SOKAITEI!

(W-18 scanned from SOTW, V. 507)

IJN Minesweeper W-18:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2005-2014 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 10


2 February 1935:
Tamano. Laid down at the Mitsui shipyard.

19 September 1935:
Launched and numbered W-18.

30 April 1936:
Completed and registered in the Kure Naval District.

4-9 January 1941:
W-18 is appointed the temporary flagship of the Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

15 May 1941:
Reassigned to MineSweepDiv 30 with W-17.

10 June 1941:
Takao, Formosa. Assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (39)(former CO of AOBA) 2nd Base Force of Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (36) (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Third Fleet.

26 November 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

30 November 1941:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

7 December 1941:
W-18 is with Rear Admiral Hirose's 2nd Base Force in Cdr Kanaoka Kunizo's (48) MineSweepDiv 30 based at Takao, Formosa. Departs Mako. Escorts a convoy that lands troops on Batan Island, Luzon.

17 December 1941:
Departs Takao. Escorts convoys and sweeps Lingayen Bay.

31 December 1941:
Sweeps the Tarakan invasion area.

7 January 1942: The Invasion of Dutch Borneo:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (39) (former CO of AOBA) No. 2 Base Force departs Davao escorting the Tarakan invasion convoy consisting of an oiler and 13 transports carrying MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo’s 56th Mixed Infantry Group and Kure No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF). The No. 2 Base Force includes MineSweepDiv’s 30's W-18 and W-17, MineSweepDiv 11’s W-13, W-14, W-15 and W-16, patrol boats PB-36, PB-37 and PB-38, SubChasDiv 31’s CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12 and other auxiliary ships.

Close cover is provided by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji’s (39) DesRon 4’s light cruiser NAKA with DesDiv 2 and DesDiv 24. The 21st Air Flotilla’s tenders SANUKI and SANYO MARUs provide air cover.

11 January 1942:
Rear Admiral Hirose's Force invades Tarakan, Borneo.

21 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo.
W-18 and Hirose’s No. 2 Base Force depart Tarakan escorting the Balikpapan Invasion Convoy consisting of 16 transports carrying the Sakaguchi Brigade and the Kure No. 2 SNLF. DesRon 4 provides additional escort. Cover is provided by NAKA, DesDiv 2 and DesDiv 24. The 21st Air Flotilla again provides air cover.

23 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Dutch Borneo:
The invasion convoy is spotted by Allied aerial reconnaissance. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) William A. Glassford's Task Force 5's light cruisers USS USS MARBLEHEAD (CL-12), USS BOISE (CL-47) and Cdr Paul H. Talbot's DesDiv 59's old flush deck, four-stack destroyers USS PARROTT (DD-218), USS POPE (DD-225), USS JOHN D. FORD (DD-228) and USS PAUL JONES (DD-230) are ordered by Admiral (later Senator) Thomas C. Hart, ADBAFLOAT Commander, to intercept the convoy before it reaches Balikpapan.

Glassford heads north to find the invasion force, but USS BOISE runs aground and USS MARBLEHEAD develops engine trouble. DesDiv 59 is detached and increases speed to arrive at Balikpapan at midnight.

Storms protect the invasion force until it is almost to Balikpapan. At 1525, nine Dutch Martin Model 166 (B-10) bombers from Samarinda attack and hit transports NANA and TATSUGAMI MARUs. NANA MARU is abandoned and later sinks. TATSUGAMI MARU continues to Balikpapan. At 2130, the transports begin disembarking their troops.

24 January 1942:
Dutch Navy LtCdr C. A. J. van Well Groeneveld's (former CO of K-XIV) submarine K-XVIII, operating on the surface due to the weather, fires four bow torpedoes at NAKA, but they all miss. At 0045, Groeneveld attacks and sinks transport TSURUGA MARU at 00-10N, 118-0E. 38 troops and a single crewman are killed. Nishimura moves his covering force eastwards to carry out antisubmarine sweeps.Talbot's DesDiv 59 arrives from the south. Since Nishimura's covering forces are now to the east searching for submarines, the four destroyers are virtually unopposed.

At about 0245, USS PARROTT fires eight torpedoes at W-15 that she mistakes for a destroyer or cruiser. USS JOHN D. FORD also fires a torpedo at W-15 again. All miss or fail to explode. At 0316, they begin their first attack firing their 4-inch guns and launching ten torpedoes at the anchored transports, but all the torpedoes miss. Cdr Talbot orders another attack. At 0330, USS POPE hits and sinks transport SUMANOURA MARU. The ship explodes and 9 passengers, and the ship’s whole Navy crew are obliterated. At 0335, USS PARROTT and USS PAUL JONES sink already damaged transport TATSUGAMI MARU with torpedoes. Four crewmen are killed. At 0345, USS JOHN D. FORD sinks transport KURETAKE MARU with gunfire and torpedoes. The ship was carrying a total of 1500 infantry of the 56th Mixed Regimental Group (Sakaguchi Brigade) of whom 180 (including some shipping engineers) are killed. Two other transports suffer damage from gunfire and torpedoes but remain afloat. USS POPE and USS PARROTT sink the 2nd Base Force's patrol boat P-37 with torpedoes and gunfire. At 0350, their torpedoes gone, DesDiv 59 departs southward. At 0300, the Japanese begin landing troops at Balikpapan and, by dawn, they occupy the airfield. That same day, troops invade Kendari, Celebes.

8 February 1942:
Supports the capture of Makassar, Celebes. Sweeps the invasion area.

19 February 1942:
Supports the seizure of Java.

10 March 1942:
Assigned to Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (36) Southwest Area Fleet's newly formed Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet in Special Base Force 31.

27 March 1942:
Conducts patrols from Subic Bay, Philippines.

7 May 1942:
At 1900 ceases patrols and arrives at Nasugbu (?).

9 May 1942:
At 1900 resumes patrols at Manila Bay entrance.

1 June 1942:
Reassigned to the Yokosuka Naval District.

10 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Conducts anti-submarine patrols off Tokyo Bay.

16 June 1942:
Departs Tokyo Bay escorting westbound convoy consisting of NANMAN, TONEGAWA, KURETAKE MARUs, NISSHIN MARU No. 2 and TOYO MARU No. 1. W-18 subsequently detaches off Daio Zaki.

21 June 1942:
W-18 departs Tokyo Bay escorting a northbound convoy to Hokkaido consisting of ANZAN, KENSHIN, FUKI, KANAYAMASAN, NICHIUN and TATEYAMA MARUs and EIKO MARU No. 2 GO.

30 June 1942:
W-18 departs Tokyo Bay escorting a westbound convoy consisting of YOMEI, KIMPOSAN and BIWA MARUs and KARI GO.

4 September 1942:
W-18 is reported as escorting a convoy off Kinkasan.

5 September 1942:
W-18, destroyer HATAKAZE, auxiliary gunboats HIYOSHI MARU No. 2 GO and KEISHIN and CHITOSE MARUs conduct a submarine hunt off Miyako, Iwate Prefecture.

28 September 1942:
W-18 is reported as escorting a convoy from Hokkaido southwards.

3 December 1942:
W-18 arrives Tokyo Bay escorting southbound convoy No. 56 consisting of HISASHIMA, NICHIREN and SHINMEI MARUs.

12 December 1942:
W-18 arrives at Tokyo Bay escorting eastbound convoy No. 42 consisting of five unidentified ships.

21 December 1942:
W-18 departs Tokyo Bay escorting north convoy No. 74 consisting of TAKAO MARU and TOYO MARU No. 5.

23 December 1942:
W-18 returns to Tokyo Bay escorting south convoy No. 82 consisting of HOKUTO, YOKO, SHOZAN and LIVERPOOL MARUs.

3 January 1943:
W-18 departs Tokyo Bay escorting convoy No. 1103 bound for Hokkaido consisting of MATSUMOTO, SHINFUKU, HOKUTO MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 3.

6 January 1943:
The convoy arrives off Shiriyazaki and W-18 detaches and meets up with convoy No. 2108 consisting of MAYACHI, MIKADO (TERUSHIMA), KISHU, TATEYAMA and HANASAKI MARUs, SHINYO MARU No. 3, UNKAI MARU No. 7 and HINO MARU No. 1.

8 January 1943:
Departs Kobui at 1030 and later arrives at Tokyo Bay.

13 January 1943:
W-18 departs Tokyo Bay for Hokkaido escorting convoy No. 1113A consisting of ASAKAZE, NIKKO, SANTO, GOZAN and INARI MARUs.

17 January 1943:
W-18 departs Kobui at 1300 escorting convoy No. 2117 consisting of WAKATSU, JINBU, KAMISHIMA, TAMASHIMA and HOKUSHIN MARUs.

23 January 1943:
At 1000 W-18 departs Yokosuka escorting convoy consisting of SANSEI and KAHOKU MARUs. Later at 33 degrees north W-18 detaches.

25 January 1943:
At 1230 W-18 departs from off Yokosuka escorting convoy No. 7125A consisting of KOAN, TONEGAWA, WAKATAKE and SANSEI MARUs and HOKKA GO.

26 January 1943:
At 2230 arrives off Yura where W-18 detaches.

29 January 1943:
At 1100 W-18 departs Kobe escorting convoy No. 8129 consisting of SAISHU, HAKUSHU, TOKO, NIKKYU and KURETAKE MARUs.

2 February 1943:
At 1215 W-18 departs Yokosuka escorting convoy No. 1202 consisting of NARUO (ex Panamanian ESTERO), FUKUSEI and BOKUYO MARUs and DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6.

7 February 1943:
Arrives Tokyo Bay escorting convoy No. 2207 consisting of KIFUNE, TSUNESHIMA and SAINAN MARUs.

9 February 1943:
W-18 arrives Tokyo Bay escorting convoy No. 2209B consisting of KIFUNE, ROZAN (ex British ANALOCK) and SEINAN MARUs, SHINYO MARU no. 3 and an unidentified merchant ship.

15 February 1943:
At 1200 W-15 departs Yokohama escorting westbound convoy No. 7215 consisting of CHOSEN, DAICHO, KAISHO and FUSHIMI MARUs.

20 February 1943:
W-18 arrives Tokyo Bay escorting convoy No. 2220 from Hokkaido consisting of GENBU, HANASAKI, SEINAN and TOYO MARUs.

22 March 1943:
Near Inubo in Chiba prefecture, W-18 runs aground in heavy weather and is damaged.

26 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Docjed and undergoes repairs.

1 April 1943:
Reassigned to the Kure Guard Unit.

12 April 1943:
Undocked but remains at Yokosuka for the remainder of the month.

8 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Kure.

10 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

13 May 1943:
Departs Kure and later arrives at Saiki.

15 May 1943:
Departs Saiki on an escort mission.

16 May 1943:
In position 26-56N 133-26E meets up with convoy P-509 consisting of MEITEN, KIMISHIMA, TOKO, EHIME, TOUN, BUNZAN, SHUNSHO, TAIYU and CHIHAYA MARUs escorted by minelayer YURIJIMA.

18 May 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

19 May 1943:
At 0530, W-18, torpedo boat HATO and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU No. 6 depart Saiki escorting convoy K.519 consisting of KOYO, NITTAI, CLYDE, MOJI, YAMAGATA, KOCHI, KANAYAMASAN and SAIPAN MARUs.

E 21 May 1943:
W-18 is probably detached at latitude 29N. Later that day arrives back at Saiki.

23 May 1943:
Departs Saiki and later that day arrives at location near Shimokamagari Jima.

25 May 1943:
Departs above location.

26 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

27 May 1943:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Saiki.

30 May 1943:
Departs Saiki.

June 1943:
Reserve Lt. Hirose Hiroyuki assumes command.

2 June 1943:
Arrives at Saiki and departs at 0800 escorting convoy O-204 consisting of GENOA, NISHIYAMA, KEIZAN and SHICHISEI MARUs also escorted by patrol boat PB-46.

E 4 June 1943:
At 29N W-18 is detached.

5 June 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

6 June 1943:
W-17 and W-18 depart Saiki on patrol.

7 June 1943:
Both arrive back at Saiki.

8 June 1943:
W-17 and W-18 depart Saiki on patrol.

9 June 1943:
At 0900, W-18 and W-17 depart Saiki escorting convoy O-905 consisting of DAKAR, TOHO, CHINZEI, BUNZAN and KINSEN MARUs.

E 11 June 1943:
W-18 is detached at latitude 29N and returns to Japan.

13 June 1943:
Arrives At Saiki.

14 June 1943:
Departs Saiki.

15 June 1943:
Arrives at Aburatsu and departs later that day on a anti submarine sweep.

20 June 1943:
At 0630, W-18, torpedo boat HATO and kaibokan IKI depart Saiki escorting convoy O-007 consisting of KAZUURA, RYOYO, NISSHU, TOKO, SHOHO, TAIRIN and UMEKAWA MARUs.

E 22 June 1943:
W-18 is detached at latitude 29N.

24 June 1943:
Arrives at Saiki.

25 June 1943:
Departs Saiki and later that day arrives at Kure.

26 June 1943:
Enters the dockyard at Kure.

2 July 1943:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Saiki.

4 July 1943:
At 0700, W-18 and W-17 depart Saiki escorting convoy O-404 consisting of TAIKO, MEXICO, KAYO and HOZUGAWA MARUs carrying troops and equipment of the 51st Army Division.

E 6 July 1943:
W-18 is detached from convoy O-404.

7 July 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

8 July 1943:
Departs Saiki.

E 10 July 1943:
At latitude 29N, W-18 and patrol boat PB-46 join convoy O-806 consisting of ASO, EHIME, KAZAN and ZUISHO MARUs that left Saiki on 8 July escorted by fleet supply ship ARASAKI and auxiliary gunboat HINO MARU No. 5.

E 12 July 1943:
W-18 is detached and returns to Saiki.

15 July 1943:
At 0930 departs Saiki escorting convoy O-505 consisting of KOZAN, CHINZEI, SAIPAN, BRAZIL and KORYU MARUs also escorted by the torpedo boat HATO, submarine chaser CH-10 and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU No. 7.

16 July 1943:
At about noon at 29-N W-18 and TAMA MARU No. 7 are detached and return to Saiki.

17 July 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

18 July 1943:
Departs Saiki.

19 July 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

21 July 1943:
Docked at Kure.

12 August 1943:
Undocked.

17 August 1943:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Saiki.

21 August 1943:
Departs Saiki escorting convoy O-104 consisting of TAITO, KUMAGAWA, ALASKA and YAMAGATA MARUs to Palau. Minesweeper W-33 and auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No. 6 and TAMA MARU No. 7 also escort the convoy initially.

E 22 August 1943:
At 30-30N 134-05 TAMA MARU No. 6 and TAMA MARU No. 7 are detached.

E 23 August 1943:
At 29-N W-33 is detached.

30 August 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

2 September 1943:
Departs Palau escorting convoy FU-206 consisting of YASUSHIMA, EHIME, SANSEI, YUBAE, SHINRYU MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 3.

11 September 1943:
The minelayer YURIJIMA and auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 and TAMA MARU No. 7 join the convoy.

12 September 1943:
Arrives at Saiki.

13 September 1943:
Departs Saiki and later that day arrives at Kure.

17 September 1943:
Briefly departs Kure before returning to port.

27 September 1943:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Saiki.

30 September 1943:
At 0800 W-18 and auxiliary minesweepers TOKUHO MARU No. 10, TAMA MARU No. 7, OI and TAMA MARUs depart Saiki escorting convoy O-006 consisting of TAGA, FUKKO, SHINKO, TAIRIN and ASO MARUs and HOSHI (JUCHISEI) MARU No. 11.

E 1 October 1943:
At 30-N TAMA and OI MARUs are detached.

E 2 October 1943:
At 29-N TAMA MARU No. 7 is detached

10 October 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

13 October 1943:
At 1000, W-18 departs Palau escorting convoy FU-310 consisting of DAKAR, BRAZIL, CLYDE, FUKUYO, YURI, HAVRE, PACIFIC, KIBI, SHOUN and CHIYO MARUs.

E 20 October 1943:
Joined by auxiliary minesweepers AOI and YACHIYO MARUs and TOKUHO MARU No. 10.

22 October 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Fukashima. Later that day W-18 arrives at Saiki.

31 October 1943:
At 0600, W-18, W-17, auxiliary subchasers TAKUNAN MARU No. 8, CHIYO MARU No. 8 and auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, TOKUHO MARU No. 10 and AOI MARU depart Saiki for Palau escorting convoy O-112 consisting of DELAGOA, EHIME, YAWATA, KANJO, UME, CHIHAYA, TENCHO, UMEKAWA, YAMAGATA, NICHIAI, MOJI and HOZUGAWA MARUs. That night, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Robert E. Dornin's (USNA ’35) USS TRIGGER (SS-237). Dornin claims two sinkings, but, in fact, scores no hits. The escorts counterattack, but are also unsuccessful.

2 November 1943:
At 0048, LtCdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutter's (USNA ’35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) torpedoes and sinks YAWATA MARU at 28-20N, 135-20E. Four gunners and 64 of the crew are killed. At 0220, Dornin's USS TRIGGER attacks the convoy again, this time sinking DELAGOA MARU. The ship was carrying men of the 248th Squadron some of whom together with 12 returned Army civilian employee assistants, seven gunners and 68 crewmen are confirmed killed. At 0321, Dornin torpedoes and sinks UME MARU at 28-40N, 135, 25E. 36 passengers, 25 gunners and 24 crewmen are killed. At 0418, Cutter's USS SEAHORSE attacks again, This time Cutter sinks CHIHAYA MARU (ex-Dutch TJISAROEA) at 29-31N, 134, 50E. Six crewmen are KIA. Finally, at 0845, Cdr (later Admiral) I. J. Galantin's (USNA ’33) USS HALIBUT (SS-232) torpedoes and sinks EHIME MARU at 28-20N, 134-48E. Five gunners and all 79 of the crew are killed.

11 November 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

14 November 1943:
Departs Palau escorting convoy FU-405 consisting of TOTAI, FUKKO, ASUKA, YAHIKO and OSUMI MARUs.

E 22 November 1943:
At 30N auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, TAMA MARU No. 6 and OI MARU meet up with the convoy.

23 November 1943:
Arrives at Saiki.

28 November 1943:
W-17 depart Palau for Saiki escorting convoy FU-009 consisting of TAJIMA, TOYOOKA, NISSHIN, KOSEI, TOSHO, TENCHO, RYUWA, SAN FRANCISCO and KIZUGAWA MARUs. Enroute, NISSHIN MARU is detached due to engine trouble and returns to Palau. The convoy is later joined by two other escorts including W-18 as far as Fukashima, where W-18 is probably also detached. The convoy arrives at Saiki on 7 December.

5 December 1943:
W-18 joins convoy O-506 consisting of ERIE, DENMARK, SAIHO, SHINYO and TAIAN MARU No. 2 escorted by auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No.6 and OI MARUs and Minelayer NUWAJIMA.

E 7 December 1943:
At latitude 28N, all escorts detach except W-18.

14 December 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Palau.

17 December 1943:
W-18 departs Palau for Fukashima escorting convoy FU-704 consisting of KOFUKU, SHINYO, FUKOKU and AWA MARUs.

E 25 December 1943:
At latitude 28 N, auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU and auxiliary subchaser TAMA MARU No. 6 join the convoy from Japan to escort it on the last dangerous leg.

E 27 December 1943:
At 30-20N, 133-58E, FUKOKU MARU's engine breaks down. W-18 takes the ship in tow.

28 December 1943:
Arrives at Fukashima. Later that day arrives at Saiki.

30 December 1943:
Departs Saiki and later that day arrives at Kure.

8 January 1944:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Saiki.

11 January 1944:
Convoy O-105 departs Saiki for Rabaul via Palau consisting of YAMATSURU, TARUSHIMA, ERIE, DENMARK and NARITA MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-18 and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU. YAMATSURU and TARUSHIMA MARUs are towing unidentified midget submarines. In addition, YAMATSURU MARU carries the midget submarines' crews and technical personnel.

WSW of Cape Ashizuri. About 1230, ERIE MARU is torpedoed in hold No. 2 by LtCdr Charleton L. Murphy’s (USNA ’32) old USS STURGEON (SS-187) at 32-31N, 132-34E. At 1417, ERIE MARU lists over and sinks. She is carrying about 2,500 Army troops from the 5th Nanyo (South Seas) Group of which about 200 are KIA. The escorts counter-attack and drop 51 depth-charges. USS STURGEON incurs slight damage, but escapes. The convoy returns to port.

12 January 1944:
Arrives back at Saiki.

13 January 1944:
Saiki. At 0200, the convoy again sets out for Palau.

14 January 1944:
155 miles SE of Tanega-Jima. At 2025, YAMATSURU MARU towing midget submarine HA-50, is attacked by LtCdr (later Cdr) Royce L. Gross’ (USNA ’30) USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) at 28-25N, 133-30E. The ship, that has just discontinued zigzagging, is hit by a torpedo in her No. 2 hold. There is a heavy explosion followed by great fires. YAMATSURU MARU’s cargo of aviation fuel catches fire and begins to cascade into the sea. Another torpedo strikes her between the engine room and No. 3 hold. YAMATSURU MARU lists to port and sinks within a few minutes taking down the midget submarine. Four passengers, two escort troops and 30 of the crew are killed.

16 January 1944:
Philippine Sea. At 0130, an enemy submarine fires two shells that fall in the sea near the stern of DENMARK MARU, but the submarine is driven off. At 1806, that same day, LtCdr Albert C. Burrow's USS WHALE (SS-239) torpedoes and sinks DENMARK MARU with the loss of 1,653 men out of 2,899 troops of the 51st Infantry Division and 20 gunners and 31 crewmen. At 2250, LtCdr Gross’ USS SEAWOLF damages TARUSHIMA MARU by gunfire at 23-00N, 135-00E. [1]

20 January 1944:
W-18 detaches from the scattered convoy and proceeds on an anti submarine sweep for two days.

22 January 1944:
Arrives at Oshima.

23 January 1944:
Departs Oshima.

24 January 1944:
Arrives at Naha.

29 January 1944:
Departs Naha.

31 January 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

6 February 1944:
Arrives at Kure escorting a convoy.

8 February 1944:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Saiki.

11 February 1944:
Departs Saiki.

13 February 1944:
Returns to Saiki.

14 February 1944:
Departs Saiki.

18 February 1944:
At 0700, two unidentified escorts depart Palau for Takao escorting convoy PATA-02 consisting of KANKYO, MACASSAR, MEXICO, SHOUN and two unidentified ships. Enroute two other ships including W-18 join the escort.

19 February 1944:
At 0700, patrol boat PB-31 joins as an additional escort.

20 February 1944:
W-18 arrives at Naha.

21 February 1944:
W-18 departs Naha.

23 February 1944:
W-18 returns to Naha.

24 February 1944:
Destroyer HARUKAZE joins as an additional escort.

26 February 1944:
At 1950, the convoy less W-18 arrives at Takao.

29 February 1944:
W-18 departs Keelung with destroyers ASAGAO, HARUKAZE and NAMIKAZE, auxiliary subchaser CHa-74 escorting convoy TAMO-07 consisting of tankers MATSUMOTO, SHOUN and ASANAGI MARUs and cargo ships BIZEN, HAVRE (5652 gt), BATAVIA MARUs and TOYO MARU No. 3 and sixteen unidentified merchant ships.

E 3 March 1944:
ASAGAO is detached.

7 March 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

5 April 1944:
At 0240, W-18 and patrol boat PB-38 depart Imari Bay for Takao escorting convoy MOTA-16 consisting of OGURA MARU No. 1, TACHIBANA, NITTETSU, SANKO, HIROTA, TENSHIN, MITSU, TAKETSU (BUTSU), TOSHO, SHONAN (5859 GRT) and SHIRAHAMA MARUs.

10 April 1944:
Reassigned to the 1st Marine Escort Division. That same day, W-18 departs Yulin 74 escorting convoy YUTA-04 consisting of six unidentified merchant ships.

15 April 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

19 April 1944:
At 0800, W-18, torpedo boat HATSUKARI, auxiliary gunboat KAZAN (HUASHAN) MARU and kaibokan CD-1 depart Takao escorting an amalgamation of three convoys TASA-17, TE-03 and No. 82 consisting of tanker TENSHIN MARU and cargo ships FRANCE, KINREI, SHORYU, DAIBU, YULIN, TOYOHI, HOKKA, NARUO, DAIYOKU, WAKO GO, JINJU, RAKUZAN, SEISHO, IKOMASAN, KAIKO, OAKITA, YOSHUN, HIROTA and NINGPO MARUs.

21 April 1944:
At 1000, the convoys split. Convoys TASA-17 and No. 82 with HATSUKARI and W-18 head for St Jacques, while ore convoy TE-03 with kaibokan CD-1 and KAZAN MARU head for Yulin.

27 April 1944:
At 1030, the convoy arrives at St Jacques.

7 May 1944:
At 1900, W-18 and subchaser CH-19 depart Singapore in convoy SHIMI-02 consisting of DURBAN, CHINA, FUKUJU and KUNIYAMA MARUs and tankers TONAN MARU No. 2, EIYO, CHIHAYA, SHINEI and NICHINAN MARUs.

11 May 1944:
At 1545, arrives at Cape Kidurang.

12 May 1944:
At 1005, the convoy arrives at Miri. Later that day, at 1440, W-18 departs Miri escorting convoy MISHI-01 consisting of OMINE and TEIHOKU MARUs and tanker SEISHIN MARU.

15 May 1944:
At 1500, the convoy arrives at Singapore.

18 May 1944:
At 1500, W-18 departs Singapore for Miri, Borneo escorting convoy SIMI-03 consisting of PACIFIC and KOSHU MARUs and KONAN MARU No. 1.

21 May 1944:
At 2134, the convoy is attacked by an unidentified submarine at 03-26N, 113-36E, but no damage is inflicted.

22 May 1944:
At 1120, arrives at Miri.

24 May 1944:
At 1900, W-18 departs Miri for Singapore with auxiliary minesweeper CHOUN MARU No. 7 escorting convoy MISHI-02 consisting of MEXICO, IMAJI (ex Dutch DE KLERK) and IIDA MARUs and NANSHIN MARU No. 2 and NANSHIN MARU No. 6.

27 May 1944:
CD-1, CD-8 and CD-20 join the convoy.

29 May 1944:
At 1252, arrives at Singapore.

2 June 1944:
At 0825, W-18 departs Singapore for Saigon, Indochina escorting convoy SHISA-21 consisting of TATEISHI, TSURUSHIMA and HEIAN MARUs.

6 June 1944:
At 0700, arrives at Saigon. TATEISHI MARU embarks 188 passengers, TSURUSHIMA MARU loads gaoline and HEIAN MARU embarks 1,620 passengers.

13 June 1944:
W-18 departs St Jacques escorting convoy SASHI-25A for Singapore consisting solely of HEIAN MARU.

18 June 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

20 June 1944:
At 1900, W-18, auxiliary minesweepers KIKU, TOSHI MARUs and CHOUN MARU No. 6 depart Singapore for Miri escorting convoy SHIMI-04 consisting of MATSUMOTO, NANSEI, NICHINAN, ZUIHO and KOTOKU MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2 and another ship also named NICHINAN MARU.

24 June 1944:
At 1145, arrives at Miri.

27 June 1944:
At 1650, W-18, kaibokan CD-14 and patrol boat PB-38 depart Miri for Moji escorting convoy MI-06 consisting of OGURA MARU No. 2, YAMAMIZO MARU No. 2, MATSUMOTO, TACHIBANA, NICHINAN, NANSEI, ATAGO, ZUIHO and BAIEI MARUs.

E 1 July 1944:
W-18 is detached from convoy MI-06.

E 3 July 1944:
W-18 arrives at Singapore.

4 July 1944:
W-18, W-17 and torpedo boat SAGI depart Singapore escorting convoy SHIMI-05 consisting of MEXICO, ASAKA, OLYMPIA, HOFUKU, RASHIN, HAKUROKU (HAKUSHIKA), TATSUBATO, KUROGANE MARUs and tankers SAN DIEGO MARU and KYOEI MARU No. 6.

8 July 1944:
Arrives at Miri.

10 July 1944:
At 1550, W-18, W-17 and SAGI depart Miri for Moji escorting convoy MI-08 consisting of MEXICO, ASAKA, OLYMPIA, RASHIN, HAKUROKU (HAKUSHIKA), TATSUBATO, KUROGANE MARUs and tankers SAN DIEGO, SAN LUIS, NITTETSU, OEI, TAKETSU (BUTSU), CHIHAYA, RYUSHO and SANKO (YAMAKO) MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6.

11 July 1944:
At 1830, the convoy anchors in Kimanis Bay, SW of Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.

12 July 1944:
At 1300, the convoy departs Kimanis Bay. At 1015, TAKETSU MARU detaches and begins a return journey to Miri.

16 July 1944:
From 0820 until 1400, the convoy is accompanied by torpedo-boat HIYODORI and coast defense ship MIKURA. At 2035, the convoy arrives safely at Manila.

26 July 1944:
At 0600, W-18, kaibokan MATSUWA and CD-14, Patrol Boat PB-38, auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU and auxiliary patrol boats EIFU, FUYO, KASUGA and NUNOBIKI MARUs depart Imari Bay escorting convoy MI-13 consisting of tankers SHINCHO, TEIKON (ex-German WINNETOU), TOKUWA, KYOEI and ATAGO MARUs and cargo ships HIYORI, DURBAN, KIZAN, KOKUZAN, URAL, SHIROTAE, KOKUSEI, CHINA, HIGANE, MATSUURA, RISSHUN and ATLAS MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and OGURA MARU No.2.

31 July 1944:
The convoy arrives at Takao. SHIROTAE, CHINA and MATSUURAs are detached and tankers SHIMPO and ZUIYO MARUs and cargo ship SHINKO MARU join the convoy. TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and CHOHAKUSAN MARU are detached from the escort and replaced by kaibokan KUSAGAKI and YASHIRO and destroyer ASAKAZE. Naval Transport T. 3 also joins.

4 August 1944:
At 0830, the reconstituted convoy departs Takao.

7 August 1944:
At 2205, at 14-50N, 119-57E kaibokan KUSAGAKI is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins'(USNA ’33) USS GUITARRO (SS-363).

8 August 1944:
At 0900, the convoy arrives at Manila and W-18 is detached.

12 August 1944:
At 0600, W-18, subchasers CH-19, CH-32 and four small unidentified auxiliary gunboats depart Manila for Moji escorting convoy MASA-10 consisting of DURBAN, TEIRITSU (ex French LECONTE DE LISLE), RISSHUN, YAMABUKI and OYO MARUs. After leaving Manila the convoy stops at Lucanin, Bataan Peninsula.

13 August 1944:
At 2000, the convoy departs for Saigon, but the weather worsens and the convoy returns to Lucanin.

14 August 1944:
At 1700, the convoy restarts its journey.

20 August 1944:
At 1810, the convoy anchors in Camrahn Bay.

21 August 1944:
At 0800, the convoy departs Camrahn Bay. At 0952, a torpedo fired by LtCdr Michael P. Russillo's (USNA ’27) USS MUSKALLUNGE (SS-262) is spotted heading for DURBAN MARU. She avoids this torpedo, but another strikes No. 4 hold. Her engine room and the hold begin to flood. At 1100, the order to abandon ship is passed. The escorts drop 46 depth-charges, but USS MUSKALLUNGE remains undamaged. Since DURBAN MARU sinks slowly, plans are made to remove some of her ammunition cargo after towing her to the beach. OYO MARU returns to effect the tow, but suddenly the pace of sinking quickens, her bow rises upwards and DURBAN MARU sinks at 1400 at 1l-45N, 109-46E. She was carrying 3,354 military passengers of whom 509 and six crewmen are KIA.

21 August 1944:
Arrives at Saigon, Indochina.

2 September 1944:
At 2052, W-18, minesweeper W-101, subchasers CH-19, CH-32 depart Cape St. Jacques, Indochina for Manila escorting convoy SAMA-12 consisting of RISSHUN and YAMABUKI MARUs.

11 September 1944:
At 0900, arrives at Manila.

20 September 1944:
At 0610, W-18, W-101, minelayer YURISHIMA, auxiliary subchasers KAIKO MARU and CHa-67 and auxiliary transport UJINA MARU depart Bataan in Manila Bay for Cape St. Jacques, Indochina escorting convoy MASA-11 consisting of MYOGI, MIKASA, FRANCE and UGO MARUs and convoy MAYU-08 consisting of BINGO and NICHIZUI MARUs.

25 September 1944:
Convoy MAYU-08 arrives at Samah, Hainan Island.

26 September 1944:
At 0140, Convoy MASA-11 arrives at Cape St.Jacques, Indochina.

3 October 1944:
At 1500, W-18, and minelayer YURASHIMA depart Cap St Jacques escorting convoy SAMA-13 consisting of MYOGI, HEIAN, MIKASA, TEIYU (ex-Italian CARIGNANO) and OYO MARUs. That evening as the ships travel close to shore, a strong wind blows MYOGI, HEIAN and OYO MARUs ashore. The remainder of the convoy returns to St Jacques while the escorts assist refloating the three ships which return to St Jacques for minor repairs.

16 October 1944:
At 1343, the same convoy again departs St Jacques.

20 October 1944:
In the early morning, UGO MARU, carring 4500 tons of rice, and OYO MARU, loaded with 6700 tons of rice, are both torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr John C. Martin's (USNA ’34) USS HAMMERHEAD (SS-364) at 04-45N 113-30E. 24 of the crew on UGO MARU, and one passenger and three crewmen of OYO MARU are killed.

21 October 1944:
At 1900, the rest of the convoy arrives Miri.

24 October 1944:
W-18 departs Miri with minesweepers W-17 and W-30 escorting the “Nichinan Maru No. 2” convoy consisting of tanker NICHINAN MARU No. 2.

28 October 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

29 October 1944:
At 1957, W-18, W-17 and torpedo boat SAGI depart Manila for Takao escorting convoy MAMO-04 consisting of troop ship (ex-passenger liner) ASAMA MARU.

1 November 1944:
At 0435, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral/COMSUBPAC) John H. Maurer's (USNA ’35) USS ATULE (SS-403) torpedoes and sinks ASAMA MARU at 20-17N, 117-O8E. 474 men consisting of 355 troops together with 21 other military men and 98 crewmen are lost.

11 November 1944:
TOYO MARU No. 3 supplies 75 tons of coal to W-18, 80 tons to W-17, and 120 tons to W-20. At 1957, W-18, W-17 and W-20 depart Manila for Yulin, Hainan escorting convoy MAYU-10 consisting of MISAKI and SUGIYAMA MARUs.

At 2315, LtCdr (later Cdr) Robert A. Keating's (USNA ’33) USS BARBEL (SS-316) torpedoes MISAKI MARU at 15-10N, 112-40E. Three crewmen and eight others are killed. She sinks about two hours later. W-18 and W-20 carry out counterattacks against USS BARBEL while W-17 remains with SUGIYAMA MARU.

12 November 1944:
E of Nha Thrang, Indochina. At 0110, LtCdr Keating's USS BARBEL torpedoes and sinks SUGIYAMA MARU at 15-15N, 112-10E. 15 of the crew and many of the troops being carried are killed. A total of 652 survivors from the two ships are rescued by the three warships and later landed at Yulin.

20 November 1944:
At 1205, W-18, W-17, W-20 and submarine chaser CH-41 departs St Jacques escorting convoy SATA-02 consisting of HIDA MARU.

21 November 1944:
At 2030, arrives at Camranh Bay.

22 November 1944:
At 0725, departs Camranh Bay. At 1820, arrives Van Phong Bay.

23 November 1944:
At 0720, departs Van Phong Bay. At 1345, CH-41 detaches from the convoy. At 1945, the convoy arrives at Baia de Xuan Bay.

24 November 1944:
At 0746, departs Baia de Xuan Bay.

25 November 1944:
At 0800, W-20 detaches.

26 November 1944:
South China Sea, S of Hainan Island, China. At 0037, 14th Air Force B-24s, on a night reconnaissance flight, bomb and strafe HIDA MARU and damage W-18 and W-17 at 16-44N, 108-24E. HIDA MARU takes crippled W-18 in tow.

27 November 1944:
W-18 sinks at 16-52N, 108-38E. That same day, at 1000, the remainder of the convoy arrives at Yulin.

10 December 1944:
Attached to the General Escort Command's First Escort Fleet.

10 January 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.
Authors' Notes:
E = estimated date based on available information.

[1] It appears the convoy sheltered in Iwo Jima as NARITA MARU did not arrive at Palau until 11 February.

[2] Some records show W-18 as joining the convoy at Imari Bay, but this seems impossible.

Thanks go to Mr. Aki of Japan and Matthew Jones of Ohio for help in identifying COs and to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France and Mr. Sander Kingsepp of Estonia for general assistance.

Photo credit goes to Ships of the World (SOTW) via J. Ed Low.

-Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

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