( KINKA MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2016-2018 Bob Hackett

15 June 1937:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Shipyard as yard No. 616, a 9,301-ton fast passenger-cargo ship for Kokusai Kisen, K.K. (International Steamship Co., Ltd).

18 November 1937:
Launched and named KINKA MARU.

28 February 1938:
Completed. She is able to carry 12 first class passengers. Placed on Kokusai Kisen's Far East ~ New York service.

31 March 1938:
KINKA MARU departs Yokohama on her maiden yoyage for New York via the United States west coast and the Panama Canal.

1 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA. Alloted IJA No. 808.

4 December 1941:
At 0600, the Patani Siam (Thailand) Invasion Unit of Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s Malaya Invasion Group of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake’s Southern Force departs Samah, Hainan Island. The Invasion Unit carries MajGen Takumi Hiroshi's 5th Division’s 23rd Infantry Brigade and consists of transports KINKA, ASOSAN, HIROKAWA, KINUGAWA, SAGAMI and TOSAN (TOZAN) MARUs escorted by DesDiv 12’s destroyers SHINONOME and SHIRAKUMO. Air cover is provided by IJAAF fighters from Phu Quok Island’s airfield.

7 December 1941:
At 2340, the Invasion Unit arrives off Patani. KINKA and ASOSAN MARUs continue to Thepha, west of Patani, escorted by SHINONOME.

8 December 1941:
At 0400, disembarks troops.

13 December 1941:
Thepha. At about 0005, Dutch Ltz. 1 (later KIA) Anton J. Bussemaker’s submarine Hr.Ms. O-16 (later lost) fires eight torpedoes and badly damages anchored KINKA, ASOSAN and TOSAN (TOZAN) MARUs. All three transports are heavy damaged and settle to the bottom in shallow water, but are later salved.

9 March 1942:
Pattani. At 1530, IJN transport NACHISAN MARU, assigned to Rescue and Salvage operations, arrives and begins salvage operations on KINKA MARU and IJA transport ASOSAN MARU. The salvage operations are successful.

March-November 1942:
KINKA and ASOSAN MARUs undergo repairs at Kowloon Docks, Hong Kong where she is also converted to an AAA transport.

20 December 1942:

24 January 1943:
KINKA MARU departs Tokyo Bay in convoy No. 7124 also consisting of IJA transports ANYO, KIZUGAWA and YAMAZURU MARUs escorted by torpedo boat MANAZURU.

11 November 1943:
After a merger, KINKA MARU becomes part of Osaka Shosen Kiesha (OSK Line) of Osaka.

E 1943:
Kawasaki shipyard, Kobe. KINKA MARU is fitted with a German Würzburg radar transported from Bordeaux, France to Singapore, Malaya by Italian submarine TORELLI/AQUILA VI (later Nazi UIT-25 and still later IJN I-504).

12 October 1944:
At 0700, Rear Admiral Matsuyama Mitsuharu’s (40) (former CO of KITAKAMI) 7th Convoy Escort Group departs Woosung for Manila with kaibokan SHIMUSHU (F), CD-11 and CD-13 escorting convoy MOMA-04 consisting of transports KINKA, KASHII and NOTO MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ship KOZU MARU carrying the IJA’s 1st Division's main body of about 10,000 men plus equipment.

This same day, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's Task Force 38´s carriers LEXINGTON (CV-16), ESSEX (CV-9) and LANGLEY (CVL-27) attack Japanese shipping, airfields and industrial plants on Formosa (Taiwan), regarded as the strongest and best-developed base south of the homeland proper, and on northern Luzon. After news of this attack, the convoy is ordered to stay in readiness at Ssu Chiao Shan.

20 October 1944:
At 0230, convoy MOMA-04 consisting of KINKA, KASHII, NOTO, KOZU and ASAMA MARUs and escorted by kaibokan SHIMUSHU(F), OKINAWA CD-11 and CD-13 depart the Ssu Chiao Shan Anchorage. The convoy proceeds southward along the continental coastline.

22 October 1944:
In the morning the convoy passes off Takao. From here the ships receive air cover from about 10 patrol planes while crossing the dangerous Bashi Channel. At 1900 arrives at Sabtang Island Channel, Batan Islands. Upon arrival CD-13 runs aground in Sabtang Channel. The ship's submarine log is damaged to some extend, but her hull remains unscathed.

23 October 1944:
At 0300, departs Sabtang. Near Lapog Bay, W coast of Luzon, Cdr James Alvin Adkins´s surfaced USS COD (SS-224) is discovered while she is stalking the convoy. The convoy reverses course and at 1820 arrives at Cabugao Bay.

24 October 1944:
At 0700, departs Cabugao Bay. Enroute the convoy receives an emergency air-raid warning for Manila area and once again reverses course. At 1730, arrives at Lapog Bay.

25 October 1944:
At 0330, departs Lapog Bay. Shortly afterwards the convoy is attacked by USS COD which in a night surfaced radar attack fires four torpedoes against 17,000 ton troop transport ASAMA MARU at 17-34N, 120-02E. The torpedo tracks are discovered in time and ASAMA MARU escapes undamaged. The escorts open fire without result. At 2351, the convoy arrives in Lingayen Gulf.

26 October 1944:
At 0600 departs Lingayen Gulf. At 2315, the convoy arrives at Manila.

31 October 1944: Transport Operation “TA No. 2”:
At 0740, transports KINKA, KASHII and NOTO MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ship KOZU (TAKATSU) MARU departs Manila escorted by kaibokan OKINAWA and SHIMUSHU (F) with convoy commander Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Matsuyama Mitsuji embarked, CD-11 and CD-13. The ships form the 3rd echelon of TA No.2's three echelons. The transports are carrying about 11,000 men of the 1st Army Division and Colonel Imahori Isaku's Imahori Detachment, a vanguard unit of the 26th Army Division. Indirect protection is provided by DesRon 1's destroyers KASUMI, USHIO, AKEBONO, OKINAMI, HATSUHARU and HATSUSHIMO. The convoy receives direct air cover by ten IJN Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters from Manila and later by six IJA Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” fighters from Negros. At the entrance to Manila Bay the convoy passes patrolling kaibokan CD-22 and then speeds southward at 15 knots.

1 November 1944:
Near Ormoc. From 1730 to 1820, about ten Lockheed "Lightning" P-38 fighter-bombers attack the convoy. The P-38s are immediately engaged by Japanese fighters, all of which are lost. Kaibokan SHIMUSHU is strafed, one crewman is KIA and 16 are wounded. At 1830, the convoy safely arrives at Ormoc. Unloading starts at 1900, but, ebb tide prevents use of the pier. The destroyers and kaibokan prepare for night battle. Early the next morning, most of the embarked troops are safely on shore and unloading of war supplies and equipment starts.

2 November 1944:
At 0645, the convoy is attacked by six P-38 that are finally repulsed by AA-fire from the ships and then engaged by IJA Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” fighters. The P-38s do not get through to the transports which are accelerating unloading of war supplies and equipment. Until 1100, the convoy is the target for further P-38 attacks, but sustains no damage.

At 1250, another air-raid alarm is sounded. By now the transports have succeeded in discharging about 90 percent of the loaded cargo. At about 1302, the escorts are attacked by about 24 Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers which are protected by about 16 P-38s. At the entrance to Ormoc Bay the destroyers form a ring shape formation and open fire against the planes while zig-zagging. The kaibokan circle around the transports also opening AA-fire. The escorts are heavily straddled by bombs but suffer no damage. The enemy planes then turn toward the anchored transport ships to attack them.

At 1315, NOTO MARU sustains a direct hit at her port quarter and numerous near misses. Additionally, the ship is heavily strafed and goes up in flames. Her rudder engine is inoperative and a fire breaks out inside No. 2 hold. The captain orders all troops and wounded personnel to abandon ship. At 1325, NOTO MARU´s stern is already submerged and the ship develops a list to starboard. At 1328, the captain orders all hands to abandon ship. At 1350, 200 tons of ammunition explode. At about 1500, NOTO MARU sinks stern first at 11-01N, 124-34E. About 50 troops, 18 of 112 gunners, 1 worker and 3 of 95 crew are KIA. Rice, ammunition and 32 horses are also lost. The ship succeeded in landing about 3,000 troops and 90 percent of her cargo including 40 motor vehicles, 5 light tanks, 1 material truck, 12 Daihatsu landing barges, war supplies and 74 horses.

KINKA MARU unloads 97.5 percent of her cargo and KOZU MARU 100 percent of her cargo. Destroyer USHIO is slightly damaged by a near miss but sustains no casualties. At 1900, the transports weigh anchor after having unloaded all troops, 36 field guns and 95 percent of the loaded war supplies.

4 November 1944:
The convoy arrives back in Manila Bay.

5 November 1944:
Manila Bay. Aircraft of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frederick T. Sherman's (USNA ’10) (former CO of USS LEXINGTON, CV-2) Task Group 38.3 [USS LEXINGTON (CV-16), USS ESSEX (CV-9) and USS LANGLEY (CVL-27) attack warships and auxiliaries in the bay.

8 November 1944: - Operation "TA No. 4 (TA-Go 4-ji Sakusen)":
At 1030, 1st echelon transports KINKA, KASHII and TAKATSU MARUs depart Manila into typhoon seas accompanied by IJN fast transports T.6, T.9 and T.10. The transports are carrying 10,000 men of the 26th Infantry Division and 3,500 tons of munitions. The transports are escorted by Rear Admiral Matsuyama's kaibokan SHIMUSHU (F), OKINAWA, CD-11 and CD-13 and Admiral Kimura's destroyer screen of KASUMI (F), AKISHIMO, ASASHIMO, NAGANAMI, USHIO and WAKATSUKI and kaibokan CD-11 and CD-13. All proceed under cover of the storm to Ormoc Bay, Luzon. Direct air cover is provided by about 25 IJN Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters from Manila and IJA Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” fighters from Negros.

9 November 1944:
At 1659, near Ormoc Bay, four 13th Air Force North American B-25 “Mitchell” medium bombers and B-26 Martin "Marauder" medium bombers followed by about 20 P-38s attack the convoy at low altitude. KINKA, KASHII and TAKATSU MARUs. KINKA and TAKATSU MARUs take minor hits to their engines and deck cargo. Light bombs breach their hulls, but the seas are so calm that crews are able to control the flooding. P-38s also damage kaibokan OKINAWA and SHIMUSHU.

At 1715, KOZU MARU receives a direct bomb hit and goes up in flames, 20 men are KIA and 50 wounded. At the same time, KASHII MARU suffers a near miss taking water in No. 4 hold and causing losses among the embarked troops. Maximum speed is reduced to 14 knots.

KINKA MARU sustains several near misses causing considerable damage to her deck-stored Daihatsu landing barges, 9 men are KIA and 13 wounded. OKINAWA is slightly damaged by strafing and near misses, 6 crew are wounded. C-11 is strafed, but suffers only slight damage. CD-13 is also strafed and suffers only slight damage, 2 crewmen are wounded.

At 1830, the convoy enters Ipil anchorage, south of Ormoc while the destroyers patrol the bay entrance. Normally, there are more than 50 Daihatsu landing barges at Ormoc Bay, but many have been blown onto the beach and half-buried in the sand by a typhoon the night before while several others have been destroyed by aircraft earlier in the day. Only about 10 Daihatsu are at hand for unloading.

All landing barges on board KINKA and KOZU MARUs are unusable, so the embarked troops are ordered to prepare for transfer to kaibokan SHIMUSHU, CD-11 and CD-13 which are to shuttle them between the transports and the beach. Most of the loaded cargo has to remain on board the transports and only some arms and ammunition can be landed. Just after midnight, an attack by American motor-torpedo boats consisting of PT-524, PT-525, PT-497 and PT-492 is fought off by the escorting destroyers. Several torpedoes explode on the beach, but there is no damage to the ships.

10 November 1944:
At 1030, KOZU and KASHII MARUs weigh anchor and return to Manila at maximum speed. KINKA MARU is delayed and departs about 1100 escorted by SHIMUSHU, later joined by CD-13 and fast transports T-6, T-9 and T-10 that form the second echelon of TA No.4 transport operation. They had landed about 1,000 men of the 49th and 57th Infantry Regiments of the 1st Army Division at Ormoc. The three fast transports depart Ormoc at 1440 and later catch up with KINKA MARU, SHIMUSHU and CD-13.

At 1125, south of Apali Point, Leyte, the convoy is fiercely attacked by 32 P-38s from Morotai and 30 B-25 skip-bombers from Leyte. OKINAWA is bracketed by near misses and strafed by B-25s. CD-13 is slightly damaged by a near miss, one crew is KIA (Petty Officer 1st Class Iwasa Mamoru) and six are wounded. KASHII MARU sustains 5 direct bomb hits. Still loaded automobile gasoline catches fire causing a fierce fire at her forecastle while seawater floods No. 6 hold. The flames expand and the ship stops. At 1203, KASHII MARU blows up in a huge explosion and sinks at 10-53N, 124-25E. Three crew and 16 shipboard gunners are KIA. 159 crew and gunners are rescued by KASUMI and later transferred to fast transports T-6, T-9 and T-10.

About the same time, KOZU MARU´s bridge blows apart when hit by 2 bombs. Subsequently, a skip-bomb hits starboard at the engine room. KOZU MARU breaks apart and sinks instantly taking down all 104 crewmen and all 243 gunners.

At 1150, CD-11 receives two direct hits with 500-lb bombs just abaft her bridge and down the stack. CD-11 is immobile, burning and finally drifts ashore in shallow water off Catiyoman Point, 10-53.2N, 124-25.8E, 89 crew are KIA. By 1315, CD-13 has picked up 59 survivors (among 41 wounded) from CD-11. CD-13 scuttles the wreck of CD-11 with gunfire at 1330.

The convoy splits into four separate groups. USHIO and AKISHIMO proceed ahead followed by KINKA MARU, OKINAWA, SHIMUSHU and WAKATSUKI, while KASUMI, ASASHIMO and NAGANAMI follow the KINKA MARU group. The last group is the single sailing CD-13. At about 1400, north of Cebu, the ships are in combat with 10 or more P-38s fighter-bombers. SHIMUSHU is slightly damaged by strafing and near misses.At 1410, AKISHIMO receives a direct hit breaking off her forward part. Unnavigable, 20 crew are KIA and 35 wounded. USHIO engages in rescue work.

At 1418, KINKA MARU sustains a direct bomb hit at the bow causing a small fire. No.6 hold suffers a near miss and ships some water causing loss of several horses. 11 are KIA and 14 wounded. At 2045, the remnants of convoy “TA No.4”, returning from Ormoc to Manila, meet convoy “TA No.3” and destroyers NAGANAMI, ASASHIMO and WAKATSUKI are detached from “TA No.4” and join “TA No.3”. KINKA MARU, T-6, T-9, T-10, KASUMI, OKINAWA, SHIMUSHU and CD-13 continue to Manila.

11 November 1944:
At 0500, KINKA MARU, T-6, T-9, T-10, KASUMI, OKINAWA, SHIMUSHU and CD-13 are joined by destroyers HATSUHARU and TAKE.At 0715, the ships arrive in the vicinity of CELEBES MARU that departed Manila at 0140 on 9 November as part of the TA No.3 transport operation, but off the Bondoc Peninsula, ran hard aground on an uncharted rock in the dangerous Subunguin Reef at 13-17N, 122-27E.

From 0735 to 0825, SHIMUSHU and CD-13 take off KASHII MARU's survivors from T-6, T-9 and T-10. KINKA MARU and the three fast transports take off about 1,500 troops and some equipment from CELEBES MARU. At 0900, SHIMUSHU and CD-13 are detached and are ordered to guard CELEBES MARU.

At 1730, AKISHIMO and USHIO arrive at Manila. At 1830, KINKA MARU, T-6, T-9 and T-10 arrive back at Manila escorted by OKINAWA, KASUMI, HATSUHARU, and TAKE. At 2315, SHIMUSHU and CD-13 also arrive at Manila.

13 November 1944:
Aircraft from three carrier task groups (TG 38.1, TG 38.3, and TG 38.4) of TF 38 (Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman, in the temporary absence of Vice Admiral John S. McCain) attack shipping and port facilities in Manila Bay.

14 November 1944:
At 0820, TF 38's Douglas "Dauntless" SBD dive bombers, Curtiss "Helldiver" SBC dive bombers and Grumman TBF torpedo bombers attack destroyer HATSUHARU and KINKA MARU. The planes sink HATSUHARU. One SBC-5 makes a low level dive bombing attack on KINKA MARU, but fails to pull out and strikes her kingposts destroying the aircraft and setting the ship afire.

16 November 1944:
Near Kafukaben on Bataan Peninsula off the coast of Manila Bay. After burning for two days, KINKA MARU sinks in the bay. Casualties are unknown.

Author's Notes:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

- Bob Hackett

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