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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Takao class cruiser

Photos

IJN Atago doing 34 knots after reconstruction off Tateyama on August 25, 1939:
IJN Atago doing 34 knots after reconstruction off Tateyama on August 25, 1939
Imperial War Museum, MH-6205
IJN Chôkai:
IJN Chôkai
Imperial War Museum, MH-6207

Design

The Takao class were ordered under the 1927 / 1927 - 1931 Reinforcement Program. The Takao class were designed by Constructor Captain Fujimoto.

The bridge of the Takao class contained all the fire control and communication equipment used on the ships. Armor was increased from the Myôkô class.

Electric welding and light alloys were used to help reduce weight.

All of the Takao class ships were to be able to serve as Squadron flagships during war and Fleet flagships when at peace.

Aircraft

There were two Kure Type 2 Model 3 catapults for the aircraft.

Armament

To help prevent the loss of the ship to an explosion the torpedo tubes were located on the upper deck.

A torpedo could be fired every three minutes.

The main armament was able to fire at aircraft. It was designed to elevate to 70° but could only go as high as 55°. The guns also had to lower to 5° to load.

Name Elevation
8", 8" / 20.3 cm L/50 Type 3 Nendo Shiki 2Gô 55°, 70°

Ships

IJN Atago

  • Manufacturer: Kure Navy Yard
  • early 1927, 1927: Ordered.
  • April 28, 1927: Laid down.
  • June 23, 1927: Named Atago.
  • June 16, 1930: Launched.
  • March 30, 1932: Completed.
  • December 1932: 4th Cruiser Squadron.
  • November 15, 1935: Put into reserve.
  • 1936: Refit. 40 mm guns replaced by two 13.2 mm quad mounts.
  • 1937 - 1938, April 1938 - October 1939, April 1938 - October 30, 1939, August 1938 - October 1939, 1939 - 1940, October 30, 1939: Refit at Yokosuka. Bridge enlarged. The two twin torpedo mounts were replaced by quad mounts. 4.7" guns replaced by 5" DP twin mounts. Additional storage was made for another aircraft. Mainmast moved to be located in front of X turret.
    Eight 25 mm guns and four 13 mm guns added.
    Four 25 mm twin mounts added. A 13.2 mm quad mount was replaced by two 13 mm twin mounts.
  • November 15, 1939: 4th Cruiser Squadron.
  • 1941: Two 13 mm twin mounts replaced by two 25 mm twin mounts.
  • December 1941: Flagship of Admiral Kondo. 4th Cruiser Division / Sentai 4. Southern Area Force. Philippine invasion. Malaya and Borneo landings.
  • January 1942: Palau.
  • January - March 1942: Southwest Pacific.
  • January - February 1942: Dutch East Indies. Java.
  • ?: Helped sink USS Pillsbury.
  • ?: Helped sink RAN Yarra, Anking (depot ship), and Francol (oiler).
  • February 15, 1942: Sailed from Palau with Carrier Division 1 and Carrier Division 2.
  • February 19, 1942: Raid on Darwin.
  • April - May 1942, May 1942: Refit in Japan. 4.7" guns replaced by 5" twin mounts.
  • June 1942, June 4, 1942: Flagship of Covering Group, Midway.
  • August 8, 1942: Battle of Eastern Solomons.
  • October 26, 1942: Battle of Santa Cruz Islands.
  • November 3, 1942: Sailed from Truk to Eight Fleet.
  • November 14 - 15, 1942: Flagship Admiral Kondo. Battle of Guadalcanal. Sustained damage from USS Washington and USS South Dakota.
  • December 1942 - April 1943: Refit in Japan.
  • April 1943: Truk.
  • July - August 1943: Refit.
    Two 25 mm triple mounts added.
    Two 25 mm triple mounts and six 25 mm twin mounts added.
  • November 5, 1943: Rabaul. Damaged by three near misses from air raid from USS Saratoga. Sailed to Truk.
  • November 6, 1943: Arrived in Truk.
  • November 1943 - January 1944: Refit. Eight 25 mm guns added.
  • March 1944: 26 total 25 mm guns (two triple mounts, six twin mounts, and 8 single mounts).
  • June 19 - 20, 1944: Flagship of Vice-Admiral Kurita. Van Force. 1st Mobile Fleet. Battle of Philippine Sea.
  • June 1944: Four 25 mm triple mounts added.
  • July 1944, summer 1944, October 1944: Six 25 mm triple mounts, six 25 mm twin mounts, and 30 25 mm guns in total.
  • October 22, 1944: Sailed from Brunei. Center Force. Battle of Leyte Gulf.
  • October 23, 1944: Sunk. Center Force. Battle of Leyte Gulf. Torpedoed (hit by four) by USS Darter north of Cape Buliluyan.

IJN Chôkai

  • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi at Nagasaki
  • early 1928, 1928: Ordered.
  • March 26, 1928, March 29, 1928: Laid down.
  • April 13, 1928: Named Chôkai.
  • April 5, 1931: Launched.
  • June 30, 1932: Completed.
  • December 1932: 4th Cruiser Squadron.
  • November 15, 1935: Put into reserve.
  • 1936: Refit. 40 mm guns replaced by two 13.2 mm quad mounts.
  • August 7, 1937: 4th Cruiser Division.
  • November 15, 1940: Flagship of China Expeditionary Force.
  • Spring 1941: Torpedo tubes altered to be able to fire Long Lance torpedoes. Heavier catapults installed. The 13.2 mm quad mount replaced by two 25 mm twin mounts. Two 13 mm twin mounts added.
  • December 1941: Cruiser Division 4 / Sentai 4. Flagship of Admiral Ozawa. Malaya Invasion Force. Southern Area Force. Malaya and Borneo landings.
  • January - March 1942: Flagship of Admiral Ozawa. Southwest Pacific.
  • January - February 1942: Dutch East Indies.
  • February 1942: Ran aground near Saigon.
  • February - March 1942: Repairs.
  • Early 1942: A 13 mm twin mount replaced by two 25 mm guns.
  • ?: Supported landings in Sumatra and Andaman Islands.
  • April 1942, April 1 -11, 1942: Indian Ocean. Flagship of Vice-Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa. Sank merchants Selma City, Bienville, and Ganges near the Indian coast.
  • April - May 1942: Refit in Japan.
  • June 1942, June 4, 1942: Covering Group, Midway.
  • August 1942, August 6 - 9, 1942: Flagship of Eighth Fleet. Flagship Admiral Mikawa / Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa. Battle of Savo Island. Hit by three rounds from USS Quincy and USS Astoria. 34 crewman killed.
  • August 24, 1942: Cruiser Division 8. Battle of Eastern Solomons.
  • October 14, 1942, October 14 - 15, 1942: Bombardment of Henderson Field with Kinugasa.
  • November 12 - 15, 1942: Battle of Guadalcanal. Damaged by aircraft from USS Enterprise.
  • November 13, 1942, November 14, 1942: Bombarded Henderson Field with Maya and Suzuya. Slightly damaged from bombs.
  • December 1942 - April 1943: Refit in Japan.
  • April 1943: Truk.
  • August - September 1943: Refit. Two 25 mm twin mounts added.
  • November 5, 1943: Rabaul.
  • November 11, 1943: Towed Maya to Japan.
  • November 1943 - January 1944, January 1944: Refit at Truk. Ten 25 mm guns added.
  • June 19 - 20, 1944: First Mobile Fleet. Battle of Philippine Sea.
  • June 1944, July 1944, October 1944:
    Six 25 mm triple mounts, six 25 mm twin mounts, and 30 25 mm guns in total.
    Eight 25 mm twin mounts and 22 25 mm guns.
    18 25 mm guns added.
  • October 22 - 25, 1944: Cruiser Division 5. Center Force. Battle of Leyte Gulf.
  • October 25, 1944: Sunk. Center Force. Battle of Leyte Gulf. Battle of Samar. Destroyers USS Hoel and USS Johnston, the destroyer escort USS Samual B Roberts and the escort carrier USS Gambier Bay were sunk. Torpedoed by aircraft from USS Kitkun Bay. Scuttled by IJN Fujinami northeast of Samar.

IJN Maya

  • Manufacturer: Kawasaki at Kobe
  • early 1928, 1928: Ordered.
  • September 11, 1928: Named Maya.
  • December 4, 1928: Laid down.
  • November 8, 1930: Launched.
  • June 30, 1932: Completed.
  • December 1932: 4th Cruiser Squadron.
  • November 15, 1935: Put into reserve.
  • 1936: Refit. 40 mm guns replaced by two 13.2 mm quad mounts.
  • ?: 4.7" guns replaced by 5" DP twin mounts. Eight 13 mm guns added.
  • December 1, 1936: 4th Cruiser Division.
  • May 1, 1940: 4th Cruiser Squadron.
  • Spring 1941: Torpedo tubes altered to be able to fire Long Lance torpedoes. Heavier catapults installed. The 13.2 mm quad mount replaced by two 25 mm twin mounts. Two 13 mm twin mounts added.
  • December 1941: Cruiser Division 4 / Sentai 4. Philippines. Southern Area Force. Malaya and Borneo landings.
  • January 1942: Palau.
  • January - March 1942: Southwest Pacific.
  • January - February 1942: Dutch East Indies. Java.
  • early 1942, April - May 1942: Refit in Japan. A 13 mm twin mount replaced by two 25 mm guns.
  • March 2, 1942, March 3, 1942: Helped sink HMS Stronghold south of Java.
  • April 1942: Indian Ocean.
  • May 1942, June 1942, June 7 - 14, 1942, July 1942: Aleutians.
  • August 24, 1942: Battle of Eastern Solomons.
  • October 15 - 16, 1942: Bombarded Henderson Field.
  • October 26, 1942: Battle of Santa Cruz.
  • November 3, 1942: Sailed from Truk to Eight Fleet.
  • November 12 - 15, 1942: Battle of Guadalcanal. Support Group. Damaged by a crashed aircraft from USS Enterprise.
  • November 13, 1942: Bombarded Henderson Field with Chokai and Suzuya.
  • December 1942 - April 1943: Refit in Japan.
  • April 1943: Truk.
  • March 1943, March 26, 1943: Battle of Komandorski Islands.
  • August - September 1943: Refit. Two 25 mm twin mounts added.
  • November 5, 1943: During air raid from USS Saratoga on Rabaul a bomb went down funnel and exploded in an engine room. 70 crewman died.
  • November 11, 1943: Towed to Japan by Chokai.
  • November 1943, November 1943 - March 1944, December 1943, December 5, 1943 - April 9, 1944: Refit and repairs at Yokosuka. Conversion into anti-aircraft cruiser. C turret replaced by two 5" twin turrets. All 4.7" guns and 25 mm twin mounts were removed. One aircraft removed.
    Total of twelve 5" twin mounts and 39 25 mm guns.
    Total of four 8" twin mounts, six 5" twin mounts, thirteen 25 mm triple mounts, nine 25 mm guns, 36 removable 13 mm guns, and four 24" quad banks of torpedoes.
  • March 1944: 39 total 25 mm guns.
  • June 19 - 20, 1944: First Mobile Fleet. Battle of Philippine Sea. Damaged by near misses. Sailed to Japan for repairs.
  • June 1944, July 1944, summer 1944, August 1944, October 1944:
    66 total 25 mm guns (ten triple mounts, six twin mounts, and 30 single mounts).
    Thirteen 25 mm triple mounts and 27 25 mm guns.
    Twelve 25 mm guns added.
    Fourteen 25 mm guns and four removable 25 mm guns added.
  • October 23, 1944: Sunk. Center Force. Battle of Leyte Gulf. Hit by four torpedoes from USS Dace north-northeast of Cape Bililuyan. 470 crewman died.

IJN Takao

  • Manufacturer: Yokosuka Navy Yard
  • early 1927, 1927: Ordered.
  • April 28, 1927: Laid down.
  • June 23, 1927: Named Takao.
  • May 12, 1930: Launched.
  • May 31, 1932: Completed.
  • December 1932: 4th Cruiser Squadron.
  • November 15, 1935: Put into reserve.
  • 1936: Refit. 40 mm guns replaced by two 13.2 mm quad mounts.
  • December 1, 1936: 4th Cruiser Division.
  • 1937 - 1938, May 1938 - August 1939, May 1938 - August 31, 1939, August 1938 - August 31, 1939, August 31, 1939, 1939 - 1940: Refit at Yokosuka. Bridge enlarged. The two twin torpedo mounts were replaced by quad mounts. 4.7" guns replaced by 5" DP twin mounts. Additional storage was made for another aircraft. Mainmast moved to be located in front of X turret.
    Eight 25 mm guns and four 13 mm guns added.
    Four 25 mm twin mounts added. A 13.2 mm quad mount was replaced by two 13 mm twin mounts.
  • 1941: Two 13 mm twin mounts replaced by two 25 mm twin mounts.
  • December 1941: Philippines. Sentai 4. Southern Area Force. Malaya and Borneo landings.
  • December 23, 1941: Malaya.
  • January 1942: Palau.
  • January - March 1942: Southwest Pacific.
  • January - February 1942: Dutch East Indies. Java.
  • ?: Helped sink USS Pillsbury.
  • February 15, 1942: Sailed from Palau with Carrier Division 1 and Carrier Division 2.
  • February 19, 1942: Raid on Darwin.
  • April 1942: Indian Ocean.
  • April - May 1942, May 1942: Refit in Japan. 4.7" guns replaced by 5" twin mounts.
  • May 1942, June 1942, June 7 - 14, 1942, July 1942: Aleutians.
  • August 24, 1942: Battle of Eastern Solomons.
  • October 26, 1942: Battle of Santa Cruz Islands.
  • November 3, 1942: Sailed from Truk to Eight Fleet.
  • November 14 - 15, 1942: Battle of Guadalcanal. Damaged while fighting USS South Dakota.
  • December 1942 - April 1943: Refit in Japan.
  • April 1943: Truk.
  • July - August 1943: Refit.
    Two 25 mm triple mounts added.
    Two 25 mm triple mounts and six 25 mm twin mounts added.
  • November 5, 1943: Hit by one / two bombs during raid on Rabaul from USS Saratoga and USS Princeton.
  • November 5, 1943, November 11, 1943: Sailed to Truk.
  • November 1943 - January 1944: Refit in Japan. Eight 25 mm guns added.
  • March 1944: 26 total 25 mm guns (two triple mounts, six twin mounts, and 8 single mounts).
  • June 19 - 20, 1944: First Mobile Fleet. Battle of Philippine Sea.
  • June 1944: Four 25 mm triple mounts added.
  • July 1944, summer 1944, October 1944: Six 25 mm triple mounts, six 25 mm twin mounts, and 30 25 mm guns in total.
  • October 23, 1944: Center Force. Battle of Leyte Gulf. On returning to Brunei hit by two torpedoes from USS Darter.
  • November 12, 1944: Arrived in Singapore.
  • January 1945: Singapore.
  • July 30 - 31, 1945, July 31, 1945: Damaged by midget subs XE-1 and XE-3 in Singapore harbor with limpet mines.
  • July 31, 1945: Declared a construction total loss. Sunk.

Specifications

  Takao class
Crew 727, 773
Displacement 9,850 tons, 11,350 tons, 13,160 tons
Displacement - Loaded 15,186 tons, 15,490 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 668' 6"
203.76 m
Length - Water Line 661' 6", 661 8", 663' 9"
201.67 m, 201.7 m, 201.76 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 630', 631' 6", 631' 8", 632' 9"
192.02 m, 192.5 m, 192.54 m
Beam 59', 59' 2", 68'
18 m, 18.03 m
Draft / Height 20', 20' 1", 21' 4"
6 m, 6.11 m
Performance  
Speed 34.25 knots, 35.5 knots
Range at 14 knots 7,000 nautical miles, 8,000 nautical miles, 14,000 nautical miles
Armament 20 cm L/50 Type 3 twin turrets, 8" twin turrets, 8" / 20.3 cm L/50 twin turrets: 5
Anti-Aircraft 5" twin mounts: 4
4.7" / 12 cm L/45, 4.7" HA, 12 cm L/45 Type 10 HA: 4
40 mm / 2 pdr Vickers, 40 mm / 2 pdr L/62 Vickers: 2
25 mm: 8
13 mm: 4
7.7 mm Vickers machine gun: 2
Torpedo Tubes 24" / 61 cm: 2 mounts 4 tubes each, 4 mounts 2 tubes each, 4 mounts 4 tubes each
Aircraft 2, 3
Armor  
Belt - Engines 3.9"
Belt - Main 1.5" - 5", 3" - 4"
8 - 10 cm
Bulkheads 3" - 4"
Deck 1.375", 1.4", 1.5", 3"
3.5 cm
Deck - Upper 0.5" - 1"
Magazine 4.9", 5"
12.7 cm
Turrets 1", 1.5", 3"
3.5 cm
Engines  
Boilers 12
Kanpon: 12
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared, Kanpon geared
HP 130,000, 133,100
Oil 2,000 tons, 2,570 tons, 2,571 tons, 2,645 tons
  Atago, Takao 1939
Crew 835
Displacement - Atago 15,641 tons
Displacement - Takao 15,875 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 203.76 m
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars 192.02 m
Beam 20.73 m
Draft / Height 10.93 m
Performance  
Speed 34.25 knots
Range at 18 knots 5,049 nautical miles
Armament 20 cm L/50 Type 3 twin turrets: 5
Anti-Aircraft 12 cm L/45 Type 10 HA: 4
25 mm Type 96 twin mounts: 4
13 mm Type 90 machine gun twin mounts: 2
Torpedo Tubes 61 cm Type 92: 4 mounts 4 tubes each
Depth Charges 6 - 12
Depth Charge Launchers 4
Aircraft 3
Armor  
Belt - Main  
Deck  
Magazine  
Turrets  
Engines  
Boilers Kanpon: 12
Shafts 4
Turbines Kanpon geared
HP 133,000
Oil  
  Maya
Crew  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5" twin mounts: 4
13 mm: 8
Torpedo Tubes  
Aircraft  
Armor  
Belt - Main  
Deck  
Magazine  
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