Japanese cruiser Nagara

Japanese cruiser Nagara

nihongo|"Nagara"|長良 軽巡洋艦|Nagara keijunyōkan was the lead ship of her class of light cruiser in the Imperial Japanese Navy. She was named after the Nagara River in the Chūbu region of Japan.


The "Nagara" was the first vessel completed in the "Nagara"-class, and like other vessels of her class, she was intended for use as the flagship of a destroyer flotilla, and it was in that role that she participated in the invasions of the Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

ervice career

Early career

"Nagara" was completed at Sasebo Navy Yard, and commissioned on 21 April 1922. Soon after commissioning, "Nagara" was assigned to the Japanese naval base at Port Arthur, from where it patrolled the China coast to Tsingtao. As the Second Sino-Japanese War continued to escalate, "Nagara" was assigned to provide coverage for Japanese transports during the Battle of Shanghai, and remained on station patrolling the China coast and the Yangtze River through 1939. With the heavy cruisers "Myōkō" and "Nachi", the "Nagara" participated in the Hainan Island Operation in February 1939 under Vice Admiral Kondo Nobutake. From 30 January 1941 to 8 April 1941, "Nagara" assisted in the Invasion of French Indochina. From 10 June 1941 to 9 September 1941, "Nagara" provided coverage for the landings of Japanese troops in southern China.

Invasion of the Philippines and Dutch East Indies

On 10 September 1941, "Nagara" was assigned to CruDiv 16 of the Japanese Third Fleet under Vice Admiral Ibo Takahashi, together with the light cruisers "Kuma" and "Natori" and destroyers of DesRon5. On 26 November 1941, as flagship of Rear Admiral Kyuji Kubo's Fourth Surprise Attack Unit, "Nagara" was based at Palau at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

From 11-12 December 1941, "Nagara" covered the landings of troops at Legaspi, Luzon, Philippines, returning again from 24 - 30 December 1941 to cover additional landings at several points on southeast Luzon.

In January 1942, "Nagara" was tasked with covering the landings of the Sasebo No. 1 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) at Menado, Kema and Kendari in the Celebes. On 25 January 1942, while at Kendari, the destroyer "Hatsuharu" collided with "Nagara", damaging the cruiser's hull. Rear Admiral Kubo transferred his flag to the "Hatsushimo", and "Nagara" withdrew to Davao for repairs.

Returning to the Celebes on 4 February 1942, Rear Admiral Kubo transferred his flag back to "Nagara", which then covered the invasion of Makassar. In the middle of the night of 6 February 1942, the invasion force was sighted by USS "Sculpin" (SS-191), which mistook the "Nagara" for a "Tenryu"-class cruiser and fired two Mark 14 torpedoes; one missed and the other prematurely exploded.

On 17 February 1942, "Nagara" provided escort for transports with the IJA's 48th Infantry Division for the invasion of Bali and Java. During the operation, the Royal Navy submarine HMS "Truant" fired six torpedoes at "Nagara", but all missed.

On 10 March 1942, the Third Fleet was disbanded and replaced by the Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet under Vice Admiral Takahashi. "Nagara" remained in Rear Admiral Kenzaburo Hara's CruDiv 16 with light cruisers "Kinu" and "Natori". On 29 March 1942, the "Nagara" was part of the force sent to capture Christmas Island. During the operation, USS "Seawolf" (SS-197) fired three torpedoes at "Nagara", but all missed. "Nagara" departed for Japan on 2 April 1942, where it was refitted at Maizuru with two twin Type 93 13-mm machine-guns.

"Nagara" was assigned as flagship of Rear Admiral Susumu Kimura's DesRon 10 with the destroyers "Nowaki", "Arashi", "Hagikaze", "Maikaze", "Makigumo", "Kazagumo", "Yugumo", "Urakaze", "Isokaze", "Hamakaze", "Tanikaze" under the Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's First Fleet.

Battle of Midway

During the Battle of Midway, "Nagara" accompanied Admiral Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force, with the aircraft carriers ("Akagi", "Kaga", "Soryu", "Hiryū", cruisers "Tone", "Chikuma", and battleships "Haruna" and "Kirishima". On 4 June 1942 "Nagara" unsuccessfully counter-attacked the USS "Nautilus" (SS-168) after the latter attempted to torpedo "Kirishima". After "Akagi" was hit and set afire by dive-bombers from USS "Enterprise" (CV-6), Vice Admiral Nagumo transferred his flag to the "Nowaki" and then the "Nagara". "Nagara" returned safely to Japan on 13 June 1942.

Battle of the Solomon Islands

On 14 July 1942, DesRon 10 with the "Nagara" was reassigned to the Third Fleet, which departed for Truk, Caroline Islands on 16 August 1942. The fleet included the aircraft carriers "Shokaku", "Zuikaku", "Ryuho", "Zuikaku", battleships "Hiei" and "Kirishima", cruisers "Tone" and "Chikuma", and destroyers "Akigumo", "Makigumo", "Kazagumo", "Yugumo", "Akizuki", "Hatsukaze", "Nowaki", "Amatsukaze", "Maikaze", "Tanikaze" and "Tokitsukaze".

On 25 August 1942, "Nagara" participated in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, which it survived without damage, arriving at Truk on 5 September 1942. From Truk, "Nagara" made a number of sorties towards the Solomon Islands in September.

On 25–26 October 1942, "Nagara" participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz, and again returned to Truk undamaged.

On 9 November 1942, Rear Admiral Kimura and the "Nagara" squadron was assigned to screen the "Hiei" and "Kirishima" during a reinforcement plan to land 14,500 men, heavy weapons and supplies on Guadalcanal. The landing was to be preceded by a bombardment of Henderson Field by the battleships. This action becomes the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 November 1942. During the engagement, "Akatsuki" and "Yudachi" were sunk, and "Hiei", "Amatsukaze", "Murasame" and "Ikazuchi" were damaged. "Nagara" was straddled by shells from the USS "San Francisco" (CA-38) taking a direct hit by one 5-inch shell which killed six crewmen but which caused only minor hull damage. "Nagara" retired westward around Savo Island escorting "Kirishima" with "Hiei" in tow, but "Hiei" was later sunk by planes from Henderson Field, USS "Enterprise" and B-17 Flying Fortress bombers from Espiritu Santo.

Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa sortied from the Shortland Islands for Guadalcanal in "Chōkai" with the "Kinugasa", light cruiser "Isuzu", and destroyers "Arashio" and "Asashio" to carry out Kondo's original plan and bombard Henderson Field with his cruisers where Abe failed with his battleships. The cruisers "Maya", "Suzuya", "Tenryu" and destroyers "Kazagumo", "Makigumo", "Michishio" and "Yugumo" accompanied, while the "Kirishima", "Atago", "Takao", "Nagara" and six destroyers formed a screening unit.

This led to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 15 November 1942. "Nagara" and her destroyers engaged the Americans with gunfire and Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes. During the action, more than 30 torpedoes were launched at the USS "South Dakota" (BB-57), but all missed. However, the USS "Preston" (DD-379) and USS "Walke" (DD-416) were sunk and the USS "Benham" (DD-397) was so badly damaged that she was scuttled the next evening. On the Japanese side, "Kirishima" and destroyer "Ayanami" were lost, but "Nagara" was undamaged, and returned to Truk on 18 November 1942.

On 20 November 1942, "Nagara" became flagship of Rear Admiral Takama's DesRon 4. The newly commissioned "Agano" replaced "Nagara" as flagship of DesRon 10. DesRon 4 consisted of three divisions of nine destroyers: DesDiv 2 with three destroyers, DesDiv 9 with two and DesDiv 27 with four.

After returning to Maizuru for refit at the end of 1942, "Nagara's" No. 5 140-mm gun was removed. During gunnery exercises off Saipan, "Nagara" sustained minor superstructure damage after an accidental shell explosion. "Nagara" returned to Truk on 25 January 1943.

In early February, "Nagara" participated in the evacuation of Guadalcanal, recovering 11,700 surviving Imperial Japanese Army troops.

In June 1943, "Nagara" transported the Yokosuka No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force for the occupation of Nauru.

Operations in the South Pacific

In July 1943, "Nagara" was involved in escorting the aircraft carrier "Junyo", to ferrying aircraft to Kavieng, New Guinea. While mooring, "Nagara" detonated a mine laid at night by Australian PBY Catalina flying boats. The mine slightly damaged her bottom under the stern, and she was able to operate.

On 20 July 1943, DesRon 4 was deactivated and "Nagara" replaced the "Jintsu" as flagship of Rear Admiral Shunji Isaki's DesRon 2 of the Second Fleet, consisting of DesDivs 24, 27, 31, plus three attached destroyers. "Nagara" was relieved as flagship of DesRon 2 by the newly commissioned "Noshiro" on 20 August 1943, and was re-assigned to the Eighth Fleet under Vice Admiral, Baron Tomoshige Samejima. "Nagara" also returned to Maizuru for refit with a Type 21 air-search radar and four twin-mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns.

On 1 November 1943, "Nagara" relieved "Kashima" as flagship of the Fourth Fleet under Vice Admiral Masami Kobayashi. On 14 November 1943, she assisted in towing the light cruiser "Agano" back to Truk after it has been torpedoed by the USS "Skate" (SS-305).

On 22 November 1943, "Nagara" sortied from Truk in response to American invasion of Tarawa and the Gilbert Islands, arriving at Kwajalein on 26 November 1943. It was attacked by TBF Avenger torpedo-bombers and SBD Dauntless dive-bombers from Task Group 50.3's USS "Enterprise" (CV-6)and USS "Essex" (CV-9) and damaged enough to justify a return to Japan in January 1944.

At Maizuru from 26 January 1944, "Nagara" was again modified. The No. 7 140-mm gun mount was removed and replaced by a 127-mm unshielded HA gun mount. The fore and aft twin torpedo tubes were removed and replaced by two quadruple mounts aft. The catapult was removed and replaced by two triple-mount Type 96 25-mm AA gun mounts bringing the "Nagara's" 25-mm total to 22 barrels (2x3, 6x2, 4x1). Depth charge rails were installed in the stern and a Type 93 hydrophone set was fitted in the bow.

On 15 May 1944, "Nagara" replaced "Tatsuta" as flagship of DesRon 11, directly under the Combined Fleet. It remained in Japanese home waters training with new destroyers and escorting a convoy to the Ogasawara Islands in June and to Okinawa in July. In another refit at Yokosuka on 2 July 1944, ten single mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns were installed bringing "Nagara's " 25-mm total to 32 barrels (2X3, 6x2, 14x1). A Type 22 surface-search radar was fitted.

On 7 August 1944, in route from Kagoshima to Sasebo, "Nagara" was spotted by USS "Croaker" (SS-246) on her first war patrol. "Croaker" closed to 1,300 yards and fired a salvo of four stern torpedoes, hitting "Nagara" starboard aft with one. "Nagara" sank by the stern off the Amakusa islands at coord|32|09|N|129|53|E. The captain and 348 crewmen went down with the ship, but 235 crewmen were rescued.

"Nagara" was removed from the Navy List on 10 October 1944.

List of captains

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Jiro Kuroda - 25 April 1921 - 21 April 1922

Capt. Jiro Kuroda - 21 April 1922 - 10 November 1922

Capt. Kensuke Fujii - 10 November 1922 - 1 November 1923

Capt. Minokiti Sato - 1 November 1923 - 1 November 1924

Capt. Teikichi Hori - 1 November 1924 - 24 October 1925

Capt. Junzo Yoshitake - 24 October 1925 - 1 December 1927

Capt. Jiro Ban - 1 December 1927 - 21 December 1927

Capt. Tatsuo Sagara - 21 December 1927 - 10 December 1928

Capt. Ichiro Sato - 10 December 1928 - 1 May 1929

Capt. Seizaburo Mitsui - 1 May 1929 - 30 November 1929

Capt. Sonosuke Kobayashi - 30 November 1929 - 1 December 1930

Capt. Kanae Waki - 1 December 1930 - 1 December 1931

Capt. Kazuo Taniike - 1 December 1931 - 1 December 1932

Capt. Takushiro Watanabe - 1 December 1932 - 15 November 1933

Capt. Takeo Takagi - 15 November 1933 - 15 November 1934

Capt. Jiro Matsunaga - 15 November 1934 - 15 November 1935

Capt. Sadamichi Kajioka - 15 November 1935 - 1 December 1936

Capt. Mitsuharu Matsuyama - 1 December 1936 - 20 February 1937

Capt. Hachiro Nakao - 20 February 1937 - 10 November 1937

Capt. Torao Sawada - 10 November 1937 - 15 July 1938

Capt. Shinichi Ichise - 15 July 1938 - 15 December 1938

Capt. Heitaro Edo - 15 December 1938 - 1 July 1939

Capt. Hideo Yano - 1 July 1939 - 1 November 1940

Capt. Akira Soji - 1 November 1940 - 10 September 1941

Capt. Toshio Naoi - 10 September 1941 - 10 July 1942

Capt. Yoshioki Tawara - 10 July 1942 - 20 November 1942

Capt. Katsukiyo Shinoda - 20 November 1942 - 16 August 1943

Capt. Masayuki Kitamura - 16 August 1943 - 7 April 1944

Capt. Shinichi Kondo - 7 April 1944 - 8 May 1944

Capt. / VADM* Giichiro Nakahara - 8 May 1944 - 7 August 1944 (KIA; posthumous 2-rank promotion.)



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

*cite book
last = D'Albas
first = Andrieu
authorlink =
year = 1965
title = Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II
publisher = Devin-Adair Pub
location =
id = ISBN 0-8159-5302-X

*cite book
last = Dull
first = Paul S.
authorlink =
year = 1978
chapter =
title = A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945
publisher = Naval Institute Press
location =
id = ISBN 0-87021-097-1

*cite book
last = Evans
first = David
authorlink =
year = 1979
title = Kaigun : Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941
publisher = Naval Institute Press
location =
id = ISBN 0-87021-192-7

*cite book
last = Howarth
first = Stephen
authorlink =
year = 1983
title = The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945
publisher = Atheneum
location =
id = ISBN 0-68911-402-8

*cite book
last = Jentsura
first = Hansgeorg
authorlink =
coauthors =
year = 1976
chapter =
title = Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945
publisher = Naval Institute Press
location =
id = ISBN 0-87021-893-X

*cite book
last = Lacroix
first = Eric
authorlink =
coauthors = Linton Wells
year = 1997
chapter =
title = Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War
publisher = Naval Institute Press
location =
id = ISBN 0-87021-311-3

*cite book
last = Whitley
first = M.J.
authorlink =
coauthors =
year = 1995
chapter =
title = Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia
publisher = Naval Institute Press
location =
id = ISBN 1-55750-141-6

External links

*cite web
last = Parshall
first = Jon
coauthors = Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, & Allyn Nevitt
year =
url = http://www.combinedfleet.com/nagara_c.htm CombinedFleet.com: "Nagara" class
title = Imperial Japanese Navy Page (Combinedfleet.com)
work =
accessdate = 2006-06-14
tabular record: [http://www.combinedfleet.com/nagara_t.htm CombinedFleet.com: "Nagara" history]
* [http://homepage2.nifty.com/nishidah/e/stc0326.htm Materials of IJN - Nagara class Light cruisers]


See also

* List of World War II ships

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