Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Japanese auxiliary cruiser Aikoku Maru (1938) 1941-1944

Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru

Dutch tanker Ondina

Laid down by the Tamara Shipyard on 28 December 1938, launched on 31 August 1941, enlisted by the Japanese navy on 1 September 1941, classified as an auxiliary cruiser on5 September 1941, added to the 24th Raider Division, participated in a battle with the Royal Indian corvette HMIS Bengal and the Dutch oil tanker Ondina in the Indian Ocean on 11 November 1942, classified as an auxiliary transport on 1 October 1943 and sunk during Operation Hailstone during an American air attack off Truk (Carolina Islands, Chuuk State, Micronesia) on 17 February 1944.

Part of the Hokoku Maru-class ocean liners ordered by the Osaka Mercantile Steamships Company Limited or Osaka Shosen Kaisha (O.S.K. Lines) on 17 May 1937 to be used of the Japan-Africa line, consisting of the Hokoku Maru, Aikoku Maru and Kokoky Maru (later renamed in Gokoku Maru).

Common technical class specifications. With a displacement of 7.520 tons and as dimensions 160,8 (over all) x 20,1 x 12,5 metres or 527.7 x 65.11 x 31.0 feet. The machinery consisted of 2 Mitsui-B&W Model 12-62 VF-115 diesels supplying 13.000 (cruising)-19.427 (maximum) bhp. Speed 20,9 knots. Their crew numbered 1500 men with accommodation for 400 passengers and 12.000 cubic metres cargo hold capacity. Armament consisted of 8-14cm L/50 naval guns, 4-2,5cm anti aircraft guns and 4-53,3cm/21.0” torpedo tubes. Carried 2 Kawanashi E7K aircraft in 1941, replaced in 1942 by Aichi E13A.