(Type 2TL Wartime Standard Merchant Tanker Seria Maru by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2016 Bob Hackett

E December 1943:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K. as Yard No.941, a 10,238-ton Type 2TL wartime Standard Merchant Tanker for Iino Kaiun K.K., Tokyo.

E April 1944:
Launched and named TOHO MARU.[1]

May 1944:

8 September 1944:
At 1100, TOHO MARU departs Moji for Singapore in convoy HI-75 consisting of oilers AMATO, MANEI, NICHIEI, RYOEI, SERIA, YUHO, transports ASAMA and SAIGON MARUs escorted by escort carrier SHINYO (with 14 Nakajima B5N2 Navy Type 97 Carrier Attack Bombers of the 931st Air Group, the planes are equipped with Jijitanchiki magnetic airborne submarine detection devices (MAD)), flying boat tender AKITSUSHIMA, DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI and UZUKI and kaibokan KANJU, MANJU and MIYAKE. Later this day arrives at Imari Bay (NB: several of these ships joins the convoy at Imari Bay).

9 September 1944:
Departs Imari Bay.

11 September 1944:
Central part of East China Sea. Ca. 0900, a plane from SHINYO, patrolling sea lane ahead of convoy, detects an enemy submarine. YUZUKI is detached to attack sub. In co-operation with the aircraft, YUZUKI drops a total of 40 depth charge and claims sinking of sub. At dusk, the last patrol plane for the day approaches flight deck of SHINYO. While landing on the deck the brakes fail and the plane has to start through but regains not enough speed. The plane shoots over the end of the flight deck and makes an emergency landing into the sea. MIYAKE is immediately detached to rescue the plane crew. When arriving on the spot, MIYAKE lowers her port side cutter with a rescue crew. Rescue operation proves to be very difficult because of the rough sea but, finally, succeeds in picking up safely the entire plane crew.

12 September 1944:
In the morning, SAIGON MARU, YUZUKI and KANJU are detached for the China coast. They later rejoin at Takao. At 1730, ASAMA MARU is detached and later that day arrives at Kirun (Keelung).During that day the MIZUHO MARU-convoy, consisting of IJA hospital ship MIZUHO MARU and two others, had departed Kirun for a scheduled rendezvous with HI-75 off Hakusha (Peisha) Point, north coast of Taiwan. However, the rendezvous fails because MIZUHO MARU-convoy is delayed and the three ships have to return to Kirun.

13 September 1944:
At 1400, HI-75 arrives at Takao. Off northern breakwater lighthouse, MIYAKE goes alongside NICHIEI MARU to be replenished.

14 September 1944:
At 1630, TOHO MARU departs Takao for Singapore in convoy HI-75 now consisting of oilers AMATO, FUJISAN, KUROSHIO, MANEI, NICHIEI, RYOEI, SERIA, TAIHO and YUHO MARUs escorted by escort carrier SHINYO, flying boat tender AKITSUSHIMA, DesDiv 30’s UZUKI, torpedo boat HIYODORI and kaibokan MIYAKE, MANJU and CD-28.

Soon after departure, AMATO MARU develops engine problems and at 1900, YUHO MARU also develop engine problems. Both are detached.

16 September 1944:
At 2330, KANJU, suffering rudder problems, collides with SERIA MARU, but there is little damage.

17 September 1944:
At 1000, as planned, AKITSUSHIMA and SAIGON MARU are detached and head for Manila escorted by YUZUKI and UZUKI. Enroute, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Reuben T. Whitaker's (USNA ‘34) USS FLASHER (SS-249) torpedoes and sinks SAIGON MARU carrying 700 mines and 100 depth-charges, at 14-20N, 120-05E. Six crewmen are KIA. DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI and UZUKI hunt for the submarine, but Whitaker evades. YUZUKI and UZUKI rescue SAIGON MARU’s survivors, not including Captain Kameyama Minegoro (44). He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

18 September 1944:
At 1040, kaibokan KURAHASHI joins the escort. At 2015, SERIA MARU suffers rudder problems and collides with FUJISAN MARU, but again the damage is slight.

19 September 1944:
At 1500, AMATO MARU rejoins the convoy.

20 September 1944:
During the day, FUJISAN, NICHIEI, KUROSHIO and TAIHO MARUs and carrier SHINYO all suffer engine or rudder problems, but the convoy remains intact.

22 September 1944:
At 1600, arrives at Singapore.

2 October 1944:
At 1700, TOHO MARU departs Singapore for Moji in convoy HI-76 also consisting of oilers FUJISAN, KUROSHIO, NICHIEI, NICHINAN, RYOEI, SERIA and TARAKAN (fitted with a temporary bow) MARUs, ex-seaplane tender KIMIKAWA MARU and cargo ship TEIHOKU MARU (ex-Vichy French PERSEE) escorted by escort carrier SHINYO and kaibokan DAITO, KANJU, KURAHASHI, MANJU, MIYAKE, CD-9 and CD-28 and torpedo boat HIYODORI. NB: When convoy HI-76 is assembled in Singapore Strait, tanker MATO MARU develops engine troubles while tanker DAIHO MARU suffers problems with her steering gear. Both tankers have to be excluded from the convoy.

E 4 October 1944:
Arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island. TARAKAN MARU, fitted with a temporary bow, is found to be leaking, so she undergoes more repairs.

8 October 1944:
During the day, one of SHINYO´s planes is considerably damaged in a crash-landing on deck of the carrier and has to be written off, the plane crew escapes with some bruises.

10 October 1944:
After receiving reports of an American task force striking Okinawa, convoy HI-76 diverts to Samah, Hainan Island.

11 October 1944:
At 1500, arrives at Samah, Hainan Island.

E 16 October 1944:
Samah, Hainan Island. The revised convoy consists of oilers TOHO (1944), FUJISAN (1944), KUROSHIO, NICHIEI, NICHINAN, RYOEI, and TARAKAN MARUs and cargo ship TEIHOKU MARU (ex-Vichy French PERSEE) escorted by escort carrier SHINYO torpedo boat HIYODORI and kaibokan KANJU, KURAHASHI MANJU, MIYAKE and CD-28. At 0745, the convoy, delayed because of an enemy task force near Formosa, departs Samah.

17 October 1944: RYOEI MARU, MANJU and MIYAKE are detached and head for Mako.

18 October 1944:
At 0800, the convoy is ordered to Samah to rendezvous with kaibokan CD-25 and CD-32. Later, HI-76 completes the rendezvous. Tankers FUJISAN, NICHIEI and NICHINAN MARUs are ordered to remain at Samah. At 0800, CD-25 and CD-32 are attached to HI-76 off Samah. At 1133, C-in-C Combined Fleet radio message orders NICHIEI MARU to depart Samah for Coron, Busuanga Island, Philippines to replenish 1st Control Force, escorted by KURAHASHI and CD-25. At 1554, chief-of-staff General Sea Escort Force radio message orders NICHINAN and FUJISAN MARUs to detach from convoy HI-76 and to stay in readiness at Samah. At 1700, HI-76 departs Samah. At 1705, CO 1st Sea Escort Force radio message instructs NICHIEI MARU to sail to Ulugan Bay (10-03N, 118-46E), west coast of Palawan, because Coron had recently been under severe attack. At 1730, convoy HI-76, now consisting of TEIHOKU, TOHO and KUROSHIO MARUs depart Samah for Mako, escorted by SHINYO, KANJU (F) and CD-32. (NB: both tankers are excluded from fleet replenishing operation because they have no equipment for refuelling warships). SHINYO has continuously several planes flying anti-sub and CAP patrols. At 1830, NICHIEI MARU, escorted KURAHASHI and CD-25, depart Samah for Ulugan Bay, Palawan. In the late afternoon, RYOEI MARU, MIYAKE and MANJU arrive at Takao.

20 October 1944:
CD-25 and KURAHASHI are detached to escort oiler NICHIEI MARU to Coron Bay, Philippines. At 0835, Captain of CD-25 radios that port side fuel pump is restored and ship is recovering now to original speed. CD-25 is ordered to chase after convoy HI-75 and to schedule a rendez-vous time. At 0830, Vice Admiral Shima´s 2nd Control Force (5th Fleet) arrives at Mako from Satsukawa Bay, Amami-O-Shima. The 2nd Control Force consists of CruDiv 21’s NACHI and ASHIGARA and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Masatomi's (41) (former CO of SUZUYA) DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and DesDiv 7's AKEBONO, KASUMI and USHIO, DesDiv 18's SHIRANUI and Des21's WAKABA, HATSUSHIMO and HATSUHARU. At 0930, after a difficult journey, RYOEI MARU, escorted by MIYAKE and MANJU, arrives at Mako, impatiently awaited by Shima. RYOEI MARU immediately starts to refuel Shima´s fleet. Later that day, KASADO, MANJU and MIYAKE are attached to 21st Sea Defence Force. At night, KANJU (F) receives message that KUROSHIO and TOHO MARUs are scheduled to be detached from HI-76 and attached to control of Combined Fleet. Both tankers are to discharge their oil cargo at Mako Harbor.

22 October 1944:
In the morning, CD-25 is detached from convoy HI-76 and proceeds to Takao (NB: CD-25 departs Takao, 24 October, for Port San Pio Quinto, Camiguin Island, Luzon Strait with emergency food and clothing for the about 150 survivors of the sunken TERUKUNI MARU 3588gt).At 1200, convoy HI-76, now consisting of TEIHOKU, KUROSHIO and TOHO MARUs and escorted by KANJU, CD-8 and CD-130 arrive off Mako. KUROSHIO and TOHO MARUs are detached from convoy HI-76. Both tankers are now guarded by kaibokan KASADO arriving from Takao after being detached from convoy MOMA-05 (NB: KASADO had arrived Takao with convoy MOMA-05, at 1600 on 21 October). Later that day, TEIHOKU MARU, now the final remaining ship from original convoy HI-76, continues to Moji, escorted by KANJU, CD-8, CD-130 and YASHIRO, the latter joining off Mako that day. At 1030, 25 October, convoy arrives off Sasebo. YASHIRO is detached and proceeds to Sasebo. Finally, at 1130, 26 October, TEIHOKU MARU, KANJU, CD-8 and CD-130 arrive off Mutsure-jima).

23 October 1944:
KUROSHIO and TOHO MARUs and KASADO enter Mako harbour. Both tankers discharge their oil cargo. During that day, MANJU, MIYAKE and KASADO depart Mako for anti-sub sweeping operation in Taiwan Strait in response to fierce enemy sub attack against convoy U-03.

24 October 1944:
TEIHOKU MARU develops engine troubles. She is driftsfor a while but finally recovers and continues to Moji.

25 October 1944:
At 1030, the convoy arrives off Sasebo. YASHIRO is detached and proceeds to Sasebo.

26 October 1944:
at 1130, TEIHOKU MARU, KANJU, CD-8 and CD-130 arrive off Mutsure-jima.

27 November 1944:
At 0205 TOHO MARU departs Singapore in convoy SHISA-30 also consisting of DAISHU, EININ, ENRYAKU, FUJISAN, NISSHO (HIKACHI), TATSUMIYA and YAMAKUNI MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-27, minesweeper W-34, subchasers CH-34 and CH-35 and auxiliary gunboat HUASHAN (KAZAN) MARU.

30 November 1944:
Arrives at St Jacques, Vichy French, Indochina.

7 December 1944:
Departs St Jacques.

8 December 1944:
Arrives at Hon Lon Island and shelters there and adjacent waters.

20 December 1944:
Arrives Ping Hai Bay.

21 December 1944:
Departs Ping Hai Bay.

22 December 1944:
Arrives at Kirun (Keelung), Formosa.

24 December 1944:
Departs Kirun.

26 December 1944:
Arrives at Ssu Chiao Shan.

27 December 1944:
Departs Ssu Chiao Shan.

30 December 1944:
Arrives at Pusan, Korea.

31 December 1944:
Departs Pusan and later that day arrives at Mutsure.

29 January 1945:
At 0730, TOHO MARU departs Moji in fleet convoy HI-93 also consisting of oilers TOA and KIYOKAWA MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-61, CD-63 and CD-207. The convoy hugs the continental coast stopping each night at a different anchorage.

1 February 1945:
Arrives at Kuroushi Bay.

2 February 1945:
Arrives at Taiseiyo Santo.

4 February 1945:
Kaibokan CD-53 joins HI-93 as an additional escort.

5 February 1945:
Hainan Sea. KIYOKAWA MARU is detached for Yulin.

6 February 1945:
At 2000, HI-93 arrives at Van Phong Bay, Vichy French, Indochina.

7 February 1945:
At 0700, departs Van Phong Bay. At 1050, LtCdr John M. Hyde’s (USNA ’34) USS BERGALL (SS-320) attacks the convoy’s starboard side. TOHO MARU is hit by two torpedoes, but manages to continue. CH-53 is hit, breaks in two and sinks at 11-53N, 109-22E with unknown casualties. For the next three hours and 30 minutes, the escorts counter-attack and drop 98 DCs, but USS BERGALL evades undamaged. During the counter-attack, HI-93’s ships depart the area at maximum speed. At 1615, they arrive at Camranh Bay.

8 February 1945:
At 1300, TOHO MARU departs Camranh Bay under tow for Cape St. Jacques, near Saigon, Vichy French, Indochina.

9 February 1945:
10 miles from Cape St. Jacques. At 0840, CD-61 strikes a mine and suffers moderate damage. At 0930, HI-93 arrives at Cape St. Jacques. TOHO MARU and CD-61 are detached.

February 1945:
Cape St. Jacques. TOHO MARU undergoes temporary repairs.

E February 1945:
TOHO MARU departs Cape St. Jacques for Singapore under her own power.

E February 1945:
Arrives at Singapore and enters dock.

1 April 1945:
Repairs are completed. Undocked.

12 June 1945:
TOHO MARU departs Singapore for Vichy French, Indochina loaded with gasoline escorted by destroyer KAMIKAZE and minesweeper W-4.

15 June 1945:
Off Koh Samui Island, Gulf of Siam. About 1500, USAAF 10th Air Force Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” heavy bombers attack the convoy. The planes bomb and sink TOHO MARU and damage destroyer KAMIKAZE and minesweeper W-4 at 09-25N, 99-54E. Later, KAMIKAZE rescues 200 of TOHO MARU's survivors. Three crewmen are KIA.

Authors’ Notes:
[1] Also known as SHINTOHO MARU.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and to Peter Cundall for some entries derived from their work.

- Bob Hackett

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