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  Nagano Maru
Passenger & Cargo

3,824 Tons
345 x 50 x 24

Ship History
Built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as Yard No. 267 for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) as a passenger and cargo vessel. Laid down October 12, 1916. Launched on April 25, 1917. Commissioned May 21, 1917. During 1921, departed on a voyage departing Kobe via Algiers then to Ellis Island New York on December 3, 1921.

Wartime History
On September 12, 1937 requisitioned by the Japanese Army and converted to a troop transport, IJN No. 368. During the Second Sino-Japanese War transports troops to China and Manchuria until returned to civilian service on December 12, 1937.

On June 26, 1938 again requisitioned by the Japanese Army until returned to civilian service January 15, 1939. On June 16, 1941 requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy until returned to civilian service on September 10, 1941.

On October 17, 1941 requisitioned by the Japanese Army as IJN No. 368. At the start of the Pacific War, join "E" Operation (E Sakusen) for the invasion of Malaya.

On December 13, 1941 at 8:30am departs Camranh Bay as part of TransDiv3 along with Chifuku Maru, Fuso Maru, Shiraha Maru, Shinkaha Maru and Shinsei Maru No. 1. The convoy transports the Japanese Army 5th Infantry Division to Malaya.

On December 16, 1941 arrives at Singora (Songhkla) in Siam (Thailand).

On April 5, 1942 departs Lingayen Gulf as part of the invasion force convoy bound for Cebu along with Borneo Maru, India Maru, Tairyu Maru, Mexico Maru, Tottori Maru and Risshun Maru escorted by light cruiser Kuma and destroyers Yudachi and Murasame and gun boat Busho Maru and subchasers Kiyo Maru No. 12 and Kiyo Maru No. 13. Aboard the convoy are 4,852 men from Major General Kawaguchi 's Detachment including the 35th Infantry Brigade, HQ and 124th Infantry Regiment, one platoon of the 16th Reconnaissance Regiment, 4th Company, 22nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Company, 21st Field Heavy Artillery Battalion, the main force of the 44th Anchorage HQ, 1 platoon of the 23rd Independent Engineer Regiment, 1 company (less 2 platoons) of the 26th Independent Engineer Regiment and logistics units.

On April 10, 1942 arrives off eastern Cebu where Nagano Maru and Borneo Maru land troops at Argao. The two vessels land the 124th Infantry Regiment HQ, 1st Battalion, the 124th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion (minus 7th Co), the 124th Infantry Regiment, Rapid-fire Gun Company (less 1 platoon). On April 26, 1942 departs Cebu to land Japanese forces at Cotabato Bay at Mindanao.

On July 5, 1942 departs Mako as part of "Convoy No. 230" with Shoyo Maru and thirteen other vessels escorted by gunboats Peking and Chohakusan Maru. Arrives at Mutsure on July 11, 1942.

On January 17, 1943 departs Saeki as part of "Convoy U" with Indus Maru, Kiriha Maru, Meikai Maru, Momoha Maru and Yamato Maru escorted by patrol boats PB-21 and subchaster CH-36. Two days later the escorts depart.

On March 28, 1943 departs Rabaul as part of a convoy bound for Palau along with Denmark Maru, Kurohime Maru, Maya Maru, Taiko Maru and Yamato Maru escorted by subchasers CH-16 and CH-24. On March 29, 1943 USS Tuna SS-203 spots the convoy, escorts and two aircraft overhead and track them into the night. On March 30, 1943 northeast of Manus Island, USS Tuna fires three torpedoes hitting Kurohime Maru, the largest ship in the convoy. The rest of the convoy escapes.

On May 12, 1943 departs Palau bound for Rabaul as part of "Convoy P-512" along with England Maru, Dainichi Maru and Konan Maru escorted by subchaser CH-22. On May 17, 1943 the convoy was spotted by USS Grayback SS-208 that fires torpedoes and sinks England Maru. On May 19, 1943 the rest of the convoy arrives at Rabaul at 6:00pm.

On June 3, 1943 departs Rabaul along with Dainichi Maru, Genmei Maru, Glasgow Maru, Kenryu Maru and Samarang Maru escorted by CH-22 and CH-38. On June 11, 1943 convoy reaches Palau.

On June 21, 1943 departs Palau bound for Hansa Bay as part of convoy "Hansa No. 4" along with Kanko Maru, Maya Maru, Shinyu Maru and Yubae Maru escorted by destroyers Amatsukaze and Urakaze. Aboard are units from the Japanese Army, 20th Division. On June 27, 1943 convoy arrives at Hansa Bay and unloads troops and equipment. On July 2, 1943 returns to Palau.

On July 20, 1943 departs Palau at 8:00am as part of convoy "Hansa No. 5" with Aden Maru, Hankow Maru, Yubae Maru and Shinto Maru No. 1 escorted by Shirataka and subchaser CH-34. On July 25, 1943 arrives at Hansa Bay and unloads then returns to Palau arriving on July 31, 1943.

On August 20, 1943 Nagano Maru departs Palau as part of "Wewak No. 7" convoy bound for Wewak. The convoy also includes transports Aden Maru, Nagato Maru, Shinyu Maru and Yubae Maru escorted by subschasers CH-26 and CH-34. Three days later, due to Allied air activity ordered back to Palau.

On August 28, 1943 again departs Palau as part of "Wewak No. 7" bound for Wewak, without Yubae Maru. Arriving on September 2, 1943 at 12:45am the convoy anchors in Wewak Harbor and Boram Bay off Wewak. While anchored, a barrage balloon was tethered above the vessels to protect them from low level attack. in the morning, B-25D Mitchells from the 38th Bombardment Group attack the convoy escorted by P-38 Lightnings from the 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron. Sunk are Hankow Maru and Nagato Maru. Damaged is Aden Maru. Afterwards, the rest of the convoy returns to Palau.

On September 4, 1943 Nagano Maru is bombed and is taken under tow by Kyoei Maru No. 2. Two days later reaches Hollandia.

On October 7, 1943 departs Hollandia as part of Hollandia No. 1 convoy with Kamoi Maru, Tonegawa Maru, Uchide Maru and Shinsei Maru No. 5 escorted by subchaser CH-34 and two days later joined by CH-35. The convoy reaches Palau on October 11, 1943.

On January 12, 1944 departs Truk escorted by Tachikaze to Satawan and returns to Truk two days later.

During February 1944, departs Truk to Satawan to deliver supplies for Satawan Airfield and returns to Truk on or before February 17, 1944.

Sinking History
On February 17, 1944 anchored to the east of Eten Island in Truk Lagoon, a few hundred meters east of the San Francisco Maru. During "Operation Hilstone" Nagano Maru opens fire on attacking U.S. Navy aircraft and is strafed during the first raid by USS Essex carrier aircraft around 6:30-6:45am. Four near misses were scored and fires started in cargo hold no. 1 and cargo hold no. 3. The fire in Hold 1 was bought under control but the fire in Hold 3 spread and the hull started leaking. At 9:00 the crew abandoned ship and the vessel sank around noon.

Afterwards, Captain Ogawa Kunikatsu and 59 crew are rescued by destroyer Fujinami and taken to Palau.

In March 1978 Nagano Maru was discovered on a 160' bottom in Truk Lagoon. The shipwreck is upright with a slight list to port. Normally, underwater visibility on the shipwreck is roughly 30 meters. When discovered, the funnel was bent (this later collapsed). The bow, stern guns and several anti-aircraft guns are emplaced on the vessel.

The bridge is at a depth of 45 meters, where the funnel has collapsed to the port and the telegraph has fallen over one level down from the top. The engine room has a quadruple expansion steam engine at a depth of roughly 54 meters. On the deck between cargo hold 3 and 4 is a broken mast.

Hold No. 3 has two large propeller blades and other cargo, possibly bulldozer blades at a depth of 59 meters. Hold no. 4 is filled with 200 liter fuel drums and long cylindrical objects at a depth of 59 meters.

Combined Fleet - Nagano Maru Tabular Record of Movement
Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site - Nagano Maru

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Last Updated
April 25, 2021


45m bridge
54m bottom
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