(Sister BENGAL MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2016 Bob Hackett
Revision 1

15 August 1918:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Yososen, K. K. as Yard No. 282, a 5,274-ton passenger-cargo ship for Katsuta Steamship Co., Ltd.

1 March 1919:
Launched and named KAIAN MARU.

22 March 1919:
Completed. KAIAN MARU can accommodate six 1st class passengers and carries a crew of 48.

Sold to Itaya Shosen K.K. of Kobe.


24 May 1924:
YONEYAMA MARU arrives at Seattle, Washington.

29 March 1927:
Arrives at Seattle.

25 April 1927:
Arrives at Seattle.

8 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Alloted IJA No. 450.

8 December 1941:
The Pacific War begins.

18 December 1941: The Invasion of the Philippines -“M” Operation (M Sakusen):
YONEYAMA MARU paricipates in the Invasion of Lingayen Gulf, Philippines consisting of 72 transports in three echelons carrying the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army. The first echelon is composed of 27 transports from Takao under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hara Kensaburo, the second echelon of 28 transports under Rear Admiral Nishimura and the third echelon of 21 transports from Keelung under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto.

21 December 1941:
Lands troops at Lingayen Gulf.

17 February 1942:
At night, transports SAGAMI and SASAGO MARUs carrying part of the IJA's 48th Infantry Division depart Makassar, Celebes (now Sulawasei) for Bali, Java (now Indonesia) escorted by DesDiv 8's ASASHIO, OSHIO, ARASHIO and MICHISHIO.

19 February 1942: The Invasion of Eastern Java:
Jolo, Philippines. At 0800, the Eastern Java Invasion Convoy (Toho Koryaku Butai) consisting of 39 troop transports departs the anchorage carrying the IJA’s 48th Infantry Division in seven sections:
1st Section consisting of: HAGUE, YAMAGIKU, KENKON, NANKO, ADEN and KONAN MARUs,
2nd Section consisting of: HOLLAND, JOHORE, TAKAOKA, HOKKO, KYOKUSEI and TAEI MARUs,
3rd Section consisting of: KENZAN, HIMALAYA, HAVRE, ARIZONA, ANZAN and CHOKO MARUs (6783/20),
4th Section consisting of: YONEYAMA, NISSHU, BIYO, ITALY, ASAKA and KASHU MARUs,
6th Section consisting of: MIYADONO, JINZAN (JINSAN), WALES, SUEZ, TAMON and YASUKAWA MARUs, and the
7th Section consisting of: SATSUMA, MINRYU and HOZUGAWA MARUs.

The convoy is escorted by Rear Admiral Nishimura's heavy cruisers NACHI and HAGURO, DesRon 2's light cruisers NAKA and JINTSU and DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE and DesDiv 7's USHIO, SAZANAMI, YAMAKAZE and KAWAKAZE and DesRon 4's light cruiser NAKA, DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, SAMIDARE, HARUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MURASAME, MINEGUMO and NATSUGUMO.

E 21 February 1942:
Makassar Strait. SAGAMI and SASAKO MARUs join the main convoy and steam with it.

22 February 1942:
At 1200, LIVERPOOL and EHIME MARUs join the Eastern Java Invasion Convoy north of Aru Bank. The same day, HITERU and TEIRYU MARUs depart Palau carrying elements of the Sakaguchi Detachment.

23 February 1942:
HITERU and TEIRYU MARUs join the Eastern Java Invasion Convoy.

27 February 1942: The Battle of the Java Sea:
At 1547, HAGURO and NACHI, DesRon 2's JINTSU with DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE and DesDiv 7's USHIO, SAZANAMI, YAMAKAZE and KAWAKAZE engage Dutch Rear Admiral Karel W. F. M. Doorman's Strike Force's light cruiser Hr.Ms. DE RUYTER (F), heavy cruisers HMS EXETER and USS HOUSTON (CA-30), light cruisers HMAS PERTH and Hr.Ms. JAVA, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, ENCOUNTER, JUPITER, Hr.Ms. KORTENAER and WITTE de WITH and old destroyers USS ALDEN (DD-211), JOHN D. EDWARDS (DD-216), JOHN D. FORD (DD-228) and PAUL JONES (DD-230).

During this day and the next day’s engagements, Doorman's Strike Force loses HMS EXETER and USS HOUSTON (CA-30), light cruisers HMAS PERTH, HrMs DE RUYTER, Hr.Ms. JAVA, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, ENCOUNTER, JUPITER and Hr.Ms. KORTENAER to superior Japanese forces. The Allies also lose old four stack USS POPE (DD-225).

1 March 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
At 0120, 100 miles W of Surabaya, Java. The Eastern Java Invasion Force now consisting of 43 transports including HAGUE MARU enters the roadstead off Kragan village, East Java.

Just before dropping anchor, the ships suffer a fierce air attack. JOHORE MARU is hit and suffers many KIA and WIA. TOKUSHIMA MARU is also hit and has to be beached at 0200. Despite the air attacks, at 0015, the convoy lands the 48th Infantry Division at Kragan village, East Java. Their main objectives are the Surabaya Naval Base on the eastern coast and Tjilatjap harbor on the southern coast.

14 April 1942: Transport Operation “U”:
YONEYAMA MARU departs Singapore as part of Transport Unit No. 3 consisting of 32 marus including ANYO, BRAZIL, BUYO, ENGLAND, GINYO, HAMBURG, HAVRE, HOKUROKU, KUWAYAMA, KOCHI, KENKOKU, MONTREAL, PENANG, SAMARANG, SUEZ, TAIKAI, TAZAN, TEIKAI and YAWATA MARUs. The 3rd Transport Unit carries the 56th Mixed Brigade and other units and material.

19 April 1942:
Arrives at Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar).

30 October 1942:
YONEYAMA MARU departs Mutsure in convoy No. 180 also consisting of TAITO, and TAIRYU MARUs and three unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer ASAGAO.

E 3 November 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

28 March 1943:
YONEYAMA MARU departs Saeki for Palau in the “K2” convoy (No. 8 Military Movement) also consisting of SHUNSHO and SHINTO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-46 and minelayer YURIJIMA.

E 29 March 1943:
The escorts are detached at 29N.

19 May 1943:
YONEYAMA MARU departs Palau in convoy No. 2502 also consisting of MILAN and MIYAURA MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 15 and an unidentified merchant escorted by subchaser CH-4.

26 May 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo.

27 June 1943:
At 0100, YONEYAMA MARU departs Surabaya, Java for Rabaul in a convoy also consisting of MYOGI and SHINYU MARUs escorted by destroyer HOKAZE.

30 June 1943:
Makassar Straits, NE of Balikpapan. At 1904, LtCdr Harry Hull’s USS THRESHER (SS-200) attacks the convoy. Hull fires three torpedoes at the convoy, but one prematures and the others miss. The convoy escapes at full speed.

1 July 1943:
Makassar Straits, off NW Celebes. At 0157, THRESHER again attacks the convoy. Hull fires three torpedoes at destroyer HOKAZE, but they all miss. At 1938, THRESHER fires two torpedoes and this time gets one hit that severely damages HOKAZE’s bow. The convoy continues on. Later, HOKAZE is grounded to prevent sinking in Sibaya harbor, Makassar Town, Celebes. [1]

2 July 1943:
Celebes Sea. NE of Cape Talok. At 0053, THRESHER torpedoes and sinks YONEYAMA MARU at 01-30N, 119-30E. Eleven gunners and an unknown number of crewmen are KIA.

Author's Note:
[1] On 3 July HOKAZE arrived at Makassar for emergency repairs, then Surabaya for more repairs and was eventually returned to service.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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