(Wartime ore carrier SHONAN MARU)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett

E 1941:
Kobe. Laid down at Mitsubishi Jukogyo K. K. as a 5,401-ton ore carrier for Nippon Seitetsu K.K., Tokyo.

1942: Launched and named SHONAN MARU.

June 1942:

17 July 1943:
At 0800, SHONAN MARU departs Takao for Moji in convoy No. 283 also consisting of KINREI, TOFUKU and HAGURO MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 5 escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

24 July 1943:
At 0850, arrives at Moji.

19 February 1944:
At 1500, SHONAN MARU departs Mutsure for Takao in convoy MOTA-05 also consisting of TEIKON (ex-German WINNETOU), GYOKO and HOREI MARUs escorted by kaibokan IKI. HOREI MARU is carrying aircraft spares, wooden items, conveyor belts and other cargo.

23 February 1944:
100 miles W of Okinawa. At 0510, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Ralph M. Metcalf’s (USNA '35) USS POGY (SS-266) torpedoes TEIKON MARU, but she does not sink. A few minutes later, Metcalf also torpedoes HOREI MARU that goes dead in the water. IKI does not counter-attack. SHONAN MARU takes HOREI MARU in tow, but she splits in two and sinks off Naha harbor, Okinawa at 26-13N, 127-38E. One crewman is KIA.

26 February 1944:
The remainder of the convoy arrives at Takao.

3 June 1944:
At 1000, SHONAN MARU departs Singapore for Moji in bauxite convoy HO-02 consisting of HONAN, NASUSAN, TAMAHOKO, TAINAN, KENNICHI, TEIHOKU (ex-Vichy French PERSEE), NICHIWA and HIOKI MARUs and KONAN MARU No. 1 and ten unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan CD-1, CD-8, CD-15, CD-20 and minelayer AOTAKA.

6 June 1944:
S of Nishino-Torishima Island. 160 miles off Cape St. Jacques, Indochina. LtCdr (later Cdr) James W. Davis' (USNA ’30) USS RATON (SS-270) attacks the convoy. At 2225, Davis torpedoes CD-15. She breaks in two and sinks at 08-57N, 109-17E. 104 crewmen are KIA. CD-8 and CD-20 rescue 34 survivors. CD-1, CD-8 and CD-20 counterattack, dropping a total of 57 depth-charges. RATON is damaged, but remains on patrol.

11 June 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

14 July 1944:
At 1900, SHONAN MARU departs Takao for Manila in convoy TAMA-21C consisting of tankers MITSU, AYAGIRI and AYAZONO MARUs and MANTAI, MITSUKI, JINSAN, SEATTLE, TENSHIN, YAMATAMA, SAINEI, HIZAN (HIYAMA), KOKKA, SHOZAN, YASUKUNI and SHOEI MARUs escorted by kaibokan KUSAGAKI, CD-1 and CD-22, minelayers MAESHIMA and ENTO and minesweeper W-34.

16 July 1944:
At 0946, LtCdr Harold E. Ruble's (USNA ‘33) USS PIRANHA (SS-389) torpedoes and sinks SEATTLE MARU carrying 4,285 IJNAF personnel at 19-17N, 120-15E. HIYAMA and SHOZAN MARUs rescue all but 286 airmen.

Over the next six hours, Captain (later Rear Admiral-Ret) William V. O'Regan’s wolf pack consisting of Cdr Duncan C. MacMillian's (USNA ‘26) USS THRESHER (SS-200), LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Novell G. Ward's (USNA ‘35) GUARDFISH (SS-217) and Ruble's PIRANHA close in and decimate the convoy.

At 2300, THRESHER torpedoes and sinks SAINEI MARU at 18-53N, 119-32E. 21 troops and three crewmen are KIA.

At 2350, GUARDFISH torpedoes and sinks JINZAN MARU. Two minutes later, GUARDFISH torpedoes and sinks MANTAI MARU. 72 troops and 43 crewmen are KIA

17 July 1944:
The attacks continue. At 0034, GUARDFISH torpedoes and sinks HIYAMA MARU. Four gunners and four crewmen are KIA. W-34 and CD-1 rescue survivors.

At 0345, THRESHER torpedoes and sinks SHOZAN MARU at 18-50N, 119-43E. 149 troops, 64 crew and about 500 survivors of SEATTLE MARU are KIA. W-34 and CD-1 rescue the survivors.

19 July 1944:
At 1920, convoy TAMA-21C arrives at Manila.

4 August 1944:
SHONAN MARU departs Moji for Takao in convoy MOTA-22 consisting of GASSAN, HAKUSAN, TEIKO (ex-French D’ARTAGNAN), TEIHOKU MARU (ex-French PERSEE), TERUKUNI, TACHIBANA, NANREI, GENKAI, HIOKI, MANSHU, RAKUTO, SHIRANESAN, KENJO and KOSHIN MARUs and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2, DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6 and five unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan HIBURI, FUKUE, ETOROFU, CD-8, CD-10, CD-25, CD-32 and CH-49, minelayer TAKASHIMA and gunboat UJI.

Among other cargo, the convoy carries the IJA's 25th Tank Regiment redeploying from Baotau, North China to Formosa. SHONAN MARU is carrying general cargo and four Daihatsu barges.

6 August 1944:
Off SW Kyushu. At 0411, LtCdr (later Admiral/CinCPacFlt) Bernard A. Clarey’s (USNA '34) USS PINTADO (SS-387) hits SHONAN MARU with three torpedoes. She breaks in two and sinks at 30-55N, 129-45E. Five crewmen are KIA.

Author's Note:
Photo credit goes to Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett

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