RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(Sister TEXAS MARU)

IJA Transport SHUNKO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

2014-2016 Bob Hackett
Revision 1


20 June 1919:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima shipyard Co. Ltd. as Yard No. 30, a 6,776-ton cargo ship for Goko, K. K. of Amagasaki.

4 November 1919:
Launched and named SHUNKO MARU. [1]

24 November 1919:
Completed.

10 February 1921:
Sold to the Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK Line), K. K. of Osaka and placed in service on their routes serving Europe, India and New York.

1 September 1923:
SHUNKO MARU clears the Port of Balboa (Panama Canal).

7 August 1926:
Clears the Port of Balboa.

24 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to an auxiliary transport. Allotted Army No 892..

7 December 1941: The Invasion of the Philippines -M Operation (M Sakusen):
At 1720, SHUNKO MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Vigan, Philippines with transports BRISBANE, HAWAII, OIGAWA, SANKO and TAKAO MARUs and five sea trucks escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji's (39) 2nd Raiding Force consisting of light cruiser NAKA (F), DesDiv 2's HARUSAME, MURASAME, YUDACHI and SAMIDARE, DesDiv 4'sASAGUMO, MINEGUMO and NATSUGUMO , MinesweepDiv 21s minesweepers W-9, W-10, W-11 and W-12, MineSweepDiv 30s W-17 and W-18 and SubChaserDiv 21s subchasers CH-4, CH-5, CH-6, CH-16, CH-17 and CH-18 and SubChaserDiv 31s CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12.

The six transports of the invasion fleet carry a detachment of 2nd Formosan Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion (less two companies), 3rd Battalion, one company of 48th Mountain Artillery Regiment, one company of 45th Field Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, two platoons of 48th Engineer Regiment, 2nd Airfield Maintenance Unit (temporarily formed from 18th Airfield Battalion, including one company of 46th Field Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion), one company of 10th Independent Engineer Regiment (Type E shipping engineers) and part of 2nd Shipping Artillery Regiment (defense personnel for the marus). The 1st and 2nd Airfield Maintenance Units includes part of airfield battalions under the 5th Air Group.

10 December 1941:
The invasion unit arrives off Vigan, N Luzon and begins to land troops. OIGAWA MARU is so badly damaged by American aircraft that she is beached by her captain.

18 December 1941: The Invasion of the Philippines -M Operation (M Sakusen):
At 1700, SHUNKO MARU departs Takao, Formosa for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Rear Admiral Hara Kensaburo's (37)(former CO of TAKAO) 1st Lingayen Invasion Unit with 27 other IJA transports escorted by DesRon 5's light cruiser NATORI, DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE, HARUKAZE and MATSUKAZE, DesDiv 22's FUMIZUKI, MINAZUKI, NAGATSUKI and SATSUKI, minesweepers W-15 and W-16 and subchasers CH-1, CH-2, CH-3 CH-13, CH-14 and CH-15.

The Japanese main invasion at Lingayen Gulf consists of three transport echelons and carries the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army. The first echelon is composed of 27 transports from Takao under Rear Admiral Hara , the second echelon of 28 transports under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji (39) and the third echelon of 21 transports from Keelung under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto (39).

24 December 1941:
Lingayen Gulf. Between 0110 and 0430, the Lingayen Invasion Convoy lands troops at Lingayen.

2 June 1942:
SHUNKO MARU departs Mako in convoy No. 218 also consisting of FUKKAI, GENMEI, HITERU and KANTO MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 8 and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.

8 June 1942:
Arrives at Mutsure.

2 October 1942:
SHUNKO MARU departs Ujina for Rabaul, New Britain in a convoy with NIKKI MARU. SHUNKO MARU carries a cargo of gasoline and provisions.

3 October 1942:
The convoy arrives at Saeki where it is joined by two unidentified warships as escorts.

14 October 1942:
At 0740 (K), lookouts aboard LtCdr James W. Coes (USNA 30) USS SKIPJACK (SS-184) sight smoke on the horizon from due West. At 1002, SKIPJACK submerges and sights smoke at 23 miles range. LtCdr Coe sees two ships about 1/2 mile apart making 8 knots. The leading ship is a smokeless camouflagged AK of about 7,000 tons and the second ship is a n old AP of about 4,000 tons making plenty of smoke.

S of Palau. At 1106, Coe fires two torpedoes and gets two hits amidships on SHUNKO MARUs starboard side. Both ships return fire with their deck guns. There are no casualities aboard SHUNKO MARU and her crew abandons ship in four life boats including a Dahaitsu barge. Coe observes what appears to be bomber fuselages stored forward. At about 1545, she sinks at 04-36N, 146-59E. [2]


Authors Notes:
[1] Not to be confused with SHUNKO MARU of 4,027 tons built in 1936.

[2] The survivors spend 7 days in the barge before making land on Toasu Island where they are rescued by an unidentifed subchaser from Truk 14 days after their sinking.

Thanks go to Erich.Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett


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