JUNYOKAN!

(AOBA in 1941 - colorized photo by Irotokoo, Jr)

IJN AOBA:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2019 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 12


4 February 1924:
Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard. Laid down at No. 2 slipway.

25 September 1926:
Launched and named AOBA. Ensign Prince (later Captain) Takamatsu Nobuhito, the third son of Emperor Yoshihito (Taisho), represents the Imperial family at the ceremony.

1 April 1927:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Otani Shiro (31)(former CO of ABUKUMA) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

20 September 1927:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Attached to Sasebo Naval District. Captain Otani Shiro is the Commanding Officer.

30 October 1927:
Participates in the 13th Naval Review off Yokohama with KINUGASA.

15 November 1927:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Inoue Choji (33)(former CO of FUJI) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1927:
Reassigned to CruDiv 5 with KINUGASA (F).

4 December 1928:
Participates in the Coronation Special Naval Review (14th Naval Review) off Yokohama with KINUGASA.

10 December 1928:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Higurashi Toshiu (34)(former CO of NATORI) is appointed the CO.

January-March 1929:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. AOBA is fitted with a gunpowder-propelled Kure Type No. 2 catapult and embarks a Nakajima E2N1 Type 15 Mod. 1 reconnaissance floatplane. The structure of the floatplane hangar is locally strengthened.

30 November 1929:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Katagiri Eikichi (34)(former CO of OI) is appointed the CO.

March-April 1930:
The 12-cm (4.7in) AA guns receive new shielded and electro-hydraulically operated sponson mounts.

1 December 1930:
Captain (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Koga Mineichi (34)(former ADC to Minister of the Navy) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1931:
Captain Hoshino Kurakichi (36)(former CO of NATORI) is appointed the CO.

October 1932-February 1933:
During a refit at Sasebo Navy Yard two quadruple Hotchkiss type 13.2-mm machine gun mounts are installed to sponsons on each side of the bridge. The floatplane is replaced by a Nakajima E4N2 Type 90 No. 2 Model 2.

15 November 1932:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Koike Shiro (37)(former ADC to the chief of the NGS) is appointed the CO.

20 May 1933:
Reassigned to CruDiv 6.

15 November 1933:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Sugiyama Rokuzo (38)(former CO of YURA) is appointed the CO.

20 February 1934:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mikawa Gunichi (38)(former instructor at Naval Academy) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1934:
Attached to Kure Naval District. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Goga Keijiro (38)(former ADC to the chief of the NGS) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hiraoka Kumeichi (39)(former CO of OI) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1935-30 November 1936:
Reassigned to CruDiv 7 with KINUGASA.

14 August 1936:
During the Special Great Maneuvers in the area S of Honshu, AOBA misses a signal from KINUGASA and accidentally grazes her at a speed of 9 kts. Both cruisers receive minor damage.

29 October 1936:
Participates in the 17th Fleet Review in Kobe Bight with KINUGASA.

1 December 1936:
Reassigned to Kure Guard Squadron.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident ("First China Incident"):
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) troops on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops across the river think they are under attack. They fire live rounds back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to the Beijing suburb of Wanping to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

15 August 1937:
Placed in reserve for a modernization.

15 November 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto (39)(former CO of YUBARI) is appointed the CO.

3-15 June 1938:
Captain Hirose is appointed the CO of KINUGASA as additional duty.

November 1938-30 October 1940:
Modernization at Sasebo Navy Yard. The main armament of six single 20-cm (7.9-in) 3rd Year Type No. 1 main guns in Mod. A single turrets is replaced by six 20.32-cm (8-in) 3rd Year Type No. 2 guns in three twin turrets, firing the new Type 91 "diving" shells.

The 12-cm AA guns are resited and eight 25-mm Type 96 AA guns (in four twin mounts) and four 13.2-mm Type 93 AA machine guns (in two twin mounts) are added. The fixed torpedo tubes are landed and replaced by two quadruple 24-in trainable mounts.

A heavier Kure Type No. 2 Mod. 5 catapult, an aircraft handling boom and facilities for operating two Kawanishi E7K1/2 "Alf" reconnaissance floatplanes are fitted.

Two mixed-firing boilers in boiler rooms Nos. 6 and 7 are converted to oil-firing. Turbine rotor blades are replaced.

15 November 1939:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Akiyama Katsuzo (40)(former CO of GunboatDiv 3) is appointed the CO of AOBA and oiler NOTORO (until 5 April 1940) as additional duty.

10 June-20 July 1940:
Captain Akiyama is appointed the CO of minelayer YAEYAMA as additional duty.

1 November 1940:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mori Tomoichi (42)(former CO of TAMA) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1940:
AOBA returns to service with CruDiv 6.

25 July 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Hisamune Yonejiro (41)(former CO of SENDAI) is appointed the CO.

30 November 1941:
AOBA departs Kure for the Bonin Islands in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro's (former CO of ISUZU) First Fleet as the flagship of Rear Admiral Goto Aritomo's (former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6 with KINUGASA, KAKO and FURUTAKA to prepare for hostilities.

2 December 1941:
Hahajima, Bonin Islands. CruDiv 6 receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet's flagship NAGATO. The signal signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time). [1]

4 December 1941:
CruDiv 6 departs Hahajima in support of the invasion of Guam.

8 December 1941: The Invasion of Wake Island:
Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (former CO of NAGARA) DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI, eight destroyers, two transports and three submarines assault Wake Island. The United States Marines beat back the first attack. Kajioka loses LtCdr Takatsuka Minoru's destroyer HAYATE to Lt John A. McAlister's 5-inch Battery "L" on Wilkes Island and LtCdr Ogawa Yoichiro's destroyer KISARAGI to Marine Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcats" of VMF-211.

10 December 1941: The Invasion of Guam:
The Invasion Force lands 4,886 troops of MajGen Horii Tomitaro's South Seas Detachment. CruDiv 6 departs for Truk, arriving that same day.

12 December 1941:
CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU are detached from Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's Carrier Striking Force that is returning from Pearl Harbor to reinforce Kajioka. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (former CO of FUSO) CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA and two destroyers are also detached. Kajioka is further reinforced by seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and two other destroyers. Rear Admiral Abe, as senior officer present, has overall command.

13 December1941:
CruDiv 6 departs Truk for Wake.

23 December 1941- The Second Attack on Wake Island:
After a magnificent stand, Wake's small garrison is overwhelmed and forced to surrender.

10 January 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Truk.

18 January 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Truk.

21 January 1942: Operation "O"- The Invasion of Rabaul and Kavieng:
Carrier SHOKAKU launches strikes against Lae, New Guinea. A Mitsubishi A6M Zeke from SHOKAKU intercepts and shoots down an Australian "Catalina" PBY patrol plane. Four RAAF crewmen make it into rafts. After several hours they are picked up by AOBA.

23 January: Operation "O"- The Invasion of Rabaul and Kavieng:
60 miles NW of Rabaul. CruDiv 6 takes up position to cover the invasion landings.

24 January 1942:
AOBA is refueled at sea by naval fleet tanker IRO.

26 January 1942:
At 1300, arrives at Rabaul. The four RAAF prisoners are disembarked in custody of Rabaul's 8th Special Base Force. At 1600, AOBA departs. [2]

30 January 1942:
At 0800, CruDiv 6 arrives at Rabaul. Refuels from IRO. and sent the four prisoners ashore to the 8th Special Base Force headquarters. At 1700, departs Rabaul.

1 February 1942:
Vice Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. Halsey Jr's (former CO of USS SARATOGA, CV-3) Task Force 8 (USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) raids Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshall Islands. USS ENTERPRISE's Douglas SBD "Dauntlesses" of VB-6 and VS-6 and TBD "Devastators" of VT-6 sink a transport, damage light cruiser KATORI, submarine depot ship YASUKUNI MARU and several other ships.

4 February 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Roi.

6 February 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Kwajalein.

10 February 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Truk.

20 February 1942:
Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr's (later President Roosevelt's Naval Aide) Task Force 11's USS LEXINGTON (CV-2) is en route to attack Rabaul. The task force is spotted by a Kawanishi H6K Mavis flying boat of the Yokohama Kokutai. Since surprise is lost, the American attack is cancelled. Task Force 11 is attacked off Bougainville by the 4th Naval Air Group's (NAG) naval land-based bombers, but the Japanese are beaten off with heavy losses.

2 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Truk.

5 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Rabaul.

That same day, CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA and KIYOKAWA MARU depart with CruDiv 6's AOBA, FURUTAKA, KINUGASA and KAKO, minelayers OKINOSHIMA and TSUGARU, DesRon 6's YUBARI and destroyers MUTSUKI, YAYOI, MOCHIZUKI, OITE, ASANAGI and YUNAGI.

8 March 1942:
Provides cover for invasions of Lae and Salamaua. Departs the area.

9 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Buka, Bougainville.

11 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Rabaul.

14 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart Rabaul.

15 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Buka.

17 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart Buka.

18 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at the Moewe Passage, near Kavieng, New Ireland.

26 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart Moewe Passage.

27 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Rabaul.

28 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart Rabaul.

30 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 cover the invasion landings at Shortland.

31 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 cover the invasion landings at Kieta, Bougainville.

1 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Rabaul. Refuel and depart that same day.

2 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at the Moewe Passage.

5 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart the Moewe Passage.

7 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Manus, Admirality Islands.

8 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 departs Manus.

10 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrives at Truk.

30 April 1942: Operation "MO" - The Invasions of Tulagi and Port Moresby, New Guinea:
CruDiv 6, light carrier SHOHO and destroyer SAZANAMI sortie from Truk in Rear Admiral Goto Aritomo's MO Main Force, tasked with providing cover for the invasion convoy. CruDiv 6 operates in two sections, 6/1 with AOBA (F) and KAKO, and 6/2 with KINUGASA and FURUTAKA.

3 May 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at the Queen Carola anchorage near Buka and provides distant cover for the landings at Tulagi.

4 May 1942:
Rabaul, New Britain. Rear Admiral Kajioka's Port Moresby Attack Force departs with DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI, four destroyers and a patrol boat escorting Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso's (former CO of HIEI) Transport Force of 12 transports, 3 oilers, minelayer TSUGARU and 3 minesweepers towards the Jomard Pass in the Louisiade Archipelago.

Tulagi, Solomons. That same day, Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frank Jack Fletcher's (former CO of USS VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 17's USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) launches three strikes, comprising 99 planes, at Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide's (former CO of OI) Tulagi Invasion Force. USS YORKTOWN's TBD torpedo planes and SBD dive-bombers sink destroyer KIKUZUKI and three minesweepers and damage four other ships.

Queen Carola. CruDiv 6 departs towards Guadalcanal in response to reports of USS YORKTOWN's raids on Tulagi.

5 May 1942:
Fletcher's force turns to engage Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo's (former CO of MUTSU) Carrier Strike Force: Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hara Chuichi's (former CO of TATSUTA) CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, Takagi's CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, six destroyers and an oiler.

CruDiv 6 arrives at the Shortland anchorage that day to refuel from oiler IRO.

6 May 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Shortland to rendezvous with SHOHO W of Bougainville. The cruisers are attacked unsuccessfully by three USAAF Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses".

7 May 1942:The Battle of the Coral Sea:
CruDiv 6 departs Shortland and effects a rendezvous at sea with light carrier SHOHO.

Rear Admiral Hara's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU launch a 78-plane strike against a reported American carrier and cruiser sighted to the south. An hour later, another report advises that an American carrier and about ten other ships were sighted 280 miles NW. CarDiv 5's planes do not find "a carrier and cruiser", but find two other American ships. They damage oiler USS NEOSHO (AO-23) and sink her escort, destroyer SIMS (DD-409).

N of Tagula Island. At 1100, SHOHO is attacked by 93 SBD dive-bombers and TBD torpedo-bombers from Fletcher's USS YORKTOWN and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Aubrey W. Fitch's (former CO of USS LEXINGTON, CV-2) Task Force 11's USS LEXINGTON. CruDiv 6 stands too far off from SHOHO to provide effective AA support. SHOHO is sunk off Misima Island.

8 May 1942:
Forty-six SBDs, 21 TBDs and 15 Grumman F4F "Wildcats" from USS YORKTOWN and USS LEXINGTON find Hara's CarDiv 5. They damage SHOKAKU severely above the waterline and force her retirement. ZUIKAKU's air group also suffers heavy losses.

Thirty-six of CarDiv 5's Nakajima B5N2 Kate torpedo bombers with 24 Aichi D3A1 Val dive-bombers covered by 36 Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeke fighters damage USS YORKTOWN and USS LEXINGTON. USS LEXINGTON, hit by torpedoes and several bombs, is further damaged when gasoline vapors ignite and trigger massive explosions that cause her to be abandoned. Later she is scuttled by destroyer USS PHELPS (DD-360).

AOBA and KAKO cover the withdrawing Port Moresby invasion convoy. FURUTAKA and KINUGASA detach from CruDiv 6 to escort SHOKAKU back to Truk.

9 May 1942:
Refuels at Shortland.

10 May 1942:
The Battle of the Coral Sea halts the Japanese thrust toward Port Moresby and they cancel Operation MO.

11 May 1942:
Departs Shortland with KAKO for the Queen Carola Harbor, Buka.

14 May 1942:
AOBA departs Buka with KAKO.

16 May 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

17 May 1942:
Departs Truk with KAKO.

22 May 1942:
Arrives at Kure. Refit with KAKO.

25 May 1942:
Drydocked.

29 May 1942:
Undocked.

16 June 1942:
Departs Kure with KAKO. They join CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA for training in the Bungo Suido.

23 June 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

30 June 1942:
Departs Truk with KAKO.

5 July 1942:
Arrives at Kieta, Bougainville.

7 August 1942: American Operation "Watchtower" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's (former CO of ASTORIA, CA-34) Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (MOH '14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (former CO of USS RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 63's land-based aircraft, lands Maj Gen (later General/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening the campaign to take the island.

That same day, CruDiv 6 and CHOKAI depart the Moewe Passage through the "Slot" towards Guadalcanal with light cruisers TENRYU and YUBARI and destroyer YUNAGI. At Rabaul, CHOKAI embarks the Commander of the Eighth Fleet, Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi (former CO of KIRISHIMA) and his staff.

8 August 1942:
At 0625, each of Mikawa's five cruisers catapult a floatplane. Three fly to search waters N of the Solomons. AOBA's floatplane, probably an Aichi Type 0 reconnaissance seaplane E13A1 "Jake" flies S to the landing area and reconnoiters Tulagi. Avoiding fighters and flak, the crew returns at noon and reports "one battleship, one auxiliary carrier, four cruisers, seven destroyers and 15 transports" off Lunga Point. Mikawa now knows that the Allied force is divided and that he can deal with them separately.

9 August 1942: The Battle of Savo Island.
Rear Admiral (VC-'18/later Admiral Sir) Victor A. Crutchley's, RN (former CO of HMS WARSPITE), Task Group 62.6 of cruisers and destroyers is screening the invasion transports at Savo Island off Guadalcanal. Crutchley is ordered to detach to Guadalcanal with his flagship, cruiser HMAS AUSTRALIA, to attend a meeting with ComTaskFor 62 Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner (former CO of USS ASTORIA, CA-34).

CruDiv 6, CHOKAI, light cruisers TENRYU and YUBARI and destroyer YUNAGI prepare to engage the Allied Forces in a night gun and torpedo action. At 2312, CHOKAI, FURUTAKA and KAKO each launch a spotter floatplane. They soon report three cruisers S of Savo. The circling planes then drop flares to illuminate the targets and all the Japanese ships open fire. USS ASTORIA, USS QUINCY (CA-39), USS VINCENNES (CA-44) and Australian HMAS CANBERRA are sunk. USS CHICAGO, USS RALPH TALBOT (DD-390) and USS PATTERSON (DD-392) are damaged. On the Japanese side, AOBA is hit once, KINUGASA twice and CHOKAI is hit three times. AOBA and KAKO's floatplanes and crews are also lost.

The heavily-laden American invasion transports off Guadalcanal are unprotected and in harm's way, but Admiral Mikawa is unaware that Admiral Fletcher has withdrawn his carriers covering the invasion. Mikawa fears an air attack at daybreak and orders a retirement. Admiral Turner's transports are left untouched.

10 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 retires towards Kavieng. On the way, LtCdr John R. Moore's S-44 torpedoes and sinks KAKO. AOBA and the remainder of CruDiv 6 arrive at Moewe Passage, Kavieng for emergency repairs and refit.

17 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs the Moewe Passage.

19 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at the seaplane base at Rekata Bay, San Ysabel.

20 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Rekata Bay.

22 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Shortland.

23 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CHOKAI depart Shortland to provide distant cover for the Guadalcanal reinforcement convoys.

25 August 1942:
During the night, floatplanes from AOBA, CHOKAI, KINUGASA, FURUTAKA and YURA bomb the Lunga point area of Guadalcanal.

26 August 1942:
AOBA arrives at Kieta. She remains there in readiness for the next month, except to refuel and reprovision at Rabaul.

27 August 1942:
At 1600, AOBA and FURUTAKA arrive at Shortland. Rear Admiral Goto confers with ComDesRon 2, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo (former CO of KONGO).

28 August 1942:
An AOBA floatplane reports two transports, a cruiser and two destroyers in Tulagi Harbor. Despite this message and an earlier victory of Guadalcanal-based SBD's over DesDiv 20, the IJN sends another reinforcement convoy to disembark at Lunga.

1 October 1942:
CruDiv 6 reunites at Shortland.

11 October 1942: The Battle of Cape Esperance:
Rear Admiral Goto's CruDiv 6's AOBA (F), FURUTAKA and KINUGASA and DesDiv 11's FUBUKI and HATSUYUKI depart Shortland towards Guadalcanal. Goto's mission is to provide cover for a troop reinforcement convoy by shelling Henderson Field.

Rear Admiral Joshima Takatsugu's (former CO of SHOKAKU) convoy of seaplane carriers CHITOSE and NISSHIN and six destroyers, reaches Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal and lands the IJA's 2nd Infantry Division, tanks and artillery.

A report is received that a B-17 of the 11th Bomb Group (H) has sighted a Japanese force approaching Guadalcanal. ComTaskFor 64's Rear Admiral (MOH posthumously) Norman Scott (former CO of USS PENSACOLA, CA-24) who just completed escorting 6,000 troops of the Army's "Americal" Division from New Caledonia to Guadalcanal, launches two Curtiss SOC "Seagull" reconnaissance planes. They spot and report Goto's force coming down the "Slot" at 30 knots. So alerted, Scott's radar-equipped Task Force 64's heavy cruisers USS SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38) (F) and USS SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), light cruisers USS BOISE (CL-47) and USS HELENA (CL-50) and five destroyers steam around the end of Guadalcanal to block the entrance to Savo Sound.

At 2235, Rear Admiral Goto's three cruisers and two destroyers are picked up by Captain Gilbert C. Hoover's USS HELENA's radar. Scott reverses course and crosses the Japanese "T". Both fleets open fire.

ComCruDiv 6, Rear Admiral Goto, thinking he is under friendly fire, orders a 180-degree turn that exposes each of his ships to the Americans' broadsides. Flagship AOBA is hit by up to forty 6-inch and 8-inch shells and damaged heavily. The bridge is wrecked, the No. 2 8-inch turret is knocked out and the No. 3 turret is destroyed. Other hits put four of AOBA's boilers off line. Admiral Goto is mortally wounded and 80 other crewmen are killed.

AOBA is crippled, FURUTAKA and destroyer FUBUKI sunk and HATSUYUKI is damaged.

USS BOISE, USS SALT LAKE CITY and USS FARENHOLT (DD-491) are damaged. USS DUNCAN (DD-485) sinks the next day. 48 sailors are KIA.

12 October 1942:
Rear Admiral Goto dies aboard AOBA. He is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously. AOBA and KINUGASA return to Shortland that day.

13 October 1942:
After temporary repairs, departs Shortland.

15 October 1942:
Arrives at Truk. The CinC, Combined Fleet, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku inspects AOBA's damage.

17 October 1942:
Refuels from oiler NISSHO MARU then departs for Kure.

22 October 1942:
Arrives at Kure. Battle damage repairs and refit.

10 November 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Araki Tsutau (45)(former CO of FURUTAKA) is appointed the CO of AOBA and CHIKUMA as additional duty.

AOBA's wrecked No. 3 turret is removed, covered over with steel plates and a Type 96 triple-mount 25-mm AA gun is installed over the plates.

31 December 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tawara Yoshioki (43)(former CO of NAGARA) is appointed the CO of AOBA and the CEO of the light cruiser OYODO as additional duty.

15 February 1943:
Repairs are completed. Departs Kure.

20 February 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

24 February 1943:
Truk. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yamamori Kamenosuke (45)(former instructor at naval gunnery school) is appointed the CO.

28 February 1943:
Departs Truk.

2 March 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

3 March 1943:
Departs Rabaul.

4 March 1943:
Arrives at the Moewe anchorage, Kavieng, New Ireland.

3 April 1943:
Moewe anchorage. Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" of the Fifth Air Force's 43rd Bomb Group attack moored AOBA. The big bombers skip-bomb from between 75 and 250 feet with delayed-action fused 500-lb bombs. A direct hit on AOBA explodes two Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes stored aboard and sets the ship afire while the B-17's .50-cal. machine guns strafe her decks. HATSUZUKI assists in fire-fighting. AOBA is flooded and has to be beached to avoid sinking. Destroyer FUMIZUKI is also damaged lightly by a near-miss. The Americans suffer no losses and the 43rd claims two "probable cruisers" sunk.

3-20 April 1943:
Emergency repairs are performed by repair ship YAMABIKO MARU.

21 April 1943:
AOBA is towed to Truk by light cruiser SENDAI, escorted by two destroyers.

25 April 1943:
Arrives at Truk. Repair ship AKASHI accomplishes further repairs over the next three months.

25 July 1943:
Departs Truk for Kure.

1 August 1943:
Arrives at Kure. Battle damage repairs and refit. AOBA's No. 3 8-inch turret is repaired and reinstalled. A Type 21 air-search radar and two 25-mm Type 96 twin AA guns are installed. AOBA's maximum speed is reduced to 25 knots due to partially irrepairable engine damage.

24 November 1943:
Repairs and refit are completed.

25 November 1943:
Kure. Reassigned to the First Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

15 December 1943:
Departs Kure.

20 December 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

21 December 1943:
Departs Manila.

24 December 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

26 December 1943:
On that day, the USN Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, Australia (FRUMEL) provides the translation of the following message from CinC, 1st 8th (sic) Expeditionary Fleet:

"I have shifted my flag to AOBA".

3 January 1944:
Departs Singapore in company of cruiser ASHIGARA, light cruiser KUMA and destroyer URANAMI.

4 January 1944:
Arrives at Penang, Malaya.

5 January 1944:
Embarks Army troops and supplies and departs.

6 January 1944:
Arrives at Mergui, Burma.

7 January 1944:
Departs Mergui.

8 January 1944:
KUMA and URANAMI detach to Penang.

9 January 1944:
AOBA and ASHIGARA arrive at Singapore.

11 January 1944:
Refit at Singapore.

23 January 1944:
Departs Singapore on a troop transport run to the Andaman Islands in company of the light cruisers OI, KITAKAMI and KINU, escorted by destroyer SHIKINAMI.

25 January 1944:
Andaman Sea. Arrives at Port Blair. Disembarks troops.

27 January 1944:
Malacca Strait. SW of Penang at 04-54N, 98-28E. On the return leg to Singapore, KITAKAMI is hit aft by two torpedoes fired by Royal Navy Lt D. J. B. Beckley's submarine HMS TEMPLAR based at Trincomalee, Ceylon. KINU takes KITAKAMI under tow escorted by SHIKINAMI. AOBA and OI continue to Singapore.

12 February 1944:
Departs Singapore for training at Lingga.

22 February 1944:
Returns to Singapore.

25 February 1944:
Attached to CruDiv 16 as Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Sakonjo Naomasa's (former CO of SETTSU) flagship with light cruiser KINU.

27 February 1944:
Departs Lingga with CruDiv 7's TONE and CHIKUMA and destroyer URANAMI.

1 March 1944: Operation "SA No. 1" - The 1944 Indian Ocean Raids:
Arrives at Bangka. Departs that day for the Indian Ocean for commerce raiding.

3 March 1944:
On that day, FRUMEL provides the translation of the following message from CinC, Southwest Area Fleet:

"Have shifted my flag to AOBA".

9 March 1944:
TONE sinks British SS BEHAR and takes aboard 108 captives of whom four die.

15 March 1944:
Arrives at Batavia, Java. TONE disembarks 32 other POWs.

18 March 1944:
Departs Batavia. While en route to Singapore, Rear Admiral Sakonjo orders the beheading of each of the remaining 72 captives aboard TONE. [3]

25 March 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

2 April 1944:
AOBA departs Singapore carrying ammunition with light cruisers OI and KINU, destroyer AMAGIRI and two unidentified destroyers.
On that day, FRUMEL provides the following information:

"AOBA (heavy cruiser) and OI, KITAGAMI, KINU and 3 destroyers arrive Balikpapan at 1900 on 4th where they will fuel and take in fresh provisions."

4 April 1944:
At 1900, the AOBA group arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo. Refuels and takes on fresh provisions.

5 April 1944:
Departs Balikpapan.

9 April 1944:
Arrives at Tarakan.

10 April 1944:
Departs Tarakan.

11 April 1944:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

14 April 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

15 April 1944:
Departs Singapore with OI and AMAGIRI, carrying torpedoes for SubRon 8 at Penang.

18 April 1944:
Departs Penang with OI and AMAGIRI. The two cruisers carry the personnel of the 732nd Naval Air Group and base materials.

19 April 1944:
Arrives at Singapore and departs that the same day. The cruisers carry the personnel of the 851st NAG and base materials for Davao.

22 April 1944:
AOBA, OI and AMAGIRI proceed up Makassar Strait at 24 knots in calm weather.

23 April 1944:
Makassar Strait. 55 miles S of Balikpapan. Late in the morning, AMAGIRI, steaming abreast OI, about 600 meters off her starboard side, is suddenly shaken by a terrific explosion to the rear of the bridge under her keel, caused by a magnetic mine. Fires break out and AMAGIRI's sound room rapidly fills with fuel oil from a ruptured tank. Many sailors in the boiler and engine rooms suffer burns and No. 1 boiler room is abandoned. On the bridge, it is believed the destroyer was torpedoed, so extra lookouts are posted. AMAGIRI takes on a 19 degree list to starboard. The torpedoes in No. 1 mount are jettisoned to prevent induced explosions. Some progress is made in combating the flames, but the list continues to increase. AOBA orders AMAGIRI to make for Surabaya, but it is impossible for the destroyer to make headway and she goes down by the bow. Finally, AMAGIRI's skipper orders the IJN flag on her mainmast lowered. Boats are lowered, but catch fire in the burning fuel oil. All hands exit over the high side as AMAGIRI's stern rises in the air. The 180 survivors are picked up by AOBA and OI.

24 April 1944:
Arrives at Tarakan. Disembarks AMAGIRI's suvivors.

27 April 1944:
Departs Tarakan. Arrives at Davao. Unloads supplies.

28 April 1944:
Departs Davao for Tarakan.

29 April 1944:
Arrives at Tarakan.

14 May 1944:
Departs Tarakan on a transport run with the OI and destroyer SHIKINAMI.

17 May 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

19 May 1944:
Departs Palau on a transport run with OI and SHIKINAMI to Sorong.

22 May 1944:
Arrives back at Palau.

23 May 1944:
Departs Palau with OI and SHIKINAMI on a transport run to Sorong, then via Batjan for Tarakan.

27 May 1944: American Operation "Horlicks" - The Invasion of Biak:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral/CNO) William M. Fechteler's (former CO of USS INDIANA, BB-58), Task Force 77 lands Maj Gen Horace H. Fuller's 41st Division on Biak off New Guinea. That same day, AOBA arrives at Tarakan. Refuels.

30 May 1944:
Departs Tarakan.

31 May 1944: Operation "KON" - The Reinforcement of Biak:
Arrives at Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines to cover the Biak troop reinforcement convoy. Departs for Davao.

1 June 1944:
Arrives at Davao with light cruiser KINU and destroyer SHIKINAMI.

2 June 1944:
Departs Davao for Biak with transport units and escorts. After being sighted by two B-24 bombers, the operation is canceled.

4 June 1944:
Arrives at Waparim Bay, Waigeo Island, then departs escorted by destroyer SHIGURE. That same day, arrives at Sorong. Disembarks troops.

Captain Yamazumi Chusaburo (48)(former CO of KASHIMA) is appointed the CO.

5 June 1944:
Departs Sorong with KINU for Kabui Bay, Misool Island area. Rear Admiral Sakonjo transfers his ComCruDiv 16 flag to SHIKINAMI. A troop transport run to Biak is aborted due to enemy interception. SHIKINAMI suffers minor damage in air attacks due to strafing.

6 June 1944:
Anchored off Weigo Island. AOBA is attacked unsuccessfully by eleven Fifth Air Force B-24 bombers. Departs Kabui Bay.

AOBA's Action Report reads:"While this ship was anchored at readiness condition and standing by alone at Kabui Bay at 1705, five B-24s attacked on the bow and six B-24s from 30 degrees to port. AA action; 1712: Opened up with HA guns on formation of six B-24s; 1713: Enemy aircraft dropped bombs but no damage; 1714: Opened up with main battery on formation of five B-24s; 1716: formation dropped bombs but no damage. 1727: Got underway and headed for bay entrance. While carrying evasive manoeuvres, returned enemy fire with main battery and HA guns; 1805: Enemy aircraft lost from sight at a range of 35,000 metres on the bow. Ammunition expended: Main battery 97 rounds, HA guns 126 rounds.

On that day, codebreakers at the FRUMEL provide the partial translation of a radio message transmitted by Chief of Staff (probably Army) on 5 June:

"AOBA, KINU and destroyers, with No. 2 Brigade of Marine Commandos embarked, reported at 0958 on 5th that they were standing by in Kabui Bay (Waigeo Island), and requested that aerial photographs of No. 1 Landing Point (5 miles south of Wardo River mouth) and No. 2 Landing Point (Korim Bay and Wari Bay) be sent to Sorong by p.m. 7th."

7 June 1944:
AOBA and KINU rendezvous with DesDiv 19 and DesDiv 27 N of Misool Island. Depart Misool that day.

8-9 June 1944:
At Ambon for refueling, then to Salawati Island, Vogelkop.

10 June 1944:
Rear Admiral Sakonjo transfers his flag back to AOBA.

11 June 1944:
Arrives at Batjan.

14 June 1944:
Departs Batjan. Arrives at Obi Major Island, Celebes.

17 June 1944:
Departs Obi Major Island.

18 June 1944:
Arrives at Bangka Roads.

25 June 1944:
Departs Bangka Roads.

27 June 1944:
Arrives at Makassar.

28 June 1944:
Departs Makassar to Singapore.

2 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore. Refit.

4 July 1944:
Drydocked. Four triple-mount and 15 single-mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns are installed. A Type 22 surface-search radar is fitted.

15 July 1944:
Undocked.

24 July 1944:
Departs Singapore. Arrives at Lingga. Thereafter, trains with the fleet.

9 September 1944:
Lingga anchorage. AOBA receives fresh provisions replenishment from stores ship KITAKAMI MARU.

11 October 1944:
Collides with light cruiser KINU. Slightly damaged.

18 October 1944:
Departs Lingga for Brunei with CruDiv 16's KINU and Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) First Raiding Force.

20 October 1944:
Arrives at Brunei.

21 October 1944:
Detached from the First Raiding Force. Departs Brunei for Manila with CruDiv 16's KINU and destroyer URANAMI.

23 October 1944:
AOBA is attacked by Cdr W. G. Chapple's USS BREAM (SS-243). At 0430, one of the six torpedoes Chapple fires hits AOBA in her No. 2 engine room. She takes on a 13 degree list to starboard.

At 0815, AOBA is towed by KITAGAMI to the Cavite Navy Yard near Manila.

At 1422, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: "AOBA was torpedoed by an enemy submarine and taken in tow by the KITAGAMI. 0900 posit. Was ---- from Cabra Island----"

24 October 1944:
Cavite. While undergoing emergency repairs, AOBA is attacked by Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's Task Force 38's carrier-based aircraft.

29 October 1944:
Cavite. Attacked again by carrier aircraft while under repairs.

5 November 1944:
At 0500, departs Manila with KUMANO in 15-ship convoy MATA-31 with six freighters, an aircraft ferry, two kaibokan, five subchasers and land-based bombers providing air cover.

The convoy is spotted by Cdr John K. Fyfe's USS BATFISH (SS-310). About noon, Fyfe begins an attack approach on AOBA, but the convoy's escorts cause him to abort his attack. Later, Fyfe fires six torpedoes at a large cargo ship, but misses.

6 November 1944:
Cape Bolinao, Luzon. The convoy is attacked by USS GUITARRO (SS-363), USS BREAM (SS-243), USS RATON (SS-270) and USS RAY (SS-271). Altogether, the submarines fire 23 torpedoes at the convoy. Two torpedoes hit KUMANO, but AOBA is not hit.

11 November 1944:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa. Undergoes further repairs.

9 December 1944:
Departs Takao.

12 December 1944:
Arrives at Kure where she is deemed irreparable.

1 January 1945:
Captain Murayama Seiroku (42)(current chief of Kure port office) is appointed the CO of AOBA as additional duty.

25 February 1945:
Placed in 1st reserve at Kure.

19 March 1945:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's (former CO of USS HORNET, CV-8) Task Force 58 carriers USS ESSEX (CV-9), USS INTREPID (CV-11), USS HORNET (CV-12), USS WASP (CV-18), USS HANCOCK (CV-19), USS BENNINGTON (CV-20) and USS BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24) make the first carrier attack on the Kure Naval Arsenal. More than 240 carrier aircraft attack the IJN ships in the harbor area.

20 April 1945:
Placed in 4th reserve at Kure.

24 April 1945:
Kure. AOBA is damaged heavily by aircraft from Task Force 38 and settles on the shallow bottom.

20 June 1945:
Moored off Nabe near Kure. Four additional twin 25-mm AA guns are fitted around the mainmast bringing her total 25-mm AA suite to 50 barrels (5x3, 10x2, 15x1). AOBA is rerated as a special guard ship (floating AA battery).

24 July 1945: The Final Destruction of the Imperial Japanese Navy:
Aircraft from Vice Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (former CO of USS RANGER, CV-4) TF 38 attack Kure. About 30 planes attack AOBA. She takes a direct hit by a bomb and another near miss that causes flooding. She takes on a list to starboard. Her crew counterfloods, but at 2200 hours, AOBA settles to the bottom in 25 feet of water.

28 July 1945:
AOBA's hulk is attacked by about 10 of Task Force 38's carrier aircraft. The hulk takes four bomb hits and is set afire. At 1600, it is attacked by 7th Air Force B-24 bombers and hit by four more 500-lb bombs. The hull splits and the stern breaks off. The number of casualties is unknown but Captain Murayama survives the attacks.

15 August 1945:
Rerated as a Reserve ship.

20 November 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

November 1946:
Refloated ans scrapped at Harima Shipyard.


Authors' Notes:

[1] Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was the highest point in the Japanese Empire at the time.

[2] Later, the four Australian POWs are sent to Japan. They survive the war.

[3] Postwar, the British convict Sakonjo as a war criminal, then execute him at Hong Kong.

Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada,Ian McLeod of the United Kingdom, and Fontessa-san of Japan. Thanks also go to Randy Stone of the United States and the late Bill Somerville, "Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands and Andrew Obluski of Poland.

Thanks go to the late John Whitman and to Gengoro Toda of Japan for info on stores ship KITAKAMI MARU.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.


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