(A Type 2TL Standard Merchant Tanker by Ueda Kichiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2015 Bob Hackett

Aioi. Laid down by Harima Zosensho K.K. as a 9,929-ton Type 2TL Standard Merchant Tanker for Nitto Kisen K.K., Tokyo.

Launched and named TAIEI MARU.

30 May 1944:

11 June 1944:
At 1530, TAIEI MARU departs Moji for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-08 also consisting of tankers CHIHAYA, KOEI and RYUSHO MARUs and cargo/transports KAKOGAWA, KAMO, MATSUURA, MINO, MYOGI, NISHI, OYO (GYOKUYO), SHINKOKU and TAIKAI MARUs and 12 unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyers ASAGAO and ASAKAZE, kaibokan YASHIRO, CD-2 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3. Immediately after leaving port, KOEI MARU develops engine problems and is forced to return to port.

15 June 1944:
At 1040, anchors at Oshima Strait, Amami O-Shima.

16 June 1944:
Departs Oshima Strait.

17 June 1944:
KAMO and MATSUURA MARUs with ASAGAO are detached for Kirun (Keelung).

18 June 1944:
At 1300, arrives at Takao. Later, ASAGAO rejoins convoy. At 1955, the convoy departs Takao.

23 June 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Manila. CD-2 and ASAGAO are detached.

27 June 1944:
At 0600, departs Manila.

2 July 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Miri.

16 August 1944:
At 0700, TAIEI MARU departs Miri for Moji in convoy MI-12 also consisting of GYOKUYO (OYO), GYOSAN, JUNGEN GO, KINRYU, NORFOLK, TAKETOYO, and UGA MARUs and unknown KAITO MARU and tankers TAKETOYO, SEISHIN and NANSEI MARUs escorted by kaibokan SHIMUSHU, CD-16, CD-28 and CH-41 and subchasers CH-30 and CH-33

18 August 1944:
At 1352, LtCdr William T. Kinsella's (USNA '34) USS RAY (SS-271) torpedoes and sinks NANSEI MARU at 08-39N, 116-39E. The convoy is ordered to seek shelter.

20 August 1944:
At 1930, arrives at Paluan Bay, NW Mindoro.

21 August 1944:
At 0556, departs Paluan Bay. Soon after, kaibokan CD-28 attacks an enemy submarine contact. At 0720, a wolfpack consisting of USS GUITARRO, HADDO, HARDER, RAY and MUSKALLUNGE make the first of a series of successful attacks. Kinsella's USS RAY torpedoes and sinks TAKETOYO MARU at 13-23N. 120-19E.

E of Mindoro, Philippines. At 0730, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Chester W. Nimitz, Jr’s (USNA '36) USS HADDO (SS-255) torpedoes and damages TAIEI MARU at 13-22N, 120-19E. At 0730, HADDO torpedoes and sinks cargo ship NORFOLK MARU at 13-27N 120-17E. At 0800, HADDO (SS-255) also torpedoes and sinks KINRYU MARU in the same position. At 0825, LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins' (USNA '33) USS GUITARRO (SS-363) torpedoes and sinks UGA MARU at 13-27N, 120-17E.

22 August 1944:
At 2200, arrives at Manila. The convoy is dissolved.

22 September 1944:
At 0300, TAIEI MARU departs Manila for Coron Bay, Calamian Islands in the Taihi (refugee) convoy with BAIKAL, CHINZEI, EKKAI, KOGYO, OLYMPIA and TAITEN and TENHI, MARUs and store ship IRAKO escorted by minelayer AOTAKA, auxiliary subchasers CHa-60 and CHa-61, HAKKO MARU and SHONAN MARU No. 11.

24 September 1944:
At 0550, 96 Grumman F6F “Hellcat” fighters and 24 Curtiss SB2C “Helldiver” dive-bombers of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s (USNA '10)(former CO of HORNET, CV-8) Task Group 38.3’s Air Group 18 from INTREPID (CV-11), AG-31 from CABOT (CVL-28) and AG-19 based on Mitscher's flagship LEXINGTON (CV-16) take off to attack the anchorage at Coron Bay, Busuanga Island, Palawan, 340 miles away.

NW of Coron Bay, two miles south of Concepcion. The Taihi convoy of at least 12 IJN auxiliary ships is dispersed in the coastal waters around Busuanga Island. At 0855, Air Group 31’s fighter-bombers start their attack. The first groups strafe TAIEI MARU, but at 0910, the dive-bombers score a bomb hit portside aft At 0918, she is hit in a boiler room and engine room by bombs. TAIEI MARU is setafire and stranded. The crew abandons ship. TAIEI MARU sinks at 12-01.10N, 119-58.07E. After the attack, the ship’s burning forecastle is still visible.

Flying boat tender AKITSUSHIMA, fleet store ship IRAKO and OLYMPIA, EKKAI, KYOKUZAN and KOGYO MARUs and smaller ships are also sunk during the raid.

9 October 1944:
Another TF 38 air group strikes Coron Bay again. The planes finish off TAIEI MARU’s hulk. She comes to rest upright in about 85 feet/26m of water. [1]

Authors’ Notes:
[1] A photo taken by TG 38.3 prior to attack on shipping off Busuanga Island clearly shows a 2TL tanker - almost certainly TAIEI MARU in the Tangat area, east of where the wreck of a large tanker was found. Nevertheless, uncertainty still surrounds the final fate of TAIEI MARU. Although most sources report the ship as sunk at Coron and a wreck of the right size has been found, doubts remain for some who claim the wreck is that of similar sized 1TL tanker OKIKAWA MARU. However, other sources claim OKIKAWA MARU was never part of the Taihi convoy and was, in fact, sunk earlier in Manila Bay.

- Bob Hackett

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