RIKUGUN YUSOSEN/KOSAKUKAN!

(Sister TOEI MARU prewar)

IJN TOHO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2017 Bob Hackett


1937:
Kobe. Laid down by Kawasaki Zosensho K.K. shipyard as Yard No. 619, a 4,092-ton cargo ship for Toho Kisen Kaisha.

1937:
Launched and named TOHO MARU. [1]

February 1938:
Completed.

1 November 1939:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a transport. Alloted IJA No. 516.

1 April 1940:
Released back toher owners.

10 September 1941:
Re-requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Converted to an Army Repair Ship.

5 December 1941:
At 1820, TOHO MARU departs Saigon, French Indochina (Vietnam).

7 December 1941: :
Gulf of Siam (Thailand). At 0300, TOHO MARU departs Phu Quoc Island, French Indochina with transports MIIKE and ZENYO MARUs escorted by kaibokan SHIMUSHU. Later that morning, the group makes a rendezvous at sea with seven other unidentified transports carrying three battalions of the IJA 55th Infantry Division escorted by No. 2 Escort Unit's light cruiser KASHII. At 1035, all units depart for landing sites in Siam.

8 December 1941: Operation "E" - The Invasion of Malaya: :
Beginning at 1000, troops are landed at four points on the Kra Isthmus, Siam (Thailand). TOHO, MIIKE and ZENYO MARUs land troops at Nakorn Sri Thammarat, S Siam, covered by SHIMUSHU. The transports carry 1,510 men including the IJA 143rd Regiment’s 3rd Battalion and 50 trucks.

21 January 1942:
At 1000, the 32-ship "2nd Infantry Division Movement" departs Moji for Mako Pescadores.

26 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

February 1942:
Departs Mako.

February 1942:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina to assemble for the invasion of Western Java, Netherlands East Indies (NEI).

18 February 1942: "J" Operation (J Sakusen): - The Invasion of Java, NEI:
TOHO MARU is attached to Vice Admiral Takahashi's Third Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s Western Java Seizure Force. At 1000, departs Camranh Bay in a convoy comprised of 56 troop transports. They carry the 2nd Infantry Division for the invasions of Merak and Bantam Bay, Java escorted by light cruisers YURA and NATORI, DesDivs 5, 6, 11, 12 and 22.

12 March 1943:
At 1420, TOHO MARU departs Rabaul for Palau in a convoy also consisting of ASAKA, FLORIDA, MOMOHA, NISHIYAMA (SEIZAN), TASMANIA and TONEI MARUs escorted by destroyer MOCHIZUKI and salvage tug NAGAURA.

15 March 1943:
At 1115, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Roy S. Benson's USS TRIGGER (SS-237) torpedoes and sinks MOMOHA MARU at 00-02S, 145-05E. At 1355, as the escorts are transferring survivors to FLORIDA MARU, she is also torpedoed and damaged by TRIGGER. Subchaser CH-23, that came out to assist, rescues the survivors.

18 March 1943:
TONEI MARU, and destroyer MOCHIZUKI return to abandoned FLORIDA MARU, which remains afloat, and tow the ship to Mowe anchorage, New Hannover.

19 March 1943:
The rest of the convoy arrives at Palau.

6 April 1943:
At 1630, TOHO MARU departs Palau in convoy "Hansa No. 2B" also consisting of TEIRYU (ex-German AUGSBURG), INDIA, SYDNEY, TAISEI and TAIYU MARUs escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and TANIKAZE and subchasers CH-26 and CH-34. The convoy is carrying units of the IJA 20th Division.

12 April 1943:
At 0800, arrives at Hansa Bay (near Madang), Eastern New Guinea. At 1530, twenty USAAF B-17s and B-24s of the USAAF 5th Air Force bomb the ships and sink IJA cargo ship SYDNEY MARU at 03-18S, 143-38E with the loss of three crewmen and seven gunners.

13 April 1943:
At 0900, departs Hansa Bay.

14 April 1943:
At 0700, TOHO and TEIRYU MARUs, escorted by AMATSUKAZE and CH-34, split from the convoy and head to Palau. The remaining ships sail on to Wewak where they arrive that evening.

18 April 1943:
TOHO and TEIRYU MARUs, AMATSUKAZE and CH-34 arrive at Palau. The remaining ships arrive on the 20th. 8 May 1943: At 0700, troop convoy "Wewak No. 4" departs Palau consisting of TOHO, MAYA TEIRYU MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 3 escorted by destroyers URAKAZE and AMATSUKAZE. The ships are carrying 4,000 soldiers of the IJA 41st Infantry Division together with shells, provisions, aircraft and supplies.

9 June 1943:
At 0900, TOHO MARU departs Saeki for Palau, Western Carolines, in convoy O-905 also consisting of IJA transports BUNZAN, CHINZEI, DAKAR and KINSEN MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO, kaibokan IKI and minesweepers W-17 and W-18.

E 11 June 1943:
W-18 is detached at latitude 29N.

17 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

27 June 1943:
TOHO MARU departs Palau in convoy also consisting of IJA transports BUNZAN, CHINZEI and DAKAR MARUs with unknown escort.

3 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

5 July 1943:
At 1300, troop convoy “Wewak No. 6” departs Palau. The convoy consists of TOHO BENGAL and MAYA MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 3 and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE and minelayer SHIRATAKA.

10 July 1943:
Arrives at Wewak. At 2300, the convoy departs except for TOHO and MAYA MARUs and AMATSUKAZE. Later, they catch up with the convoy. At 2250, TOHO MARU experiences engine difficulty and drops behind. URAKAZE takes her under tow.

16 July 1943:
Arrives at Palau at 1620. TOHO MARU and URAKAZE arrive the next day.

24 August 1943:
At 0700, TOHO MARU departs Palau for Ujina with auxiliary gunboat KAZAN MARU escorting convoy FU-407 consisting of empty troop ships BRAZIL, FUKKO, HAVRE, MINRYO and YAMATO MARUS escorted by patrol boat PB-46.

LtCdr (later Cdr) John A. Scott's (USNA ’28) USS TUNNY (SS-282) makes several attacks on the convoy, but is unsuccessful, probably due to defective Mark 14 torpedoes of which Scott fires 11. TUNNY is depth charged, damaged and forced to abort her war patrol.

TOHO MARU possibly incurs damage from a dud torpedo and returns to Palau.

7 September 1943:
At 1030, TOHO MARU departs Palau in convoy FU-706 also consisting of DELAGOA, NICHIRYO, SHINKO and TAISHO MARUs and EIKO MARU No. 2 GO escorted by kaibokan IKI.

E 16 September 1943:
Auxiliary minesweepers AOI, KOZAN, YACHIYO MARUs and TOKUHO MARU No. 10 and auxiliary patrol boats MATO MARU and MYOGEN MARU No. 16 join the convoy at 30-50N, 133-50E.

17 September 1943:
Arrives at Saeki.

31 October 1943:
At 1200, TOHO MARU departs Manila in convoy No. 1 also consisting of TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA), NICHINAN, SHINSHU and SHIRANESAN MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-103.

2 November 1943:
While nearing Cebu Port, TEIKAI MARU runs aground and NICHINAN MARU is detached to assist. At 2305, TEIKAI MARU is refloated and they arrive at Cebu the following day. 6 November 1943:
At 0900, TOHO MARU departs Cebu in convoy H-3 also consisting of NICHINAN, TATSUHA, TEIKAI and TOYAMA MARUs escorted by PB-103. 10 November 1943:
At 0830, arrives at Kau.

13 January 1944:
At noon, in monsoon weather, TOHO MARU departs Manila for Takao in convoy No. 882 also consisting of ASOSAN, TAMAHOKO and TATSUNO MARUs escorted by torpedo TOMOZURU.

15 January 1944:
Luzon Strait, about 75 miles north of Luzon. At 2232, LtCdr (later Cdr) Duncan C. MacMillan’s (USNA ’26) USS THRESHER (SS-200) fires four torpedoes at TATSUNO MARU. Two hit in her No. 2 hold. She explodes and breaks in two. The ship’s fore part sinks immediately, but the aft part, although afire, remains afloat. The crew puts out the fire, but the engine room floods.

At 2250, MacMillan’s THRESHER fires three torpedoes by SJ radar bearings at TOHO MARU. Two hit her aft. The crew abandons ship which sinks at 20-04N, 120-36E. Twelve gunners and 35 crewmen are KIA. TOMOZURU drops 20 DCs, but THRESHER evades and escapes.

16 January 1944:
At 0700, the crew abandons TATSUNO MARU which sinks later that day at 20-05N, 120-13E. Eight passengers and 12 crewmen are KIA.


Author's Note:
[1] Not to be confused with similarly named 9,997-ton tanker, 4,716-ton cargo, or 10,238-ton tanker.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett


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