Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett

Tsurumi, Yokohama. Laid down at Nippon Kokan K. K. as a 5,396-ton Type 1K Standard Merchant ore carrier for Tatsuuma Kisen K.K., Nishinomiya.

Launched and named TATSUBATO MARU.

September 1943:

10 July 1944 :
At 1550, TATSUBATO MARU departs Miri for Moji in convoy MI-08 consisting of MEXICO, ASAKA, OLYMPIA, RASHIN, HAKUROKU, CHIHAYA, KUROGANE MARUs and tankers SAN LUIS, SAN DIEGO, NITTETSU, OEI, TAKETSU (BUTSU), RYUSHO and SANKO (YAMAKO) MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by torpedo-boat SAGI and minesweepers W-17, and W-18.

11 July 1944 :
At 1830, the convoy anchors in Kimanis Bay, SW of Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.

12 July 1944:
At 1300, the convoy departs Kimanis Bay. At 1015, TAKETSU MARU detaches and begins a return journey to Miri.

16 July 1944 :
From 0820 until 1400, the convoy is accompanied by torpedo-boat HIYODORI and coast defense ship MIKURA. At 2035, the convoy arrives safely at Manila.

23 July 1944 :
At 1545, TATSUBATO MARU departs Manila for Moji in convoy MI-08 consisting of MIZUHO, MANILA, ARABIA, CHIHAYA, HAKUSHIKA MARUs and tankers SAN LUIS, SAN DIEGO NITTETSU, MIRI, RYUSHO and SANKO (YAMAKO) MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by torpedo boat SAGI, kaibokan CD-1, CD-18 and CD-28, minesweeper W-17, minelayer ENOSHIMA and subchaser CH-61. The convoy speed is eight knots.

27 July 1944 :
At 0920, auxiliary subchaser CHa-74 and auxiliary transport OYO MARU join the escort. At 1605, the convoy arrives at Takao and is again reorganized. CH-61 is detached.

30 July 1944:
At 1800, TATSUBATO MARU departs Takao in convoy MI-08 now consisting of ZUIHO, BOKO (ex-British SAGRES), MANILA, TSUYAMA, CHIHAYA, ARABIA and MARUs and tankers SAN LUIS, SAN DIEGO, NITTETSU, MIRI, , RYUSHO and SANKO (YAMAKO) and EIHO MARUs and cargo ships YAGI and TOUN MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-1 and CD-18, torpedo-boat SAGI, minesweeper W-17 and auxiliary netlayer KISHIN MARU. The convoy's speed is 7 knots.

1 August 1944 :
At 1400, the convoy arrives at Keelung after it is suspected that enemy submarines had gained contact.

4 August 1944:
At 1600, the convoy departs Keelung and heads up the Ryukyu Islands bound for Kyushu.

9 August 1944 :
N of Okinoshima. LtCdr Robert A. Keating's (USNA '33) BARBEL (SS-316) torpedoes and sinks YAGI and BOKO MARUs at 27-56N, 128-47E. CD-1 and W-17 carry out an antisubmarine sweep and drop 21 depth-charges that cause some damage to BARBEL. Afterwards, the convoy heads out of the area at full speed making evasive movements. At 1200, the convoy arrives at Koniya, Amami-O-Shima.

11 August 1944:
At 0400, the convoy departs Amami-O-Shima.

13 August 1944: Arrives at Moji.

23 September 1944:
At 1600, convoy MI-21 departs Moji for Miri, Borneo consisting of TATSUBATO, and transports TEIKA (ex-Vichy French CAP VARELLA), TSUYAMA, EJIRI, FUSHIMI, KEISHIN, KEIZAN, CHOSAN, KENEI and YOSHU MARUs, tankers SAN LUIS, SHUNTEN and EIKYO MARUs and an unidentified ship escorted by kaikoban DAITO, auxiliary gunboat KAZAN (HUASHAN) MARU, subchaser CH-21 and auxiliary subchasers CHa-87 and CHa-92.

Later that day, RYUEI MARU and patrol boat PB-104 join the convoy from Sasebo.

29 September 1944:
At 1700, convoy MI-21 arrives at Takao and is dissolved.

8 October 1944:
At 0700, TATSUBATO MARU departs Manila for Miri, Borneo in reorganized convoy MI-19 consisting of NITTETSU, SAN DIEGO, SAN LUIS, DAIZEN, HIDA, EIKYO, TOKUWA, SHUNTEN, , DAISHU and YOSHU MARUs escorted by kaikoban CD-18 and CD-26, patrol boat PB-105, subchaser CH-19 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-56

9 October 1944:
About 1700, LtCdr Henry D. Sturr’s (USNA ‘33) BECUNA (SS-319) torpedoes and damages tanker SAN LUIS MARU, but she is able to continue. About the same time, LtCdr Francis W. Scanland’s (USNA ‘34) HAWKBILL (SS-366) also torpedoes SAN LUIS MARU. At 1804, BECUNA torpedoes and sinks TOKUWA MARU.

10 October 1944:
SHUNTEN MARU and two of the escorts are detached with damaged SAN LUIS MARU and head for Sandakan, NE Borneo.

12 October 1944:
Palawan Passage. LtCdr (later Captain) David H. McClintock’s (USNA ‘35) DARTER (SS-227) fires four torpedoes at two ships in the convoy, but inflicts no damage.

14 October 1944:
At 0208, LtCdr (later Captain) Bladen D. Claggett’s (USNA ‘35) DACE (SS-247) torpedoes and sinks NITTETSU MARU and damages DAIZEN and EIKYO MARUs.

17 October 1944:
Arrives at Miri.

30 December 1944:
TATSUBATO MARU departs Singapore for Moji with the 101st Escort Group's training cruiser KASHII and kaibokan DAITO, UKURU, CD-23, CD-27 and CD-51 escorting convoy HI-86 consisting of fleet tanker SAN LUIS MARU and KYOKUUN, OTSUSAN, SHOEI, KYOKUUN, EIMAN, TATEBE, YOSHU and YUSEI MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 63.

4 January 1945:
Arrives at Cape St. Jacques, near Saigon.

9 January 1945:
The convoy departs Cape St. Jacques. TATSUBATO MARU carries a cargo of crude rubber, tin and general cargo.

10 January 1945:
Arrives at Van Fong Bay, Indochina.

11 January 1945:
Departs Van Fong. Arrives at Qui Nhon Bay.

12 January 1945: Operation "Gratitude"- Task Force 38's Strikes on Indochina:
Convoy HI-86 departs Qui Nhon. From 1100 to 1700, Curtiss SB2C "Helldiver" dive-bombers and Grumann TBF "Avenger" torpedo-bombers from Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frederick T. Sherman's (USNA '10)(former CO of LEXINGTON, CV-2) Task Group 38.3's USS ESSEX (CV-9), TICONDEROGA (CV-14), LANGLEY (CVL-27) and SAN JACINTO (CVL-30) attack the convoy.

The planes sink light cruiser KASHII, CD-23, CD-51 and YOSHU and EIMAN MARUs and damage fleet tanker SAN LUIS MARU and kaibokan DAITO, UKURU and CD-27. Only three escorts survive the air attacks.

TATSUBATO, OTSUSAN, TATEBE, KYOKUUN and YUSEI MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 63 are so damaged by bombs and fires they have to be beached and become constructive total losses.

Author’s Notes:
[1] HI-86’s four tankers and six freighters loaded cargo at Singapore and departed 30 Dec ’44.

- Bob Hackett

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