List of Japanese auxiliary cruiser commerce raiders

This is a list of the Japanese Auxiliary Cruiser Commerce Raiders in World War II.

The success of the German raiders in World War I was not lost on the Japanese. In 1941, Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru, two passenger-cargo vessels built for the Osaka Shipping Line’s South America route, were requisitioned for conversion to Armed Merchant Cruisers (AMC).[1]

Before and during the Pacific War, Japan converted 14 merchant ships to Armed Merchant Cruisers (AMCs). Although two of these ships initially enjoyed some successes by sinking the American freighters Malama and Vincent and the British Elysia,[2] the early loss of the Hokoku Maru after a battle with the armed Dutch tanker Ondina[1] and the pressing need for more transports to support their far-flung Pacific empire resulted in the reconversion of most of Japan’s AMC fleet. By the end of 1943, five of their AMCs had been sunk and seven reconverted. The remaining two were lost in 1944.

Unlike the Kriegsmarine's raider Atlantis, that stayed at sea 622 days in World War II and sank or captured 23 ships of 145,697 tons, most Japanese AMCs had but short and undistinguished careers.

Aikoku Maru class

Akagi Maru class

Bangkok Maru class

  • Bangkok Maru
  • Saigon Maru

Kinjosan Maru class

  • Kinjosan Maru

Kinryu Maru class

  • Kinryu Maru

Kiyosumi Maru class

  • Kiyosumi Maru

Kongō Maru class

Noshiro Maru Class

Ukishima Maru class


  1. Visser, Jan (1999–2000). "The Ondina Story". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. Archived from the original on 2011-03-21.
  2. L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Allied Merchant Ship Losses in the Pacific and Southeast Asia". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942.

See also


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