YUSOSEN!



(Oiler by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

TONAN MARU:

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2008-2019 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Revision 5


E 1905:
Dumbarton, Scotland. Laid down by William Denny & Bros. for London’s New Zealand Shipping Co.

5 November 1906:
Launched and named OPAWA.

18 December 1906:
Completed and placed in service as a refrigerated cargo ship. Transports frozen produce between Britain and New Zealand.

1914-1918:
During WWI, continues transporting food to Britain for the New Zealand Shipping Co. Additionally, carries some Australian and New Zealand troops to Britain.

September 1927:
Laid up at Falmouth.

1928:
Sold to Brunn & von der Lippe, Tonsberg, Norway. Converted to a whale factory ship. Renamed ANTARCTIC.

1934:
Sold to Nippon Hogei K. K., Tokyo, a subsidiary of Nippon Suisan K. K. (Japan Fisheries Co., Ltd.) of Tokyo and renamed ANTARCTIC MARU. Departs Japan for whaling operations in the Antarctic Ocean.

1935:
Renamed TONAN MARU.

1936:
Owner restyled as Kyodo Kigyo K.K., Tokyo .

1938:
Transferred to Nippon Suisan K. K., Tokyo.

25 June 1942:
Departs Kure with seaplane carrier CHIYODA escorted by destroyers SHIRANUI, ARARE, KASUMI and KAGERO.

27 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

1 November 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

7 November 1942:
Departs Osaka.

13 November 1942:
At 1635 departs Mutsure in convoy No. 187 also consisting of UMEKAWA MARU and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by destrotyer MINAZUKI.

18 November 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

19 November 1942:
At 1200 departs Takao in convoy No. 727 also consisting of ROKKO MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

23 November 1942:
At 1200 arrives at Manila.

13 December 1942:
At 1425 departs Manila in convoy No. 826 also consisting of one unidentified merchant ship escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

17 December 1942:
At 1147 arrives at Mako.

18 December 1942:
At 1400 departs Mako escorting convoy No. 209 also consisting of six unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer ASAGAO.

24 December 1942:
At 1200 arrives at Moji.

25 December 1942:
Departs Moji.

29 December 1942:
Arrives at Kobe.

E 1943:
Placed under the Civilian Administration (Senpaku Uneikai) and allotted to the IJA with No. 5004.

8 January 1943:
Departs Kobe.

12 January 1943:
TONAN MARU arrives at Miike.

15 January 1943:
Departs Miike and joins up with convoy No. 117 consisting of six unidentified ships without escort. The convoy sails at 10.5 knots.

19 January 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

23 January 1943:
Departs Takao.

26 January 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

6 February 1943:
Departs Manila.

8 February 1943:
Arrives at Cebu

9 February 1943:
Departs Cebu.

10 February 1943:
Arrives at Opom.

11 February 1943:
Departs Opon.

12 February 1943:
Arrives at Cebu.

15 February 1943:
Departs Cebu.

17 February 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

23 February 1943:
At 1500 departs Manila in convoy No. 835 also consisting of ANYO MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

1 March 1943:
At 1420 arrives at Takao.

2 March 1943:
Departs Takao.

5 March 1943:
Arrives at Miike.

7 March 1943:
Departs Miike.

8 March 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

10 March 1943:
Departs Moji.

11 March 1943:
Arrives at Ujina.

14 March 1943:
Departs Ujina.

17 March 1943:
Arrives at Konan (Hungnam), Chosen.

22 March 1943:
Departs Hungnam.

26 March 1943:
Arrives at Osaka.

19 April 1943:
Departs Osaka.

24 April 1943:
At 1320 departs Moji in J convoy also consisting of RYOTOKU, SUMIRE and ISUZU MARUs and three unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan SADO.

29 April 1943:
At 1150 arrives at Takao.

1 May 1943:
Departs Mako in convoy No. 389 also consisting of HOKUROKU, RAKUYO, TSUSHIMA, SUMIRE and TOKIWA MARUs without escort. The convoy sails at 9.5 knots.

7 May 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques.

8 May 1943:
Departs St Jacques in convoy No. 578 that sails in two parts and consists in total of HIKUROKU, TAKUYO, SUMIRE and TONAN MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships without escort. RAKUYO, SUMIRE and TONAN MARUs sail in the second part.

11 May 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

29 June 1943:
Departs Singapore in convoy No. 693 also consisting of two unidentified merchant ships without surface escort.

1 June 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques.

4 June 1943:
Departs St Jacques in the second part of convoy No. 401 also consisting, in total of SEIAN, KOSHIN, AMAGI, LIVERPOOL, KOKUEI and RAKUYO MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by submarine chaser CH-9.

11 June 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

12 June 1943:
At 1400 departs Mako in U convoy also consisting of SEIAN, TSTSUHARU, KOSHIN, KOHO, and YAMATO MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by torpedo boat SAGI. At some point KOSHIN MARU is detached for Genzan.

17 June 1943:
Arrives at Shimonoseki. SAGI has detached and arrives at Sasebo at 1600 that day.

18 June 1943:
Departs Shimonoseki.

19 June 1943:
Arrives at Ujina.

20 June 1943:
Departs Ujina.

21 June 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

25 June 1943:
Transfers to Kobe to Amagasaki and docked.

27 June 1943:
Transfers from Amagasaki to Osaka.

8 July 1943:
Transfers from Osaka to Amagasaki.

11 July 1943:
Transfers from Amagasaki to Osaka.

12 July 1943:
Arrives at Himejima.

13 July 1943:
Departs Himejima.

16 July 1943:
Arrives at Konan (Hungnam), Chosen.

19 July 1943:
Departs Hungnam.

22 July 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

23 July 1943:
Departs Moji.

24 July 1943:
Arrives at Miike.

28 July 1943:
At 1430 PB-36 departs Mutsure with destroyer SANAE escorting convoy No. 181 consisting of ARATAMA, TAIRYU, KIRISHIMA, KONSAN, YASUKUNI (5794 tons), TEIKA (ex-Vichy French CAP VARELLA), SAN LUIS MARUs and eleven other unidentified merchant ships. The convoy sails in two parts with PB-36 escorting a contingent of ten ships. SANAE and the first contingent sails two days later and catches up en route.

30 July 1943:
At 1940 SAN LUIS MARU develops engine problems and returns to Moji. At 2250 the tanker TONAN MARU joins the convoy from Miike.

4 August 1943:
At 1200 arrives at Takao. TONAN MARU may have dropped out and returned to Moji en route.

10 August 1943:
At 1400, TONAN MARU departs Moji for Mako, Pescadores in convoy No. 185 also consisting of tankers TACHIBANA, CHIYODA, SAN RAMON, MATSUMOTO, YAMAMIZU and NICHIRIN MARUs passenger-cargo ships TEIBI (ex French BERNARDIN de ST PIERRE), KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) and GINYO MARUs, cargo ship ASUKA MARU and one unidentified ship escorted by kaibokan SADO. [1]

11 August 1943:
Off Nagasaki convoy No. 184 consisting of tankers FUSHIMI MARU No. 3, SHUNTEN MARU and one unidentified merchant ship without escort merges with the convoy.

15 August 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

18 August 1943:
Departs Mako for Saigon in convoy No. 316 also consisting of tankers SAN RAMON, NICHIRIN, YAMAMIZU and TACHIBANA MARUs, passenger-cargo ships KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) and GINYO MARUs, cargo ship ASUKA MARU and three unidentified ships.

21 August 1943:
The convoy now consists of eight ships, the three unidentified ships likely having detached for either Hong Kong or Hainan. At 1340 in position 15.24N 115-32E the convoy is attacked and three torpedoes narrowly miss GINYO MARU.

26 August 1943:
Arrives at Saigon.

28 August 1943:
Departs St Jacques in convoy No. 505 also consisting of passenger-cargo ship KACHIDOKI MARU (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) and five unidentified merchant ships.

31 August 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

7 September 1943:
Departs Singapore.

8 September 1943:
Arrives at Port Swettenham. Loads 6000 tons palm oil.

11 September 1943:
Departs Port Swettenham.

12 September 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

18 September 1943:
Departs Singapore in convoy No. 621 also consisting of one unidentified merchant ship without sea escort.

21 September 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques.

23 September 1943:
At 1900 departs St Jacques in convoy No. 428 also consting of RYUKO MARU and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.

30 September 1943:
At 1440 in 22-58N 119-48E TONAN MARU is attacked and missed by an unknown submarine. Later that day arrives at Mako.

5 October 1943:
At 0900 departs Mako in convoy No. 209 also consisting of RYUKO MARU and eight unidentified merchant ships (including possibly HOKKAI MARU) escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU.

12 October 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

13 October 1943:
Arrives at Ujina.

14 October 1943:
Departs Ujina.

15 October 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

18 October 1943:
Transfers to Amagasaki.

24 October 1943:
Transfers from Amagasaki to Osaka.

8 November 1943:
Departs Osaka.

11 November 1943:
Arrives at Miike.

13 November 1943:
Departs Miike.

14 November 1943:
Arrives at Mutsure.

15 November 1943:
at 1500 departs Moji escorting convoy No. 114 also consisting of SHOHEI, YASUKUNI (5794 GRT), BIZEN, SHINNO, NORWAY, ZUIYO, SYDNEY MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan KANJU.

20 November 1943:
At 1300 arrives at Takao.

23 November 1943:
At 1530, TONAN MARU departs Takao, Formosa for Cape St. Jacques, Indochina in convoy No. 340 also consisting of tanker ZUIYO MARU, cargo ships SYDNEY, YASUKUNI, SHINNO, SHOHEI, and SEKINO MARUs, KAIJUN GO (ex Chinese HAI SHUN), small Vichy French cargo ship BERYL, an unidentified ship beginning UNKAI MARU and four fully unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA. In the next four days, five ships including YASUKUNI MARU (5794 grt) are detached for various reasons.

28 November 1943:
South China Sea, off Indochina. At about 0200, Cdr Frederick C. Lucas' (USNA ’30) USS BILLFISH (SS-286) picks up the convoy heading south at nine knots seven miles off Varella. Lucas signals Cdr Walter T. Griffith's (USNA ’34) USS BOWFIN (SS-287) about the convoy. Griffith, three miles off Cap Varella, receives sister-ship USS BILLFISH's signal and USS BOWFIN begins tracking the convoy on the surface. At 0412, USS BOWFIN torpedoes and sinks TONAN MARU at 12-50N, 109-35E. 84 crewmen are KIA. Griffith also torpedoes and sinks SYDNEY MARU carrying 4996m3 of naval aircraft spares and 895-tons of trade cargo in the same location. 38 crewmen and five gunners are KIA.


- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Notes

[1] It seems unlikely that TONAN MARU could have returned to Japan between 4 and 10 August and the tanker's inclusion in convoy No.185 is dubious.

Thanks to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France.


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