Japanese cruiser Natori

Japanese cruiser Natori

nihongo|"IJN Natori"|名取 軽巡洋艦|Natori keijunyōkan was a "Nagara"-class light cruiser in the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was named after the Natori River in Miyagi prefecture, Japan.


"Natori" was the fourth vessel completed in the "Nagara"-class of light cruisers. Like other vessels of her class, she was intended for use as the flagship of a destroyer flotilla.

ervice career

Early career

"Natori" was completed Mitsubishi's Nagasaki shipyard on 15 September 1922. Soon after commissioning, "Natori" was assigned to patrols off the China coast. From 1938, it was based in Taiwan, and helped cover the landings of Japanese troops in southern China.

In 1940, a border dispute between Siam and French Indochina erupted into armed conflict. A Japanese-sponsored "Conference for the Cessation of Hostilities" was held at Saigon and preliminary documents for a cease-fire between the governments of General Henri Philippe Petain's Vichy France and the Kingdom of Siam were signed aboard "Natori" on 31 January 1941.

Early Stages of the Pacific War

On 26 November 1941, "Natori" became flagship of Rear Admiral Kenzaburo Hara's DesRon 5 under Vice Admiral Ibo Takahashi's Third Fleet and was assigned to the No.1 Surprise Attack Unit of the Philippine Seizure Force. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, "Natori" was escorting six transports carrying elements of the IJA's 48th Infantry Division from Mako, Pescadores to Aparri, northern Luzon. The landing force was attacked by three USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the 14th Squadron on 10 December 1941, which slightly damaged "Natori" and its escorting destroyer "Harukaze" with near misses. After minor repairs at Mako, "Natori" ferried 27 transports with the 47th Infantry Regiment of the 48th Infantry Division and the 4th Tank Regiment to Lingayen Gulf in late December.

On 26 December 1941, "Natori" was reassigned to the No. 2 Escort Unit with the light cruiser "Kashii", and tasked with escorting 43 transports of the Third Malaya Convoy to Singora.

Battle of the Sunda Strait

"Natori" was later assigned escort duties to cover the invasion force for the Dutch East Indies, and participated in the Battle of Sunda Strait on 28 February 1942.

"Natori" with DesDiv 5's "Asakaze", DesDiv 11's "Shirayuki", "Hatsuyuki", DesDiv 12's "Shirakumo" and "Murakumo" and DesDiv 27's "Shiratsuyu" with CruDiv 7's "Mikuma" and "Mogami" deployed north and west of the landing areas. The "USS Houston" (CA-30) and the Australian light cruiser "HMAS Perth" sortied for Tjilatjap via the Sunda Strait and attacked Japanese troop transports screened only by "Harukaze", "Hatakaze" and "Fubuki". The destroyers made smoke to mask the transports. "Fubuki" charged the "Houston" and "Perth" and launched torpedoes.

At 2300, the Third Escort Force's "Natori" and her destroyers arrived with the Western Support Force's "Mogami", "Mikuma" and "Shikinami". "Shiratsuyu" opened fire on the Allies. "Natori", with "Hatsuyuki" and "Shirayuki", then opened fire and rapidly closed the range. At 2308, the Allied cruisers turned NE and "Natori" and her destroyers headed SE in three columns. Between 2310 and 2319 they launched 28 torpedoes at the Allies. The "Perth's" gunfire damaged the "Harukaze's" rudder and the "Shirayuki's" bridge.

At 2319, "Mikuma" and "Mogami" each fired six Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at the "Perth" from about convert|9300|yd|m|-2 and opened main battery fire from about convert|12000|yd|m|-3, assisted by searchlights on their destroyers. At 2327, "Mogami" fired six Long Lances at the "Houston". They miss, but hit the Army transports "Sakura Maru", "Horai Maru", "Tatsuno Maru" and the Commander-in-Chief of the invading Japanese 16th Army, Lieutenant General Hitoshi Imamura's transport "Ryujo Maru".

At 2326, "Harukaze" and "Hatakaze" launch torpedoes. At 2330, "Shirakumo" and "Murakumo" also launch torpedoes. Altogether, the Japanese launch about 90 torpedoes in the engagement. The Perth, low on ammunition, was making convert|28|kn|km/h|0 when the first torpedo hit her forward engine room. Two more torpedoes hit her forward magazine and aft under "X" turret, and she sank three miles (5 km) ENE of St. Nicholas Point at coord|05|48|42|S|106|07|52|E after a fourth torpedo hit. At 0045, the "Houston" sanks at coord|05|48|45|S|106|07|55|E.

On 10 March 1942, "Natori" was assigned to CruDiv 16 with the light cruiser "Nagara". After the occupation of Java, "Natori" participated in the Battle of Christmas Island. At Christmas Island on 1 April 1942 "USS Seawolf" (SS-197) fired three torpedoes at "Natori", but all missed. The cruiser "Naka" which was hit starboard near her No. 1 boiler was not so lucky, and had to be towed back to Bantam Bay by "Natori".

In April, "Natori" was assigned to patrols of the Java Sea, which continued into June. After a refit back at Maizuru, "Natori" returned to the Java Sea and Timor Sea until December, with occasional calls at Mergui in Burma, Penang, Singapore and Davao.

On 21 December 1942, "Natori" embarked a Special Naval Landing Force, which it disembarked at Hollandia, New Guinea.

On 9 January 1943, convert|18|nmi|km|0 southeast of Ambon, "Natori" was sighted by "USS Tautog" (SS-199) at about convert|3000|yd|m|-3. The "Tautog" fired two torpedoes which hit the "Natori" in the stern. It broke off and carried away her rudder. In the next few minutes, as "Natori" got underway at reduced speed, "Tautog" fired two more torpedoes, but they either missed or were duds and "Natori" managed to escape.


On 21 January 1943, while at Ambon, "Natori" was damaged by a near-miss starboard side by a 500-lb. bomb dropped by a Consolidated Aircraft B-24 Liberator bomber of the 90th Bomb Group's 319th Bomb Squadron. The bomb opened plates and caused the No. 2 boiler room to flood. "Natori" departed Ambon that day for repairs at Makassar, but repair proved impossible, so "Natori" continued on to Seletar Naval Base, Singapore. Repairs were not completed until 24 May 1943, but by then a decision was made to send "Natori" back to Japan for further repairs and modernization

At Maizuru, "Natori's" No. 5 and No.7 140 mm guns were removed as were her catapult and derrick. A twin Type 89 127 mm HA gun was fitted, as were two triple mount Type 96 25 mm AA guns. This brought "Natori's" 25 mm AA suite to fourteen barrels (2x3, 2x2, 4x1). A Type 21 air-search radar was fitted and hydrophones were installed at her bow. Repairs and modernization were completed on 1 April 1944, and "Natori" was assigned as the flagship of the Central Pacific Fleet's DesRon 3.

Actions in the Philippines

On 5 June 1944, "Natori" embarked an Imperial Japanese Army detachment from Kure to Davao, Mindanao where it disembarked the Army detachment and embarked other troops for Palau, arriving on 17 June 1944 (the day before the Battle of the Philippine Sea. "Natori" remained at Davao in late June through August as a guard ship.

On 20 July 1944, the "USS Bluegill" (SS-242) patrolling off Davao spotted "Natori" making convert|26|kn|km/h|0, but was unable to gain a favorable firing position. "Natori" arrived in Palau 21 July 1944 to help evacuate 800 Japanese and Korean "comfort women" to Davao.

On 18 August 1944, convert|200|nmi|km|-1 east of Samar, "Natori" was accompanying the transport T.3 to Palau when it was spotted by "USS Hardhead" (SS-365) east of San Bernardino Strait. "USS Hardhead" identified the target as a battleship and closed for a surface attack. One torpedo of its first salvo of five Mark 23 Torpedoes fired at convert|2800|yd|m|-2 hit the "Natori" portside in a boiler room. She stopped dead in the water and was hit starboard amidships with one of a second salvo of four Mark 18 Torpedoes.

At 0704, "Natori" sank at coord|12|29|N|128|49|E, taking 330 crewmen including Captain Kubota with her. The destroyers "Uranami" and "Kiyoshimo" rescued 194 survivors, and the "USS Stingray" (SS-186) recovered four more survivors in a rubber raft. On 12 September 1944, almost a month after her sinking, "USS Marshall" (DD-676) captured a lifeboat with another 44 survivors of the "Natori" aboard.

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

List of Captains

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Yoshichika Fukushima - 16 February 1922 - 15 September 1922

Capt. Yoshichika Fukushima - 15 September 1922 - 1 December 1922

Capt. Minoru Morita - 1 December 1922 - 20 November 1923

Capt. Taizo Ogura - 20 November 1923 - 1 December 1924

Capt. Shiro Inoue - 1 December 1924 - 20 November 1925

Capt. Keiji Mizuki - 20 November 1925 - 1 November 1926

Capt. Keiichi Ichikizaki - 1 November 1926 - 1 December 1926

Capt. Chuza Matsumoto - 1 December 1926 - 20 August 1927

Capt. Takehiko Tsuda - 20 August 1927 - 15 November 1927

Capt. Jugoro Arichi - 15 November 1927 - 1 August 1928

Capt. Toshiu Higurashi - 1 August 1928 - 10 December 1928

Capt. Kenichi Sada - 10 December 1928 - 30 November 1929

Capt. Yoshiro Koyama - 30 November 1929 - 1 December 1930

Capt. Taichi Miki - 1 December 1930 - 5 April 1931

Capt. Kurayoshi Hoshino - 5 April 1931 - 1 December 1931

Capt. Michimoto Nakayama - 1 December 1931 - 10 June 1932

Capt. Terumichi Goto - 10 June 1932 - 1 December 1932

Capt. Matsukichi Matsuki - 1 December 1932 - 15 November 1933

Capt. Eijiro Matsuura - 15 November 1933 - 15 November 1934

Capt. Fukuji Kishi - 15 November 1934 - 15 November 1935

Capt. Masao Okamura - 15 November 1935 - 1 December 1936

Capt. Yoshimasa Nakahara - 1 December 1936 - 10 November 1937

Capt. Hachiro Nakao - 10 November 1937 - 5 December 1938

Capt. Takeo Aruga - 5 December 1938 - 28 September 1939

Capt. Hiroshi Matsubara - 28 September 1939 - 15 November 1940

Capt. Teijiro Yamazumi - 15 November 1940 - 28 July 1941

Capt. Seigo Sasaki - 28 July 1941 - 1 July 1942

Capt. Toshihira Inoguchi - 1 July 1942 - 20 January 1943

Capt. Mitsuharu Ueda - 20 January 1943 - 20 July 1943

Capt. Yasuji Hirai - 20 July 1943 - 18 March 1944

Capt. / RADM* Toshi Kubota - 18 March 1944 - 18 August 1944 (KIA)



*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 = Cook
first = Haruko Taya
coauthors = Theodore F. Cook
authorlink =
year = 1992
chapter = Lifeboat
title = Japan At War: An Oral History
publisher = The New Press
location = New York
id = ISBN 1-56584-039-9
First-hand account of the sinking of the "Natori" by one of the surviving crew.
*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/natori_t.htm CombinedFleet.com: "Natori" history] (Retrieved 26 January 2007.)


ee also

*List of World War II ships

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