(SHOKO MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

12 May 1939:
Aioi. Laid down by Harima Steel K.K. shipyard for Dairen Kisen K.K. as a 5,385-ton cargo ship.

9 December 1939:
Launched and named SHOKO MARU. [1]

10 March 1940:
Completed and registered in Dairen, Manchuria (now Dalian, northern China).

30 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

10 November 1941:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport, (Otsu) category and attached to the Sasebo Naval District with Sasebo as homeport under internal order No. 1391. [2]

1 December 1941:
Arrives at Koniya, Amami-Oshima.

9 December 1941:
Departs Koniya.

10 December 1941:
Arrives at Kuji Wan (Bay), Iwate Prefecture.

14 December 1941:
Departs Kuji Wan and arrives later in the day at Koniya.

16 December 1941:
Departs Koniya.

17 December 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

30 December 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

5 January 1942:
At 1245, arrives at Davao, Mindanao.

9 January 1942:
At 0710, departs Davao.

15 January 1942:
Assigned to Makassar Invasion Force (second phase) under Sasebo Naval District instruction No. 14.

16 January 1942:
At 1440, arrives at Menado, Celebes (now Sulawesi).

17 January 1942:
At 1200, departs Menado and at 2020, arrives at Bangka (now Pulau Bangka), Celebes.

18 January 1942:
Departs Bangka.

19 January 1942:
Arrives at Menado.

22 January 1942:
Departs Menado and arrives at Bangka later in the day.

27 January 1942:
Departs Bangka and arrives at Menado later that day.

1 February 1942:
Departs Menado and arrives at Bangka later in the day.

2 February 1942:
At 0805, departs Bangka.

4 February 1942:
At 0630, arrives at Staring Bay, Celebes.

5 February 1942:
Assigned to Makassar Invasion Force under Sasebo Naval District instruction No. 16.

6 February 1942: The Invasion of Makassar, Celebes:
The Makassar invasion convoy consists of six IJN transports: SHOKO (MATSUE), KINAI, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, MONTEVIDEO and YAMASHIMO MARUs. The transports are accompanied by auxiliary oiler SAN CLEMENTE MARU, acting as a replenishing vessel.

The convoy is organized in two echelons:

The first echelon, with KINAI, NANKAI and HOKUROKU MARUs carrying the Makassar Occupation Force under command of Captain Moriís Sasebo Combined SNLF.

The second echelon, with SHOKO (MATSUE), MONTEVIDEO and YAMASHIMO MARUs carrying the 5th and 6th Naval Construction Units (Setsueihan).

Both echelons depart successively Staring Bay; starting at 2100 with SAN CLEMENTE MARU escorted by light cruiser NAGARA, DesDiv 8ís ASASHIO, MICHISHIO, ARASHIO and OSHIO, DesDiv 15ís HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 21ís WAKABA, HATSUSHIMO and NENOHI and SubChasDiv 2ís CH-13, CH-14 and CH-15. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro (38)'s (former CO of FUSO) CarDiv 11's CHITOSE, MIZUHO and SANUKI MARU provide distant support.

8 February 1942:
At 1330, arrives at Makassar, Celebes and proceeds to landings.

9 February 1942:
Makassar Strait. During the landing of the Sasebo Combined SNLF invasion force, DesDiv 15's NATSUSHIO is torpedoed and sunk by Lt (later Rear Admiral) James C. Dempsey (USNA í31)'s old submarine USS S-37. NATSUSHIO is the only loss suffered by IJN in the action.

16 February 1942:
At 0825, departs Makassar.

22 February 1942:
At 0950, arrives at Palau, Western Carolines.

25 February 1942:
At 0955, departs Palau and arrives at 1135 at Garasumao, Babeldaob, Palaus.

3 March 1942:
At 1620, departs Garasumao.

11 March 1942:
At 0930, arrives at Moji.

14 March 1942:
At 0910, departs Moji and at 1930, arrives at Tsukumi, Oita Prefecture.

18 March 1942:
At 0810, departs Tsukumi.

20 March 1942:
At 1600, arrives at Tokyo.

25 March 1942:
At 0900, departs Tokyo.

3 April 1942:
At 0740, arrives at Eniwetok, Marshalls.

6 April 1942:
At 0115, departs Eniwetok.

8 April 1942:
At 1310, arrives at Wotje, Marshalls.

10 April 1942:
Departs Wotje. Removed that same day from the Navyís list under internal order No. 662.

11 April 1942:
Arrives at Majuro, Marshalls.

16 April 1942:
Departs Majuro.

17 April 1942:
Arrives at Kwajalein, Marshalls.

3 May 1942:
Departs Kwajalein.

14 May 1942:
Arrives at Moji. Departs later in the day for Sasebo.

15 May 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

20 May 1942:
De-requisitioned from the IJN.

24 May 1942:
Removed from Sasebo Naval District.

27 May 1942:
Released to her owners.

E 1942-1943:
Requisitioned again by the IJN. [3]

18 June 1942:
Departs Tokyo Bay in a westbound convoy also consisting of civilian cargo ships KIYOTADA (SEICHU) and KASUGASAN MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo ship TAMA MARU and IJA tanker ZUIYO MARU escorted by minesweeper W-17. SHOKO MARU is bound for Kobe .

15 March 1943:
Departs Moji for Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan) in convoy No. 137 also consisting of auxiliary transport HIROTA MARU, IJA transports ROKKO, HIBI and HOKKO MARUs and IJN requisitioned cargo ship CHIYO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

19 March 1943:
HIROTA MARU is detached to Kirun (now Keelung), Formosa.

20 March 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

E 21 March 1943:
Departs Takao.

22 March 1943:
Arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island, China.

25 March 1943:
Departs Yulin and arrives later that same day at Basuo, Hainan.

29 March 1943:
Departs Basuo and arrives back at Yulin later in the day.

1 April 1943:
Departs Yulin.

6 April 1943:
Arrives at Kirun.

7 April 1943:
Departs Kirun.

16 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama in convoy No. 3414B also consisting of IJA transport ODATSUKI MARU, IJN requisitioned (B-AK) HEIWA MARU, civilian tankers HADACHI MARU and RYOYU MARU No. 32 escorted by minesweeper W-24.

22 April 1943:
Departs Yokohama.

25 April 1943:
Arrives at Wakamatsu, Fukuoka Prefecture.

28 April 1943:
Departs Wakamatsu.

29 April 1943:
Arrives at Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, Kyushu.

30 April 1943:
Departs Karatsu.

E 1 May 1943:
Arrives at Imari Wan (Bay), Kyushu.

3 May 1943:
At 0600, departs Imari Wan in convoy SA-14 also consisting of IJA transports DOWA, NANKA, YASUKUNI, JUNYO, TAMAHOKO and UGA MARUs and IJN requisitioned ore carrier HIDAKA MARU, escorted by minelayer KAMOME.

11 May 1943:
Arrives at Basuo.

18 May 1943:
Departs Basuo.

24 May 1943:
Arrives at Kirun.

28 May 1943:
Departs Kirun for Yawata, Fukuoka Prefecture and joins convoy No. 266 that departed Takao on the previous day, consisting of IJA transports JUYO, GINYO and KIYO MARUs, IJA tankers HAKUBASAN MARU and OGURA MARU No. 1 and seven unidentified merchant ships escorted by patrol boat PB-2.

29 May 1943:
East China Sea, night. At 2245, in position 29-50N 129-35E LtCdr Anthony H Dropp's (USNA í32) USS SAURY (SS-189) torpedoes and sinks SHOKO MARU loaded with 7,250 tons of iron ore, with two torpedoes. All 57 crewmen and four watchmen are killed.

E 1943:
Removed from the Senpaku Uneikai (Civilian Administration) list.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Also known as MATSUE MARU. Not to be confused with the IJA transport (2,209 GRT, í19) or the auxiliary transport (ex-auxiliary gunboat) (1,933 GRT, í39).

[2] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without. [3]

[3] Released to her owners at unknown date. Under civilian control at the time of her sinking.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan and Erich Muelthaler of Germany.

Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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