(ATAGO in 1932 - colorized photo by Irotokoo, Jr

IJN ATAGO: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2019 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 19

28 April 1927:
Kure Navy Yard. Laid down as A class heavy cruiser No. 10.

23 June 1927:
Named ATAGO.

16 June 1930:

20 June 1930:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sada Kenichi (35)(former CO of NATORI) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

30 March 1932:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Attached to Yokosuka Naval District, initially placed in 1st reserve. Captain Sada Kenichi is the CO.

16 April 1932:
Several government officials including Japan's elderly Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi tour Tokyo Bay aboard ATAGO.

1 December 1932:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takahashi Ibo (36)(former ADC to the chief of the Navy Ministry) is appointed the CO.

26 August 1933:
Participates in annual Naval Review held off Yokohama.

15 November 1933:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Miyata Giichi (36)(former chief of the Navy Ministry Education Bureau's 2nd Section) is appointed the CO.

2 December 1933:
Dry-docked at Yokosuka Navy Yard to embark Type 91 HA directors.

22 October-30 December 1934:
Refit at Yokosuka Navy Yard to upgrade the steering gear.

1 November 1934:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Sonoda Shigeru (37)(former CO of NAKA) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1935:
Placed in 1st reserve at Yokosuka. Reassigned to Yokosuka Guard Squadron. Captain Suzukida Kozo (37)(former CO of MIKUMA) is appointed the CO.

16 December 1935-10 March 1936:
Reassigned to CruDiv 5 as the flagship of ComCruDiv 5/Second Fleet.

15 April 1936:
Captain (Admiral, posthumously), Ito Seiichi (39)(former CO of MOGAMI) is appointed the CO.

14 June-31 July 1936:
Dry-docked at Yokosuka Navy Yard for hull strengthening.

26 October 1936:
Kobe. ATAGO embarks Emperor Showa (Hirohito) and departs for Etajima.

28 October 1936:
ATAGO returns to Kobe. The next day, the Emperor participates in the annual Imperial Naval Review held off Kobe.

1 December 1936:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo (38)(former CO of NAKA) is appointed the CO.

12 July 1937:
Captain Okumoto Takeo (38)(former CO of CHOKAI) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1937:
Captain Sakano Minbu (38)(former CO of Chinkai Defense Unit) is appointed the CO.

April 1938:
Start of hull and superstructure modernization at Maizuru Navy Yard, later continued at Yokosuka Navy Yard, where armament and fire control systems are upgraded until 30 October 1939.

10 August 1938:
Captain Minowa Chugo (38)(former supervisor of KOTOKU MARU) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takatsuka Seigo (38)(former CO of Yokosuka Defense Unit) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kono Chimaki (42)(former CO of NAKA) is appointed the CO.

15 October 1940:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Koyanagi Tomiji (42)(former Naval Torpedo School instructor) is appointed the CO.

11 August 1941:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously), the Baron (the son of Fleet Admiral Ijuin Goro), Ijuin Matsuji (43)(former CO of NAKA) is appointed the CO.

29 November 1941:
ATAGO is the flagship of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's Second Fleet/CruDiv 4 with TAKAO and MAYA. Departs Saeki Bay with Kondo's Second Fleet, Southern Force, Malay Force, Main Body's BatDiv 3's HARUNA and KONGO and destroyers ARASHI, HAGIKAZE, AKATSUKI, HATAKAZE, NOWAKI, MAIKAZE, MICHISHIO and HIBIKI.

2 December 1941:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadore Islands. The Main Body 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). [1]

4 December 1941:
The Main Body departs Mako for the South China Sea to provide distant support for the invasion forces.

9 December 1941: The Pursuit of the Royal Navy's "Force Z":
At 1415, LtCdr Harada Hakue's submarine I-65 reports sighting a British force steaming NNW at 14 kts. This is Admiral Sir Tom S. V. Phillips who sorties from Singapore to find and attack the Malaya invasion transports with his "Force Z": Captain J. C. Leach's new battleship HMS PRINCE OF WALES, Captain (later Vice Admiral) W. G. Tennant's old battlecruiser HMS REPULSE, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, EXPRESS, TENEDOS and Australian destroyer HMAS VAMPIRE. The Main Body sorties south for a night attack against "Force Z".

10 December 1941:
At dawn, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 7's KUMANO, MOGAMI, MIKUMA and SUZUYA with DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI and four destroyers join the Main Body. Kondo also orders Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo (former CO of HARUNA) to join in the hunt with cruiser CHOKAI.

In the afternoon, all ships depart the search area after receiving reports that both British capital ships were sunk off Kuantan, Malaya. "Force Z" was overwhelmed by 88 torpedo-bombers (Mitsubishi G3M Type 96 "Nell" and G4M Type 1 "Betty") of the Genzan, Kanoya and Mihoro Kokutais of Rear Admiral Matsunaga Sadaichi's (former CO of ISUZU) 22nd Air Flotilla based at Saigon and Thudaumot in French Indochina. 840 British seamen are lost including Admiral Phillips.

11 December 1941:
The Main Body arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina. Nakajima E8N2 "Dave" floatplanes from ATAGO and TAKAO provide anti-submarine cover during the passage.

14 December 1941:
The Main Body departs Camranh to cover the Second Malaya Convoy, northeast of Natuna Besar Island.

That same day, LtCdr Tyrell D. Jacobs in USS SARGO (SS-188) receives an "Ultra" message providing data about three cruisers - probably including ATAGO - leaving Camranh. The cruisers are sighted at the designated intercept point, but Jacobs is unable to gain an attack position and the cruisers pass by safely.

17 December 1941:
The Main Body returns to Camranh.

20 December 1941:
The Main Body departs Camranh to cover the invasion landings at Lingayen Gulf, Philippines.

21-23 December 1941:
The Main Body lies off the coast of Luzon.

24 December 1941:
The Main Body returns to Camranh.

8 January 1942:
The Main Body departs Camranh for Mako.

11 January 1942:
The Main Body arrives at Mako.

14 January 1942:
The Main Body departs Mako for the Palau Islands in the Carolines.

18 January 1942:
The Main Body arrives at Palau and splits into two groups to provide distant support of air attacks on Ambon Island. HARUNA, CarDiv 2, CruDiv 4's MAYA and four destroyers operate out of Palau to the east of Mindanao, Philippines. KONGO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO and TAKAO and four destroyers operate south of Palau.

18 February 1942:
Departs Palau for Staring (Teluk) Bay in company of KONGO, HIEI, HARUNA and KIRISHIMA.

21 February 1942:
The Main Body arrives at Staring Bay near Kendari, Celebes. Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi (former CO of YAMASHIRO) also arrives from his 19 February attack on Darwin with his Striking Force's CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU, BatDiv 3/1's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and seven destroyers. The Main Body and the Carrier Striking Force refuel.

25 February 1942:
CruDiv 4's ATAGO, MAYA and TAKAO depart Staring Bay with DesDiv 4's ARASHI and NOWAKI under Vice Admiral Kondo to hunt for shipping escaping from Java.

1 March 1942:
300 miles from Tjilatjap. At 0518 (JST), ARASHI and NOWAKI attack the Dutch merchant PARIGI and sink her at 0528. ARASHI and NOWAKI later sink the 981-ton Dutch motorship TORADJA and 620-ton auxiliary minesweeper HMS SCOTT HARLEY and capture the 1,020-ton Dutch steamship BINTOEHAN.

2 March 1942:
A reconnaissance aircraft of the Bali-based 22nd Air Flotilla reports the sighting of two destroyers 300 miles SW and a light cruiser S of Bali. At 1743, MAYA, DesDiv 4's ARASHI and NOWAKI overhaul LtCdr G. R. Pretor-Pinney's old destroyer-minelayer HMS STRONGHOLD. At 2028, immobilized and afire, she blows up and sinks at 12-20S, 112E. About 50 survivors take to Carley floats, but Pretor-Pinney and 74 other crewmen are lost.

At 2207, ATAGO and TAKAO overhaul LtCdr H. C. Pound's four-stack USS PILLSBURY (DD-227), briefly misidentified as a friendly destroyer. After a short exchange of signals she turns toward the attackers, targeting PILLSBURY from a distance of 6,600 yds. Around 2226 the destroyer receives several direct hits and a fire breaks out forward. With steering lost and an increasing list to starboard, the crippled destroyer returns fire with her 3-in gun, scoring several near misses. At 2232 PILLSBURY goes down by the stern with all hands at 15-38S, 113-15E. ATAGO expends fifty-four 20-cm and fifteen 12.7-cm rounds during that action.

3 March 1942:
In the morning, survivors from STRONGHOLD are picked up by small steamer BINTOEHAN captured by the Japanese on 1 March. MAYA arrives while the rescue is in process, and BINTOEHAN suspends rescue operations. The survivors are transferred to MAYA. The steamer is sent to Bali without a prize crew. BINTOEHAN's crew scuttles the ship close to the Java coast.

LtCdr J. W. Britt's gunboat USS ASHEVILLE (PG-21), slowed by engine troubles, is steaming S towards Australia unescorted. At 0906, ARASHI and NOWAKI overhaul her and after a 30-minute gun battle sink ASHEVILLE. Only one member of the gunboat's 160-man crew survives, only to die later in a Japanese POW camp.

That same day, LtCdr Robert Rankin's sloop HMAS YARRA picks up 40 survivors of Dutch PARIGI two days after she had been sunk.

4 March 1942:
280 miles SSE of Tjilatjap, Java. At sunrise, ATAGO, MAYA and TAKAO and DesDiv 4's ARASHI and NOWAKI attack a convoy en route from Tjilatjap for Fremantle, Australia. For more than an hour-and-a-half, LtCdr Robert Rankin's 1,060-ton Australian sloop HMAS YARRA puts up an heroic defense against impossible odds, but is smothered by 5- and 8-inch shells and finally sinks a blazing wreck. Rankin is killed on the bridge. Thirty four survivors of YARRA's crew of 151 take to two Carley floats. [2]

The cruisers sink the 2,623-ton British tanker FRANCOL, British Motor Minesweeper 51 and the 3,470-ton British depot ship ANKING. The Japanese pick up one lifeboat of survivors from FRANCOL, then depart to the NNE.

That same day, ATAGO captures the 1,030-ton Dutch passenger-cargo steamer DUYMAER VAN TWIST, later placed in Japanese service as DAI MARU. The Japanese also capture the 7,089-ton Dutch passenger-cargo steamer TJISAROEA, later put in service as CHIHAYA MARU.

7 March 1942:
At 1305, returns to Staring Bay. During their sortie, Kondo's force sinks eight British, Dutch and American ships.

8 March 1942:
Liutenant ter Zee I Kl (LtCdr) A.H. Deketh's Dutch submarine K-XI picks up 17 survivors of YARRA, and one survivor of PARIGI that had been rescued by YARRA. One YARRA survivor dies before K-XI arrives at Colombo, Ceylon. Dutch freighter TAWALI picks up 57 survivors of ANKING.

18 March 1942:
Departs Staring Bay on Vice Admiral Kondo's inspection cruise, escorted by destroyer ARASHI.

20 March 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo, departs for Balikpapan that evening.

21 March 1942:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

22 March 1942:
Departs Balikpapan for Makassar, Celebes.

23 March 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.

24 March 1942:
Departs Makassar for Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.

27 March 1942:
Arrives at Seletar Naval Base.

2 April 1942:
Departs Seletar for Penang, Malaya.

3 April 1942:
Arrives at Penang.

4 April 1942:
Departs Penang for Camranh Bay.

10 April 1942:
Arrives at Camranh Bay.

11 April 1942:
Departs Camranh Bay for Yokosuka.

17 April 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka to commence a refit.

18 April 1942: The First Bombing of Japan:
Halsey's Task Force 16.2's USS HORNET (CV-8), VINCENNES (CA-44), NASHVILLE (CL-43), oiler CIMARRON (AO-22) and destroyers GWIN (DD-433), MEREDITH (DD-434), GRAYSON (DD-435) and MONSSEN (DD-436) accompanied by Task Force 16.1's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), NORTHAMPTON (CA-28), oiler SABINE (AO-25) and destroyers BALCH (DD-363), BENHAM (DD-397), ELLET (DD-398) and FANNING (DD-385) approach the Japanese home islands. The cruisers and the carriers come to within 668 miles of Japan.

Led by Lt Col (later General/Medal of Honor) James H. Doolittle, 16 Army B-25 "Mitchell" twin-engine bombers of the 17th Bomb Group take off from Captain (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's carrier HORNET and strike targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe. At Yokosuka, a B-25 damages light carrier RYUHO in a drydock undergoing conversion from the submarine depot ship TAIGEI.

After the raid, ATAGO puts to sea with TAKAO, joined later by MAYA in an unsuccessful pursuit of Doolittle's Force.

23 April 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka Navy Yard. Refit. During a refit the 120-mm (4.7-in) single AA guns are replaced by 12.7-cm (5-in) twin AA mounts.

3-4 May 1942:
Dry-docked at Yokosuka.

13-27 May 1942:
During ATAGO's refit CHOKAI is designated the temporary flagship of the Second Fleet.

13-21 May 1942:
Dry-docked at No. 1 Drydock in Yokohama.

21 May 1942:
The refit is completed.

24 May 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Hashirajima.

25 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

27 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
Departs Hashirajima in Kondo's Second Fleet, Strike Force, Support Force, Main Body with BatDiv 3/1's HIEI and KONGO, CruDiv 4/1's ATAGO and CHOKAI, CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, DesRon 4's light cruiser YURA, DesDiv 2's MURASAME, SAMDARE, HARUSAME and YUDACHI, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO and NATSUGUMO.

14 June 1942:
Returns to Hashirajima.

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 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.

11 August 1942:
At 1700 CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA depart Hashirajima with Vice Admiral Kondo's Second Fleet, Advanced Force's CruDiv 5 HAGURO and MYOKO, seaplane tender CHITOSE, DesRon 4's light cruiser YURA, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO, DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE, SUZUKAZE, UMIKAZE, DesDiv 27's ARIAKE, SHIGURE, SHIRATSUYU, YUGURE and battleship MUTSU.

17 August 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

20 August 1942 - Operation "KA": The Reinforcement of Guadalcanal:
CruDiv 4 departs Truk in Kondo's Second Fleet with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (former CO of FUSO) Vanguard Force's BatDiv 11's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, the Support Force's CHITOSE, CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, Desron 10's light cruiser NAGARA with KAZAGUMO, YUGUMO, MAKIGUMO, AKIGUMO, HATSUKAZE, AKIZUKI, AMATSUKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, NOWAKI, TANIKAZE and MAIKAZE.

Kondo's Second Fleet joins Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Third Fleet, Carrier Strike Force, Main Body's CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA

24 August 1942: The Battle of the Eastern Solomons:
Cruises NE of Guadalcanal with the Carrier Strike Force, Main Body. Vice Admiral Fletcher's Task Force 61's SARATOGA (CV-3) and ENTERPRISE (CV-6) launch aircraft that find and sink light carrier RYUJO. In turn, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU launch aircraft that find and hit ENTERPRISE with three bombs. That evening, aircraft from SARATOGA damage the seaplane carrier CHITOSE.

5 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

10 September 1942:
Nagumo sorties from Truk with the Third Fleet's CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, BatDiv 11's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA, DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and 11 destroyers.

The Third Fleet accompanies Kondo's Second Fleet's BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO and DesRon 2 to an area north of the Solomon Islands.

11 September 1942:
In the afternoon, destroyer MURASAME picks up the 8-strong crew of VP-11's Lt Carlton H. Clark's PBY-5 "Catalina" seaplane shot down earlier that day by Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete" reconnaissance floatplanes from KUNIKAWA MARU. The PoWs are next transferred to HARUSAME and on the following day to ATAGO.

15-17 September 1942:
At sea. The fleet refuels destroyers.

18-20 September 1942:
The Second and the Third fleets sortie towards the Solomons.

20 September 1942:
The fleets are ordered to return to Truk.

23 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

11 October 1942:
ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA sortie from Truk with Kondo's Second Fleet, Advance Force's CruDiv 5's MYOKO, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2's light cruiser ISUZU with destroyers KAWAKAZE, MAKINAMI, SUZUKAZE, TAKANAMI, UMIKAZE and NAGANAMI and Vice Admiral Kurita's Second Fleet, Close Support Force's BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, destroyers HARUSAME, KAGERO, MURASAME, SAMIDARE, OYASHIO and YUDACHI followed by Nagumo's Third Fleet, Carrier Strike Force.

17-18 October 1942:
The fleet refuels at sea.

26 October 1942: The Battle of Santa Cruz:
The Carrier Strike Force engages Task Force 16's ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and Task Force 17's USS HORNET (CV-8) in an air battle. HORNET is sunk.

30 October 1942:
The Second and Third Fleets return to Truk.

9 November 1942:
Vice Admiral Kondo departs Truk for Ontong Java area with his Main Body: CruDiv 4's ATAGO (F) and TAKAO, Air Striking Unit's carrier JUNYO, Screen's BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 8's TONE, DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI, DesDiv 19's URANAMI, SHIKINAMI and AYANAMI and DesDiv 11's HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI.

The Main Body also includes Vice Admiral Abe's Bombardment Unit's BatDiv 11's HIEI and KIRISHIMA accompanied by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (former CO of HARUNA) Close Screen of DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA with DesDiv 6's IKAZUCHI, INAZUMA and AKATSUKI, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE, DesDiv 61's TERUZUKI.

The Main Body supports air attacks on USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) south of Guadalcanal; however, the strike force fails to locate the American carrier.

10 November 1942:
DesDiv 27's SHIGURE, SHIRATSUYU and YUGURE depart the Shortland Islands, Bougainville to execute Vice Admiral Kondo's planned landing of 14,500 men, heavy weapons and supplies of the IJA's 38th (Hiroshima) Infantry Division and the 8th Special Naval Landing Force on Guadalcanal. The twelve destroyers of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2 will escort an 11-ship high-speed reinforcement convoy. The landing is to be preceded by another bombardment of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. Part of Kondo's plan calls for DesDiv 27's destroyers to act as picket ships between Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands.

12 November 1942:
In the early morning, BatDiv 11 is joined by Rear Admiral Kimura's DesRon 10 and her destroyers. BatDiv 11 and DesRon 10 detach to bombard Henderson Field.

At 1030, a USAAF B-17 heading towards Savo Island spots Abe's force. At 1530, Abe's force rendezvous with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Takama Tamotsu's (former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 4 sweeping unit's ASAGUMO (F), HARUSAME, MURASAME, SAMIDARE and YUDACHI.

13 November 1942: The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
CruDiv 4 cruises off Ontong Java with Kondo's fleet. Abe's force engages an American cruiser-destroyer force off Guadalcanal. HIEI is damaged heavily by gunfire and later sunk off Savo Island.

14 November 1942:
After the loss of HIEI, Vice Admiral Kondo forms an Emergency Bombardment Force's BatDiv 11's KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO and TAKAO screened by Rear Admiral Kimura's DesRon 10's NAGARA with her destroyers.

The Emergency Bombardment Force follows Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hashimoto Shintaro's (former CO of HYUGA) Ahead Sweeping Unit's DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI with DesDiv 19's AYANAMI, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI.

The Emergency Bombardment Force departs Ontong Java for Henderson Field. En route, KIRISHIMA is attacked unsuccessfully by USS TROUT (SS-202). While passing NE of Santa Isabel Island, the task force is attacked by LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Glynn R. Donaho's USS FLYING FISH (SS-229). Donaho misses ATAGO with six Mk.14 steam torpedoes at 06-51S, 159-59E.

15 November 1942: The Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
In a night gun battle with USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57), WASHINGTON (BB-56) and destroyers, ATAGO and TAKAO hit SOUTH DAKOTA with seventeen 8-in, five 6-in and one 5-in shells. SOUTH DAKOTA is damaged but not sunk. Early in the battle, ATAGO and TAKAO each launch eight Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at WASHINGTON, but they all miss.

KIRISHIMA and destroyer AYANAMI are sunk as a result of the action. ATAGO receives one "12-cm" shell hit to her soybean store, causing slight damage. ATAGO, TAKAO and URANAMI retire northward to rendezvous with KONGO and HARUNA at 1500.

18 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

1 December 1942:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Nakaoka Nobuki (45)(former CO of KATORI) is appointed the CO.

12 December 1942:
Departs Truk for Kure.

17 December 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

20 January 1943:
Departs Kure for Truk.

25 January 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

31 January 1943: Operation "KE" - Evacuation of Guadalcanal.
CruDivs 4 and 5 depart Truk and cruise N of the Solomons as distant support.

9 February 1943:
Arrives at Truk. Remains until July.

21 July 1943:
Departs Truk for Yokosuka in company of TAKAO.

26 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Refit and modification. Two 25-mm Type 96 triple AA guns are installed bringing their total to 18 barrels.

17 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk in a task group with battleships YAMATO, NAGATO and FUSO, cruisers TAKAO and NOSHIRO, DesDiv 10's AKIGUMO, YUGUMO, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, DesDiv 24's SUZUKAZE, UMIKAZE and DesDiv 61's WAKATSUKI. Off Yokosuka the escort carrier TAIYO and DesDiv 7's USHIO join Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi's force.

23 August 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

25 August 1943:
Departs Truk.

27 August 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul. Disembarks the troops and departs.

29 August 1943:
Arrives back at Truk.

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

Vice Admiral Ozawa Jizaburo (former CO of HARUNA), in tactical command, leads the fleet's first section's BatDiv 1's YAMATO and NAGATO, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU (followed by ZUIHO on 19 September), 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 ATAGO and TAKAO.

Admiral 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 (former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 14's carriers 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. Admiral Koga sorties from Truk to Brown Atoll, Eniwetok to intercept the enemy task force with the fleet: 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 cruisers AGANO and OYODO and many destroyers.

20 October 1943:
Arrives at Brown Island, Eniwetok.

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

26 October 1943:
The fleet arrives back at Truk.

1 November 1943: American Operation "Shoestring II"- The Invasion of Bougainville:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Theodore S. Wilkinson's (former XO of INDIANAPOLIS, CA-35). Third Amphibious Force, TF 31, lands LtGen (later General/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Amphibious Corps at Cape Torokina, Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, Solomons.

2 November 1943: The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay:
Vice Admiral Omori Sentaro (former CO of KIOKAWA MARU) departs Rabaul to escort 1,000 IJA troops to Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville to oppose the American invasion at Cape Torokina. Omori's force includes heavy cruisers MYOKO and HAGURO and light cruisers SENDAI and AGANO with six destroyers. The Japanese force is intercepted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) A. S. Merrill's (former CO of INDIANA, BB-58) TF 39 with four radar-equipped light cruisers and eight destroyers. 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. Admiral Omori withdraws with the remaining Japanese forces.

3 November 1943:
CruDiv 4, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, MOGAMI and CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA depart Truk to attack the American forces that landed at Empress Augusta Bay.

5 November 1943: The Carrier Raid on Rabaul:
The cruiser force arrives at Rabaul. About noon, while ATAGO is refueling in Simpson Harbor from oiler KOKUYO MARU, the cruisers are attacked by 97 planes from Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frederick C. Sherman's (former CO of LEXINGTON, CV-2) TF 38's SARATOGA and PRINCETON (CVL-23). CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA and CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, light cruisers AGANO and NOSHIRO and destroyers AMAGIRI and FUJINAMI are damaged. ATAGO sustains three near misses with 500-lb bombs off her port side that flood several compartments near boiler rooms Nos. 3-9 and engine room No. 1. A total of 22 crewmen are killed including her skipper Captain Nakaoka who is hit by a bomb splinter while on the bridge; 64 are wounded. Later that day, ATAGO departs Rabaul with TAKAO.

7 November 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

11 November 1943:
Departs Truk.

15 November 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka for repairs and AA suite refit. Eight 25-mm single AA guns are installed and a Type 22 surface-search radar is fitted. Captain (promoted Rear Admiral 15 October 1944) Araki Tsutau (45)(former chief of Sasebo Naval base port office) is appointed the CO.

26-30 December 1943:
Repairs are completed. Then training cruises out of Yokosuka.

4 January 1944:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk with MAIKAZE and NOWAKI.

7 January 1944:
Sighted by LtCdr (Rear Admiral) I. J. Galantin's USS HALIBUT (SS-232), but the submarine is unable to attack.

9 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

10 February 1944:
CruDiv 4's ATAGO and CHOKAI depart Truk for Palau with CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO and destroyers. About 2100, at 08-27N, 149-24E, the cruiser force is attacked by USS PERMIT (SS-178) in a night surface attack, missing her targets with four torpedoes.

13 February 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

19 February 1944:
Palau. ATAGO receives fresh provisions from stores ship KITAKAMI MARU.

1 March 1944:
CruDiv 4 is reassigned to Vice Admiral Ozawa's First Mobile Fleet.

11 March 1944:
Palau. ATAGO receives fresh provisions from KITAKAMI MARU.

29 March 1944:
CruDivs 4 and 5, light cruiser NOSHIRO and DesDiv 27's HARUSAME sortie from Palau.

1-4 April 1944:
At Davao, Philippines. ATAGO receives fresh provisions from KITAKAMI MARU.

6 April 1944:
The cruiser force is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Bladen Clagett's USS DACE (SS-247), but he misses with six improperly set bow torpedoes. The cruiser force is also sighted by Cdr William S. Stovall's DARTER (SS-227), but he is unable to attack.

7 April 1944:
The cruiser force is sighted coming out of Davao Bay by USS SCAMP (SS-277), but she is also unable to attack.

9 April 1944:
The cruiser force arrives at Lingga (S of Singapore).

11 May 1944:
CruDiv 4 departs Lingga with Vice Admiral Ozawa's First Mobile Fleet.

12-13 May 1944:
At sea. Fleet deployment, firing practice.

13 May 1944:
Arrives at Tawi Tawi.

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

8 June 1944:
Tawi Tawi. ATAGO receives fresh provisions replenishment from supply ship KITAKAMI MARU.

12 June 1944: American Operation "Forager" - The Invasion of Saipan:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's (former CO of AUGUSTA, CA-31) TF 52 lands Marine LtGen Holland M. Smith's V Amphibious Corps and the invasion of Saipan begins.

13 June 1944: Operation "A-GO" - The Battle of the Philippine Sea:
In Tokyo, the CINC, Combined Fleet, Admiral Toyoda Soemu, (former CO of HYUGA), sends out a signal that activates the "A-Go" plan for the Defense of the Marianas.

That same day, Vice Admiral Kurita's Mobile Force Vanguard ("C" Force) departs Tawi Tawi to oppose the American Fifth Fleet in a decisive battle off Saipan with BatDiv 3's HARUNA, KONGO, CarDiv 3's CHITOSE, CHIYODA and ZUIHO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA and CHOKAI, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 8’s TONE and CHIKUMA with DesDiv 31's ASASHIMO and KISHINAMI, DesDiv 32's TAMANAMI and FUJINAMI.

At sea, the Mobile Fleet is joined by Vice Admiral Ugaki Matome's (former CO of HYUGA) canceled Operation "Kon" force: BatDiv 1's YAMATO and MUSASHI, CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, DesRon 2's light cruiser NOSHIRO and destroyers OKINAMI and SHIMAKAZE.

19 June 1944:
Vice Admiral Kurita's Second Fleet steams about 100 miles ahead of Vice Admiral Ozawa's carriers. After 0920 ATAGO mistakenly opens fire on the carrier aircraft of the IJN second strike of that day. The Mobile Fleet's aircraft attack U.S. TF 58 off Saipan, but suffer overwhelming losses in the "Great Mariana's Turkey Shoot".

22 June 1944:
At 1300, the Mobile Fleet arrives at Nakagusuku, Okinawa. Refuels destroyers, departs.

24 June 1944:
The Mobile Fleet arrives at Hashirajima.

26 June 1944:
Refit and modification at Kure. Four triple and 22 single 25-mm AA guns are installed bringing their total to 60 barrels. A Type 13 air-search radar is also fitted.

8 July 1944:
Departs Kure with TAKAO.

16 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

22-30 July 1944:
Drydocked for a refit at Singapore.

26 August 1944:
Departs Lingga with TAKAO for Singapore. Arrives that day.

2 September 1944:
Lingga anchorage. ATAGO receives fresh provisions from stores ship KITAKAMI MARU.

14 September 1944:
Lingga anchorage. ATAGO receives fresh provisions from KITAKAMI MARU.

23 September 1944:
Lingga anchorage. ATAGO receives fresh provisions from KITAKAMI MARU.

18 October 1944:
Departs Lingga with the fleet.

20 October 1944:
Arrives at Brunei, Borneo. Refuels.

22 October 1944: Operation "SHO-1-GO"(Victory) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
ATAGO sorties with CruDiv 4's CHOKAI, TAKAO and MAYA in Vice Admiral Kurita's First Mobile Striking Force (Center Force), Force "A "First Section: Vice Admiral Ugaki's BatDiv 1's YAMATO, MUSASHI and NAGATO, Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Hayakawa Mikio's (former CO of NAGATO) DesRon 2's flagship light cruiser NOSHIRO and DesDiv 2's HAYASHIMO, AKISHIMO, KIYOSHIMO, DesDiv 31's KISHINAMI, OKINAMI, ASASHIMO and DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI, NAGANAMI, HAMANAMI and destroyer SHIMAKAZE

The first section is followed by the second section: Vice Admiral Suzuki Yoshio's (former CO of KONGO) BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, Vice Admiral Shiraishi Kazutaka's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) CruDiv 7's KUMANO, SUZUYA, TONE and CHIKUMA, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 10's light cruiser YAHAGI, DesDiv 4's NOWAKI and DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, YUKIKAZE, HAMAKAZE and ISOKAZE.

23 October 1944: The Battle of the Palawan Passage:
At 0533, Kurita's flagship ATAGO is hit by four torpedoes from Cdr (later Captain) David McClintock's USS DARTER (SS-227). TAKAO is also hit by torpedoes from DARTER, set afire and goes dead in the water. LtCdr Clagett's USS DACE (SS-247) sinks MAYA.

At 0553, ATAGO sinks bow first in about 1000 fathoms of water at 09-30N, 117-13E. 360 are killed, but 529 survivors including Vice Admiral Kurita, his CoS Rear Admiral Koyanagi Tomiji and ATAGO's skipper Rear Admiral Araki Tsutau are rescued by KISHINAMI. 171 other survivors are also rescued by ASASHIMO. [3]

20 December 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

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

[2] There have been 1354 recipients of the Victoria Cross since its inception in 1856 through the Falklands War in 1981. For reasons known only within the respective British and Australian naval bureaucracies, no member of the Royal Australian Navy has ever been awarded a Victoria Cross, even though the valor of its members, such as Rankin, seems at least comparable, or superior, to other winners.

[3] All three Admirals aboard ATAGO at her sinking were later reassigned to naval schools: Kurita to head the Etajima Naval Academy, Koyanagi as head of the Torpedo School in August 1945 and Araki as Chief Instructor of the Torpedo School.

Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada and to Mr. Donald M. Kehn Jr. of the United States for providing additional details concerning ATAGO's movements in February-April 1942. Thanks also go to "Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands, Andrew Obluski of Poland and Randy Stone of the United States.

Thanks go to the late John Whitman and Gengoro Toda of Japan for info about stores ship KITAKAMI MARU. Thanks also go to reader Larry McAneny for Rev 13.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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