(BATA (later UCHIDE MARU), prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2017 Bob Hackett

E 1918:
Clydebank, Glasgow, Scotland. Laid down at John Brown & Company as Yard No. 491, a 5,260-ton B-class standard cargo ship (WWI) cargo ship for African Steamship Co. (Elder, Dempster & Co.).

9 October 1919:
Launched and named BATA.


Placed on African Steamship Lines’ Liverpool ~ New York service.

Sold to Tower Steamship Lines’ London. Renamed TOWER ABBEY.

Sold to William Crosby & Co Pty., Melbourne. Renamed WILLANDRA.

Sold to Taihei Kisen K. K. (Yamashita Kisen K.K.), Kobe. Renamed UCHIDE MARU.

29 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army for service as a troop transport. Allotted Army No. 748.

17 December 1941: Operation "M" (M Sakusen) -The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
At 0900, UCHIDE MARU departs Kirun, Formosa (Keelung, Taiwan) for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Rear Admiral Hirose Sueto (39)(former CO of HARUNA) 3rd Lingayen Invasion Unit with 21 other IJA transports escorted by DesDiv 9's YAMAGUMO, minelayer WAKATAKA and four smaller warships.

The Japanese main invasion at Lingayen Gulf consists of three transport echelons. The first is composed of 27 transports from Takao under Rear Admiral Hara Kensaburo, the second of 28 transports under Rear Admiral Nishimura and the third under Rear Admiral Hirose. This force of 76 transports carries the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army.

24 December 1941:
Between 0110 and 0430, the transports land their troops at Lingayen.

18 February 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
UCHIDE 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.

Departs Camranh Bay in a convoy comprised of 56 troop transports. They carry the 2nd Infantry Division for the invasions of Merak, Bantam Bay and Eretan, Java escorted by light cruisers NATORI, and YURA and DesDivs 5, 6, 11, 12 and 22. Seaplane tender SANYO MARU provides air cover.

Forty-five transports go to Merak and Bantam Bay Java. UCHIDE MARU and six transports go to Eretan Wetan including CALCUTTA, GLASGOW, HOFUKU, SUWA, YAE and YAMAZUKI MARUs.

UCHIDE MARU carries elements of Colonel Shoji Toshishige’s detachment consisting of the 38th Infantry Division’s 230th Infantry Regiment, a Mountain Artillery Battalion, an Airfield Battalion, an Anti-Tank Battalion, an AA Battery, an Engineer Company, a Light Tank Company, two Independent Engineer Companies, a Motor Transport Company, the 40th Anchorage Headquarters and a platoon of the Bridge Material Company.

1 March 1942:
The seven transports arrive at Eretan Wetan, Java and land troops.

5 March 1942:
All seven transports depart Eretan Wetan for Singapore and arrive that day.

5 November 1942:
Released by the IA back to her owners.

1 December 1942:
UCHIDE MARU is re-requisitioned by the Imperial Army.

14 December 1942:
UCHIDE MARU departs Saeki for Rabaul in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy "I" consisting of CHINZEI, MEXICO, SHINSOKU and TSUKIKAWA MARUs and DAIGEN, MARU No. 3 escorted by cable-minelayer TSURUSHIMA and subchaser CH-37.

E 15 December 1942:
The escorts are detached at 29N.

29 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

16 January 1943:
At 0730, UCHIDE MARU departs Rabaul in a convoy also consisting of BRAZIL, CHIFUKU, CLYDE, DELAGOA, FUKOKU, FUKUYO and INDIA MARUs escorted by minesweepers W-17 and W-21.

At 0900, LtCdr (later Cdr/MOH, posthumously) Howard W. Gilmore's (USNA ’26) USS GROWLER (SS-215) attacks the convoy and torpedoes and sinks CHIFUKU MARU at 04-03N, 151-55E. One crewman is KIA.

22 January 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

2 June 1943:
At 0715, UCHIDE MARU departs Takao in convoy No. 268 also consisting of BATAVIA, FUJI, HEIAN, KAYO, KOSO, MIYO, REIYO,, SHOJIN, TSUSHIMA, WALES and YAMAHAGI MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

5 June 1943:
At 1013, TSUSHIMA MARU is hit by a dud Mark 14-3A torpedo from LtCdr (later Rear Admiral)Lawrence R. Daspit's (USNA ’27) USS TINOSA (SS-283), but is undamaged. PB-36 attacks with depth charges, but USS TINOSA escapes.

6 June 1943:
At 0925, MIYO MARU is detached for Jinsen, Chosen (Inchon, Korea).

7 June 1943:
At 0740, arrives at Moji.

24 July 1943:
UCHIDE MARU departs Saeki in convoy O-406 also consisting of FUKUYAMA, KINE, KAZUURA, NISHIYAMA (SEIZAN) and TENKAI MARUs. escorted by minelayer YURIJIMA and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 8

E 26 July 1943:
YURIJIMA and TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 are detached at 29N.

2 August 1943:
Torpedo boat HATO joins the escort at 11N. Later that day, the convoy arrives at Palau.

10 September 1943:
UCHIDE MARU departs Saeki in convoy O-008 also consisting of CLYDE, KAMOI, KIBI, NISSHU, TONEI, TONEGAWA and TSUYAMA MARUs escorted by destroyer HARUKAZE, torpedo boat SAGI, minelayer YURIJIMA, auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU, auxiliary patrol boat NITTO MARU No. 12. TSUYAMA MARU

11 September 1943:
80 miles off Toi promontory. At 0150, LtCdr Joseph W. Wilkins' (USNA '33) USS SPEARFISH (SS-190) torpedoes TSUYAMA MARU at 30-56N, 132-47E. She is carrying 1,000 military personnel and military supplies. Five men are KIA.

TSUYAMA MARU settles by the stern and navigation becomes impossible. YURIJIMA and SAGI tow TSUYAMA MARU back to Saeki. YURIJIMA, CHOUN MARU and NITTO MARU No. 12 are detached at 30N.

3 October 1943:
UCHIDE MARU depart Palau in convoy “Hollandia No. 1” also consisting of KAMOI and TONEGAWA MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 5 escorted by subchaser CH-34.

6 October 1943:
Arrives at Hollandia.

7 October 1943:
Departs Hollandia with the addition of NAGANO MARU from ill-fated convoy “Wewak No. 7”.

10 October 1943:
Subchaser CH-35 joins the escort.

11 October 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

13 November 1943:
UCHIDE MARU departs Singapore in convoy O-106 also consisting of BRAZIL, FRANCE, KOYU, TEIYU (ex-Italian CARIGNANO), TOYOKAWA and YAMAZURU MARUs and SHINTO MARU No. 1 wth an unknown escort.

26 November 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

25 November 1943:
UCHIDE MARU departs Palau for Rabaul in convoy SO-505 also consisting of CLYDE, COLUMBIA, HOKKO and YURI MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-24 and CH-39.

28 November 1943:
At 1010, LtCdr (later Cdr) James W. Davis' (USNA ’30) USS RATON (SS-270) attacks the convoy. YURI MARU is hit by three torpedoes and sinks at 01-40N, 141-51E. 14 crewmen and 38 troops of the Army's 2nd Debarkation Unit are KIA. RATON then torpedoes and sinks HOKKO MARU carrying 640 troops. One soldier and three crewmen are KIA.

29 November 1943:
LtCdr Robert J. Foley's (USNA ’27) USS GATO (SS-212) attacks the convoy unsuccessfully.

30 November 1943:
GATO launches a second attack. Foley torpedoes COLUMBIA MARU carrying 180 survivors of YURI MARU, 5,800-tons of fuel oil, provisions and motor boats. Abandoned, she finally sinks at 01-56N, 147-21E. One crewman is KIA.

3 December 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

7 February 1944:
At 1230, UCHIDE MARU departs Moji for Takao in convoy MOTA-02 also consisting of CHINKAI, FUJIKAWA, FUYO, LIMA, NANREI, OYO, RAKUYO, SHIRANESAN, TAIKEI, TESHIO and TOSHIN MARUs and TOYO MARU No. 3 and KYOEI MARU No. 5 escorting torpedo boat SAGI. UCHIDE MARU carries 2,483 passengers including replacements for 4th Air Army and 500 replacements for the 6th Navigational Aid Regiment.

8 February 1944:
At 0720, patrol boat PB-38 departs Sasebo and joins the convoy. At about 1600, off the W coast of Kyushu, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles O. Triebel's (USNA '29) USS SNOOK (SS-279) torpedoes and damages SHIRANESAN MARU. 135 men are KIA. She is detached for Sasebo with torpedo boat SAGI.

W coast of Kyushu, about 30 miles SE of Goto Archipelago. At about 2200, SNOOK torpedoes transport LIMA MARU at 31-05N, 127-37E. Hit by three torpedoes, she sinks at 31-05N, 127-37E. 2,765 troops, four civilians, 9 gunners and 56 crewmen are KIA, many succumb to the frigid water.

30 miles SE of the Goto Archipelago. At 2200, USS SNOOK again attacks the convoy, sinks troop transport LIMA MARU at 31-05N, 127-37E. 2765 troops, four conscripted workers, nine gunners and 56 crew are KIA. SNOOK survives depth-charging by one or more of the convoy's escorts. The convoy heads to Kagoshima, Kyushu.

9 February 1944:
USN codebreakers at Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, Australia (FRUMEL) intercept and decode a message sent at 0220 that reads "LIMA Maru exploded and sank after being hit twice at 2245 on 8th in 31-05N, 129---E. Patrol Boat 38 and No. 5 HYOEI (KYOEI) MARU are picking up survivors and keeping the submarine down. Remainder of convoy taking refuge at Kagoshima. "

20 February 1944:
UCHIDE MARU departs Takao for Palau in convoy TAPA-02 also consisting of NANREI and TESHIO MARUs and other unidentified ships escorted by destroyer HARUKAZE, torpedo boat SAGI. UCHIDE MARU still carries 2,483 passengers including replacements for 4th Air Army and 500 replacements for the 6th Navigational Aid Regiment.

23 February 1944:
Patrol boat PB-31 joins the escort of convoy TAPA-02.

29 February 1944:
120 miles W of Palau, LtCdr Phillip W. Garnett’s (USNA ‘33) USS SARGO (SS-188) attacks the convoy and damages UCHIDE MARU at 08-57N, 132-52E.

1 March 1944:
Abandoned. Her crew transfers to torpedo boat SAGI and patrol boat PB-31.

2 March 1944:

Author's Note:
Thanks to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and the late John Whitman.

Bob Hackett

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