(AGANO - digitally colorized photo)

IJN AGANO Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2018 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 5

18 June 1940:
Sasebo Navy Yard. Laid down as the lead ship of the new class light cruisers (hull No. 132).

20 September 1941:
Named AGANO.

22 October 1941:
Launched. Prince Kaya Kuninaga, the son of Prince Kaya Tsunenori, represents the Imperial family at the ceremony.

15 February 1942:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Nakagawa Ko (42)(former CO of FURUTAKA) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

31 October 1942:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Attached to Kure Naval District. Captain Nakagawa is the Commanding Officer.

1 November 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

2 November 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

4 November 1942:
Departs Kure. Arrives at Hashirajima.

11 November 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for navigation training.

14 November 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

14 November 1942:
At Kure. Takes on munitions, stores and fuel.

20 November 1942:
AGANO is assigned as flagship of DesRon 10, Third Fleet.

26 November 1942:
Departs Kure with destroyer URAKAZE.

1 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

2 December 1942:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (former CO of HARUNA) flag is hoisted on AGANO.

16 December 1942: Operation "MU"-The Reinforcement of Wewak.
Departs Truk with carrier JUNYO and DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE and HAMAKAZE to cover a troop convoy to Wewak and Medang.

17 December 1942:
Just before noon, the JUNYO group is spotted by USS SCULPIN (SS-191) moving southwestward, but SCULPIN can get no closer to the carrier than nine miles.

18 December 1942:
Shortly before midnight, the JUNYO group spots SCULPIN running on the surface. At 5,000 yards, DesDiv 17 opens fire at the submarine, but SCULPIN submerges and escapes.

The JUNYO group operates in the Bismarck Sea and covers the occupation of Hollandia.

20 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

18-26 January 1943:
Truk. AGANO undergoes minor modifications and repairs by repair ship AKASHI.

31 January 1943: Operation "KE" - The Evacuation of Guadalcanal:
DesRon 10's AGANO and destroyers steam from Truk to an area N of the Solomons with units of the Second and Third Fleets including carriers ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO, JUNYO, BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO and TAKAO, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO and DesRon 4's light cruiser NAGARA and destroyers as a feint to cover Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hashimoto Shintaro's (former CO of HYUGA) destroyer force from Rabaul.

2 February 1943:
E of Guadalcanal. Refuels from oiler KENYO MARU.

9 February 1943:
Returns to Truk. By this date, the Japanese successfully evacuate 11,700 troops from Guadalcanal.

13 February 1943:
Truk. Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo (former CO of HARUNA), CO of the Mobile Force, inspects DesRon 10 and AGANO.

February-May 1943:
At Truk.

3 May 1943:
Departs Truk.

8 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

11 May 1943: American Operation "Landcrab"- The Invasion of Attu, Aleutians:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Thomas C. Kinkaid's Task Force 16, covered by Rear Admiral Francis W. Rockwell's Task Force 51, lands the Army's 7th Division that captures Attu Island.

15 May 1943:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

16-20 May 1943:
Conducts various builder's trials out of Tokuyama.

20 May 1943:
Departs Tokuyama with light cruiser OYODO.

21 May 1943: Operation "Kita" (North)
Arrives at Yokosuka. Joins carriers ZUIKAKU, SHOKAKU and ZUIHO in Tokyo Bay. CruDiv 7's KUMANO, MOGAMI and SUZUYA also arrive from Tokuyama.

22 May 1943:
Yokosuka. In further response to the Attu invasion, Admiral Koga arrives from Truk with BatDiv 1's MUSASHI, CarDiv 2's JUNYO and HIYO, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA and nine destroyers. Before this powerful force can depart for a counterattack against the Aleutians, Attu falls to American forces.

29 May 1943:
Yokosuka. Operation "Kita" is canceled.

30 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

1 June 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

3 June 1943:
Begins refit and repairs. A Type 21 air search radar is fitted. Two triple and two twin Type 96 25-mm AA mounts are also fitted. AGANO's total 25-mm AA suite is now 16 barrels (4x3, 2x2).

23 June 1943:

30 June 1943:

2 July 1943:
Refit is completed.

2-7 July 1943:
Training in the Inland Sea.

9 July 1943:
Embarks troops, material, then departs Shinagawa with CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, escort carrier CHUYO, seaplane carrier NISSHIN, CruDiv 8's TONE, CHIKUMA and MOGAMI, light cruiser OYODO, DesDiv 4's ARASHI and HAGIKAZE, DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, DesDiv 61's HATSUZUKI and SUZUTSUKI and destroyer TAMANAMI.

11 July 1943:
The task force is sighted by USS STURGEON (SS-187) and SEARAVEN (SS-196), but neither submarine is able to attack.

15 July 1943:
The task force is sighted by USS TINOSA (SS-283) that misses ZUIHO with four torpedoes. The task force is also spotted by USS POGY (SS-266), but she is unable to attack. The task force arrives safely at Truk.

19 July 1943:
Departs Truk on a troop transport run with CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, seaplane tender NISSHIN, light cruiser OYODO, DesDiv 4's ARASHI, HAGIKAZE, DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE and DesDiv 61's HATSUZUKI and SUZUTSUKI.

21 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul. Disembarks troops.

24 July 1943:
Departs Rabaul with TONE, CHIKUMA, MOGAMI and OYODO, DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE and DesDiv 61.

26 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

5 August 1943:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsubara Hiroshi (45)(former ComDesDiv 24) is appointed the CO. Captain Nakagawa is reassigned as the CO of HYUGA.

18 September 1943:
At Truk. The fleet sorties to Brown Island, Eniwetok in response to raids on Tarawa, Makin and Abemama Atolls launched by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Charles A. Pownall's Task Force 15 carriers USS LEXINGTON (CV-16), PRINCETON (CVL-23) and BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24).

Vice Admiral Ozawa, in tactical command, leads the fleet's first section's BatDiv 1 YAMATO and NAGATO, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, light cruisers AGANO and NOSHIRO and destroyers.

Vice Admiral Kurita leads the second section with his Advance Force's CruDiv 4 ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA and CHOKAI.

Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Koga Mineichi (former CO of ISE), CINC, Combined Fleet, remains at Truk in the fleet's flagship MUSASHI with BatDiv 2's FUSO and BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA.

25 September 1943:
No contact is made with Task Force 15. The fleet arrives back at Truk.

5-6 October 1943:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Alfred E. Montgomery's Task Force 14 carriers USS ESSEX (CV-9), YORKTOWN (CV-10), LEXINGTON (CV-16), INDEPENDENCE (CV-22), BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24) and COWPENS (CVL-25) launch raids on Wake Island and the Marshall Islands.

17 October 1943:
The Japanese intercept radio traffic that suggests the Americans are planning another raid on Wake. AGANO sorties from Truk to Brown Atoll, Eniwetok to intercept the American task force with Admiral Koga's BatDiv 1's YAMATO, MUSASHI and NAGATO, BatDiv 2's FUSO, BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA and CHOKAI, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA and MOGAMI, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, light cruiser OYODO and many destroyers.

20 October 1943:
Arrives at Brown Island, Eniwetok.

23 October 1943:
Departs Brown Island and sorties to a position 250 miles S of Wake. Returns after no contact is made with American forces.

26 October 1943:
The fleet arrives back at Truk.

30 October 1943:
Operation "RO" - The Reinforcement of Rabaul:
Departs Truk for Rabaul with Desron 10ís WAKATSUKI, NAGANAMI and HATSUKAZE.

1 November 1943: American Operation "Shoestring II": The Invasion of Bougainville:
Arrives at Rabaul. That same day, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Theodore S. Wilkinson's Third Amphibious Force, TF 31, lands Lt Gen (later General/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Amphibious Corps at Cape Torokina, Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville.

2 November 1943: The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay:
Vice Admiral Omori Sentaro (former CO of ISE) departs Rabaul to escort 1,000 IJA troops to oppose the American invasion at Cape Torokina. Omori's force includes CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, Rear Admiral Ijuin Matsuji's DesRon 3 light cruiser SENDAI with destroyers SHIGURE, SAMIDARE and SHIRATSUYU and Rear Admiral Osugi Morikazu's DesRon 10's AGANO with destroyers NAGANAMI, WAKATSUKI and HATSUKAZE and destroyer-transports AMAGIRI, YUNAGI, UZUKI and YUZUKI.

Omori's force is intercepted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) A. S. Merrill's (former CO of INDIANA, BB-58) Task Force 39 with CruDiv 12's radar-equipped light cruisers USS CLEVELAND (CL-55), COLUMBIA (CL-56), MONTPELIER (CL-57) and DENVER (CL-58), Captain (later Admiral/CNO) "31 knot" Arleigh Burke's DesDiv 45's STANLY (DD-478), CHARLES F. AUSBURNE (DD-570), CLAXTON (DD-571) and DYSON (DD-572) and Cdr B. L Austin's DesDiv 46's CONVERSE (DD-509), FOOTE (DD-511), SPENCE (DD-512) and THATCHER (DD-514).

At 0150, all four of Merrill's cruisers take SENDAI under 6-inch fire and set her afire. She soon sinks with most of her crew. SAMIDARE, avoiding American shell fire, collides with SHIRATSUYU. At 0300, MYOKO collides with HATSUKAZE. Burke's destroyers finish off HATSUKAZE.

At 0200, SENDAI is abandoned. She soon sinks with most of her crew. Admiral Omori withdraws with the remaining Japanese forces. AGANO, undamaged in the action, returns to Rabaul.

5 November 1943:
Rabaul. Attacked by aircraft of Task Force 38' USS SARATOGA (CV-3) and PRINCETON (CVL-23). AGANO sustains a near miss by a bomb. A high angle gun is damaged and one man is killed.

6 November 1943:
Departs Rabaul with light cruiser NOSHIRO to "destroy the remnants of the U.S. Fleet."

7 November 1943:
The order is canceled and AGANO returns to Rabaul.

11 November 1943:
At Rabaul. Attacked by aircraft of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Alfred Montgomery's Task Force 50. The AGANO is hit in the stern by a Mk.13 torpedo from a Grumman TBF "Avenger" torpedo-bomber. Emergency repairs are carried out by AGANO's crew.

12 November 1943:
Destroyer URAKAZE removes injured Rear Admiral Osugi from crippled AGANO. AGANO departs Rabaul for Truk with URAKAZE and DesDiv 32's HAYANAMI and FUJINAMI. At 0700, off New Hanover, AGANO is torpedoed by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Walter G. Ebert's USS SCAMP (SS-277).

That same day, USS ALBACORE (SS-218) receives orders to locate and attack AGANO. ALBACORE finds AGANO and tries to attack, but she is held down by a four-hour depth charge barrage.

13 November 1943:
Light cruiser NOSHIRO takes AGANO in tow, escorted by light cruiser NAGARA, URAKAZE and DesDiv 32's HAYANAMI and FUJINAMI.

14-15 November 1943:
The tow parts. NAGARA takes over, escorted by URAKAZE. NOSHIRO departs for Truk.

16 November 1943:
AGANO, NAGARA and URAKAZE arrive at Truk. Emergency repairs on AGANO are begun by repair ship AKASHI.

17 November 1943:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Matsuda Takatomo (45)(former CO of TAIYO) is appointed the CO. Captain Matsubara is reassigned as the CO of SHOKAKU.

16 November-15 February 1944:
At Truk under repairs by AKASHI. A cofferdam is fabricated and a patch installed over the torpedo damaged stern area.

15 February 1944:
At 2200, AGANO departs Truk for Japan on two of her four screws with destroyer OITE and subchaser CH-28.

16 February 1944:
160 miles N of Truk. At 1644, LtCdr William P. Gruner, on his first war patrol as skipper of USS SKATE (SS-305), fires four Mk.14 torpedoes at AGANO. Two hit her starboard side and set her afire. Between 2000 and 2330, OITE rescues 523 survivors including Captain Matsuda.

At 1650, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message the CO of AGANO that reads: "AGANO received torpedo attack and was hit in position 10-10 N, 151-40 E. Unable to make way."

At 1720, codebreakers decrypt a message from the CO of AGANO that reads: "No. 3 and No. 5 boiler rooms flooded. Request towing vessel be dispatched immediately."

At 2130, codebreakers decrypt another message from the CO of AGANO that reads: "At 1645, position 10-10 N, 151-40 E, received attack of three torpedoes (two direct hits amidships). Boiler rooms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and middle deck aft of No. 1 boiler room completely flooded. Flooding extends as far as portion of main deck. Boiler room No. 3 on fire and navigation impossible. Now listing 10 [degrees] to starboard. Although there is a degree of buoyancy, the situation verges on the dangerous."

17 February 1944: American Operation Hailstone - The Attack on Truk Lagoon:
At 0517, AGANO sinks at 10-11N, 151-42 E. OITE turns back to Truk.

At 0150, codebreakers decrypt a final message from the CO of AGANO that reads: "At 0147, AGANO sank. ----- are engaged in rescue of personnel."

That same morning, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's (former CO of HORNET, CV-8) Task Force 58's five fleet carriers and four light carriers, supported by six battleships, ten cruisers and 28 destroyers, launch air attacks on Japanese ships in the lagoon, airfields and shore installations that continue into the next day.

18 February 1944:
While entering Truk, OITE is hit amidships by a torpedo from one of Task Force 58's TBF Avengers. She breaks in two and sinks instantly with all but about 20 survivors. Captain Matsuda and 522 survivors of AGANO go down with her. Matsuda is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

Task Force 58's aircraft and ships sink 31 transports and 10 naval vessels (two cruisers, four destroyers and four auxiliary vessels), destroy nearly 200 aircraft and damage severely about 100 more. Truk is eliminated as a major fleet anchorage for the IJN.

31 March 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
Thanks for assistance goes to Aldert Gritter/"Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands, Andrew Obluski of Poland and Randy Stone of the United States. Thanks also go to the late John Whitman for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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