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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Agano class cruiser

Photos

IJN Agano at Sasebo in October 1942:
IJN Agano at Sasebo in October 1942
Mikasa Memorial Museum
IJN Noshiro in Tokyo Bay in July 1943:
IJN Noshiro in Tokyo Bay in July 1943
Mikasa Memorial Museum
IJN Sakawa in Sasebo in November 1944:
IJN Sakawa in Sasebo in November 1944
Mikasa Memorial Museum
IJN Yahagi in Sasebo in December 1943:
IJN Yahagi in Sasebo in December 1943
Mikasa Memorial Museum

Design

The Agano class were designed in the late 1930s to replace the older 5,000 ton cruisers that were armed with 5.5" guns. The Agano class ships were to be the flagships of destroyer squadrons.

Originally the Agano class was to have three triple turrets but it was decided to make the ships lighter so they could be used as scouting cruisers and have four twin turrets. Then the X turret was replaced by torpedo tubes.

In March 1939 they were approved for construction under the 4th Naval Replenishment Program.

Aircraft

The two aircraft were carried on a platform behind the funnel. There was a single catapult for launching the aircraft. There was a crane mounted aft.

Armament

The torpedo mounts could rotate and fire either port or starboard.

Name Weight of Shell Range Elevation
6" / 15.2 cm L/50 100 lb 22,970 yards 53°
3" / 76.2 cm L/60 HA 13.2 lb    

Ships

IJN Agano (stream in Honshu)

  • Manufacturer: Sasebo Dock Yard, Sasebo Navy Yard
  • December 1939: Ordered.
  • June 18, 1940: Laid down.
  • September 20, 1941: Named Agano.
  • October 22, 1941: Launched.
  • October 31, 1942: Completed.
  • November 1942: Flagship of 10th Destroyer Squadron / 4th Destroyer Flotilla.
  • December 1942: Arrived in Truk.
  • December 1942: Supported invasion of Madang and Wewak.
  • January 1943: Evacuation of Guadalcanal.
  • 1943, June 1943:
    Two 25 mm triple mounts and two 25 mm twin mounts added.
    Eight 25 mm triple mounts and 22 25 mm guns in total.
  • October 1943: Rabaul.
  • November 1 - 2, 1943, November 2, 1943: Battle of Empress Bay. With four cruisers and six destroyers went to attack American landing forces at Bougainville.
  • November 5, 1943: Attacked by aircraft from USS Saratoga and USS Princeton at Rabaul and heavily damaged.
  • November 11, 1943: Hit by airborne torpedo outside Rabaul's harbor. Stern was severed.
  • November 12, 1943: Sailed from Rabaul to go to Truk. Hit by a torpedo from USS Scamp. Towed by Noshiro.
  • February 15, 1943: Sailed from Truk to Japan.
  • February 16, 1944: Sunk. Hit by two torpedoes from the USS Skate north of Truk. Heavy flooding and loss of power.
  • February 17, 1944: Sank.

IJN Noshiro (stream in Honshu)

  • Manufacturer: Yokosuka Dock Yard, Yokosuka Navy Yard
  • September 4, 1941: Laid down.
  • May 15, 1942: Named Noshiro.
  • July 19, 1942: Launched.
  • June 30, 1943: Completed.
  • 1943: Eight 25 mm triple mounts and 22 25 mm guns in total.
  • August 1943: Flagship of 2nd Destroyer Squadron / 2nd Destroyer Flotilla.
  • November 1943: Rabaul.
  • November 3, 1943: Sailed from Truk with seven heavy cruisers to attack United States fleet off Bougainville.
  • November 5, 1943: Attacked by US carrier aircraft at Rabaul and slightly damaged. Repairs at Truk.
  • November 11, 1943: Slightly damaged by US carrier aircraft at Rabaul.
  • December 1943: Transported troops to Kavieng and Rabaul.
  • January 1, 1944: Hit by carrier aircraft north of Kavieng. No. 2 turret destroyed by direct hit and hull damage by near misses.
  • January 1944: Repairs in Japan.
  • Early 1944, Spring 1944:
    Eight 25 mm triple mounts and 28 25 mm guns in total.
    Eight 25 mm triple mounts and eight 25 mm guns in total.
  • April 1944: Arrived in Lingga.
  • Summer 1944: Marianas.
  • June 1944: With Yamato and Musashi escorted troops to Biak.
  • June 18 - 22, 1944: Battle of Philippine Sea. Member of Admiral Kurita's force.
  • July 1944: 61 25 mm guns in total.
    Ten 25 mm triple mounts and 29 25 mm guns in total.
  • October 1944, October 25, 1944: Battle of Samar. Member of Center Force. Flagship 2nd Destroyer Squadron. Hit by one 5" destroyer shell and near misses from carrier aircraft. Claimed to hit US escort carriers with gunfire.
  • October 26, 1944: Sunk. Hit by bombs from aircraft from the USS Hornet and USS Wasp east of Panay. Loss of power and flooding caused by aerial torpedo. Sank by another torpedo hit that evening. Only 328 crewman survived.

IJN Sakawa (stream near Mt. Fuji)

  • Manufacturer: Sasebo Dock Yard, Sasebo Navy Yard
  • October 7, 1941: Ordered.
  • November 21, 1942: Laid down.
  • April 1, 1944: Named Sakawa.
  • April 9, 1944: Launched.
  • November 30, 1944: Completed.
  • July 1944: 61 25 mm guns total.
  • December 11, 1944: Flagship 11th Destroyer Squadron.
  • December 11, 1944 - July 1945: Inland Sea for training due to limited fuel.

IJN Yahagi (stream in Honshu)

  • Manufacturer: Sasebo Dock Yard, Sasebo Navy Yard
  • November 11, 1941: Laid down.
  • August 20, 1942: Named Yahagi.
  • October 25, 1942: Launched.
  • December 29, 1943: Completed.
  • February 1944: Flagship 10th Destroyer Squadron in Lingga.
  • Spring 1944: Eight 25 mm triple mounts and 28 25 mm guns in total.
  • May - June 1944: Flagship of 10th Destroyer Flotilla.
  • June 18 - 22, 1944: Battle of Philippine Sea. Member of Carrier Group A.
  • July 1944: 61 25 mm guns total.
    Ten 25 mm triple mounts and 29 25 mm guns in total.
  • October 1944: Battle of Leyte Gulf. Member of Center Force.
  • October 25, 1944: Battle of Samar. Flagship of 10th Destroyer Squadron. Fired seven torpedoes at US escort carriers and all missed. Damaged by 5" destroyer shell and near misses from carrier aircraft. 80 crewman killed primarily from strafing.
  • November - December 1944: Refit in Japan. Ten 25 mm triple mounts and 28 25 mm guns total.
  • April 6, 1945: Part of Ten-Ichi-Go (heaven number one) operation to attack American landing force off Okinawa. Sailed with Yamato and eight destroyers.
  • April 7, 1945: Sunk. Hit by bombs and seven aerial torpedoes from TF58 aircraft west-southwest of Kagoshima. 446 crewman were killed.

Specifications

  Agano class
Crew 700, 730
Displacement 6,652 tons, 7,710 tons
Displacement - Loaded 8,534 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 571' 2", 572' 6"
174.1 m, 174.5 m
Length - Water Line 564' 4"
172 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 531', 531' 6"
162 m
Beam 49' 9", 49' 10"
15.2 m
Draft / Height 18' 6"
5.5 m, 5.63 m
Performance  
Speed 35 knots
Range at 18 knots 6,000 nautical miles, 6,300 nautical miles
Range at 18.5 knots 6,178 nautical miles
Armament 5.9" / 15 cm L/40 twin turrets, 15 cm L/50 Type 41 twin turrets: 3
6" / 15.2 cm L/50 twin turrets, 6" L/50 Type 41 twin turrets: 3
6.1" twin turrets: 3
Anti-Aircraft 3.15" HA twin mounts: 2
3" twin mounts, 3" / 7.62 cm L/60 HA twin mounts, 3" / 8 cm L/40 twin mounts, 3" L/65 twin mounts, 8 cm L/60 Type 89 HA twin mounts: 2
25 mm triple mounts, 25 mm Type 96 triple mounts: 2
25 mm: 32
13 mm twin mounts, 13 mm Type 93 machine gun twin mounts: 2
Torpedo Tubes 24" / 61 cm: 2 mounts 4 tubes each
Depth Charges 16
Depth Charge Racks 2
Aircraft 2
Armor  
Belt - Machinery 2.2", 2.25"
5.6 cm
Belt - Main 2.25", 2.4"
5.7 cm
Control Tower 1.6 cm - 4 cm
Deck 0.7", 0.75"
1.8 cm, 1.9 cm, 2 cm
Magazines 2", 2.2"
5 cm, 5.5 cm
Turrets 1"
2.5 cm
Engines  
Boilers 6
Kanpon: 6
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared
HP 100,000, 110,000
Oil 1,405 tons
  Sakawa
Crew 805
Displacement 6,288 tons
Displacement - Loaded 8,534 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 25 mm triple mounts, 25 mm Type 96 triple mounts: 10
25 mm, 25 mm Type 96: 18, 29
Torpedo Tubes  
Depth Charges  
Aircraft  
Armor  
Belt - Main  
Deck  
Turrets  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  Yahagi
Crew  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 25 mm triple mounts, 25 mm Type 96 triple mounts: 2, 8
25 mm Type 96 twin mounts: 4
25 mm: 22
Torpedo Tubes  
Depth Charges  
Aircraft  
Armor  
Belt - Main  
Deck  
Turrets  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  

Sources:

  1. Japanese Warships of World War II, A. J. Watts, 1966
  2. The Imperial Japanese Navy, A. J. Watts and B. G. Gordon, 1971
  3. The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War, Mark E. Stille, 2013
  4. Cruisers of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1995
  5. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  6. Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War, Eric Lacroix, Linton Wells II, 1997
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site