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  Yamazuki Maru
IJA
Cargo

6,439 Tons
458 x 58 x 26

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U. S. Army c1943

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U. S. Army c1944

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USN July 30, 1944

Ship History
Built by Mitsubishi shipbuilding and engineering company at Yokohama. Laid down on July 15, 1937 as Yard No. 284 for Taiyo Kaiun. K. K as a 6,439 ton cargo ship. Launched December 3, 1937 as Sangetsu Maru. During 1938 slod to Yamashita Steamship Co., Ltd and renamed Yamatsuki Maru. Also known as Yamazuki Maru or Yamasuki Maru. Completed February 19, 1938.

Wartime History
On November 15, 1941 requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport, aloted IJA No 982.

On December 16, 1941 part of a convoy for the invasion of Davao on Mindanao transporting the invasion force along with Hankow Maru, Havana Maru, Hiteru Maru, Kanko Maru, Kuretake Maru, Liverpol Maru, Teiryu Maru (Augsburg). Afterwards, on December 29, 1941 departs Davao as part of a convoy bound for Tako including Toei Maru, Taito Maru, Lyons Maru escorted by destroyer Amatsukaze.

On November 12, 1942 departed Shortland as part of a convoy of eleven transports (Arizona Maru, Kumagawa Maru, Sado Maru, Nagara Maru, Nako Maru, Canberra Maru, Brisbane Maru, Kinugawa Maru, Hirokawa Maru, Yamaura Maru, and Yamatsuki Maru) escorted by twelve destroyers to deliver supplies and reinforcements to Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal during the night of November 13, 1942 but were recalled back to Shortland due to the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal and returned to Shortland on November 13, 1942.

On November 13, 1942 during the afternoon the convoy again departed Shortland bound for Cape Esperence. While traveling down "The Slot", spotted by Americans aircraft and attacked on November 14, 1942 during the morning, overwhelming the escorting Japanese aircraft and sinking six transports and one was damaged that turned back and later sank. The remaining four transports and four destroyers continued and after sunset on November 14, 1942, they stopped west of Guadalcanal, awaiting the conclusion of the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal during the night of November 14-15, 1942.

Sinking History
On November 15, 1942 at 4:00am, the remaining four transports (Kinugawa Maru, Hirokawa Maru, Yamaura Maru, and Yamazuki Maru) beached themselves near Cape Esperence. Yamazuki Maru beached near Veuru or Tassafaronga Point. Before dawn, approximately 2,000 troops with 260 cases of ammunition and 1,500 bags of rice made ashore from the beached transports.

Beginning at 5:55am, American aircraft from Henderson Field and artillery began bombarding the ship. Later, USS Meade DD-602 approached and opened fire for an hour with 5" shells, leaving the vessel "blazing with many internal explosions". Most of their cargo of ammunition and supplies were destroyed by the the attacks. Afterwards, the vessels were abandoned.

Shipwreck
Yamazuki Maru was beached near Veuru at Tassafaronga Point on the north coast of Guadalcanal. The stern had the ship's name 丸月山 / Yamazuki Maru Kobe painted in white.

During early February 1943 when American forces secured Cape Esperence, this shipwreck was photographed extensively by visiting Allied personnel. By the middle of 1944 a salvaged Type A Midget Submarine was towed onto the beach nearby the shipwreck.

On July 30, 1944 Yamazuki Maru was used as a target for tests of a TDR-1 assault drone from STAG-1 based at North Field on Banika as part of a top secret project to test the United States first guided missile test program.

During the late 1950s, the shipwreck was scrapped. Today, virtually nothing remains of this wreck above sea level with most of the wreck at a depth of 65.6' / 20m.

Ewan Stevenson adds:
"I know very little about Yamazuki Maru postwar. Late 1950's is about right for her scrapping. I have dived on her remains and surveyed them. I have searched for years for info and found practically nothing."

References
Also known as "Yamazuki Maru" or "Yamasuki Maru".
Combined Fleet Yamatsuki Maru: Tabular Record of Movement
The Siege of Rabaul by Henry Sakaida describes the TDR drone test

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Last Updated
July 11, 2017

 

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