(Oiler by Takeshi Yuki)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2013 Bob Hackett
Revision 1

Kiel, Germany. Laid down at Howardtswerke Shipyard as a 5,073-ton tanker for Deutsch-Amerika Petroleum Ges., Hamburg Hansa Tank Reederei GmbH.

August 1913:
Launched and named MOHICAN.


5 August 1914 - First World War:
Puts into Horta, Azores and is subsequently transferred to Standard Oil Co. (New Jersey), New York. Renamed CORNING.

Transferred to Brynymor Steamship Co., Ltd. (Letricheux & David, Ltd.), Swansea, Britain.

Sold to Hansa Tank Reederei G.m.b.H. (Atlantic Reed. G.M.B.H.), Hamburg, Germany. Renamed WINNETOU.

August 1939:
Requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine for use as a forward base supply ship.

3 September 1939: Britain and France Declare War on Germany:
Merchant Captain Fritz Steinkrauss’ WINNETOU is en route back to Germany. Steinkrauss is ordered to put into the Canary Islands and await further orders from the Seekriegsleitung (SKL)(Naval Warfare Command).

9 April 1940:
Canary Islands. As ordered, WINNETOU departs Las Palmas to rendezvous with Kapitan zur See (later Konteradmiral (Rear-Admiral) Kurt Weyher’s merchant raider ORION. WINNETOU, which has not had an overhaul for four years, is only capable of a top speed of 7 knots, is unable to make the rendezvous on the given date.

13 May 1940:
WINNETOU finally reaches the designated meeting place. In high winds and increasingly rising seas, over two hundred men are required to pass the line between the two ships, after which she refuels ORION with 1,720 tons of oil over the next two and a half days. WINNETOU is dispatched to the SocietyIslands in the South Pacific to await further instructions.

16 May 1940:
WINNETOU is released to wait at a point west of the Maria Theresa Reefs in the South Pacific, where they arrange to meet. [1]

25 June 1940:
WINNETOU rendezvouses with ORION. She is accompanied by Captain Henry Nicolaysen's 5,781-ton Norwegian freighter TROPIC SEA captured by ORION on 19 June. TROPIC SEA was bound from Sydney, Australia to the United States with a crew of 48 and a cargo of 8,100 tons of wheat. After boarding her, ORION’s crew learned she was under charter to the British Ministry of Food and her cargo’s final destination was Britain. Captain Weyher re-named her KURMARK (ORION’s own pre-war name) and placed her under the command of his Second Officer Eichrorst.

Weyher informs WINNETOU’s Captain Steinkrauss of his intention to send TROPIC SEA/KURMARK to the German-held port of Bordeaux, France.

30 June 1940:
Weyher relieves Second Officer Eichrorst and gives command of TROPIC SEA/KURMARK to Steinkrauss, a naval reserve Leutnant zur See. She embarks ORION’s 55 prisoners. Provisioned with food, diesel oil and engine spares and with a prize crew of 17 merchant seamen from WINNETOU and 11 Kriegsmarine sailors from ORION, she sets off for Cape Horn and France. [2][3]

1 July 1940:
WINNETOU, now under the command of former First Officer Daneil, re-fuels ORION once more. The raider takes on 1,500 tons of oil.

28 July 1940:
WINNETOU meets ORION again. The raider takes on 800 tons of fuel and leaves 400 tons in reserve on WINNETOU. Later, WINNETOU serves as a scout on ORION’s way to the Coral Sea.

7 August 1940:
Off Santa Cruz. WINNETOU makes a final rendezvous with ORION. The raider takes on her remaining 400 tons of fuel oil. WINNETOU, with ailing engines, is dispatched to Kobe, Japan.

10 January 1941:
Kobe. WINNETOU and 5,173 ton German merchant ANNELIESE ESSBERGER refuel German merchant MUNSTERLAND.

23 March 1941:
Kobe. 6,103 ton ELSA ESSBERGER is ordered to proceed to Aioi and enter Harima’s drydock for hull scraping and repairs.

24 March 1941:
Kobe. ANNELIESE ESSBERGER is ordered to proceed to Aioi and enter Harima’s drydock for hull scraping and repairs. To establish the correct draft, the ship has to be lightened, so lubricating oil, fresh water and some fuel oil are pumped into WINNETOU’s tanks.

April 1941:

25 July 1942:
Kobe. The Japanese Government's Teikoku Senpaku Kaisha (Imperial Steamship Co.) charters WINNETOU as a “bare-boat” (no crew) charter operated by Iino Kaiun, K. K. Renamed TEIKON MARU.

1 August 1942:
The Japanese assign signal letters JGDR to TEIKON MARU.

16 November 1942:
TEIKON MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Manila in convoy No. 726 also consisting of OREGON and BUYO MARUs escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA.

18 November 1942:
About 58km W of Olongapo, Philippines. At 0028, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. McKinney’s (USNA ’27) USS SALMON (SS-182) fires two Mark 14-3A torpedoes and hit OREGON MARU in the stern. At about 0030, she sinks at 14-50N, 119-45E. 74 crewmen and 7 gunners are KIA. Later that day, the remainder of the convoy arrives at Manila.

Late 1942:
The Japanese Government's Senpaku Uneikai (Civilian Shipping Authority) takes over operation of TEIKON MARU from Iino Kaiun.

30 October 1943:
At 1600, TEIKON MARU departs Mutsure for Takao in convoy No. 110 consisting of oilers TERUKAWA and SANKO MARUs and passenger/cargo TEIKO, ASAHI, MALTA, HANAKAWA, KIZAN, YOZAN, SEIZAN, OSHIMA, CHINKAI, TAINAN, TOYO, YULIN, SHINKOKU and SEIWA MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-2 and auxiliary gunboat KAZAN (ex-Chinese HUASHAN) MARU.

4 November 1943:
At 1410, arrives at Takao, Formosa.

19 February 1944:
At 1500, TEIKON MARU departs Mutsure for Takao in convoy MOTA-05 consisting of HOREI, GYOKO and SHONAN MARUs escorted by kaibokan IKI.

23 February 1944:
At 0510 LtCdr Ralph M. Metcalf’s USS POGY (SS-266) torpedoes TEIKON MARU, but she does not sink. A few minutes later, Metcalf also torpedoes HOREI MARU that goes dead in the water. IKI does not counter-attack. SHONAN MARU takes HOREI MARU in tow, but she splits in two and sinks off Naha harbor, Okinawa. That same day, GYOKO MARU is attacked by ten aircraft and sunk.

26 February 1944:
The remainder of the convoy arrives at Takao.

15 March 1944:
TEIKON MARU departs Naha, Okinawa in convoy OKI-502 consisting of oiler ANZAN MARU escorted by subchaser CH-49 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-74.

16 March 1944:
At 0150, LtCdr Robert D. Risser's USS FLYING FISH (SS-229) torpedoes and sinks ANZAN MARU at 27-38N, 128-58E and unsuccessfully attacks TEIKON MARU that seeks shelter at Koniya. Later, the ships arrive at Moji.

26 July 1944:
At 0600, TEIKON MARU departs Imari Bay in convoy MI-13 consisting of tankers SHINCHO, TOKUWA, KYOEI and ATAGO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2, cargo ships HIYORI, DURBAN, KIZAN, KUNIYAMA, URAL, SHIROTAE, KOKUSEI, CHINA, HIGANE, MATSUURA, RISSHUN and ATLAS MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA, CD-14, minesweeper W-18, auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU, patrol boat P-38 and auxiliary patrol boats EIFU, FUYO, KASUGA and NUNOBIKI MARUs.

31 July 1944:
The convoy arrives at Takao. SHIROTAE, CHINA and MATSUURA MARUs are detached and tankers SHIMPO and ZUIYO MARUs and cargo ship SHINKO MARU join the convoy. TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and CHOHAKUSAN MARU are detached from the escort and replaced by kaibokan KUSAGAKI and YASHIRO and destroyer ASAKAZE. Naval Transport T. 3 also joins.

4 August 1944:
At 0830, the reconstituted convoy departs Takao.

7 August 1944:
At 2205, LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskin's USS GUITARRO (SS-363) torpedoes and sinks kaibokan KUSAGAKI at 14-50N, 119-57E.

8 August 1944:
At 0900, the convoy arrives Manila. DURBAN, KIZAN, RISSHUN, KUNIYAMA, SHINKO and ATLAS MARUs are detached. SHOEI MARU joins the convoy. All of the escorts are detached except CD-14, patrol boat P-38 and subchasers CH-30 and CH-33.

11 August 1944:
At 2100, the convoy departs Manila for Miri.

12 August 1944:
At 0730, LtCdr Frank G. Selby’s USS PUFFER (SS-268) attacks the convoy. Selby torpedoes and damages SHINPO MARU. She is taken under tow by SHOEI and KYOEI MARUs and beached, then abandoned.

Off Mindoro. At 0733, Selby torpedoes and sinks TEIKON MARU off Cape Calavite at 13-18N, 120-11E, but there are no casualties. CD-14 and patrol boat P-38 counter-attack with 37 depth charges, but PUFFER slips away unscathed.

Authors' Notes:
[1] The Maria Theresa Reef, also known as Tabor Island, maybe a phantom. Several attempts to locate it failed. The island is the scene of two novels by Jules Verne ("In Search Of The Castaways" and "The Mysterious Island").

[2] Twenty-four of the 55 prisoners were from 5,207-ton British freighter HAXBY sunk by ORION at 31-30N, 51-30W on 24 April 1940; the first merchant ship sunk by a German auxiliary cruiser in WW2.

[3] In September, 1940 off Bilbao, Spain TROPIC SEA/KURMARK was intercepted by British LtCdr Hugh A.V. Haggard's submarine HMS TRUANT. Captain Steinkrauss ordered Abandon Ship and scuttled the ship. HMS TRUANT took HAXBY's 24 British crewmen and TROPIC SEA's Captain Nicolaysen and his wife aboard. Leutnant Steinkrauss, his crew and the 29 Norwegian seamen took to the lifeboats. The next day, an RAF Sunderland flying boat landed and picked up some of the Norwegians. Steinkrauss managed to get ashore in Spain with his German crew.

- Bob Hackett

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