(HIROTAMA MARU, sistership of SHOEI MARU No. 2 GO prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2017 Gilbert Casse, Berend van der Wal and Peter Cundall

12 May 1938:
Osaka. Laid down by Osaka Zosensho K.K. shipyard for Morita Kogyo K.K. a 1,877-tons cargo ship, part of the Peacetime Standard Ship (D) Type Program.

9 November 1938:
Launched and named MATSUEI MARU.

24 March 1939:
Completed and registered at Tokyo with Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) and Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) respectively of 1,877-tons and 1,095-tons. [1]

24 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN. [2]

28 November 1941:
Tokyo. Conversion to an auxiliary gunboat starts at Fuji Nagata Zozensho K.K. shipyard.

10 December 1941:
Registered as an auxiliary gunboat attached to the Kure Naval District under internal instruction No. 1624. Renamed SHOEI MARU No. 2 GO.under secret instruction No. 11623. That same day, Navy Reserve Lt. Kinbara Masaji is appointed CO. [3]

28 December 1941:
The conversion is completed.

31 December 1941:
Attached to Vice Admiral Kobayashi Masamiís (38) Osaka Guard District.

9 January 1942:

Assigned to Osaka Guard District, Base Defense Unit.

21 January 1942:

Categorized as Kii (Yura), Base Defense Unit ship No. 6.

31 March 1942:
Undergoes gunnery practice.

10 April 1942:
Departs Yura.

13 April 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

14 April 1942:
Departs Yura.

17 April 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

21 April 1942:
Assigned to Osaka Guard District, Base Defense Unit under Navy operational order No. 9.

16 May 1942:
Departs Rabaul escorting KAGU MARU and possibly others.

19 May 1942:
Arrives at Truk, Central Carolines. Departs later.

14 July 1942:
Departs Yura.

17 July 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

17 August 1942:
Departs Yura.

21 August 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

29 August 1942:
Departs Yura.

2 September 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

11 September 1942:
Departs Yura.

19 September 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

23 September 1942:
Departs Yura.

26 September 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

30 September 1942:
Departs Yura.

3 October 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

25 October 1942:
Departs Yura.

19 November 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

24 November 1942:
Departs Yura.

19 December 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

28 December 1942:
Departs Yura.

31 December 1942:
Arrives at Yura.

8 January 1943:
Departs Yura.

16 January 1943:
Arrives at Yura.

30 January 1943:
Departs Yura.

31 January 1943:
Arrives at Yura.

7 February 1943:
Departs Yura.

8 January 1943:
Arrives at Yura.

25 February 1943:
Removed from the Navy list under instruction No. 259.

22 April 1943:
Released to her owners.

23 ~ 30 April 1943:
Ownership is changed to Sanko Kisen K.K.

May ~ September 1943:
Requisitioned by the IJA as Army transport No. 1089.

3 August 1943:
Departs Genzan, Chosen (Kunsan, now Wonsan, North Korea) in convoy CHI-25 also consisting of SHOKA, KINE, FUKURI, KISHUN, SUMIDA, AOKI, HOKUREI, SHINAN, HIKOSAN, OSHIMA, NEKKA, SEIKAI MARUs, ONO MARU No. 14, RYOYU MARU No. 11, TOYO MARU No. 5 and one unidentified merchant ship en-route to Dairen, Manchuria (now Dalian, northern China) escorted by minelayer NASAMI. Several ships are detached before reaching Dairen.

2 October 1943:
Departs Ujina.

18 October 1943:
At 1420, departs Moji for Takao escorting convoy No. 107 also consisting of MURORAN, JINZAN, MANTAI, SAN PEDRO, KENSEI, NITTATSU, NICHINAN, HOKOKU, KOHOKU MARUs, OGURA MARU No. 2 and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

23 October 1943:
At 1245 arrives at Mako.

24 October 1943:
Departs Takao in convoy No. 774, also consisting of TATSUHA, SHIRANESAN, TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA), KOHOKU, TOHO, TOYAMA, IKOMASAN, JUNYO and NICHINAN MARUs, SHINSEI MARU No. 1, SHINSEI MARU No. 17 and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by destroyer KURETAKE.

28 October 1943:
The convoy arrives at Manila.

18 November 1943:
At 1225, departs Manila, Philippines escorting convoy H-5A consisting of IJA transports MADRAS and AKAGISAN MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo/transports RIZAN, TOTTORI, ECHIZEN (2,424 GRT) and ASAHISAN MARUs. At 1515, patrol boat PB-02 joins the escort.

19 November 1943:
At 1100, due to a rudder failure auxiliary transport ASAHISAN MARU leaves the column. At 1133, after solving her rudder failure ASAHISAN MARU returns in the column.

21 November 1943:
At 1410, PB-02 begins an anti-submarine sweep.

22 November 1943:
At 1330, auxiliary submarine chaser KYO MARU No. 2 arrives from Davao and joins the convoy escort. She takes up a position at the rear of the convoy. At 1400, KYO MARU No. 2 takes over command of the convoy.

23 November 1943:
At 0600, at 03-03N, 126-18E, PB-02 is detached.

24 November 1943:
Arrives at Kau, Halmahera Island, Moluccas.

E 25 November 1943 ~ 4 December 1943:
Departs Kau.

5 December 1943:
Departs Wasile, Halmahera Island in M-4 convoy consisting of TOTTORI, RIZAN, MATSUEI, ECHIZEN MARUs and possibly others (including MADRAS MARU) escorted by minelayer YAEYAMA.

11 December 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

24 December 1943:
At 0800, departs Manila in convoy No. 879 also consisting of HASSHU (2,655 GRT) and YAMAHAGI MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat BUSHO MARU.

27 December 1943:
At 1700, arrives at Takao. Departs later.

27 January 1944:
Arrives at Ujina.

28 January 1944:
Departs Ujina.

31 January 1944:
At 0920, departs Moji in convoy No. 133 also consisting of tankers TAKETSU, NITTETSU, YAMASACHI and SHINCHO MARUs and YOZAN, SHOHO, CLYDE, OSAKA, ASAHISAN, YAMAGATA, SORACHI, FUKKO, SHINYU and TOYO MARUs, and DAIGEN MARU No. 3 escorted by patrol boat PB-31 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3.

6 February 1944:
At 1500, arrives at Takao.

8 February 1944:
At 1100, departs Takao in convoy TAPA-01 also consisting of CLYDE, ASAHISAN, OSAKA MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 3. The convoy sails at 9 knots escorted by patrol boat PB-31 together with auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3.

9 February 1944:
TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 is detached from the convoy.

E 14 February 1944:
Minesweeper W-18 meets up with the convoy.

16 February 1944:
At 0845, arrives at Palau, Western Carolines.

29 February 1944:
Departs Palau in convoy Wewak Yuso Yoto Sakusen No. 4 also consisting of KAYO and KOFUKU MARUs and an unidentified merchant ship escorted by subchaser CH-34.

4 March 1944:
75 miles WNW of Hollandia. LtCdr (later Captain) Paul Van Leunen Jr's (USNA í34) USS PETO (SS-265) attacks convoy and sinks IJA transport KAYO MARU carrying 825 personnel of the 51th Unit, Southern 6th Support Group at 01-28S, 138-40E. 46 passengers and 43 crewmen are KIA. CH-34 and other escorts depth-charge USS PETO unsuccessfully. Later that day the remaining ships arrive at Hollandia (now Jayapura), New Guinea.

7 March 1944:
Departs Hollandia with KOFUKU MARU and probably unidentified ship.

10 March 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

30 March 1944:
Damaged during a Carrier air attack in Palau harbor when proceeding with Chuyo Maru and others through Komebail Lagoon heading towards Toagel Mlungui Pass. The ship then returned to Palau and in Malakal Island close to N shore of Urukthapel Island where attacked by aircraft of CV-10 USS YORKTOWN and further damaged.

31 March 1944:
Attacked by aircraft of CV-16 USS LEXINGTON who obtain 2 hits by 1000-lbs bombs. Then hit by 3 delayed action bombs by aircraft from CV-10 USS YORKTOWN. Finally sank in shallow water with forepart, masts and funnel above the water. Three crewmen are KIA.

Wreck scrapped in situ by Fujita Salvage Company.

Authors' Notes:
[1] NRT is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). It is calculated by subtracting non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's gross register tonnage (GRT). Net register tonnage (NRT) is not a measure of the weight of the ship or its cargo, and should not be confused with terms such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

[2] There were two categories of Kokai Hokan. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

[3] The ship was also variously known as MATSUEI MARU and MATSUEI MARU No. 2 GO. Most references cite the name MATSUEI MARU.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

- Gilbert Casse, Berend van der Wal and Peter Cundall.

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