Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Japanese auxiliary cruiser (ex-Kokoku Maru 1939-1942) Gokoku Maru 1942-1944

Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru

Laid down by Mitsui, Tamano Shipyard on 31 July 1939, renamed Gokoku Maru before launching, launched on 2 April 1942, enlisted by the Japanese navy on 27 July 1942 still uncompleted, classified as an auxiliary cruiser on 4 August 1942, classified as an auxiliary transport on 1 October 1943 and sunk by the American submarine USS Barb off the Goto Islands on 10 November 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 20,6 knots. Their crew numbered 1500 men with accommodation for 400 passengers and 12.000 cubic metres cargo hold capacity. Armament consisted of 8-15cm/5.9” L/40 naval guns, 4-1,3cm anti aircraft guns and 4-53,3cm/21.0” torpedo tubes. In 1944 changed into 2-12cm/4.7” L/40 anti aircraft guns, 4-2,5cm anti aircraft guns, 4-1,3cm anti aircraft guns, 2-7,7mm machineguns and 6 depth charges. Carried one Aichi E13A aircraft with her.