(TAIMEI MARU, prewar)
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2014-2017 Bob Hackett
15 October 1935:
Yokohama. Laid down at Yokohama dock as Yard No. 248, a 2,883-ton cargo ship for Kinkai Yusen K. K. of Tokyo.
3 June 1936:
Launched and named TAIMEI MARU.
31 July 1936:
8 September 1939:
As the result of a merger, TAIMEI MARU is transferred to Nippon Yusen Kasiha, K. K. (NYK) Line of Tokyo,
20 May 1942:
TAIMEI MARU departs at 1030 escorted by gunboat YOSHIDA MARU. YOSHIDA MARU departs Uraga to meet and escort a westbound convoy consisting only of transport TAIMEI MARU to Ise Wan.
21 May 1942:
Arrives at Toba, Mie Prefecture.
6 September 1942:
At 0625, TAIMEI and KOSHIN MARUs depart Nagaura and at 0800 departs from off Futtsu in a west bound convoy escorted by minelayer SARUSHIMA.
25 November 1942:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Assigned Army No. 967.
9 December 1942:
TAIMEI MARU departs Saeki in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy “G” also consisting of ANNAN, BUNZAN, HOEISAN, KOSO, MOMOYAMA and
TOKO, MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-46 and subchasers CH-39 and CH-37.
E 10 December 1942:
CH-39 is detached at 28N.
E 12 December 1942:
PB-46 and CH-37 are detached at 23N.
29 December 1942:
TAIMEI MARU arrives at Rabaul.
E January 1943:
E January 1943:
Arrives at Truk.
20 January 1943: No. 6 Go Transportation Operation: Convoy No. 35
At 0800, TAIMEI MARU departs Truk in equipment/baggage convoy Part D also consisting of KAMO, MACASSAR, SHICHISEI and SHINRYU MARUs escorted by destroyer HAMAKAZE, subchaser CH-12 and auxiliary gunboat CHOKO MARU No. 2.
20 January 1943:
At 0800, TAIMEI MARU departs Truk in convoy “D” also consisting of KAMO, SHINRYU, MACASSAR and SHICHISEI MARUs escorted by destroyer HAMAKAZE, subchaser CH-12 and auxiliary gunboat CHOKO MARU No. 2.
22 January 1943:
Steffen Straits near Kavieng, New Ireland. Convoy "D" makes a rendezvous with subchasers CH-18 and CH-22 that escort the convoy to Rabaul. CH-12 and CHOKO MARU No. 2 are detached to escort an outbound convoy.
24 January 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.
28 February 1943: Operation 81-Troop reinforcements to Lae-Salamaua area:
Outside Rabaul harbor. At 2300, transport convoy assembles consisting of TAIMEI, TEIYO, KYOKUSEI, OIGAWA, AIYO, SHINAI and KENBU MARUs and Naval Special Service Ship NOJIMA.
At 2330, the convoy departs the assembly point for Lae escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Masatomi’s (41) destroyers SHIRAYUKI (F), ASAHIO, ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE, URANAMI, SHIKINAMI, YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO and set course along the northern coast of New Britain, north-west from Rabaul before turning west and then south. The transports and destroyers are carrying 6,004 troops of LtGen Nakano Hidemitsu’s 51st Division and 600 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops. TAIMEI MARU is carrying 2 men of the 18th Army's command post, 100 men of the 8th Shipping Engineer Regiment: and 11 Daihatsus and the 100 men of 3rd Debarkation Unit and 5 trucks of the 6th Air Division.
At 2330, convoy departs assembly point escorted by Rear Admiral Kimura Masatomi’s destroyers SHIRAYUKI (F), ASAHIO, ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE, URANAMI, SHIKINAMI, YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO and set course along the northern coast of New Britain, north-west from Rabaul before turning west and then south. The transports and destroyers are carrying 6,004 troops of the IJA’s 51st Division and 600 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops.
The convoy is divided into two Divisions. No. 1 Division (starboard column) consists of SHINAI MARU (IJA No. 324), TEIYO, AIYO and KENBU MARUs. No. 2 Division (portside column) consists of TAIMEI, KYOKUSEI and OIGAWA MARUs and NOJIMA. TAIMEI MARU carries 51st Division and SNLF troops.
1 March 1943: Operation 81:
Departs Rabaul for Lae, New Guinea NOJIMA carries 1,225 men of the IJA’s 51st Division, the Navy’s 3rd Air Defense Unit and 600 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops to reinforce the Lae-Salamaua area in a convoy consisting of cargo vessels TAIMEI, KYOKUSEI, OIGAWA, AIYO, SHINAI and KEMBU MARUs and transport TEIYO MARU carrying 6,000 troops of the 51st Division escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Masatomi’s (41) destroyers SHIRAYUKI (F), ASASHIO, ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE, URANAMI, SHIKINAMI, YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO.
2 March 1943: Battle of the Bismarck Sea:
At 0800, USAAF and RAAF planes bomb the convoy. USAAF B-17 "Flying Fortress" heavy bombers attack Army cargo ship KYOKUSEI MARU. She receives two direct bomb hits and sinks at 0926 at 05-02S, 148-14E (55 km NNW of Cape Gloucester, New Britain). Destroyers YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO rescue 800 men and 110 drums, steam to Lae and disembark them, then rejoin the convoy. TEIYO MARU is lightly damaged by air attack NE of Cape Gloucester.
3 March 1943:
Dampier Straits. The battle continues as Allied aircraft make low-level bombing and strafing runs against the convoy. Rear Admiral Kimura is wounded. During the fighting, TAIMEI MARU and cargo ships OIGAWA, AIYO, KENBU, SHINAI and TEIYO MARUs are sunk. TAIMEI MARU has 44 crew and 35 soldiers KIA. Destroyers ASAHIO, ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE and flagship SHIRAYUKI are also sunk.
45 miles SE of Finschafen, New Guinea. Destroyer ARASHIO is sunk by USAAF Fifth Air Force North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium bombers at 07-15S, 148-15E.
50 miles SE of Finschafen. Supply Ship NOJIMA is damaged by American aircraft and collides with destroyer ARASHIO, then sinks at 07-15S, 148-30E. TAIMEI MARU is bombed and sunk by British and Australian air attack in Huon Gulf a 07-15S, 148-30E.
55 miles SE of Finschafen. Destroyers ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE and SHIRAYUKI are sunk by USAAF B-17s at 07-15S, 148-30E, IJA cargo ship OIGAWA MARU is damaged by Allied aircraft, then sunk by patrol torpedo boats PT-143 and PT-150 at 06-58S, 148-16E.
Only about 1,200 Japanese troops make it to Lae. Another 2,700 are saved by destroyers and submarines and returned to Rabaul. About 2,890 Japanese soldiers and sailors are KIA
 Not to be confused with IJA cargo ship TAIMEI MARU (984tons/1918)
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and to the late John Whitman.
to IJA Transports