(Hiei in sea trials after Second Reconstruction-colorized by Irotooko, Jr.)

IJN Battleship HIEI:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2000-2016 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Lars Ahlberg
Revision 18

1910: Naval Expansion Bill:
Tokyo. The Japanese Diet passes and funds the 1911 Naval Emergency Expansion bill received from the cabinet that authorizes the design and construction of a battleship and four armored cruisers. The battleship is FUSO and HIEI is the second of the four armored cruisers, after KONGO.

4 November 1911:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. Battlecruiser HIEI is laid down. HIEI will be built based on plans for KONGO designed by Sir George Thurston of the British shipbuilding firm of Vickers-Armstrong. Most of the parts used in her construction are imported from England.

21 November 1912:
Yokosuka. HIEI is launched.

20 Sept 1913:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takagi Shichitaro (former CO of NISSHIN) is posted as HIEI's Chief Equipping Officer Officer.

4 August 1914:
Sasebo. HIEI is commissioned and attached to Sasebo Naval District. Captain Takagi is her first Commanding Officer.

18 August 1914:
Attached to BatDiv 3, First Fleet.

23 August 1914:
Japan declares war on Germany. Thereafter, the IJN occupies the former German colonies (purchased from Spain) in the Carolines, Palau, Marianas and the Marshall Islands.

14 September 1914:
Departs Sasebo to patrol in East China Sea, returning on 22 September.

15 October 1914:
Departs Terajima Channel for Tsingtao, China, but is soon recalled and returns on 17th.

7 November 1914:
Tsingtao. After a siege of over two months, the outnumbered German garrison surrenders the colony and its harbor to the Japanese.

15 August 1915:
Reassigned to VAdm Tochinai Sojiro’s BatDiv 3, First Fleet with her sisters.

3 October 1915:
Participates in the sinking of the old Russian warprize IKI (ex-IMPERATOR NIKOLAI I) off Ise Bay with KONGO.

13 December 1915:
Captain (later Admiral) Kato Hiroharu is appointed CO. HIEI is attached to BatDiv 3, Second Fleet.

9 April 1916:
Departs Sasebo in company of HARUNA and KIRISHIMA to patrol off Chinese coast.

18 April 1916:
Returns to Terajima Channel

1 December 1916:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Hori Terufusa is appointed CO. HIEI is placed in second reserve.

1 December 1917:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kuwashima Shozo is appointed CO. Attached to BatDiv 3, Second Fleet.

8 January 1918:
The President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, proposes “Fourteen Points” for the end of the war to the Congress that are later communicated to the warring powers.

11 April 1918:
Departs Sasebo in company of KONGO and KIRISHIMA to patrol off Chinese coast.

17 April 1918:
Arrives at Inchon, Korea.

11 November 1918: Armistice:
An Armistice, based on Wilson’s Fourteen Points, is signed and takes effect at 1100. World War I is over.

1 December 1918:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Yoshikawa Yasuhira is appointed CO.

25 March 1919:
Departs Shibushi Bay, Kyushu, to patrol off Chinese coast in company of HARUNA and KIRISHIMA.

9 April 1919:
Returns to Sasebo.

28 June 1919: The Treaty of Versailles:
After the defeat of Germany, Japan is given a mandate over the ex-German colonies in the Pacific with the exception of Tsingtao.

1 December 1919:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Shirane Kumazo is appointed CO.

12 August 1920:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsumura Kikuo is appointed CO.

29 August 1920:
Departs Tateyama for guard duty off the Russian coast.

20 September 1920:
Arrives at Otaru.

13 October 1920:
Placed in second reserve at Sasebo.

20 November 1920:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sosa Tanetsugu is appointed CO.

6 February 1922: The Washington Treaty:
Washington, DC. Japan, United States, Britain, France and Italy agree to limit the displacement and main armament of their capital ships, aircraft carriers and cruisers and to limit the total tonnage and age of their capital ships and carriers. Battleships and aircraft carriers are set at a ratio of 5:5:3 for the navies of Great Britain, the United States and Japan. Japan's Plenipotentiary at the conference is her Minister of the Navy, Admiral (later Fleet Admiral/Prime Minister), the Baron, Kato Tomosaburo.

19 June 1922:
Departs Sasebo in company of KONGO and KIRISHIMA, patrols off Tsingtao and Dairen.

4 July 1922:
Arrives at Chinhae, Korea.

28 August 1922:
Kure. BatDiv 1's NAGATO, MUTSU, KONGO, KIRISHIMA and ISE depart for the Siberian coast on maneuvers and a flag-showing mission, preceding withdrawal of Japanese troops.

30 August 1922:
Departs Sasebo to join KONGO, KIRISHIMA, ISE, NAGATO, MUTSU and TENRYU (flagship of DesRon 1) in maneuvers in the St. Vladimir Bay area.

10 September 1922:
Returns to Otaru.

10 November 1922:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yokochi Joji is appointed CO.

25 August 1923:
Departs Yokosuka in company of KIRISHIMA and NAGATO to participate in maneuvers in Korea Bay.

1 September 1923:
Changshan archipelago, Korea Bay. A 1500, while preparing for post-maneuvers inspection, a radio message is received about the Great Kanto Earthquake, one of the worst earthquakes in history, that hit the Kanto plain destroying Tokyo, Yokohama and their surroundings. About 140,000 people are killed by the earthquake and the fires caused by it.

2 September 1923:
The battleships of the First Fleet depart Changshan for Kyushu.

5 September 1923:
Returns to Kure. Participates in earthquake rescue works until 30 September.

1 December 1923:
Arrives at Kure for a refit. The elevation of the main guns is increased from 20 to 33 degrees. Foremast is rebuilt. That same day, Captain (later Rear Admiral) Nakajima Susumu is appointed CO.

1 December 1924:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Murase Teijiro assumes command.

16 June 1925:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tachi Meijiro is appointed CO.

29 March 1926:
Departs Tokuyama in company of KIRISHIMA to patrol off Tsingtao and Weihaiwei, China.

9 April 1926:
Arrives at Lushun (Port Arthur), China.

20 August 1926:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Okamoto Ikuo is appointed CO.

27 March 1927:
Departs Saeki and operates off Amoy, China.

5 April 1927:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

29 July 1927:
Crown Prince (later Emperor) Hirohito's (Showa) younger brother Prince Nobuhito Takamatsu, a SubLt (later Captain) and graduate of the Etajima Naval Academy, takes up duty aboard HIEI.

October to November 1927:
Refit at Sasebo. The equipment to accommodate two E1Y Type 14 floatplanes is fitted, but no catapult. Possibly during that time anti-torpedo net booms are landed.

1 December 1927:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ono Hiroshi is appointed CO.

29 March 1928:
Departs Ariake Bay in company of KONGO, FUSO and NAGATO with CruDivs 3 and 5 to patrol off Chusan archipelago. HIEI and KONGO are detached en route to patrol in the Yellow Sea Tsingtao-Chinwangtao area.

9 April 1928:
Arrives at Port Arthur in company of KONGO.

4 December 1928:
Off Yokohama. Participates in Emperor Hirohito's (Showa) Coronation Special Naval Review.

10 December 1928:
Captain (later Admiral) Shimada Shigetaro is appointed CO.

28 March 1929:
Departs Chefoo, China.

3 April 1929:
Arrives at Lushun.

15 October 1929: First Reconstruction:
Kure Navy Yard. HIEI is demilitarized and converted to a training ship to avoid having to be scrapped under the limitations imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty. Her aft 14-inch turret and all torpedo tubes are removed. Her armor belt and all of the her 6-inch guns are removed. Twenty-five of her 36 Yarrow boilers are removed. Her speed is reduced. All aircraft equipment is landed. The number of her funnels is reduced from three to two. All of her demilitarized equpment and armament is preserved and carefully stored.

30 November 1929:
Rerated a Reserve ship. Captain Ishii Jiro is appointed CO.

22 April 1930: The London Treaty:
London. The Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament is signed by Japan, Great Britain and the United States. It is an extension of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. The signatories agree not to build new capital ships until 1937. A number of existing capital ships are to be scrapped.

24 April 1930:
Reconstruction is stopped because of the London Treaty.

25 April 1930:
Preservation work is started at Sasebo.

1 December 1930:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Wada Senzo is appointed CO.

31 March 1931:
Preservation work ends.

1 July 1931:
Kure Navy Yard. Reconstruction and restoration work begin again.

September 1931: The Manchurian Incident:
Manchuria. Japan claims Chinese soldiers sabotaged the Japanese-controlled Manchurian railway. The Japanese Kwantung army attacks the Chinese Army and soon conquer all of Manchuria. They set up the puppet state of Manchukuo headed by the former Emperor of China, Henry Pu-Yi. China appeals to the League of Nations. The League sends V. A. G. R. Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton, to Manchuria to lead a Commission to investigate.

1 November 1931:
HIEI is transferred from Sasebo Naval Station to Yokosuka Naval Station.

10 May 1932:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tange Kunji is appointed CO.

1 December 1932:
Reassigned to the Training Squadron. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Maeda Masaichi is appointed CO.

31 December 1932:
Reconstruction is completed.

23 February 1933:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sata Kenichi assumes command.

25 February 1933:
Geneva, Switzerland. The League of Nations. The Lytton Commission reports that Japan violated Chinese sovereignty and should return Manchuria to China. At a Special Assembly, 40 nations vote that Japan should withdraw. Only Japan votes against it. Instead of returning Manchuria, Japan instructs its representative Yosuke Matsuoka (later Foreign Minister), to walk out of the League. After withdrawing from the League, Japan also decides that she will no longer abide by restrictions such as the Washington of 1922 and the London Treaty of 1930 that impose limitations on the number and size of her warships.

31 May 1933:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. Work commences to refit HIEI as the Imperial service ship.

20 July 1933:
Work is completed.

31 July 1933:
Departs Futami Bay, Honshu, for a sortie to the Mandated Islands area.

13 August 1933:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

16 August 1933:
Assigned as the supervising ship of the Special Grand Maneuvers and the Imperial Naval Review.

15 November 1933:
Captain (later Admiral) Inoue Shigeyoshi is appointed CO.

26 January 1934:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. Reconstruction of the main armament shell room begins and ballast is loaded into No. 4 turret.

31 March 1935:
Work is completed.

1 August 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Okawachi Denshichi is appointed CO.

6 November 1935:
HIEI is assigned to the Emperor (Showa) for the Imperial visit to Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures.

21 November 1935:
The Imperial visits are completed.

1 April 1936:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Inagaki Ayao is appointed CO.

20 October 1936:
HIEI is assigned as the supervising ship for the Grand Maneuvers.

1 December 1936:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ochi Kohei assumes command.

1 April 1937: Second Reconstruction:
Kure. Unfettered by the Washington and London Treaties' restrictions, the IJN decides to remilitarize HlEI and transform her into a fast battleship. She receives eight new oil-fired Kampon boilers and new geared turbines. Her speed is increased to 30 knots. Her aft 14-inch turret is refitted and a new fire-control is installed.

The thickness of the horizontal armor over HlEI’s magazines and machinery spaces is increased. Torpedo-bulges are added to her hull. The elevation of her 14-inch guns is increased to 43 degrees. Her stern is lengthened by 26-feet. She receives a new bridge structure that is a prototype for the YAMATO-class then under design. A catapult and rails for three Nakajima E8N1 Type 95 Dave and Kawanishi E7K1 Type 94 Alf floatplanes are installed aft of her No. 3 turret.

1 December 1937:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Aoyagi Muneshige is appointed CO.

15 November 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hiraoka Kumeichi is appointed CO.

15 November 1939:
Kure. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso (former CO of MYOKO) is appointed CO of HIEI.

31 January 1940:
Kure. HlEI’s second reconstruction is completed. She is re-rated a battleship.

11 October 1940: Imperial Naval Review:
Yokohama. 98 warships are spread across Tokyo Bay. Vice Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (former CO of AKAGI), Commander-in-Chief, Combined Fleet, accompanies Emperor Hirohito (Showa) aboard Captain Koso's HIEI for the Emperor's annual review of the fleet. The Emperor's younger brother LtCdr, Prince Takamatsu, HIEI's gunnery chief, introduces members of the royal family to the important personages onboard including navy minister Oikawa Koshiro. At 0940, HIEI separates from her buoy and 21-gun salutes sound. Escorted by cruisers TAKAO, KAKO and FURUTAKA, HIEI passes among the fleet's ships. During the course of the review, 527 aircraft fly overhead.

(Emperor (Showa) Hirohito on Hiei at 1940 Imperial Naval Review

15 October 1940:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Arima Kaoru (former CO of KUMANO) is appointed CO. Captain Abe is reassigned to the Yokosuka Naval District.

15 November 1940:
Attached to BatDiv 3, First Fleet.

3 February 1941:
Departs Tosa Bay, Shikoku.

4 February 1941:
Arrives at Komatsujima.

13 February 1941:

20 February 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

24 February 1941:

1 March 1941:
Arrives at Sanduao Bay, China.

2 March 1941:

3 March 1941:
Arrives at Makung, Pescadores.

7 March 1941:

11 March 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.

28 March 1941:

30 March 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

25 April 1941:

26 April 1941:
Arrives at Sukumo Bay.

3 June 1941:

4 June 1941:
Arrives at Yokkaichi..

18 June 1941:

19 June 1941:
Arrives at Sukumo Bay.

22 June 1941:

23 June 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.

27 June 1941:

30 June 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

8 July 1941:

11 July 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.

16 July 1941:

17 July 1941:
Arrives at Komatsujima.

20 July 1941:
Departs and arrives at Sukumo Bay.

27 July 1941:

28 July 1941:
Arrives at Beppu Bay.

1 August 1941:

2 August 1941:
Arrives at Saeki.

21 August 1941:
Departs Saeki and arrives at Hashirajima.

1 September 1941:
Departs Hashirajima.

4 September 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

10 September 1941:
Captain Nishida Masao (former CO of TONE) is appointed CO. Captain Arima is reassigned as the Equipping Officer (later CO) of MUSASHI under construction at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding at Nagasaki.

HIEI is assigned to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro's (former CO of ISUZU) First Fleet at the Combined Fleet's anchorage at Hashirajima in Hiroshima Bay in Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) BatDiv 3 with HARUNA, KONGO and KIRISHIMA.

1 October 1941:

2 October 1941:
Arrives at Murozumi.

6 October 1941:

7 October 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

21 October 1941:

22 October 1941:
Arrives at Saeki.

11 November 1941:

12 November 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Prepares for the Hawaii operation.

18 November 1941:
Departs Kisarazu Naval Base on Tokyo Bay

22 November 1941:
Arrives at Hitokappu Bay, Etorofu Island, Kuriles.

26 November 1941:
Etorofu Island, Kuriles. Captain (Rear Admiral posthumously) Niimi Kazutaka's (40) (former CO of light cruiser TAMA) Supply Group No. 2's oilers TOHO (F) and TOEI MARUs and Captain Ota Masanao's (39) Supply Group No. 1's oilers KOKUYO, KYOKUTO, KENYO, NIPPON and SHINKOKU MARUs depart Hitokappu Bay. They provide fuel for Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (36) (former CO of YAMASHIRO) First Air Fleet Striking Force ("Kido Butai") CarDiv 1's AKAGI, KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU, CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU and the Support Force.

The Support Force consists of Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (38) BatDiv 3/1's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (39) CruDiv 8's TONE, CHIKUMA and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's (41) (former CO of battleship ISE) DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO and SHIRANUHI and CarDiv 5's AKIGUMO and Captain (later Rear Admiral) Konishi Kaname's (44) Midway Bombardment Unit's DesDiv 7's SAZANAMI and USHIO and oiler SHIRIYA.

Nagumo's orders from Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (32), CINC, Combined Fleet, are that if refueling proves impossible in the stormy winter waters of the Northern Pacific, Nagumo is to detach AGAKI, SORYU and HIRYU and his destroyers and make the attack with only KAGA, SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU that need no refueling.

HIEI serves as the task force's communications center, but to prevent accidental signals HIEI's radio transmission equipment is dismantled. HIEI and sister-ship KIRISHIMA take up position to the rear of the "Kido Butai" and steam eastward at 13 knots.

2 December 1941:
940 miles N of Midway Island. Nagumo’s Force receives the coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).

That same day, the oilers refuel BatDiv 3/1's HIEI and KIRISHIMA.

7 December 1941: The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
At 0630, BatDiv 3/1 launches Type 95 Nakajima E8N "Dave" two-seat reconnaissance floatplanes to patrol south of the Striking Force. CruDiv 8 also launches picket floatplanes.

At 0755, the Striking Force's first wave of 183 aircraft (89 Type 97 Nakajima B5N2 Kate attack planes, 51 Type 99 Aichi D3A1 Val dive-bombers and 43 Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeke fighters led by Cdr (later Captain) Fuchida Mitsuo attack the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and other military installations on Oahu, Hawaiian Islands.

About 0840, they are followed by a second wave of 167 aircraft (54 "Kates", 78 "Vals" and 35 "Zekes") led by LtCdr Shimazaki Shigekazu. By 0945, they retire towards their carriers.

During the attacks, the Striking Force sinks battleships USS ARIZONA (BB-39), CALIFORNIA (BB-44), OKLAHOMA (BB-37) and WEST VIRGINIA (BB-49) and damages MARYLAND (BB-46), NEVADA (BB-36), PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38), TENNESSEE (BB-43) and other smaller ships. 2,335 American servicemen die in the attack, most on ARIZONA. After recovering all but 29 of its aircraft lost in the attack, the Striking Force departs Hawaiian waters towards Japan.

16 December 1941: The Second Invasion of Wake Island:
CarDiv 2, CruDiv 8, and destroyers URAKAZE and TANIKAZE detach from the Striking and Support forces to participate in the second invasion.

23 December 1941:
HIEI and the remainder of the Striking Force arrive at Hashirajima.

8 January 1942:
BatDiv 3/1 departs Hashirajima for Truk with the Carrier Striking Force: CarDivs 1, 5, CruDiv 8 and DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and destroyers.

14 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

17 January 1942: - Operation "R" - The Invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng:
BatDiv 3/1 departs Truk with the Carrier Striking Force, CruDiv 8 and DesRon 1 for an area north of New Ireland. BatDiv 3/1 provides cover for the Striking Force's air attacks and distant support of the invasion forces.

23 January 1942:
Departs New Ireland area.

27 January 1942:
Returns to Truk. CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU is detached for Japan.

1 February 1942:
BatDiv 3/1 departs Truk with the Carrier Striking Force: CarDiv 1, CarDiv 5's ZUIKAKU, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and DesRon 1 in pursuit of Vice Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. "Bull" Halsey's (former CO of SARATOGA, CV-3) Task Force 8 (ENTERPRISE, CV-6) and Rear Admiral (MOH '14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 17 (YORKTOWN, CV-5) reported to be attacking Wotje, Kwajalein, Jaluit, Makin and Mili in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.

4 February 1942:
BatDiv 3/1 and the Carrier Striking Force group are ordered to Palau. CarDiv 5's ZUIKAKU is detached via Truk for Japan to join SHOKAKU.

8 February 1942:
BatDiv 3/1, CarDiv 1, CHIKUMA and DesRon 1 arrive at Palau.

9 February 1942:
Tanker KENYO MARU refuels HIEI with 3,400 tons of fuel oil.

18 February 1942:
Bat Div 3 departs Palau for Staring (Teluk) Bay, near Kendari, Celebes (now Sulwasei).

21 February 1942:
BatDiv 3 arrives at Staring Bay with Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake (former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 4's ATAGO, MAYA and TAKAO and six destroyers and refuels. Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) First Air Fleet Striking Force ("Kido Butai") CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU and CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA with DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE and DesDiv 18's KASUMI, SHIRANUHI and ARIAKE also arrives from their stike on Darwin, Australia and refuels.

25 February 1942:
BatDiv 3 departs Staring Bayin support of the Carrier Striking Force's attacks on Java.

1 March 1942:
250 miles SSE of Christmas Island. At 1550 (local), the Mobile Force is steaming at 16 knots at 14-25S, 106-50E, when one of AKAGI’s combat air patrol fighters sights a "MARBLEHEAD-class" light cruiser (actually, Lt Joshua J. Nix's USS EDSALL (DD-219) steaming behind the force about 30 kilometers away.

At 1552, Vice Admiral Nagumo orders BatDiv 3/2 and CruDiv 8 to intercept the "cruiser" and destroy it. Vice Admiral Mikawa leads the chase from HIEI, flanked by heavy cruisers CHIKUMA (port) and TONE (starboard), leading KIRISHIMA.

At 1602, EDSALL is sighted off HIEI’s port bow, 16 miles away, heading north. At 1603, CHIKUMA opens fire with her 8-inch guns at extremely long range. All her shots miss. EDSALL, damaged earlier by one of her depth charges, lays down a smokescreen and begins evasive maneuvers.

At 1616, HIEI opens fire with her forward 14-inch guns at a range of 27,900 yards, straddling the target, but not hitting it. After 1619, she launches all her floatplanes.

At 1620, HIEI signals: "All forces, charge!" The target is soon identified as a destroyer by HIEI and CHIKUMA. At 1639, Admiral Mikawa orders flank speed.

At 1655, HIEI and the heavy cruisers check fire without having scored a single direct hit. KAGA, SORYU and HIRYU launch a number of D3A1 "Val" dive bombers against EDSALL. Between 1657 and 1720, EDSALL is hit by several bombs that slow her down and set her afire. EDSALL, slowly circling clockwise, is enveloped in white smoke. [2]

At 1720, HIEI, now heading NNE, opens fire from her main and secondary guns from the range of 19,400 yards. At 1730, both battleships are ordered to check fire. In all, HIEI fires 210 14-inch and 70 6-inch shells at EDSALL and KIRISHIMA fires 87 14-in and 62 6-in shells. At 1731, battered old destroyer EDSALL sinks by the stern at 13-45S, 106-47E.

By 1820, HIEI recovers her floatplanes and departs the area. During the engagement she fires 210 14-inch and 70 6-inch shells.

2 March 1942:
At 0328 BatDiv 3/2 rejoins the Mobile Force.

11 March 1942:
Bat Div 3 returns to Staring Bay after the surrender of the Dutch East Indies. BatDiv 3 assumes 'standby alert'. After more than three months of continuous operations, the crews are allowed some rest and relaxation.

15 March 1942:
Staring Bay. Tanker KENYO MARU refuels HIEI with 1,500 tons of fuel oil.

26 March 1942: Operation "C" - The Raids in the Indian Ocean:
Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's Carrier Striking Force sorties from Staring Bay via Timor Sea into the Indian Ocean with CarDiv 1's AKAGI, CarDiv 2’s SORYU and HIRYU, CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3's KONGO, HIEI, HARUNA HEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's KASUMI, SHIRANUHI, ARARE and KAGERO, DesDiv 4's MAIKAZE and HAGIKAZE, CarDiv 5's AKIGUMO and fleet oiler SHINKOKU MARU.

31 March 1942:
Auxiliary tankers KYOKUTO MARU, KENYO MARU and NIPPON MARU join Nagumo's Force.

1 April 1942:
Meanwhile, at 1100, Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) Second Expeditionary Fleet, Malaya Force departs Mergui and steams into the Bay of Bengal to attack merchant shipping with CruDiv 4's CHOKAI (F) and CruDiv 7 's SUZUYA, KUMANO, MIKUMA and MOGAMI, light cruiser YURA and destroyers FUBUKI, SHIRAYUKI, HATSUYUKI and MURAKUMA, which are replaced on 3 April by AYANAMI, YUGIRI, ASAGIRI and SHIOKAZE. YURA and CHOKAI support CarDiv 4's light carrier RYUJO.

2 April 1942:
After refueling Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force, SHINKOKU MARU, KYOKUTO MARU, KENYO MARU and NIPPON MARU are detached.

4 April 1942:
350 nms S of Ceylon. About 1600, the carrier Striking Force is located by Consolidated PBY "Catalina" flying boat QL-A of 413 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) flown by squadron leader Squadron Leader Leonard Birchall, out of Koggala. Birchall manages to radio in the position of the Japanese fleet and alert Colombo about the impending attack before his Catalina is shot down by six A6M2 Zeke fighters from carrier HIRYU. Birchall is one of the six survivors of the crew of nine picked up by ISOKAZE.

5 April 1942, Easter Sunday: The Attack on the British naval base at Colombo:
At 0730, 127 aircraft from the Striking Force (53 Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” dive-bombers [18 from SORYU, 18 from HIRYU and 17 from AKAGI], 38 Aichi D3A1 “Val” torpedo-bombers [19 each from SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU] and 36 Mitsubishi A6M “Zeke” fighters (9 each from AKAGI, SORYU, HIRYU and ZUIKAKU) of the "Kido Butai's" aircraft, led by Cdr (later Captain) Fuchida Mitsuo (of Pearl Harbor), attack the British naval base at Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

The planes damage the base's facilities, destroy at least 26 aircraft (6 Fairey "Swordfish", 4 Fairey "Fulmars" and at least 16 Hawker "Hurricanes") and sink destroyer HMS TENEDOS undergoing refit, armed merchant cruiser HMS HECTOR and 5834-ton Norwegian tanker SOLI. The planes also damage submarine tender HMS LUCIA, 5,943-ton British freighter BENLEDI and 5,950-ton British freighter CLAN MUROCH. 81 civilians and 56 RN personnel are killed at Colombo (TENEDOS 33, HECTOR 4, LUCIA 2, FAA aircrew and ground crew 12.

A Kawanishi E7K "Alf" three-seat float biplane from cruiser TONE finds Vice Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet Sir) James Somerville's (former CO of HMS NORFOLK) British Eastern Fleet's cruisers HMS CORNWALL and HMS DORSETSHIRE at sea - without air cover. Between 1338-1400, 53 D3A Val dive-bombers (17 from AKAGI, 18 from HIRYU and 18 from SORYU, led by LtCdr Egusa Takashige (SORYU’s Air Group Commander), sink both ships. 424 RN personnel are killed (DORSETSHIRE 234, CORNWALL 190). After the attack, the Striking Force withdraws to the SE and searches unsuccessfully for the rest of Somerville's fleet.

Meanwhile, during the afternoon aircraft from RYUJO sink the 5,082-ton British cargo vessel HARPASA and damage two other merchantmen, the 7,823-ton British ship DARDANUS and 4,839-ton US-built Greek ship POINT CLEAR. At 2030, Ozawa's Mobile Force separates into three groups to attack merchant shipping in the Bay of Bengal. CruDiv 7/1's KUMANO and SUZUYA, under Rear Admiral Kurita, form the Northern Group with destroyer SHIRAKUMO. Carrier RYUJO, CHOKAI, SubRon 5's light cruiser YURA, Des Div 20's YUGIRI and ASAGIRI form the Center Group under Admiral Ozawa. MOGAMI, MIKUMA and destroyer AMAGIRI form the Southern Group.

(Tracks of Nagumo and Ozawa's Forces)

6 April 1942:
Bay of Bengal. At about 0600, the three ships of Ozawa’s Northern Group attack and sink the 5,381-ton Norwegian tanker ELSA. After 0730, KUMANO and SUZUYA and destroyer SHIRAKUMO attack a six-ship convoy and sink 4,986-ton American Export Line’s EXMOOR (ex-CITY OF ST. JOSEPH), 9,066-ton British freighter MALDA, 7,718-ton British freighter AUTOCLYCUS and 2,441-ton British freighter SHINKUANG at 19N, 86E. Ozawa's cruisers also sink 6,622-ton British freighter INDORA and Captain J. H. Gregory’s British India Line’s 4,921-ton cargo ship SILKSWORTH. About 50 of SILKSWORTH's mostly Chinese crewmen survive.

Temporarily detached from the rest of Ozawa’s Center Group, YURA and YUGIRI sink 1,279-ton Dutch merchant BATAVIA en route from Calcutta to Karachi. YURA and YUGIRI also sink 1,279-ton Dutch freighter BANJOEWANGI and 3,471-ton British steamer TAKSANG.

The rest of the Center Group, RYUJO, CHOKAI and ASAGIRI, sink five ships:
5,491-ton American freighter BIENVILLE is bombed by RYUJO's aircraft. She is finished off by gunfire from CHOKAI, and reportedly also from RYUJO, and then by a torpedo from CHOKAI.
6,426-ton British cargo ship GANGES is attacked by one of CHOKAI’s floatplanes and two of RYUJO’s aircraft, and is then sunk by gunfire from the surface ships, including gunfire from RYUJO.
2,646-ton British ship SINKIANG is attacked by aircraft and then likewise sunk by gunfire.
5,686-ton American freighter SELMA CITY is bombed by CHOKAI’s floatplanes. She is also attacked and hit by two aircraft from RYUJO, but by then is already sinking and abandoned.
2,073-ton Dutch freighter VAN DER CAPELLEN is bombed and damaged by RYUJO's aircraft and sinks two days later.

That same day, 5,268-ton British freighter ANGLO-CANADIAN is attacked by five aircraft from RYUJO, including two armed with torpedoes, and score one hit, a bomb which does not explode but which starts a fire. Also that day, RYUJO launches strikes against Cocanada and Vizagapatam. 3,827-ton British merchant MARION MOLLER is damaged at Vizagapatam.

Ozawa’s Southern Group sinks four ships. They first encounter disabled DARDANUS, under tow by the 5,281-ton British ship GANDARA. The three Japanese ships promptly open fire on the two merchantmen, which are finished off with torpedoes from AMAGIRI. Two Norwegian vessels are then sunk, 4,434-ton DAGFRED and 1,515-ton HERMOD.

In all Ozawa's commerce raiding detachment sinks twenty ships of about 93,247 tons during their brief foray in the Bay of Bengal.

9 April 1942: The Attack on the British naval base at Trincomalee:
At 0600, Nagumo's Striking Force launches 132 aircraft led by Cdr Fuchida to attack the British naval base at Trincomalee, Ceylon (91 B5N2 Kate dive-bombers [18 from AKAGI, 18 from SORYU and 18 from HIRYU, 19 from SHOKAKU and 18 from ZUIKAKU] and 41 A6M2 Zeke fighters [6 from AKAGI, 9 from SORYU, 6 from HIRYU, 10 from SHOKAKU and 10 from ZUIKAKU]).

The Japanese find the harbor almost empty of warships, but sink 9,066-ton British merchant SAGAING and a "Walrus" amphibian and three crated Fairey “Albacore” aircraft she was carrying, and damage old 15-inch monitor HMS EREBUS. Non-operational Dutch light cruiser SUMATRA is also hit, but the 800 kg bomb does not explode. Outside the harbor, southbound 4,784-ton Greek MARIONGA D. THERMIOTIS is damaged by strafing and seven men are wounded.

HARUNA launches an E8N2 “Dave” floatplane. At 0755, it spots an enemy carrier 65 miles south of the base. Between 0843 and 0853, the Striking Force launches 85 D3A Vals, (18 from SORYU, 18 from HIRYU and 18 from SHOKAKU, 17 from AKAGI and 14 from ZUIKAKU), escorted by 9 A6M Zekes (3 each from AKAGI, SORYU, HIRYU) which sink old light carrier HMS HERMES. 306 RN personnel are KIA, but hospital ship HMHS VITA, en route from Trincomalee to Colombo, arrives and picks up over 600 survivors.

Other sailors are rescued by local craft or swim to shore. Nagumo's aircraft also find and sink Australian destroyer HMAS VAMPIRE, 8 KIA, corvette HMS HOLLYHOCK, 53 KIA, oilers ATHELSTANE and BRITISH SERGEANT and Norwegian merchant ship NORVIKEN.

During the day, nine of the Royal Air Force’s No. 11 Squadron’s Bristol "Blenheim" bombers attack KONGO, but score no hits and lose four of their number to Nagumo's Combat Air Patrol "Zekes" and another is lost during the return flight when they encounter three Zekes from HIRYU returning from the attack on HERMES. BatDiv3 and the Striking Force continue heading SE.

10 April 1942:
About midnight, the fleet changes course to the NE. During the next 36 hours, BatDiv 3 and the Striking Force gradually bear southwards again and pass through the Andaman Sea entering the Straits of Malacca.

13 April 1942:
By nightfall, the fleet passes Singapore and enters the South China Sea, bound for Japan.

15 April 1942:
Oiler SHINKOKU MARU refuels HIEI with 599 metric tons of fuel oil. That same day, oiler KENYO MARU refuels HIEI with 1,500 metric tons.

23 April 1942:
The fleet arrives at Hashirajima.

19 May 1942:
Departs Hashirajima with the First and Third Fleets for maneuvers at sea.

23 May 1942:
Returns to Hashirajima.

27 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
Departs Hashirajima in Vice Admiral Kondo's Main Body: Bat Div 3/1's KONGO and HIEI, CruDiv 4/1's ATAGO and CHOKAI, CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO and DesRon 4's light cruiser YURA with her seven destroyers.

6 June 1942: Operation "AL" - The Invasion of the Aleutians:
At 2330, Yamamoto orders Bat Div 3/1, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, light carrier ZUIHO, seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU, DesDiv 4's ARASHI, NOWAKI, HAGIKAZE and MAIKAZE, DesDiv 10's MAKIGUMO, KAZAGUMO and YUGUMO, SubRon 2 and SubDiv 13 to detach from the Second Fleet and proceed northward to join Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kakuta Kakuji's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) Second Mobile Force's carriers JUNYO and RYUJO later reinforced by ZUIKAKU. They patrol 600 miles SW of Kiska in anticipation of an American counter-attack that does not materialize.

9 June 1942:
Bat Div 3/1 is reassigned to Hosogaya's Northern Force, Support Group.

24 June 1942:
Bat Div 3/1 arrives at Sendai Bay.

28 June 1942:
Departs Sendai Bay.

10 July 1942:
Bat Div 3/1 is reassigned to the Second Fleet.

11 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. HIEI is refit and drydocked. She remains at Yokosuka for a month.

14 July 1942:
HIEI (F) and KIRISHIMA are reassigned from the First Fleet to Vice Admiral Nagumo's Third Fleet in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (former CO of FUSO) new BatDiv 11. HIEI and KIRISHIMA's aircraft complement is upgraded: they receive one Aichi E13A1 "Jake" reconnaissance floatplane and two Mitsubishi Type F1M2 "Pete" floatplanes, tail codes CIV-x (in red).

16 August 1942:
BatDiv 11 departs Yokosuka towards Truk with CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, CarDiv 2's light carrier RYUJO, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and 11 destroyers.

20-23 August 1942:
Admiral Yamamoto cancels the fleet's planned stop at Truk. Refuels at sea from oilers enroute towards Guadalcanal.

24 August 1942: The Battle of the Eastern Solomons:
BatDiv 11 cruises NE of Guadalcanal with the Carrier Strike Force's CarDiv 1, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and Desron 10. Detached light carrier RYUJO is sunk by aircraft from Task Group 11's USS SARATOGA (CV-3). CarDiv 1 launches an air attack against Task Force 16's ENTERPRISE (CV-6) which is hit by three bombs but is not sunk.

28 August 1942:
BatDiv 11 departs for Truk with the Carrier Strike Force.

30 August 1942:
BatDiv 11 arrives at Truk. Refuels from oiler TATEKAWA MARU.

10 September 1942:
BatDiv 11 sorties from Truk with Vice Admiral Nagumo's Third Fleet: CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA, DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and 11 destroyers. The Third Fleet accompanies Vice Admiral Kondo's Second Fleet's Bat Div 3 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 Third Fleets sortie towards the Solomons.

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

23 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Undergoes maintenance and conducts training. Maintains standby alert. Two floatplanes are landed, one Jake and one Pete.

11 October 1942:
BatDiv 11 departs Truk to attack American forces off Guadalcanal with Rear Admiral Abe's Vanguard Force's CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and eight destroyers. The Vanguard Force accompanies Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kakuta Kakuji's (former CO of NAGATO) Air Group Force's CarDiv 2's HIYO and JUNYO and destroyers HAYASHIO and KUROSHIO. Abe and Kakuta's forces are followed by Nagumo's Carrier Strike Force, Main Body: CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and eight destroyers.

12 October 1942:
East of the Solomon Islands. BatDiv 11's HIEI and KIRISHIMA and the Second and Third Fleets take up position to provide distant cover for Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA which detaches with DesRon 2's light cruiser ISUZU and destroyers and proceeds to Guadalcanal.

14-15 October 1942:
BatDiv 11 maintains distant cover while KONGO and HARUNA bombard Henderson Field. The next night, Vice Admiral Mikawa's Eighth Fleet cruisers CHOKAI and KINUGASA bombard the airfield again.

23 October 1942:
650 miles north of Espirtu Santo. The Vanguard Force is sighted by a PBY "Catalina" patrol plane based in the Santa Cruz Islands.

25 October 1942:
After 1000, an AirSoPac PBY-5A "Catalina" spots the Vanguard Force. It is intercepted by two F1M2 Pete floatplanes from KIRISHIMA and chased away, receiving over 70 hits. The patrol plane is damaged, but finally escapes.

1450: The Vanguard Force is sighted heading north at 25 knots by six B-17s of the 11th Bombardment Group (Heavy) based at Espiritu Santo.

1510: The six B-17s bomb KIRISHIMA but score no hits.

26 October 1942: The Battle of Santa Cruz:
0630: The Vanguard Force making 20 knots is reported by two Douglas SBD "Dauntless" dive-bombers of Air Group 10 from USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6).

0740: Kondo orders Abe's Vanguard Force to forego screening Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force and to close on an American carrier force sighted earlier by a Nakajima B5N "Kate" from ZUIKAKU.

The Vanguard Force is attacked by dive-bombers and torpedo planes from ENTERPRISE and HORNET (CV-8). Three SDB dive-bombers attack KIRISHIMA. She is not damaged, but several 1,000-lb. bombs hit CHIKUMA.

Nagumo and Kakuta launch air attacks that mortally damage HORNET. They also damage ENTERPRISE and light anti-aircraft cruiser SAN JUAN (CLAA-54). A 550-lb bomb hits new battleship SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57). It jams her No. 1 turret in train and disables two of the three 16-inch rifles in her No. 2 turret.

30 October 1942:
The Vanguard Force returns to Truk, then maintains standby alert.

1 November 1942:
BatDiv 11's Rear Admiral Abe Hiroaki is promoted to Vice Admiral.

2 November 1942:
Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo (former CO of HARUNA) assumes command of the Third Fleet. Vice Admiral Nagumo is reassigned as the Commandant of the Sasebo Naval Station. Vice Admiral Kondo, Commander of the Second Fleet, is appointed the Deputy Commander of the Combined Fleet.

9 November 1942:
Departs Truk.

10 November 1942:
BatDiv 11 and DesDiv 27's SHIGURE, SHIRATSUYU and YUGURE depart the Shortland anchorage off 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. 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 (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA (F) and the destroyers AKATSUKI, AMATSUKAZE, IKAZUCHI, INAZUMA, TERUZUKI and YUKIKAZE that arrive from Truk

1030: A B-17 heading towards Savo Island spots Abe's force. Two covering Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters, launched from a holding position north of Malaita Island by Vice Admiral Kakuta's carrier JUNYO, attempt unsuccessfully to intercept the bomber.

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. Abe orders the destroyers to form a tight double half-ring formation as an anti-submarine measure. NAGARA follows with BatDiv 11 in column behind. The force proceeds south down the "Slot" at 18 knots.

HIEI catapults an F1M2 "Pete" reconnaissance floatplane. A heavy rainstorm begins that lasts several hours. The plane reports more than a dozen enemy warships off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. The floatplane is unable to return to HIEI because of the blinding rain, but lands safely at Bougainville.

13 November 1942:The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
0000: Abe orders his force to reverse course and slow to 12 knots because of the weather.

0040: The rain squall finally ends. Abe orders his force to again reverse course and proceed towards Savo Island, Guadalcanal.

0110: Abe orders BatDiv 11 to make their 14-inch main batteries ready to fire HE Type 3 shells.

0124: Captain Gilbert C. Hoover's USS HELENA's (CL-50) SG radar picks up a return at 28,000 yards, probably light cruiser NAGARA.

0125: Lookouts aboard HIEI sight Cape Esperance. Admiral Abe orders that preparations begin for the shelling of Henderson Field. Unknown to Abe, HELENA's radar picks up HIEI and battleship KIRISHIMA at 32,000 yards.

HELENA alerts Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan's (a former naval aide to President Roosevelt), Task Group 67.4 consisting of cruisers USS SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38)(F), PORTLAND (CA-33), ATLANTA (CL-51), JUNEAU (CL-52) and destroyers CUSHING (DD-376), LAFFEY (DD-459), STERETT (DD-407), MONSSEN (DD-436), FLETCHER (DD-445), O'BANNON (DD-450), AARON WARD (DD-483) and BARTON (DD-599).

0131: HELENA's radar picks up smaller returns, most probably Abe's destroyers.

Admiral Callaghan orders a northward turn in an attempt to cross the Japanese formation's "T", but the maneuver is executed too late.

0142: Cdr Kikkawa Kiyoshi's lead destroyer YUDACHI and HIEI's lookouts report sighting enemy warships only 9,000 meters away. Abe quickly orders BatDiv 11's gunnery officers to replace the Type 3 incendiary shells with Type 1 armor piercing shells.

YUDACHI almost collides with LtCdr Edward N. Parker's destroyer CUSHING (DD-376), in the van of the American force, but not equipped with radar. YUDACHI goes full left rudder and veers off to port.

0150: HIEI and Cdr Takasuka Osamu's destroyer AKATSUKI switch on their searchlights and illuminate Captain Samuel P. Jenkins' ATLANTA. Abe's force commences a night gun battle with American cruisers and destroyers. ATLANTA and Captain Gilbert C. Hoover's HELENA quickly shoot out AKATSUKI’s probing searchlight. AKATSUKI is also hit by gunfire from Captain Cassin Young's (MOH at Pearl Harbor) SAN FRANCISCO and sinks with heavy loss of life. [3]

0151: Captain (later Admiral) Laurance T. DuBose's PORTLAND is hit by a 14-inch HE shell in the starboard aircraft hangar. PORTLAND scores a hit on a battleship, probably HIEI.

Return fire from HIEI and other Japanese warships rains down on ATLANTA. In the confusion of the battle, SAN FRANCISCO mistakenly also fires on ATLANTA and hits her with about nineteen 8-inch shells. Rear Admiral Norman Scott, most of his staff, and many other crewmen are KIA. ATLANTA is then hit port side in the forward engine room by a torpedo, probably fired by destroyer INAZUMA. She loses all but auxiliary diesel power. Without primary power, ATLANTA loses her ability to train and fire her guns and drifts out of control. She is forced to shift steering control to her steering engine room aft. [4]

Almost immediately after the action starts, Cdr Nakamura Noboru’s [52] destroyer SAMIDARE and destroyer MURASAME get separated from the rest of Abe's force. After YUDACHI reports a successful attack, they try to rejoin the formation. SAMIDARE’s lookouts report an enemy vessel dead ahead and her 25 mm AA battery officer orders his gunners to target it. Cdr Nakamura already at SAMIDARE’s main battery director identifies it as HIEI and orders cease fire. In the heat of the battle his order is not heard and the 25 mm guns score several hits on the battleship's mainmast (or after command station). HIEI then fires what seems to be a tracer shell that passes overhead.

Cdr Nakamura of SAMIDARE orders the recognition signal flashed, which that night was one red light on the mainmast. No return fire is observed from HIEI and the 25 mm finally ceases firing. Immediately thereafter SAMIDARE’s lookouts report an enemy destroyer attacking HIEI. [5]

LtCdr Orville F. Gregor's destroyer AARON WARD opens fire on HIEI. In the next four minutes her four radar-directed 5-inch guns get off ten salvos.

0153: Destroyer CUSHING launches six torpedoes. LtCdr William E. Hank's LAFFEY, 500 yards behind CUSHING, launches six torpedoes. One of the 11 torpedoes hits HIEI, but fails to explode. The others either miss or are too close to arm and fail to explode. Captain Tawara Yoshioki's light cruiser NAGARA then fires salvo after salvo into CUSHING knocking out her guns, power and steering.

LAFFEY opens fire on HIEI's bridge with 5-inch and machine-guns. Vice Admiral Abe and skipper Captain Nishida are wounded and Chief of Staff Captain Suzuki Masakane is killed.

Destroyers ASAGUMO, MURASAME and SAMIDARE engage LAFFEY and score numerous hits. Then the American destroyer takes a torpedo up her fantail, probably from ASAGUMO that blows off both propellers and part of her rudder. Finally, LAFFEY is hit by a 14-inch shell, perhaps from KIRISHIMA. Unnavigable, without steering and without power, LAFFEY sinks. LtCdr Hank and most of LAFFEY's crew are KIA. Hank is awarded the Navy Cross (First Gold Star), posthumously.

0154: HIEI, passing SAN FRANCISCO on an opposite course, opens fire at about 2,500 yards. Her main and secondary armament shatter SAN FRANCISCO’s superstructure. Rear Admiral Callaghan, three of his staff officers and skipper Captain Young are among those killed.

HIEI is only able to get off two salvos before she is hit by two 8-inch shells, most probably from SAN FRANCISCO. One shell is a dud, but the other penetrates HIEI’s hull on the starboard quarter and the resultant flooding disables HIEI’s steering gear. Vice Admiral Abe orders KIRISHIMA to detach from HIEI and head northward.

0156: HIEI's superstructure is engulfed in flames.

0157: Cdr Hara Tameichi's destroyer AMATSUKAZE launches eight torpedoes at LtCdr Douglas H. Fox's BARTON (DD-599). In turn, BARTON launches four port torpedoes at an unknown fast moving target.

0158: Cdr Kikkawa's destroyer YUDACHI launches torpedoes at an American cruiser. One hits PORTLAND on the starboard quarter and blows off both inboard propellers, jams the rudder five degrees right, and jams No. 3 turret in train and elevation. The cruiser's steering cannot be corrected and Captain DuBose is forced to steam in circles to starboard. At the end of the first circle, PORTLAND's forward turrets take HIEI, illuminated by burning ships and flares, under fire at 4,000 yards. HIEI returns fire, but her salvos pass over PORTLAND. DuBose's gunners get off four six-gun salvos that start fires on HIEI.

0159: Cdr Hara's destroyer AMATSUKAZE launches four torpedoes at Captain Lyman K. Swenson's JUNEAU (CLAA-52) steaming on a parallel course. The two warships trade 5-inch shells each scoring hits on the other. JUNEAU is hit low portside below her armor belt by a torpedo, loses speed and steering.

CUSHING is hit about seven times by destroyers ASAGUMO and MURASAME as they pass by to starboard. LtCdr Parker orders Abandon Ship.

During the battle, HIEI suffers thirty 8-inch shell hits from SAN FRANCISCO and PORTLAND. HIEI is also hit by many 5-inch shells from Cdr (later Captain) Jesse G. Coward's STERETT that launches four more torpedoes at HIEI. Coward claims two hits. HIEI's fire control systems for her main and secondary batteries are knocked out and her superstructure set afire.

0200: Abe abandons his bombardment mission and withdraws from battle.

Destroyer BARTON's propellers bring her to a halt to avoid a collision. Two of AMATSUKAZE's eight torpedoes narrowly miss LtCdr Charles E. McCombs' MONSSEN, but hit the stopped BARTON in the forward fire room and forward engine room. BARTON breaks in two and quickly sinks. The few survivors, almost all from topside positions aft, struggle in the water.

0202: Lookouts aboard LtCdr Edward N. Wilkinson's O'BANNON report BARTON's bow sticking up dead ahead, just as other lookouts spot two torpedoes heading straight for O'BANNON. Wilkinson takes evasive action, but in doing so O'BANNON runs over BARTON's survivors in the water. As she sinks, BARTON's depth charges detonate under the few survivors left. LtCdr Fox is awarded the Navy Cross (First Gold Star), posthumously.

0204: Cdr Suenaga Naoji’s destroyer MURASAME launches seven torpedoes at an American cruiser.

Destroyer MONSSEN launches five torpedoes at a Japanese destroyer, probably either IKAZUCHI or INAZUMA. MONSSEN then opens fire on the target with her 5-inch guns. Starshells burst over MONSSEN. LtCdr McCombs, thinking they are from a friendly ship, flashes MONSSEN's recognition lights - and promptly takes a hit that destroys his forward 5-inch mount. Another shell renders MONSSEN powerless. She then takes numerous hits from different directions by at least three attackers. LtCdr McCombs, his ship dead in the water and reduced to scrap, orders Abandon Ship.

0220: Destroyer STERETT opens fire on YUDACHI at only 1,000 yards and launches two torpedoes at the Japanese destroyer.

0226: At least one torpedo hits and disables YUDACHI.

During the battle, Cdr Hara’s destroyer AMATSUKAZE is damaged by gunfire from light cruiser HELENA that knocks out AMATSUKAZE’s guns, main director and jams her rudder. Destroyer IKAZUCHI's No. 1 mount is knocked out by gunfire and destroyer MURASAME is hit in the forward boiler room. On the American side, cruiser HELENA is damaged.

0430: At daybreak, cruiser PORTLAND, still steaming in circles, opens fire on a distant Japanese destroyer. On the sixth salvo, YUDACHI explodes, rolls over and sinks within five minutes. Cdr Nakamura Noboru’s destroyer SAMIDARE rescues 207 survivors from YUDACHI including Cdr Kikkawa.

1101: Cdr Yokota Minoru’s submarine I-26 fires three torpedoes at retiring SAN FRANCISCO. They miss, but one continues on and narrowly misses HELENA. Another continues on and hits JUNEAU port side amidships near where she was hit the previous night. A minute later, a magazine explosion blows JUNEAU in half. She sinks in about 20 seconds.

Task Group 67.4 does not stop to search for survivors because of the suddenness of JUNEAU's sinking and the risk of another submarine attack. About 115 of JUNEAU's crew of 600 survive the explosion, but clumsy rescue efforts do not begin for several days (an act repeated two years later after the sinking of cruiser INDIANAPOLIS). Eight days later, only 10 men are rescued, not including all five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa assigned to JUNEAU. Captain Swenson is awarded the Navy Cross, posthumously.

Rear Admirals Callaghan and Scott are awarded Medals of Honor (MOH) posthumously. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Bruce McCandless, who assumes command of SAN FRANCISCO and Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Herbert E. Schonland, SAN FRANCISCO's damage control officer, are also both awarded Medals of Honor.

During the night, KIRISHIMA takes HIEI in tow and retires westward around Savo Island with NAGARA and DesRon 10's destroyers. HIEI's aft steering compartment floods and her port rudder jams in the "full starboard" position.

0610: HIEI's spotters sight damaged destroyer AARON WARD 14 miles away under tow by tug BOBOLINK. HIEI fires several 14-inch salvoes from after turrets, straddling WARD repeatedly, but does not hit her.

0615: HIEI, unsteerable and circling at five knots, is attacked by six Marine Douglas SBD-3 "Dauntless" dive-bombers from Henderson Field. The battleship fires back from her AA guns, claiming one of its attackers. A near miss demolishes a launch, but no direct hits are scored.

0715: HIEI is attacked by four Grumman TBF-1 "Avenger" torpedo bombers from Henderson Field. Three A6M "Zeros" from JUNYO attempt to intercept the attackers, damaging one heavily.

After 0800, destroyers SHIGURE, SHIRATSUYU, YUGURE and TERUZUKI join HIEI to provide AA cover. Six "Zeros" from carrier JUNYO patrol in the area until 0915.

0815: Vice Admiral Abe signals KIRISHIMA to tow HIEI to Shortland that night and orders the rest of the Attack Force to retire. Then he transfers his flag to destroyer YUKIKAZE.

0915: HIEI is attacked by a combined strike of nine "Dauntlesses" and three "Avengers" from Henderson Field. Seven Grumman F4F-4 "Wildcats" provide escort and suppress the flak.

0930: Tug USS BOBOLINK (AT-131) arrives and takes ATLANTA under tow.

1020: HIEI is attacked by nine "Avengers" from USS ENTERPRISE. Abe abandons his towing plan and contacts Combined Fleet HQ, suggesting that HIEI be beached at Kamimbo, Guadalcanal.

1100: HIEI is attacked by three "Avengers" from Henderson Field.

1110: HIEI is hit by one of fifty-six 500-lb bombs dropped by 14 USAAF B-17 bombers of the 11th Heavy Bombardment Group from Espirtu Santo.

1120: HIEI is attacked by six Marine SBD dive-bombers from VMSB-132 at Henderson Field.

1130: HIEI is attacked by four TBF torpedo planes from SARATOGA's (CV-3) Torpedo Squadron 8 and two Marine TBFs from VMSB-131 at Henderson Field. Two torpedoes hit HIEI - one amidships and one on the port bow.

1230: Six "Zeros" from Rabaul-based 252nd NAG arrive and patrol over the ships until 1400. During that time the construction of an emergency rudder is completed and its launch started.

1235: Captain Nishida, rather than following Abe's beaching order, tries to save HIEI. Later, Abe cancels the order, but orders Nishida to send HIEI's crew off.

1400: HIEI is attacked by eight "Dauntlesses" and six "Avengers" from Henderson Field, escorted by fourteen "Wildcats". She receives one torpedo hit to starboard aft and another to starboard amidships. Two torpedoes are seen to strike the port side of the battleship and sink. During a violent evasive maneuver HIEI loses her emergency rudder. She takes on a list to starboard and goes down at the stern.

Flooding from the torpedo hit makes it clear that ATLANTA cannot be saved. Captain Jenkins orders her surviving crewmen taken off by Higgins boats sent from Guadalcanal. Jenkins and a demolition party remain until the scuttling charges explode, then leave the ship.

1435: HIEI is attacked by four TBFs from ENTERPRISE. One torpedo hits HIEI amidships on the starboard side. Another hits her stern and floods her steering gear.

1530: During the day, HIEI suffers 70 American sorties. Vice Admiral Abe orders Captain Nishida to Abandon Ship.

1745: HIEI is attacked by six "Dauntlesses" from Henderson Field, after some of her sailors were transferred. YUKIKAZE (identified as a light cruiser) receives a near miss.

Captain Nishida reluctantly orders HIEI scuttled. The Emperor's portrait is removed. Nishida and other survivors are rescued by DesDiv 27's SHIGURE, SHIRATSUYU, YUGURE and DesDiv 61's TERUZUKI. 188 crewmen are lost and 151 wounded.

1838: Admiral Yamamoto orders Abe not to scuttle HIEI, but the message is received too late.

1900-0100: HIEI sinks by the stern some 4.5 miles from Savo Island at about 09-04S, 159-45E. 188 crewmen are lost.

2015: ATLANTA sinks three miles west of Lunga Point in 180 feet of water.

14 November 1942:
Vice Admiral Abe is relieved of command. On their return to Japan, both he and Captain Nishida face a Board of Inquiry into the loss of HIEI.

20 December 1942:
Abe is reassigned to the Naval General Staff. Nishida is placed on the Reserve List. BatDiv 11 is deactivated and HIEI is removed from the Navy List.[6]

Authors' Notes:
[1] KAGA’s dive bombers were credited with five hits, SORYU’s with three and HIRYU’s with one direct hit on EDSALL.

[2] Different numbers have been published for the survivors from USS EDSALL. BatDiv 3/2's combat diary suggests seven sailors were rescued, while CruDiv 8 combat diary confirms there were eight, all of them POs or sailors.

[3] There were at least a dozen survivors from AKATSUKI (perhaps as many as 26), including Lt (j.g.) Shinya Michiharu, who participated in oceanographer Robert Ballard’s expedition.

[4] Before ATLANTA sank, green dye SAN FRANCISCO used to distinguish her shells from those of other ships, was found stained on ATLANTA's superstructure .

[5] Thanks go to reader Kucenmusrita who quotes James W. Grace’s 'The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal', pp. 99/100.

[6] Vice Admiral Abe retires on 20 March 1943. Captain Nishida is later recalled and serves as CO of the 256th and 951st NAGs, but he is not promoted to flag rank and never again serves on a warship.

Special thanks for researching material related to the pre-World War II activities of HIEI go to Major (Ret) Lars Ahlberg of Sweden.

Thanks for assistance in identifying the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Yutaka Iwasaki of Japan, Jean-François Masson of Canada, Matthew Jones of the USA and Lars Ahlberg. Thanks also go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan and Mr. James W. Grace, author of "The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Night Action, 13 November 1942".

Thanks go to Rob Stuart of Canada for information about Operation "C" in Revs 12 and 14. For more info see Rob's splendid "20 Ships, Not 23: Ozawa’s Score, 5-6 April 1942." NB: Older map on this TROM page erroneously shows 23 ships sunk.

– Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Lars Ahlberg

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