JUNYOKAN!

(NAGARA by Ueda Kihachiro)

HIJMS NAGARA: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2014 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 12


9 September 1920:
Sasebo Navy Yard. Laid down.

25 April 1921:
Launched and named NAGARA. Captain Kuroda Jiro (30) is posted Chief Equipping Officer.

21 April 1922:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Captain Kuroda is posted Commanding Officer.

10 November 1922:
Capt. (later Rear Admiral) Fujii Kensuke (30) (former CO of SHIRIYA) is posted CO.

1 November 1923:
Capt. (later Rear Admiral) Sato Minokichi (30) (former CO of SATA) is posted CO.

1 November 1924:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hori Teikichi (32)(former CO of ISUZU) is appointed Commanding Officer.

24 October 1925:
Captaib (later Rear Admiral) Yoshitake Junzo (32) (former XO of ASAHI) is posted CO.

1 July 1926:
Captain Yanagisawa Kyosuke (32) (former CEO / CO of NUMAKAZE) is posted CO. Captain Yoshitake is posted Chief-of-Staff, Mako Guard District. 1 December 1927:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ban Jiro (33) (former CO of TSURUMI) is posted CO.

21 December 1927:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sagara Tatsuo (32) (former CO of SENDAI) is posted CO. In a change-of-command swap, Captain Ban is posted CO of SENDAI.

10 December 1928:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Sato Ichiro (36) (former 1st Fleet / Combined Fleet Staff) is posted CO. Captain Sagara is posted CO of Sasebo Sailor Corps.

1 May 1929:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mitsui Seizaburo (34) (former CO of KISO) is posted CO. Captain Sato is posted to the Naval General Staff.

30 November 1929:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Sonosuke (35)(former CO of SHIMAKAZE) is appointed Commanding Officer. Captain Mitsui is posted Chief-of-Staff, Mako Guard District.

1 December 1930:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Waki Kanae (36) (former Equipping Officer / XO of ASHIGARA) is posted CO. Captain Kobayashi is posted CO of HAGURO.

1 December 1930:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Waki Kanae (36) (former Equipping Officer / XO of ASHIGARA) is posted CO. Captain Kobayashi is posted CO of HAGURO.

1 December 1931:
Captain Taniike Kazuo (36) is posted CO. Captain Waki is posted to the Staff of Yokosuka Supply Bureau.

1 December 1932:
Capt. Watanabe Tokushiro (37) (former CEO / CO of I-2) is posted CO.

15 November 1933:
Captain (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo (39)(former CO of RO-68) is appointed Commanding Officer.

15 November 1934:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsunaga Jiro (38)(former XO of KONGO) is appointed Commanding Officer.

15 November 1935:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi (39)(former CO of NARUTO) is appointed Commanding Officer.

1 December 1936:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsuyama Mitsuharu (40) (current CO of KITAKAMI) is posted CO as an additional duty. Captain Kajioka is later posted CO of KISO.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The"First China Incident") Incident:
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge bridge. They fire blank cartridges during their maneuvers. Chinese troops across the river fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to the Beijing suburb of Wanping to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

11 July 1937:
The IJA and IJN agree to operational jurisdictions in the event of a full-scale war with China. The IJA takes responsibility for northern China and the IJN assumes assumes responsibility for central and southern China. At this time, the IJN's air power in-theater consists of only about 80 planes carried by the carriers KAGA, RYUJO and HOSHO on station in the East China Sea.

9 August 1937:
The Japanese bring in two divisions, several cruisers and destroyers. This increases IJN strength in Shanghai waters to 30 warships.

14 August 1937:
Shanghai Reinforcement: Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanimoto Umataro's(35) 8th Cruiser Division consisting of NAGARA (F), JINTSU and SENDAI take up position at Woosung Flats off Shanghai. NAGARA opens fire over the masts of British sloop HMS FALMOUTH and bombards Pootung.

10 November 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Sawada Torao (41) is appointed Commanding Officer. Captain Nakao is posted CO of NATORI.

10 May 1938:
At dawn, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Koichi Shiozawa’s (32)(former CO of FURUTAKA) Fifth Fleet’s warships, including DesRon 5's flagship NAGARA and her destroyers, bombard Ho-tsu, Ni-chin, and Wu-tung and cover an amphibious assault landing by more than 2,000 troops of the Yokosuka, Kure and Sasebo Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF). At the same time, NE of Xiamen (Amoy), Japanese aircraft from tenders KAMOI and KAMIKAWA MARU bomb bridges, roads, ferries and ships. The poorly equipped Nationalist Chinese 75th Division defenders suffer heavy casualties, are overrun by the SNLFs and withdraw.

12 May 1938:
That night, Chinese forces abandon Amoy to the Japanese.

15 July 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ichise Shinichi (41)(former CO of IWATE) is appointed Commanding Officer.

15 December 1938:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Edo Heitaro (41)(former XO of NAKA) is appointed Commanding Officer.

1 July 1939:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Yano Hideo (43) is appointed Commanding Officer. Capt. Edo is posted CO of KAKO.

1 September 1939:
An unknown officer is appointed Commanding Officer.

10 September 1941:
Captain Sone is posted CO of MOGAMI.

1 November 1940:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sone Akira (44) (former CO of SHIRETOKO) is posted CO. Captain Yano is later posted CO of MYOKO.

10 September 1941:
Captain Naoi Toshio (47) assumes command. NAGARA is in Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (36)(former CO of KIRISHIMA) CruDiv 16 of Ibo's Third Fleet with ASHIGARA (F), light cruisers KUMA and NATORI and DesRon 5.

26 November 1941:
NAGARA is flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji's (35)(former CO of SUZUYA) Fourth Surprise Attack Unit. Departs the Terashima Strait, Japan.

1 December 1941:
Arrives at Kossol Roads, Palau.

2 December 1941:
NAGARA 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 Attack on the Southern Philippines:
Rear Admiral Kubo's Fourth Surprise Attack Force's seven troop transports depart Palau with NAGARA (F) and DesDiv 24's four destroyers. Seaplane tenders CHITOSE and MIZUHO provide air cover.

11-12 December 1941:
Covers the landing of troops at Legaspi, Luzon, Philippines.

13 December 1941:
Departs Legaspi.

15 December 1941:
Arrives at Amami-O-Shima.

17 December 1941:
Departs Amami-O-Shima with DesDiv 24 escorting 24 troop transports.

24 December 1941:
The transports disembark troops at several points on SE Luzon.

30 December 1941:
Departs Lamon Bay, Luzon.

2 January 1942:
Arrives at Malalag Bay, near Davao.

9 January 1942:
Departs Davao with light cruiser JINTSU and the No. 2 Escort Unit, escorting ten transports carrying the Sasebo No. 1 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF).

11 January 1942:
Covers the landing of the No. 1 SNLF at Menado and Kema, Celebes.

16 January 1942:
Arrives at Bangka Roads.

21 January 1942:
Departs Bangka Roads with six transports carrying troops of the No. 1 Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force escorted by DesDivs 15 and 16.

24 January 1942:
Lands troops at Kendari, Celebes.

25 January 1942:
Kendari. DesDiv 21's HATSUHARU collides with NAGARA in the harbor damaging the cruiser's hull. Rear Admiral Kubo transfers his flag to DesDiv 21's HATSUSHIMO. NAGARA departs Kendari.

27 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao. Begins hull repairs.

1 February 1942:
Departs Davao.

4 February 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay, Celebes. Rear Admiral Kubo transfers his flag back to NAGARA.

6 February 1942: The Invasion of Makassar, Celebes:
NAGARA departs Staring Bay with the Makassar Occupation Force: - consisting of IJN transports KINAI, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, MATSUE, MONTEVIDEO and YAMASHIMO MARUs. The transports are accompanied by auxiliary oiler SAN CLEMENTE MARU, acting as a replenishing vessel.

Escort is provided by DesDiv 8’s ASASHIO, MICHISHIO, ARASHIO and OSHIO, DesDiv 15’s HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 21’s WAKABA, HATSUSHIMO and NENOHI, 21st Minesweeper Div’s W-7, W-8, 2nd Subchaser Div’s CH-13, CH-14 and CH-15.

Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro's (former CO of FUSO) CarDiv 11's CHITOSE, MIZUHO and SANUKI MARU provide distant support for the Occupation Force.

The convoy is organized in two echelons:

The first echelon, with KINAI, NANKAI and HOKUROKU MARUs carries Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mori Kunizo’s Makassar Occupation Force consisting of his Sasebo Combined Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF)(Rikusentai).

> The second echelon, with MATSUE, MONTEVIDEO and YAMASHIMO MARUs carries the 5th and 6th Naval Construction Units (Setsueihan).

SE of Wowoni Island. Just before midnight, the Occupation Force is sighted by LtCdr Lucius H. Chappell's USS SCULPIN (SS-191) running on the surface in heavy rainstorms. Chappell misidentifies one of the ships as a HOSHO-class carrier and NAGARA as a TENRYU-class cruiser. He fires two Mark 14 steam torpedoes at NAGARA, but one prematures and the other misses.

9 February 1942:
Makassar Strait. During the landing of the Sasebo Combined SNLF invasion force, DesDiv 15's NATSUSHIO is torpedoed and sunk by Lt (later Rear Admiral) James C. Dempsey's old submarine USS S-37. NATSUSHIO is the only loss suffered by the IJN in the action.

11 February 1942:
Anchors at Makassar.

17 February 1942:
That night, troop-transports SASAGO MARU, SAGAMI MARU, with part of the IJA's 48th Infantry Division embarked, and the close escort DesDiv 8's ASASHIO, OSHIO, ARASHIO and MICHISHIO depart Makassar for Bali, Java.

NAGARA, with Rear-Admiral Kubo embarked, and DesDiv 21's HATSUSHIMO, NENOHI and WAKABA provide distant cover. During the invasion force's crossing of the Flores Sea, air cover is provided by Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters of the 3rd Air Group and the Tainan Air Group, based at Makassar.

19 February 1942: The Invasion of Bali.
Badung Strait. At 0200, in Sanur Roads, the invasion force begins to disembark with little to no resistance.

LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Frederick B. Warder's (USNA ‘25) USS SEAWOLF (SS-197), on patrol at the north entrance by the Flores Sea, sights the main force disembarking and attempts a surface attack. He fires two unreliable Mark-14 torpedoes each at SASAGO MARU and SAGAMI MARU, but they miss or premature. Warder is spotted by the destroyers and forced to dive. The destroyers depth charge SEAWOLF unsucessfully. Warder runs aground in the strait, but finally breaks free and surfaces. The escorts again spot SEAWOLF and charge in to attack. Warder retreats at full speed and fires two torpedoes from his stern tubes at his pursuers, but they miss and explode against the shore. SEAWOLF makes good her escape.

At 1030, the Bali airfield complex is captured completely intact.

21 February 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.

23 February 1942:
Departs Makassar to cover a convoy to Bali.

24 February 1942:
N of Bali. British LtCdr Hugh A. V. Haggard's submarine HMS TRUANT arrives and makes an approach on Rear-Admiral Kubo's force. Haggard fires six torpedoes at NAGARA and gets two hits, but they are duds. The others miss. TRUANT is discovered and pursued by NAGARA's escorts, but escapes to Surabaja.

26 February 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.

10 March 1942:
The Third Fleet is disbanded and replaced by the Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet under Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo (36). NAGARA remains in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hara Kenzaburo's (37)(former CO of TAKAO) CruDiv 16 with light cruisers KINU and NATORI (F).

29 March 1942: Operation "X" - The Invasion of Christmas Island:
The Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet's Occupation Force under ComDesRon 4 Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji (39)(former CO of HARUNA) departs Bantam Bay, Java. It consists of DesRon 4's flagship NAKA, CruDiv 16's NAGARA and NATORI, DesDiv 9's MINEGUMO and NATSUGUMO, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE, DesDiv 22's SATSUKI, MINAZUKI, FUMITSUKI and NAGATSUKI, oiler AKEBONO MARU and transports KIMISHIMA MARU and KUMAGAWA MARU carrying about 850 men of the 21st and 24th Special Base Forces and the 102nd Construction Unit.

31 March 1942:
Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island. At 0945, Nishimura lands the Special Base Forces and the Construction Unit who occupy the island. The small British-Indian garrison surrenders immediately. The phosphate-rich island is too small on which to build a port or an airstrip.

At 0949, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Frederick B. Warder's (USNA ‘25) USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) enters the deep Flying Fish Cove and Warder fires four torpedoes at NAKA, but they all miss.

1 April 1942:
Off Christmas Island. At 0650, SEAWOLF fires three torpedoes at NATORI, but they also miss. At 1804, SEAWOLF fires two torpedoes at NAKA. One hits to starboard near her No. 1 boiler.

2 April 1942:
The NAGARA arrives at Bantam Bay. She departs that same day for Japan.

10 April 1942:
NAGARA is assigned as flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (40)(former CO of HARUNA) new DesRon 10 with DesDiv 7's NOWAKI, ARASHI, HAGIKAZE and MAIKAZE, DesDiv 10's MAKIGUMO, KAZAGUMO and YUGUMO and DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, HAMAKAZE and TANIKAZE. DesRon 10 is assigned to Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) First Air Fleet.

11 April 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru. Refit. Two twin Type 93 13-mm machine-guns are installed.

12 April 1942:
Drydocked.

24 April 1942:
Undocked.

4 May 1942:
Departs Maizuru.

4 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima. Training with her destroyers thereafter.

27 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
NAGARA departs Hashirajima with DesDiv 7, DesDiv 10 and DesDiv 17 and Vice Admiral Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force's CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (39)(former CO of FUSO) Support Group's CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, BatDiv 3/2's HARUNA and KIRISHIMA, Captain Masano Ota's Supply Group No. 1's oilers KYOKUTO MARU, KENYO MARU, KOKUYO MARU, SHINKOKU MARU and NIPPON MARU.

4 June 1942:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) William H. Brockman's (USNA ‘27) USS NAUTILUS (SS-168) fires a Mark-14 steam torpedo at KIRISHIMA from 4,500 yards but misses. He attempts to fire another torpedo but it malfunctions and never leaves the tube. KIRISHIMA opens fire with her starboard batteries unsuccessfully at the submarine's periscope. NAGARA counter-attacks NAUTILUS unsuccessfully with depth charges. KIRISHIMA departs the area.

Destroyer ARASHI is left behind to find and sink NAUTILUS. Finally, ARASHI gives up the search and heads back towards the fleet at flank speed. Overhead, USS ENTERPRISE's (CV-6) Commander (later Rear Admiral) C. Wade McCluskey, Jr. (USNA ‘26) and his Douglas SBD "Dauntless" dive-bombers spot ARASHI's wake and follow her projected track to intercept the "Kido Butai".

At 1047, after flagship AKAGI is hit and set afire by dive-bombers from ENTERPRISE, Vice Admiral Nagumo transfers his flag to destroyer NOWAKI. At 1130, Nagumo transfers to NAGARA.

9 June 1942:
The Chief of Staff of the First Air Fleet, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kusaka Ryunosuke (41)(former CO of AKAGI) and staff officers Captain Oishi Tamotsu and Cdr (later Gen/CINC JSDF) Genda Minoru (52) board YAMATO from NAGARA. [1]

13 June 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

14 June 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima. Transfers 338 men wounded at the Battle of Midway to hospital ship TALASAGO MARU and 280 wounded men to hospital ship HIKAWA MARU.

21 June 1942:
Departs Hashirajima.

22 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

23 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

24 June 1942:
Arrives at Imbari.

25 June 1942:
Departs Imbari. Arrives at Hashirajima. Training in the Inland Sea thereafter.

10 July 1942:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Tawara Yoshioki (43)(former CO of NAKA) is appointed Commanding Officer.

14 July 1942:
DesRon 10 and NAGARA are reassigned to the Third (Carriers) Fleet.

10 August 1942:
At Kure. Drydocked.

14 August 1942:
Undocked.

16 August 1942: Operation "KA" - The Recapture of Guadalcanal:
DesRon 10's NAGARA departs Kure towards Truk with CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, light carrier RYUHO, BatDiv 11's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA and destroyers AKIGUMO, MAKIGUMO, KAZAGUMO, YUGUMO, AKIZUKI, HATSUKAZE, NOWAKI, AMATSUKAZE, MAIKAZE, TANIKAZE and TOKITSUKAZE.

20-23 August 1942:
The Combined Fleet's Commander-in-Chief Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (32)(former CO of AKAGI) cancels a planned stop at Truk. The fleet refuels at sea from oilers while enroute towards Guadalcanal.

25 August 1942: The Battle of the Eastern Solomons:
Desron 10 cruises NE of Guadalcanal with the Carrier Strike Force, Mobile Force, Main Body: CarDiv 1, BatDiv 11, CruDiv 7's KUMANO, SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA. Detached RYUJO is sunk by aircraft from Task Group 11's USS SARATOGA (CV-3). CarDiv 1 launches an air attack against Task Force 16's ENTERPRISE that is hit by three bombs but not sunk.

5 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

10 September 1942:
The NAGARA and 11 destroyers sortie from Truk with Vice Admiral Nagumo's Third Fleet: CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, BatDiv 11's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA and CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA. The Third Fleet accompanies Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (former CO of KONGO) Second Fleet's BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO and DesRon 2 to an area N of the Solomon Islands.

15-17 September 1942:
At sea. The fleets refuel destroyers.

18-20 September 1942:
The Second and Third Fleets sortie towards the Solomons.

20 September 1942:
The fleets are ordered to return to Truk.

23 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Maintains standby alert.

11 October 1942:
DesRon 10's NAGARA and eight destroyers depart Truk to attack U.S. forces off Guadalcanal with Rear Admiral Abe's Vanguard Force: BatDiv 11's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA.

The Vanguard Force accompanies Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kakuta Kakuji's (39)(former CO of NAGATO) Air Group Force's CarDiv 2's HIYO and JUNYO, destroyers HAYASHIO and the KUROSHIO. Abe and Kakuta's forces are followed by Nagumo's Carrier Strike Force's CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and destroyers AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, YUKIKAZE, ARASHI, MAIKAZE, TERUZUKI and YAMAKAZE.

25-26 October 1942: The Battle of Santa Cruz:
The Vanguard Force is attacked by dive-bombers and torpedo planes from ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and HORNET (CV-8). SHOKAKU is heavily damaged by bombs and set afire. Vice Admiral Nagumo transfers his flag to destroyer ARASHI. Light carrier ZUIHO and cruiser CHIKUMA are also hit by bombs.

Nagumo and Kakuta launch air attacks that mortally damage HORNET. They also damage ENTERPRISE, new battleship SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) and light anti-aircraft cruiser SAN JUAN (CLAA-54).

30 October 1942:
The Vanguard Force returns to Truk, then maintains 'standby alert'.

9 November 1942:
Truk. ComDesRon 10 Rear Admiral Kimura's NAGARA with DesDiv 6's AKATSUKI, IKAZUCHI and INAZUMA, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE and DesDiv 61's TERUZUKI sortie to screen Rear Admiral Abe's Bombardment Force's HIEI and KIRISHIMA. Vice Admiral Kondo's reinforcement plan calls for landing 14,500 men, heavy weapons and supplies on Guadalcanal. The twelve destroyers of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanka Raizo's (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2 are to escort an 11-ship high-speed convoy. The landing is to be preceded by a bombardment of Henderson Field by Abe's battleships.

10 November 1942:
Bougainville. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Setoyama Yasuhide's DesDiv 27's SHIGURE, YUGURE and SHIRATSUYU depart the Shortland Island's anchorage. Part of Kondo's plan calls for DesDiv 27's destroyers to act as picket ships in the passage between Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands.

12 November 1942:
At 1530, Abe's Bombardment Force and Kimura's DesRon 10 make a rendezvous with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Takama Tamotsu's (former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 4 sweeping unit: ASAGUMO (F), HARUSAME, MURASAME, SAMIDARE and YUDACHI. Abe orders the destroyers to form a tight double half-ring formation as an anti-submarine measure. NAGARA follows with BatDiv 11 in column behind. The force proceeds south down the "Slot" at 18 knots.

13 November 1942:The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
At 0150, Abe's force commences a night gun battle with American cruisers and destroyers. During the ensuing action, Abe's force sinks ATLANTA (CL-51) and destroyers CUSHING (DD-376), MONSSEN (DD-436), LAFFEY (DD-459) and BARTON (DD-599). SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), PORTLAND (CA-33), HELENA (CL-50), JUNEAU (CL-52) and STERETT (DD-407) are damaged.

In the engagement, the Americans sink destroyer AKATSUKI with all hands. YUDACHI is also sunk. HIEI is damaged as are AMATSUKAZE, MURASAME and IKAZUCHI. NAGARA is straddled by SAN FRANCISCO and hit by one 5-inch shell. Six men are killed, but the ship sustains only minor hull damage.

Abe abandons the bombardment mission and retires westward around Savo Island with HIEI, NAGARA and DesRon 10's destroyers. That night, KIRISHIMA takes HIEI in tow and retires westward around Savo Island with NAGARA and DesRon 10's destroyers. HIEI is later sunk by planes from Henderson Field, ENTERPRISE and B-17 bombers from Espirtu Santo.

Admiral Yamamoto relieves Abe of tactical command and orders his deputy Vice Admiral Kondo to shell Henderson Field the next night. For this tasking, Kondo orders his battle worthy forces to rendezvous north of Guadalcanal.

At 0630, Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi (38)(former CO of KIRISHIMA), Commander, Eighth Fleet, sorties from the Shortland Islands for Guadalcanal in CHOKAI (F) with KINUGASA, light cruiser ISUZU and destroyers ARASHIO and ASASHIO. Mikawa's mission is to carry out Kondo's original plan and bombard Henderson Field with his cruisers where Abe failed with his battleships. Rear Admiral Nishimura's Bombardment Unit, heavy cruisers MAYA, SUZUYA, light cruiser TENRYU and destroyers KAZAGUMO, MAKIGUMO, MICHISHIO and YUGUMO accompany Mikawa.

360 miles south of Guadalcanal. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Thomas L. Gatch's (USNA ‘12) USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) escorting Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Thomas C. Kinkaid's (USNA ‘08) Task Force 16's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) from Noumea, New Caledonia to Guadalcanal, joins Captain (later Vice Admiral) Glenn B. Davis' (USNA ‘13) new battleship WASHINGTON (BB-56) and destroyers PRESTON (DD-379), BENHAM (DD-397), WALKE (DD-416) and GWIN (DD-433) at sea. As ordered by Vice Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. "Bull" Halsey, Jr (USNA ‘04) ComSoPac, they form Task Force 64 under the command of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Willis A. Lee (USNA ‘04) aboard WASHINGTON.

At 2210, Kondo's Force gathers at the rendezvous point at Ontong Java. He forms an Emergency Bombardment (Volunteer Attack) Force composed of KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO (F) and TAKAO. DesRon 10's NAGARA and six destroyers form a Screening Unit while DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI and three destroyers form a Sweeping Unit. Carrier JUNYO, battleships KONGO and HARUNA and the remainder of Kondo's Second Fleet Advanced Force are to hold station as distant cover.

14 November 1942:
Between 0130-0200, CHOKAI, MAYA and SUZUYA bombard Henderson Field, then retire towards Shortland.

During the day, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanka Raizo's (41) reinforcement convoy is attacked repeatedly by aircraft from the "Cactus Air Force" on Guadalcanal and ENTERPRISE's Air Group. Six of Tanaka's 11 troop transports are sunk or abandoned and one damaged so severely that she is forced to return to Shortland. Tanaka presses on with his four remaining transports.

15 November 1942: The Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
Iron Bottom Bay off Savo Island. TF 64 approaches Guadalcanal on a northerly course in a column formation. At 0016, WASHINGTON opens fire on SENDAI with her 16-inch main battery. SENDAI makes smoke, puts about and retires undamaged.

NAGARA and her destroyers engage the Americans with gunfire and "Long Lance" torpedoes. During the action, more than 30 torpedoes are launched at SOUTH DAKOTA. Amazingly, they all miss her, but destroyers PRESTON and WALKE are sunk and BENHAM is so badly damaged that she must be scuttled the next evening by GWIN (by gunfire, after attempts with four Mark 15 torpedoes fail).

KIRISHIMA hits SOUTH DAKOTA with a single 14-inch shell. SOUTH DAKOTA also takes 23 hits from ATAGO and TAKAO that wreck her superstructure, but do not threaten the ship. Meanwhile, undetected, WASHINGTON approaches to within 5,800 yards of KIRISHIMA and with radar-directed fire, sets her afire, disables two of her 14-inch turrets, destroys her rudder and holes her at the waterline. SOUTH DAKOTA and WASHINGTON's secondary armament guns hit destroyer AYANAMI and she has to be scuttled by URANAMI.

At dawn, Tanaka lands about 2,000 troops by running his four remaining transports aground on the beach near Tassafaronga. No attempt is made to save badly battered KIRISHIMA and she sinks at 0325.

18 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

20 November 1942:
Flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Takama Tamotsu's (41) DesRon 4, replacing YURA sunk on 25 October. Newly commissioned AGANO becomes flagship of DesRon 10, replacing NAGARA. DesRon 4 then consists of three divisions of nine destroyers: DesDiv 2 with three destroyers, DesDiv 9 with two and DesDiv 27 with four. Guardship duties.

Captain (Vice Admiral posthumously) Shinoda Katsukiyo (44)(former CO of AKATSUKI) is appointed Commanding Officer. Captain Tawara is reassigned as CO of NOSHIRO and later as CO of YAMASHIRO on which he dies of natural causes.

20 December 1942:
Departs Truk.

27 December 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru. Refit.

28 December 1942:
Drydocked. No. 5 140-mm gun is removed.

13 January 1943.
Undocked.

20 January 1943:
Departs Maizuru.

21 January 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama, refuels.

22 January 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

24 January 1943:
Anatahan, 60 miles W of Saipan. During gunnery exercises, NAGARA sustains damage to her superstructure after the accidental explosion of a shell.

25 January 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

31 January 1943: Operation "KE" - The Evacuation of Guadalcanal:
DesRon 4's NAGARA departs Truk with a task force consisting of units of the Second and Third Fleets including carriers ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO and the JUNYO, Bat Div 3's KONGO and the HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO and TAKAO, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO, DesRon 10's light cruiser AGANO and destroyers. The task force steams north of the Solomons as a feint to cover Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hashimoto Shintaro's (41)(former CO of HYUGA) destroyer force from Rabaul.

9 February 1943:
Arrives back at Truk. The Japanese successfully evacuate 11,700 troops from Guadalcanal. Thereafter, training and waiting with the Combined Fleet for an opportunity to engage the American Fleet.

23 June 1943:
Departs Truk carrying elements of the Yokosuka No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force.

26 June 1943:
Arrives at Nauru, disembarks troops and departs.

28 June 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

8 July 1943:
Departs Truk.

11 July 1943:
Arrives at Roi Island, Kwajalein. Departs that day escorting carrier JUNYO.

13 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk. JUNYO embarks more aircraft.

14 July 1943:
Departs Truk with JUNYO.

15 July 1943:
Arrives at Kavieng. JUNYO delivers the aircraft she is ferrying. While mooring, NAGARA detonates a mine laid at night by Australian PBY "Catalina" flying boats. The mine slightly damages her bottom under the stern, but she is able to operate.[2]

At 1635, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from NAGARA that reads: “The NAGARA temporarily anchored at Kavieng bearing 110 degrees distance 1 kilometer from Suisatto Cape at 1210. At 1450, what appeared to be a floating mine exploded. One landing craft which was alongside (carrying ----) sunk, one slightly damaged. NAGARA unable to revolve No. 5 and No. 6 ----- (can make temporary repairs); other damage very slight. ----. Will get underway from here at 1730 and proceed to Rabaul.”

16 July 1943:
Departs Kavieng.

17 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

19 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk with JUNYO.

20 July 1943:
DesRon 4 is deactivated. NAGARA becomes flagship of Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Isaki Shunji's (42)(former CO of MAYA) DesRon 2, replacing JINTSU sunk on 12 July. DesRon 2 is attached to Second Fleet and consists of DesDivs 24, 27, 31, plus three attached destroyers.

21 July 1943:
Departs Truk.

26 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

31 July 1943:
Departs Yokosuka with escort carrier UNYO and the destroyers AKEBONO, USHIO and SHIRATSUYU.

5 August 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

9 August 1943:
Departs Truk.

14 August 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

16 August 1943:
Arrives at Maizuru. That same day, Captain Rear Admiral posthumously) Kitamura Mayasuki (45) is appointed Commanding Officer. Captain Shinoda is later reassigned as CO of YAMASHIRO replacing Captain Tawara.

20 August 1943:
NAGARA is relieved as flagship of DesRon 2 by the newly commissioned NOSHIRO. NAGARA is attached to Vice Admiral, the Baron, Samejima Tomoshige's (37)(former CO of NAGATO) Eighth Fleet.

Drydocked and refitted. A Type 21 air-search radar set is fitted. Four twin-mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns are installed.

7 October 1943:
Departs Maizuru.

9 October 1943:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

18 October 1943:
Departs Hashirajima.

23 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

24 October 1943:
Departs Truk.

27 October 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul. Departs that day.

29 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

1 November 1943:
NAGARA is transferred from the Eighth Fleet to Vice Admiral Kobayashi Masami's (38)(former CO of YAMASHIRO) Fourth Fleet. She relieves KASHIMA as flagship of the Fourth Fleet.

12 November 1943:
Departs Truk to protect light cruiser AGANO torpedoed by USS SKATE (SS-305). AGANO is first taken under tow by light cruiser NOSHIRO that heads for Truk.

14 November 1943:
NAGARA and destroyer URAKAZE take over towing AGANO.

16 November 1943:
Arrives at Truk with the AGANO in tow.

20 November 1943: American Operation "Galvanic" - The Invasion of the Gilberts:
Forces under Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Raymond A. Spruance (USNA ‘06), Commander, Central Pacific, invade Tarawa and Makin Islands. The invasion fleet of 200 ships includes 13 battleships and 11 carriers.

22 November 1943:
Departs Truk with CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, KUMANO and CHOKAI and destroyers HATSUZUKI, SUZUTSUKI, HAMAKAZE, FUJINAMI and HAYANAMI in response to the invasion of Tarawa.

26 November 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

4 December 1943:
Kwajalein. Rear Admiral Charles A. Pownall’s Task Force 50 attacks Kwajalein and Wotje Atolls, Marshalls. Aircraft from LEXINGTON (CV-16) and INDEPENDENCE (CVL-22) sink ASAKAZE and TATEYAMA MARUs, auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 7 and guardboat MIKUNI MARU No. 5. The planes also damage light cruisers NAGARA and ISUZU, stores ship KINEZAKI, auxiliary vessel FUJIKAWA MARU and transports EIKO, KENBU and MIKAGE MARU No. 18.

5 December 1943:
Enroute to Roi, the cruiser force is attacked by TBF torpedo-bombers and SBD dive-bombers from Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Alfred E. Montgomery's (USNA ‘12) Task Group 50.3's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and ESSEX (CV-9). NAGARA is damaged slightly by near-misses. That same day, an unknown repair ship begins repairs on NAGARA.

9 December 1943:
NAGARA departs Kwajalein.

12 December 1943:
Arrives at Truk. Emergency repairs are carried out, probably by the fully-equipped repair ship AKASHI.

13 December 1943:
At 1150, USN codebreakers at Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, Australia (FRUMEL) intercept and decode a message that partially reads "2 men killed and ? injured in NAGARA when bombed in Marshal1s at 0510 on 5th December."

15 January 1944:
Departs Truk towing destroyer NAGANAMI whose stern had been damaged by an aerial torpedo in the 11 November air attack on Rabaul.

25 January 1944:
Arrives at Kure. Detaches and departs.

26 January 1944:
Arrives at Maizuru. Refit. NAGARA's No. 7 140-mm gun mount is removed and replaced by a 127-mm unshielded HA gun mount. The fore and aft twin torpedo tubes are removed and replaced by two quadruple tube mounts aft. The catapult is removed and replaced by two triple-mount Type 96 25-mm AA gun mounts bringing NAGARA's total 25-mm AA suite to 22 barrels (2x3, 6x2, 4x1). DC rails are installed in the stern and a Type 93 hydrophone set is fitted in the bow.

7 April 1944:
Captain Kondo Shinishi (49) is appointed Commanding Officer.

10 April 1944:
Undocked.

24 April 1944:
Departs Maizuru.

25 April 1944:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

8 May 1944:
Captain Vice Admiral posthumously) Nakahara Giichiro (49)(former CO of DesDivs 24 and 32) is appointed Commanding Officer.

15 May 1944:
NAGARA becomes flagship of DesRon 11, Combined Fleet, replacing TATSUTA sunk on 14 March. Thereafter training with new destroyers in the western Inland Sea.

19 June 1944:
Departs Hashirajima.

21 June 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

29 June 1944:
Departs Yokosuka on a transport run.

30 June 1944:
Arrives at Chichi Jima. Unloads and departs.

2 July 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Begins refit. Ten single mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns are installed bringing NAGARA's 25-mm suite to 32 barrels (2X3, 6x2, 14x1). A Type 22 surface-search radar is fitted.

10 July 1944:
Departs Yokosuka.

12 July 1944:
Arrives at Kure.

14 July 1944:
Departs Moji transporting personnel of the Second Air Fleet.

16 July 1944:
Arrives at Okinawa. Disembarks personnel.

21 July 1944:
Arrives at the Inland Sea.

30 July 1944:
Departs Kure for Sasebo.

2 August 1944:
Departs Sasebo for Kagoshima. Embarks personnel of the Second Air Fleet.

4 August 1944:
Arrives at Okinawa. Disembarks personnel and departs.

6 August 1944:
Arrives at Kagoshima.

7 August 1944:
Departs Kagoshima for Sasebo with a subchaser and two floatplanes as aerial cover. NAGARA is spotted by veteran submariner LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) John E. Lee's (USNA ‘30) new USS CROAKER (SS-246) on her first war patrol. Lee lets NAGARA close to 1,300 yards and fires a salvo of four stern torpedoes. At 1222, NAGARA is hit starboard aft by one of the torpedoes. At 1240, she sinks by the stern off Amakusa Shoto at 32-09N, 129-53E. Captain Nakahara and 348 crewmen are killed, but 235 other men are rescued.

Captain Nakahara is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously.

10 October 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
[1] Japan Self Defense Force.

[2[ Some sources credit the mine as being laid 4 June 1943 by USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236).

Special thanks for assistance go to "Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands.

Thanks also go to John Whitman of the USA for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages and to Hans Mcilveen of the Netherlands for info on FRUMEL intercepts. Thanks also go to Brian Corijn of uboat.net. for info on HMS TRUANT and to Matthew Jones for providing additional CO info.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.


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