SS China Maru (1920)

The SS China Maru was a 5,870-gross register ton cargo ship built by Kawasaki Dockyard Company, Kobe, for Kawasaki Kisen Kabushiki Kaisha in 1920.

NameChina Maru
BuilderKawasaki Dockyard Company, Kobe
FateSunk by US aircraft on 21 September 1944
General characteristics
Tonnage5,870 GRT
Length385 feet (117 m)[1]
Beam51 feet (16 m)
Draught36 feet (11 m)
PropulsionTriple expansion engines (437 NHP)
Speed11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)


The cargo ship ran aground off Balum Island, Feni Islands, Papua New Guinea, on 26 June 1939, while steaming to Sydney from Yokohama,[2] and was later refloated. She was requisitioned in 1941 by the Imperial Japanese Navy for use during World War II.

Invasion of GuamEdit

On 8 December 1941, she was assigned to Operation "G", the invasion of Guam as one of 10 transports carrying Major General Horii Tomitaro's 55th Infantry Corps.[3] The naval operation was headed by the 4th Fleet operating out of Saipan consisting of minelayer Tsugaru as flagship; seaplane tender Kiyokawa Maru; 4 cruisers, Aoba, Furutaka, Kako, Kinugasa (Cruiser Division 6, detached from 1st Fleet); and 4 destroyers, Oboro (detached from Carrier Division 5 of the IJN 1st Air Fleet), and Kikuzuki, Uzuki, and Yūzuki (Destroyer Division 23, detached from Carrier Division 2, IJN 1st Air Fleet). The remaining ships all belonged to the Fifth Base Force, 4th Fleet consisting of Gunboat Division 7 (Hirotama Maru, Shotoku Maru), Subchaser Division 59 (subchasers Shonan Maru No. 5, Shonan Maru No. 6; netlayer Shofuku Maru), Subchaser Division 60 (subchasers Kyo Maru No. 8, Kyo Maru No. 10; netlayer Shuko Maru), and Minesweeper Division 15 (Fumi Maru No. 2, Seki Maru No. 3).[3][4]

Invasion of Salamaua–LaeEdit

On 10 March 1942, during the invasion of Lae-Salamaua, China Maru was damaged by SBD aircraft from the United States Navy aircraft carriers USS Lexington and USS Yorktown off Lae, New Guinea.


On 21 September 1944, while anchored off Manila, Philippines, China Maru was hit by bombs from US Navy Task Force 38.1, 38.2, and 38.3 aircraft, and sunk at 14°35′N 120°55′E / 14.583°N 120.917°E / 14.583; 120.917Coordinates: 14°35′N 120°55′E / 14.583°N 120.917°E / 14.583; 120.917.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Lloyd's Register 1942–43" (PDF). plimsollshipdata. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Freighter Ashore". The Canberra Times, p. 1. 27 June 1939. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  3. ^ a b Hackett, Bob; Muehlthaler, Erich (2016). "China Maru -Tabular Record of Movement". Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  4. ^ Niehorster, Leo; Alsleben, Al; Yoda, Tadashi. "Administrative Order of Battle - 5th Base Force, 4th Fleet, Combined Fleet, 7 December 1941". Imperial Japanese Armed Forces.

External linksEdit