Tabular Record of Movement

© 2018 Gilbert Casse, Berend van der Wal and Peter Cundall

20 May 1939:
Yokohama. Laid down by Mitsubishi Jukogyo Zosensho K.K. for Mitsubishi Shoji K.K. as a 3,519 GRT cargo ship.

26 December 1939:
Launched and named SUMANOURA MARU.

31 May 1940:
Completed and registered at Tokyo.

E June ~ October 1940:
Coal transport. Departs Hokkaido and calls at Karafuto (now Sakhalin), Keihin and Shimizu, Shizuoka Prefecture.

1 ~ 19 November 1940:
Departs Toji after nearly a month in port and calls at Tokyo, Kure and Osaka.

20 November 1940:
Chartered by the IJN.

28 November 1940:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

16 December 1940:
Arrives at Osaka and enters Naniwa Dock Yard. Registered that same day as an auxiliary anti-submarine netlayer attached to Maizuru Naval District under instruction No. 980. Begins conversion to military duty. Navy Captain Higuchi Tutatsu (38) is appointed CO.

14 January 1941:
The conversion is completed.

15 January 1941:
Attached to Vice Admiral (posthumously Fleet Admiral) Koga Mineichi’s (34) 2nd Fleet’s, Second Base Force.

E 1 ~ 15 February 1941:
Training and maintenance in Tachibana Bay, Tokushima prefecture.

E 16 ~ 20 February 1941:
Participates in Combined Fleet exercises.

24 March 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

25 March ~ 2 April 1941:
Participates in Combined Fleet special exercise.

3 April 1941:
Arrives at Tachibana Bay.

E 4 ~ 9 April 1941:
Undergoes training in the Inland Sea.

10 April 1941:
Attached to Vice Admiral (posthumously Fleet Admiral) Takahashi Ibo’s (36) 3rd Fleet’s, Second Base Force.

10 June 1941:
Departs Sasebo. Patrols off the coasts of Shanghai and Hainan Island, China.

7 July 1941:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa (now Kaoshiung, Taiwan).

11 July 1941:
Departs Takao.

E 12 July ~ 26 August 1941:
Patrols off Shanghai and Hainan Island coasts. Thereafter arrives at Saigon, French Indochina (now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). Patrols off French Indochina coast.

29 August 1941:
Arrives at Maizuru. Departs later.

1 September 1941:
Arrives at Osaka and enters Naniwa Dock Yard. Navy Captain Higuchi Tutatsu (38) disembarks and is replaced by Navy Captain (Posthumously Rear Admiral) Shibuya Shunsaku (36). [1]

September 1941:
Exits Naniwa Dock Yard and heads towards Chijiwa Bay, Nagasaki Prefecture for training.

E October 1941:
Departs Sasebo for Formosa.

1 December 1941:
The charter contract is renewed.

4 December 1941:
Departs Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa.

17 December 1941: Operation "M" (M Sakusen) -The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
At 0900, departs Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan) for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines.

The Japanese main invasion at Lingayen Gulf consists of three transport echelons. The first is composed of 27 transports from Takao under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hara Kenzaburo (37), the second of 28 transports under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura (39) and the third under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto (39). This force of 76 transports carries the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army. SUMANOURA MARU is part of the third transport echelon.

22 December 1941:
Arrives at Lingayen Gulf.

25 December 1941:
Departs Lingayen Gulf with Pigan Base watercraft personnel carrying weapons and materials.

26 December 1941:
Arrives at Takao. Departs there for Mako, Pescadores.

Departs Mako transporting mines and explosives.

9 January 1942:
Arrives at Malalag, Philippines. Unloads cargo. Departs later.

13 January 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo, Netherlands East Indies.

15 January 1942:
Scheduled to be equipped with a rangefinder under Navy’s secret instruction No. 520.

20 January 1942:
0750 ~ 1039: patrol boat No. 37 comes alongside and is replenished with fresh water.

21 January 1942:
At 1700, departs Tarakan in the Balikpapan Invasion Force consisting of transports TSURUGA, KURETAKE, LIVERPOOL, HITERU, EHIME, HAVANA, HANKOW, TEIRYU (ex-AUGSBURG), ASAHISAN, NITTEI, KANAYAMASAN, KUMAGAWA and TOEI MARUs. The invasion convoy carries MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo’s 56th Mixed Infantry Group (Sakaguchi Brigade) and the Kure No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF).

Allied aerial reconnaissance spots the invasion convoy. Admiral (later Senator) Thomas C. Hart, (USNA ’97) Commander ADBAFLOAT, orders Cdr Paul H. Talbot's (USNA ’18) DesDiv 59's old flush deck, four-stack destroyers USS PARROTT (DD-218), USS POPE (DD-225), USS JOHN D. FORD (DD-228) and USS PAUL JONES (DD-230) to intercept the convoy before it reaches Balikpapan, Borneo. At 2130, the transports begin disembarking their troops. DesDiv 59 increases speed so as to arrive at Balikpapan at midnight.

23 January 1942:
Arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo, Netherlands East Indies. At 1050, the convoy is attacked by three enemy aircraft, which are repulsed. At 1625, the convoy is attacked by nine heavy and four light-bombers. In a fierce action TATSUKAMI MARU suffers slight damage, but NANA MARU is sunk (casualties unknown). The later was hit in No. 6 hold by a bomb, splinters from others that landed to port alongside the same hold added to the fires raised. Navigation became impossible and over the following hours the flames took a firm grip, finally at 2100 after a huge explosion the ship sank at 01-18S, 117-43E.

24 January 1942:
At 0045, Dutch Navy LtCdr C. A. J. van Well Groeneveld's (former CO of HMNS K-XIV) submarine HMNS K-XVIII, operating on the surface due to the weather, fires four bow torpedoes at the light cruiser NAKA, flagship of the IJN's covering force, but misses and hits transport TSURUGA MARU port amidships, sinking her with the loss of one crewman and 38 troops. The covering force moves eastwards to carry out antisubmarine sweeps.

Cdr Talbot's DesDiv 59 arrives from the south. At 0316, they begin their first attack firing their 4-inch guns and launching ten torpedoes at the anchored transports, but all their torpedoes miss. Talbot orders another attack. At 0330, at 00-10N, 118-00E USS POPE hits and sinks SUMANOURA MARU. Many troops are KIA and only nine of her crew of navy sailors survive. Captain Shibuya Shunsaku (36) is KIA and posthumously promoted Rear Admiral.

At 0335, USS PARROTT and USS PAUL JONES hit transport TATSUKAMI MARU with torpedoes in a deep fuel tank, the resultant flooding caused her to sink by the stern, and four of her crew lost their lives. USS POPE and USS PARROTT sink the 2nd Base Force's patrol boat PB-37 (casualties unknown) with torpedoes and gunfire.

At 0345, USS JOHN D. FORD sinks transport KURETAKE MARU with gunfire and torpedoes. Six crewmen and 272 troops are KIA. ASAHISAN MARU suffers damage from gunfire and torpedoes but remains afloat. KUMAGAWA MARU suffers slight damage in the engagement. At 0350, Talbot's DesDiv 59, their torpedoes gone, departs southward. The Japanese Force seizes Balikpapan.

5 February 1942:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 226.

Authors' Notes:
[1] SUMANOURA MARU was probably fitted there with four 12cm deck guns, two 7.7mm MGs and 24 depth-charges.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

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

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