(NAKA in 1933 - colorized digital photo by Irotooko, Jr.)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2018 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 13

10 June 1922:
Laid down at the Yokohama Dock Co. as a SENDAI-class light cruiser.

24 March 1925:
Launched and named NAKA.

15 April 1925:
Cdr (later Vice Admiral) Inoue Choji (33)(former CO of NOJIMA) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

30 November 1925:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Cdr (promoted Captain 1 December) Inoue is the Commanding Officer.

1 December 1926:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Nakamura Kamezaburo (33)(former instructor at Naval Academy) is appointed the CO.

5 April 1927:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mito Motosuke (32)(former chief of the Hydrographic Bureau's 2nd section) is appointed the CO.

10 December 1928:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ban Jiro (33)(former CO of TSUSHIMA) is appointed the CO.

30 November 1929:
Captain (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi (36)(former instructor at Naval Academy) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1930:
Captain Yamada Sadao (36)(former CO of ODOMARI) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1931:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Yamamoto Koki (36)(former DesDiv 29) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1932:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Sonoda Shigeru (37)(former CO of ITSUKUSHIMA) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1933:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Goto Eiji (37)(former ComDesDiv 11) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1934:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Abe Kasuke (39)(former instructor at Naval Academy) is appointed the CO.

25 May 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral), the Marquis, Daigo Tadashige (40)(former CO of YUBARI) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1935:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo (38)(former ComDesDiv 10) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1936:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso (40)(former CO of JINTSU) is appointed the CO.

2 August 1937:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Nakamura Motoji (39)(former CO of ERIMO) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kono Chimaki (42)(former chief of Naval General Staff 2nd Section 4th Bureau) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Miyazato Shutoku (40)(former CO of YUBARI) is appointed the CO.

15 December 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takama Tamotsu (41)(former CO of ITSUKUSHIMA) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1939:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Akiyama Teruo (41)(former ComDesDiv 34) is appointed the CO.

15 October 1940:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously), the Baron, Ijuin Matsuji (43)(former ComDesDiv 8) is appointed the CO.

11 August 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tawara Yoshioki (43)(former former ComDesDiv 2) is appointed the CO.

26 November 1941:
NAKA is the flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji's (former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 4. Departs the Terashima Strait.

28 November 1941:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

2 December 1941:
DesRon 4 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]

7 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Attack on the Southern Philippines:
NAKA is in Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Third Fleet, Philippines Seizure Force, Southern Force.

DesRon 4 departs Mako, escorting six transports carrying 2,000 men of the Kanno Detachment of the 48th Infantry Division.

10 December 1941:
Luzon, Philippines. The transports land troops at Pandan, near Vigan, but are bombed and strafed by five Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" and escorting Seversky P-35A "Guardsman" and Curtiss P-40B "Kittyhawk" fighters of the U.S. Army's Far East Air Force. During the day's action, a minesweeper is sunk and transports OIGAWA MARU and TAKAO MARU are so damaged they have to be beached. NAKA and destroyer MURASAME are slightly damaged by strafing.

12 December 1941:
Departs Vigan.

14 December 1941:
Arrives at Mako.

18 December 1941:
Departs Mako escorting 28 transports carrying the 7th Tank Regiment and an infantry regiment of the 48th Infantry Division.

22 December 1941:
Troops are landed at Caba on the Lingayen Gulf, Philippines. NAKA departs that day.

24 December 1941:
Arrives at Mako.

29 December 1941:
Departs Takao, Formosa.

2 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao, Philippines.

7 January 1942: Operation "H" - The Invasion of the Celebes:
Departs Davao with the No. 1 Escort Unit escorting 16 transports carrying the Sakaguchi Brigade (56th Regimental Group) and the Kure No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF).

10 January 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo.

11 January 1942:
The troops are landed on Tarakan.

21 January 1942:
Departs Tarakan with the No. 1 Escort Unit escorting 16 transports carrying the Balikpapan Invasion Force consisting of the Sakaguchi Brigade. Close escort is provided by patrol boats PB-36, PB-37 and PB-38, minesweepers W-16, W-17 and W-18 and subchasers CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12.


Air reconnaissance by the ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) forces is hampered by poor weather, but ABDA Air finally locates the IJN invasion force. ABDA deploys the submarines USS S-40, PORPOISE (SS-172), PICKEREL (SS-177), STURGEON (SS-187), SAURY (SS-189) and SPEARFISH (SS-190) and Dutch submarines K-XIV and K-XVIII to intercept the IJN force.

Timor, Kupang Bay. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) William A. Glassford's Task Force 5's light cruisers USS MARBLEHEAD (CL-12), BOISE (CL-47) and Cdr Paul H. Talbot's DesDiv 59's old flush deck, four stack destroyers PARROTT (DD-218), POPE (DD-225), JOHN D. FORD (DD-228) and PAUL JONES (DD-230) are ordered by the ADBA Command to stop the IJN invasion force before it reaches Balikpapan.

Glassford heads north to find the IJN invasion force, but BOISE runs aground on an uncharted reef in the Sape Strait. She is forced to retire for repairs. MARBLEHEAD develops engine trouble and can make no more than 15 knots. DesDiv 59 is detached and increases speed to 27 knots so as to arrive at Balikpapan at midnight on January 23rd.

23 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo:
Storms protect the invasion force until it is almost to Balikpapan, Borneo. At 1525, nine Dutch Martin Model 166 (B-10) bombers from Samarinda attack and hit two of the transports, TATSUGAMI and NANA MARUs. The latter has to be abandoned and later sinks. TATSUGAMI MARU continues on to Balikpapan. At 2130, the transports begin disembarking their troops.

24 January 1942:
Dutch Navy LtCdr C. A. J. van Well Groeneveld's (former CO of K-XIV) submarine K-XVIII, operating on the surface due to the weather, fires four bow torpedoes at NAKA, but they all miss. At 0045, Groeneveld attacks and sinks transport TSURAGA MARU at 00-10N, 118-0E. Nishimura moves his covering force eastwards to carry out antisubmarine sweeps.

Talbot's DesDiv 59 arrives from the south. Since Nishimura's covering forces are now to the east searching for submarines, the four destroyers are virtually unopposed. At 0316, they begin their first attack firing their 4-inch guns and launching ten torpedoes at the anchored transports, but all the torpedoes miss.

Cdr Talbot orders another attack. At 0330, POPE hits and sinks the 3,519-ton transport SUMANOURA MARU. At 0335, PARROTT and PAUL JONES sink the the already damaged transport TATSUGAMI MARU with torpedoes. At 0345, FORD sinks transport KURETAKE MARU with gunfire and torpedoes. Two other transports suffer damage from gunfire and torpedoes but remain afloat. POPE and PARROTT sink the 2nd Base Force's patrol boat P37 with torpedoes and gunfire.

At 0350, their torpedoes gone, DesDiv 59 departs southward. Aboard NAKA, Rear Admiral Nishimura, alerted to ABDA surface forces attacking the transports, abandons the antisubmarine sweep and heads west at high speed in an unsuccessful pursuit of the American destroyers.

24 January 1942:
At 0300, the Japanese begin landing troops at Balikpapan. That same day, the Japanese invade Kendari, Celebes.

30 January 1942:
DesRon 4 departs Balikpapan.

19 February 1942:
The 48th Infantry Division departs Jolo in 41 transports escorted by Rear-Admiral Shoji Nishimura's flagship NAKA with six destroyers.

25 February 1942:
Departs Makassar, Celebes with light cruiser JINTSU and the No. 2 Escort Unit escorting a troop convoy to invade eastern Java.

27 February 1942: The Battle of the Java Sea:
At 1547, HAGURO and NACHI, DesDiv 6's INAZUMA, DesRon 2's light cruiser JINTSU with DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE and DesDiv 7's USHIO, SAZANAMI, YAMAKAZE and the KAWAKAZE engage Dutch Rear Admiral Karel W. F. M. Doorman's (former CO of CL SUMATRA) Strike Force's light cruiser HNMS DE RUYTER (F), cruisers HMS EXETER, USS HOUSTON (CA-30), light cruisers HMAS PERTH, HNMS JAVA, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, HMS ENCOUNTER, HMS JUPITER, HNMS KORTENAER, HNMS WITTE de WITH and old destroyers USS ALDEN (DD-211), USS JOHN D. EDWARDS (DD-216), USS JOHN D. FORD (DD-228) and USS PAUL JONES (DD-230).

At 1603, DesRon 4's NAKA, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO, MURASAME, HARUKAZE, SAMIDARE and YUDACHI launch 43 Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at the Allied force from about 16,250 yards. More than a dozen premature or collide with each other after a few thousand yards. None hits an Allied ship.

At 1638, HMS EXETER is hit by HAGURO and set afire. At 1640, Dutch LtCdr A. Kroese's HNMS KORTENAER is hit by a torpedo from HAGURO, blows up and sinks at 06-29S, 112-05E. Sixty crewmen are killed, but LtCdr Kroese is a survivor.

At 1718, DesRon 4 launches 56 torpedoes. Then at 1720, NAKA fires 8 torpedoes.

At 1720, NAKA, JINTSU and NACHI's floatplanes report Doorman's movements and spot shell splashes for gunnery.

At 1746, British Cdr C. W. May's HMS ELECTRA and ASAGUMO engage in a gun battle. HMS ELECTRA is sunk at about 1800 and takes down Cdr May and most of her crew. Later, American LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's submarine USS S-38 surfaces and rescues 58 HMS ELECTRA crewmen from the water. [2]

At 2000, British LtCdr Norman V. J. T. Thew's HMS JUPITER hits a Dutch mine and sinks. LtCdr Thew survives, but becomes a POW. [3]

At 2305, the Allied flagship, Dutch Cdr Eugène E. B. Lacomblé's HNMS DE RUYTER is hit by a torpedo from HAGURO and explodes. At 2309, Dutch Captain P. B. M. Van Straelen's HNMS JAVA is hit by a torpedo, explodes and set afire. Her stern breaks off and she sinks within 15 minutes taking down 512 crewmembers including Captain van Straelen. [3][4]

USS HOUSTON and HMAS PERTH retire to Batavia (Djakarta), Java.

28 February 1942: The Battle of the Sunda Strait.
HNMS DE RUYTER remains afloat for nearly three hours, then sinks. Rear Admiral Doorman and 344 crewmen are lost. At 1900, after refueling, USS HOUSTON and USS PERTH sortie from Batavia for Tjilatjap via the Sunda Strait. [3][4]

At 2215, USS HOUSTON and HMAS PERTH attack Japanese troop transports screened only by destroyers HARUKAZE, HATAKAZE and FUBUKI. The destroyers make smoke to mask the transports. FUBUKI charges HOUSTON, PERTH and launches torpedoes.

At 2300, the Western Support Force's cruisers MIKUMA and MOGAMI and destroyer SHIKINAMI with the Third Escort Force's light cruiser NATORI, destroyers SHIRAKUMO, MURAKUMO, SHIRAYUKI, HATSUYUKI and ASAKAZE arrive and engage HOUSTON and PERTH with gunfire and torpedoes. At 2308, torpedoes strike both HOUSTON and PERTH.

1 March 1942:
At 0025, HMAS PERTH sinks about three miles ENE of St. Nicholas Point at 05-51-42S, 106-07-52E [5]. At 0045, USS HOUSTON sinks nearby at 05-48-45S, 106-07-55E. Her skipper, Captain Albert H. Rooks, is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. [6]

At 0850, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and NACHI with destroyers YAMAKAZE and KAWAKAZE sight damaged cruiser HMS EXETER and destroyers HMS ENCOUNTER and USS POPE (DD-225) enroute to Sunda Strait from Surabaya.

At 1150, the Support Force's ASHIGARA and MYOKO with destroyers AKEBONO and IKAZUCHI also sight and exchange fire with the HMS EXETER group. At 1245, HAGURO and NACHI also open fire on British Captain Oliver L. Gordon's EXETER.

At 1250, HMS EXETER is hit by shells, set afire and goes dead in water. AKEBONO and IKAZUCHI launch 18 torpedoes. At 1330, HMS EXETER sinks. Captain Gordon and 375 crewmen are rescued by destroyer INAZUMA and become POWs.[7]

Either ASHIGARA or MYOKO hits British destroyer HMS ENCOUNTER with an 8-inch shell. Her CO, LtCdr E. V. St J. Morgan, RN, orders her scuttled and the crew to abandon ship. At 1335, she slips under. [7]

American LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Welford C. Blinn's old four-stack destroyer USS POPE escapes the engagement with the cruisers, only to be attacked by Aichi D3A Type 99 "Val" dive-bombers from CHITOSE, MIZUHO and RYUJO and by six Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 "Kate" attack bombers. At 1540, USS POPE sinks. LtCdr Blinn and 150 of POPE's survivors are in the water until INAZUMA returns to the scene on 3 March and takes them aboard as POWs. [8]

2-8 March 1942:
Patrols off Kragan, Java.

8 March 1942:
Departs Kragan.

12 March 1942:
Arrives at Makassar, Celebes.

14 March 1942:
After the occupation of Java, Imperial General Headquarters, issues orders directing Commander-in-Chief, Combined Fleet, to occupy Christmas Island.

18 March 1942: Operation "X" - The Invasion of Christmas Island:
NAKA is assigned to the "X" Seizure Force.

26 March 1942:
Departs Makassar for Bantam Bay, Java.

29 March 1942:
The Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet's Occupation Force under ComDesRon 4 Rear Admiral Nishimura departs Bantam Bay, Java. It consists of 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, 24th Special Base Forces and the 102nd Construction Unit.

31 March 1942:
At 0945, Nishimura lands the men of the 21st, 24th Special Base Forces and 102nd Construction Unit and occupies the island. The small British-Indian garrison surrenders at once. 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 in USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) fires four torpedoes at NAKA, but they all miss.

1 April 1942:
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:
NATORI tows the badly damaged NAKA.

3 April 1942:
Arrives at Bantam Bay, Java. Temporary repairs.

6 April 1942:
Departs Bantam Bay under her own power.

10 April 1942:
Arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.

28 April 1942:
Departs Seletar, northern Singapore. Arrives at Keppel Harbour, southern Singapore.

29 April 1942:
Keppel Harbour. Drydocked for temporary repairs.

2 June 1942:

3 June 1942:
Departs Singapore.

8 June 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

9 June 1942:
Departs Mako.

12 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

15 June 1942:
Rerated as a Special Reserve vessel. Departs Yokosuka.

21 June 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru.

26 June 1942:

6 July 1942:

10 July 1942:
Captain Nakazato Takaharu (39)(former CO of the 4th Defense Unit) is appointed the CO. Captain Tawara is reassigned as the CO of NAGARA.

1 October 1942:
Captain Takagi Banjiro (39)(former CO of TERUSHIMA MARU) is appointed the CO.

25 March 1943:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Imaizumi Yoshijiro (44)(former CO of SANTOS MARU) is appointed the CO.

1 April 1943:
Assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Ito Kenzo's (former CO of MYOKO) new CruDiv 14 with ISUZU.

5 April 1943:
Battle damage repairs and modifications are completed. Departs Maizuru.

6 April 1943:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

20 April 1943:
Departs Hashirajima.

22 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

25 April 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

30 April 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

15 May 1943:
Departs Truk.

18 May 1943:
Arrives at Jaluit, Marshalls.

15 June 1943:
Departs Jaluit.

18 June 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

21 June 1943:
At 0241 (K), lookouts on Cdr George A. Sharp's (USNA '29) USS SPEARFISH (SS-190) spot an approaching convoy of "11 to 14" ships including three carriers, probably a battleship, an AOBA-class cruiser and a TENRYU-class cruiser. The remaining ships are probably cruisers and destroyers. Sharp starts an approach on the cruiser, then shifts to the carrier. At 0337 (K), he fires four torpedoes, but all miss.

NAKA arrives safely at Truk.

22 June 1943:
NAKA and ISUZU depart Truk on a troop transport run accompanied by destroyers HAMAKAZE and TANIKAZE.

25 June 1943:
Arrives at Nauru. Disembarks 412 men of the 2nd Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) and departs.

28 June 1943:
Arrives back at Truk.

19 July 1943:
NAKA arrives at Kwajalein from Truk.

20 July 1943:
At Mili.

21 July 1943:
At Wotje.

24 July 1943:
At Truk.

3 September 1943:
Departs Truk with ISUZU on a troop transport and supply run.

8 September 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

9 September 1943:
Departs Kwajalein. Arrives at Taroa. Disembarks troops and departs.

10 September 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

12 September 1943:
Departs Truk to assist oiler SHIRETOKO and aircraft ferry FUJIKAWA MARU which had been torpedoed by LtCdr Carter L. Bennett's USS PERMIT (SS-178).

15 September 1943:
At 1300, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from ComCruDiv14 that reads: "NAKA, Subchaser 31, Minesweeper 16, Subchaser 46, KATORI MARU arrived Buette, (KATORI MARU towing SHIRETOKO.)"

Arrives at Kwajalein.

19 September 1943:
Departs Kwajalein with ISUZU.

20 September 1943:
At Mili.

21 September 1943:
At Wotje.

24 September 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

25 September 1943:
Departs Kwajalein.

26 September 1943:
Arrives at Jaluit.

29 September 1943:
Departs Jaluit.

3 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

11 October 1943:
Departs Truk.

18 October 1943:
Arrives at Shanghai. Joined by ISUZU.

21 October 1943:
NAKA and light cruiser ISUZU depart Shanghai with destroyer YAMAGUMO escorting the second echelon of convoy "Tei No. 4" (Tei-4-GO Transportation) consisting of troop transports (ex-AMC) KIYOSUMI and GOKOKU MARUs. KIYOZUMI MARU carries 1,342 troops of the IJA 17th Division, NAKA carries 485 troops of the division and ISUZU carries 471.

East China Sea. That same day, Captain (later Vice Admiral) Charles B. "Swede" Momsen Task Group 17.14's USS CERO (SS-225), GRAYBACK (SS-208) and SHAD (SS-235) receive an "Ultra" message from the codebreakers at Pearl alerting them of the transit of the troop convoy through their patrol area.

23 October 1943:
East China Sea. At 2320, LtCdr Edgar J. MacGregor's SHAD picks up two targets on her SJ radar at 15,000 yards. It takes MacGregor two hours to gain an attack position. At 0145, when the convoy is at 11,000 yards, he submerges to radar depth. At 0212, at 28-40N, 124-10E, MacGregor begins firing his torpedoes at ISUZU, NAKA and the fast troop transports. He fires ten torpedoes from shallow water, then is forced to head for deeper water to evade a depth-charge counter-attack. Although MacGregor claims damaging both light cruisers, neither is hit.

28 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

1 November 1943:
In the afternoon the the second echelon of convoy "Tei No. 4" is reorganized and depart Truk. Entering dangerous waters, executed embarkation training.

3 November 1943:
60 miles N of Kavieng. At 1129, the convoy is attacked by 19 USAAF 13th Air Force B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers. NAKA and GOKOKU MARU suffer near misses. Seven men aboard NAKA are KIA and 20 WIA. KIYOSUMI MARU is damaged. At 1500, ISUZU takes her in tow.

4 November 1943:
Light cruiser YUBARI departs with destroyers MINAZUKI and ISOKAZE to assist KIYOSUMI MARU under tow by light cruiser ISUZU, escorted by light cruiser NAKA and destroyer ISOKAZE.

NAKA removes 166 men and four rapid fire antitank guns from KIYOSUMI MARU. YUBARI removes another 196 troops and three field guns ISUZU removes 196 troops and four regimental guns from the transport. Destroyer MINAZUKI removes 267 troops and ISOKAZE removes 236 troops and two mountain guns. Ammunition and supplies are also off loaded from KIYOSUMI MARU.

At 1700, NAKA arrives at Kavieng. Disembarks troops.

5 November 1943: The Carrier Raid on Rabaul:
Arrives at Rabaul. That day, aircraft from Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frederick C. Sherman's (former CO of LEXINGTON (CV-2) Task Force 38 attack Rabaul. Dive bombers from USS SARATOGA (CV-3) and the PRINCETON (CVL-23) damage CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA and CruDiv 7's CHIKUMA and MOGAMI, light cruisers AGANO and NOSHIRO and destroyers AMAGIRI and FUJINAMI. NAKA is slightly damaged by near-misses.

6 November 1943:
Departs Rabaul.

9 November 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

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

21 November 1943:
Departs Truk with ISUZU and two destroyers after the American landings in the Gilberts.

22 November 1943:
Arrives at Ponape. Both cruisers load about 1,500 army troop reinforcements for Tarawa.

23 November 1943:
Departs Ponape.

25 November 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein. Waits for an opportunity to disembark troops at Tarawa, but the island falls to the Americans.

30 November 1943:
Departs Kwajalein.

1 December 1943:
Arrives at Mili. Disembarks troops and departs.

2 December 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

1 January 1944:
Departs Truk. Arrives SW of Truk and takes KIYOSUMI MARU under tow. The transport had been torpedoed that day by LtCdr C. C. Cole's USS BALAO (SS-285).

7 January 1944:
Captain Suezawa Yoshimasa (48)(former CruDiv 8 staff officer) is appointed the CO. Captain Imaizumi is later reassigned as the commandant of Yokosuka Submarine Base.

8 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk with KIYOSUMI MARU under tow.

January 1944:
Departs Truk on a supply mission to Ponape and back.

17-18 February 1944: American Operation "Hailstone" - The Attack on Truk:
NAKA departs Truk to assist light cruiser AGANO, torpedoed the day before by LtCdr William P. Gruner's USS SKATE (SS-305).

After NAKA's departure, Truk is attacked by Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's Task Force 58's five fleet carriers and four light carriers, supported by six battleships, ten cruisers and 28 destroyers. They launch air attacks on ships in the lagoon, airfields and shore installations and sink 31 transports and 10 naval vessels (two cruisers, four destroyers and four auxiliary vessels), destroy nearly 200 aircraft and damage severely about 100 more. Truk is eliminated as a major fleet anchorage for the IJN.

35 miles W of Truk. NAKA is attacked by three waves of SB2C "Helldivers" and TBF "Avengers" of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) F. C. Sherman's TG 58.3's VB-17 and VT-17 from USS BUNKER HILL (CV-17) and TBFs of VT-25 of USS COWPENS (CVL-25). The first two strikes fail to score a hit, but NAKA is hit by a torpedo and a bomb in the third strike and breaks in two.

NAKA sinks at 07-15N, 151-15E. About 240 of her crew are lost, but patrol boats rescue 210 of her crew including Captain Suezawa.

31 March 1944:
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] Mined HMS JUPITER sank about 10 miles off the coast of Java in only about 50 feet of water. As a result of her easy accessibility, postwar she is heavily salved by Indonesian nationals. [3] Rear Admiral Doorman is made a Knight in the Military Order of William (Militaire Willems-Orde), 3rd class posthumously by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. The Military Order of William, established in 1815 by King Willem 1 , is the highest Dutch award. The Netherlands made only two such MWO3 awards in WW2.

[4] On 1 December 2002, a group of divers, including Australian photo-jounalist Kevin Denlay, operating off MV EMPRESS out of Singapore using side-scan sonar discover HNMS DeRUYTER and HNMS JAVA at a depth of about 225 feet off Bawean Island in the Java Sea.

[5] There have been 1354 recipients of the Victoria Cross since its inception in 1856 through the Falklands War in 1981. For reasons known only within British and Australian naval establishments, no member of the Royal Australian Navy has ever been awarded a Victoria Cross, even though the valor of its members, such as Captain Waller of HMAS PERTH, seems at least comparable, or superior, to other winners.

[6] USS HOUSTON lies on her starboard side about a mile NW of Padjang Island. There is a large tear port side near the bow. Turret No. 1 points starboard with its barrels parallel to the ocean floor, but turret No. 2's barbette is open to the sea. The turret has slid to starboard, its barrels point down and are embedded in the silt. The bridge and the hangar bay are pierced with shell holes. Aircraft catapults and their cranes are in place, but the ship's propellers are missing, having been salvaged earlier. Of HOUSTON's crew of 1008, 638 men were lost in the action and 104 died as POW's.

HMAS PERTH lies on her port side about 115 feet down. There is a large gash forward of "A" turret probably from a torpedo hit forward. "B" turret's barrels point into the sand. The aft funnel and the aircraft crane lie beside the ship. "X" turret is trained out to starboard with its barrels pointing upward. Two major shell hits are visible underneath "X" turret and on the starboard side of the bridge. Of her crew of 682, only 229 men survived the war.

[7] On 21 February 2007, a group of divers operating from MV EMPRESS out of Singapore, again including Australian photo-journalist Kevin Denlay, locate the wrecks of British heavy cruiser HMS EXETER and destroyer HMS ENCOUNTER in the Java Sea. The two warships are found at a depth of about 60m/200ft, 90 miles north of Bawean Island, about 350 nautical miles from Sunda Strait. HMS EXETER lays on her starboard. Her faithful consort HMS ENCOUNTER rests about two miles away. About 50 of HMS EXETER's crew were killed, while 650 were made prisoners of war. Of these, 152 died in Japanese PoW camps. About eight of HMS ENCOUNTER's crew were killed and 149 were made POWs, of whom 38 died in captivity.

[8] In December 2008, the remains of USS POPE (DD-225) was located in the Java Sea in approx 105 feet/32 meters of water by owner/skipper Vidar Skoglie's dive vessel MV EMPRESS operating out of Singapore. The old destroyer appears to have been found earlier by Indonesian salvage divers and very little remains, but a rusted iron skeleton.

[9] NAKA's casualties are probably passengers, but may include some crewmen.

[10] The Japanese force consisted of BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, light carrier RYUHO, escort carriers UNYO and CHUYO, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 14's NAKA and ISUZU and seven destroyers.

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 Aldert Gritter ("Adm. Gurita") of the Netherlands and Andrew Obluski of Poland. Thanks to the late John Whitman for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages and for info in Revs 7 and 8.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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