KOSAKUKAN!

(URAKAMI MARU prewar)

IJN Repair Ship URAKAMI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2008-2011 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall
Revision 1


5 November 1940:
Kobe. Laid down at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding as 4,317-ton cargo ship for Fukuyo Kisen K.K., Kobe.

27 June 1941:
Launched and named URAKAMI MARU. [1]

10 November 1941:
Completed.

12 November 1941:
Requistioned by the IJN.

1 December 1941:
Registered as a specially installed construction warship in the Sasebo Naval District.

10 January 1942:
Sasebo Navy Yard. Begins conversion to a salvage and repair ship.

25 January 1942:
Completes conversion. Assigned directly to the Combined Fleet.

1942:
Reassigned to SubRon 3, Sixth Fleet at Truk.

3 March 1942:
Provides repairs for large minelayer TOKIWA.

6 March 1942:
Loads coal.

7 March 1942:
Provides repairs for TOKIWA.

8 March 1942:
Kwajalein. Undertakes repairs of auxiliary gunboat NAGATA MARU damaged on 1 Feb 1942 at Makin.

18 March 1942:
Repairs are completed.

25 March 1942:
Loads coal.

28 March 1942:
Departs Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands.

31 March 1942:
Arrives at Ponape, Caroline Islands.

2 April 1942:
Departs Ponape.

4 April 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

30 April 1942:
Departs Truk.

4 May 1942:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

5 May 1942:
Departs Kwajalein. Arrives at Roi later that day.

19 June 1942:
Departs Roi. Arrives at Kwajalein later that day.

26 September 1942:
Truk. Submarine I-33 is moored alongside URAKAMI MARU. I-33’s stern is secured to the wharf on Natsushima (Dublon) Island. Early in the morning, three engineers from URAKAMI MARU and I-33’s remaining crew start repairs of I-33's lowermost port torpedo tube, No. 6.

At 0921, in a misguided attempt to minimize the influence of swells and to raise I-33's bow, her navigator, senior officer aboard, permits the drain cock of the aft main tanks to be opened. The buoyancy of the partially flooded submarine is seriously compromised. The hawsers securing the stern snap, the forward torpedo hatch floods and I-33 sinks in just two minutes. Thirty-three crewmen are lost.

Personnel aboard URAKAMI MARU immediately launch a rescue operation. A diver locates the sub in 120 feet of water and reports that some crewmembers are alive. Due to the lack of equipment and divers, the rescue attempt ends in failure. [2]

23 November 1943:
At Truk.

14 February 1944:
URAKAMI MARU is anchored on the leeward side of Dublon Island near submarine tender HEIAN MARU and light training cruiser KATORI.

17-18 February 1944: American Operation "Hailstone" - The Attack on Truk:
Truk Lagoon. Beginning at dawn, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s Task Force 58 launches air attacks on Truk about every hour for two days. URAKAMI MARU is anchored on the leeward side of Dublon Island when at 0435 (JST) an air raid alarm is given.

18 February 1944:
At 0110, another air raid commences. During the raids, URAKAMI MARU claims shooting down two American carrier planes and damaging another.

TF 58 sinks 31 merchant transports, two light cruisers, four destroyers and four auxiliary vessels; destroys nearly 200 aircraft and damages severely about 100 more. Truk is eliminated as a major fleet anchorage.

20 February 1944:
Departs Truk.

6 March 1944:
At 1130, URAKAMI MARU departs Truk for Saipan in convoy No. 4304 consisting of SHIRANE, JUZAN and AWAJI MARUs escorted by kaibokan AMAKUSA, MIKURA, subchaser CH-33 and minesweeper W-21.

10 March 1944:
At 1222, arrives at Saipan, Marianas.

21 March 1944:
Palau Islands. At about 2300, LtCdr Richard E. Nichols’ USS BASHAW (SS-241) fires six torpedoes by radar at a large ship. One torpedo hits aft and immobilizes URAKAMI MARU at 06-58N, 136-29E. Destroyer MINAZUKI tows her to Palau screened by destroyer YUZUKI.

30 March 1944: American Operation “Desecrate One” :
Palau. The anchorage is attacked by F6F "Hellcats", SBD "Dauntless", TBF "Avenger" and SB2C "Helldivers" of Task Group 58. 1's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24) and COWPENS (CVL-25), TG 58. 2's BUNKER HILL (CV-17), HORNET (CV-12), MONTEREY (CV-26) and CABOT (CVL-28) and TG 58. 3's YORKTOWN (CV-10), LEXINGTON (CV-16), PRINCETON (CVL-23) and LANGLEY (CVL-27).

Malakal Harbor. At 0830, an SB2C from HORNET attacks URAKAMI MARU and drops a 1,000-lb bomb with uncertain results. At about 1010, URAKAMI MARU is attacked by two TBFs from MONTEREY that drop 2,000-lb bombs. The TBF crews report a hit on the fantail and a near-miss that set the ship afire. URAKAMI MARU settles by the stern and begins to list to port. She sinks later that day at an unknown time.

10 May 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Postwar:
Partially dismantled and scrapped by Fujita Salvage K. K, Osaka.


Authors’ Notes:
[1] Also known as URAGAMI MARU and UKARAMI MARU; however, the latter nomenclature is incorrect.

[2] On 25 Dec ’42, a new salvage operation is begun and on 29 Dec ’42, I-33 is raised and refloated successfully. In Mar ’43, I-33 is towed to Kure Navy Yard where she undergoes repairs, but on 13 Jun ’44 when she dives in the Iyo Nada to complete her acceptance trials, her starboard main induction valve fails and I-33 sinks again. 102 crewmembers are lost. In 1953, the wreck of I-33 is raised for the last time and scrapped.

Photo credit goes to Gilbert Casse of France.

Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall


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