(SHINAI MARU, prewar)
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2014-2017 Bob Hackett
Nagata (Osaka). Laid down at the Fuji shipyard as a 3,793-ton cargo ship for Kishimoto Kisen Co., Ltd. of Kobe.
Launched and named SHINAI MARU.
30 October 1937: Second Sino – Japanese War.:
SHINAI MARU departs Osaka for the Goto Islands in an invasion convoy also consisting of 39 other transports escorted by five destroyers carrying LtGen Suematsu Shigeharu’s 114th Division.
3 November 1937:
SHINAI MARU departs the Goto Islands with the invasion convoy for Hangzhou Bay, (S of Shanghai), China.
10 November 1937: The Invasion of Hangzhou Bay:
East China Sea. The 1st Squad of the invasion convoy led by destroyer YUZUKI consists of transports ALASKA, BUZEN, ENGLAND, GYOKO, HAKODATE, INDUS, KAISHO, KOSHIN, MINAMOTO, SANDAI, SHINTAN, SHOKYU, SHUNSEI, SUEZ, TOKUSHIMA and ZENOAH MARUs.
The 2nd Squad is led by destroyer MIKAZUKI consists of transports BEIJING, FUSHIMI, HORAI, JUYO, KARAFUTO, KURETAKE, MEIKO, SHINYO, SHIN YUBARI, SHINSEI, TAIAN and YAMATO MARUs.
The 3rd Squad led by destroyer MOCHIZUKI consists of transports SHINAI, DAIMON, ETO, FUKUSHO HAKUSHIKA, KANKO, MALACCA, NAVEL, OIRDONO, SHUKI and TASMANIA MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1.
5 November 1937:
Arrives at Hangzhou Bay and lands troops.
3 July 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport. Allotted IJA No. 324.
19 March 1942: "U" transport operation to Burma (U Sakusen Yuso):
The First Burma Transport Convoy departs Singapore consisting of 32 ships with main body of the 56th Division: SHINAI, AOBASAN, GENOA, GLASGOW, HARUNA, HAVRE, HIBURI, HOFUKU, HOKUMEI, KAZUURA, KIZAN, KUSUYAMA, KOTOHIRA, MYOKO, MOMOYAMA, NAKO, NAPLES, NAGARA, NICHIRAN, SANKO, SAKITO, SHINANOGAWA, SHINRYU, SHUNSEI, SYDNEY, SUMATRA, TATEISHI, TSUYAMA, TOKIWA and YAE MARUs and two others.
25 March 1942:
The First Burma Transport Convoy arrives at Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar).
9 August 1942:
SHINAI MARU departs Mutsure in convoy No. 147 also consisting of CLYDE, ERIE and FUSHIMI MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 8 and three unidentified ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE and auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.
13 August 1942:
Arrives at Mako.
21 December 1942: No. 6 Go Transportation Operation:
Convoy No. 35 assembles at Shanghai to transport the IJA’s 6th Infantry Division via Truk to Guadalcanal (after the decision is made to evacuate Guadalcanal, the convoy’s destination is changed to New Guinea). The convoy consists of troop convoy Parts A, B and C.
Part A departs Shanghai for New Guinea consisting of TEIYO, MYOHO MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by second-class destroyer HASU. Part B departs Shanghai for New Guinea consisting of OIGAWA, KENKON, KYOKUSEI and PANAMA MARUs escorted by second-class KURI.
25 December 1942:
Part C departs Shanghai consisting of SHINAI, MEIU, SOMEDONO and SURABAYA MARUs escorted by destroyer TSUGA.
5 January 1943:
Parts A and B arrive at Mako, Pescadores. The old China Area Fleet second-class destroyers are detached and replaced by the Southwest Area Fleet’s destroyers HOKAZE and NAGATSUKI tasked to escort the convoy to 136 degrees E longitude. The escort is further augmented by destroyer SHIRAYUKI, subchasers CH-2 and CH-11 and auxiliary gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2.
15 January 1943:
Part A departs Truk for the Shortland Islands anchorage. The escort is further augmented by destroyer SHIGURE.
17 January 1943:
Part B departs Truk for Buin, Bougainville.
19 January 1943:
Part C departs Truk. NNE of Buin, Bougainville, LtCdr Jack H. Lewis’ (USNA '27) USS SWORDFISH (SS-193) attacks Part A of the convoy. USS SWORDFISH sinks MYOHO MARU at 05-38S, 156-20E. Of the 922 IJA troops and 35 Navy passengers she was carrying, 61 and 3 crewmen are KIA.
20 January 1943:
286 miles from Truk. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Creed C. Burlingame’s (USNA '27) USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236) attacks Part C of the convoy. USS SILVERSIDES sinks MEIU MARU and damages heavily SURABAYA MARU at 03-52N, 153-56E. MEIU MARU was carrying 2,997 men of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 6th Division. 401 men are KIA. CH-11 and gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2 rescue survivors. Later, destroyer ASAGUMO arrives from Truk and scuttles SURABAYA MARU.
The same day, Part A arrives at Shortland Islands anchorage.
21 January 1943:
At about 1800, LtCdr Robert J. Foley’s (USNA '27) USS GATO (SS-212) attacks Part B of the convoy. USS GATO torpedoes and sinks KENKON MARU carrying a battalion of 734 men of the IJA 45th Infantry Regiment, 6th Division. The attack causes a fire and a magazine explosion. Seven crew, 36 troops and an unknown number of "passengers" are KIA. Destroyer SHIRAYUKI rescues survivors.
22 January 1943:
The remaining ships of Part B arrive at Buin.
28 February 1943: Operation 81-Troop reinforcements to Lae-Salamaua area:
At 2300, transport convoy consisting of Naval Special Service Ship NOJIMA and TEIYO, KYOKUSEI, OIGAWA, AIYO, SHINAI, TAIMEI and KENBU MARUs assembles outside Rabaul harbor.
At 2330, convoy departs assembly point escorted by Rear Admiral Kimura Masatomi’s destroyers SHIRAYUKI (F), ASAHIO, ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE, URANAMI, SHIKINAMI, YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO and set course along the northern coast of New Britain, north-west from Rabaul before turning west and then south. The transports and destroyers are carrying 6,004 troops of the IJA’s 51st Division and 600 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops.
The convoy is divided into two Divisions. No. 1 Division (starboard column) consists of SHINAI, TEIYO and AIYO MARUs and KENBU MARU. No. 2 Division (portside column) consists of KYOKUSEI, OIGAWA and TAIMEI MARUs and NOJIMA.
SHINAI MARU carries 2 men of the command post of 18th Army, an Artillery Unit, 50 men of the 21st Independent Mixed Brigade, a 10 cm cannon and a prime mover, 86 men of the 50th Field Anti-Air Artillery Battalion, 3 AA guns and 1 truck, 100 men of the 8th Shipping Engineer Regiment and 4 Daihatsus, 50 men of the 3rd Debarkation Unit, 400 men of the 115th Infantry Regiment and 2 regimental guns, 225 men of the 51st Engineer Regiment
and 100 men of the 6th Air Division.
2 March 1943: Battle of the Bismarck Sea:
At 0800, USAAF and RAAF planes bomb the convoy. USAAF B-17 "Flying Fortress" heavy bombers attack Army cargo ship KYOKUSEI MARU. She receives two direct bomb hits and sinks at 0926 at 05-02S, 148-14E (55 km NNW of Cape Gloucester, New Britain). Destroyers YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO rescue 800 men and 110 drums, steam to Lae and disembark them, then rejoin the convoy. TEIYO MARU is lightly damaged by air attack NE of Cape Gloucester.
At 0755, the first large formations of enemy aircraft are reported approaching from the south. Flights of Australian Beauforts and Beaufighters joined U. S. A-20s and B-25s sweep in at low level. Higher up, but still far below their normal bombing altitude, are B-17s. Over all swarmed P-38, P-39 and P-40 fighters. The Japanese ships -- and some 30 Zeke fighters flying combat air patrol above them -- swing to port to meet their attackers head on.
The first 15 minutes of the Allied attack are among the most devastating in the annals of air-sea warfare: no fewer than 28 of the first 37 bombs released find their targets. KEMBU MARU explodes in a great ball of fire and sinks. By 0805 AIYO MARU, OIGAWA MARU and NOJIMA are all been hit and stopped. A few minutes later SHINAI MARU, TAIMEI MARU and TEIYO MARU begin taking the first of four direct hits apiece. Deck-loads of soldiers go overboard. Japanese losses total all eight transports, four destroyers, 15-20 aircraft, and close to 3,000 men. Two Allied bombers and three fighters are shot down
3 March 1943:
Dampier Straits. The battle continues as Allied aircraft make low-level bombing and strafing runs against the convoy. Rear Admiral Kimura is wounded. Destroyers ASAHIO, ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE and flagship SHIRAYUKI are sunk.
The planes also bomb and sink transports SHINAI, AIYO, KEMBU, OIGAWA, TAIMEI and TEIYO MARUs.
 Not to be confused with the smaller SHINAI (ex-British SHINAI) MARU (2410/20) seized at Kuching, Borneo on 12 Dec ‘41.
 Thanks goes to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany, Fontessa-san of Japan and the late John Whitman for troop info.
to IJA Transports