Japanese cruiser Mogami (1934)

Japanese cruiser Mogami (1934)

nihongo|"Mogami"|最上 was the lead ship in the four-vessel "Mogami"-class of heavy cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was named after the Mogami River in Tohoku region of Japan. The "Mogami" class ships were constructed as "light" cruisers (per the Washington Naval Treaty) with 5 triple 6.1" DP guns. They were exceptionally large for light cruisers, and the barbettes for the main battery were designed for quick refitting with twin 8" guns. In 1937 all four ships were "converted" to heavy cruisers in this fashion.


Built under the 1931 Fleet Replenishment Program, the "Mogami"-class cruisers were designed by Yuzuru Hiraga to the maximum limits allowed by the Washington Naval Treaty, using the latest technology. This resulted in the choice of a 155 mm dual purpose (DP) main battery in five triple turrets capable of 55° elevation. To save weight, electric welding was used, as was aluminum in the superstructure, and the use of a single funnel stack. New impulse geared turbine engines, coupled with very heavy anti-aircraft protection, gave the class a very high speed and protection. However, the "Mogami"-class was also plagued with technical problems due to its untested equipment, and proved to be top-heavy as well, which created stability issues during poor weather.

ervice career

Early career

"Mogami" was completed at Kure Naval Arsenal on 28 July 1935.

In early 1941, "Mogami" participated in the occupation of Cochinchina, French Indochina, from its forward operating base on Hainan after Japan and Vichy French authorities reached an understanding on use of air facilities and harbors from July 1941. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, "Mogami" was assigned to cover the invasion of Malaya as part of CruDiv7 under Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's First Southern Expeditionary Fleet, providing close support for landings of Japanese troops at Singora, Patani and Kota Bharu.

In December 1941, "Mogami" was tasked with the invasion of Sarawak, together with "Mikuma", covering landings of Japanese troops at Kuching. In February 1942, "Mogami" was assigned to cover the landings of Japanese troops in Java, Borneo and Sumatra. On 10 February, "Mogami" and "Chokai" were attacked by "USS Searaven", which fired four torpedoes, all of which missed.

The Battle of Sunda Strait

At 2300 on 28 February 1942, "Mikuma" and "Mogami", destroyer "Shikinami", light cruiser "Natori" and destroyers "Shirakumo", "Murakumo", "Shirayuki", "Hatsuyuki" and "Asakaze" engaged "USS Houston" and "HMAS Perth" with gunfire and torpedoes after the Allied vessels attacked Japanese transports in the Sunda Strait. Both "Houston" and "Perth" were sunk during the engagement, as was Japanese transport "Ryujo Maru" with IJA 16th Army commander Lieutenant General Hitoshi Imamura.

In March, "Mogami" and CruDiv 7 were based out of Singapore to cover Japanese landings in Sumatra and the seizure of the Andaman Islands.

Indian Ocean Raids

From 1 April 1942 CruDiv 7 based from Mergui, Burma joined with CruDiv 4 to participate in the Indian Ocean raids. "Mikuma", "Mogami" and destroyer "Amagiri" detached and formed the "Southern Group", which hunted for merchant shipping in the Bay of Bengal, while "Chokai", DesRon 4's light cruiser "Yura" and destroyers "Ayanami", "Yugiri", "Asagiri" and "Shiokaze" covered the northern areas. During the operation, the "Southern Group" claimed kills on 7,726-ton British merchant vessel "Dardanus" and 5,281-ton British merchant vessel "Ganara" and the 6,622-ton British merchant vessel "Indora", en route from Calcutta to Mauritius.

On 22 April, CruDiv 7 returned back to Kure, and "Mogami" went into dry dock for overhaul. On 26 May, CruDiv 7 arrived at Guam to provide close support for Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka's Midway Invasion Transport Group.

Battle of Midway

On 5 June, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, CINC of the Combined Fleet ordered CruDiv 7 to shell Midway Island in preparation for a Japanese landing. CruDiv 7 and DesDiv 8 were 410 miles away from the island, so they made a high-speed dash at 35 knots. The sea was choppy and the destroyers lagged behind. At 2120, the order was canceled. However, this dash placed CruDiv 7 within torpedo range of the "USS Tambor", which was spotted by "Kumano". "Kumano" signaled a 45° simultaneous turn to starboard to avoid possible torpedoes. The emergency turn was correctly executed by the flagship and "Suzuya", but the third ship in the line, "Mikuma", erroneously made a 90° turn. Behind her, "Mogami" turned 45° as commanded. This resulted in a collision in which "Mogami" rammed "Mikuma's" portside, below the bridge. "Mogami's" bow caved in and she was badly damaged. "Mikuma's" portside oil tanks ruptured and she began to spill oil, but otherwise her damage was slight. "Arashio" and "Asashio" were ordered to stay behind and escort "Mogami" and "Mikuma". At 0534, retiring "Mikuma" and "Mogami" were bombed from high altitude by eight Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses from Midway, but they scored no hits. At 0805, six USMC Douglas SBD Dauntless dive-bombers and six Vought SB2U Vindicators from Midway attacked "Mikuma" and "Mogami" but they only achieved several near-misses.

The following morning, 6 June 1942, "Mikuma" and "Mogami" were heading for Wake Island when they were attacked by three waves of 81 SBD Dauntless dive-bombers from "USS Enterprise" and "USS Hornet". "Mikuma" was hit by at least five bombs and set afire. Her torpedoes ignited and the resultant explosions destroyed the ship. "Arashio" and "Asashio" were each hit by a bomb. "Mogami" was hit by six bombs. Her No. 5 turret was destroyed and 81 crewmen were killed. However, the damage control officer, Lieutenant Commander Masayushi Saruwatari, had jettisoned torpedoes and other explosives, making it easier to save the cruiser when it was hit by a bomb near the torpedo tubes.

Respite in Japan

"Mogami" rejoined CruDiv 7 on 8 June and was repaired at Truk. On 20 June, Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura assumed command of CruDiv 7, and CruDiv7 was transferred to the Third Fleet. "Mogami" returned to Japan, and underwent a major conversion at Sasebo Navy Yard from 25 August to an aircraft cruiser to improve the fleet's reconnaissance capabilities. Her No. 4 turret and the damaged No. 5 turret were removed and her aft magazines modified to serve as gasoline tanks and munitions storage. Her aft deck was extended and fitted with a rail system to accommodate the planned stowage of 11 Aichi E16A "Zuiun" ("Paul") reconnaissance floatplanes. The dual 25-mm AA guns and 13-mm machine guns were replaced by 10 triple mount Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Guns and a Type 21 air-search radar. As the new E16A aircraft were not yet available, three older Mitsubishi F1M2 Type 0 ("Pete") two-seat biplanes and four Aichi E13A1 Type O ("Jake") three-seat reconnaissance floatplanes were embarked. Rebuilding was completed on 30 April 1943, and "Mogami" was re-commissioned into the First Fleet. [Tabular Record of Movement, Combinedfleet.com]

On 22 May, "Mogami" collided with oiler "Toa Maru" in Tokyo Bay and was damaged slightly. On 8 June, while at Hashirajima, "Mogami" was moored near the "Mutsu" when the latter exploded and sank. "Mogami" sent boats to rescue survivors, but they found none.

On 9 July 1943, "Mogami" departed Japan for Truk, with a major convoy of troops and supplies; the task force was unsuccessfully attacked by "USS Tinosa", and after reaching Truk, continued on to Rabaul.

From August through November, "Mogami" made numerous sorties from its base at Truk in search of the American fleet and in response to American probing attacks into the Marshall Islands. From 3 November, CruDivs 4, 7 and 8 were assigned to the Solomon Islands front, to attack American forces off Bougainville. While at anchor at Rabaul on 5 November, "Mogami" was attacked by a SBD Dauntless dive-bomber from "USS Saratoga" and hit by a 500-lb. bomb. She was set on fire and 19 crewmen were killed.

After repairs at Truk, "Mogami" was ordered back to Japan. While at Kure from 22 December eight Type 96 single-mount 25-mm AA guns were installed on the aft deck, bringing the total to 38 barrels. Refit was completed by 8 March 1944, and "Mogami" returned to Singapore a week later.

Battle of the Philippine Sea

On 13 June 1944, Admiral Soemu Toyoda, CINC, Combined Fleet, activated the "A-Go" plan for the defense of the Mariana Islands. "Mogami" was assigned to Rear Admiral Takatsugu Jojima's "Force B" with the carriers "Junyō", "Hiyō" and "Ryūhō" and battleship "Nagato", deployed behind Vice Admiral Kurita's "Vanguard Force C".

At 0530 "Mogami" launched two reconnaissance floatplanes. Later in the day, the Mobile Fleet's aircraft attacked Task Force 58 off Saipan, but suffered overwhelming losses in the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot". At 2030 on 20 June, two hours after she was hit by torpedoes by Grumman TBM Avengers from "USS Belleau Wood", the "Hiyō" exploded and sank. That night, "Mogami" retired with the remnants of the Japanese fleet to Okinawa. Back in Kure on 25 June 1944, "Mogami" was refit once again. Four triple-mount and 10 single-mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns were installed, bringing the total to 60 barrels (14x3 and 18x1) and a Type 22 surface search radar and Type 13 air-search radar were fitted. On 8 July, "Mogami" departed Kure back for Singapore and Brunei, and was involved in fleet training and patrols in the Singapore-Brunei area through October.

Battle of Leyte Gulf

In late October, the Japanese fleet assembled in Brunei in response to the threatened American invasion of the Philippines. In the morning of 24 October 1944, Vice Admiral Nishimura ordered the launch of "Mogami's" floatplane to reconnoiter Leyte Gulf. The plane reported sighting four battleships, two cruisers and about 80 transports off the landing area and four destroyers and several torpedo boats near Surigao Strait. In addition, the scout reported 12 carriers and 10 destroyers 40 miles southeast of Leyte. The Japanese task force was attacked in the Sulu Sea by 26 aircraft from "USS Enterprise" and "Franklin". "Mogami" was damaged slightly by strafing and rockets.

Battle of the Surigao Strait

On 25 October, between 0300-0330, the Japanese force was attacked by American PT boats and destroyers. Battleships "Fuso" and "Yamashiro" were hit by torpedoes and destroyers "Yamagumo" was sunk, and "Michishio" disabled, but "Mogami" was not hit. "Fuso" and "Yamashiro" both later exploded and sank. Between 0350-0402, after entering the Surigao Strait, "Mogami" was struck by four 8-inch shells, which destroyed both the bridge and the air defense center. Both the captain and executive officer were killed on the bridge, and the chief gunnery officer assumed command. While attempting to retire southward, the flagship "Nachi" collided with "Mogami". "Nachi's" bow was damaged and she began to flood. "Mogami" was holed starboard above the waterline, but fires ignited five torpedoes that exploded and disabled her starboard engine.

Between 0530-0535, the crippled "Mogami" was hit again by ten to twenty 6-inch and 8-inch shells from "USS Portland", "USS Louisville" and "USS Denver". At 0830, "Mogami's" port engine broke down. At 0902, while adrift, she was attacked by 17 TBM-1 Grumman Avenger torpedo-bombers from Task Group 77. 4. 1 and was hit by two 500-lb. bombs.

At 1047, "Mogami" was abandoned. At 1240, "Akebono" scuttled her with a single Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo. At 1307, "Mogami" sank at coord|09|40|N|124|50|E. "Akebono" rescued 700 survivors, but 192 crewmen perished with the ship.

"Mogami" was removed from the Navy List on 20 December 1944.

Commanding Officers

*Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Baron Tomoshige Samejima - 14 March 1934 - 28 July 1935
*Capt. Baron Tomoshige Samejima - 28 July 1935 - 15 November 1935
*Capt. Seiichi Ito - 15 November 1935 - 15 April 1936
*Capt. Tetsuri Kobayashi - 15 April 1936 - 1 December 1936
*Capt. Seigo Takatsuka - 1 December 1936 - 20 April 1938
*Capt. Keizo Chiba - 20 April 1938 - 15 November 1939
*Capt. Shunji Izaki - 15 November 1939 - 8 January 1941
*Capt. Takeo Aruga - 8 January 1941 - 10 September 1941
*Capt. Akira Soji - 10 September 1941 - 10 November 1942
*Capt. Seigo Sasaki - 10 November 1942 - 14 April 1943
*Capt. Ichiro Aitoku - 14 April 1943 - 10 April 1944
*Capt. / RADM* Ryo Toma - 10 April 1944 - 25 October 1944 (KIA)



*cite book
last = Brown
first = David
authorlink =
year = 1990
title = Warship Losses of World War Two
publisher = Naval Institute Press
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id = ISBN 1-55750-914-X

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title = Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II
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last = Dull
first = Paul S.
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chapter =
title = A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945
publisher = Naval Institute Press
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last = Howarth
first = Stephen
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publisher = Atheneum
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last = Jentsura
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publisher = Naval Institute Press
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title = Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War
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publisher = Penguin Books
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External links

*cite web
last = Parshall
first = Jon
coauthors = Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, & Allyn Nevitt
year =
url = http://www.combinedfleet.com/mogami_c.htm CombinedFleet.com: "Mogami" class
title = Imperial Japanese Navy Page (Combinedfleet.com)
work =
accessdate = 2006-06-14

*Tabular record: [http://www.combinedfleet.com/mogami_t.htm CombinedFleet.com: "Mogami" history] (Retrieved 26 January 2007.)
*Gallery: [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-m/mogami.htm US Navy Historical Center]
* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/atully01.htm Details on Nachi-Mogami collision]


ee also

*List of World War II ships
* See Japanese cruiser Mogami for other ships of the same name.

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