ZATSUYOSEN!

(YAMAFUKU MARU prewar)

IJN YAMAFUKU MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2017 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 5


E 1939:
Sakurajima. Laid down by Osaka Iron Works K.K. shipyard for Yamashita Kisen K.K. as a 4,928-tons cargo ship.

March 1940:
Launched and named YAMAFUKU MARU.

10 July 1940:
Completed and registered in Kobe.

E 1940-1941:
Placed on Yamashita Kisen's Bangkok route.

15 May 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a general requisitioned transport (Ippan Choyosen). Merchant Captain Honda Torao is posted Commanding Officer.

Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport, (Otsu) category and attached to the Yokosuka Naval District with Yokosuka as homeport under internal order No. 1256. [1]

E December 1941:
Tactically assigned to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake’s (35) Southern Force in Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo’s (36) Philippines Invasion Group, as part of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo’s (38) Legaspi Invasion Unit.

8 December 1941: Operation “M” – The Attack on the Southern Philippines:
At 0800, YAMAFUKU MARU departs Peleliu, Palau Islands for Legaspi, Luzon, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji's (38) (former CO of KAGA) Fourth Surprise Attack Force with IJA Air Defense ship/transport YASUKAWA MARU, IJA transports MATSUMOTO, HARUNA, SHINANOGAWA and MYOKO MARUs and auxiliary transport SHINRYU MARU. The transports carry 2,500 men of MajGen Kimura Naoki's 16th Infantry Division's 33rd Infantry Regiment, a battery of the 22d Field Artillery and engineer detachments accompanied by 575 men of the Kure No. 1 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF).

Kubo’s force is escorted by light cruiser NAGARA (F), DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE, SUZUKAZE, UMIKAZE and YAMAKAZE and minelayer AOTAKA. Kubo’s force is also accompanied by fleet oiler HAYATOMO and DesDiv 16’s YUKIKAZE and TOKITSUKAZE. Seaplane tenders CHITOSE and MIZUHO provide air cover.

11 December 1941:
Off Western Luzon, Philippines. En route to Legaspi, the convoy’s destroyers refuel from oiler HAYATOMO. Later the invasion convoy arrives off Albay Province, Luzon east coast.

12 December 1941:
At 0400, a submarine is detected near the landing force. At 0600, patrol boats PB-34 and PB-35 arrive at Legaspi. AOTAKA and PB-34 are briefly detached for a depth-charge attack. At about 1200, Kubo's Fourth Surprise Attack Force begins landing troops at Legaspi without opposition. YAMAFUKU, MATSUMOTO, MYOKO, HARUNA, SHINANOGAWA and SHINRYU MARUs land troops of the 16th Infantry Division. YASUKAWA MARU lands troops of the Kure No. 1 SNLF.

USAAF B-17 “Flying Fortress” heavy bombers raid the convoy. YASUKAWA MARU suffers some water leakage caused by a near miss of a bomb. The other transports sustain no damage.

22 December 1941:
Arrives at Palau, Western Carolines.

5 January 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Davao with TENRYU MARU.

27 January 1942:
At 1600 departs Davao in the second echelon of the Ito Shitai Ambon invasion force. The echelon consists of KIRISHIMA, YAMAGIRI, YAMAFUKU, KATSURAGI and LYONS MARUs and HINO MARU No. 5 escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, YUKIKAZE and HATSUKAZE and minesweepers W-9 and W-11.

29 January 1942:
At 0000 arrives at Bangka, Celebes. Preparation is made for the invasion of Ambon. Resupplied by auxiliary replenishment vessel YAMASHIMO MARU.

YAMAFUKU MARU departs Bangka anchorage, near Menado, with the Ambon invasion convoy also consisting of auxiliary transports YAMAGIRI and KIRISHIMA MARUs, auxiliary aircraft transport KATSURAGI MARU, IJA transports AFRICA, YAMAURA, RYOYO, MIIKE, HINO MARUs and IJA Air Defense ship/transport ZENYO MARU carrying Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hatakeyama Koichiro's (39) (former CO of KINUGASA) Kure No. 1 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF), elements of the Sasebo SNLF and the 228th Infantry Regiment.

Escort is provided by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka (41)'s DesRon 2’s light cruiser JINTSU, DesDiv 8’s ASASHIO, MICHISHIO, ARASHIO and OSHIO, DesDiv 15’s HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 16’s TOKITSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE, MineSweepDiv 11’s W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12, SubChasDiv 1’s CH-1 and CH-2, and Patrol Boat Squadron 1’s PB-34. Seaplane tenders CHITOSE and MIZUHO arrive at Ceram and provide air cover for the invasion convoy.

30-31 January 1942: The Invasion of Ambon Island, Ceram Island. Moluccas, Netherlands East Indies:
Arrives at Ambon and begins landing operations.

5 February 1942:
At 1330 YAMAFUKU MARU departs Ambon escorted by destroyer HATSUKAZE.

10 April 1942:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan). Attached that same day to the Kure Naval District with Kure as homeport under internal order No. 659.

April-May 1942:
Calls at Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan) ~ Sasebo ~ Yawata, Fukuoka Prefecture ~ Osaka ~ Dairen, Manchuria (now Dalian, northern China) and Osaka again.

May 1942:
Attached to the Second Fleet Transport Unit.

19 May 1942:
At 1700 departs Kure for Saipan with TOA MARU No. 2 GO, KIRISHIMA and KANO MARUs escorted by destroyers of 18 DesDiv SHIRANUI and KASUMI.

20 May 1942:
Off Bungo Suido meets up with NANKAI and ZENYO MARUs both from Moji, who join the convoy.

25 May 1942:
At 0835 arrives at Saipan, Marianas.

31 May 1942:
Arrives at Wake (renamed Otori Island after its capture).

2 June 1942: Operation “MI”: The Invasion Of Midway Atoll:
Departs Wake, heading towards Midway, with ammunition ship SOYA and auxiliary transport MEIYO MARU escorted by Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Miyamoto Sadachika's (39) (former CO of YAEYAMA) 16th Minesweeper Unit consisting of auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No. 3, SHOWA MARUs No. 7 and No 8 and subchasers CH-16 and CH-17.

4 June 1942:
At 0843, a PBY "Catalina" flying boat discovers Captain Miyamoto's minesweeper group heading towards Midway.

6 June 1942:
Due to IJN’s defeat at Midway, Operation “MI” is cancelled. The convoy reverses its course towards Wake.

9 June 1942:
Departs Wake for Truk, Central Carolines with auxiliary transport MEIYO MARU. 19 June 1942:
Detached from the Second Fleet and attached that same day to the Fourth Fleet under telegram No. 855.

10 July 1942:
Arrives at Kavieng, New Ireland.

22 July 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Departs that same day for Yokosuka towing damaged auxiliary transport GOYO MARU. However, the tow has to be aborted because of difficult conditions. Both ships return to Truk. [2]

25 July 1942:
Departs Truk escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

28 July 1942:
Arrives at Saipan.

2 August 1942:
Departs Saipan with NANKAI MARU No. 2 in a convoy escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

5 August 1942:
At 1155 arrives at Truk.

10 August 1942:
Departs Truk for Yokosuka again towing GOYO MARU. The ships are escorted by the destroyer ASANAGI. Later auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU and auxiliary minelayer MA-3 join the escort.

22 August 1942:
Attached currently to the Kure Naval District.

25 August 1942:
Scheduled to arrive at Yokosuka.

27 August 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives later that day at Yokohama.

31 August 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

5 September 1942:
Arrives at Kure and docks at the Naval Yard for maintenance and repairs.

16 October 1942:
Repairs are completed. Undocked. Departs Kure.

17 October 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

21 October 1942:
Departs Osaka.

23 October 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

26 October 1942:
Departs Moji in convoy No. 179 also consisting of IJA transport BUYO MARU, IJA tanker TAKATORI MARU No. 2 and six unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer MINAZUKI bound for Mako.

30 October 1942:
Detached and arrives at Takao.

3 November 1942:
Departs Takao.

4 November 1942:
Arrives at Kirun.

10 November 1942:
Departs Kirun.

11 November 1942:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

12 November 1942:
Departs Mako in convoy No. 290 also consisting of two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer HOKAZE.

18 November 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

23 November 1942:
Departs Kure.

24 November 1942:
Arrives at Wakamatsu, Fukuoka Prefecture. That same day, assigned to supply transport missions under Department of Navy instruction No. 163.

26 November 1942:
Departs Wakamatsu.

27 November 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

30 November 1942:
Departs Kure.

1 December 1942:
Arrives at Wada-Misaki, near Kobe.

2 December 1942:
Departs Wada-Misaki, Kobe in East Convoy No. 32 also consisting of IJA shared collier (A/C-AC) HIKOSAN MARU, IJA transports TSUKIKAWA, RYOKAI, ZUISHO MARUs, IJN requisitioned (B-AK) KOJUN MARU and auxiliary transport HAKUTETSU MARU No. 7 escorted by destroyer OKIKAZE.

4 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

5 December 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Yokohama later in the day.

10 December 1942:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka that same day. Embarks 700 personnel of the 101st Construction Unit and loads 3,500m3 of related equipment. Departs for Truk later in the day in No. 1 Go convoy also consisting of auxiliary ammunition ship TATSUTAKE MARU, auxiliary merchant cruiser BANGKOK MARU and IJN requisitioned (B-APK) FLORIDA MARU carrying 908 men (possibly also from the 101st Construction Unit), building materials, weapons, supplies and Daihatsu landing craft, and possibly others escorted by seaplane carrier NISSHIN and probably others. Initially escorted by destroyer OKIKAZE until 33 N.

15 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

E 20 December 1942:
Departs Truk.

24 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

12 January 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Shortlands, Solomons escorted by subchaser CH-29.

14 January 1943:
Off Shortlands, CH-29 breaks off and patrols the southern approaches. Arrives at Shortlands.

18 January 1943:
At Shortlands anchorage. Moderately damaged during an airstrike at 07-04S, 155-04E.

25 January 1943:
At 1430, departs Shortlands for Rabaul with auxiliary transport TOA MARU No. 2 GO escorted by subchaser CH-28.

26 January 1943:
At 1600, arrives at Rabaul.

22 February 1943:
At 1700, departs Rabaul for Palau escorted part way by subchasers CH-16 and CH-17.

1 March 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

E 10 March 1943:
Embarks 7 passengers.

11 March 1943:
Departs Palau in a convoy also consisting of one unidentified merchant ship with two unidentified escorts.

17 March 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

E 18-21 March 1943:
Loads 1,350-tons of sugar and 1,000 drums of Butanol. Embarks 15 passengers.

22 March 1943:
Departs Takao.

23 March 1943:
Arrives at Kirun.

E 24-25 March 1943:
Loads 3,313m3 of textile.

26 March 1943:
Departs Kirun.

31 March 1943:
Arrives at Osaka.

E 1-2 April 1943:
Unloads 1,350-tons of sugar, 1,203m3 of textile. Disembarks 37 passengers.

3 April 1943:
Departs Osaka.

4 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

E 5-9 April 1943:
Unloads 1,000 drums of Butanol, 2,010m3 of textile and 17 torpedoes. Disembarks 3 passengers.

10 April 1943:
Departs Kure.

11 April 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

E 11-28 April 1943:
Docks at Kawasaki Heavy Industries K.K. shipyard and undergoes extensive repairs.

29 April 1943:
Undocked. Departs Kobe.

30 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

E 1-8 May 1943:
Embarks 270 personnel of the 17th Air Defense Unit and 450 personnel of the 32nd Construction Unit. Loads 1,000m3 of weapons and ammunition, 3,000m3 of building materials and two Daihatsu landing craft.

9 May 1943:
Departs Kure.

10 May 1943:
Arrives at Saeki., Kyushu.

11 May 1943:
Departs Saeki for Palau in convoy K-511 also consisting of auxiliary collier/oiler ASAKAZE MARU and IJA transports PACIFIC and SHINRYU MARUs and MIKAGE MARU No. 20 escorted by torpedo boat HATO and minelayer NUWAJIMA.

E 12 May 1943:
NUWAJIMA is detached at 29N.

19 May 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

E 20-24 May 1943:
Supplied with drinking water.

25 May 1943:
Departs Palau in unnumbered convoy also consisting of IJA transports KENZAN and PACIFIC MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by subchaser CH-24.

1 June 1943:
At 0525, arrives at Rabaul.

5 June 1943:
Departs Rabaul.

6 June 1943:
Arrives at Buka Island, N of Bougainville, Solomons.

11 June 1943:
Departs Buka.

12 June 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

16 June 1943:
At 1150, departs Rabaul for Palau in convoy No. 607 also consisting of auxiliary collier SHINYUBARI MARU and IJA transports ADEN, TAIKO, HOFUKU and KURAMASAN MARUs and another unidentified ship escorted by subchasers CH-16, CH-23 and CH-39. CH-16 is detached en route and returns to Rabaul.

23 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

26 June 1943:
Departs Palau. Calls at Angaur, Palaus and returns back at Palau that same day.

5 July 1943:
Departs Palau and arrives at Garasumao, Babeldaob (Babelthuap), Palaus later in the day.

11 July 1943:
Departs Garasumao and arrives at Palau that same day.

14 July 1943:
Departs Palau in convoy FU-406 also consisting of IJA transports TAGA, YAMAGATA, RYUYO, UMEKAWA and OLYMPIA MARUs escorted by Patrol Boat PB-31.

E 21 July 1943:
Minelayer NUWAJIMA and Auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 join the convoy.

23 July 1943:
Off Saiki the convoy is dissolved.

24 July 1943:
Arrives at Niihama, Shikoku.

29 July 1943:
Departs Niihama.

30 July 1943:
Arrives at Wakamatsu.

31 July 1943:
Departs Wakamatsu.

1 August 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

E 2-10 August 1943:
Unloads about 3,800-tons of coal. Loads approximately 5,000m3 of weapons and ammunition.

11 August 1943:
Departs Kure.

12 August 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

13 August 1943:
Departs Kobe.

14 August 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

15 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

16 August 1943:
Arrives at Kariya, Aichi Prefecture. Departs that same day at 1038 for Yokosuka in convoy No. 8816 also consisting of SEISHO and MITSU MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-27, auxiliary netlayer KASHI MARU (part way) and auxiliary patrol boat SHINTOHOKU MARU (part way).

18 August 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

21 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk in convoy No. 3821A also consisting of auxiliary transport OKITSU MARU escorted by kaibokan MUTSURE.

30 August 1943:
At 0700, arrives at Truk.

E 31 August- 4 September 1943:
Unloads approximately 1,000m3 of ammunition and rations.

5 September 1943:
At 1300, departs Truk for Rabaul in convoy No. 1055 also consisting of auxiliary transport SHOUN MARU, IJN requisitioned (B-AK) KYOWA and CHIYO MARUs and IJA transport SAN FRANCISCO MARU escorted by subchasers CH-30 and CH- 32.

10 September 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

E 11-30 September 1943:
Unloads approximately 4,000m3 of weapons.

1 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Kavieng.

3 October 1943:
Arrives at Kavieng. Shelters because of a reported submarine sighting.

E 4-5 October 1943:
Unloads 194-tons of weapons. Disembarks 78 passengers.

6 October 1943:
Departs Kavieng having joined convoy No. 2052 also consisting of auxiliary transport AMAGISAN MARU escorted by torpedo boat HIYODORI and subchaser CH-28.

8 October 1943:
About 100 nm SSE of Truk. LtCdr Robert J.Foley’s (USNA ’27) USS GATO (SS-212) intercepts the convoy. At 1300, he torpedoes and scores one hit on AMAGISAN MARU at 05-34N, 152-10E. The vessel is hit in her No. 6 hold, but the Mark-14 torpedo is a dud and only causes some light damage by flooding. CH-28 conducts an anti-submarine sweep. HIYODORI escorts AMAGISAN MARU and YAMAFUKU MARU apparently hurries on alone to Truk.

9 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

14 October 1943:
At 0630, departs Truk via north channel for Yokosuka in convoy No. 4014B also consisting of auxiliary transports KINSEN and KIMISHIMA MARUs, IJN requisitioned (B-AK) HEIWA and TATSUURA MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboats CHOKO MARU No. 2 Go and CHOUN MARU.

24 October 1943:
The convoy arrives safely at Yokosuka.

E 25-26 October 1943:
Undergoes hull and engine repair at Ishikawajima Zosen. Merchant Captain Ishii Otoya is appointed commanding officer.

26 October 1943:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Tokyo later in the day.

E 27 October-4 November 1943:
Docks at Ishikawajima K.K. shipyard and undergoes bottom hull cleaning.

5 November 1943:
Undocked. Departs Tokyo and arrives at Yokosuka later in the day.

E 6 November 1943:
Loads depth charges and other sundries.

7 November 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

9 November 1943:
Arrives at Muroran, Hokkaido.

E 10 November 1943:
Loads 5,500-tons of coal.

11 November 1943:
Departs Muroran.

14 November 1943:
Arrives at Tokyo.

E 15-22 November 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Unloads 2,000-tons of coal. Loads 3,000m3 of material.

23 November 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk in convoy No. 3123 also consisting of auxiliary transports SHOKO and TATSUTAGAWA MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) SHIGANOURA MARU and IJA transport MANJU MARU escorted by destroyer OITE and auxiliary gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2 GO.

23-24 November 1943:
About 20nm NW of Hachijo-Jima, Izu Shoto. Night. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Merrill K. Clementson’s (USNA ’33) USS SNAPPER (SS-185) intercepts the convoy. At 0207, Clementson attacks but all torpedoes are avoided and the convoy resumes its course. 28 November 1943:
About 500nm NW of Guam. The convoy steaming in very rough weather is intercepted by LtCdr Ian C. Eddy’s (USNA ’30) USS PARGO (SS-264) and by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles O. Triebel (USNA ’29) USS SNOOK. At 2200, Eddy attacks, but scores no hits. At 2206, Triebel fires a spread of torpedoes but again, no hits are scored. At 2208, Triebel attacks again but fail to score any hit. Both submarines continue to track the convoy.

At 2350, Triebel's USS SNOOK makes another attack and scores four hits on the lead ship of the convoy. Hit in the engine room and aft, at 2355, YAMAFUKU MARU sinks by the stern at 18-21N, 140-08E taking down 60 of her crew.

5 January 1944:
Removed from the Navy’s list under internal order No. 54.


Authors' Notes:
[1] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain assupervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

[2] GOYO MARU was damaged 16 May 1942 S of Truk by LtCdr (later Cdr) Joseph H.Willingham’s (USNA ’26) USS TAUTOG (SS-199).

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan and Matthew Jones of Mississippi, USA. Thanks go also to the late John Whitman of Virginia, USA for troop info.

Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall


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