(TAKAOKA MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

7 July 1920:
Yokohama. Laid down at Yokohama Dock Co., Ltd as Yard No. 75, a 7,047-ton passenger cargo ship for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line), K. K. (Japan Mail Steamship Co.).

21 November 1920:
Launched and named TAKAOKA MARU.

16 December 1920:
Completed and placed in NYK's service until the outbreak of the Pacific War.

27 March 1921:
TAKAOKA MARU arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Calcutta, India.

17 November 1921:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Yokohama, Japan.

May 1935:
TAKAOKA MARU departs Kobe on NYK’s South America route (W coast) with calls at Hong Kong, Moji, Kobe, Yokkaichi, Yokohama, Honolulu, Hilo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Manzanillo, La Libertad, Balboa, Buenaventura, Callas, Pisco, Mollendo, Africa, Iquique and Valparaiso. Return voyages via Iquique, Callas, Manzanillo, Los Angeles, Portland, Yokohama, Kobe, Moji to Hong Kong.

24 August 1938 :
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport. Allotted Army No. 696.

7 January 1939:
Released back to her owners.

25 May 1941:
4 miles S of Mollendo harbor, Peru. NYK’s passenger cargo ship ARIMA MARU runs aground on a shoal. Later, TAKAOKA MARU commences salvage work.

10 September
Re-requisitioned by the IJA.

17 December 1941: Operation "M" (M Sakusen) -The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
At 0900, TAKAOKA MARU departs Kirun, Formosa (Keelung, Taiwan) for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (39)(former CO of HARUNA) 3rd Lingayen Invasion Unit with 21 other IJA transports escorted by DesDiv 9's YAMAGUMO, minelayer WAKATAKA and four smaller warships.

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

24 December 1941:
Between 0110 and 0430, the transports land their troops at Lingayen.

14 January 1942:
At 1700, TAKAOKA MARU departs Moji for Takao, Formosa in a convoy also consisting of ADEN, ASAKA, HAVRE, MIYASONO and YAE MARUs escorted by minelayers HIRASHIMA and TSUBAME.

18 January 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

18 September 1943:
At 0500, TAKAOKA MARU departs Palau escorting convoy So-806 also consisting of PACIFIC, TAMASHIMA, YAMAYURI and YURI MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-17 and CH-39.

25 September 1943:
At 0900 arrives at Rabaul.

3 March 1944:
TAKAOKA MARU departs Pusan carrying the 5th Expeditionary Unit, 71st Infantry Group Headquarters, 71st Division, 3rd Battalion, 87th Infantry, 71st Division, 3rd Battalion, 88th Infantry, 71st Division, 1st Battalion, 71st Artillery, 71st Division, 3rd Company, 71st Engineers, 71st Division, Headquarters, 25th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment, Headquarters, 1st Battalion, 25th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment and 1st and 2nd Companies, Headquarters, 3rd Battalion (searchlight) and 7th Company, 25th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment,

12 March 1944:
At 0400, TAKAOKA MARU departs Yokohama in outbound convoy "Higashi Matsu No. 2" also consisting of ATLANTIC, AWA (ex-WAWA), DAITEN, HIBI, KOKUYO, MIHO, RYUKA, TAJIMA, TAMAHOKO, and TSUSHIMA MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by light cruiser TATSUTA, destroyers NOWAKI, ASAKAZE, YUNAGI and UZUKI, kaibokan HIRADO, and minelayer KYOSAI and SOKUTEN. The convoy s carrying Headquarters, 31st Army, 278th Independent Truck Company, one tank company, one machine cannon company, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Mortar Companies, all belonging to 18th Infantry, 29th Division.

13 March 1944:
40 miles NNE of Hachijo-jima. At 0310, LtCdr Malcom E. Garrison's new USS SAND LANCE (SS-381) sets up and fires four stern torpedoes at the convoy. Two hit TATSUTA's crew fights the flooding for seven hours, but takes on a seven degree list to port. By 1040, the aft part of the upper deck is awash. The flooding is temporarily halted, but begins again. At 1415, TATSUTA takes on a starboard list, so her crew is ordered to shift all weight to port. By 1510, her stern is settling faster and the starboard list is increasing slowly. At 1536, the list is 60 degrees starboard, and the cruiser is rapidly sinking. Seconds later, she goes down by the stern at 32-52N, 139-12E. Twenty-six men are KIA, 10 wounded. Destroyers NOWAKI and UZUKI rescue her survivors including Captain Shimazui Takemi (47) former XO of light cruiser YUBARI) and ComDesRon 11, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Takama Tamotsu (41)(former CO of battleship HARUNA).

SAND LANCE's other two torpedoes hit and sink transport KOKUYO MARU carrying 1,029 troops. SAND LANCE undergoes an 18-hour attack by the escorts. Garrison takes SANDLANCE, a thick-skinned BALAO-class, to 550-feet and escapes 105 depth charges set to detonate at 250-feet. HIRADO rescues KOKUYO MARU's survivors and returns to Tokyo Bay while the convoy continues on to Saipan. Minesweeper W-20 is ordered to the area of the sinking.

E 18 March 1944:
TAKAOKA MARU arrives at Pagan, Marianas. Lands elements of the 5th Expeditionary Unit.

19 March 1944:
At 1400, arrives at Saipan, Marianas.

24 March 1944:
At 0700, TAKAOKA MARU departs Saipan in convoy HIGASHI MATSU No.2 (return) also consisting of AWA (ex-WAWA), BINGO, DAITEN, HIBI, NACHI, MIHO, RYUKA, SHINFUKU, TAKUNAN, TAMAHOKO and TATSUHARU MARUs, storeship SOYA and an unidentified maru escorted by destroyers ASAKAZE and NOWAKI, kaibokan MANJU minelayer KYOSAI and subchasers CH-17, CH-31 and CH-32. En route SOYA is detached and arrives at Chichi-Jima.

1 April 1944:
At 1000, the convoy arrives at Tokyo.

15 April 1944:
At 0600, TAKAOKA MARU departs Tokyo escorting convoy "Higashi-Matsu No. 6" also consisting of AWA, AWAJI, BATAVIA, HAKUBA, HOKUSHIN and KATSUKAWA, MARUs bound for Saipan, CHOAN MARU No. 2 and MIKAGE MARU No. 1 bound for Truk, BISAN, JINSAN and JOKUJA MARUs bound for Palau, KAMISHIMA and SHOZAN MARUs bound for Woleai, INARI and TONEGAWA MARUs bound for Guam and TAMAHOKO and TATSUAKI MARUs bound for Chichi-Jima. The convoy is escorted by destroyers HOKAZE, UZUKI and YUNAGI, kaibokan MIYAKE and CD-6, minelayers KYOSAI, SARUSHIMA and YURISHIMA, minesweepers W-20 and W-28 and subchasers CH-10 and CH-12.

23 April 1944:
At 0300, INARI and TONEGAWA MARUs and W-20 are detached from the convoy and arrive at Guam at 1735. The others arrive at Saipan that same day.

27 April 1944:
At 1140, TAKAOKA MARU departs Saipan in convoy Higashi Matsu No. 6 (return) also consisting of AWAJI, AZUCHISAN, HOKUSHIN, KATSUKAWA, SHOUN, SHOZUI, TATEBE, TOAN, and TONEGAWA MARUs and four unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan AMAKUSA, MIYAKI, CD-6, minelayer SARUSHIMA and three unidentified vessels

4 May 1944:
Arrives at Tokyo.

29 May 1944:
At dawn, TAKAOKA MARU departs Tokyo in convoy No. 3530 also consisting of HAVRE, KASIMASAN, KATORI, KATSUKAWA, SHINROKU, SUGIYAMA, and TAMAHIME MARUs and two unidentified ships escorted by torpedo boat OTORI and subchasers CH-17 CH-33 and CH-50. The convoy is carrying troops of the 43rd Infantry Division and the 115th Airfield Battalion.

TAKAOKA MARU carries elements of the 118th Infantry Regiment, 43rd Division consisting of 160 officers, 3,885 enlisted men, 1,100 cubic meters of unit gear, 3rd Independent Tank Company consisting of 10 officers, 84 enlisted men, 11 light tanks, 4 trucks and one-half of the 115th Airfield Battalion consisting of 200 enlisted men, 7 trucks and one-half of the 23rd Field Airfield Construction Unit consisting of 10 officers, 200 enlisted men, 3 trucks, 1,150 bales of unit gear and elements of the 29th Division Sea Transport Unit consisting of 100 enlisted men, 3 landing craft, provisions, limber, cement and fuel.

HAVRE MARU carries elements of the 118th Infantry Regiment, 43rd Division consisting of 44 officers, 1,025 enlisted men, 420 cubic meters of unit gear and eElements of the 43rd Division Intendance Duty Unit consisting of 2 officers, 619 men and 500 cubic meters of unit gear. She also carries the 4th Independent Tank Company consisting of 125 men, 11 light tanks and 4 trucks and one-half of the 115th Airfield Battalion consisting of 200 men, 7 trucks and one-half of the 14th Independent Mortar Battalion consisting of 12 officers, 313 enlisted men, 4 trucks, 145 cubic meters of unit clothing. In addition, she carries the 17th Independent Mortar Battalion consisting of 634 men, the 9th Independent Maintenance Unit of the 14th Field Air Repair Depot, 14th Field Air Supply Depot and elements of the 29th Division Sea Transport Unit consisting of 3 landing craft, 26 collapsible boats, provisions, clothing, lumber and fuel.

KATSUKAWA MARU carries one-half of the 14th Independent Mortar Battalion consisting of 324 men, 20th Independent Mortar Battalion, elements of the 43rd Division Intendance Duty Unit and one-half of the 23rd Field Airfield Construction Unit consisting of 43 trucks, provisions, lumber and fuel.That same day, the convoy arrives at Tateyama Fuel Depot for refueling.

31 May 1944:
The convoy departs Tateyama for Saipan.

4 June 1944:
475 miles NW of Saipan. USN Submarine Task group TG 17.12 makes contact with convoy 3530. Two of the group´s three boats, USS SHARK (SS-314) and USS PINTADO (SS-387) obtain favorable attack positions; but the third, USS PILOTFISH (SS-386), does not At 1530, LtCdr (later KIA) Edward N. Blakely's (USNA ’34) SHARK (later lost on patrol) torpedoes and sinks IJA transport KATSUKAWA MARU at 19-45N, 138-15E. The transport is carrying 2,884 soldiers of the IJA's 43rd Infantry Division to bolster Saipan's defenses. About half of them are KIA.

5 June 1944:
At 1645, Blakely torpedoes and sinks TAKAOKA MARU, carrying about 3,500 reinforcments for the defense of Saipan, at 18-40N, 140-35E. 115 soldiers and 25 crewmen are KIA. Immediately afterwards, Blakely torpedoes and sinks transport TAMAHIME MARU in the same position. 52 crewmen are KIA.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany. Thanks also go to the late John Whitman of Virginia and Fontessa-san of Japan for info on IJA troop units carried by TAKAOKA MARU.

Bob Hackett

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