(SHINSHU MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

IJA Landing Craft Depot Ship SHINSHU MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2010-2018 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
Revision 8

8 April 1934:
Aioi. Laid down in secrecy at Harima Shipbuilding for the Imperial Army as the world’s first purpose-built landing ship.

During construction, the IJN takes over the ship from the Army and designates it a landing craft depot ship.

January 1935:
Kure Navy yard. The original design includes an aircraft hangar and the ship is designed carry 26 small seaplanes, but two catapults are removed before the ship is completed, and she never carries any seaplanes operationally. Landing craft can be launched from a floodable well deck or two at a time from stern doors, or be lifted out of the forward hatch with a crane. Vehicles also can be discharged directly onto a pier and she is able to transport and unload aircraft.

14 March 1935:
Launched and named SHINSHU MARU. [1]

30 August- 8 September 1935:
Conducts practice landings of the IJA's 11th Division at Miyazaki and the Shikoku coast.

9-13 December 1935:
At aeronautical headquarters conducts practice use.

15 December 1935:

1 June 1936:
Departs Ujina.

2 June 1936:
Arrives at Aioi. Undergoes repairs and remodelling at Harima Shipbuilding and Engineering including construction of a steam boiler room direct vent system and installation of a floodable well deck.

11 July 1936:
Departs Aioi.

12 July 1936:
Scheduled to arrive at Ujina.

23-26 July 1936:
Undergoes thermal area tests presumably to detect hot spots in machinery and engine room lagging.

27 July-10 August 1936:
Conducts special practice landings.

29 July 1936:
Anchors at Miyako anchorage.

13-23 October 1936:
Undergoes tests at aeronautical headquarters.

2-6 December 1936:
Saeki Bay, near sea aeronautical headquarters. Undergoes training in the use of special marine equipment.

25 May 1937:
Departs Ujina. Conducts training in Hiroshima bay with the Fifth Engineer Regiment aboard.

26 May 1937:
Arrives at Ujina.

May 1937:
Maizuru Navy Yard. Undergoes anti-submarine equipment installation.

20 July 1937:

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The"First China Incident") Incident:
Hun River, Lukuokiao (Peking), China. Japanese troops at the bridge fire blank cartridges during night maneuvers. Chinese troops fire back. Later, the Japanese discover a soldier missing. They demand entry to the Peking (Beijing) suburb of Wanping to look for him, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese shell the city and an undeclared war on China begins.

29 July 1937:
The Japanese capture the ancient Imperial Chinese capital of Peking (Beijing).

13 August 1937: The Second Battle of Shanghai:
Shanghai. SHINSHU MARU participates in the battle. At 0900, more than 10,000 Japanese troops enter the suburbs. Fighting begins in the Zhabei, Wusong and Jiangwan districts. The Japanese put ashore Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) reinforcements. At 1600, warships of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Hasegawa Kiyoshi’s (31)(former CO of NAGATO) 3rd Fleet in the Huangpu (Whangpoa) and Yangtze Rivers begin bombarding Chinese shore positions.

August 1937:
SHINSHU MARU lands IJA troops at Tientsin (Tianjin).

5-12 November 1937 - The Fall of Shanghai:
S of Shanghai. SHINSHU MARU participates in landing the IJA’s 10th Army in Jinshanwei, nearly unopposed. On 8 November, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek issues an order for a general retreat. By 12 November, Shanghai is cleared of Chinese troops. On 26 November, the Chinese Army fall backs to the capital of Nanjing (Nanking); thus the battle for Shanghai lasted three months.

12-21 October 1938:
Ta-Ya (Bias Bay), 35 miles NE of Hong Kong. At dawn, SHINSHU MARU participates in a surprise landing by LtGen Furusho Motoo’s 21st Army supported by the China Area Fleet’s Fifth Fleet and Formosa-based and carrier-based Navy air units. Thereafter, Japanese forces continue their advance with little or no resistance. By 21 October, they capture Canton. The operation isolates Hong Kong and Macao.

11 December 1941:
Departs Humen, China, likely under the name RYUJO MARU.

17 December 1941:
Arrives St Jacques.

19 December 1941:
Departs St Jacques.

25 December 1941:
At 2340, arrives off Singora, Siam (Thailand). Lands units of the IJA 25th Army Headquarters.

26 December 1941:
Departs Singora. Arrives at Kota Bharu, Malaya.

30 December 1941:
Departs Kota Bharu.

2 January 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

18 January 1942:
Departs Moji.

22 January 1942:
Arrives at Keelung and departs and later that day arrives at Camranh Bay.

18 February 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
SHINSHU MARU is attached to Vice Admiral Takahashi's Third Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s Western Java Seizure Force.

Departs Camranh Bay in a convoy comprised of 56 troop transports. They carry the 2nd Infantry Division for the invasions of Bantam Bay and Merak, Java escorted by light cruisers YURA and NATORI, DesDivs 5, 6, 11, 12 and 22. Seven transports go to Eretan Wetan and 15 go to Merak, Java. Seaplane tender SANYO MARU provides air cover.

27 February 1942: The Battle of the Sunda Strait:
SHINSHU MARU and 32 of the Seizure Force's transports line the western shore of Bantam Bay. Also nearby are seaplane carrier CHITOSE and seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU. CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, MIKUMA, KUMANO and SUZUYA provide distant cover.

At about 2215, Captain Albert H. Rooks USS HOUSTON (CA-30) and Australian Captain Hector M. L. Waller’s light cruiser HMAS PERTH, attempting to retire to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), accidentally encounter and then attack the troop transports screened only by DesDiv 5's HARUKAZE, HATAKAZE and DesDiv 11's FUBUKI. The destroyers make smoke to mask the transports. FUBUKI charges and launches nine torpedoes.

At 2300, the Third Escort Force's light cruiser NATORI and her destroyers arrive with heavy cruisers MOGAMI and MIKUMA and destroyer SHIKINAMI. At 2327, in the Sunda Strait, MOGAMI fires six “Long Lance” torpedoes at HOUSTON, but they all miss and pass into Bantam Bay. At 2335, five explosions erupt. SHINSHU (a.k.a. RYUJO) MARU with LtGen. Hitoshi Imamura, Commander of the 16th Army embarked and transports SAKURA, HORAI and TATSUNO MARUs and minesweeper W-2 are hit by the Long Lances and sink in shallow water. As SHINSHU MARU sinks, Imamura has to jump overboard, but a small boat rescues and brings him ashore. [2][3]

1 March 1942:
During the engagement, the Japanese launch about 90 torpedoes. At 0025, IJN destroyers sink PERTH. At 0045, after being hit by torpedoes and gunfire, HOUSTON also sinks.

19 March 1942:
The Army tug SEIHA MARU is despatched from Singapore to begin refloating operations.

22 March 1942:
At 1400 SEIHA MARU arrives at Bantam.

23 September 1942:
SHINSHU MARU is refloated and towed to a port in Java, probably Tanjong Priok, Batavia (Jakarta). Likely undergoes temporary repairs.

21 December 1942:
Departs Java.

23 December 1942:
Arrives at Singapore. Undergoes repairs, probably by the 101st Ship Repair Unit at Seletar Naval Base.

6 May 1943:
Departs Singapore.

15 May 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

18 May 1943:
Arrives at Ujina. Probably undergoes permanent repairs.

12 November 1943:
Departs Ujina.

17 November 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

22 November 1943:
Departs Palau.

28 November 1943:
Arrives at Ujina.

29 November 1943:
Departs Moji.

5 December 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

7 December 1943:
Departs Takao.

12 December 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

25 December 1943:
Departs Singapore.

2 January 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

E 20 March 1944:
Departs Takao possibly as member of HI-48.

28 March 1944:
Arrives Ujina and departs later that day.

1 April 1944:
SHINSHU MARU departs Moji in convoy HI-57 also consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, OTOWASAN, RYOEI and OMUROSAN MARUs, landing ship carrier MAYASAN MARU and probably tankers SHINCHO and ZUIHO MARUs and transports SEIA and KINUGASA MARUs escorted by escort carrier KAIYO, kaibokan IKI, ETOFORU, CD-8, CD-9 and torpedo boat SAGI.

2 April 1944:
The convoy encounters extremely severe weather and returns to Moji.

3 April 1944:
At 0600, the unchanged convoy departs Moji.

7 April 1944:
At 1450, arrives at Takao.

8 April 1944:
At 1000, departs Takao.

12 April 1944:
At 1930, arrives Camranh Bay, Indochina.

13 April 1944:
At 1200, departs Camranh Bay.

16 April 1944:
At 1240, arrives at Singapore.

21 April 1944:
At 0700, SHINSHU MARU and Army Landing Ship Dock (LSD) MAYASAN MARU depart Singapore for Moji in convoy HI-58 consisting of tankers RYOEI, ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN and probably ZUIHO MARUs, escorted by escort carrier KAIYO and kaibokan IKI, ETOROFU, SHIMUSHU, CD-8 and CD-9.

3 May 1944:
HI-58 arrives at Moji.

27 March 1944:
Departs Takao.

28 March 1944:
Arrives at Ujina and later that day departs.

6 April 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

13 April 1944:
Departs Singapore.

4 May 1944:
Arrives at Ujina.

22 May 1944:
Departs Moji and later that day arrives at Fusan (Pusan), Korea.

25 May 1944:
SHINSHU MARU departs Pusan in an unidentified convoy with transports ARIMASAN and KASHI MARUs. The convoy carries the 30th Division’s Reconnaissance Regiment (minus 3rd Company), 1st Company, part of the division's Signal Unit, Medical Unit, 1st Field Hospital, Ordnance Duty Unit main force, Transport Regiment and Veterinary Hospital. Later that day, the convoy arrives at Moji.

29 May 1944:
At 0600, SHINSHU MARU departs Moji with escort carrier SHINYO, light cruiser KASHII, kaibokan AWAJI, CHIBURI and CD-11 and subchasers CH-19 and CH-60 escorting convoy HI-65 consisting of oilers SHIRETOKO, ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, ZUIHO and TOHO MARUs, cargo liners ARIMASAN, MANILA, KASHII and TATSUWA MARUs. Light minelayer TSUBAME departs Moji later, catches up with the convoy, and joins the escort.

SHINSHU MARU carries about 7,500 troops and 30 vehicles including the 30th Division’s 41st Infantry, 74th Infantry, Reconnaissance, Engineer and Transport regiments, Ordnance Duty Unit and Veterinary Hospital. She also carries the 1st and/or 3rd Independent Maintenance Unit, 8th Field Air Repair Depot, the newly-raised, lightly-equipped 352nd and 353rd Independent Infantry Battalions en route to join the 30th Independent Mixed Brigade, 100th Division Transport, Engineer Signal Units, ground elements and the headquarters for the 24th Fighter Regiment and the 15th Reconnaissance Regiment (from Manchuria) destined for New Guinea and Halmahera, 15th Reconnaissance Regiment and the 1st and 2nd Independent Maintenance Units of the 21st Air Repair Depot bound for the Philippines.

TATSUWA MARU carries 955 men as well as aviation supplies, vehicles, and munitions. Replacements are en route to the 5th Division in the Netherlands East Indies and to the 56th Division in Burma.

ARIMASAN MARU carries replacements for the 18th Division and other Burma units. Weaponless soldiers out of Japan of the 1st through 6th Specially Established Machine Cannon Units are en route to Halmahera and the Celebes. where they are to be equipped with Navy single-barrel 25mm machine cannons that were already on site. Ten more fully-equipped specially established machine cannon units (11, 13, 15, 17-19, 22-25) are headed for the Philippines.

MANILA MARU carries the new 300-man 1st Independent Shipping Engineer Company and their landing craft headed for Borneo.. She is known unfavorably for her dense black smoke during the day and a pillar of firery sparks at night. The newly mobilized battalion-size 21st Shipping Engineer Regiment and their Daihatsu landing craft are bound for Manila. Also boarding MANILA MARU are elements of the 310-man 36th Air Training Squadron headed for Singapore with their engine starter trucks, fuel trucks, radio trucks, and other vehicles.

KASHI MARU carries the 359th Independent Infantry Battalion en route to the new 105th Division.

2 June 1944:
Bashi Strait. AWAJI is torpedoed by LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins' (USNA ’33) new USS GUITARRO (SS-363) and sinks near Yasho Island at 22-34N, 121-15E. CHIBURI and CD-19 rescue survivors, but several die of wounds.

LtCdr (later Captain) Albert L. Raborn's (USNA ’34) USS PICUDA (SS-382) fires two torpedoes that exlode prematurely near ARIMASAN MARU and clause slight damage, but in the confusion, while trying to avoid oiler SHIRETOKO, ARIMASAN MARU collides with SHINSHU MARU's stern. This causes a depth charge explosion that kills about 255 passengers men and causes rudder damage. The collision and the explosion of twelve ready depth charges on the stern of SHINSHU MARU kills 25 men on ARIMASAN MARU and 255 soldiers on SHINSHU MARU. The explosion “cracks” the aft portion of SHINSHU MARU.

Light cruiser KASHII takes SHINSHU MARU in tow. ARIMASAN MARU is lightly damaged in the attack and heads for Kirun (Keelung), with KASHII and SHINSHU MARU.

Oil tankers SHIRETOKO, ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, ZUIHO and TOHO MARU bypass Manila and steam straight to Singapore. The tankers themselves serve as lift vessels.

3 June 1944:
Arrives at Kirun. SHINSHU MARU disembarks troops for tansport on other ships to the Philippines.

3 June-29 July 1944:
SHINSHU MARU undergoes temporary repairs at Kirun.

4 June 1944:
ARIMASAN, MANILA, KASHII and TATSUWA MARUs depart for Manila. KAIYO rejoins the convoy after brief stop at Saei (Tsoying) Formosa. Oiler JINEI MARU joins the convoy at sea.

29 July 1944:
SHINSHU MARU departs Kirun.

4 August-23 September 1944:
Arrives at Ujina, Hiroshima. Undergoes permanent repairs to her rudder and steering gear.

23 September 1944:
Departs Ujina and later that day arrives at Fusan (Pusan).

27 September 1944:
Departs Fusan and later that day arrives at Ujina.

28 September 1944:
Departs Ujina.

1 October 1944:
Arrives at Fusan.

6 October 1944:
Departs Fusan and later that day arrives at Ujina.

7 October 1944:
Departs Ujina.

12 October 1944:
Arrives at Fusan.

16 October 1944:
Departs Fusan and later that day arrives at Ujina.

17 October 1944:
Departs Ujina.

19 October 1944:
Arrives at Fusan.

24 October 1944:
Departs Fusan and later that day arrives at Ujina.

25 October 1944:
Departs Ujina.

28 October 1944:
Arrives at Fusan.

2 November 1944:
Departs Fusan and later that day arrives at Ujina.

3 November 1944:
Departs Ujina.

6 November 1944:
Arrives at Fusan.

8 November 1944:
Departs Fusan and later that day arrives at Moji.

14 November 1944:
Departs Imari Bay for Singapore in convoy HI-81 consisting of SHINSHU, HASHIDATE, KIBITSU, AKITSU, ARITA, OTOWASAN, KIYOKAWA, MAYASAN, MIRII and TOA MARUs escorted by escort carrier SHINYO, destroyer KASHI and kaibokan ETOROFU (F), TSUSHIMA, DAITO, KUME, SHONAN, CD-9 and CD-61.

SHINSHU MARU carries 6,400 men including the IJA 23rd Division's 3rd Battalion, 72nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery and 2nd Company, 23rd Engineer Regiment. SHINSHU MARU also carries 100 Army plywood "Maru-Ni" explosive motor boats and elements of the 18th and 19th Sea Raiding Battalions enroute to the Philippines. She also carries other units as well as boy soldiers fresh out of training: 10 from the Army Weapons School, 90 tankers, 178 communications graduates, 5 heavy artillery, 23 field artillery and an unknown number of antiaircraft artillery graduates. The convoy stops overnight at Goto Island. [4]

15 November 1944:
Departs Goto Island. Escort carrier SHINYO takes up position at the rear of the center of three columns of vessels. At 1156, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles E. Loughlin's (USNA ’33) USS QUEENFISH (SS-393) torpedoes and sinks AKITSU MARU with the loss of 2,046 men of the IJA's 64th Infantry Regiment and other units aboard. SHINYO's planes attempt to locate and destroy the submarine, but fail to find her. SHINSHU MARU drops depth charges during and after the sinking of AKITSU MARU.

16 November 1944:
Off Korea. The convoy anchors near Strange Island and shelters there.

17 November 1944:
At 0800, convoy HI-81 departs for the Shushan Islands near Shanghai. At 1815, USS PICUDA (SS-382) torpedoes and sinks MAYASAN MARU with the loss 3,482 including crew and troops of the 4,500 men and 204 horses of IJA’s 23rd Division she was carrying. At 2309, LtCdr (later Captain) Gordon W. Underwood’s (USNA ’32) USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) torpedoes and sinks escort carrier SHINYO. Escort destroyer KASHI counterattacks with uncertain results.

18 November 1944:
At 0315, kaibokan TSUSHIMA attacks a submarine with fifteen depth-charges. At 1600, the convoy arrives at an anchorage E of Shanghai.

19 November 1944:
An unidentified escort delivers survivors from AKITSU and MAYASAN MARUs to SHINSHU MARU at "the Yangtze River estuary."

21 November 1944:
The convoy departs for Mako, Pescadores.

23 November 1944:
Formosa Strait. The convoy anchors in the Nanjih Channel.

24 November 1944:
At 0730, departs the Nanjih area. At about noon, while E of the Pescadores, SHINSHU, KIBITSU and KIYOKAWA MARUs, escorted by kaibokan TSUSHIMA and DAITO, are detached as planned from HI-81.

26 November 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

30 November 1944:
At 2104, departs Takao for Manila in convoy TAMA-33 consisting of SHINSHU and KIBITSU MARUs escorted by kaibokan TSUSHIMA and DAITO, CD-14, CD-16, CD-134, CD-46 and minesweeper W-101.

1 December 1944:
At 2205, anchors off Pamoctan.

2 December 1944:
At 0640, departs Pamoctan. At 2240 arrives at Manila.

4 December 1944:
At 0830 (JST), SHINSHU MARU departs San Fernando in convoy MAMO-05 also consisting of KIBITSU MARU escorted by kaibokan TSUSHIMA and possibly others. That night shelters at Lapoc Bay.

5 December 1944:
At 0615, departs Lapoc Bay and at 1830 that same day arrives at Camiguin Island. At 2330 departs.

6 December 1944:
At 2040, arrives off Fangliao, S Formosa.

7 December 1944:
At 0730, departs Fangliao and at 1000 that day arrives at Takao.

8 December 1944:
Departs Takao with KIYOKAWA MARU (and possibly TEIRITSU MARU (ex-Vichy French LECONTE DE LISLE) that may have joined at Mako). That night anchors off Mako.

10 December 1944:
Departs Mako.

12 December 1944:
Arrives at Sanmen Wan (Bay) and departs later that day.

14 December 1944:
Arrives at Imari Wan.

15 December 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

19 December 1944:
At 1330, SHINSHU MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-38 also consisting of IJA landing craft carriers HYUGA and KIBITSU MARUs and Army transport AOBASAN MARU and convoy HI-85 consisting of tankers SERIA MARU and SHINYU MARUs escorted by light cruiser KASHII, kaibokan DAITO, UKURU, CD-23, CD-27 and CD- 51. SHINSHU MARU and the other ships of convoy MOTA-38 carry the IJA 19th Infantry Division recently released by the Kwantung (Manchuria) Army to reinforce the Philippines. The two convoys depart in tandem and head for the Jinsen Sea off western Korea and then hug the littoral coast in choppy wintery seas on the way south.

23 December 1944:
Arrives at Takao’s outer harbor.

25 December 1944:
At 1440, enters Takao port.

26 December 1944:
Before dawn, SHINSHU MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMA-38 also consisting of IJA landing craft carriers HYUGA and KIBITSU MARUs and Army transport AOBASAN MARU escorted by kaibokan MIYAKI, NOMI and CD-138. Anchors that night at the SE tip of Formosa.

27 December 1944:
Departs for Batan Island, Philippines where it arrives at midday.

29 December 1944:
At 1900, convoy TAMA-38 departs Batan Island and later that day arrives at North San Fernando, Philippines. Begins unloading.

30 December 1944:
USAAF B-24 “Liberator” heavy bombers attack the convoy. At about 0700, AOBASAN MARU is hit amidships by one or more bombs, bursts in flames and sinks.

1 January 1945:
At 0345, SHINSHU MARU and IJA landing craft carriers KIBITSU and HYUGA MARUs depart North San Fernando in convoy MATA-40 escorted by kaibokan KANJU, NOMI, MIYAKE, CD-112 and two unidentified warships. SHINSHU MARU carries the 1st Kwantung Army's Aerial Photograph Unit and 14th and 62nd Air Regiments. One hundred men (probably ground crew) of the 14th Air Regiment remained at Clark Field when the regiment deployed from the Philippines to Moratai Island in Nov '44. Possibly some of these men were aboard SHINSHU MARU. The same situation probably existed with the 62nd Air Regiment's ground crewmen trying to get to Japan. SHINSHU MARU also carries the 3rd Shipping Transport Command and Shipping Signal Regiment. These units were most likely small parties of depleted units headed back to Japan for reconstitution. They were not effective, deployable units at this time. Not all the unit personnel headed north. Some stay in the Philippines and become infantrymen.

2 January 1945:
S of Formosa Strait. At about 0700, Cdr Henry C. Stephenson’s (USNA ’30) USS ASPRO (SS-309) fires three torpedoes at SHINSHU MARU and gets one hit that damages her at 21-57N, 119-44'E.

3 January 1945:
Formosa Strait. About 47 miles off Takao. At 1105 (JST), about 50 carrier aircraft of Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumouly) John S. McCain’s (USNA ’06) Task Force 38 attack the convoy. SHINSHU MARU is hit by five bombs and explodes. Fires break out and she becomes un-navigable. At about 1135, Abandon Ship is ordered. All survivors transfer to the escorts, but 66 gunners, 33 crewmen and 283 soldiers are KIA.

KIBITSU MARU also is heavily damaged and HYUGA MARU suffers medium damage. MIYAKE and CD-112 both suffer light damage. The surviving ships put into Takao for temporary repairs.

That evening, SHINSHU MARU sinks. [5]

Authors’ Notes:
[1] Not to be confused with 4,182-ton tanker also named SHINSHU MARU.

[2] Some sources state SHINSHU MARU was accidentally torpedoed by destroyer FUBUKI, but cruiser MOGAMI seems most probable.

[3] SHINSHU MARU was also known as FUSO MARU, but probably only after salvage after sinking on 1 Mar '42.

[4] Some sources say SHINSHU MARU carried as many as 7,500 men.

[5] Some sources say SHINSHU MARU sank on 5 Jan ’45.

Thanks go to John Whitman for info about the troops carried by SHINSHU MARU in convoys HI-65 and HI-81 and to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany for additional info on some of SHINSHU MARU's movements.

Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall