Japanese Torpedo Recovery Vessel


(Passenger-cargo ship by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Torpedo Recovery Vessel
SHURI MARU: Tabular Record of Movement

© 2008 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

2 July 1928:
Tokyo. Laid down at Uraga Dock, K. K. as an 1,857-ton passenger and cargo ship for Osaka Shosen Kabushiki Kaisha.

26 September 1928:
Launched and named SHURI MARU.

27 December 1928:

In Osaka Shosen's service on their route between Kagoshima, Naze, Amami-O-Shima and Naha, Okinawa.

7 July 1937: The First "China" Incident:
Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge. They fire blank cartridges. Nearby, Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese captured him. They demand entry to a Peking (Beijing) suburb to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese shell the city and an undeclared war begins.

SHURI MARU is requisitioned by the IJN. She is converted to a gunboat and assigned to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Hasegawa Kiyoshi 's (31)(former CO of NAGATO) China Area Fleet.

An unknown captain assumes command of SHURI MARU.

Restyled SYURI MARU.

10 May 1938:
SYURI MARU participates in an amphibious assault on Amoy (Xiamen) with Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Koichi Shiozawa’s (32)(former CO of FURUTAKA) 5th Fleet consisting of CruDiv 9's MYOKO (F) and light cruiser TAMA, CruDiv 10's light cruisers TATSUTA and TENRYU, DesRon 5's light cruiser NAGARA, DesDiv 3’s NADAKAZE, SHIMAKAZE, SHIOKAZE, DesDiv 16’s KARUKAYA, FUYO and ASAGAO, CarDiv 1's KAGA, DesDiv 29’s HAYATE and OITE, SORYU with DesDiv 30’s YAYOI and KISARAGI, auxiliary seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU, collier MUROTO, CarDiv 3's seaplane tender KAMOI, auxiliaries SYURI, CHOJU, DELHI, EIKO, IKUTA, KAZAN, KURI, HAYA MARUs and DAIICHI MARU No. 8, NANSHIN MARU No. 8, NANSHIN MARU No. 31, TAIKO, YODATI and auxiliary minelayers ENOSHIMA and ENTO (MAROSHIMA).

At dawn, the 5th Fleet’s warships, including SYURI MARU, bombard Ho-tsu, Ni-chin, and Wu-tung and cover an amphibious assault landing by more than 2,000 troops of the Yokosuka, Kure and Sasebo Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF). At the same time, NE of Xiamen (Amoy), Japanese aircraft from tenders KAMOI and KAMIKAWA MARU bomb bridges, roads, ferries and ships. The poorly equipped Nationalist Chinese 75th Division defenders suffer heavy casualties, are overrun by the SNLFs and withdraw.

12 May 1938:
That night, Chinese forces abandon Amoy to the Japanese.

13 February 1939:
Captain (later Rear Admiral Hase Shinzaburo )(44) assumes command of gunboat SYURI MARU.

SYURI MARU undergoes conversion and is rerated a torpedo recovery vessel. [1]

20 June 1939:
An unknown captain assumes command.

15 November 1940:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Senda Kinji )(45) assumes command.

SHURI MARU is in the 21th Torpedo Division of the China Area Fleet's 3rd Fleet with TOMOZURU, HATSUKARI, MANAZURU and CHIDORI. Assigned to the North Patrol Division.

30-31 March 1941:
Shells North Chinese coast with TOMOZURU to repel Chinese insurgents.

10 April 1942:
Assigned to the China Area Fleet’s Tsingtao Area Special Base Force.

22 September 1943:
Recalled Captain Watanabe Saburo (33) assumes command.

E 18 January 1945:
SYURI MARU departs Tsingtao for Sasebo.

20 January 1945:
East China Sea. S end of Tsushima Strait, near Sasebo. At midnight, in bright moonlight, LtCdr Thomas S. Baskett’s USS TAUTOG’s (SS-199) lookouts spot an enemy ship at about 10,000 yards. Baskett approaches on the surface from the dark side. At about midnight, he fires three torpedoes and gets two hits that sink SYURI MARU at 33-45N, 128-43E.

TAUTOG approaches the wreckage and rescues one survivor. He identifies his ship as motor torpedo boat tender SYURI MARU.

Captain Watanabe and 118 crewmen are KIA. Captain Watanabe is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

10 March 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Some Japanese sources suggest SHURI MARU was a converted torpedo boat tender.

Little data were found for SHURI MARU's movements during 1942-1944. Readers with access to any such data are requested to post the information on the Discussion and Questions board or j-aircraft.org's IJN Ship Message Board

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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