JUNYOKAN!

HIJMS KAKO: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2011 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

Revision 4


20 July 1926:
Kobe. Completed at Kawasaki's shipyard and commissioned in the IJN.

27 December 1937:
Sasebo Navy Yard. KAKO's reconstruction is completed. During this reconstruction, six single 20-cm. (7.9-inch) main gun turrets are replaced by three 20.32-cm.(8-inch) twin turrets.

15 September 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takahashi Yuji (former CO of TENRYU) assumes command. KAKO is in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro's (former CO of ISUZU) First Fleet in Rear Admiral Goto Aritomo's (former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6 with the AOBA (F), FURUTAKA and the KINUGASA.

2 December 1941:
Hahajima, Bonin Islands. CruDiv 6 receives the coded 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:
CruDiv 6 departs Hahajima in support of the invasion of Guam.

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

10 December 1941: The Invasion of Guam:
The Invasion Force lands 5,500 troops of MajGen Horii Tomitara's South Seas Detachment. CruDiv 6 departs for Truk arriving that same day.

12 December 1941:
CarDiv 2's HIRYU and the SORYU detach from Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) Striking Force returning from Pearl Harbor to reinforce Kajioka, as do Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (former CO of FUSO) CruDiv 8's TONE, CHIKUMA and two destroyers. Seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and two other destroyers also reinforce Kajioka. Abe, the senior officer present, is in overall command.

13 December 1941:
CruDiv 6 departs Truk for Wake.

23 December 1941: The Second Invasion of Wake:
After a magnificent stand, Wake's small garrison is overwhelmed and forced to surrender.

10 January 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Truk.

18 January 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Truk.

23 January 1942: Operation "O"- The Invasion of Rabaul and Kavieng:
CruDiv 6 covers the invasion landings.

30 January 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Rabaul.

1 February 1942:
Vice Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. Halsey Jr's (former CO of SARATOGA, CV-3) Task Force 8 (USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) raids Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshall Islands. ENTERPRISE's Douglas "Dauntless" SBDs of VB-6 and VS-6 and TBD "Devastators" of VT-6 sink a transport, damage the light cruiser KATORI, submarine I-23, submarine depot ship YASUKUNI MARU and several other ships.

CruDiv 6 departs Rabaul that day in response to the American raids.

4 February 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Roi.

6 February 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Kwajalein.

10 February 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Truk.

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

That same day, KAKO, FURUTAKA and KINUGASA sortie from Truk in an unsuccessful pursuit of the

23 February 1942:
KAKO, FURUTAKA and KINUGASA return to Truk.

2 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Truk.

5 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Rabaul.

8 March 1942: Operation "SR" - The Invasion of Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA support the invasions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Manus.

10 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Truk.

10-30 April 1942:
Refit at Truk.

30 April 1942: Operation "MO" - The Invasions of Tulagi, Solomons and Port Moresby, New Guinea:
CruDiv 6 and carrier SHOHO sortie from Truk in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inoue Shigeyoshi's (former CO of HIEI) Fourth Fleet's Main Body Support Force.

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

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

Tulagi, Solomons. That same day, Rear Admiral (MOH-'14/later Admiral) Frank Jack Fletcher's (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 17's YORKTOWN (CV-5), CHESTER (CA-27), PORTLAND (CA-33) and ASTORIA (CA-34) with six destroyers launches three strikes, comprising 99 planes, at Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide's (former CO of OI). Tulagi Invasion Force. YORKTOWN's TBD torpedo planes and SBD dive-bombers sink destroyer KIKUZUKI and three minesweepers and damage four other ships.

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

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

CruDiv 6 arrives at the Shortland anchorage that day and refuels from oiler IRO.

6 May 1942:
At Shortland. CruDiv 6 is attacked unsuccessfully by four USAAF Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses".

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

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

N of Tagula Island. At 1100, the SHOHO is attacked by 93 SBD dive-bombers and TBD torpedo-bombers from Fletcher's YORKTOWN and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Aubrey W. Fitch's (former CO of LEXINGTON,CV-2), Task Force 11's LEXINGTON, MINNEAPOLIS (CA-36), NEW ORLEANS (CA-32) and five destroyers. SHOHO is sunk off Misima Island. Both sides contemplate sending their surface ships out for a night attack on the opposing carrier force.

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

Thirty-six of CarDiv 5's Type 97 Nakajima B5N2 "Kate" attack planes with 24 Type 99 Aichi D3A1 "Val" dive-bombers covered by 36 Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M "Zekes" damage YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON. Hit by torpedoes and several bombs, LEXINGTON is further damaged when gasoline vapors ignite and trigger massive explosions that cause her to be abandoned. Later she is scuttled by destroyer PHELPS (DD-360).

KAKO and AOBA cover the withdrawing Port Moresby invasion convoy. FURUTAKA and KINUGASA, undamaged in the battle, are detached to escort SHOKAKU back to Truk.

9 May 1942:
Refuels at Shortland.

11 May 1942:
Departs Shortland with AOBA for the Queen Carola Harbor.

12 May 1942:
KAKO is stranded on a reef entering the harbor, but is refloated.

14 May 1942:
KAKO departs Queen Carola with AOBA.

22 May 1942:
Refit at Kure with AOBA.

16 June 1942:
Refit is completed. Departs Kure with the AOBA. Joins CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA for training in the Bungo Suido (Strait), then departs for Truk.

23 June 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

30 June 1942:
Departs Truk with AOBA.

5-6 July 1942:
Arrives at Kieta.

7-14 July 1942:
At the seaplane base at Rekata Bay, San Ysabel.

14 July 1942:
The IJN undergoes a major reorganization. The Eighth Fleet is created under Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi (former CO of KIRISHIMA) and based at Rabaul.

27 July 1942:
CruDiv 6 is reassigned to the Eighth Fleet.

7 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CHOKAI depart the Moewe Passage through the "Slot" towards Guadalcanal with light cruisers TENRYU and YUBARI and destroyer YUNAGI. At Rabaul, CHOKAI embarks Mikawa and his Eighth Fleet staff.

8 August 1942:
N of Guadalcanal. KAKO launches a three-seat E13A1 "Jake" reconnaissance floatplane, but it is splashed by a Douglas SBD "Dauntless" of VS-72 from the USS WASP (CV-7).

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

CruDiv 6, CHOKAI, light cruisers TENRYU and YUBARI and destroyer YUNAGI prepare to engage the Allied Forces. At about 2300, KAKO, CHOKAI and FURUTAKA launch spotter float planes. At 0138, CHOKAI launches a salvo of Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at the Allied force. About the same time, KAKO launches a salvo of torpedoes at ASTORIA. The circling float planes then drop flares to illuminate the targets and all the Japanese ships open fire. KAKO's gunfire hits USS VINCENNES (CA-44) in the hangar and destroys all of her Curtiss SOC "Seagull" floatplanes. In the ensuing in a night gun and torpedo action, ASTORIA, QUINCY (CA-39), VINCENNES and Australian HMAS CANBERRA are sunk. The CHICAGO (CA-29), RALPH TALBOT (DD-390) and PATTERSON (DD-392) are damaged.

On the Japanese side, CHOKAI is hit ten times, KINUGASA twice and AOBA once, but KAKO is not damaged.

The heavily-laden American invasion transports off Guadalcanal are now virtually unprotected and in harm's way. Admiral Mikawa, unaware that Admiral Fletcher has withdrawn his carriers covering the invasion, fears an air attack at daybreak. He orders a retirement and leaves Admiral Turner's transports untouched for which he is later reprimanded.

10 August 1942:
In the morning, after no air attack is mounted against his ships, Vice Admiral Mikawa detaches CruDiv 6's four heavy cruisers unescorted to Kavieng, New Ireland. Mikawa returns to Rabaul with the remainder of his striking force.

At 0650, LtCdr John R. Moore's old S-44 sights CruDiv 6 on a track less than 900 yards away. At 0706, Moore fires four Mark 10 torpedoes from 700 yards at the rear ship in the group. At 0708, three torpedoes hit KAKO. The first strikes to starboard abreast No. 1 turret. Water enters through open scuttles of the hull as the bow dips and twists further within three minutes of being hit. The other torpedoes hit further aft, in the vicinity of the forward magazines and boiler rooms 1 and 2. KAKO rolls over on her starboard side with white smoke and steam belching from her forward funnel. An enormous roar ensues as sea water reaches her boilers.

At 0712, the Japanese start depth charging the S-44, but without success. S-44 slips away.

At 0715, KAKO disappears bow first in the sea to the surprise and dismay of her squadron mates. She sinks off Simbari Island at 02-28S, 152-11E. Thirty-four crewmen are killed, but Captain Takahashi and most of KAKO's crew are rescued by AOBA, FURUTAKA and KINUGASA.

11 August 1942:
Destroyer UZUKI arrives from Rabaul and rescues the last of KAKO's survivors.

The following year, Captain Takahashi is given command of SUZUYA.

15 September 1942:
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.

Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada. Special credit goes to Randy Stone and Tony Tully of the United States for providing information about the KAKO's last moments. Thanks for assistance also goes to "Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands and Andrew Obluski of Poland.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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