(MIKUMA in 1939 - colorized by Irotooko, Jr)

IJN MIKUMA: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2016 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 6

24 December 1931:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi's shipyard.

31 May 1934:
Launched and named MIKUMA.

29 August 1935:
Completed and registered in the IJN. An unknown officer is the CO.

11 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takeda Moriji (38)(former CO of KINUGASA) assumes command.

1 December 1936:
An unknown officer assumes command.

1 December 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Irifune Naosaburo (39)(former CO of ERIMO) assumes command.

15 November 1938:
An unknown officer assumes command.

15 December 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso (40)(former CO of TENRYU) assumes command.

20 July 1939:
An unknown officer assumes command.

15 November 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu (40)(former CO of SENDAI) assumes command.

1 November 1940:
Captain Sakiyama Shakao (former CO of ABUKUMA) assumes command.

22 September 1940:
Vichy France cedes airfields and agrees to admission of Japanese troops into northern Indochina (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam). The United States responds by placing a ban on the export of steel, scrap metal and aviation fuel to Japan.

16 July 1941:
CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, MIKUMA, KUMANO and SUZUYA depart Kure.

22 July 1941:
Arrives at Samah, Hainan Island, China.

23 July 1941: Operation "FU"- The Occupation of South Indochina (Cochinchina) :
Japanese and Vichy French authorities arrive at an "understanding" regarding the use of air facilities and harbors in Southern Indochina. From the next day on, Japanese forces occupy the country.

25 July 1941:
CruDiv 7 departs Samah escorting an army convoy, perhaps also with ASHIGARA and CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU.

30 July 1941:
Arrives at Saigon.

31 July 1941:
Departs Saigon.

7 August 1941:
Arrives at Sukomo Bay, Japan.

19 August 1941:
Departs Sukomo Bay.

20 August 1941:
Arrives at Kure.

20 November 1941:
MIKUMA is in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inoue Shigeyoshi's (former CO of HIEI) Fourth Fleet in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 7 with MOGAMI, SUZUYA and flagship KUMANO.

That day, CruDiv 7, except KUMANO, departs Kure with CruDiv 4's CHOKAI. KUMANO, with Admiral Kurita embarked, departs Kure three days later.

26 November 1941:
CruDiv 7 and CHOKAI arrive at Samah, Hainan Island, Occupied China.

29 November 1941:
KUMANO arrives at Samah.

2 December 1941:
CruDiv 7 receives the 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 7 departs Samah southward in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) First Southern Expeditionary Fleet with CHOKAI, SubRon 5's light cruiser YURA and destroyers FUBUKI, SHIRAKUMO, AYANAMI, ISONAMI, SHIKINAMI, MURAKUMO, SHIRAYUKI and HATSUYUKI.

8 December 1941: Operation "E" - The Invasion of Malaya:
CruDiv 7's operates off Cap Camau during the landings at Singora, Patani and Kota Bharu. Provides close support.

9 December 1941:
CruDiv 7 and DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI, DesDiv 19's AYANAMI, ISONAMI, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI are ordered to make night attack on the new battleship HMS PRINCE OF WALES and old battlecruiser REPULSE.

10 December 1941:
At dawn, CruDiv 7 and DesRon 3 join BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO and TAKAO. After the British ships are reported sunk by aircraft, CruDiv 7 departs the area for Poulo Condore, Indochina.

12 December 1941:
Departs Poulo Condore.

14 December 1941:
Provides cover for the Second Malaya Convoy NE of Kuantan.

19 December 1941:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina.

22 December 1941: Operation "Q" - The Invasion of Kuching:
Departs Camranh with MOGAMI.

23-27 December 1941:
Covers the landings at Kuching.

29 December 1941:
Returns to Camranh.

16 January 1942:
CruDiv 7 departs Camranh with CHOKAI, light cruisers SENDAI and YURA and destroyers to intercept British units out of Singapore. The orders are later cancelled.

19 January 1942:
Arrives at Camranh.

23 January 1942:
Departs Camranh with MOGAMI to the Cap St Jacques area to cover the landings at Endau.

28 January 1942:
Arrives at Camranh.

10 February 1942:
In the morning, CruDiv 7 departs Camranh Bay with CHOKAI to escort 25 invasion transports.

That same day, LtCdr Theodore Aylward in the USS SEARAVEN (SS-196) receives an “Ultra” message from Captain (later Vice Admiral) John Wilkes, ComSubAsia in Java alerting SEARAVEN that a convoy departed Camranh Bay heading towards Sumatra. Aylward races to the position given, submerges and waits.

11 February 1942:
In the morning, in heavy seas, the convoy appears on the horizon. Aylward sets up on two heavy cruisers and at close range fires two torpedoes at each cruiser, but all four torpedoes – unreliable Mark 14’s – miss.

13 February 1942: Operation "L" - The Invasion of Borneo and Sumatra:
CruDiv 7 covers the invasion landings at Palembang and Bangka Island, Sumatra.

17 February 1942 :
CruDiv 7 detaches for refueling and resupply at Anambas Island.

24 February 1942:
CruDiv 7 departs Anambas Island for the invasion of Java. Detaches with MOGAMI to cover the landings in Bantam Bay.

28 February 1942: The Battle of the Sunda Strait:[2]
USS HOUSTON (CA-30) and Australian cruiser HMAS PERTH sortie for Tjilatjap via the Sunda Strait. At 2215, they attack Japanese troop transports screened only by destroyers HARUKAZE, HATAKAZE and FUBUKI. The destroyers make smoke to mask the transports. FUBUKI charges and launches a salvo of torpedoes at HOUSTON and PERTH.

At 2300, the Western Support Force's MIKUMA and MOGAMI, destroyer SHIKINAMI, Third Escort Force's light cruiser NATORI and destroyers SHIRAKUMO, MURAKUMO, SHIRAYUKI, HATSUYUKI and ASAKAZE arrive and engage HOUSTON and PERTH with gunfire and torpedoes. During the battle, MIKUMA loses six men and eleven others are wounded.

The Japanese force fires about 90 torpedoes in the engagement. Post-battle analyses indicate that MOGAMI's and FUBUKI's torpedoes probably sank or disabled minesweeper W-2 and transports SAKURA MARU, HORAI MARU, TATSUNO MARU and the Commander-in-Chief of the invading 16th Army LtGen Imamura Hitoshi's transport RYUJO MARU. Imamura jumps into the sea, but survives.

At 2308, torpedoes strike both HOUSTON and PERTH. At 2342, PERTH sinks at 05-51-42S, 106-07-52E.

1 March 1942:
At 0036, HOUSTON sinks at 05-48-45S, 106-07-55E.

4 March 1942:
CruDiv 7 departs Java.

5 March 1942:
Arrives at the Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.

9 March 1942:
CruDiv 7 and CHOKAI depart Singapore.

12 March 1942: Operation "T" - The Invasion of Northern Sumatra:
Covers the landings at Sabang and Iri.

15 March 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

20 March 1942:
CruDiv 7 and CHOKAI depart Singapore to support the seizure of Andaman Islands.

26 March 1942:
Arrives at Mergui, Burma.

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 3's SORYU and HIRYU, CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3's KONGO, HEI, 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.

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 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 five of their number to Nagumo's Combat Air Patrol’s "Zekes". BatDiv3 and the Striking Force continue heading SE.

6-9 April 1942:
Ozawa's commerce raiding detachment sinks twenty ships during their brief foray in the Bay of Bengal.

11 April 1942:
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.[3]

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.

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

[2] See "Naval Alamo"for more about the 1942 naval battles off Java.

[3] 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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