(TOMIURA MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2016 Bob Hackett

20 October 1917:
Nagasaki. Laid down as Yard No. 372, a 3,821 ton cargo ship at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

20 April 1918:
Launched and named TOMIURA MARU.

15 May 1918:
Completed for Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd of Tokyo.

December 1924:
Sold to Kinkai Yusen, K. K. of Tokyo.

31 October 1937:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Allotted IJA ship No. 412.

29 March 1938:
Released by the IJA back to her owners.

9 July 1938:
Re-requisitioned by the IJA.

8 September 1939:
Following a merger, transferred to the Nippon Yusen Kaisha K.K. (NYK) Line of Tokyo.

11 November 1939:
Samah (Sanya), Hainan Island, At 1200, the Pakhoi and Nanning invasion transports assemble in Samah Bay consisting of TOMIURA (3,821 grt), FUKUYO (5,463 grt), ISSHIN (4,955 grt), TAIAN (3,670 grt), TAITO (4,466 grt), TATEISHI (3,800 grt) and YUKI MARUs (3,170 grt). Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake’s (35)(former CO of KONGO) 5th Fleet (South China Naval Force) provides the covering force consisting DesDiv 11's HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI.

The transports carry elements of LtGenAndo Rikichi's 21st Army including LtGen Imamura Hitoshi's 5th Division, MajGen Nakamura Masao's 21st Brigade and others.

Air cover for the invasion will be provided by seaplane carrier CHIYODA, tender KAMIKAWA MARU and CarDiv 1's AKAGI and CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU cruising in the South China Sea escorted by DesRon 1.

13 November 1939:
In the morning, the transports depart Samah in a Monsoon and heavy rain. They anchor on coast of Kwangsi, about six miles SE of Chishayu.

15 November 1939:
At 0700, landing boats under the protection of the guns of IJN units, effect a successful surprise landing on the coast of Guangxi at the mouth of the Yuhung River, near Pakhoi, at Lungmen Island and the eastern shore of Yamchow (Chinghow) Bay.

On the south coast, an unidentified IJN Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) lands on Qinzhouwan Bay, near Qusha of Pakhoi city. After overwhelming limited Chinese resistance, the Japanese occupy the port of Pakhoi and push towards Nanning with two IJA divisions and one SNLF brigade. They soon capture Fangcheng and cut off the Nanning-Zhennanguan Pass segment of the Xiang-Gui Railway, but the Chinese ship away locomotives, 7,000 tons of railway materials and 5,000 tons of supplies to Tongdeng before the Japanese take over Mingjiang.

17 November 1939:
The Japanese push inland rapidly, advancing 30 miles in three days and then capture Yamhshien.

24 November 1939:
Nanning falls to the Japanese as Chinese forces fall back along the highway to Wuming. By seizing Pakhoi and Nanning, the Japanese cut off Chunking (Chongqing), severing foreign aid to China's war efforts by the sea. Thereafter, rail and trucks from Indochina, trucks on the Burma Road and the air cargo across across the Himalayas (The "Hump") remain the only ways for China to receive foreign assistance, a situation that Tokyo plans to rectify.

11 December 1940:
Released by the IJA back to her owners.

3 June 1942:
TOMIURA MARU departs Yokosuka escorted by hydrographic survey ship IJN KOMAHASHI as far as Owase where KOMAHASHI is detached.

5 December 1942:
Re-requisitioned by the IJA.

13 December 1942:
TOMIURA MARU departs Saeki in No. 8 Military Movement’s convoy “H” also consisting of KASHU, KIZAN, MIYADONO, NANKING and YAGUMO,MARUs. Escorted by torpedo boat HATO and subchaser CH-36.

E 14 December 1942:
Both escorts are detached at 29N.

30 December 1942:
Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands. At 0530, seven Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortess" heavy bombers of the USAAF's 43rd Bomb Group attack Rabaul and sink TOMIURA MARU at 04-15S, 152-50E. The pilots report 21 warships gathering in Simpson Harbor.

Authors' Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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