IJA Landing Craft Depot Ship

(TAKATSU MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2010-2012 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall
Revision 1

7 January 1943:
Tokyo. Laid down at Uraga Dock Co. as a cargo ship for Yamashita Kisen, K. K. (Steam Ship Co.). Requisitioned by the IJA and converted on the stocks to a 5,656 gross ton landing craft depot ship.

28 June 1943:
Launched and named TAKATSU MARU.

21 January 1944:

17 March 1944:
Departs Moji and later that day arrives at Fusan (Pusan), Korea. Probably loads troops.

25 March 1944:
Departs Fusan.

26 March 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

2 April 1944:
Departs Moji.

3 April 1944:
Arrives at Fusan. Probably loads troops.

10 April 1944:
Departs Fusan and later that day arrives at Moji.

24 July 1944:
At 0600, convoy HI-68 departs Manila for Moji. The convoy sails in three columns consisting of landing ship MAYASAN MARU, oilers OTORISAN MARU and NICHINAN MARU No. 2 and escort carrier TAIYO in column No. 1; TAKATSU MARU (a.k.a. KOZU MARU) and transports TOSAN, KASHII, NISSHO and AKI MARUs in column No. 2, and ex-seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, TOA, TOHO and SHIMPO MARUs in column No. 3.

The convoy is escorted by escort carrier KAIYO, kaibokan HIRADO (F), KUSAGAKI, KURAHASHI, ISHIGAKI, MIKURA, CD-11, CD-20 and torpedo boat HIYODORI. A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitaker’s USS FLASHER (SS-249), LtCdr Franklin Hess’s ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr Francis D. Walker’s CREVALLE (SS-291) tracks the convoy.

25 July 1944:
Off NW Luzon. At 1540, transports AKI and TOSAN MARUs successfully evade an attack by CREVALLE.

26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. At 0311, in a night surface radar attack, FLASHER damages TOSAN MARU and sinks AKI MARU and OTORISAN MARU. Hess’s ANGLER torpedoes and blows the bow off KIYOKAWA MARU. At 0655, the ship leaves the convoy and heads for Takao, Formosa. At 1137, LtCdr Walker’s CREVALLE torpedoes and again damages TOSAN MARU. Later, she catches fire.

27 July 1944:
At 0430, the fires ignite 1,000 stored shells and, by 1045, TOSAN MARU sinks. The remainder of the convoy arrives at Takao.

3 August 1944:
At 1600, arrives at Moji.

24 August 1944:
Departs Moji.

26 August 1944:
Arrives at Fusan. Probably loads troops.

29 August 1944:
Departs Fusan.

30 August 1944:
Arrives at Ujina.

5 September 1944:
Departs Moji and later that day arrives at Fusan. Probably loads troops.

8 September 1944:
Departs Pusan and later that day arrives at Moji.

4 October 1944:
Departs Moji.

6 October 1944:
Arrives at Woosung, then departs for Shanghai.

12 October 1944:
At 0700, TAKATSU MARU departs Woosung, E of Shanghai, for Manila in convoy MOMA-04 also consisting of transports NOTO, KINKA and KASHII MARUs escorted by Rear Admiral Matsuyama Mitsuharu’s (former CO of KITAKAMI) 7th Convoy Escort Group’s kaibokan SHIMUSHU (F), OKINAWA, CD-11 and CD-13.

The convoy is carrying the IJA’s 1st Division's main body of about 10,000 men plus equipment. TAKATSU MARU is carrying elements of the 49th Infantry Regiment, 57th Infantry, transportation regiment, artillery regiment, engineer regiment, signals and staff for a total of 2,700 men, plus 27 trucks and 1,000 tons of weapons, ammunition and provisions. The convoy arrives and shelters at Ssu Chiao Shan later that day.

19 October 1944:
Shushan Islands. ASAMA MARU, carrying 5,000 troops, escorted by kaibokan OKINAWA arrive from Shanghai and join convoy MOMA-04.

20 October 1944:
At 0230, convoy MOMA-04 departs the Shushan Islands.

22 October 1944:
Arrives at Sabtang Strait, Philippines.

23 October 1944:
Departs Sabtang Strait and later that day arrives at Cabugao Bay.

24 October 1944:
Departs Cabugao Bay and later that day arrives at Lapoc Bay.

25 October 1944:
Departs Lapoc Bay, and later that day arrives at Lingayen Bay, Philippines.

26 October 1944:
At 2315, the convoy arrives at Manila.

31 October 1944: Operation “TA No. 2”:
TAKATSU MARU departs Manila with transports NOTO, KINKA and KASHII MARUs escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Masatomi's (former CO of SUZUYA) kaibokan SHIMUSHU (F), OKINAWA, CD-11 and CD-13. A distant Guard Force, under Rear Admiral Masatomi Kimura, consists of destroyersv KASUMI, AKEBONO, USHIO, HATSUHARU, HATSUSHIM and OKINAMI.

1 November 1944:
CD-11 probably is detached and returns to Manila. In the evening, the convoy arrives at Ormoc. Immediately prior to arrival SHIMUSHU is strafed by Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" fighter-bombers. One man is KIA and 16 are wounded. The Guard force remains to the SW near Ponson Island.

2 November 1944:
Early in the morning, the convoy is attacked by P-38s. During the attack, all kaibokan stream kites loaded with explosives as an AA measure, the first time this weapon is used in action. In the afternoon, the convoy is attacked by two dozen B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers. NOTO MARU suffers a near miss that causes her to flood and sink. She was carrying elements of the 57th Infantry Regiment, artillery and engineer regiments, field hospital and signal units and staff or a total of 3,100 men, 106 horses, 40 trucks and 1,500 tons of weapons, ammunition and provisions.

4 November 1944:
During the morning, the convoy arrives back in Manila Bay.

5 November 1944:
Manila Bay. Aircraft of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frederick T. Sherman's (former CO of LEXINGTON, CV-2) Task Group 38.3 [USS LEXINGTON (CV-16), ESSEX (CV-9) and LANGLEY (CVL-27)] attack warships and auxiliaries in the bay and damage OKINAWA.

8 November 1944: Operation "TA Go No. 4" (1st Echelon):
At 1030, TAKATSU, KINKA and KASHII MARUs, carrying 10,000 men of the 26th Infantry Division and 3,500 tons of munitions, depart Manila into typhoon seas escorted by Rear Admiral Matsuyama's kaibokan OKINAWA, CD-11 and CD-13 and Rear Admiral Kimura's destroyer screen of KASUMI (F), USHIO, AKISHIMO, ASASHIMO, NAGANAMI and WAKATSUKI. The 1st Transport Squadron’s T.1-class fast naval transports T.6, T.9 and T.10 carry 1,000 men of the IJA’s 1st Division. All proceed under concealment of the storm to Ormoc Bay, Luzon.

9 November 1944:
13th Air Force North American B-25 “Mitchell” and B-26 Martin "Marauder" medium bombers and P-38 fighter-bombers attack the echelon with TAKATSU, KINKA and KASHII MARUs. Despite the added defenses of the Army’s 68th Specially Established Machine Cannon Unit’s 12 deck-mounted 25mm guns, the aircraft strafe, shoot up, and destroy all of KASHII MARU’s loading tackle and landing boats. TAKATSU and KINKA MARUs take minor hits to their engines and deck cargo. Light bombs breach their hulls, but the seas are so calm that crews are able to control the flooding.

The planes also damage kaibokan SHIMUSHU and OKINAWA. In the evening, the convoy arrives at Ormoc Bay. The crews had planned to unload everything that night, but could not get heavy equipment and supplies ashore because of damaged gear and boats. The landing craft at Ormoc had been destroyed two days earlier. Smaller sampans had been washed ashore by the typhoon just one day earlier. Ormoc’s ability to receive heavy equipment is about nil. Only five of fifty Ormoc Daihatsu landing craft remain in service.

10 November 1944:
The big marus improvise and use the four small kaibokan escorts to unload troops and light baggage. This is done before dawn. The shrunken 26th Division is now ashore, with none of their cargo or ammunition. Of the five infantry battalions that reached shore only one battalion lands anything as heavy as its machine guns. The division’s transportation regiment can only get its staff ashore.

TAKATSU and KASHII MARU unload the two platoons of the 2nd Company, 21st Independent Mortar Battalion (four 320mm launchers) and four spares (the life of a launcher is five to six rounds), two platoon ammunition trains, but only twenty-three shells. It is unlikely that the ammunition got ashore.

The small transports of the first echelon, T-6, T-9, and T-10, sortie three hours after sunrise. By 1030, most of the cargo and military passengers has been unloaded; the larger ships of the convoy then leave the anchorage to return to Manila. The escorting kaibokan take up stations on the transport column; one ahead, one astern and one on each flank. The destroyers remain to port.

N of Cebu. The convoy is attacked by P-38s from Morotai and B-25s from Leyte. Ormoc Bay.

About 1140, Kimura's force is attacked by about 30 B-25’s. KASHII MARU is hit at least five times and eventually explodes and sinks. KASHII MARU was carrying elements of infantry, artillery and engineer regiments and staff or a total of 3,400 men, 141 horses, 40 vehicles and 1,500 tons of weapons, ammunition and provisions. Destroyer AKISHIMO loses the front part of her bow, but is able to continue.

TAKATSU MARU still has aboard the ammunition, supplies, and equipment she had been unable to unload. After three bomb hits, she blows up and sinks at 10-50N, 124-35E with 104 crewmen and an unusually large component of 243 gunners that were manning the maru’s six 75mm and a few smaller antiaircraft guns as well as the entire 72nd Specially Established Machine Cannon Unit with its twelve 25mm guns.

Removed from the Army’s Ship List.

Authors' Notes:
TAKATSU MARU was also known as KOZU MARU, KOTSU MARU and KOSHIN MARU. Thanks go to John Whitman for info on MOMA-04. and TA Go No. 4.

-Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall