Transport TEIYO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2010-2018 Bob Hackett, Peter Cundall and Erich Muehlthaler
Revision 8

Hamburg, Germany. Laid down as building number 460 at Blohm & Voss as a 6,863-ton passenger-cargo ship for the Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Aktien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG) Line.

20 October 1923:
Launched and named SAARLAND

2 February 1924:
Delivered to Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Aktien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG) Line, port of registry is Hamburg.

23 February 1924:
Departs Hamburg on her maiden voyage to East Asia.

1934 -1937:
In HAPAG service on between Hamburg and the west coast of South America.

17 August 1939:
Arrives at Dairen (former Port Arthur), Manchuria under command of Captain Jepsen. Scheduled to depart Dairen for Hamburg on 26 August 1939, but remains at Dairen due to war warning radio message.

30 September 1940:
SAARLAND is sold to the Japanese Government for $550,000. Teikoku Senpaku Kaisha (Imperial Steamship Co.), wholly owned by the Japanese Government.assumes management. Renamed TEIYO MARU. Assigned signal letters JQAO. Port of registry now is Tokyo.

December 1940:
Allocated to Naigai Kisen K.K., Kobe. TEIYO MARU now is 6,801 grt.

11 September 1941:
Requisitioned by Japanese Army and receives Army transport number 842.

15 December 1941:
At 1530 departs Shanghai in convoy with CALCUTTA and HIBURI MARUs bound for Takao with destroyer HASU as escort. The ships clear Woosung at 1940 and sail at 10 knots, later adjusted to 9 knots.

12 January 1942:
At 0700 departs Hong Kong with AFRICA, MIIKE, KITAMI and RYOYO MARUs and destroyers ARASHIO, MICHISHIO, OSHIO and ASASHIO as escort. TEIYO MARU is apparently diverted to Camranh Bay.

19 January 1942:
The main convoy is due to arrive at Davao.

22 January 1942:
At 1500 departs Camranh Bay in convoy with PANAMA, MADRAS and OSAKA MARUs bound for Takao (OSAKA MARU bound for Tsingtao) with unknown escort. The ships sail at 10 knots.

19 February 1942:
At 0800, 39 transports including TEIYO MARU of the Eastern Java Invasion Force carrying the IJA’s 48th Infantry Division depart Jolo Anchorage for Java. En route, 4 more marus carrying the Sakaguchi Detachment (destined to capture Tjilatjap) join the invasion convoy.

1 March 1942: Operation J - The Invasion of Java:
At 0120, 100 miles W of Surabaya, Java. The Eastern Java Invasion Force enters the roadstead off Kragan village, East Java. Just before dropping anchor, the ships are fiercely attacked from the air. The JOHORE MARU is hit and suffers many dead and wounded. The TOKUSHIMA MARU is also hit and has to beach herself at 0200. Despite the air attacks the convoy lands the IJA's 48th Infantry Division at Kragan village.

22 March 1942:
At 0800 departs Singapore for Saigon.

9 July 1942:
At 1600 departs Mako in convoy No. 232 also consisting of TATSUWA (dubious as also shown in convoy No. 231), TEISHUN, GYOYO and SHONAN MARUs, HINO MARU No. 5 and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by destroyer WAKATAKE.

13 July 1942:
At 2300 arrives at Mutsure.

21 July 1942:
TEIYO MARU departs Mako in convoy No. 321 consisting of TOYAMA, WALES, TACOMA and ITALY MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by minelayer HOKO and subchaser CH-9.

28 July 1942:
Arrives at St Jacques, Indochina.

8 August 1942:
Departs Singapore in convoy S-6 with SHINYU and SUMATRA MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunvbosat CHOSA MARU.

11 August 1942:
At 07-30N 97-48E CHOSA MARU is detached to meet southbound convoy R-6.

14 August 1942:
Arrives at Rangoon.

6 November 1942:
At 1400, TEIYO MARU departs Rabaul, New Britain for the Shortland Islands anchorage escorting an unnumbered convoy consisting of SHINANOGAWA, ARIZONA, TOYO, NAGARA, YAMAZUKI, YURI, TOYOKUNI and OIGAWA MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HIYODORI, minelayer SHIRATAKA, minesweeper W-15 and subchaser CH-16.

8 November 1942:
At 1020, the convoy arrives at Shortland.

25 November 1942:
At 0600 departs Rabaul for Palau in a convoy also consiting of OIGAWA, TAIHEI, SOURABAYA, MACASSAR and TAIKO MARUs escorted by submarine chasers CH-17 and CH-21.

21 December 1942: No. 6 Go Transportation Operation:
Convoy No. 35 assembles at Shanghai to transport the IJA’s 6th Infantry Division via Truk to Guadalcanal (after the decision is made to evacuate Guadalcanal, the convoy’s destination is changed to New Guinea). The convoy consists of troop convoy Parts A, B and C.

Part A departs Shanghai for New Guinea consisting of TEIYO, MYOHO MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by second-class destroyer HASU. Part B departs Shanghai for New Guinea consisting of OIGAWA, KENKON, KYOKUSEI and PANAMA MARUs escorted by second-class destroyer KURI.

25 December 1942:
Part C departs Shanghai consisting of MEIU, SOMEDONO, SURABAYA and SHINAI MARUs escorted by second-class destroyer TSUGA.

5 January 1943:
Parts A and B arrive at Mako, Pescadores. The old China Area Fleet second-class destroyers are detached and replaced by the Southwest Area Fleet’s destroyers HOKAZE and NAGATSUKI tasked to escort the convoy to 136 degrees E longitude. The escort is further augmented by destroyer SHIRAYUKI, subchasers CH-2 and CH-11 and auxiliary gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2.

15 January 1943:
Part A departs Truk for the Shortland Islands anchorage. The escort is further augmented by destroyer SHIGURE.

17 January 1943:
Part B departs Truk for Buin, Bougainville.

19 January 1943:
Part C departs Truk. NNE of Buin, Bougainville, LtCdr Jack H. Lewis’ USS SWORDFISH (SS-193) attacks Part A of the convoy. USS SWORDFISH sinks MYOHO MARU at 05-38S, 156-20E. Of the 922 IJA troops and 35 Navy passengers she was carrying, 61 and 3 crewmen are KIA.

20 January 1943:
286 miles from Truk. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Creed C. Burlingame’s USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236) attacks Part C of the convoy. USS SILVERSIDES sinks MEIU MARU and damages heavily SURABAYA MARU at 03-52N, 153-56E. MEIU MARU was carrying 2,997 men of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 6th Division. 401 men are KIA. CH-11 and gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2 rescue survivors. Later, destroyer ASAGUMO arrives from Truk and scuttles SURABAYA MARU.

The same day, Part A arrives at Shortland Islands anchorage.

21 January 1943:
At about 1800, LtCdr Robert J. Foley’s USS GATO (SS-212) attacks Part B of the convoy. USS GATO torpedoes and sinks KENKON MARU carrying a battalion of 734 men of the IJA 45th Infantry Regiment, 6th Division. The attack causes a fire and a magazine explosion. Seven crew, 36 troops and an unknown number of "passengers" are KIA. Destroyer SHIRAYUKI rescues survivors.

22 January 1943:
The remaining ships of Part B arrive at Buin.

28 February 1943: Operation 81-Troop reinforcements to Lae-Salamaua area:
At 2300, transport convoy consisting of Naval Special Service Ship NOJIMA and TEIYO, KYOKUSEI, OIGAWA, AIYO, SHINAI, TAIMEI and KENBU MARUs assembles outside Rabaul harbor.

At 2330, convoy departs assembly point escorted by Rear Admiral Kimura Masatomi’s destroyers SHIRAYUKI (F), ASAHIO, ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE, URANAMI, SHIKINAMI, YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO and set course along the northern coast of New Britain, north-west from Rabaul before turning west and then south. The transports and destroyers are carrying 6,004 troops of the IJA’s 51st Division and 600 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops.

The convoy is divided into two Divisions. No. 1 Division (starboard column) consists of SHINAI MARU (IJA No. 324), TEIYO MARU (IJA No. 842), AIYO MARU (IJA No. 947) and KENBU MARU. No. 2 Division (portside column) consists of KYOKUSEI MARU (IJA No. 776), OIGAWA MARU (IJA No. 480), TAIMEI MARU (IJA No.967) and NOJIMA.

TEIYO MARU is carrying 1988 troops including 18th Army Headquarters, (29 men), 3rd Debarkation Unit, (163 men), 51st Division Headquarters, (58 men), 115th Infantry (946 men), 14th Artillery, (134) men, 51st Division Signal Company (240 men), 51st Division weapon duty party (49 men), 51st Division medical detachment, 3rd Field Hospital (25 men), 209th Airfield Battalion (5 men), 51st Engineer Regiment, (166 men) and 8th Shipping Engineer Regiment, (173 men). She also carries 2 100mm cannons, 2 field guns, 1 rear car, 1 passenger vehicle, 5 trucks, 1 tractor, 23 carts, 6 Daihatsu landing craft, 15 collapsible boats, 6 rowing boats, 500 unsinkable drums and 1,500 cubic meters of war supplies.

2 March 1943: Battle of the Bismarck Sea:
At 0800, USAAF and RAAF planes bomb the convoy. USAAF B-17 "Flying Fortress" heavy bombers attack Army cargo ship KYOKUSEI MARU. She receives two direct bomb hits and sinks at 0926 at 05-02S, 148-14E (55 km NNW of Cape Gloucester, New Britain). Destroyers YUKIKAZE and ASAGUMO rescue 800 men and 110 drums, steam to Lae and disembark them, then rejoin the convoy. TEIYO MARU is lightly damaged by air attack NE of Cape Gloucester.

3 March 1943:
Dampier Straits. The battle continues as Allied aircraft make low-level bombing and strafing runs against the convoy. Rear Admiral Kimura is wounded. During the fighting, TEIYO MARU and cargo ships OIGAWA, AIYO, KENBU, SHINAI and TAIMEI MARUs are sunk as are destroyers ASAHIO, ARASHIO, TOKITSUKAZE and flagship SHIRAYUKI.

37 km ESE of Cape Cretin. TEIYO MARU sustains 11 near misses, four direct bomb hits and two torpedoes. At about 1730, she bursts into flames and sinks at 06-56S, 148-16E. 1,882 troops, 15 shipboard gunners and Captain Ishisaka Takezo and 17 crewmen are KIA.

Authors' Note:
Thanks for troop info goes to John Whitman of Virginia.

Bob Hackett, Peter Cundall and Erich Muehlthaler.

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