(Wartime ore carrier by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett

E 1942:
Laid down at Tokyo Ishikawajima Jukogyo K.K, Tokyo as a 5,794-ton ore carrier for Nihon Seitetsu K.K., Tokyo.

Launched and named TOYOKUNI MARU.

October 1942:

6 November 1942:
At 1400, TOYOKUNI MARU departs Rabaul, New Britain for Shortland Islands anchorage in an unnumbered convoy consisting of SHINANOGAWA, ARIZONA, TEIYO (ex-German SAARLAND), TOYO, NAGARA, YAMAZUKI, YURI, 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.

7 January 1944:
At 1500, TOYOKUNI MARU departs Moji for Takao convoy No. 127 also consisting of ASUKA, YAHIKO, GETSUYO, NIKKI, HOKOKU, KINREI, ROKKO and IKUTAGAWA MARUs escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA and minesweeper W-27.

10 January 1944:
At about 1230, on the surface in heavy weather, LtCdr (later Cdr) Royce L. Gross' (USNA '30) USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) attacks the convoy. Gross torpedoes and damages YAHIKO MARU, then torpedoes ASUKA MARU. Hit in the engine room, she sinks by the stern at 1239. 15 passengers and 23 crewmen are KIA. Working in the storm, KARUKAYA and GETSUYO MARU rescue 105 survivors.

GETSUYO MARU tows YAHIKO MARU towards Naha, Okinawa, but SEAWOLF tracks them and torpedoes both ships. At 2345, YAHIKO MARU, hit by two more torpedoes, sinks immediately at 27-18N, 127-40. 141 Army passengers and 15 crewmen are KIA. GETSUYO MARU also sinks immediately at the same location. 20 men are KIA.

15 January 1944:
At 1110, the convoy arrives at Naha. At 1930, the same day, the convoy departs.

18 January 1944:
At 1455, arrives at Takao.

23 January 1944:
Combined convoys TE-01, No. 354 and the "Y" convoy depart Takao. TE-01 consists of MANKO and JUYO MARUs and 13 unidentified merchant ships, probably including TOYOKUNI MARU.

TE-01 is escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE, convoy No. 354 is escorted by KARUKAYA and convoy "Y" is escorted by torpedo boat KARI.

24 January 1944: Convoy "Y" is detached for Hong Kong.

26 January 1944:
Convoy TE-01 convoy is detached for Yulin, Hainan Island, China. Probably loads bauxite ore and departs at an unknown date.

6 March 1944:
TOYOKUNI MARU departs Takao via Yulin for Cap St Jacques, Indochina in convoy TASA-08 also consisting of NICHIREI, LONDON, ISHIKARI MARUs and four unidentified ships escorted by subchasers CH-21, CH-41 and CH-43 and auxilary gunboat PEKING MARU. TOYOKUNI MARU carries supplies and general cargo while en route to Yulin probably to load more bauxite ore.

8 March 1944:
SE of Hong Kong. At 1455, LtCdr Lowell T. Stone’s (USNA ’29) USS LAPON (SS-260) torpedoes and damages TOYOKUNI MARU. She loses power and goes dead in the water. NICHIREI MARU takes her in tow.

9 March 1944:
350 miles W of Cape Bojeador, Luzon. At 0150, while NICHIREI MARU is still towing TOYOKUNI MARU, USS LAPON torpedoes NICHIREI MARU. LtCdr Stone also torpedoes TOYOKUNI MARU. Hit by three torpedoes in the two attacks, she drifts away and sinks at 19-21N, 116-09E. 15 men are KIA.

The escorts, including an aircraft, counterattack, but fail to damage LAPON. At about 0500, NICHIREI MARU sinks at 19-44N, 115-52E. 46 crewmen and six gunners are KIA.

- Bob Hackett

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