1 April 1942:
Meanwhile, at 1100, Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) Second Expeditionary Fleet, Mobile 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 AYANAMI, YUGIRI, ASAGIRI and SHIOKAZE. YURA and CHOKAI support CarDiv 4's light carrier RYUJO.
4 April 1942:
350 nms S of Ceylon. About 1600, the carrier Striking Force is located by a Consolidated PBY "Catalina" QL-A seaplane of 413 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) flown by 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.
5 April 1942, Easter Sunday: The Attack on the British naval base at Columbo:
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
Columbo, 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 TRUSTY, submarine tender LUCIA, 5,943-ton British freighter BENLEDI and British freighter CLAN MUROCH. 81 civilians and 56 RN personnel are killed at Colombo (TENEDOS 33, HECTOR 4, LUCIA 2, TRUSTY 1, FAA
aircrew and ground crew 12. The Japanese lose seven aircraft (6 D3A Vals, 1 A6M Zeke).
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, 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.
6 April 1942:
Bay of Bengal. 14 miles E of Calingapatam. YURA and YUGIRI sink 1,279-ton Dutch merchant BATAVIA enroute from Calcutta to Karachi. YURA and YUGIRI also sink 1,279-ton Dutch freighter BANJOEWANGI and 3,471-tonBritish steamer TAKSANG.
Bay of Bengal. 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, 7,621-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.
25 miles S of Vizagapatam, northern Indian coast. CHOKAI’s floatplanes bomb and sink 5,686-ton American freighter SELMA CITY and 6,426-ton British cargo ship GANGES.
Bay of Bengal. RYUJO's aircraft bomb 5,491-ton American freighter BIENVILLE. She is finished off by a torpedo from CHOKAI.
That same day, CHOKAI sinks 6,426-ton British cargo ship GANGES and RYUJO launches strikes against Cocanada and Vizagapatam. RYUJO's aircraft bomb and sink 2,441 ton British steamship SINKIANG and damage 2,073-ton Dutch freighter
VAN DER CAPELLEN that sinks two days later. RYUJO's aircraft also damage 5,268-ton British freighter ANGLO CANADIAN and 3,827-ton British merchant MARION MOLLER.
9 April 1942: The Attack on the British naval base at Trincomalee:
At 0600, Nagumo's Striking Force launches 127 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, 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. They also seriously damage the dockyard and the RAF station at
China Bay, shoot down nine planes and destroy at least 14 aircraft on the ground. 20 military and 38 civilian personnel are killed at Trincomalee including EREBUS 9, naval dockyard personnel 17, 55th LAA Battery 2, and at China Bay 3.
The Japanese lose seven aircraft (4 D3A Vals, 3 A6M Zekes).
10 nms off Godavari coast, Madras. At 1314, Captain Eilif Steier’s 1,515-ton Norwegian cargo ship HERMOD, enroute from Calcutta for Colombo, is fired upon by three warships, probably MOGAMI, MIKUMA and destroyer AMAGIRI. In just eight
minutes, HERMOD sinks. Two Japanese floatplanes appeared and circle the life boats, but do not fire on them. All 36 of HERMOD’s crew survive.
HARUNA launches a E8N2 “Dave” floatplane. At 0755, it spots an enemy carrier 65 miles south of the base. At 0900, 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 VITA, en route from Trincomalee to Colombo, arrives and picks up over 600
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
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 five of their number to Nagumo's Combat Air Patrol’s "Zekes". BatDiv3 and the Striking Force continue
6-9 April 1942:
11 April 1942:
Ozawa's commerce raiding detachment sinks twenty ships during their brief foray in the Bay of Bengal.
Arrives at Singapore.
13 April 1942:
CruDiv 7 departs Singapore.
16 April 1942:
CruDiv 7 arrives at Camranh.
17 April 1942:
CruDiv 7 departs Camranh.
22 April 1942:
CruDiv 7 arrives at Kure.
1 May 1942:
ComCruDiv 7 Rear Admiral Kurita is promoted Vice Admiral.
4 May 1942:
Drydocked for overhaul and hull scraping.
12 May 1942:
15 May 1942:
CruDiv 7 departs Kure for three days of exercises with BatDiv 1's YAMATO, NAGATO and MUTSU in the area around Hashirajima.
18 May 1942:
Arrives back at Kure. Liberty is granted that evening.
22 May 1942:
CruDiv7 departs Hashirajima that night with DesDiv 8's ASASHIO and ARASHIO that provide close escort.
26 May 1942:
CruDiv 7 arrives at Guam (renamed Omiyajima) to provide close support for Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (former CO of KONGO) Midway Invasion Transport Group's oiler AKEBONO MARU and transports KIYOSUMI, ZENYO, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, AZUMA, KEIYO, GOSHU, KANO, HOKURIKU, KIRISHIMA and NANKAI MARUs and TOA MARU No. 2. The transports carry 5,000 troops.
MIKUMA refuels from an oiler.
28 May 1942:
CruDiv 7 departs Guam covering Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro's (former CO of FUSO) Seaplane Tender Group's CHITOSE and KAMIKAWA MARU of the Close Support Group. MIKUMA's crew is informed of the plan to attack Midway. It is also announced that upon the completion of the Midway operation they will proceed to the Aleutian Islands and from there to Australia.
30 May 1942:
CruDiv 7 and DesDiv 8 rendezvous with the Transport Group and oiler NICHIEI MARU.
5 June 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
The Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (former CO of AKAGI) orders Midway to be shelled. CruDiv 7 is tasked to accomplish the shelling at 1050 (I). CruDiv 7 and DesDiv 8 are 410 miles away from the island, so they make a high-speed dash at 35 knots. The sea is choppy and the destroyers lag behind. At 2120, the order is canceled.
At 2138, flagship KUMANO spots the surfaced submarine USS TAMBOR (SS-198). KUMANO signals a 45° simultaneous turn to starboard to avoid possible torpedoes. The emergency turn is correctly executed by the flagship and SUZUYA, but the third ship in the line, MIKUMA, erroneously makes a 90° turn. Behind her, MOGAMI turns 45° as commanded. MOGAMI's navigator, LtCdr (later Captain) Yamauchi Masaki, watching SUZUYA does not see MIKUMA's movement. This results in a collision in which MOGAMI rams MIKUMA´s portside below the bridge. MOGAMI's bow caves in and she is badly damaged. MIKUMA's portside oil tanks rupture and she begins to spill oil, but otherwise her damage is slight.
After learning about the collision, the Commander of the Second Fleet, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake (former CO of KONGO) orders Vice Admiral Kurita to have DesDiv 8's ARASHIO and ASASHIO stay behind and escort MOGAMI and MIKUMA. Flagship KUMANO and SUZUYA are detached. The MOGAMI group proceeds westward at reduced speed.
A notice is published on board MIKUMA that the Midway attack has been abandoned and that CruDiv 7 will operate with BatDiv 1.
At 0534, retiring MIKUMA and MOGAMI are bombed from high altitude by eight Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" from Midway, but they score no hits. At 0805, USMC Captain Richard E. Fleming's (MOH posthumously) Scout-Bombing Squadron 241's six Douglas SBD "Dauntless" dive-bombers and six Vought-Sikorsky SB2U "Vindicators" from the 2nd Marine Air Wing on Midway attack MIKUMA and MOGAMI but they only achieve several near-misses.
6 June 1942:
MIKUMA and MOGAMI are heading for Wake Island when they are attacked by three waves of 81 SBD dive-bombers from USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and the HORNET (CV-8). ARASHIO and ASASHIO are each hit by a bomb. MOGAMI is hit by six bombs.
MIKUMA is hit by at least five bombs in the forecastle, bridge area and amidships and set afire. The hit on the forecastle puts the forward guns out of commission. The hit near the bridge area sets off some ready service AA shells and causes considerable damage to the bridge and personnel. The hit amidships sets off several torpedoes and the resultant explosions destroy the ship. Captain Sakiyama is wounded severely. MIKUMA turns on her portside and sinks at 29-22N, 176-34E. 650 crewmen are killed.
ASASHIO rescues Captain Sakiyama. Later, he is transferred to SUZUYA for medical attention. MOGAMI, ASASHIO and ARASHIO rescue 240 survivors, then they depart for Truk.
Later, Admiral Kondo orders ASASHIO back to search for more survivors from MIKUMA and to scuttle her. She searches, but fails to find the cruiser.
8 June 1942:
MOGAMI rejoins CruDiv 7.
9 June 1942:
USS TROUT (SS-202) passes through a large oil slick and some debris, then rescues Chief Radioman Yoshida Katsuichi and Fireman, Third Class Ishikawa Kenichi of MIKUMA from a large wooden hatch cover. TROUT takes them to Pearl Harbor as POWs five days later.
12 June 1942:
Captain Sakiyama dies aboard SUZUYA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.
10 August 1942:
Removed from the Navy List.
 Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was the highest point in the Japanese Empire at the time.
 See "Naval Alamo"for more about the 1942 naval battles off Java.
 It has been suggested, but not yet verified, that SUZUYA turned back and removed the remainder of MIKUMA's crew, including Captain Sakiyama. Then SUZUYA scuttled MIKUMA with torpedoes.
Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada. Thanks also go to "Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands, Andrew Obluski of Poland and Randy Stone of the United States. - Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.
Thanks also go to Rob Stuart of Canada for additional info about "Operation C". For more info on "Operation C" please see Rob's splendid 20 Ships, Not 23: Ozawa’s Score, 5-6 April 1942.
- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.
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