(KATORI at Saeki Bay in 1941- colorized digital photo by Irotooko, Jr.)

IJN KATORI: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2017 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 3

24 August 1938:
Yokohama. Laid down at Mitsubishi's shipyard as Cruiser No. 72.

31 March 1939:
Named KATORI, namesake of the KATORI-class light cruisers and provisionally attached to Yokosuka Naval District.

17 June 1939:

1 July 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Miyazato Shutoku (40)(former CO of NAKA) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

25 September 1939:
Captain Miyazato is appointed the CEO of KASHIMA as additional duty.

1 November 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ichioka Hisashi (42)(former CO of YURA) is appointed the CEO of KATORI and KASHIMA (until 10 March 1940) as additional duty. Captain Miyazato is reassigned as CEO of repair ship AKASHI.

20 April 1940:
Completed and attached to Yokosuka Naval District as a special service vessel. Captain Ichioka is her first Commanding Officer.

15 October 1940:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mito Hisashi (42)(former chief of the Personnel Bureau's 2nd section at Navy Ministry) is appointed the CO. Captain Ichioka is reassigned to the staff of the Combined Fleet.

15 November 1940:
Reassigned to SubRon 1, Sixth Fleet (Submarines) as the flagship of the Sixth Fleet.

6 January 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Owada Noboru (44)(former CO of IWATE) is appointed the CO. Captain Mito is reassigned as CoS of the Sixth Fleet (Submarines).

11 November 1941:
Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi (former CO of ISE), CINC, Sixth Fleet (Submarines) convenes a meeting of his commanders aboard the Sixth Fleet's flagship, KATORI. The commanders are briefed on the planned attack on Pearl Harbor.

24 November 1941:
Departs Yokosuka with Vice Admiral Shimizu embarked.

28 November 1941:
160 miles E of Saipan. Around 1700, KATORI observes an American convoy of five transports, escorted by a BROOKLYN-class cruiser.

1 December 1941:
Arrives at Truk.

2 December 1941:
The coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" is received from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time). That day, KATORI departs Truk for Kwajalein. [1]

5 December 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands.

8 December 1941:The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
At Kwajalein.

9 December 1941:
I-6 reports sighting a LEXINGTON-class aircraft carrier and two cruisers heading NE. Vice Admiral Shimizu in the KATORI at Kwajalein orders all of SubRon 1 boats, except the Special Attack Unit, to pursue and sink the carrier.

December 1941:
Departs Kwajalein for Truk.

3 January 1942:
Truk. A conference is convened aboard KATORI to discuss the details of the invasion plans for Operation "R", the invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng. Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inoue Shigeyoshi's (former CO of HIEI), CINC, Fourth Fleet at Truk agrees to provide escort for a convoy carrying the invasion troops from Guam. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide (former CO of OI) Sentai 19's minelayers and two destroyers are to provide the convoy's close escort.

Air cover for the invasions is to be provided by Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) First Air Fleet Striking Force's (Kido Butai) CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU and CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki (former CO of FUSO) CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA with DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and destroyers. Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) BatDiv 3/1's HIEI and KIRISHIMA is to provide cover for the Striking Force and distant support of the invasion forces. Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo's (former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6's AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO and FURUTAKA will provide close cover. In the unlikely event that a naval battle ensues during the operation, Vice Admiral Nagumo, as senior officer, will assume overall command.

January 1942:
KATORI departs Truk for Kwajalein.

23-24 January 1942: Operation "R"- The Invasion of Rabaul and Kavieng:
The invasion forces land at night, swiftly overcome light Australian opposition and occupy Rabaul and Kavieng.

1 February 1942:
Kwajalein. 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. ENTERPRISE's Douglas "Dauntless" SBDs of VB-6 and VS-6 and TBD "Devastators" of VT-6 sink a transport, damage KATORI, submarine I-23, submarine depot ship YASUKUNI MARU and several other ships. Vice Admiral Shimizu is wounded in the raid.

9 February 1942:
Departs Kwajalein.

16 February 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Undergoes repairs.

21 February 1942:

5 March 1942:

18 March 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

16 March 1942:
Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Komatsu Teruhisa (former CO of NACHI) assumes command of the Sixth Fleet.

20 March 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

23 March 1942:
Arrives at the Fleet Anchorage E of Iseko Jima, Hiroshima Bay near Hashirajima. Vice Admiral Komatsu calls on the CINC, Combined Fleet, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (former CO of AKAGI) aboard his flagship, new battleship YAMATO.

16 April 1942:
Vice Admiral Komatsu, Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ishizaki Noboru (former CO of HYUGA) ComSubRon 8 and their staffs with Captain (later Rear Admiral) Komazawa Katsumi (former CO of CHOGEI) CO of tender NISSHIN, Captain (later Vice Admiral) Harada Kaku (former CO of HOSHO) CO of tender CHIYODA, the CO of AMC/supply ship AIKOKU MARU and SubRon 8's midget submarine crews pay a call on Admiral Yamamoto aboard the YAMATO. Yamamoto wishes the young midget submariners well in their forthcoming missions in the southern latitudes. Later that morning, KATORI departs Hashirajima.

20 April 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

30 April 1942:
Departs Truk.

3 May 1942:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

4-6 May 1942:
At Roi.

7 May 1942:
Arrives back at Kwajalein.

1 July 1942:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Nakaoka Nobuki (45)(former ComSubDiv 12) is appointed the CO. Captain Owada is later reassigned as the CO of YAMASHIRO.

1 August 1942:
Departs Kwajalein.

8 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Drydocked. Two twin Type 96 25-mm AA guns are fitted in the forward part of the bridge.

17 August 1942:

18 August 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

24 August 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Remains there for the next seven months.

8 September 1942:
The floatplane embarked on KATORI is transferred ashore.

28 November 1942:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Miyazaki Takeji (46)(former ComSubDiv 13) is appointed the CO. Captain Nakaoka is later KIA as the CO of ATAGO.

21 March 1943:
Departs Truk.

26 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

5 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

11 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

20 July 1943:
Captain Minakuchi Hyoe (46)(former ComDubDiv 11) is appointed the CO. Captain Miyazaki Takeji is reassigned as ComSubDiv 2 and KIA aboard I-25 in August '43.

27 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Refit.

16 April 1943:

30 April 1943:

5 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

11 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

21 June 1943:
Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo (former CO of MUTSU) assumes command of the Sixth Fleet (Submarines). Vice Admiral Komatsu is later appointed President of the Etajima Naval Academy.

15 October 1943:
Truk. Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Oda Tamekiyo (43)(former CO of CHOGEI) is appointed the CO. Captain Minakuchi is reassigned to the Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet staff.

31 January 1944: American Operation "Flintlock" - The Invasion of the Marshall Islands:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's (former CO of HORNET, CV-8) Task Force 58 lands the 4th Marine Division and the Army's 7th Infantry Division that capture Kwajalein, Roi-Namur and Majuro.

15 February 1944:
Truk. KATORI is reassigned to the General Escort Command.

17-18 February 1944: American Operation "Hailstone" - The Attack on Truk:
Task Force 58's five fleet carriers and four light carriers, supported by six battleships, ten cruisers and 28 destroyers, launch air attacks on airfields, shore installations and ships in the lagoon.

At 0430, armed merchant cruiser AKAGI MARU departs Truk towards Yokosuka escorted by KATORI, destroyers MAIKAZE and NOWAKI and minesweeping trawler SHONAN MARU No.15. After 0500, Grumman F6F "Hellcat" fighters and TBF "Avenger" torpedo-bombers from TF 58's carriers USS YORKTOWN (CV-10), INTREPID (CV- 11) and BUNKER HILL (CV-17) and COWPENS (CVL-25) attack KATORI and the MAIKAZE. They sink AKAGI MARU, strafe and torpedo KATORI and damage MAIKAZE. At least one Hellcat is shot down.

At about 1300, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Robert C. Giffen's (former CO of SAVANNAH, CL-42), Task Group 50.9's NEW JERSEY (BB-62), IOWA (BB-61), MINNEAPOLIS (CA-36), NEW ORLEANS (CA-32), BRADFORD (DD-545) and BURNS (DD-588) are conducting an anti-shipping sweep around Truk to destroy enemy naval vessels escaping to the north. They take KATORI, MAIKAZE and SHONAN MARU No.15 under fire. During this engagement, CINC, Fifth Fleet, Admiral Raymond A. Spruance (former CO of MISSISSIPPI, BB-41) flies his flag aboard NEW JERSEY. She engages LtCdr Hagio Tsutomu's (former CO of URANAMI) MAIKAZE at 7,000 yards. MAIKAZE fires a spread of torpedoes that passes between NEW JERSEY and IOWA following in trail. Later, gunfire from MINNEAPOLIS and NEW ORLEANS starts a fire aft that probably explodes one of the destroyer's magazines. At 1343, MAIKAZE, still firing, sinks with all hands. NEW JERSEY sinks SHONAN MARU No. 15 with her port side five-inch battery.

40 miles NW of Truk. IOWA engages KATORI and fires forty-six 16-inch high capacity (non-armor piercing) rounds and 124 five-inch shells. She straddles KATORI with all eight salvos. KATORI launches a salvo of torpedoes at the Americans. Just after the IOWA's fourth salvo, KATORI starts to list to port. After being under fire for 11 minutes, the cruiser sinks stern first at 07-45N, 151-20E. Reportedly, a large group of survivors is seen where she sinks, but none are picked up. Later, Captain Oda is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Moriya Setsuji's (former CO of SUZUKAZE) destroyer NOWAKI flees the onslaught. Both American battleships - the fastest in the world - give chase at 32.5 knots. At 35,000 yards, NEW JERSEY and IOWA open fire and straddle NOWAKI with their first salvos. NOWAKI flees into the sun's glare, so at 38,000 yards both battleships fire under radar control. At 22 miles, these are the longest range shots ever fired by American battleships against an enemy vessel. At 39,000 yards, Admiral Spruance orders Cease Fire. NOWAKI escapes and eventually makes her way back to Yokosuka.

18 February 1944:
During the two days of the raid, TF 58 sinks 31 transports and 10 naval vessels (two cruisers, four destroyers and four auxiliary vessels), destroys nearly 200 aircraft and damages severely about 100 more. Truk is eliminated as a major fleet anchorage for the IJN.

31 March 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

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

Thanks for assistance in researching IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada and Ian McLeod of the UK. Thanks also goes to Aldert Gritter ("Adm. Gurita") of the Netherlands and Tony Tully of the United States.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

Back to Cruiser Page