Tamatsu Maru
Tamatsu maru launch.jpg
Builder: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Launched: 1943
General characteristics
Type: Transport ship
Tonnage: 11,910 tons
Length: 459.1 ft (139.9 m)
Beam: 62.4 ft (19.0 m)
Draft: 23.1 ft (7.0 m)
Installed power: Diesel engines, 10,800 hp (8,100 kW)
Speed: 20.8 knots (38.5 km/h; 23.9 mph)
  • 6 × 75mm AA guns
  • 20 × 13.2-mm mg
  • 20 × Daihatsu landing craft
Notes: [1]

Tamatsu Maru was a World War II Japanese landing craft depot ship[2] completed in January 1944[3] and remembered for the heavy loss of life when sunk by USS Spadefish[2] during a 19 August 1944 typhoon.[4] Some 4,890 lives were lost.

Early history

Tamatsu Maru was laid down at Mitsui Shipbuilding on 4 November 1942, launched on 18 August 1943, and completed on 20 January 1944. Its first military loading was from Moji to Manila with convoy Hi-45 in February 1944. It returned to Japan in March to transport elements of the 30th Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) from Pusan to the Philippines with convoy Hi-63 in May. It returned to Japan with convoy Hi-62 in early June to transport the IJA 5th Field Heavy Artillery and 58th Independent Mixed Brigade to the Philippines with convoy MOMA-01 in July. It returned to Japan in early August with convoy Hi-68.[3]


Tamatsu Maru departed Pusan on 8 August 1944 carrying the Japanese 2nd Battalion and regimental headquarters of the 13th Independent Infantry Regiment from Korea for defense of the Philippines. It joined convoy Hi-71 departing Moji on 10 August, and stopping at the Mako naval base in the Pescadores on 15 August. Convoy Hi-71 departed Mako on 17 August[3] and was discovered by USS Redfish that evening. Redfish assembled other submarines for a radar-guided wolfpack attack on the evening of 18 August in heavy rain[5] and force 12 winds from the southeast.[4]

As the convoy was scattered by heavy seas and evasive maneuvers, Tamatsu Maru apparently became separated from convoy escorts.[4] Spadefish found Tamatsu Maru on a northerly course[5] about 0330 19 August and fired a salvo of six torpedoes. Spadefish heard two torpedoes hit. Convoy escorts were unaware of the ship's location until one of them discovered thousands of floating bodies that afternoon.[3] The sinking of Tamatsu Maru was the fourth worst loss of life on any Japanese vessel during the war.

See also


  • Blair, Clay (1975). Silent Victory. New York: J.B. Lippincott Company.
  • Cressman, Robert J. (2000). The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Washington, D.C.: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-149-1.
  • "Tamatsu Maru (+1944)". WreckSite. Retrieved 18 July 2013.


  1. ^ Hackett, Bob; Cundall, Peter (January 2011). "IJA Landing Craft Depot Ships". Combined Fleet.
  2. ^ a b Cressman, p.248
  3. ^ a b c d Hackett, Bob; Cundall, Peter (2011). "IJA Landing Craft Depot Ship Tamatsu Maru: Tabular Record of Movement". Combined Fleet.
  4. ^ a b c "Convoy HI-71 And USS HARDER's Last Battles". MilitaryPhotos.net. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  5. ^ a b Blair, pp.676–680

Coordinates: 18°49′N 119°47′E / 18.817°N 119.783°E / 18.817; 119.783