14 December 1920: Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi's shipyard.
16 February 1922: Launched and named NATORI.
Captain Soejima Keiichi (28)(former CO of AZUMA) is is appointed the Chief
Equipping Officer (CEO).
15 September 1922: Completed and registered in the IJN. Captain
Soejima Keiichi is the Commanding Officer.
20 November 1922: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Morita Minoru
(30)(former CO of TONE) is appointed the CO.
20 November 1923: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ogura Taizo
(31)(former chief of the Naval Affairs Bureau's 1st section) is appointed
1 December 1924: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Inoue Shiro
(31)(former CO of the Yokosuka NAG) is appointed the CO.
20 November 1925: Captain Kashima Tsugitaro (31)(former chief of
Maizuru Naval base port office) is appointed the CO.
20 May 1926: Captain Mizushiro Keiji (32)(former instructor at
Naval War College) is appointed the CO.
1 November 1926: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ichikizaki Keiichi
(31)(current CO of TOKIWA) is appointed the CO of NATORI as additional duty.
1 December 1926: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsumoto Chuza
(32)(former CO of ERIMO) is appointed the CO.
20 August 1927: Captain Tsuda Takehiko (33) is appointed the CO of
NATORI and SHIRETOKO as additional duty.
15 November 1927: Captain (later Vice Admiral) Arichi Jugoro
(33)(former ComDesDiv 30) is appointed the CO.
1 August 1928: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Higurashi Toshiu (34)
(former CO of HAYATOMO) is appointed the CO.
10 December 1928: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sada Kenichi (35)
(former CO of YAMATO) is appointed the CO.
30 November 1929: Captain Oyama Yoshiro (34)(former CO of Chinkai
Defense Unit) is appointed the CO.
1 December 1930: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Miki Taichi
(35)(former CO of SENDAI) is appointed the CO of NATORI and TOKIWA (until 10
December) as additional duty.
10 December 1930: Captain Miki assumes full-time command of NATORI.
5 April 1931: Captain Hoshino Kurakichi (36)(former CO of HAYATOMO)
is appointed the CO.
1 December 1931: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sakabe Seizo
(37)(former XO of MUTSU) is appointed the CO.
10 June 1932: Captain Goto Terumichi (35)(current CO of SENDAI)
is appointed the CO of NATORI as additional duty.
1 December 1932: Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsuki Masukichi
(37)(former CO of TATSUTA) is appointed the CO.
15 November 1933: Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsuura Eijiro
(38)(former CO of TSUSHIMA) is appointed the CO.
15 November 1934: Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kishi Fukuji
(40)(former CO of TAKAO) is appointed the CO.
15 November 1935: Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Okamura Masao
(38)(former CO of ASAHI) is appointed the CO.
1 December 1936: Captain (later Vice Admiral) Nakahara Yoshimasa
(41) is appointed the CO.
10 November 1937: Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Nakao Hachiro
(40)(former CO of NAGARA) is appointed the CO.
5 December 1938: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Aruga Takeo
(42)(former member of the 2nd and 6th sections of the Navy's Technical
Department) is appointed the CO.
15 November 1939: Captain Matsubara Kanzo (39)(former CO of YURA) is
is appointed the CO.
15 November 1940: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yamazumi Teijiro (44)
(former ADC to the Emperor) is appointed the CO.
31 January 1941: In 1940, a border dispute between Siam (now
Thailand) and French Indochina (Vietnam) erupted into armed conflict. A
Japanese-sponsored "Conference for the Cessation of Hostilities" is held at
Saigon and preliminary documents for a cease-fire between the governments of
General Henri Philippe Petain's Vichy France and the Kingdom of Siam are signed
28 July 1941: Captain Sasaki Seigo (45)(former CO of ONDO) is
appointed the CO.
26 November 1941: NATORI is the flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice
Admiral) Hara Kenzaburo's (former CO of TAKAO) DesRon 5, in Vice Admiral
Takahashi Ibo's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) Third Fleet. DesRon 5 is assigned
tactically to the No.1 Surprise Attack Unit of the Philippine Seizure Force.
Sorties with DesDivs 5 and 22 from the Terashima Strait.
29 November 1941: Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.
2 December 1941: Operation "Z": DesRon 5 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).
7 December 1941: Departs Mako with DesDivs 5 and 22 escorting six
transports carrying elements of the IJA's 48th Infantry Division.
10 December 1941: Covers landings in northern Luzon. The NATORI
group's objective is the capture of the airfield at Vigan. NATORI provides fire
support, bombarding the shoreline. The landing force is attacked by three Army
Air Force B-17 bombers of the 14th Squadron including one piloted by Captain
Colin Kelly. They drop 600-lb and 100-lb bombs. NATORI evades the first bomb
attacks, but receives a near-miss off her port side when she attempts to
approach minesweeper W-19 of No. 2 Base Force. W-19 is hit, grounded and then
given up as a total loss. DesDiv 5's HARUKAZE is also damaged slightly by near
11 December 1941: Arrives at Mako for emergency repairs, then departs
Mako for Takao, Formosa.
18-22 December 1941: Departs Takao with DesDivs 5 and 22 escorting 27
transports carrying the 47th Infantry Regiment of the 48th Infantry Division
and the 4th Tank Regiment. The army units are landed at Lingayen Gulf.
26 December 1941: NATORI is reassigned to the No. 2 Escort Unit with
light cruiser KASHII and destroyers. Departs Camranh.
28 December 1941: Departs Mako with the No. 2 Escort Unit escorting 43
transports of the Third Malaya Convoy to Singora, Malaya.
8 January 1942: Arrives at Singora.
12 January 1942: Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina.
16 January 1942: Arrives at Mako.
31 January 1942: At 1500 (JST), departs Takao for Camranh escorting a
troop convoy with DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE and HATAKAZE and DesDiv 22's MINAZUKI, and
2 February 1942: NATORI receives a warning about an American
submarine sighted near Camranh. The convoy reduces speed to be able to arrive
there in broad daylight.
3 February 1942: Arrives at Camranh sometime after 1200 (JST). A
floatplane from NATORI provides ASW cover for the troopships entering the
18 February 1942: Departs Camranh Bay with her eight destroyers
escorting a troop convoy of 56 transports.
28 February 1942:The Battle of the Sunda Strait: The invasion fleet
divides into three groups. Ten transports escorted by light cruiser YURA and
DesDiv 22's SATSUKI, MINAZUKI, FUMIZUKI and NAGATSUKI steam for Ajner Lor west
of Sunda Strait. The second group, DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI and DesDiv
20's AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI and YUGIRI split off and make for Semarang, Java. In the
evening, the main invasion force arrives off St. Nicolaas Point, at the entrance
of the Sunda Strait. Six transports deploy at Merak while 27 transports land the
2nd Infantry Division at Bantam Bay.
NATORI with DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE, DesDiv 11's SHIRAYUKI, HATSUYUKI, DesDiv
12's SHIRAKUMO and MURAKUMO and DesDiv 27's SHIRATSUYU with CruDiv 7's MIKUMA
and MOGAMI deploy N and W of the landing areas. Distant cover is provided by
light carrier RYUJO, seaplane tender CHIYODA, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA and
DesDiv 19's ISONAMI, SHIKANAMI and URANAMI.
USS HOUSTON (CA-30) and the Australian light cruiser HMAS PERTH sortie
for Tjilatjap via the Sunda Strait. At 2215, they attack Japanese troop
transports screened only by DesDiv 5's HARUKAZE and HATAKAZE and DesDiv 11's
FUBUKI. The destroyers make smoke to mask the transports.
FUBUKI charges HOUSTON and PERTH and launches a salvo of Type 90
torpedoes at PERTH. They miss the PERTH, but hit Army transports SAKURA MARU and
the CinC of the invading 16th Army LtGen Imamura Hitoshi's transport RYUJO MARU.
Imamura jumps into the sea, but survives. Transports HORAI and TATSUNO MARUs and
minesweeper W-2 are also lost in this action. 
FUBUKI then makes smoke until MIKUMA and MOGAMI arrive.
At 2300, Third Escort Force's NATORI and her destroyers arrive with the
Western Support Force's MOGAMI and MIKUMA and SHIKINAMI. SHIRATSUYU opens fire
on the Allies. NATORI, with HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI, then opens fire and rapidly
closes the range. At 2308, the Allied cruisers turn NE as they near Penang
Island. NATORI and her destroyers head SE in three columns. Between 2310 and
2319 they launch 28 torpedoes at the Allies. HOUSTON and PERTH reply. PERTH's
gunfire damages HARUKAZE's rudder and SHIRAYUKI's bridge killing eight crewmen.
At 2319, MIKUMA and MOGAMI each fire six Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes
each at PERTH from about 9,300 yards. HOUSTON and PERTH were both about out of
main battery ammunition. At 2322, MIKUMA and MOGAMI open main battery fire from
about 12,000 yards, assisted by the searchlights of their destroyers.
At 2326, HARUKAZE and HATAKAZE launch torpedoes. At 2330, SHIRAKUMO and
MURAKUMO also launch torpedoes. At 2327, MOGAMI fires six "Long Lances" at
HOUSTON. Altogether, the Japanese launch about 90 torpedoes in the engagement.
PERTH, low on ammunition, is making 28 knots when the first torpedo hits
her forward engine room. Two more torpedoes hit her forward magazine and aft
under "X" turret. Captain Hector M. L. Waller orders "Abandon Ship".
1 March 1942: A fourth torpedo hits PERTH. At 0025, she sinks about
three miles ENE of St. Nicholas Point at 05-51-42S, 106-07-52E. Waller and 351
crewmen are lost. At 0045, HOUSTON sinks at 05-48-45S, 106-07-55E. Her
skipper, Captain Albert H. Rooks, is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously.
NATORI remains at Bantam Bay, Java as a guardship.
10 March 1942: NATORI is assigned to CruDiv 16 with light cruiser
14 March 1942: After the occupation of Java, Imperial General
Headquarters issues orders directing the CINC, Combined Fleet, to occupy
Christmas Island, NEI.
26 March 1942: Departs Makassar.
29 March 1942: Operation "X" - The Invasion of Christmas Island: The
new Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet's Occupation Force under ComDesRon 4
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji departs Bantam Bay, Java. It
consists of the flagship NAKA, CruDiv 16's NATORI and NAGARA, 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 and KUMAGAWA MARUs 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 the 102nd Construction Unit who occupy the island. The
British-Indian garrison surrenders at once. The small island, though rich in
phosphates, lacks the surface needed for the construction of a port or an
At 0949, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Frederick B. Warder's USS SEAWOLF
(SS-197) fires four torpedoes at NAKA, but misses.
1 April 1942: Christmas Island. At 0650, SEAWOLF fires three
torpedoes at NATORI, but they also miss. At 1804, Warder fires his last two
torpedoes at NAKA from 1,100 yards. One hits starboard near her No. 1 boiler.
NAKA's escorts counter-attack and keep SEAWOLF down for many hours.
2 April 1942: Warder surfaces after midnight and slips away. NATORI
tows the badly damaged NAKA.
3 April 1942: Arrives at Bantam Bay with NAKA, then departs.
4 April 1942: Arrives at Batavia, Java.
Patrols in the Java Sea.
15 April 1942: Departs Batavia.
16 April 1942: Arrives at Makassar, Celebes.
24 April 1942: Departs Makassar.
25 April 1942: Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo. Refuels.
27 April 1942: Departs Tarakan.
29 April 1942: Arrives at Surabaya.
2 May 1942: Departs Surabaya.
May 1942: Arrives at Batavia. Patrols in the Java Sea.
June 1942: Departs Batavia.
June 1942: Arrives at Surabaya.
9 June 1942: Departs Surabaya.
14 June 1942: Arrives at Mako.
17 June 1942: Arrives at Maizuru. Begins a refit.
20 June 1942: Drydocked.
1 July 1942: Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously)
Inoguchi Toshihira (46)(former XO of KUMA) is appointed the CO.
5 July 1942: Undocked.
10 July 1942: Departs Maizuru.
July 1942: Arrives at Makassar.
19 July 1942: Departs Makassar.
20 July 1942: Arrives at Surabaya.
24 July 1942: Departs Surabaya.
31 July 1942: Arrives at Mergui, Burma.
9 August 1942: Departs Mergui.
12 August 1942: Arrives at Penang.
18 August 1942: Departs Penang.
20 August 1942: Arrives at Singapore.
21 August 1942: Departs Singapore.
22 August 1942: Arrives Surabaya.
30 August 1942: Departs Surabaya.
31 August 1942: Arrives at Makassar.
1 September 1942: Departs Makassar. Arrives at Davao that day.
3 September 1942: Departs Davao.
9 September 1942: Arrives at Sasebo.
10 September 1942: Drydocked.
22 September 1942: Undocked.
23 September 1942: Departs Sasebo.
2 October 1942: Arrives Surabaya.
10 October 1942: Departs Surabaya. Patrols in the Timor Sea.
16 October 1942: Arrives at Makassar.
28 October 1942: Departs Makassar.
1 November 1942: Arrives at Ambon.
1 November 1942: Departs Ambon. Supports landings at the Tanimbar
13 November 1942: Arrives at Makassar.
November 1942: Vice Admiral Takasu Shiro (former CO of ISUZU), CINC,
Southwest Area Fleet, orders NATORI, ASHIGARA and KINU to prepare to engage an
American-Australian landing on Timor that is expected to occur in December based
on an intelligence report received from the Italians. Later, the report proves
19 December 1942: Departs Makassar.
21 December 1942: Arrives at Tarakan. Refuels. Embarks a Special
Naval Landing Force.
21 December 1942: Departs Tarakan.
25 December 1942: Arrives at Hollandia, New Guinea. Disembarks
26 December 1942: Departs Hollandia.
29 December 1942: Arrives at Ambon.
31 December 1942: Departs Ambon. Arrives at Lomblen Island.
8 January 1943: Departs Lomblen to assist in the rescue of torpedo
boat TOMOZURU bombed by USAAF aircraft on 6 January.
9 January 1943: 18 miles SE of Ambon at 04-07S, 128-32E. At 0838,
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) W. B. Sieglaff's USS TAUTOG (SS-199) sights NATORI at
about 3,000 yards. At 0841, Sieglaff fires his first two torpedoes. At 0943, his
crew hears a loud explosion and sound reports that the cruiser's screws have
stopped. The torpedoes hit NATORI in the stern. It breaks off and carries away
her rudder. Seven sailors are killed and 12 injured. NATORI fires at TAUTOG's
periscope after being hit.
In the next few minutes, as NATORI gets underway at reduced speed,
Sieglaff fires two more torpedoes, but they either miss or are duds. NATORI
manages to escape and arrives at Ambon that day.
20 January 1943: Captain Ueda Mitsuharu (45)(former CO TENRYU) assumes
command. Captain Inoguchi is KIA as CO of MUSASHI in October 1944.
21 January 1943: Ambon. NATORI is damaged by a near-miss starboard
side by a 500-lb. bomb dropped by a Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" bomber of the
90th Bomb Group's 319th Bomb Squadron. The bomb opens plates and causes the No.
2 boiler room to flood. NATORI departs Ambon that day, escorted by minelayer
23 January 1943: Arrives at Makassar. Undergoes temporary repairs.
27 January 1943: Departs Makassar.
31 January 1943: Arrives at Singapore.
2 February 1943: Arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore. Begins
further temporary repairs.
3 February 1943: Drydocked. Hull repairs. A temporary rudder is
30 April 1943: Undocked.
24 May 1943: Temporary repairs are completed. Departs Singapore.
24 May 1943: Arrives at Mako.
24 May 1943: Departs Mako.
1 June 1943: Arrives at Maizuru.
7 June 1943: Drydocked.
10 June 1943: Undocked. Begins repairs and modernization. Her Nos. 5
and 7 140-mm guns are removed as are her catapult and derrick. A twin Type 89
127-mm HA gun is fitted as are two triple mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns. This
brings NATORI's 25-mm AA suite to fourteen barrels (2x3, 2x2, 4x1). A Type 21
air-search radar is fitted and hydrophones are installed at her bow.
NATORI is rerated as a Fourth Reserve ship during the many months of her
repairs in the overworked Maizuru yard.
20 July 1943: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Hirai Yasuji (43)(former
CO of YUBARI) is appointed the CO of NATORI as additional duty.
18 March 1944: Captain Kubota Toshi (46)(former ComDesDiv 24), a
survivor of torpedoed destroyer UMIKAZE, is appointed the CO.
1 April 1944: Repairs and modernization are completed. Reassigned to
the Maizuru Naval Station for sea trials.
12 April 1944: Drydocked.
16 April 1944: Undocked.
25 April 1944: Departs Maizuru.
20 April 1944: NATORI is assigned to Vice Admiral (Admiral,
posthumously) Nagumo's Chuichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Central Pacific Fleet.
30 April 1944: Arrives at Hashirajima.
15 May 1944: NATORI is assigned as the flagship of the Central
Pacific Fleet/DesRon 3.
5 June 1944: Embarks the 126th Navy Air Defense Unit. Departs Kure.
11 June 1944: Arrives at Davao, Philippines. Disembarks the 126th
Navy Air Defense Unit and embarks other troops.
16 June 1944: Departs Davao.
17 June 1944: Arrives at Palau. Disembarks troops and departs.
18 June 1944:Operation "A-GO" - The Battle of the Philippine Sea:
Joins Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) Mobile Fleet's Supply
Force as an escort.
19 June 1944: Detaches from the Mobile Fleet.
22 June 1944: Arrives at Manila.
26 June 1944: Departs Manila.
28 June 1944: Arrives at Davao. Remains as a guardship.
12 July 1944: Departs Davao.
13 July 1944: Arrives at Palau. Embarks personnel for evacuation.
14 July 1944: Departs Palau.
15 July 1944: Arrives at Davao. Disembarks personnel.
20 July 1944: Departs Davao. LtCdr Eric Barr's BLUEGILL is patrolling
off Davao Gulf. Close to shore, Barr picks up NATORI making 26 knots. Barr, who
sank light cruiser YUBARI on his first patrol, is eager to sink another cruiser
on this second patrol. He rings up flank speed, but is unable to gain a
favorable firing position.
21 July 1944: NATORI arrives at Palau. Embarks 800 Japanese and
Korean "comfort women" for evacuation and departs.
22 July 1944: Arrives at Davao.
29 July 1944: Embarks personnel and departs Davao.
31 July 1944: Arrives at Manila.
5 August 1944: Refit at Cavite Naval Base. Drydocked.
8 August 1944: Undocked.
10 August 1944: Departs Manila, escorting the fast transport No. 3
(T.3). NATORI carries, among others, eight reserve ensigns from universities
and sixty PT-boat crews. The ship's reload torpedoes are debarked. Additional
lumber is loaded as material for rafts if the ship sank. Forced to alter
course in the San Bernardino Strait because of reports of an American Task
Force in the vicinity.
12 August 1944: Arrives at Cebu.
13 August 1944: Departs Cebu for Palau, escorting the fast transport
T.3. Anchors off the western entrance to the San Bernardino Strait.
14 August 1944: Departs the San Bernardino Strait. Arrives at Biliran
15 August 1944: Departs Biliran Island. Arrives at Cebu. Refuels.
16 August 1944: Departs Cebu.
17 August 1944: Transits the the San Bernardino Strait.
18 August 1944: 200 miles E of Samar, Philippines. NATORI is
accompanying the T.3 to Palau. Cdr (later Captain) Fitzhugh McMaster's USS
HARDHEAD's (SS-365) radar picks up NATORI east of the San Bernardino Strait.
McMaster identifies the target as a battleship and closes for a surface attack.
At 0240, one torpedo of McMaster's first salvo of five Mark-23 steam
torpedoes fired at 2,800 yards hits NATORI portside in a boiler room. She stops
dead in the water. At 0330, McMaster hits NATORI to starboard amidships with one
of a second salvo of four Mark-18 electric torpedoes fired from his stern tubes.
At 0330, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from NATORI to
fleet HQ in Manila that reads: "At 0240, torpedoed by enemy submarine. One hit.
LAT 12.05 N. LONG 129.26. Despite serious damage, no fear of sinking at
present. Unable to maneuever."
At 0530, a second dispatch from NATORI is intercepted and decrypted that
reads "Getting underway westward at six knots, under own power."
At 0704, NATORI sinks at 12-29N, 128-49E. Three hundred-thirty crewmen
including Captain Kubota, NATORI's chief gunnery officer, LtCdr (Cdr
posthumously) Miyamoto Isao (63) and engineering officer, LtCdr (Cdr
posthumously) Ishiguro Sadasuke go down with her. T.3 escapes. Destroyers
URAKAZE, KIYOSHIMA and TAKE search for survivors unsuccessfully until 23 August,
but pick up no one.
20 August 1944: Light cruiser KINU and destroyer SHIGURE are en route
from Palau via Cebu to Manila; but are diverted to assist NATORI, but are
unable to locate her.
30 August 1944: Surigao, Mindanao. 183 of NATORI's survivors led by her
Communications officer, Lt Matsunaga Ichiro (68), arrive in three 30-ft open
boats ("cutters" in the IJN parlance) after rowing some 300 nm. Over 10 sailors
perish en route to Mindanao including Midshipman (Ens, posthumously) Fukunaga
31 August 1944: E of Surigao Strait. At 1640, LtCdr Sam C. Loomis' USS
STINGRAY (SS-186) rescues one officer and three Japanese crewmen from a red
rubber raft with white stripes at 11-40N, 129-51E. The survivors are in serious
physical condition from exposure and lack of food. Later, during interrogations
they identify the light cruiser sunk earlier as their ship, NATORI.
12 September 1944: USS MARSHALL (DD-676) captures a lifeboat with
another 44 survivors of NATORI aboard. 12 other Japanese sailors in the boat had
Captain Kubota is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.
10 October 1944: Removed from the Navy List.
Authors' Notes:  Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was
the highest point in the Japanese Empire at the time.
 Post-battle analyses indicate MOGAMI's and FUBUKI's torpedoes
probably sank or disabled W-2 and the transports.
 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 bureaucracies, 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 PERTH, seems at least comparable, or
superior, to other winners.
Thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this
TROM go to Jean-François Masson of Canada. Thanks also goes to Aldert Gritter
("Adm. Gurita") of the Netherlands. Thanks go to Don Kehn, Jr. for further info
about the survivors of NATORI.