau Condore.

12 December 1941:
At 1200 arrives at Camranh. Departs the same day.

14 December 1941: Operation “M” - The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
Off Aparri, Philippines. SANYO MARU is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Frederick B. Warder's USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) and hit by a dud Mark-14 steam torpedo while anchored. SANYO MARU sustains only slight damage, remains on station and continues air operations.

16 December 1941:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa.

17 December 1941:
Supports the landing in Lingayen Gulf.

21 December 1941:
Departs Aparri to take up station at Vigan, Philippines to begin air operations. Tender SANUKI MARU arrives later that day.

A floatplane base is established in the Vigan area. Sixteen floatplanes arrive that day: six F1Ms and one E13A from SANYO MARU, six F1Ms from SANUKI MARU and three E7Ks from light cruisers NAKA and NATORI.

29 December 1941:
Departs Vigan for Jolo, Philippines.

31 December 1941:
Arrives at Jolo.

5 January 1942:
At 1637 arrives at Davao.

7 January 1942: The Invasion of Dutch Borneo:
The 21st Air Flotilla’s tenders SANYO and SANUKI MARUs provide air cover for Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (former CO of AOBA) Tarakan Occupation Force that departs Davao .

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’s escort is provided by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji’s 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, KAWAKAZE, YAMAKAZE and SUZUKAZE.

Rear-Admiral Hirose’s No. 2 Base Force includes patrol boats PB-36, PB-37 and PB-38, Minesweeper Division 11’s 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.

At 1730 and 1655 SANUKI MARU and SANYO MARU depart Samal Island anchorage.

8 January 1942:
SANYO MARU and patrol boats PB-37 and PB-38 rendezvous with units of the No. 2 Base Force (Central Force) and proceed to Tarakan, Borneo.

9 January 1942:
At 1515, joins SANUKI MARU.

10 January 1942:
NE Dutch Borneo. SANYO MARU covers the Tarakan Occupation Force scheduled to land troops the next day. Two of her F1M2 ‘Pete’ scouts strafe a surfaced submarine. Later, they attack a Glenn Martin B-10 of 1-VIG-I they misidentify as a “Blenheim, one of three they see taking off from Samarinda. The bomber crash-lands on Tarakan's airfield.

11 January 1942:
Rear Admiral Hirose's Occupation Force invades Tarakan.

13 January 1942:
At 2040 arrives at Tarakan.

14 January 1942:
Provides air cover from east coast of Tarakan Island.

23 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo:
USAAF Boeing B-17s, Dutch Martin 139s (B-12s) and Brewster 339s (F2A “Buffaloes”) bomb the invasion shipping. They sink transport NANA MARU and damage SANYO and TATSUGAMI MARUs.

24 January 1942:
SANYO and SANUKI MARU's Air Units provide cover for the Balikpapan invasion convoy carrying the Sakaguchi Brigade and the Kure No. 2 SNLF escorted by DesRon 4 and Rear-Admiral Hirose’s No. 2 Base Force. The convoy includes transports TATSUGAMI, SUMANOURA, TSURUGA, KURETAKE, KUMAGAWA, LIVERPOOL, HITORU, EHIME, HAVANA, HANKOW, TEIRYU, ASAHISAN, NITTEI, KANAYAMASAN and TOEI MARUs.

Rear Admiral Hirose's Balikpapan Occupation Force lands at Balikpapan.

At 1700 SANYO MARU and torpedo boat TOMOZURU depart Tarakan.

25 January 1942:
Arrives off Sangkulirang.

26 January 1942:
At 0925 arrives at Balikpapan with SANUKI MARU and departs later that day.

28 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao.

30 January 1942:
Departs Davao via Subic Bay for Camranh Bay escorted by minelayer SHIRATAKA.

1 February 1942:
The 12th Seaplane Tender Division is disbanded. SANYO MARU is attached directly to the Third Fleet.

8 February 1942:
Arrives at Camranh Bay and begins air operations W of Anambas Island.

17 February 1942:
At 1700 departs Camranh Bay.

18 February 1942: Operation “J” - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
Camranh Bay. SANYO MARU is in Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) Third Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force. She provides distant cover for Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s Western Java Seizure Force with light cruisers NATORI and YURA and seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU. She covers 46 troop transports carrying the IJA’s 2nd Infantry Division for the invasions of Bantam Bay and Merak, Java.

19 February 1942:
At 1400 arrives off Anambas Islands.

1 March 1942:
Elements of SANYO and KAMIKAWA MARU's aircraft arrive at Eretan-wetan, Java and begin air operations. That same day, a flight of six Hawker “Hurricane” fighters of No. 605 Squadron, Royal Air Force, strafing the invasion beach are attacked by a bi-plane floatplane. The RAF claims a kill, but the FIM2 "Pete" returns undamaged to SANYO MARU.

2 March 1942:
Departs Anambas.

5 March 1942:
Arrives at Bantam.

9 March 1942:
Departs Bantam Bay.

10 March 1942:
SANYO MARU is assigned to the Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet at Surabaya, Java (Indonesia). Her assigned aircraft code is changed to “P-xx”. Supports operations in the Burma-Andaman area.

16 March 1942:
Patrol boat PB-35 moors alongside and is provisoned with water and fresh food.

17 March 1942:
Departs Singapore escorted by PB-35. Arrives at Batu Pahat later that day.

18 March 1942:
Departs Batu Pahat still escorted by PB-35.

19 March 1942:
Arrives at Penang, Malaya.

20 March 1942:
Departs Penang still escorted by PB-35 and also auxiliary submarine chaser SHONAN MARU No. 12.

21 March 1942:
Arrives at Phuket that morning and departs later that day.

23 March 1942:
Arrives at Mergui.

27 March 1942:
Departs Mergui for Singapore.

1 April 1942:
Prepares to participate in operations off Java.

10 April 1942:
Takao, Formosa. SANYO MARU is assigned to the 2nd Naval Base Force of the new Third Fleet’s CarDiv 12 with seaplane tenders KAMIKAWA and SANUKI MARUs.

That same day at 0800 SANYO MARU departs Seletar, Singapore for Batavia.

12 April 1942:
At 1230 arrives at Batavia.

30 April 1942:
Covers the occupation of Lesser Sunda islands.

8-16 May 1942: Operation "S" – The Seizure of the Lesser Sunda's:
SANYO MARU departs Surabaya escorted by subchaser CH-20. Begins air support of a combined Army/Navy Operation to "sanitize" the local area that includes Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores and Bali Islands. No resistance by the Dutch is encountered.

9 May 1942:
At 1200 arrives in the Alas Strait.

10 May 1942:
At 1200 departs the Alas Straits.

11 May 1942:
Arrives at Teluk Sape.

21 May 1942:
At 1900 departs Teluk Sape escorted by submarine chaser CH-20.

23 May 1942:
At 1328 arrives at Surabaya.

24 May 1942:
Departs Surabaya for Sasebo.

26 May 1942:
Departs Macassar.

3 June 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo. Enters dock shortly thereafter.

16 June 1942:
Captain-Retired Ichiki Masaaki (39) assumes command.

19 June 1942:
Sasebo Naval Yard. Undocked.

26 June 1942:
Departs Sasebo for Surabaya.

5 July 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya. Prepares for the upcoming operations.

14 July 1942:
SANYO MARU’s aircraft tail code is changed to “W-xx”.

21 July 1942:
Participates in Operation “T”.

24 July 1942: Operation "T" - The Banda Sea Operation:
In Vice Admiral Takahashi’s 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet, Southwest Area Fleet. SANYO MARU departs Amboina and provides air cover for Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hatakeyama Kouichiro’s (former CO of KINUGASA) 24th Special Base Force’s landing operations on the Tanimbar Islands that are also supported by CruDiv 16’s light cruiser ISUZU and torpedo boat TOMORZURU.

26 July 1942:
Departs Ambon.

27-30 July 1942: Operation “T” – The Seizure of the Tanimbar Islands.
Departs Surabaya. SANYO MARU begins air support operations for the T Operation. While no resistance is encountered at Aru, Bakar or Tanimbar, the first landing at Kai Island is repulsed on the 28th. With additional reinforcements, including air support from SANYO MARU, the island is overrun and occupied by the 29th of July. SANYO MARU loses one F1M2 to ground fire.

28 July 1942:
Arrives at Teluk Sebakor.

2 August 1942:
Departs Teluk Sebakor. Provides anti-submarine and anti-aircraft support in Ambon area. Enters Ambon port with auxiliary submarine chaser SHONAN MARU No. 1, auxiliary netlayer FUKUEI MARU No. 15 and auxiliary gunboat MANYO MARU.

3 August 1942:
Departs Ambon escorted by submarine chasers CH-5 and CH-21. Tanker TOEN MARU escorted by auxiliary subchaser SHONAN MARU No. 1 also departs port.

7 August 1942: American Operation “Watchtower” – The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (MOH ‘14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher’s (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 63’s 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.

10 August 1942:
Arrives at Shortland to support the Guadalcanal operation.

23 August 1942:
At 1030 departs Rabaul with SANUKI MARU escorted by destroyer YUDACHI.

24 August 1942:
Arrives at Shortland.

28 August 1942:
The Eighth Fleet creates the"R" Area Air Force under Rear Admiral Jojima Takatsugu (former CO of SHOKAKU). SANYO MARU is in No. 2 Group. The seaplane unit is to augment the IJN’s land-based aircraft in the Guadalcanal area. The unit uses 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.

2 September 1942:
Rear Admiral Jojima Takatsugu’s (40) (former CO of SHOKAKU) "R" Area Air Force based at seaplane bases around the Shortland Islands plans to establish a new permanent base at Rekata Bay off Santa Isabel Island, 135 miles NW of Lunga Point on Guadalcanal. PB-35 departs Shortland transporting the base staff of auxiliary seaplane tender SANYO MARU to Rekata Bay. At 1100, that same day, PB-35 is attacked by an 11th Bomb Group Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” 20 miles NW of the tip of Santa Isabel Island at 07-16S, 158-03 E. Hit by bombs or near-misses, PB-35 goes dead in the water. Fifty-two of her passengers and crew aboard PB-35 survive, but 92 other men are killed.

14 September 1942:
Guadalcanal. During an attempt to retake Henderson Field, the R-Area Air Force provides air support. Tenders SANYO, KAMIKAWA and SANUKI MARUs and seaplane carrier CHITOSE launch 19 F1M2s, each armed with 60-kg bombs, escorted by two of KAMIKAWA MARU's A6M2-Ns. At 1730, near Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, Gruman F4F-4 “Wildcats” intercept the Rufes and one is shot down. The other Rufe escapes and the pilot claims two F4Fs, although none are lost.

Between 1825 and 1830, more F1M2s drop bombs over Henderson Field, but only a few bombs hit the airstrip, causing small fires and destroying a Bell P-400 “Airacobra” that had already been consigned to the scrapyard. As the Petes retire, a Marine F4F-4 Wildcat of fighter squadron VMF-224, engages one of SANYO MARU planes and shoots it down. Another Wildcat forces a F1M2 down five miles E of Savo Island.

24 September 1942:
Arrives at Shortland.

5 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul escorted by destroyer ARIAKE.

9 October 1942:
SE of New Georgia. Eight of SANYO MARU’s "Pete" biplanes are flying top cover at 14,000 feet over a convoy consisting of seaplane tender NISSHIN and her destroyer escorts transporting a cargo of heavy weapons to Guadalcanal.

Grumman F4F-4s of VF-5, escorting seven SBD “Dauntless” dive-bombers and four TBF “Avengers” against the convoy, encounter the eight F1M2s, but the floatplane pilots manage to evade. The "Petes" then join in protecting NISSHIN from the American bombers. The floatplanes claim seven SBDs shot down, but acually all the Americans return to Henderson Field.

22 October 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

29 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Shortland.

1 November 1942:
Rabaul. SANYO and SANUKI MARUs are tactically attached to the Fourth Fleet as tenders for the 958th Air Group. SANYO MARU's aircraft tail code is changed to “P2-xx.”

10 November 1942:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (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 Sasebo No. 8 Special Naval Landing Force on Guadalcanal. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2’s twelve destroyers will escort an 11-ship high-speed reinforcement convoy.

14 November 1942:
U.S. Navy and Marine aircraft attack Tanaka’s troop transports. They are opposed by Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M “Zekes”of the 204th Naval Air Group (NAG) from Buin and by eight F1M2s from Rekata Bay. Two of the Petes are from 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. He 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 are damaged, return to Rekata. One of HIEI’s's F1M2s is lost. SANYO MARU loses two planes, one in the mid-air collision, the other is forced to ditch in the water.

21 November 1942:
Departs Shortland for the seaplane base at Rekata Bay with destroyer AMAGIRI. LtCdr Raymond J. Moore's USS STINGRAY (SS-186) attacks the group and fires four Mark-14 steam torpedoes at SANYO MARU. Moore claims two hits. SANYO MARU suffers some damage, but returns to Shortland.

Towed by destroyer TAKANAMI from 1005 till 2008 when they arrive and anchor at Pupukuna Point.

30 November 1942:
Departs Shortland for Rekata with destroyer AMAGIRI.

11 December 1942:
Towed by auxiliary seaplane carrier KAMIKAWA MARU to new anchorage, that also waters and stores the ship.

12 December 1942:
Provisioned by auxiliary storeship CHIYO MARU.

13 December 1942:
The damage is surveyed by oiler FUJISAN MARU.

15 December 1942:
SANYO MARU is towed into Buin Port by salvage tug NAGAURA.

20 December 1942:
At 1930 patrol boat PB-36 arrives but departs soon after at 2015.

21 December 1942:
At 0400, salvage tug NAGAURA tows SANYO MARU to anchor 300 metres 333 degrees off Cape Pupukuna.

22 December 1942:
Provisioned with fresh food by supply ship HAYASAKI.

26 December 1942:
Provisioned by auxiliary storeship MINATO MARU.

27 December 1942:
Oiler TOA MARU lashed alongside. Then taken under tow by salvage tug NAGAURA to Rekata Bay, Fauro Anchorage (Santa Isabel).

1 January 1943:
Rekata Bay. B-26 Martin "Marauders" of the USAAF 69th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) bomb Rekata from 7, 000 feet. SANYO MARU suffers damage from a near-miss. The B-26s make contact with nine IJN floatplanes with unknown results.

1-7 January 1943:
During the week, the 69th makes more raids on Rekata Bay.

4 January 1943:
At 1436, and again at 1520, SANYO MARU is hit on the bow by a bomb and in the 2nd crew accommodation room above the engine room, both of which are set on fire.

5 January 1943 :
Fire extinguishing operations are completed with help from destroyers KUROSHIO and OYASHIO and patrol boat PB-36.

7 January 1943:
The fire in the crews accommodation breaks out again but is extinguished with help from patrol boat PB-36. That same day, a B-26, leading a flight of six planes, is shot down by AAA over Rekata Bay.

9 January 1943:
With TOA MARU still providing alongside motive power, at 0605 fleet oiler TSURUMI commences towing SANYO MARU. patrol boat PB-38 is lashed to the other side. Destroyers OYASHIO and KAGERO act as escorts.

17 January 1943:
At 2047, the ships arrive at Truk. SANYO MARU is anchored 220 degrees 6600 metres from Uman Island.

18 January 1943:
Truk. Salvage tug OJIMA tows the ship to Dublon Island's No.2 Buoy.

19 January 1943:
Truk. Provisioned by storeship MAMIYA.

21 January 1943:
Truk. Provisioned by auxiliary storeship SURUGA MARU. Repairs by AKASHI begun. Two 25mm guns are removed and transferred to light cruiser SENDAI.

24 January 1943:
Truk. Provisioned by storeship MAMIYA.

26 January 1943 and 28 January 1943:
Truk. Provisioned by auxiliary storeship SHINYO MARU.

2 February 1943:
Truk. Repairs on SANYO MARU completed. Provisioned by storeship IRAKO.

9 February 1943:
Truk. Provisioned by storeship IRAKO.

17 February 1943:
Truk. Provisioned by auxiliary storeship HOKO MARU.

25 February 1943:
Truk. Provisioned by storeship MAMIYA.

20 March 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

1 April 1943:
The R Area Air Force is disbanded. SANYO MARU is reassigned to the Kure Base Unit. Departs Kure that same day.

11 June 1943:
Departs Hakodate.

11 July 1943:
Arrives at Kure. Undergoes repairs and conversion to a transport. Rearmed with 120-mm guns on the bow and stern. She is aso fitted with two sets of dual 25-mm AA guns (2x2) and two 13.1-mm MGs (2 x 1) on the bridge.

5 August 1943:
Kure. The CO of the Kure SubRon Advance Unit, recalled Captain-Ret (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Mori Ryo (38) (former CO of YASKUNI MARU) assumes command as an additional duty.

1 October 1943:
Rerated as a converted transport (Miscellaneous transport).

13 December 1943:
Departs Hakodate, Japan.

15 December 1943:
Captain Mori is posted as the Supervisor of Modifications for SANYO MARU. It is unclear what modifications are carried out, but probably they include fitting a search radar and additional 25-mm AA guns.

1 February 1944:
At anchor off Kure.

15 March 1944:
Departs Kure.

17 March 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

19 March 1944:
Departs Yokosuka for Tateyama.

20 March 1944:
At 0200, departs Tateyama in Marianas troop reinforcement convoy Higashi-Matsu ("East Pine") No. 3 Special ("Toku"). The convoy consists of transports SANYO, MANJU and ASAKA MARUs escorted by destroyers KISHINAMI, OKINAMI and ASASHIMO. These are the fast elements of the No. 3 reinforcement movement. SANYO MARU carries 987 men and materials of the 216th Naval Construction Unit.*

28 March 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

29 March 1944:
Departs Truk with destroyers KISHINAMI and OKINAMI.

4 April 1944:
Arrives at Saipan.

7 April 1944:
Departs Saipan.

12 April 1944:
Arrives at Woleai with IKAZUCHI.

200 miles SSE of Guam. Cdr (MOH/posthumously) Samuel L. Dealy's USS HARDER (SS-257) is on patrol headed for Woleai. That afternoon, just after surfacing from a trim dive, USS HARDER is spotted by a Japanese plane. Dealy crashes dives. The plane circles over USS HARDER and continues tracking the submarine. Two hours after being spotted by the plane, USS HARDER sights a FUBUKI-class destroyer approaching - IKAZUCHI - that detached from SANYO MARU to hunt down the submarine.

At 1847, Cdr Dealy decides to fight. He begins his approach on the pinging and zizagging destroyer from about 5,000 yards. At 900 yards, Dealy fires four bow torpedoes at IKAZUCHI. The first torpedo hits below her stack, followed a few seconds later by a second hit. IKAZUCHI takes on a sharp list to port and sinks by the bow at 10-13N, 143-51E. While sinking, her depth charges explode. There are no survivors. SANYO MARU continues her voyage unescorted.

13 April 1944:
Yap islands. Arrives at Mereyon. Disembarks 987 men and materials of the 216th Naval Construction Unit.

17 April 1944:
Returns to Saipan.

21 April 1944:
Departs Saipan with destroyer AKIKAZE.

26 April 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka and moves to Yokohama later that day.

1 May 1944:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka.

5 May 1944:
Departs Yokosuka escorted by destroyer HATAKAZE and submarine chaser CH-48.

8 May 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

13 May 1944:
At 0400, SANYO MARU and ex-seplane tender SANUKI MARU, transports AWA, TEIA (ex-Vichy French liner ARAMIS), USSURI and NISSHO MARUs, tankers KYOKUHO, RYOEI and OTOWASAN MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ships KIBITSU and TAMATSU MARUs depart Moji for Singapore in convoy HI-63 escorted by kaibokan IKI, MATSUWA, CD-9 and CD-15. SANYO MARU is carrying 600 men of an anti-aircraft unit, 140 aerial torpedoes and 80 railroad cars.

NISSHO TAMATSU and KIBITSU MARUs are bound for the Philippines and carry the bulk of the IJA 30th Division (less its transportation and reconnaissance regiments) that they moved from Pusan, Korea.

18 May 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Manila. SANYO, TAMATSU, KIBITSU and NISSHO MARUs are detached.

21 May 1944:
Departs Manila.

22 May 1944:
Arrives at Cebu.

24 May 1944:
Departs Cebu for Kau, Halmahera Island.

26 May 1944:
NNW of Mendao, Celebes. At 1500, LtCdr William C. Thompson's submerged USS CABRILLA (SS-288) begins an attack on SANYO MARU. At 1642, she is hit by four of the five torpedoes Thompson fires. One torpedo hits the starboard No. 4 hold, another hits No. 6 hold. 35 men of the AA unit are KIA. At 1732, she is abandoned. At 1940, SANYO MARU sinks at 02-46N, 124-22E.

Captain Mori is among the survivors, but he is KIA on 8 July ’44 and promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

10 July 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
[1] A slower section of Higashi-Matsu No. 3 Special departed Kisarazu on 22 March 1944 in two echelons for Palau and Saipan consisting of 10 transports and supply ship HAYASAKI, escorted by light cruiser YUBARI, DesDiv 5's HATAKAZE, DesDiv 6's IKAZUCHI and DesDiv 32's TAMANAMI, torpedo boat OTORI, kaibokan HIRADO and NOMI and subchasers CH-48, CH-51 and CH-54 .

Special thanks for assistance go to Mr. Andrew Obluski of Poland and Mr. Jean-Francois Masson of Canada.

Thanks go to Toda Gengoro of Japan for information in Revision 3. Thanks also go to Berend van der Wal in the Netherlands.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.

Back to Seaplane Tender Page