RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(Similar sized ship)

HASSHO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

2017-2018 Bob Hackett


1944:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Toguchi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., as a 536-ton cargo ship for Nanyo Kaiun K.K., Osaka of Osaka.

1944:
Launched and named HASSHO MARU.

19 April 1944:
Completed and requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). IJA No. unknown.

20 June 1944:
At 1402, HASSHO MARU departs Chichi-Jima in convoy No. 4620B also consisting of KANESHIGE (KINJO), KUMANOSAN, SURUGA and YAYOI MARUs, UNKAI MARU No. 7 and TOKAI MARU No. 4 and auxiliary storeship HOKKAI MARU escorted by subchaser CH-52, auxiliary minesweepers SEKI MARU No. 3, TAMA MARU No. 6 and TOSHI MARU No. 8, and auxiliary subchaser CHa-20.

24 June 1944:
At 0030, LtCdr Frederick H. Wahlig's (USNA 33) USS GROUPER (SS-214) torpedoes and sinks KUMANOSAN MARU at 34-45N, 139-30E. Seven passengers and one crewman are KIA. At 1430, the convoy arrives at Yokosuka.

28 June 1944:
At 0600, departs Yokosuka.

30 June 1944:
Arrives at Yokohama.

14 July 1944:
At 1440, HASSHO MARU departs Tateyama for Chichi Jima and Iwo Jima in convoy No. 3714, also consisting of fast transport T.2, KATASURAGAWA and NISSHU MARUs, UNKAI MARU No. 10 and Landing Ship No. 105 escorted by kaibokan CD-4, subchasers CH-50 and CH-51.

17 July 1944:
At midnight, UNKAI MARU No. 10 straggles behind the convoy.

18 July 1944:
NW Of Chichi Jima. At about 0200, LtCdr Albert L. Becker's (USNA '34) USS COBIA (SS-245) torpedoes and sinks UNKAI MARU No. 10 at 28-58N, 139-04E. 19 crewmen are KIA and her cargo of aircraft spare parts is lost.

W of Chichi Jima. At 0650, COBIA attacks convoy No. 3714. At about 0700, Becker torpedoes and sinks NISSHU MARU at 28-40N, 139-25E. She is carrying over 1,000 soldiers and LtCol (Colonel, posthumously) Baron Nishi Takeichi's (1932 Olympic Equestrian Gold Medalist) 26th Tank Regiment from Pusan, Korea, consisting of 600 men and 28 Type 95 "Ha-Go" light tanks and the 109th AA Unit, ammunition, guns and equipment for the defense of Iwo Jima. 48 soldiers including two tanker crewmen, 45 gunners and three crewmen are KIA and all 28 tanks are lost. HASSHO and KATSURAGAWA MARUs and the escorts rescue LtCol Nishi and 1,247 soldiers, 127 Navy personnel and 74 crewmen.

19 July 1944:
Convoy No. 3714 arrives at Iwo Jima.

24 July 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

23 August 1944:
At 0900, HASSHO MARU departs Chichi-Jima in convoy No. 4823 also consisting of EIKO and HOKKAI MARUs escorted by minelayers NARYU and SAISHU and auxiliary subchaser SHONAN MARU No. 5. At 1047, the convoy is attacked NW of Chichi-Jima by two PB4Y-1 (B-24s) of VB-102. Auxiliary subchaser SHONAN MARU No. 5 sustains a bomb hit. At about 1215, she blows up and sinks at 27-07N, 142-06E.

29 August 1944:
A 0500, arrives at Yokosuka.

11 September 1944:
HASSHO MARU departs Chichi-Jima for Yokosuka in convoy No. 4910B escorted by kaibokan OKI and torpedo-boat CHIDORI. At 1030, HASSHO MARU is bombed by three B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers. Near misses damage her severely. At 1140, she is abandoned and scuttled by gunfire from OKI and CHIDORI at 26-57N, 140-06E. Casualties are unknown.


Author's Note:
LtCdr Robert R. Williams, Jr. (USNA '34) claimed that at about 0200, his USS FINBACK (SS-230) fired three torpedoes and got two hits on HASSHO MARU. The claim seems doubtfu since a single torpedo would have blown 536-ton HASSHO MARU to bits, let alone 2 hits....unless they were BuOrd duds.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett


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