(Oiler by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

Tabular Record of Movement

C 2008-2012 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 1

1 November 1943:
Laid down as a 5, 135-ton Type 1TM Wartime Standard Merchant Tanker for Iino Kaiun Kogyo K.K.

25 January 1944:
Launched and named SHIMPO MARU. [1]

29 February 1944:

E March 1944:
Requisitioned by the IJN as an Ippan Choyosen (general requisitioned tanker) attached to the Yokosuka Naval District with Yokosuka as homeport.

1 April 1944:
Owner's name restyled as Iino Kaiun K.K.

E April 1944:
Released to her owners.

9 May 1944:
Registered as an auxiliary transport (oil)(Otsu) category under internal instruction No. 642-2 and attached to the Yokosuka Naval District with Yokosuka as homeport.

12 May 1944:
Departs Singapore.

14 May 1944:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

18 May 1944:
Departs Balikpapan.

21 May 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

24 May 1944:
Departs Singapore.

1 June 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

12 June 1944:
Formally requisitioned by the IJN. The conversion to an auxiliary oiler is completed the same day.

18 June 1944:
SHIMPO MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMA-21 also consisting of TOSHO MARU (towing midget submarine HA-53), TAMA, OYO MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE, subchaser CH-19 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-94.

24 June 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

27 June 1944:
At 1530, SHIMPO MARU departs Manila in convoy MI-07 also consisting of MATSUURA, KAMO, SHINKOKU, NISHI, MINO, TAIKAI, KAKOGAWA, MYOGI, OYO MARUs and tankers KOEI, TAIEI, CHIHAYA, RYUSHO and SAN LUIS MARUs and eleven unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyers ASAGAO and ASAKAZE, kaibokan YASHIRO, CD-2 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3.

2 July 1944:
Arrives at Miri.

5 July 1944:
SHIMPO MARU departs Miri in convoy MISHI-04 also consisting of six unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan YASHIRO.

9 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

14 July 1944:
At 0730, SHIMPO MARU departs Singapore in convoy HI-68 also consisting of oilers TOA, TOHO, OTORISAN MARUs and NICHINAN MARU No. 2, and transports MANILA and KIYOKAWA MARUs escorted by kaibokan HIRADO, KURAHASHI, CD-13, CD-20 and CD-28 and minelayer SHIRATAKA.

24 July 1944:
At 0600, SHIMPO MARU departs Manila for Moji in convoy HI-68. The convoy is expanded to 14 ships to include some ships previously from the Manila leg of HI-69 and MOMA-01. The convoy sails in three columns consisting of merchant tanker OTORISAN MARU and tankers NICHINAN MARU No. 2, IJA landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU and escort carrier TAIYO in column no. 1; IJA landing craft depot ship TAMATSU MARU and transports TOSAN, KASHII, NISSHO and AKI MARUs in column no. 2 and tankers SHIMPO, TOA, TOHO, and ITSUKUSHIMA MARU and transport KIYOKAWA MARU in column no. 3. The escorts include carrier KAIYO, kaibokan HIRADO (F), KURAHASHI, ISHIGAKI, KUSAGAKI, MIKURA, CD-11 and CD-20 and torpedo boat HIYODORI.

A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER, LtCdr Franklin Hess’s (USNA ’35) USS ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr Francis D. Walker’s (USNA ’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) tracks the convoy.

25 July 1944:
Off NW Luzon. At 1540, transports AKI and TOSAN MARUs successfully evade an attack by USS CREVALLE.

26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. At 0211, in a night surface radar attack, USS FLASHER closes first. Cdr Whitaker fires three torpedoes at AKI MARU and his last three torpedoes at OTORISAN MARU. One torpedo hits AKI MARU amidships, another strays and hits TOSAN MARU. OTORISAN MARU blows up and illuminates the night.

USS FLASHER sinks OTORISAN, TOSAN and AKI MARUs. 46 men aboard OTORISAN MARU are KIA. On AKI MARU some 24 passengers were killed as were 14 ship’s gunners, and 3 crew; a total of 41 dead. KIYOKAWA MARU is also damaged in the wolfpack's attacks.

27 July 1944:
At 1100, convoy HI-68 arrives at Takao. Later that day, arrives at Tsoying.

4 August 1944:
At 0830, SHIMPO MARU departs Takao in convoy MI-13 also consisting of tankers ZUIYO, SHINCHO, TEIKON (ex-German WINNETOU), TOKUWA, KYOEI and ATAGO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2, cargo ships SHINKO, HIYORI, DURBAN, KIZAN, KUNIYAMA, URAL, KOKUSEI, HIGANE, RISSHUN and ATLAS MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and Naval Transport T. 3 escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan KUSAGAKI, YASHIRO, MATSUWA and CD-14, minesweeper W-18, patrol boat PB-38 and auxiliary patrol boats EIFU, FUYO, KASUGA and NUNOBIKI MARUs.

7 August 1944:
At 2205, LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskin's (USNA ’33) USS GUITARRO (SS-363) torpedoes and sinks kaibokan KUSAGAKI at 14-50N, 119-57E. 140 crewmen are KIA.

8 August 1944:
At 0900, the convoy arrives at Manila. DURBAN, KIZAN, RISSHUN, KUNIYAMA, SHINKO and ATLAS MARUs are detached. SHOEI MARU joins the convoy. All of the escorts are detached except kaibokan CD-14, patrol boat PB-38 and subchasers CH-30 and CH-33.

11 August 1944:
At 2100, the convoy departs Manila for Miri.

12 August 1944:
Near Sibutu Passage. LtCdr Frank G. Selby’s (USNA ’33) USS PUFFER (SS-268) attacks the convoy on the surface. At 0730, Selby torpedoes and damages SHIMPO MARU. Two of her crew are KIA. At 0733, Selby torpedoes and sinks TEIKON MARU (ex-German WINNETOU) with no casualties, as she charges to ram submerging USS PUFFER. Kaibokan CD-14 and patrol boat PB-38 counter-attack with 37 depth charges, but USS PUFFER slips away unscathed.

SHIMPO MARU is taken under tow by SHOEI and KYOEI MARUs. SHIMPO MARU’s captain beaches her on Cape Calavite, Mindoro Island. Later, she is abandoned as a constructive total loss.

25 August 1944:
Reclassified as an auxiliary fleet replenishment vessel (Tokusetsu Unsokan), (Ko) category.

10 February 1945:
Removed from the Navy List under instruction No. 122.

Authors' Notes:
[1] The translation of the ship's name is often rendered as SHIMPO MARU or SHINPO MARU and SHINHO MARU.

Thanks to Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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