(Sister SHANGHAI MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2016 Bob Hackett

14 April 1919:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co. Ltd. as Yard No. 417, a 4,105-ton passenger cargo ship for Kokusai Kisen K.K. (International Steamship Co. Ltd.) of Kobe.

27 June 1919:
Launched and named SYDNEY MARU. [1]

22 July 1919:
Completed and placed on Kokusai Kisen K.K. Line’s routes.

May 1921:
Kokusai Kisen joins with Kawasaki Zosen and Kawasaki Kisen to form "K" Line”.

18 April 1925:
SYDNEY MARU arrives at Sydney, Australia.

24 April 1925:
SYDNEY MARU departs Melbourne, Australia for Yokohama.

26 August 1925:
Near Rabaul, New Britain. SYDNEY MARU runs aground on Malt Island reef.

31 March 1929:
SYDNEY MARU departs Geraldton, Western Australia, via Fremantle, for Bombay, India.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident ("First China Incident"):
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) troops on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops across the river think they are under attack. They fire live rounds 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.

July 1937: Second Sino-Japanese War:
Chartered by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport.

30 October 1938:
SYDNEY MARU departs Tanggu near Tianjin, China in a convoy also consisting of HOKUSHO, HOKYSHO, KIKUKAWA, KOFUKU, NOSHIRO and RAKUTO MARUs. SYDNEY MARU carries the IJA 6th Division’s 23rd Infantry Regiment’s 12th Company, Rapid Fire Artillery Company, 3rd Company of 6th Independent Field Medium Artillery Brigade and Land Transport Unit.

1 November 1938:
Mokpo, Korea. The convoy makes a rendezvous with other ships and departs for Han, China where the troops are landed.

E 1939:
SYDNEY MARU is released by the IJA back to her owners.

18 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA. Converted to a troop transport and alloted Army No.268.

21 January 1942:
SYDNEY MARU departs Mutsure with transports ATSUTA, BRAZIL, COLUMBIA, DAINICHI, FUSHIMI, GENOA, HOEISAN, KIZZAN, MAEBASHI, MOTOYAMA, PACIFIC, REIYO SOMEDOMO, TAKETOYO, TATSUNO, TOFUKU,TOKIWA and TSUYAMA MARUs escorted by CruDiv 9's light cruiser OI and DesDiv 32's ASAGAO, FUYO and KARUKAYA. The transports are carrying the 2nd Infantry Division.

26 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores. Later, the convoy departs for Camranh Bay to mobilize for the Invasion of Java.

February 1942:
Arrives at Camrahn Bay, Indochina. SYDNEY MARU is attached to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hiraoki, Kumeichi’s (39) 9th Base Force in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s (37) Western Java Seizure Force.

18 February 1942: Operation "J" (J Sakusen) -- The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
At 1000, SYDNEY MARU departs Camranh Bay for Merak and Bantam Bay, Java in a convoy carrying the IJA 2nd Infantry Division. The convoy is comprised of 56 troop transports escorted by light cruisers YURA and NATORI, DesDivs 5, 6, 11, 12 and 22.

Departs Camrahn Bay. Fifteen transports are bound for Merak, Java including SYDNEY, AKITSU, KOYO, HOKUMEI (later NIKKEI), COLUMBIA, ATLAS, RYUNAN, MOMOYAMA, PACIFIC, KIZAN, REIYO, TSUYAMA, and SHINSHU MARUs. Seven transports go to Eretan Wetan. Seaplane tender SANYO MARU provides air cover.

1 March 1942:
Arrives at Merak, Java. Lands troops of the IJA’s 2nd Infantry Division.

9 March 1942:
Arrives at Bantam Bay.

18 December 1942:
SYDNEY MARU departs Saeki in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy “J" also consisting of ASO and SHANGHAI MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-39.

E 19 December 1942:
At 29N, CH-39 is detached.

29 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

6 March 1943:
At 1430, SYDNEY MARU departs Palau in convoy "Hansa No. 1" also consisting of ASO, MOMOYAMA, OYO, TEIRYU (ex-German AUGSBURG) and YASUSHIMA MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by destroyers AKIGUMO, KAZEGUMO, SAMIDARE, SATSUKI and YUGUMO. The convoy is carrying elements of the IJA 20th Infantry Division including three battalions, airfield construction units, 37th, 38th, 40th, 44th Road Construction Units, and 3rd Field Searchlight Co.

12 March 1943:
At 0503, the convoy arrives at Hansa Bay (near Madang), Eastern New Guinea where the ships begin unloading. The IJAAF provides air cover.

13 March 1943:
By 0300, all troops and material are unloaded. At 1500, the convoy departs Hansa Bay. Shortly after departure destroyers KAZEGUMO, SATSUKI and YUGUMO are detached for Rabaul. AKIGUMO and SAMIDARE take over escort of the empty troopships. At 1830, the convoy is attacked off Wewak, New Guinea by five USAAF 5th Air Force Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” heavy bombers at 03-05S, 143-28E. The planes come over at low level and hit MOMOYAMA MARU by bombs that set her afire. The fire becomes uncontollable so her captain orders Abandon Ship. Nine crewmen are KIA. AKIGUMO torpedoes the burning ship. At 1500, departs Hansa Bay.

14 March 1943:
At 0045, MOMOYAMA MARU sinks.

18 March 1943:
At 0730, the remainder of the convoy arrives safely at Palau.

6 April 1943:
SYDNEY MARU departs Palau for Hansa Bay in convoy "Hansa No. 2B" also consisting of INDIA, TAISEI, TAIYU, TEIRYU (ex-German AUGSBURG) and TOHO MARUs escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and TANIKAZE and subchasers CH-26 and CH-34.

The convoy is carrying units of the IJA 20th Division including the 33rd Independent Engineer Regiment, 36th Independent Engineer Regiment and 37th Independent Engineer Regiments. 48th Field Road Construction Unit, 49th Field Operations Construction Duty Company, 51st Field Operations Construction Duty Company, 112th Line of Communication Hospital and probably 39th Independent Motor Transport Battalion.

12 April April 1943:
E of Nubia, Hansa Bay. At 1530, 20 USAAF 5th Air Force B-17s and Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers set SYDNEY MARU afire while she is unloading at 03-18S, 143-38E. At 1535, she is beached and abandoned. Three soldiers and nine crewmen are KIA.

Author’s Note:
Not to be confused with OSK's 5,425-ton passenger-cargo SYDNEY MARU of 1929.

Thanks for troop info goes to the late John Whitman of Virginia and to Fontessa-san of Japan. Thanks also go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

Back to IJA Transports