KYUTANYUSEN!

(SOYO MARU prewar)

IJN SOYO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2016 Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall


6 March 1930:
Asano near Yokohama. Laid down by Asano Zosensho K.K. shipyard for Toyo Kisen K.K. as a 6,081-tons cargo ship.

4 October 1930:
Launched and named SOYO MARU.

17 January 1931:
Completed and registered at Yokohama. Chartered that same day to Kawasaki Kisen K.K.

1931:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at San Francisco later.

September 1934:
Chartered to Mitsui Kisen K.K. and placed on New York route.

December 1936:
Her owners are changed to Toyo Kaiun K.K.

1937:
Requisitioned by the IJA as Army transport No. 170.

7 July 1937: The "First China Incident" and the Beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War:
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) troops on night manoeuvres at the Marco Polo Bridge fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops across the river think they are under attack. They fire live round back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to the Peiping (Beijing) suburb of Wanping to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

28-29 August 1937:
SOYO MARU (carrying the HQ and 1st companies, 5th tank battalion) departs Moji in a convoy also consisting of IJA transports KIKUKAWA (carrying the 3rd company, 5th tank battalion), NOSHIRO (carrying most of the 2nd company, 5th tank battalion) ZENYO (carrying part of the second company, 5th tank battalion), SHINKO (loaded with the ammunition train, 5th tank battalion), KAIHE, HAKUBASAN (carrying 1,287 men and 143 horses of the IJA 3rd Divisionís 34th Infantry Regiment including 3rd Battalion, 3rd Company, 7th Independent Machinegun Battalion and 3rd Company, and 8th Independent Armored Car Company), SEATTLE (carrying 692 men and 195 horses of the IJA 3rd Divisionís 34th Infantry Regiment including 34th Infantry HQ, 1st Battalion HQ, Machinegun Unit, 1st Battalion, Infantry Gun Platoon, 1st Battalion and the 16th Divisionís 6th Field Anti-aircraft Artillery Unit) and TAITO MARUs.

2 September 1937:
Departs Ssu Chiao Shan (now Sijiao Island), Shengsi Archipelago, China.

2-5 September 1937:
The convoy arrives at Wusong (Woosung), entrance of Shanghai.

12 November 1937:
Arrives at Wusong.

E December 1937:
Released by the IJA to her owners.

15 May 1939:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

19 May 1939:
Captain Yoshida Juhei is temporarily appointed supervisor.

20 May 1939:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport attached to the Kure Naval District with Kure as homeport under Navyís instruction No. 403. Captain Shibata Zenjiro (38) is appointed supervisor. [1]

19 June 1939:
Departs Sasebo.

E 21-22 June 1939:
Operates in southern China waters.

23 June 1939:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

13 August 1939:
Departs Sasebo.

E 15-18 August 1939:
Operates in southern China waters.

19 August 1939:
Arrives at Mako. Departs there and arrives at Lao Wan Shan, China.

22 August 1939:
At 1555, transfers consignment goods to auxiliary gunboat DELHI MARU.

August 1939:
Departs Lao Wan Shan.

28 August 1939:
Arrives at Mako. Departs later.

18 September 1939:
Departs Kure.

20 September 1939:
Arrives at Yokohama.

24 September 1939:
Departs Yokohama.

26 September 1939:
Arrives at Tama, Tokyo Prefecture.

1 October 1939:
Departs Tama.

2 October 1939:
Arrives at Saitozaki, Nagasaki Prefecture.

4 October 1939:
Departs Saitozaki.

5 October 1939:
Arrives at Sasebo.

7 October 1939:
Departs Sasebo.

10 October 1939:
Arrives at Mako.

15 October 1939:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan) later that day.

17 October 1939:
Departs Takao.

18 October 1939:
Arrives at Kirun (now Keelung), Formosa.

22 October 1939:
Departs Kirun.

24 October 1939:
Arrives at Sasebo.

27 October 1939:
Departs Sasebo.

28 October 1939:
Arrives at Kure.

2 November 1939:
Departs Kure.

4 November 1939:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

7 November 1939:
Departs Yokosuka.

9 November 1939:
Arrives at Kobe. Departs there later that same day.

10 November 1939:
Arrives back at Kobe.

11 November 1939:
Departs Kobe again.

12 November 1939:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

17 November 1939:
Departs Yokosuka.

E 19 ~ 21 November 1939:
Operates in southern China waters.

22 November 1939:
Arrives at Mako. Departs there and arrives later at Takao.

25 November 1939:
Departs Takao.

E 26 November ~ 18 December 1939:
Operates in southern China waters.

19 December 1939:
Arrives at Mako. Departs later.

20 December 1939:
Captain Shibata is relieved by Captain Tsuchida Hitoshi (38).

4 January 1940:
Departs Sasebo.

E 6 ~ 8 January 1940:
Operates in southern China waters.

9 January 1940:
Arrives at Mako. Departs later and arrives at Takao.

12 January 1940:
Departs Takao.

E 13 January ~ 11 February 1940:
Operates in southern China waters.

12 February 1940:
Arrives at Takao. Departs later.

17 April 1940:
Departs Sasebo.

E 19 ~ 21 April 1940:
Operates in southern China waters.

22 April 1940:
Arrives at Mako. Departs later and arrives at Takao.

26 April 1940:
Departs Takao and arrives at Dragon Bay, French Indochina (now Ha Long, Vietnam).

6 May 1940:
Comes alongside auxiliary survey vessel KYODO MARU No. 36 and transfers her 93-tons of boiler water.

May 1940:
Departs Dragon Bay.

17 May 1940:
Arrives at Mako. Departs later.

29 May 1940:
Departs Sasebo.

E 31 May ~ 2 June 1940:
Operates in southern China waters.

3 June 1940:
Arrives at Mako. Departs there and arrives at Takao later that day.

7 June 1940:
Departs Takao.

E 8 June ~ 6 July 1940:
Operates in southern China waters.

7 July 1940:
Arrives at Takao. Departs later.

20 July 1940:
Captain Tsuchida is relieved by Captain Murase Raiji (38).

2 August 1940:
Departs Sasebo.

E 3 ~ 5 August 1940:
Operates in southern China waters.

6 August 1940:
Arrives at Mako. Departs there and arrives at Takao later that day.

9 August 1940:
Departs Takao and arrives at Haikow, Hainan Island, China later that day.

15 August 1940:
Comes alongside auxiliary survey vessel KYODO MARU No. 36 and transfers her 175-tons of coal and 80-tons of boiler water.

August 1940:
Departs Haikow.

27 August 1940:
Arrives at Mako. Departs later.

22 September 1940:
Departs Sasebo.

E 23 ~ 26 September 1940:
Operates in southern China waters.

27 September 1940:
Arrives at Mako. Departs there and arrives at Takao later that day.

2 October 1940:
Departs Takao.

E 3 October ~ 2 November 1940:
Operates in mid-China and Chosen (now South Korea) waters.

1 November 1940:
Captain Murase is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kishindo Saburo (40).

3 November 1940:
Arrives at Sasebo.

E 11 November 1940:
Departs Sasebo.

E 13 ~ 30 November 1940:
Calls at Yokosuka ~ Tokyo and Sasebo.

15 November 1940:
Rerated an auxiliary collier/oiler attached to the Kure Naval District with Kure as home port under Navyís instruction No. 847.

9 December 1940:
Departs Sasebo.

E 15 December 1940 ~ 3 January 1941:
Operates in the South Seas (Japanese mandated islands).

10 January 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

E 12 January 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

E January-February 1941:
Calls at Miike, Fukuoka Prefecture and Yokosuka.

24 February 1941:
Captain Kishindo is relieved by Captain Chiba Shigeo (36). Departs Yokosuka later that day.

E 3 ~ 26 March 1941:
Operates in the South Seas.

2 April 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Departs later.

April 1941:
Calls at Kure and Tama.

April ~ 7 May 1941:
Enters Tama Zosensho K.K. shipyard for maintenance and repairs.

May 1941:
Departs Tama and arrives at Yokosuka.

E 13 May 1941:
Departs Yokosuka and calls at Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture.

E 23 May ~ 23 June 1941:
Operates in the South Seas.

1 July 1941:
Arrives at Yokohama. Departs later.

12 July 1941:
Departs Koniya, Amami-Oshima.

E 13 ~ 26 July 1941:
Operates in Chosen waters.

27 July 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo. Departs later.

1 September 1941:
Assigned directly to the Combined Fleet as an auxiliary collier/oiler (Ko) category. Captain Chiba is relieved by Captain Sakai Suminobu (37). Departs Tokyo later that day. [1]

E 2 ~ 12 September 1941:
Operates in Chosen waters.

13 September 1941:
Arrives at Furue, Hyuga-Nada. Departs later.

3 October 1941:
Osaka. Starts conversion to military duty at Sanoyasu Senkyo K.K. shipyard.

24 October 1941:
The conversion is completed. Departs Osaka.

1 November 1941:
Departs Tokyo.

8 November 1941:
Arrives at Palau, Western Carolines carrying IJNAF 21st Air Flotilla ground support equipment. Departs later.

22 November 1941:
Arrives at Tokyo.

1 December 1941:
Captain Sakai is relieved by Captain Sawada Yoshimi (38).

2 December 1941:
Departs Tokyo.

E December 1941 ~ January 1942:
Operates in southern China waters.

4 February 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

13 February 1942:
Departs Takao.

E 17 February 1942:
Arrives at Davao, Mindanao.

26 February 1942:
Comes alongside and supplies auxiliary gunboat OKUYO MARU with coal and fresh water.

10 April 1942:
Assigned to transport IJNAF base personnel.

18 April 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

21 April 1942:
Departs Takao.

29 April 1942:
Arrives at Nagoya.

2 May 1942:
Departs Nagoya.

3 May 1942:
Arrives at Tama.

20 May 1942:
Assigned to transport IJNAF base personnel. That same day, Captain Sawada is relieved by an unknown Captain.

24 May 1942:
Departs Tama and arrives at Kure later in the day.

27 May 1942:
Departs Kure.

28 May 1942:
Arrives at Tokuyama, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

31 May 1942:
Departs Tokuyama.

5 June 1942:
Arrives at Saipan, Marianas.

8 June 1942:
Departs Saipan.

14 June 1942:
Arrives at Wotje, Marshalls.

15 June 1942:
Departs Wotje.

16 June 1942:
Arrives at Taroa, Marshalls.

22 June 1942:
Departs Taroa.

23 June 1942:
Arrives at Emiedj, Jaluit, Marshalls.

28 June 1942:
Departs Emiedj and arrives at Jabot (Jabwat), Marshalls later that day.

30 June 1942:
Departs Jabot.

23 July 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

6 August 1942:
Departs Kure.

7 August 1942:
Passes through Bungo Suido heading south.

E 19 August 1942:
Arrives at Wotje.

20 August 1942:
Comes alongside and supplies auxiliary patrol craft HIGASHI NIHON MARU with 5-tons of boiler water.

22 August 1942:
Departs Wotje.

2 October 1942:
Arrives at Truk, Central Carolines. Departs later.

11 October 1942:
Arrives at Miike.

13 October 1942:
Departs Miike and arrives at Sasebo later that same day. Departs later.

20 October 1942:
Departs Tokyo in West convoy No .6 also consisting of civilian cargo ship (C-AK) KASUGASAN MARU and IJA shared transport (A/C-AK) UNZEN MARU with unknown escort bound for Inland Sea, and then Sasebo.

23 October 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

31 October 1942:
Met at sea in convoy with auxiliary transport CHIHAYA (ex-Dutch TJISAROEA) MARU and MIKAGE MARU No. 18 near Truk by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

2 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

25 January 1943:
At 0430, SOYO MARU and storeship MAMIYA depart Truk escorted by destroyer MOCHIZUKI.

E 1 February 1943:
Subchaser CH-36 joins SOYO MARU and storeship MAMIYA at 30-53N, 132-46E.

E 2 February 1943:
CH-36 is detached off Fukajima.

4 February 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

15 February 1943:
Departs Kure and soon after is joined and escorted by subchaser CH-36. Later off Toi Misaki CH-36 is detached.

2 March 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein (unconfirmed as could be smaller unit of same name in area).

20 March 1943:
Departs Shanghai in convoy Shi-6, the details of which are obscure.

22 March 1943:
Arrives at Fukue, Goto Retto. From there the ship went on to Kawasaki.

22 April 1943:
Subchasers CH-35 and CH-36 depart Saiki and undertake advance patrols ahead of SOYO MARU and storeship MAMIYA heading north as part of a naval operation.

23 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

25 April 1943:
Commander Kajiki Tomotane (38) is appointed supervisor.

7 May 1943:
Departs Kure.

10 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

16 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3516 also probably consisting of auxiliary transport TAITO MARU and IJA transport YAMASHIRO MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboats SEIKAI and SHOEI MARUs, and possibly others.

22 May 1943:
Arrives at Saipan, Marianas. Auxiliary transport FUKUYAMA MARU joins the convoy.

23 May 1943:
Departs Saipan in convoy No. 3515 also consisting of auxiliary transport FUKUYAMA MARU and IJA transport YAMASHIRO MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat SEIKAI MARU and destroyer ASANAGI (from 9N). The convoy sails at 10 knots.

26 May 1943:
At 0800, arrives at Truk.

27 May 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 5283 also consisting of auxiliary transport KENSHO MARU escorted by subchaser CH-32 and destroyer IKAZUCHI.

29 May 1943:
In position 09-47N 160-58E auxiliary transport FUKUYAMA MARU joins the convoy.

31 May 1943:
Arrives at Jaluit. Departs later.

27 July 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein, Marshalls.

29 July 1943:
Departs Kwajalein.

21 August 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 4821 also consisting of auxiliary transports KAISHO, MITAKESAN and MANJU (ex-SANTOS) MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) KENAN MARU and auxiliary collier/oiler MIKAGE MARU No. 18 escorted by destroyers IKAZUCHI and YUZUKI.

22 August 1943:
At some point, auxiliary transport SHOEI (1,986 GRT) MARU joins the convoy. About 300 nautical miles NW of Truk. LtCdr (later KIA) Charles F. Brindupke' (USNA Ď32) USS TULLIBEE (SS-284) intercepts the convoy. Brindupke, on his first patrol as CO of USS TULLIBEE, closes to 2,000 yards. He fires three Mark-14 steam torpedoes at the nearest freighter. Two minutes later, he fires three more at another ship. One of the destroyers heads towards USS TULLIBEE's position. Brindupke takes the submarine deep. At 1659, he hears a torpedo explosion, soon followed by two more, then breaking up noises. At 1706, listing to port, KAISHO MARU sinks rapidly by the stern at 10-13N, 147-20E. Three crewmen are KIA. Her survivors are rescued and the convoy proceeds. When Brindupke surfaces, he sees over 1,000 empty 50-gallon oil drums, but no ships.

29 August 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

1 September 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

3 September 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

5 September 1943:
Departs Kure and arrives at Innoshima, Hiroshima Prefecture later in the day.

1 October 1943:
Commander Kajiki disembarks and is assigned to the Yokosuka Naval District office. That same day, SOYO MARU is rerated an auxiliary collier/oiler (Otsu) category. [1]

8 October 1943:
Departs Innoshima and arrives at Kure later that day.

12 October 1943:
Departs Kure.

13 October 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

26 October 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3026 also consisting of auxiliary transport CHOAN MARU No. 2 GO, IJN requisitioned cargo ships (B-AK) AWA and SANKISAN MARUs escorted by kaibokan FUKUE.

27 October 1943:
At 0850, minelayer UKISHIMA departs Koumi and at 1000, arrives at Nagaura. At 1300, departs Nagaura and patrols KB and KA areas and meets up with SOYO MARU.

28 October 1943:
At 1850, SANKISAN MARU breaks down and is escorted by FUKUE to Chichijima.

30 October 1943:
At 0130, SANKISAN MARU is due to arrive at Chichijima. FUKUE later rejoins the convoy. Five nautical miles SSW of Sumisujima (Smith Island), Izu Shoto (Islands), the towing cable of a barge breaks. At 1200, SOYO MARU is detached from the convoy and comes for assistance at 31-19N, 140-15E.

31 October 1943:
At 0820, the drifting barge is discovered 33 nautical miles ESE of Sumisu-Jima. At 1600, rescue vessel No. 29 meets up with SOYO MARU 25 nautical miles NNE of Torishima. At 1900, rescue vessel No. 29 ends assistance and departs the area.

1 November 1943:
The towed barge sinks.

9 November 1943:
At 1600, arrives at Truk. By this time AWA MARU had been detached and already arrived.

5 December 1943:
At 1105, departs Truk in convoy 4205-B also consisting of auxiliary transport AKIBASAN MARU escorted by kaibokan HIRADO and auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 8.

7 December 1943:
About 430 nautical miles NE of Truk. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Ralph M. Metcalf's (USNA í35) USS POGY (SS-266) torpedoes and hits SOYO MARU in the engine room setting her afire. She goes dead in the water. AKIBASAN MARU is damaged in the same attack. The latter is escorted to Saipan by TAKUNAN MARU No. 8. HIRADO searches for the submarine and then joins convoy No. 4205A consisting of submarine tender YASUKUNI MARU and fleet supply ship IRAKO as added escort with kaibokan MIKURA.

8 December 1943:
70 nautical miles NE of Saipan. Fire is extinguished but at 0228, SOYO MARU sinks at 13-30N, 155-20E with 35 crewmen KIA and seven passengers (civilian refugees).

31 March 1944:
Removed from the Navyís list under instruction No. 508.


Authors' Notes:
[1] There were two categories of Kyutanyusen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

- Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.


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