JUNYOKAN!

(ATAGO by Takeshi Yuki)

HIJMS ATAGO: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2014 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 11


28 April 1927:
Kure Navy Yard. Laid down.

16 June 1930:
Launched and named ATAGO.

30 March 1932:
Completed and registered in the IJN. An unknown officer is the CO.

14 May 1932:
Japan's elderly Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi inspects ATAGO. [1] 15 November 1933:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Miyata Giichi (36) assumes command.

1 November 1934:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Sonoda Shigeru (37)(former CO of NAKA) assumes command.

15 November 1935:
An unknown officer assumes command.

15 April 1936:
Captain (Admiral, posthumously), Ito Seiichi (39)(former CO of MOGAMI) assumes command.

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

28 October 1936:
ATAGO arrives back at 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) assumes command.

12 July 1937:
An unknown officer assumes command.

30 October 1939:
Maizuru. Reconstruction of ATAGO's hull and bridge is completed. Her new AA armament and fire control system are installed at Yokosuka.

15 November 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kono Chimaki (42) assumes command.

15 October 1940:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Koyanagi Tomiji (42)(former CO of IWATE) assumes command.

11 August 1941:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously), the Baron (son of Fleet Admiral Ijuin Goro), Ijuin Matsuji (former CO of NAKA) assumes command. Captain Koyanagi is reassigned as CO of KONGO.

29 November 1941:
ATAGO is flagship of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 4 with TAKAO and MAYA. CruDiv 4 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). [2]

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

8 December 1941: The Invasions of Malaya and the Philippines:
Cruiser MAYA detaches from the Main Body to support the landings at Appari and Vigan in the Philippines.

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 knots. 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, but no contact is made.

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 (Type 96 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.

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 based on code-breaking. The signal gives Jacobs course and speed data necessary for him to intercept three cruisers - probably including ATAGO - that left Camranh. The cruisers arrive 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. Provides distant cover for the Dutch East Indies invasion forces.

16 February 1942:
Departs Palau with the MAYA as distant cover for Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi's Carrier Striking Force raid on Port Darwin, Australia.

21 February 1942:
The Main Body arrives at Staring (Teluk) 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, Bat Div 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.

The Main Body 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.

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 Dutch merchant PARIGI and sink her at 0528. ARASHI and NOWAKI later sink 981-ton Dutch motorship TORADJA and 620-ton auxiliary minesweeper HMS SCOTT HARLEY and capture 1,020-ton Dutch steamship BINTOEHAN.

2 March 1942:
300 miles S of Bali. Floatplanes, probably two-seater reconnaissance Type 95 Nakajima E8N Daves , report a fleeing warship. 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 2206, ATAGO and TAKAO overhaul and sink LtCdr H. C. Pound's old four stack destroyer USS PILLSBURY (DD-227) that had been mis-identified as light cruiser USS MARBLEHEAD. At 2232, they sink PILLSBURY with all hands at 15-38S, 113-13E.

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 the NOWAKI attack a convoy that had departed 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-inch 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. [3]

The cruisers sink 4,900-ton British tanker FRANCOL, British Motor Minesweeper 51 and 3, 470-ton British depot ship ANKING. The Japanese pick up one lifeboat of survivors from FRANCOL, then depart to the NNE. FRANCOL's survivors are never heard of again.

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

7 March 1942:
At 1305, arrives at 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, Celebes on Vice Admiral Kondo’s inspection cruise with destroyer ARASHI.

21-22 March 1942:
At Tarakan and Balikpapan, Borneo.

23-24 March 1942:
At Makassar, Celebes.

27 March-2 April 1942:
At Singapore, Malaya.

3-4 April 1942:
At Penang, Malaya.

10-11 April 1942:
At Camranh Bay, Indochina.

17 April 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

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 nautical 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.

22 April 1942:
Arrives at Yokusuka. Refit. Dual 127-mm high angle (HA) guns are installed replacing single 120-mm HA guns.

21 May 1942:
The refit is completed.

24-25 May 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for 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 the 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:
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 the Support Force's 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 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.

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:
The 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 Bat Div 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 (FF) 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 by American aircraft.

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. Enroute, KIRISHIMA is attacked unsuccessfully by USS TROUT (SS-202) that misses with five torpedoes.

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-inch hits, five 6-inch and one 5-inch hit. KIRISHIMA also hits SOUTH DAKOTA with a single 14-inch round that explodes on her aft No. 3 turret's barbette. 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 is damaged slightly. CruDiv 4 and the DesRons retire northward.

18 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

1 December 1942:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Nakaoka Nobuyoshi (former ComSubDiv 12) assumes command. Later in the month, Captain Ijuin becomes the CO of the KONGO.

12 December 1942:
Departs Truk.

17 December 1942:
Arrives at Kure. Begins battle-damage repairs.

26 December 1942:
Cdr Negishi Minoru is appointed Executive Officer.

20 January 1943:
Departs Kure.

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 with TAKAO.

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

16 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka carrying army troops, supplies with BatDiv 1's YAMATO and NAGATO, Bat Div 2's FUSO, escort carrier TAIYO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO and TAKAO, DesDiv 7's USHIO, DesDiv 10's AKIGUMO and YUGUMO, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE.

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, the 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, Bat Div 2's FUSO, Bat Div 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 Lt Gen (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 CVS 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) Task Force 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, and 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 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) Task Force 38's SARATOGA (CV-3) and the PRINCETON (CVL-23) bomb and damage CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA and CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, light cruisers AGANO and NOSHIRO and destroyers AMAGIRI and FUJINAMI. ATAGO sustains three near-misses by 500-lb. bombs that kill 22 crewmen including her skipper Captain Nakaoka who is hit by a bomb splinter while on the bridge. Later that day, she departs Rabaul with TAKAO.

7 November 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

11 November 1943:
Departs Truk.

15 November 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Araki Tsutau (former skipper of FURUTAKA) assumes command. ATAGO begins repairs. Additional 25-mm. AA guns are installed and a Type 22 surface-search radar is fitted.

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 with Cru Div 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, but she misses with four torpedoes.

13 February 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

19 February 1944:
Palau. ATAGO receives fresh provisions replenishment from supply 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 replenishment from supply ship 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 replenishment from supply ship 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) Task Force 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: Bat Div 1's YAMATO and MUSASHI, CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, DesRon 2's light cruiser NOSHIRO and destroyers OKINAMI and SHIMAKAZE.

The Mobile Fleet's aircraft attack U.S. Task Force 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 mount 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 and refit at Singapore.

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

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

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

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

15 October 1944:
Captain Araki is promoted to Rear Admiral.

18 October 1944:
Departs Lingga with the fleet.

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

22 October 1944: Operation "SHO-I-GO"(Victory) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
All ships in Vice Admiral Kurita's First Mobile Striking Force (Center Force) except those of BatDiv 1, send their floatplanes to San Jose on Mindoro Island to minimize the danger of fire aboard their ships. Plans call for the 901st Kokutai is to execute anti-submarine patrols over Kurita's force, but subsequently the 901st Ku is unable to carry out its mission.

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 and DesRon 10's 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 (later Vice Admiral) Koyanagi Tomiji (former CO of KONGO) and ATAGO's skipper Rear Admiral Araki are rescued by KISHINAMI. 171 other survivors are also rescued by ASASHIMO.[4]

20 December 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
[1] The next day, 15 May 1932, Prime Minister Inukai was assassinated by 11 radical young naval officers, aided by IJA cadets and civilians. [2] Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was the highest point in the Japanese Empire at the time.

[3] 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.

[4] All three Admirals aboard ATAGO at her sinking were later reassigned to naval schools: Kurita to head the Eta Jima 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. Thanks also go to "Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands, Andrew Obluski of Poland and Randy Stone of the United States.

Thanks go to Johm Whitman of Virginia and Gengoro Toda of Japan for info about stores ship KITAKAMI MARU.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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