(ASHIGARA in 1940 - colorized photo by Irotokoo, Jr)
IJN ASHIGARA: Tabular Record of
© 1997-2018 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
11 April 1925:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki's shipyard as the last unit of the
MYOKO-class heavy cruisers.
22 April 1928:
Launched and named ASHIGARA.
1 October 1928:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ono Yaichi (33)(former CO
of FUJI) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).
8 February 1929:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Inoue Choji (33)(former
CO of KIRISHIMA) is appointed the CEO.
20 August 1929:
Completed and attached to Sasebo Naval District.
Captain Inoue Choji is the Commanding Officer.
30 November 1929:
Assigned as flagship of both CruDiv 4 (ASHIGARA,
NACHI, MYOKO and HAGURO) and Vice Admiral Iida Nobutaro's Second Fleet. Captain
(later Rear Admiral) Hani Rokuro (33)(former CO of ISUZU) is appointed the CO.
26 October 1930:
Off Kobe. CruDiv 4 participates in the Emperor
Hirohito's (Showa) Naval Review.
1 December 1930:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Otagaki Tomisaburo
(34)(former CO of KINUGASA) is appointed the CO.
1 December 1931:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Miki Taichi (35)(former
CEO of CHOKAI) is appointed the CO.
15 November 1933:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yokoyama Sugao
(36)(former CO of CHOGEI) is appointed the CO.
14 September 1935:
Izumi Nada Sea, Japan. While participating in the
Annual Grand Exercise, flareback wrecks ASHIGARA's No. 2 turret; 13 men are
killed and 28 injured.
15 November 1935:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sakura Takeo
(37)(former CO of KINU) is appointed the CO.
15 June 1936:
Sasebo Navy Yard. ASHIGARA's first reconstruction is
1 December 1936:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takeda Moriji
(38)(former CO of MIKUMA) is appointed the CO.
10 March 1937:
ASHIGARA is designated flagship of CruDiv 4, Second
Fleet. She is detached and prepared for a trip to Europe to represent Japan at
Britain's forthcoming Coronation Review. Two 60-mm Yamauchi saluting guns are
fitted on both sides of the AA gun deck, and two Nakajima E8N1 Type 95 "Dave" two-seat floatplanes
3 April 1937:
Departs Yokosuka, flying the flag of ComCruDiv 4's Rear
Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Sonosuke (former CO of KAGA). ASHIGARA
steams to Europe via Singapore, Aden, the Suez Canal and Malta.
10 May 1937:
Arrives at Portsmouth, England.
20 May 1937: Britain's King George VI's Coronation Naval Review:
Spithead, England. ASHIGARA participates in the Coronation Review in honor
of King George VI. The review is attended by 140 warships from Great Britain and
her dominions and 18 foreign men-of-war including USS NEW YORK (BB-34), German
Panzerschiffe ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE and the incomplete French battleship
ASHIGARA drops anchor in her assigned position between the Swedish
pre-dreadnought battleship DROTTNING VICTORIA and Dutch light cruiser JAVA.
Royal Yacht VICTORIA AND ALBERT, carrying the King, passes to starboard as it
troops the line of foreign warships.
During her visit to England, ASHIGARA's crew witness an air raid exercise
in the Dover area. LtCdr Makino Shigeru (one of the later builders of YAMATO)
notices radar towers on the Dover coast and sends a memo to the Kanpon (Navy
Technical Department) suggesting that the British must have invented a way to
incorporate radio waves into their AA system. 
24 May 1937:
ASHIGARA arrives at Kiel, Germany. The majority of the
officers then travels to visit the city of Berlin.
Berlin. Rear Admiral Kobayashi, Captain Takeda and CruDiv 4's senior
staff officer Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Kuroshima Kameto, accompanied by the
Japanese Ambassador to Germany, Count Mushanokoji Kintomo and naval attache Cdr
(later Rear Admiral) Kojima Hideo, are received by Adolf Hitler in his office at
the Reichskanzlei. 
27 May 1937: Japanese Naval Day:
Kiel. The Japanese celebrate Admiral
Count Togo Heihachiro's 1905 victory in the Battle of Tsushima during the
31 May 1937: German Kriegsmarine Day:
ASHIGARA's crew join the Germans
in festivities celebrating Admiral Reinhard Scheer's High Seas Fleet's tactical
victory at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Later that day, ASHIGARA departs Kiel.
She returns to Japan via Gibraltar, Port Said, Egypt, the Suez Canal and
5 July 1937:
ASHIGARA is designated the flagship of CruDiv 5.
8 July 1937:
Arrives at Sasebo.
20 August 1937:
ASHIGARA departs Atsuta (near Nagoya) with cruisers
NACHI, MYOKO, HAGURO and MAYA, light cruiser JINTSU and destroyers AKEBONO,
AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, AYANAMI, ISONAMI, OBORO, SHIKINAMI and YUGIRI. ASHIGARA is
carrying the IJA Expeditionary Army HQ.
21 August 1937:
Arrives at the Saddle (Ma'an) Islands, NE Zhoushan
archipelago, China. Troops are transferred to JINTSU and destroyers AMAGIRI,
ASAGIRI, MURASAME, OBORO, SAMIDARE, USHIO, YUDACHI and YUGIRI.
11 December 1937:
Just after midnight, American Dollar liner SS
PRESIDENT HOOVER, en route from Kobe to Manila, runs aground on a reef off the
NE coast of the Formosan island of Hoishoto (also known as Samasana Island,
Kasho-to, now Green Island).
HOOVER's Captain George W. Yardley orders an SOS sent out for assistance
and flares fired. The SOS is received by German freighter PRUSSIA that arrives
at dawn, but, as the seas are still very high, she can do little. Strong winds
and waves from a NE monsoon drive HOOVER further onto the shores of Green Island
and she begins to list badly. At low tide around 1300, Captain Yardley orders
the evacuation of his 503 passengers to the island.
At about 1500, ASHIGARA and a DesDiv 3 MINEKAZE-class destroyer arrive on
scene to lend assistance and protect HOOVER, as does TORIYAMA MARU. That same
morning, USS ALDEN (DD-211) and BARKER (DD-213) are ordered up from Manila to
12 December 1937:
At 1245, ALDEN arrives on the scene and requests
permission from Captain Takeda of ASHIGARA to enter Japanese territorial waters.
BARKER arrives soon thereafter. An officer from ASHIGARA arrives on board ALDEN
to give his government's permission to enter and assist PRESIDENT HOOVER. At
1500, TORIYAMA MARU arrives from Keelung, carrying food and other necessities
for HOOVER's crew and passengers.
13 December 1937:
SS PRESIDENT McKINLEY arrives.
14 December 1937:
Aboard PRESIDENT McKINLEY, news comes through about
the 12 December bombing by Japanese aircraft and sinking of gunboat USS PANAY in
the Yangtze River, China. McKINLEY departs for Manila, carrying 700 passengers
and crew. Later, SS PRESIDENT HOOVER is declared a constuctive total loss and
15 December 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Marumo Kuninori
(40)(former chief of the Navy Ministry Education Bureau's 2nd Section) is
appointed the CO.
3 June 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral), the Marquis, Daigo
Tadashige (40)(former CO of TAKAO) is appointed the CO.
1 December 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kamata Michiaki
(39)(former CO of KAKO) is appointed the CO.
15 February 1939:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. ASHIGARA's second reconstruction
1-15 November 1939:
Captain Kamata is appointed the CO of light
cruiser YUBARI as additional duty.
22 September 1940:
Vichy France cedes airfields and agrees to
admission of Japanese troops into northern Indochina (Cambodia, Laos and
Vietnam). The United States responds by placing a ban on the export of steel,
scrap metal and aviation fuel to Japan.
15 October 1940:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Nakazawa Tasuku
(43)(former chief of Naval General Staff 1st Section 1st Bureau) is appointed
5 July 1941:
Departs Takao, Formosa. Captain (later Rear Admiral)
Ichimiya Yoshiyuki (44)(former member of Naval Affairs Bureau of the Navy
Ministry) is appointed the CO.
7 July 1941:
Arrives at Canton, China.
23 July 1941: Operation "FU"- The Occupation of Cochinchina (South
Japanese and Vichy French authorities arrive at an
"understanding" regarding the use of air facilities and harbors in Southern
Indochina. From the next day on, Japanese forces occupy the country.
25 July 1941:
ASHIGARA departs Samah, perhaps with CruDiv 7's MOGAMI,
MIKUMA, KUMANO and SUZUYA and CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU.
29 July 1941:
Arrives at Saigon.
12 August 1941:
13 August 1941:
Arrives at Samah.
15 August 1941:
Departs Samah. Cruises in Chinese waters.
23 August 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.
2 December 1941:
ASHIGARA is the flagship of Vice Admiral Takahashi
Ibo's Third Fleet and CruDiv 16 in the Philippine Seizure Force, Southern Force.
CruDiv 16 receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka)
1208" from the Combined Fleet. This signifies that X-Day hostilities will
commence on 8 December (Japan time). 
7 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Invasion of the Northern
Departs Mako, Pescadores with CruDiv 4's MAYA, CruDiv 16's light
cruiser KUMA and DesDiv 5s ASAKAZE and MATSUKAZE to support the North Philippine
10 December 1941:
W of Luzon. At about 0800, five USN PBY-4
"Catalinas" of Patrol Wing 10 based at Los Banos attack CruDiv 16's ASHIGARA and
KUMA, CruDiv 4's MAYA and DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE and MATSUKAZE. The "Catalinas" fail
to score a hit. At about 1300, four other PBYs from Sangley Point (Cavite)
attack. They too fail to score a hit. One PBY is shot down by Mitsubishi A6M2
Type 0 Zeke carrier fighters of the IJN's 3rd NAG.
11 December 1941:
Covers the invasion landings at Vigan. ASHIGARA is
attacked unsuccessfully by five USAAF Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" of the
14th Squadron. (The Americans later claim erroneously that Captain Colin P.
Kelly sank battleship HARUNA in this attack).
14 December 1941:
Returns to Mako.
19 December 1941:
22 December 1941:
Covers the invasion landings in Lingayen Gulf.
23 December 1941:
Returns to Mako.
26 December 1941:
2 January 1942:
Departs Takao, Formosa.
6 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao, Philippines. Departs that day.
14 January 1942:
Arrives at Jolo, Philippines.
18 February 1942:
Arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo.
22 February 1942:
Arrives at Kendari, Celebes.
25 February 1942:
At Makassar, Celebes.
MYOKO and destroyer INAZUMA arrive at Makassar from
Sasebo and join ASHIGARA and destroyers IKAZUCHI and AKEBONO. All sortie the
same day into the Java Sea.
27 February 1942: The Battle of the Java Sea:
NACHI and HAGURO engage cruisers HMS EXETER and USS HOUSTON (CA-30)
and the Allied Force Commander Dutch Rear Admiral Karel W. F. M. Doorman's light
cruiser Hr.Ms. DE RUYTER with gunfire and Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes. At
1843, HAGURO sinks destroyer Hr.Ms. KORTENAER with torpedoes.
28 February 1942:
HAGURO sinks DE RUYTER with torpedoes. NACHI sinks
light cruiser Hr.Ms. JAVA with a torpedo. HOUSTON and HMAS PERTH retire to
Batavia (Djakarta), Java.
At 1900, after refueling, HOUSTON and PERTH sortie for Tjilatjap via the
Sunda Strait. At 2215, HOUSTON and PERTH attack Japanese troop transports
screened only by destroyers HARUKAZE, HATAKAZE and FUBUKI. The destroyers make
smoke to mask the transports. FUBUKI charges HOUSTON and PERTH and launches
At 2300, the Western Support Force's cruisers MIKUMA and MOGAMI,
destroyer SHIKINAMI and the Third Escort Force's light cruiser NATORI,
destroyers SHIRAKUMO, MURAKUMO, SHIRAYUKI, HATSUYUKI and ASAKAZE arrive and
engage HOUSTON and PERTH with gunfire and torpedoes. At 2308, torpedoes strike
both HOUSTON and PERTH. At 2342, PERTH sinks.
1 March 1942:
At 0030, HOUSTON sinks.
At 0850, CruDiv 5's NACHI and HAGURO with destroyers YAMAKAZE, and
KAWAKAZE sight the damaged cruiser HMS EXETER, destroyers HMS ENCOUNTER and USS
POPE (DD-225), en route from Surabaya to Sunda Strait.
At 1150, the Support Force's ASHIGARA and MYOKO with destroyers AKEBONO
and INAZUMA also sight and exchange fire with the EXETER group that initiates a
smoke screen. At 1245, NACHI and HAGURO also open fire on Captain Oliver L.
At 1250, EXETER is hit by shells, set afire and goes dead in water.
AKEBONO and INAZUMA launch 18 torpedoes. At 1330, EXETER sinks. During the
engagement, the Main Force expends 1,171 20-cm rounds.
ASHIGARA and MYOKO damage LtCdr E. V. St. J. Morgan's destroyer HMS
ENCOUNTER by a near miss from an 8-in salvo. ENCOUNTER's Chief Engineer reports
that repairs will take two hours. Surrounded and motionless with only one gun
firing, Morgan orders his ship scuttled and her crew to abandon ship. At 1335,
ENCOUNTER rolls over and sinks.
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Welford C. Blinn's old destroyer POPE
escapes the engagement with the cruisers, only to be sunk at 1540 in attacks by
aircraft from CHITOSE, MIZUHO and RYUJO. 
5 March 1942:
ASHIGARA and MYOKO arrive at Makassar, Celebes.
10 March 1942:
ASHIGARA becomes flagship of the Second Southern
26 March 1942: Operation "X" - The Invasion of Christmas Island.
Departs Makassar to support the invasion of Christmas Island (190 miles S of
6 April 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.
10 April 1942:
Flagship of the Southwest Area Fleet.
23 April 1942:
28 April 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya, Java.
25 May 1942:
2 June 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo for a refit.
10 June 1942:
20 June 1942:
25 June 1942:
1 July 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.
8 July 1942:
ASHIGARA again becomes flagship of the Second Southern
11 August 1942:
12 August 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.
21 August-September 1942:
Departs Makassar via Singapore for Surabaya,
25 September 1942:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Ban Masami
(42)(former ComDesDiv 6) is appointed the CO.
30 September 1942:
Departs Surabaya on a troop transport run.
3 October 1942:
Arrives at Davao, Philippines.
4 October 1942:
8 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.
9 October 1942:
Arrives at Shortland. Debarks troops who later
14 October 1942:
Arrives at Palau.
20 October 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya.
23 December 1942:
25 December 1942:
Arrives at the Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.
Drydocked. Her hull is scraped and repainted.
2 January 1943:
5 January 1943:
7 January-1 April 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya. Guardship duties.
1 April 1943:
9 April 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo. Refit. A Type 21 air-search radar is
10 May 1943:
17 May 1943:
Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo and refuels.
18 May 1943:
20 May 1943:
ASHIGARA is assigned directly to the Southwest Area
Fleet. Arrives at Surabaya, Java. Resumes guardship duties.
20 September 1943:
Surabaya. ASHIGARA is assigned as flagship of
CruDiv 16, Southwest Area Fleet with light cruisers OI, KINU, KUMA and KITAKAMI.
22 October 1943:
23 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore. Refit.
1 November 1943:
At Singapore. Training cruises in the Lingga area.
3 January 1944:
Departs Singapore with AOBA, light cruiser KUMA and
4 January 1944:
Arrives at Penang, Malaya and embarks Army troops and
5 January 1944:
6 January 1944:
Arrives at Mergui, Burma.
7 January 1944:
8 January 1944:
KUMA detaches at Penang, the others continue.
9 January 1944:
ASHIGARA and AOBA arrive back at Singapore.
30 January 1944:
Captain (promoted Rear Admiral 1 May 1945) Miura
Hayao (45)(former CO of the auxiliary merchant cruiser ASAKA MARU) is appointed
the CO. Captain Ban is reassigned to Headquarters, First Fleet and later KIA as
CO of FUSO.
25 February 1944:
Reassigned to CruDiv 21, Fifth Fleet (Northern
27 February 1944:
Departs Singapore for Sasebo.
1 March 1944:
Alerted by codebreaker's "Ultra" signal, USS JACK
(SS-259) lays in wait, but slightly off course. About 1300, unescorted ASHIGARA
passes by at 25 knots, out of range.
3-29 March 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo. A Type 22 surface-search radar is
29 March 1944:
Departs Sasebo via Kure for Ominato.
2 April 1944:
Arrives at Ominato. Guardship duty with NACHI.
30 April 1944:
Oiler TEIYO MARU refuels ASHIGARA.
2 May 1944:
Oiler TEIYO MARU undergoes towing replenishment training
9 May 1944:
Kawauchi Bay, northern Honshu. ASHIGARA is refueled by
oiler TEIYO MARU.
29 May 1944:
Kawauchi Bay. Oiler TEIYO MARU refuels ASHIGARA.
5 June 1944:
TEIYO MARU undergoes towing replenishment training with
ASHIGARA in Kawauchi Bay.
19 June 1944:
Departs Ominato with NACHI.
21 June 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Refit.
29 June 1944:
Departs Yokosuka with NACHI.
1 July 1944:
Arrives at Ominato. Resumes guardship duty with NACHI.
31 July 1944:
2 August 1944:
Arrives at Kure. Training.
15 September 1944:
Refit at Kure. Two twin-mount and 20 single-mount
Type 96 25-mm AA guns are installed bringing ASHIGARA's total 25-mm suite to 48
14 October 1944:
Departs Kure in Vice Admiral Shima Kiyohide's (former
CO of OI) CruDiv 21 with NACHI and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Masatomi
Kimura's (former CO of SUZUYA) DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and DesDiv 7's
AKEBONO, KASUMI and USHIO, DesDiv 18's SHIRANUI and Des21's WAKABA, HATSUSHIMO
15 October 1944:
Bungo Straits. Cdr Thomas L. Wogan's USS BESUGO
(SS-321) spots Shima's fast moving force at 7,500 yards, but is unable to close.
Wogan reports the sighting to COMSUBPAC.
16 October 1944:
Shima's force arrives at Amami-Oshima.
18 October 1944:
Departs Amami-Oshima with CruDiv 21 and DesRon 1.
W of Okinawa. At about 1030, Shima's force is sighted by LtCdr Orme C.
Robbins' USS STERLET (SS-392) at 15 miles. Robbins closes to four miles, but is
unable to get closer in the daylight. He reports the sighting to ComSubPac.
S of Okinawa. That evening, Shima's force is sighted by LtCdr Frederick
J. Harlfingers' USS TRIGGER (SS-392) at nine miles. Harlfinger closes to five
miles, but is driven off by an aircraft and a Japanese submarine that fires a
torpedo at TRIGGER.
20 October 1944:
Formosa Strait. At 0400, LtCdr Richard H. O'Kane's
USS TANG (SS-306) picks up Shima's zigzagging force now making 19 knots. O'Kane
tracks the force until dawn, but cannot close.
Shima's force arrives at Mako, Pescadores.
21 October 1944:
Shima's force departs Mako for Manila, but is
diverted to Coron, Philippines.
22 October 1944:
Luzon Strait. At about 0100, LtCdr James H. Ashley's
USS SEADRAGON (SS-194) sights Shima's force at 30,000 yards. Ashley
misidentifies the force as "a carrier, two light cruisers and six destroyers."
Ashley signals the sighting to Cdr Edward N. Blakely in SHARK (SS-314),
commander of the wolf pack, and LtCdr Robert F. Sellars' BLACKFISH (SS-221).
Ashley closes to 3,000 yards on the surface and fires his four stern tubes by
radar bearings at the "carrier" and an overlapping cruiser at 21-57N, 118-14E.
Ashley then takes SEADRAGON deep and evades. Later, he claims hits on both
ships, but postwar these are not substantiated.
At 0855, LtCdr Richard W. Peterson's submerged USS ICEFISH (SS-367) spots
a destroyer, then sights a task force of two NACHI-class heavy cruisers,
escorted by three destroyers, bearing 064 (T), course 160, speed 16-18 knots.
ICEFISH cannot gain a position closer than 8,000 yds and is unable to attack. In
heavy seas, Peterson surfaces to get off a contact report, but is forced under
by Japanese planes before he can get off a report.
23 October 1944:
Arrives safely at Coron.
24 October 1944: Operation "SHO-1-GO"(Victory) -
The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
Departs Coron to support Vice Admiral
Nishimura Shoji's (former CO of HARUNA) First Raiding Force's BatDiv 2's
YAMASHIRO and FUSO and CruDiv 7's MOGAMI.
Surigao Strait. At about 0420 that night, ASHIGARA and NACHI pick up
two targets on their Type 22 surface-search radars. Vice Admiral Shima orders a
torpedo attack and the cruisers turn to starboard to bring their tubes to bear.
At 0427, each cruiser launches eight torpedoes by radar, but obtain no hits.
At 0429, NACHI collides with MOGAMI that is retiring southward. MOGAMI is
holed starboard side above the waterline. NACHI's bow is rent portside and as
she pulls clear, she begins to flood. Shima orders his force to retire. 
26 October 1944:
At 1330, ASHIGARA and DesDiv 7's KASUMI and USHIO
overtake CruDiv 7's heavily damaged KUMANO, limping towards Coron. At 1630, the
group arrives at Coron where they refuel from oiler NICHIEI MARU.
27 October 1944:
Departs Coron with NACHI and DesDiv 7. ASHIGARA
detaches for Palawan. NACHI and the destroyers proceed to Manila where TF 38
aircraft attack them on 29 October and 5 November and sink NACHI in Manila Bay.
5 November 1944:
ASHIGARA arrives in Pagdanan (Bacuit Bay), Palawan
Islands to rendevous with DesDiv 31 from Brunei.
8 November 1944:
Departs Brunei following YAMATO, carrier JUNYO,
cruiser TONE and light cruiser KISO and DesDiv 30's UZUKI and the YUZUKI towards
Pratas Island. JUNYO, TONE and KISO are detached with DesDiv 30 to Manila.
ASHIGARA, delayed by refueling, detaches and returns to Brunei.
17 November 1944:
Departs Brunei with battleship HARUNA and light
18 November 1944:
Arrives at the Spratly Islands. The CinC, Fifth
Fleet, Vice Admiral Shima Kiyohide, arrives from Manila aboard DesDiv 21's
HATSUSHIMO, accompanied by DesDiv 2's ASASHIMO and DesDiv 7's KASUMI and USHIO.
Shima transfers his flag to ASHIGARA.
20 November 1944:
ASHIGARA joins CarDiv 4's ISE and HYUGA, HAGURO,
HATSUSHIMO and KASUMI. Departs the Spratly Islands.
22 November 1944:
HAGURO detaches for Singapore. ASHIGARA arrives at
Lingga (near Singapore).
12 December 1944:
CarDiv 4, ASHIGARA and OYODO depart Lingga.
14 December 1944:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina. Vice Admiral
Shima transfers his flag from ASHIGARA to HYUGA. ASHIGARA and OYODO are detached
from CarDiv 4 and join Rear Admiral Kimura's Raiding Force's DesRon 2's KASUMI,
ASASHIMO, KIYOSHIMO, SUGI, KASHI and KAYA for an attack on the American
beachhead at San Jose, Mindoro, Philippines.
24 December 1944:
Departs Camranh with OYODO and DesRon 2.
26 December 1944:
During their approach to Mindoro, Kimura's Raiding
Force is attacked by North American B-25 "Mitchell" bombers. ASHIGARA is hit and
damaged by a 500-lb. bomb that starts a heavy fire. All torpedoes are
jettisoned. All available men fight the fire and extinguish it before it can
reach the torpedo room and aft magazines. Destroyer KIYOSHIMO takes two direct
bomb hits and is later sunk by a torpedo from USS PT-223.
27 December 1944: Operation "REI" - The San Jose Intrusion:
bombards the American beachhead at San Jose with over 200 shells.
28 December 1944:
Returns to Camranh.
29 December 1944:
1 January 1945:
Arrives at Singapore.
26 January 1945:
Seletar Naval Base. ASHIGARA enters drydock for
repairs to the bomb damage incurred on 26 December.
28 January 1945:
Repairs are completed. Undocked.
30 January 1945:
Departs Seletar in the evening.
31 January 1945:
Arrives at Lingga.
5 February 1945:
CruDiv 5's ASHIGARA and HAGURO are transferred from
the Southwest Area Fleet to the Tenth Area Fleet. During the next five months,
they transport troops and supplies to the Dutch East Indies, then to the Bay of
Bengal and back.
Departs Singapore for Batavia (Jakarta), Java.
17 April 1945:
In the afternoon, LtCdr Drijfhout van Hooff's Dutch
submarine Hr.Ms. O-19 sights a NACHI-class cruiser and a destroyer. LtCdr van
Hooff had received a signal warning that this squadron could be in the vicinity.
The cruiser and her escort are sighted at 6 miles heading SSE, but suddenly
change course, moving outside torpedo range.
18 April 1945:
The next morning, O-19 sights the same ships again. At
about 1030, LtCdr van Hooff fires a four-torpedo spread from 5,000 metres, but
misses. The destroyer does not counterattack.
22 April 1945:
ASHIGARA, escorted by destroyer KAMIKAZE, departs
Batavia for Singapore.
Previously alerted by a coded signal, LtCdr Drijfhout van Hooff positions
O-19 about 37 miles N of Batavia. At about 1330, his hydrophone operator
announces the arrival of a NACHI-class cruiser and her escort 1,800 meters
ahead. Shortly thereafter, an aircraft is sighted twice. About 1415, at a
distance of over 4,600 m, O-19 fires a spread of four torpedoes at ASHIGARA, but
they all miss.
24 April 1945:
Arrives at Singapore. Captain Miura reports that he
scraped a wreck or a reef. His hydrophone room is smashed.
27 April 1945:
Seletar Naval Base. ASHIGARA enters drydock. Inspection
reveals no additional damage to her hull, rudder or propellers. Her floatplanes
and torpedo tubes are landed to provide additional space for food, ammunition
and other cargo.
13 May 1945:
ASHIGARA joins HAGURO at Pulo Burnett to refuel KAMIKAZE
during HAGURO's second try for the Andaman Islands. ASHIGARA then proceeds to
4 June 1945:
Departs Singapore with KAMIKAZE.
5 June 1945:
Alerted by an "Ultra" signal, LtCdr Merrill Clementson's
USS BLUEBACK (SS-326) and Cdr C. D. Rhymes' CHUB (SS-329) sight the ASHIGARA
group, but the submarines are unable to attack. ASHIGARA arrives safely at
BLUEBACK's contact report is received by Cdr (later Vice Admiral Sir)
Arthur R. Hezlet's (former CO of HMS THRASHER) HMS TRENCHANT. Hezlet is given
permission to position TRENCHANT in the Banka Strait to intercept the cruiser
when she returns to Singapore.
6 June 1945:
ASHIGARA embarks about 1,600 army troops and 489 tons of
7 June 1945:
At 1000, ASHIGARA, escorted by destroyer KAMIKAZE,
departs Batavia via the Bangka Strait for Singapore. ASHIGARA's port engine is
inoperable. USS BLUEBACK reports ASHIGARA's and her escort's departure
northbound, but is unable to attack. TRENCHANT negotiates the minefield laid by
O.19 across the northern entrance to the Banka Strait and takes up position
inside the Strait, remaining on the surface. Cdr G. C. Clarabut's STYGIAN takes
the other side.
KAMIKAZE dashes up the Strait ant 15 kts and takes TRENCHANT under fire.
The submarine fires a torpedo at the departing destroyer, but misses.
At 0702 Hezlet dives and proceeds to a new position in the middle of the
Strait. At 1148 his watch officer sights ASHIGARA (at that time identified as
HAGURO), approaching from the south at 17 kts. At 1209, Cdr Hezlet fires eight
Mk. VIII torpedoes from his bow and deck tubes at ASHIGARA from 4,700 yds. The
cruiser's lookouts spot the torpedoes, but she is trapped between the shore and
the minefield. ASHIGARA still tries to comb the torpedoes, but cannot complete
the maneuver in time because of her inoperable port engine. She is hit to
starboard by five torpedoes, but continues to moving ahead by inertia,
completely obscured by smoke. Her 25-mm AA guns open fire briefly, targeting
After some thirty of Hezlet's crewmen have observed the burning cruiser
through the periscope, he circles to bring his stern tubes to bear and fires two
more torpedoes at 1224. Both miss.
At 1239, ASHIGARA capsizes to starboard and sinks at 01-59S, 104-57E.
KAMIKAZE rescues 853 crewmen and about 400 army troops.
Rear Admiral Miura survives the sinking of his ship and is rescued by
KAMIKAZE. On 20 June 1945 he is appointed Assistant Chief of Staff, 2nd Southern
20 August 1945:
Removed from Navy List.
 Spithead is located on the eastern part of the channel between
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
 Early in 1936, the British Air Ministry established the Bawdsey
Research Station, Suffolk, as the center for all pre-war radar experiments for
both the Air Force and the Army. Experimental equipment was brought up to a high
state of reliability and ranges of over 100 miles on aircraft were obtained. In
1937, a prototype Radio Detection Finding station (called Chain Home) was handed
over to the Royal Air Force. The first of three major pre-war air-defence
exercises was carried out in the summer of 1937.
 The courtesy meeting with Hitler was in return for the Emperor's
receiving the captains of some German cruisers that visited Japan in the '30s.
 Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was the highest point
in the Japanese Empire at the time.
 On 21 February 2007, a group of divers operating from MV EMPRESS out
of Singapore, including Australian photo-journalist Kevin Denlay, locate the
wrecks of British heavy cruiser HMS EXETER and destroyer HMS ENCOUNTER in the
Java Sea. The two warships were found at a depth of about 60m/200ft, 90 miles
north of Bawean Island, about 350 nautical miles from Sunda Strait. EXETER lays
on her starboard. Her faithful consort ENCOUNTER rests about two miles away.
About 50 of EXETER's crew were killed, while 650 were made prisoners of war. Of
these, 152 died in Japanese PoW camps. About eight of ENCOUNTER's crew were
killed and 149 were made PoWs, of whom 38 died in captivity.
In December 2008, the wreck of USS POPE (DD-225) was located in the Java
Sea in approx 105 ft/32 meters of water by owner/skipper Vidar Skoglie's dive
vessel MV EMPRESS operating out of Singapore. The old destroyer appears to have
been found earlier by Indonesian salvage divers and very little remains but a
rusted iron skeleton. The destroyer had been heavily damaged by the salvors
using explosive charges.
 Readers interested in more detail about this collision should see "The NACHI ~ MOGAMI
Collision: A Study in the Fragility of History."
Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned
in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada. Thanks also go to Randy
Stone of the United States and "Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands. Kudos also go
to Andrew Obluski of Poland who provided some outstanding details of ASHIGARA's
Thanks also go to the late John Whitman and to Fontessa-san of Japan for
info about 1937 troop movement. Thanks go to J-air reader Steve C for info about
ASHIGARA's condition at the time of her sinking.
- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.