(Japanese Freighter)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2016 Bob Hackett

E 1922:
Yokohama. Laid down at Yokohama Dock Co., Ltd. as a 3, 801-ton cargo ship for Ukon Shoji., K. K., Kobe.

Launched and named TATEISHI MARU.

September 1922:
Completed. Chartered to the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line, K. K., Tokyo.

January 1923:
TATEISHI MARU, in NYK’s service, departs Singapore for Japan.

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.

August 1937:
TATEISHI MARU is requisitioned by the Imperial Army as a troop transport. Alloted Army No. 86.

13 September 1937:
Elements of the 14th Field Medium Artillery Regiment (15 cm howitzer) are embarked aboard TATEISHI MARU including 367 men and 232 horses, most of 2nd Company, Transport Unit, 6th Field Medium Artillery Brigade, 5th Company (less some soldiers and most of horses) and Transport Unit, 6th Field Medium Artillery Brigade. Departs Moji.

14 September 1937:
Arrives at secret location "A" in China. Unloads troops and horses.

11 November 1939:
Samah (Sanya), Hainan Island, At 1200, the Pakhoi and Nanning invasion transports assemble in Samah Bay consisting of TATEISHI (3,800 grt), FUKUYO (5,463 grt), ISSHIN (4,955 grt), TAIAN (3,670 grt), TAITO (4,466 grt), TOMIURA (3,821 grt) and YUKI MARUs (3,170 grt).

Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake’s (35)(former CO of KONGO) 5th Fleet (South China Naval Force) provides the covering force consisting of DesDiv 11's HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI.

The transports carry elements of LtGenAndo Rikichi's 21st Army including LtGen Imamura Hitoshi's 5th Division, MajGen Nakamura Masao's 21st Brigade and others. Air cover for the invasion will be provided by seaplane carrier CHIYODA, tender KAMIKAWA MARU and CarDiv 1's AKAGI and CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU cruising in the South China Sea escorted by DesRon 1.

13 November 1939:
In the morning, the transports depart Samah in a Monsoon and heavy rain. They anchor on coast of Kwangsi, about six miles SE of Chishayu.

15 November 1939: The Occupation of Pakhoi (Beihai) and Nanning, China:
At 0700, landing boats under the protection of the guns of IJN units, effect a successful surprise landing on the coast of Guangxi at the mouth of the Yuhung River, near Pakhoi, at Lungmen Island and the eastern shore of Yamchow (Chinghow) Bay.

E 1940:
Released by the IJA back to her owners.

26 November 1941:
Re-requisitioned by the Imperial Army.

19 March 1942: "U" transport operation to Burma (U Sakusen):

25 March 1942:
The First Burma Transport Convoy arrives at Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar).

17 September 1942:
TATEISHI MARU departs Mako, Pescadores in convoy No. 717 also consisting of IJN transport SHOUN MARU and an unidentified merchant escorted by old destroyer FUYO.

20 September 1942:
Arrives at Manila, Luzon.

18 February 1943:
TATEISHI MARU departs Moji in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy “C2” also consisting of ADEN, HAKUBASAN, HAKUSAN, MIYAURA and ROKKOSAN MARUs.

21 February 1943:
Convoy C2 departs Saeki escorted by patrol boat PB-31 and minelayer NASAMI.

E 23 February 1943:
The escorts are detached at 28-30N.

20 March 1943:
At 1500, TATEISHI MARU arrives at Rabaul from Palau in a convoy also consisting of ADEN, KANJO, KENKOKU, MILAN, MIYAURA, HAKUSAN (2197 grt), ROKKOSAN and SORACHI MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-20 and probably subchaser CH-16.

9 May 1943:
TATEISHI MARU departs Rabaul for Palau in convoy R-09 also consisting of CHOKO, FUKKO, NIKKI, YAMABUKI and YODOGAWA,MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 15. escorted by subchasers CH-38 and CH-23.

11 May 1943:
NE of Manus, Admiralties. At 0730, is hit by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Edward C. Stephan's (USNA ’29) USS GRAYBACK (SS-208) fire torpedoes at YODOGAWA MARU and gets two hits. YODOGAWA MARU is set afire and sinks at 00-40N, 148-55E. Two men are KIA.

17 May 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

29 February 1944:
At 0900, kaibokan TSUSHIMA departs Camranh Bay, Vichy French Inochina (Vietnam).

March 1944:
TATEISHI MARU is sold to Osaka Shosen Kisen (OSK), of Osaka.

1 March 1944:
Near St Jacques, Vichy French Inochina, in the predawn darkness, kaibokan TSUSHIMA passes close to a northbound convoy. One of the convoy's ships, TOKUSHIMA MARU collides with TSUSHIMA and cuts off 8 metres (26 feet) of the ship's stern killing two NCO's and four enlisted men. Without rudder and propellers TSUSHIMA is immobilised, but damage control and emergency repairs are carried out and TOKUSHIMA MARU tows the TSUSHIMA to Nha Be, below Saigon, where further emergency repairs are carried out.

2 March 1944:
TSUSHIMA is towed by TATEISHI MARU from Nha Be to St Jacques, arriving at 1230.

3 March 1944:
At 1020 TSUSHIMA is towed from St Jacques and at 1340 arrives at Saigon.

27 March 1944:
TATEISHI MARU departs Nha Be for St Jacques towing damaged kaibokan TSUSHIMA. Later that day, TATEISHI MARU departs St Jacques towing kaibokan TSUSHIMA in convoy SASHI-14 also consisting of TSURUSHIMA and ZUISHO MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

31 March 1944:
Near Singapore, salvage tug KURUSHIMA (ex-CHRISTINE MOLLER) takes over the tow. Later that day, the convoy arrives at Singapore.

27 April 1944:
At 1400, MURORAN MARU departs Singapore for Saigon in convoy SHISA-18 also consisting of TATEISHI and TSURUSHIMA MARUs without escort.

1 May 1944:
At 1000, arrives at St Jacques.

2 June 1944:
At 0825, TATEISHI MARU departs Singapore for Saigon in convoy SHISA-21 also consisting of HEIAN MARU and cable-minelayer TSURUSHIMA escorted by minesweeper W-18.

6 June 1944:
At 0700, arrives at Saigon. TATEISHI MARU embarks 188 passengers, TSURUSHIMA MARU loads gaoline and HEIAN MARU embarks 1,620 passengers

12 July 1944:
TATEISHI MARU departs Manila for Zamboanga in convoy C-124 consisting of MAYA, NATSUKAWA and SHIROUMA (HAKUBA) MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-105 (ex-Philippine Customs Cruiser ARAYAT), subchaser CH-31, auxiliary sub-chasers MOGAMI MARU and CHa-84.

14 July 1944:
At 1050, arrives at Cebu and departs later that day.

20 August 1944:
Mindanao, Philippines. 750 prisoners-of-war (POWs) are loaded aboard TATEISHI MARU.

21 August 1944:
Davao harbor. USN PB4Y “Liberator” patrol bombers damage TATEISHI MARU. Departs Davao for Zamboanga, Mindanao.

22 August 1944:
At 0339, TATEISHI MARU departs Malalag, Davao Gulf in convoy Z-222 with tanker HISHI MARU No. 2 escorted by minesweeper W-20, auxiliary subchaser CHa-15, KYO MARU No. 12 and auxiliary netlayer TOKACHI MARU.

At 0851, the convoy is attacked by an enemy submarine, probably USS FLYING FISH (SS-229), but its three torpedoes miss. The escorts counter-attack and drop 26 depth-charges without effect. At 1819, the convoy anchors at Glan, Sarangani Bay, southern Mindanao.

23 August 1944:
At 1915, TATEISHI MARU departs Sarangani Bay.

That same day, 70 nms SSE of Jolo island. At 0005 (JST), HAVRE MARU, suddenly suffers a bent propeller shaft and becomes unnavigable at 04-42N, 121-42E. The next day, HAVRE MARU is towed back to Jolo Anchorage. During the next weeks, she undergoes make-shift repairs.HAVRE MARU probably is at anchor when she is driven aground by a heavy rain storm on a sand bar 2,000 meters NE of Jolo Town at 06-03N, 120-59E. Despite the combined efforts of Army and Navy personnel, the ship cannot be refloated.

24 August 1944:
At 0304, an American plane snoops convoy convoy Z-222. At 0430, the plane attacks KYO MARU No. 12, but causes no damage. At 1915, TATEISHI MARU and convoy Z-222 arrive at Zamboanga, Mindanao.

4 September 1944:
The POWs are disembarked and then re-embarked aboard SHINYO MARU (ex-CLAN MACKAY) (2,600/94). [1]

September 1944:
TATEISHI MARU is ordered to proceed to Jolo Island and trans-load cargo from HAVRE MARU. After shifting bombs and dynamite from HAVRE MARU, TATEISHI MARU awaits the arrival of escorts.

27 September 1944:
Off Jolo Island. A USN PBY “Catalina” float patrol bomber damages TATEISHI MARU at 06-02N, 121-29E. Her captain beaches TATEISHI MARU to prevent sinking.

4 October 1944:
Off Jolo Island. At 1130, a USN PBY bombs TATEISHI MARU. The bombs ignite the dynamite and TATEISHI MARU sinks in a huge explosion. Her captain and all 24 crewmen are KIA. The PBYs also sink auxiliary sailing vessels KIGEN and KIKU MARUs.

Author’s Note:
[1] On 7 Sep ‘44, at 1659, LtCdr Byron H. Nowell's (USNA ’35) USS PADDLE (SS-263) torpedoes and sinks SHINYO MARU off Sindangan Point, Sulu Sea at 08-12N, 122-37E. 15 crewmen, 47 guards and 667 POWs are KIA. Only 83 POWs reach the beach where one later dies. The remaining POWs later make contact with guerillas. 31 are picked up by LtCdr Jack C. Titus' (USNA ’33) USS NARWHAL (SS-167) on 29 Sep ’44.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Bob Hackett

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