(TOA MARU as an Iino Kaiun Tanker)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2004-2018 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 10

24 April 1933:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard as 10,052-ton merchant tanker for the Iino Shoji Steamship Co.

2 April 1934:
Launched and named TOA MARU.

23 June 1934:
Completed. Registered in Maizuru. Operates as a time charter tanker operated by her owners on behalf of other oil companies, Zaibatsu and the IJN.

Completes eight voyages; five under charter to the IJN, two for Mitsui Bussan and one for Nippon Sekiyu.

Completes ten voyages; nine under charter to the IJN and one for Hayayama Sekiyu.

21 September 1935:
Takes part in the second stage of the 1935 special navy exercise. She belongs to the blue fleet.

Completes ten voyages; four under charter to the IJN, three for Chosen Sekiyu and three for Mitsui Bussan.

Completes nine voyages; five under charter to the IJN, three for Chosen Sekiyu and one for Nomura Jimusho.

Completes nine voyages; seven under charter to the IJN, one for Mitsui Bussan and one for Chosen Sekiyu.

Port of registry changes to Higashi Maizuru.

Completes ten voyages; six under charter to the IJN, one for Mitsui Bussan, two for Chosen Sekiyu and one for Nippon Sekiyu.

Completes seven voyages; two under charter to the IJN, three for Mitsui Bussan, one for Maruzen Sekiyu and one for Toa Sekiyu.

Completes four voyages; all under charter of Toa Sekiyu.

13 June 1941:
Owner restyles its name to Iino Kaiun Kaisha, Ltd., Tokyo.

1 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

20 September 1941:
Registered in the the IJN as an auxiliary oiler (Ko) category under internal order No. 1093 and attached to Kure Naval District with Kure as homeport. Arrives at Kure Naval Yard to begin conversion. Captain Yokoyama Yataro (38) is appointed Supervisor (Kantokukan).

15 October 1941:
The conversion is completed.

10 November 1941: The Hawaii Operation:
Saeki Bay. TOA MARU is in Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi's (former CO of ISE) Sixth Fleet's Refueling Unit with fleet oiler ONDO.

9 December 1941:
Departs Kure for Truk.

15 December 1941:
Arrives at Truk.

29 December 1941:
Departs Truk.

1 January 1942:
Arrives at Kwajalein throughout January. Supplies a submarine.

1 February 1942: American Air Raid on Kwajalein:
Vice Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. Halsey Jr’s (USNA ’04) Task Force 8 (USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) raids Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshall Islands. ENTERPRISE’s Douglas “Dauntless” SBDs of VB 6 and VS 6 and TBD “Devastators” of VT-6 sink transport BORDEAUX MARU, taking down two crewmen and one gunner and auxiliary net-layer KASHIMA MARU, and damage light cruiser KATORI, flagship of the Sixth Fleet, TOA MARU, oiler HOYO MARU, submarine I-23, submarine depot ship YASUKUNI MARU and other important ships.

During the air attack TOA MARU uses 8 centimeter horizontal guns and rifles as AA. Emergency repairs start after the attack.

19 February 1942:
After emergency repairs departs Kwajalein.

27 February 1942:
Arrives at Kure and enters drydock.

10 April 1942:
Undocked. Repairs are completed. Departs Kure later that day.

20 April 1942:
Arrives and later departs Penang.

1 May 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

2 May 1942:
Departs Singapore.

5 May 1942:
Arrives at Balikpapan. Loads crude oil until 8 May.

8 May 1942:
Departs Balikpapan.

16 May 1942:
Arrives at Tokuyama IJN oil storage depot and discharges her fuel oil cargo.

17 May 1942:
Departs Tokuyama and later that same day arrives at Kure.

21 May 1942:
Assigned to the 2nd Supply Unit for the upcoming “MI-AL” Operation under secret order No. 3.

27 May 1942:
Departs Kure and soon after that arrives at Hiro.

28 May 1942:
Departs Hiro.

29 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
The 2nd Supply Unit's oilers TOA and SAN CLEMENTE MARUs sortie with Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro's (35) (former CO of ISUZU) Aleutian Screening Force's BatDiv 2's HYUGA, ISE, FUSO and YAMASHIRO, CruDiv 9's KITAKAMI and OI, DesDiv 20's AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, YUGIRI and SHIRAKUMO, DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE, YAMAKAZE, SUZUKAZE and UMIKAZE and DesDiv 27's ARIAKE, YUGURE, SHIGURE and SHIRATSUYU.

3 June 1942:
At 0700, TOA and SAN CLEMENTE MARUs and the 1st Supply Unit's TOEI MARU refuel five destroyers.

4 June 1942:
BatDiv 2, CruDiv 9, DesDivs 20, 24 and 27 and TOA and SAN CLEMENTE MARUs are detached from the Main Body to support the Northern Force. Enroute north, the oilers refuel the warships.

17 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

22 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

24 June 1942:
Arrives in western Inland Sea.

25 June 1942:
Departs western Inland Sea and later that day arrives at Kure.

8 July 1942:
Departs Kure.

5 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

13 August 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

15 August 1942:
Arrives at Kanogawa.

1 September 1942:
Departs Truk for the Shortlands, Bougainville escorted by destroyer NOWAKI.

6 September 1942:
Arrives at Shortland Islands anchorage. Refuels CruDiv 6 heavy cruisers AOBA, KINUGASA and FURUTAKA. Later that day, still escorted by NOWAKI, departs Shortland towing destroyer SHIRAKUMO that was damaged by American dive bombers while on a troop transport run to Guadalcanal. [1]

9 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

21 September 1942:
Departs Kure. Transits the Bungo Straits heading south.

29 September 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Shortlands escorted by destroyer SHIGURE.

1 October 1942:
Arrives at Shortlands.

E October 1942:
At Buka, Bougainville.

30 October 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

2 November 1942:
Kure. Captain Yokoyama is relieved. Captain Kijima Shigeo (40)(former CO of NOTORO) is appointed Commanding Officer.

18 November 1942:
Departs Kure. Joined by minelayer NASAMI off Fukajima and escorted south.

E 19 November 1942:
NASAMI is detached 90 degrees off Toi Misaki.

3 December 1942:
At Shortland. From 1000 to 1318 refuels heavy cruisers SUZUYA and MAYA.

10 December 1942:
Shortland, Bougainville. Oilers TOA and FUJISAN MARUs are attacked by 11 USAAF Boeing B-17 bombers and six fighters. After the raid, minelayer TSUGARU comes alongside burning FUJISAN MARU to help extinguish the fires. TOA MARU is damaged and repairs last until March 1943.

26 December 1942:
At Shortland refuels destroyer INAZUMA.

27 December 1942:
Shortland. TOA MARU is lashed alongside damaged auxiliary seaplane tender SANYO MARU which is taken under tow by NAGAURA to Rekata Bay, Fauro Anchorage (Santa Isabel).

8 January 1943:
At 0430 TSURUMI comes alongside and begins supplying fuel. At 0545 5 enemy planes sighted. TSURUMI departs to a safer anchorage but returns at 1600.

9 January 1943:
With TOA MARU still providing motive power alongside, at 0605 fleet oiler TSURUMI commences towing SANYO MARU. Patrol boat PB-38 is lashed to the other side.

14 January 1943:
Off Bougainville. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) William H. Brockman's (USNA ’27) USS NAUTILUS (SS-168) fires five unreliable Mark-14 torpedoes at TOA MARU and gets one hit, but it is a dud.

17 January 1943 :
At 2047, the ships arrive at Truk and SANYO MARU is anchored 220 degrees 6600 metres from Uman Island.

14 February 1943:
Departs Truk.

14 March 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

18 April 1943:
Departs Kure.

16 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

22 May 1943:
Tokyo Bay. CruDiv 7’s MOGAMI collides with TOA MARU. The extent of the damage to her is unknown.

E May 1943:
Arrives at Kure to undergo collision repairs.

2 June 1943:
Departs Kure.

30 June 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

6 July 1943:
Departs Kure for Saeki.

7 July 1943:
At 1400, departs Saiki in convoy O-703 also consisting of IJA landing craft depot ship NIGITSU MARU and transport AOBASAN MARU escorted by destroyer UMIKAZE and minelayer NUWAJIMA.

10 July 1943:
At 0600, at 20-55N, 144-00E, TOA MARU is detached and steams ahead unescorted.

14 July 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Truk.

23 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk. At 1230 departs Truk in convoy No. 7233 also consisting of tankers NICHIEI and FUJISAN MARUs escorted by TAMANAMI and submarine chaser CH-28.

27 July 1943:
At 1020 arrives at Palau. Sails on to Tarakan.

24 August 1943:
Departs Manila for Truk in convoy 8283 also consisting of tanker FUJISAN MARU and auxiliary submarine depot ship HIE MARU with unknown escort. The TOA MARU is possibly carrying the 65th Brigade of the 122th Infantry Regiment. In addition to an oil cargo it is believed FUJISAN MARU carried 700 small mines as deck cargo.

27 August 1943:
Arrives at, and then departs Palau for Truk still in convoy 8283. Destroyer TAMANAMI joins the escort.

31 August 1943:
Target ship YAKAZE departs Saipan to join convoy 8283 consisting of fast oilers FUJISAN and TOA MARUs and TSURUMI escorted by destroyer TAMANAMI.

2 September 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

10 September 1943:
At 0530 departs Truk for Palau by south channel escorted by destroyer TAMANAMI. At some point TAMANAMI is detached and returns to Truk.

17 September 1943:
Departs Palau in convoy No. 2610 consisting of TSURUMI, TOA MARU and KYOEI MARU No.2 escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE and subchaser CH-13.

20 September 1943:
Arrives at Davao and departs later that day.

23 September 1943:
Arrives at Tarakan.

24 September 1943:
Departs Tarakan.

26 September 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

11 October 1943:
At 6-40N 144-20E the destroyer ASANAGI meets up with TOA MARU.

13 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

30 October 1943:
Departs Truk with oiler NIPPON MARU escorted by destroyer SHIMAKAZE. SHIMAKAZE escorts the ships 200 Ri from Truk then is detached.

1 November 1943:
Captain Kurushima Shigeo is appointed CO.

6 November 1943:
At 1230 arrives at Tarakan. Loads crude oil.

8 November 1943:
At 0900, departs Tarakan in an unnumbered convoy also consisting of tanker NIPPON MARU escorted by destroyer HIBIKI.

9 November 1943:
At about 0122, LtCdr Edward S. Hutchison's (USNA ’26) USS RASHER (SS-269) attacks the convoy. At 1,500 yards, Hutchison fires four torpedoes at TOA MARU in a submerged attack made at 00-34N, 118-59E. Hutchinson is not sure if he gets a hit and claims possible damage. In fact, one torpedo runs deep and passes under TOA MARU without exploding; another hits but is a dud. TOA and NIPPON MARUs proceed to Balikpapan. [2]

At 1700, the convoy arrives at Balikpapan. Offloads crude oil and loads heavy fuel, mineral oil, aviation gasoline, volatile oils and the ship takes on stores.

14 November 1943:
At 1700 departs Balikpapan in convoy No.2611 also consisting of tankers SHINSHU, NAMPO, SHINKOKU and NIPPON MARUs, transport KOYU MARU and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by old destroyer WAKATAKE and auxiliary submarine chaser CHa 37. At some point presumably near Palau the fast tankers TOA, SHINKOKU, NIPPON and NAMPO (NANPO) MARUs meet up with destroyers HIBIKI and HAMAKAZE and detach from the convoy.

20 November 1943: American Operation “Galvanic” – The Invasion of the Gilberts:
Forces under Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Raymond A. Spruance, (USNA ’06) Commander, Central Pacific, invade Tarawa and Makin Islands. The invasion fleet of 200 ships includes 13 battleships and 11 carriers.

21 November 1943:
At 0530, arrives at Truk.

22 November 1943:
Tactically assigned to Second Strike Force, Refueling Group.

24 November 1943:
Cruisers SUZUYA, KUMANO and CHOKAI with destroyers HATSUZUKI, SUZUTSUKI, HAMAKAZE, FUJINAMI and HAYANAMI depart Truk for the Marshalls.

25 November 1943:
In response to the invasion of Tarawa, TOA and NIPPON MARUs' Refueling Group departs Truk for the Marshalls escorted by DesDiv 4’s YAMAGUMO, MAIKAZE and NOWAKI and DesDiv 10's AKIGUMO.

That same day, an unknown officer is appointed CO of TOA MARU.

100 miles N of Seniavina Island, N of Ponape. LtCdr (later Captain) Melvin H. Dry's (USNA’34) USS SEARAVEN (SS-196) makes contact with the Refueling Group. At 1231, TOA MARU is hit in the engine room by one of four torpedoes that LtCdr Dry fires. At 1247, she sinks at 08-22N, 158-00E. 15 crewmen and three gunners are KIA. Captain Kijima survives the sinking. AKIGUMO counterattacks dropping 27 depth charges, but is unsuccessful. AKIGUMO rescues 117 survivors, then returns to Truk.

5 January 1944:
Removed from the Navy List under internal order No. 54.

Authors' Note:
[1] During the campaign to retake Guadalcanal, TOA MARU served mainly as a station tanker at Shortland.

[2] The attack demonstrated two of the Mark 14's three major defects: deep running and failure of its magnetic influence exploder.

Thanks for assistance goes to Allan Alsleben of Oregon, USA; Matthew Jones of Missisippi, USA; the late John Whitman of Virginia, USA, Berend van der Wal of Netherlands, Gengoro Toda of Japan and Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Back to Auxiliary Oilers Page