(MIKUMA by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

HIJMS MIKUMA: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2009 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

Revision 5

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.

1 April 1942: Operation "C "– The Raids in the Indian Ocean:
At 1100, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kurita Takeo's CruDiv 7's MIKUMA, MOGAMI, SUZUYA and KUMANO depart Mergui and steam into the Bay of Bengal with Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) Second Expeditionary Fleet, Malay Force's CruDiv 4's CHOKAI and destroyers AYANAMI, YUGIRI, ASAGIRI and SHIOKAZE to attack merchant shipping. CHOKAI and YURA support CarDiv 4's light carrier RYUJO.

5 April 1942:
At 2030, the 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. CHOKAI, SubRon 5's light cruiser YURA, Des Div 20's YUGIRI and ASAGIRI form the Center Group under Admiral Ozawa. MIKUMA, MOGAMI and destroyer AMAGIRI form the Southern Group. They hunt for merchant shipping in the Bay of Bengal.

Mitsubishi Type 97 Kate attack planes from RYUJO bomb 7,726-ton British merchant DARDANUS and 5,281-ton British merchant GANDARA. DARDANUS is hit in the engine room by a 60kg bomb. GANDARA takes DARDANUS under tow.

6 April 1942:
At 0730, GANDARA with DARDANUS under tow is attacked by a seaplane without damage, but soon thereafter both are shelled by the Southern Group's MIKUMA and MOGAMI and sunk by torpedoes, probably launched by AMAGIRI.

At about 0630, Captain Alf Hovelsrød’s 5,381-ton Norwegian tanker ELSA, enroute from Madras to Calcutta with a cargo of 7,000 tons of kerosene, is attacked three warships, probably MIKUMA and MOGAMI and destroyer AMAGIRI, and set afire by gunfire. Later that afternoon, ELSA sinks 35nm E of Cuttack in the Bay of Bengal. 29 crewmen survive, but one is KIA.

Bay of Bengal. After 0730, KUMANO and SUZUYA and destroyer SHIRAKUMO attack a 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.

15 nms off Sacramento Light. At about 0900, Captain Arne Andreassen’s 4,434-ton Norwegian cargo ship DAGFRED, enroute from Calcutta for Madras, is overtaken by two Japanese cruisers, probably MIKUMA and MOGAMI. They signal DAGFRED’s crew to leave the ship immediately. After the crew takes to their boats, the cruisers shell and sink DAGFRED at 16-15N, 82-09E. Three Japanese floatplanes appear and strafe the life boats wounding several crewmen, but all 40 of DAGFRED’s crew survive.

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 MIKUMA, MOGAMI 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.

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.

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