(KUMA at Qingdao, China in 1935 - colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)

IJN KUMA: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2016 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 11

August 1918:
Sasebo Navy Yard. Laid down.

14 July 1919:
Launched and named KUMA , the namesake of KUMA-class light cruisers. Captain Aoki Tohei (27) is appointed ( Chief Equipping Officer (CEO)

31 August 1920:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Captain Aoki is the Commanding Officer.

15 October 1923:
Cdr (later Vice Admiral) Matsushita Shigeru (32)(former CO of KARASAKI) is appointed CO.

1 December 1923:
Cdr Matsushita is promoted captain.

10 May 1924:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Hashimoto Saisuke (30) is appointed CO.

1 November 1926:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ono Hiroshi (32)(former CO of MUROTO) is appointed CO.

1 December 1927:
CAPT Hayashi Yoshihiro (33) assumes command.

30 November 1929:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Sugisaka Teijiro (32)(former XO of KASUGA) is appointed CO.

1 December 1930:
Captain Yunofawa Chuichi (34) assumes command.

6 July 1932:
Near Chisato Island, 60 miles S of Tsingtao (Qingdao), China. At 0245, in dense fog, DKK steamer CHOSHUN MARU strikes a rock and damages her hull at 36-15N, 121-23 E. She takes on water that floods her boiler and engine room. At 0500, CHOSHUN MARU signals SOS and then is beached to prevent sinking. KUMA is dispatched and takes off 50 passengers and 131 crew and lands them in Tsingtao.

1 December 1932:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kumaoka Yazuru (36) is appointed CO.

15 November 1933:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Horiuchi Shigenori (39)(former CO of SHIKISHIMA) is appointed CO.

10 April 1935:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Aihara Aritaka (38) assumes command.

15 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral), the Marquis, Daigo Tadashige (40)(former CO of NAKA) is appointed CO.

1 December 1936:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sato Tsutomu (40) assumes command.

15 June 1938:
Captain Vice Admiral, posthumously) Yatsushiro Sukeyoshi (40)(former CO of TATSUTA) is appointed CO.

18 May 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Kengo (42)(former CO of TSURUMI) is appointed CO.

15 November 1939:
Captain Hiratsuka Shiro (40) assumes command.

10 April 1941:
KUMA is assigned to Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) CruDiv 16 in Takahashi's Third Fleet.

20 September 1941:
Captain Shibuya Kiyomi (former CO of SATA) assumes command.

November 1941:
KUMA is in CruDiv 16 with ASHIGARA (F) and light cruiser NAGARA.

2 December 1941:
KUMA receives the coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time). Mt. Niitaka, Formosa, is the highest point in the Japanese Empire.

8 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
KUMA is in Vice Admiral Takahashi's Philippine Seizure Force. Departs Mako, Pescadores with CruDiv 16's ASHIGARA, CruDiv 4's MAYA, and DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE and MATSUKAZE.

10 December 1941:
W of Luzon. At about 0800, five USN PBY-4 “Catalinas” of Patrol Wing 10 based at Los Banos attack MAYA and CruDiv 16’s KUMA and ASHIGARA and DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE and MATSUKAZE. The Catalinas fail to score a hit. At about 1300, four other PBYs from Sangley Point (Cavite) attack. They too fail to score a hit. One PBY is shot down by Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 Zeke carrier fighters of the IJN’s 3rd NAG.

11 December 1941:
Covers landings at Aparri and Vigan. Off Vigan, KUMA is attacked unsuccessfully by five Army Air Force Boeing B-17 heavy bombers of the USAAFE 14th Squadron.[1]

14 December 1941:
Returns to Mako.

19 December 1941:
Departs Mako.

22 December 1941:
Lingayen Gulf, Philippines. Covers the invasion landings.

23 December 1941:
Returns to Mako.

3 January 1942:
KUMA is assigned to Vice Admiral Sugiyama Rokuzo's (former CO of HYUGA) Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet with minelayer YAEYAMA (F).

10 January 1942:
Departs Takao, Formosa. Patrols off Manila Bay thereafter.

31 January 1942:
Arrives at Lingayen Gulf.

8 February 1942:
Departs Lingayen Gulf. Escorts a convoy to Manila.

11 February 1942:
Arrives at Lingayen Gulf.

February 1942:
Departs Lingayen. Arrives at Olangapo, Subic Bay, Philippines.

26 February 1942:
Departs Subic Bay with torpedo boat KIJI. On the way south, they encounter coaster COMPAGNIA DE FILIPINAS near Batangas. They seize the coaster and she is escorted to Manila.

27 February 1942:
The Zamboanga invasion force departs Davao.

1 March 1942:
KUMA and KIJI shell Cebu harbor sinking coasters LEPUS and REGULUS. LEGAZPI is scuttled. There are 325 casualties including women and children. KUMA and KIJI continue south to Davao and participate in the planned seizure of Zamboanga.

2 March 1942: The Invasion of Zamboanga, Philippines:
Covers the landing at Zamboanga, Mindanao with torpedo boat KIJI, Gun Boat Division 1's KEIKO and BUSHO MARUs, Subchaser Division 51's KYO MARU No. 13 and seven of Air Group 32's reconnaissance seaplanes.

3 March 1942:
At 0240, the invasion force arrives off Zamboanga. Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF) land on the beach one kilometer W of Zamboanga. During the night, counter-attacks are made by small units. The IJN escort vessels open fire to neutralize the opposition. The city is cleared before sunset. An SNLF unit from KUMA rescues about 80 Japanese nationals who had been interned. After embarking the civilians on board KEIKO MARU, the SNLF troops return to KUMA and depart Zamboanga. That evening, in an unequal firefight, KUMA sinks 12 ships off Cebu in the Sulu Sea.

5 March 1942:
Arrives at Lingayen Gulf.

25 March 1942:
Departs Lingayen. Arrives at Subic Bay.

4 April 1942:
Departs Subic Bay.

5 April 1942:
KUMA, DesDiv2 (less 2 destroyers) HARUSAME, MURASAME, SAMIDARE and YUDACHI, torpedo boat KIJI, gun boat BUSHO MARU and auxiliary subchasers KIYO MARU No. 12 and KIYO MARU No. 13 depart Lingayen for Cebu, Philippines escorting an invasion convoy consisting of BORNEO. INDIA, MEXICO, NAGANO, RISSHUN, RYUUN, TAIRYU and TOTTORI, MARUs The convoy carries 4,852 men of the Kawaguchi Detachment's consisting of 35th Infantry Brigade HQ, 124th Infantry Regiment, 1 platoon of the 16th Reconnaissance Regiment, 4th Company, 22nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Company, e 21st Field Heavy Artillery Battalion, the main force of the 44th Anchorage HQ, 1 platoon of the 23rd Independent Engineer Regiment [type “E”], 1 company (less 2 platoons) of the 26th Independent Engineer Regiment [type “D”] and part of the Logistics Units.

8/9 April 1942:
Off Cebu. That night, KUMA and torpedo boat KIJI are attacked by Lt (j.g.) Robert B. Kelly's (later SS/2) USS PT-34 and Lt (later Vice Admiral/MOH) John D. Bulkeley's (former CO of SACRAMENTO, PG-19) PT-41 of Bulkeley's Motor Torpedo Squadron 3. KUMA is hit in the bow by one of eight Mark-8 torpedoes fired, but it is a dud. [2]

9-10 April 1942:
Cauit Island. PT-34 is bombed, strafed, set afire and forced ashore by four Japanese floatplanes, probably Mitsubishi F1M "Petes", from seaplane tender SANUKI MARU.

10 April 1942:
The convoy arrives at Cebu. KUMA covers the landings of the Kawaguchi Detachment's 35th Infantry Brigade HQ and the 124th Infantry Regiment with DesDiv 2's SAMIDARE and MURASAME, SANUKI MARU, torpedo boat KIJI, gun boat BUSHO MARU and two subchasers. BORNEO MARU and NAGANO MARUs land troops on the east coast (Argao) of Cebu Island with unknown landing craft. The two transports land the 124th Infantry Regiment HQ, 1st Battalion, the 124th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion (minus 7th Co), the 124th Infantry Regiment, Rapid-fire Gun Company (lessus 1 platoon), the main force of Regiment Signal Unit, 1 platoon of the brigade radio signal unit, 1 armored car platoon of the 16th Reconnaissance Regiment, 4th Company, the 22nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1 platoon of the 14th Army Road Construction Unit, part of the 14th Army Propaganda Section, 2nd Company, 21st Field Heavy Artillery Battalion and a temporarily formed anti-air machine cannon unit. Meanwhile, INDIA, TAIRYU, MEXICO, TOTTORI and RISSHUN MARU begin to land troops at Cebu City. Seaplane tender SANUKI MARU covers the landings.

16 April 1942:
KUMA covers the landings on Panay, Philippines of the Kawamura Detachment's 9th Infantry Brigade HQ and the 41st Infantry Regiment with DesDiv 24's UMIKAZE, KAWAKAZE and YAMAKAZE, torpedo boat KIJI and SANUKI MARU.

29 April 1942:
Arrives at Subic Bay.

5/6 May 1942:
Covers the final assault on the American bastion on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay.

9 May 1942:
Arrives at Manila. Remains as a guardship.

7 August 1942:
Departs Manila.

12 August 1942:
Arrives at Kure. Begins refit.

29 August 1942:

10 September 1942:

15 September 1942:
The refit is completed. Departs Kure.

20 September 1942:
Arrives at Manila. That same day, KUMA is reassigned from the Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet (Philippine Force) to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro's (former CO of ISUZU) Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet (Netherlands East Indies Force) in Shiro's Southwest Area Fleet.

22 September 1942:
Departs Manila.

24 September 1942:
Arrives at Hong Kong. Embarks troops of the 38th Infantry Division.

26 September 1942:
Departs Hong Kong.

4 October 1942:
Arrives at Palau.

5 October 1942:
Departs Palau.

10 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Disembarks troops and departs.

18 October 1942:
Arrives at Makassar, Celebes. Remains as a guardship.

14 November 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yokoyama Ichiro (Naval Attaché, Wash, DC - Sep '40 -7 Dec '41) assumes command. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Shibuya is reassigned and becomes the CO of JUNYO in Feb '44. [3]

19 November 1942:
Departs Makassar.

25 November 1942:
Arrives at Manila. Embarks troops.

27 November 1942:
Departs Manila.

3 December 1942:
Arrives at at Rabaul. Disembarks troops and departs.

11 December 1942:
Arrives at Makassar. Remains as a guardship.

28 December 1942:
Departs Makassar.

8 January 1943:
Arrives at Ambon.

22 January 1943:
Departs Ambon.

24 January 1943:
Arrives at Makassar.

6 February 1943:
Departs Makassar. Cruises in the Java Sea.

12 February 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya, Java.

21 February 1943:
Embarks Army troops. Departs Surabaya.

27 February 1943:
Arrives at Kaimana, New Guinea, disembarks some troops and departs.

27 February 1943:
Arrives at Kabui, New Guinea, disembarks the remaining troops and departs.

15 March 1943:
Arrives at Makassar. Remains as a guardship.

12 April 1943:
Departs Makassar.

13 April 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya.

25 April 1943:
Departs Surabaya.

13 April 1943:
Arrives at Singapore, Malaya. Begins refit at the Seletar Naval Base.

1 May 1943:

8 May 1943:

25 May 1943:
The refit is completed. Departs Singapore.

27 May 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya.

29 May 1943:
Embarks Army troops. Departs Surabaya.

30 May 1943:
Arrives at Makassar.

31 May 1943:
Departs Makassar.

2 June 1943:
Arrives at Ambon. Dismbarks troops and departs.

3 June 1943:
Arrives at Batjan, Halmahera.

6 June 1943:
Arrives at Batjan.

8 June 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

9 June 1943:
Departs Balikpapan.

10 June 1943:
Arrives at Makassar.

23 June 1943:
Makassar Roads. CruDiv 16's KUMA and KINU are anchored at Juliana Quay alongside OI and KITAKAMI. The cruisers are attacked by 17 Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" bombers of the 319th Squadron/90th Bomb Group (H) of the 5th Air Force. All four light cruisers are straddled by near-misses, but suffer only slight damage. A fuel dump is set afire and many buildings along Juliana Quay and in the town area are damaged or demolished.

24 June 1943:
CruDiv 16's flag is transferred from KINU to KUMA. Both cruisers then depart Makassar.

25 June 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya.

27 June 1943:
Departs Surabaya.

28 June 1943:
Arrives at Makassar.

29 June 1943:
Departs Makassar.

30 June 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

2 July 1943:
Departs Balikpapan.

4 July 1943:
Arrives at Halmahera.

13 July 1943:
Departs Halmahera.

15 July 1943:
Arrives at Tarakan. Refuels.

16 July 1943:
Departs Tarakan.

17 July 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

22 July 1943:
Departs Balikpapan.

24 July 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya.

30 July 1943:
Departs Surabaya.

1 August 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

14 August 1943:
Captain Sugino Shuichi (46)(former ComDesDiv 11) is appointed CO.

16 August 1943:
Departs Singapore.

17 August 1943:
Arrives at Belawan, Sumatra. Embarks Army troops.

18 August 1943:
Departs Belawan.

19 August 1943:
Indian Ocean. Arrives at Port Blair, Andaman Islands. Disembarks troops and departs.

21 August 1943:
Arrives at Penang, Malaya. Refuels.

23 August 1943:
Departs Penang. Arrives at Belawan. Embarks Army troops.

25 August 1943:
Arrives at Port Blair. Disembarks troops and departs.

28 August 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

9 September 1943:
Departs Singapore.

10 September 1943:
Arrives at Sabang, Sumatra.

13 September 1943:
Departs Sabang.

14 September 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

15 September 1943:
Departs Singapore. Arrives at Lingga. Training thereafter.

1 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore. Departs on a transport run.

7 October 1943:
Arrives at Port Blair.

10 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore. Departs that same day.

11 October 1943:
Arrives at Penang.

14 October 1943:
Departs Penang. Cruises in the Straits of Malacca.

23 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore. Begins refit.

1 November 1943:
Drydocked. KUMA's No. 5 140-mm gun is removed as are her catapult and derrick. Two triple mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns are fitted. This brings KUMA's 25-mm AA suite to ten barrels (2x3, 2x2).

8 November 1943:

12 November 1943:
The refit is completed. Departs Singapore. Arrives at Lingga. Training thereafter.

28 November 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

30 November 1943:
Departs on a transport run.

8 December 1943:
Arrives at Port Blair.

15 December 1943:
Arrives at Singapore. Loads cargo and departs.

17 December 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya. Unloads cargo.

20 December 1943:
Departs Surabaya.

21 December 1943:
Arrives at Batavia, Java.

23 December 1943:
Departs Batavia.

25 December 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

3 January 1944:
Departs Singapore with cruisers ASHIGARA and AOBA and destroyer URANAMI. Embarks Army troops and supplies.

4 January 1944:
Arrives at Penang, Malaya.

5 January 1944:
Departs for Penang.

6 January 1944:
Arrives at Mergui, Burma.

7 January 1944:
Departs Mergui.

8 January 1944:
Arrives at Penang. KUMA and URANAMI are detached while ASHIGARA and AOBA return to Singapore.

9 January 1944:
Departs Penang with URANAMI on antisubmarine exercises covered by aircraft of the 551st and 732nd Kokutais. KUMA is sighted by LtCdr (later Captain) Leslie W. A. Bennington's (formerly of HMS PORPOISE) submarine HMS TALLY HO! based at Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), but it is impossible for Bennington to get into an attacking position. KUMA returns to Penang.

11 January 1944:
Departs Penang with URANAMI on antisubmarine exercises with covered by a Mitsubishi Type O F1M2 "Pete" floatplane. KUMA is again sighted by LtCdr Bennington's TALLY HO! .

10 miles NW of Penang. Bennington fires a seven-torpedo salvo from 1,900 yards. KUMA's lookouts spot the torpedoes' wakes. Captain Sugino puts his rudder hard over, but KUMA is hit starboard aft by two torpedoes. Smoke from the burning cruiser can be seen from 20 miles away. Bennington heads towards the shallows along the shore. URANAMI attacks the submarine and drops 18 depth charges, but they all miss and TALLY HO! slips away and returns to Trincomalee.

URANAMI takes off KUMA's survivors including Captain Sugino, but 138 crewmen are lost.[4]

A fire rages amidships, then at 1157, KUMA sinks by the stern in the vicinity of 05-26N, 99-52E, detonating her own depth-charges. [5]

Later, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from the CO of KUMA that reads: “While enroute to take part in torpedo practice speed 24 knots, was hit by 2 torpedoes at 1145 in position bearing 270 degrees, distant 18 miles from -----. Began sinking from the bow, disappearing from sight at 1157.” 10 March 1944:
Removed from Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Postwar, this attack is mentioned by Captain Ishihara in the USSBS "Interrogations of Japanese Officials", but American sources do not mention an attack against the cover force.

[2] Vice Admiral John D. Bulkeley (1911-1996) received the Medal of Honor for evacuating General (later General of the Army) Douglas MacArthur from Corregidor on 12 March 1942. Bulkeley was on active duty from his entry in the Naval Academy in 1929 until 1988 - an incredible 58 years! An Arleigh Burke-class destroyer was christened USS JOHN D. BULKELEY (DDG-84) in his honor and commissioned in the USN on 8 December 2001.

[3] On 2 September 1945, Rear Admiral Yokoyama, who attended Yale University in the 30's, is one of three representatives of the Imperial Navy in the Japanese delegation on board USS MISSOURI (BB-63) at the surrender ceremonies held in Tokyo Bay.

[4] Captain Sugino takes command of TAIYO in March 1944 and survives her sinking in August 1944. He assumes command of NAGATO in August 1945.

[5] In March 2004, Australian diver/photojournalist Kevin Denlay and a group of divers operating off MV EMPRESS out of Singapore using side-scan sonar discover KUMA at a depth of about 155 feet/46 m. KUMA is lying on her starboard side covered in snagged nets and fishing line. Her bridge is fairly intact although half buried in bottom silt. Her funnels have fallen off. Her port waist 5.5-inch gun is intact, except the top of the mount's enclosure has disintegrated. The circular rotating base of the forward port torpedo rack is intact, but there are no tubes on it. Denlay reports that the fire amidships melted and fused glass on many portholes along her hull . The base of her port aft circular rotating torpedo rack has fallen off. KUMA’s stern is missing, all that remains is a jagged edge, but the port outboard propeller is still in place.

[6] In May 2014, Denlay noted that the STAR online reported illegal salvagers have plundered scrap metal from at least five shipwrecks, including KUMA.

Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Jean-François Masson of Japan. Thanks also go to Aldert Gritter/"Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands and the late John Whitman for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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