JUNYOKAN!

(Sister NAKA by Y. Mizu)

IJN SENDAI:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2012 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 6


16 February 1922:
Nagasaki. Laid down as a light cruiser at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding's Yard.

30 October 1923:
Launched and named SENDAI.

29 April 1924:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Lead ship of the SENDAI-class.

1 December 1924:
Captain (later Vice Admira) Ijichi Kiyohiro (30)(former CO of SUNOSAKI) is appointed CO.

2 July 1925:
An unknown officer is appointed CO.

1 November 1926:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sagara Tatsuo (32) is appointed CO.

21 December 1927:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ban Jiro (33) is appointed CO.

10 December 1928:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Wada Senzo (34)(former CO of MUROTO) is appointed CO.

1 May 1929:
Captain Nohara Nobuharu (34) is appointed CO.

1 December 1930:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kishimoto Kaneji (37) is appointed CO.

1 December 1932:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takasaki Takeo (37) is appointed CO.

4 July 1934:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yoshida Tsunemitsu (36) is appointed CO.

26 September 1935: 4th Fleet Incident:
Damaged by a typhoon. Later, undergoes repairs.

15 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Nakajima Torahiko (39)(former XO of IWATE) is appointed CO.

1 December 1936:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yamamoto Masao (38) is appointed CO.

14 August 1937: "Bloody Saturday":
Shanghai. Flagship USS AUGUSTA (CA-31), carrying the CINC, U.S. Asiatic Fleet, Admiral Harry E. Yarnell (former CO of SARATOGA, CV-3), arrives from Tsingtao after battling a typhoon and anchors in the Whangpoa River.

That same day, the Chinese Air Force (CAF) under acting CO, retired Captain (later LtGen) Claire L. Chennault, launches more than 10 aircraft to attack IJN flagship IZUMO and the Japanese fleet. The CAF mistakenly bombs British cruiser HMS CUMBERLAND, but their bombs fall wide. Two bombs also fall close alongside AUGUSTA, but no one is killed.

The CAF accidentally bombs Shanghai city, killing more than 1700 civilians and wounding 1800 others. A Type 95 floatplane from SENDAI attacks the CAF formations and shoots down a Chinese plane. A Type 90 scout floatplane from IZUMO shoots down a CAF fighter. 1 December 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu (40)(former XO of IWATE) is appointed CO.

15 December 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Izaki Shunji is appointed CO.

15 November 1939:
An unknown officer is appointed CO.

15 July 1940:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Shimazaki Toshio (former CO of DD URANAMI) is appointed CO.

20 November 1941:
Flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hashimoto Shintaro's (former CO of HYUGA) DesRon 3. Departs Hashirajima with DesRon 3's DesDivs 11, 12, 19 and 20 (No. 1 Escort Unit).

26 November 1941:
Arrives at Samah, Hainan Island, Occupied China.

4 December 1941:
Sorties from Samah with DesDivs 12, 19 and 20 escorting 18 transports carrying LtGen Yamashita Tomoyuki's (later dubbed the "Tiger of Malaya") 25th Army to the Gulf of Thailand.

7 December 1941: Operation "E" - The Invasion of Malaya.
At 2345 local, SENDAI and her destroyers commence a bombardment of Kota Bharu, Malaya.

8 December 1941:
At 0045 local, SENDAI, DesDiv 19's AYANAMI, ISONAMI, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI, minesweepers W-2 and W-3, subchaser CH-9 and transports AWAJISAN, AYATOSAN and SAKURA MARUs land troops at Kota Bharu. At 0210, they are attacked by seven of RAAF No. 1 Squadron's "Hudson" light bombers. Transport AWAJISAN MARU, headquarters ship of MajGen Takumi Hiroshi's 5th Division, is hit and set afire. The other two transports are damaged. After towing by two of DesDiv 19's destroyers fails, AWAJISAN MARU is abandoned.

The Indian-British brigade defending Kota Bharu puts up stiff resistance and inflicts heavy casualties on the Japanese, but is soon outflanked and overrun. That same day, the other ten transports land troops unopposed at Singora and five transports land troops unopposed at Patani, Thailand.

9 December 1941: The Pursuit of the Royal Navy's "Force Z":
Submarine I-65 sights a British force steaming NNW at 14 knots. This is Admiral Sir Tom S. V. Phillips who sorties from Singapore to find and attack the Malaya invasion transports with his Force Z: Captain J. C. Leach's new battleship HMS PRINCE OF WALES, Captain (later Vice Admiral) W. G. Tennant's old battlecruiser HMS REPULSE, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, EXPRESS, TENEDOS and Australian destroyer HMAS VAMPIRE.

The report of Force Z's position is received inaccurately because of faulty communications, nevertheless SENDAI sorties southward with CruDiv 7 and DesDiv 19 for a night attack on HMS PRINCE OF WALES and REPULSE.

10 December 1941:
140 miles east of Kuantan, Malaya. Shortly after midnight, submarine I-58 is running on the surface when her lookouts spot the approaching British ships. I-58 dives immediately and attempts to fire a full six-torpedo salvo on the leading ship, PRINCE OF WALES, but the first torpedo tube's outer door jams. PRINCE OF WALES passes by. REPULSE comes by next. I-58 fires all remaining torpedoes, but misses. I-58 reports Force Z proceeding SSW at 24 knots.

SENDAI receives I-58's report and relays it to Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) First Southern Expeditionary Fleet's flagship, cruiser CHOKAI.

That afternoon, Force Z is overwhelmed by torpedo-bombers of the 22nd Air Flotilla from bases in Indochina. Both British capital ships are sunk.

11 December 1941:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina.

12 December 1941:
AWAJISAN MARU is torpedoed and sunk by Dutch Luitenant ter zee 1e klasse Henry C. J. Coumou's submarine K-XII.

13 December 1941:
Departs Camranh with the No. 1 Escort Unit (less DesDiv 12) to cover the Second Malaya Convoy's 39 transports. Covers the landings of 31 transports at Singora, Patani, Ban Don and Nakhorn. Escorts five transports to Kota Bharu.

19 December 1941:
South China Sea. Kota Bahru. In the morning, Dutch Luitenant ter zee 1e klasse Pieter G. J. Snippe's (former CO of K-IX) submarine O-20, now under the command of Vice Admiral Geoffrey Layton, RN, at Singapore, sights a convoy of a few transport ships escorted by two or three destroyers.

At 1115, SENDAI's floatplane, probably a Kawanishi E7N2 "Alf", spots and bombs O-20. Soon, AYANAMI and YUGIRI attack her with depth-charges. Snippe lies doggo on the bottom and evades repeated depth charging. That night, at 2045, he surfaces to recharge O-20's batteries, but a flame from her engines' exhaust gives the submarine away. She is engaged by gunfire from URANAMI. At 2130, O-20 is scuttled by her crew. Ltz I Snippe and six crewmen are lost.[1]

20 December 1941:
At 0715, URANAMI rescues 32 of O-20's crew from the water and makes them POWs.

21 December 1941:
SENDAI arrives at Camranh.

24 December 1941:
Departs Camranh with DesDiv 20 and SHIKINAMI. Escorts ASAKASAN and RYUJO MARUs.

30 December 1941:
Lands troops at Kota Bharu.

31 December 1941:
Arrives at Camranh with Escort Unit No. 1.

3 January 1942:
Departs Camranh with four destroyers.

6 January 1942:
Arrives at Canton, China.

9 January 1942:
Departs Canton for Camranh with a convoy of 11 troop transports and three destroyers.

10 January 1942:
At 1247, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) William E. Ferrall's USS SEADRAGON (SS-194) spots the convoy, but Ferrall cannot get closer than 2,500 yards. He fires two torpedoes at the last transport in the column, but both miss. Two of the destroyers try to find SEADRAGON, but Ferrall evades them and escapes.

Later that day, SENDAI and the convoy arrive safely at Camranh.

16 January 1942:
Departs Camranh with CHOKAI, CruDiv 7's KUMANO, SUZUYA, MIKUMA and MOGAMI, light cruisers YURA, KINU and DesRon 3 in response to a false report of a British RENOWN-class battleship at Singapore.

18 January 1942:
Arrives at Camranh.

20 January 1942:
Departs Camranh escorting 11 troop transports with DesDiv 11's FUBUKI, HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI, DesDiv 20's ASAGIRI, AMAGIRI and YUGIRI and minesweeper W-1.

22 January 1942:
The convoy arrives at Singora.

26 January 1942:
The convoy arrives at Endau.

27 January 1942: The Battle off Endau:
Singapore. LtCdr B. S. Davies' old WW1 destroyer HMS THANET and LtCdr W. T. A. Moran's HMAS VAMPIRE are dispatched to make a night attack on the troop tansports at Endau, about 80 miles N of Singapore. At 0237, approaching Endau, they engage a warship they take to be a destroyer, but actually is minesweeper W-1. VAMPIRE launches two torpedoes at W-1, but they miss. W-1 raises the alarm and the Allied destroyers continue towards Endau.

At 0318, VAMPIRE sights SHIRAYUKI to port and launches two torpedoes at her, but they miss. Then THANET launches all four of her torpedoes, but also misses. Both Allied destroyers open fire with their 4-inch guns. SENDAI and SHIRAYUKI return fire. The Allied destroyers retire SE at maximum speed.

At about 0400, THANET is hit in the engine and boiler rooms. Her speed falls off and an explosion wrecks the old destroyer. She goes dead in the water, lists heavily to starboard and begins to sink. VAMPIRE lays a smoke screen, but THANET is attacked by FUBUKI, HATSUYUKI, ASAGIRI, AMAGIRI, YUGIRI and W-1. At 0415, HMS THANET sinks. VAMPIRE is undamaged and without casualties, but she has no chance to pick up survivors. She makes for Singapore arriving there at 1000.

Troop transports KANSAI MARU and KANBERA MARU are damaged in the action. Later, SHIRAYUKI picks up 31 survivors from HMS THANET. They are never seen again.

31 January 1942:
The escort force returns to Camranh.

9 February 1942: Operation "L" - Invasion of Palembang and Banka Island, Sumatra.
Departs Camranh with DesDiv 11's FUBUKI, HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI escorting eight transports. Covers the invasion landings.

12 February 1942:
Joins light cruiser YURA in attacking British and Dutch vessels in the Bangka Strait escaping from Singapore.

20 February 1942:
Conducts sweeping operations around Singapore and in the Strait of Malacca with destroyers AMAGIRI and ASAGIRI.

27 February 1942:
Arrives at Singapore with cruiser CHOKAI. Anchors at Keppel Harbor.

8 March 1942:
Departs Singapore escorting troop transports with the No. 1 Escort Unit.

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

15 March 1942:
Arrives at Penang, Malaya.

20 March 1942:
Departs Penang with the troop transports and the No. 1 Escort Unit to support the seizure of the Andaman Islands.

23 March 1942: Operation "D" - The Invasion of the Andaman Islands:
Covers the unopposed landing of one battalion of the IJA's 18th Infantry Division at Port Blair.

2/3 April 1942:
Major General Lewis H Brereton, Commanding General 10th Air Force, leads three Boeing B-17's on a raid on the Andaman Islands, The B-17 crews claim hits on a cruiser (SENDAI) and a transport, but these cannot be substantiated. Two B-17's are damaged by AA and fighters, but all return to base.

3 April 1942: Operation "C "– The Raids in the Indian Ocean:
Departs Port Blair with seven DesRon 3 destroyers to her assigned covering area W of the Andamans.

8 April 1942:
Departs the Andamans.

11 April 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

13 April 1942:
Departs Singapore. Refueling and crew liberty.

22 April 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo for refit and overhaul.

25 April 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Morishita Nobuei (former CO of OI) is appointed CO. Captain Shimazaki becomes CO of KONGO in 1943 and is KIA aboard her on 21 Nov '44.

16 May 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

17 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

26 May 1942:
Hashirajima.

27 May 1942:
Arrives at Sukumo Bay.

29 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
Departs Sukumo Bay with the CINC, Combined Fleet, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku's (former CO of AKAGI) Main Body and DesDiv 11's FUBUKI, SHIRAYUKI, MURAKUMO and HATSUYUKI, DesDiv 19's URANAMI, SHIKANAMI, AYANAMI, ISONAMI and YUKAZE. Screens BatDiv 1's YAMATO, NAGATO and MUTSU, escort carrier HOSHO, seaplane tenders CHIYODA and NISSHIN and Captain Nishioka Shigeyasu's Supply Group No. 1's oilers NARUTO and TOEI MARU.

The Main Body remains 600 miles behind Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) First Carrier Striking Force and does not engage American forces.

14 June 1942:
Arrives at Kure. Refit.

26 June 1942:
Departs Hashirajima with DesDiv 11's FUBUKI, HATSUYUKI, MURAKUMO and SHIRAYUKI, DesDiv 19's AYANAMI, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI and DesDiv 20's AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, SHIRAKUMO and YUGIRI.

27 June 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

30 June 1942:
DesRon 3 escorts a troop convoy from Kure.

2 July 1942:
Arrives at Amami-O-Shima, Ryukyus.

10 July 1942:
Conducts antisubmarine patrols W of Kyushu from Amami-O-Shima.

15 July 1942: Operation "B" - Operations in Burma and Raids in the Indian Ocean.
DesRon 3 is reassigned to the Southwest Force. Departs Amami-O-Shima.

17 July 1942:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

18 July 1942:
The SENDAI and DesRon 3's eleven destroyers depart Mako and Takao.

23 July 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

28 July 1942:
Departs Singapore.

29 July 1942:
Arrives at Sabang.

30 July 1942:
Departs Sabang.

31 July 1942:
Arrives at Mergui, Burma for Indian Ocean raiding operations.

7 August 1942: American Operation "WATCHTOWER" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's Task Force 63's land-based aircraft, lands MajGen (later Gen/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening the campaign to retake the island.

8 August 1942:
After the American landings on Guadalcanal, the Indian Ocean operations are canceled. SENDAI departs Mergui.

14 August 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.

15 August 1942:
Departs Makassar.

17 August 1942:
Arrives at Davao. Refuels.

19 August 1942:
Departs Davao escorting a troop convoy.

23 August 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

24 August 1942:
DesRon 3 departs escorting transports SADO and AKASAN MARUs.

28 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

30 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

31 August 1942:
Arrives at Shortland, Bougainville.

4-5 September 1942:
Supports landings on Guadalcanal.

8 September 1942:
Shells Tulagi.

12 September 1942:
At 2130, SENDAI bombards "Bloody Ridge" near Henderson Field, Guadalcanal with destroyers SHIKINAMI, FUBUKI and SUZUKAZE. Returns to Shortland. [2]

18 September 1942:
Departs Shortland with four destroyers to attack an American reinforcement convoy landing troops at Guadalcanal. Unable to locate the convoy, SENDAI bombards Marine positions at Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. Returns to Shortland.

14 October 1942:
At 2200, seaplane tender NISSHIN with SENDAI, light cruiser YURA and destroyers ASAGUMO, AKATSUKI, IKAZUCHI and SHIRAYUKI land 1,100 troops on Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal.

3 November 1942:
Departs Shortland with DesDiv 11's HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI.

6 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

9 November 1942:
SENDAI departs Truk with the screening force's DesDiv 11's HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI, DesDiv 19's AYANAMI, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI for the Carrier Support Force's carrier JUNYO, BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA and CruDiv 8's TONE. Provides distant support from Ontong Java area to Vice Admiral Abe Hiroaki's (former CO of FUSO) Bombardment Force against Henderson Field.

13 November 1942:The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
Ontong Java. After the loss of BatDiv 11's HIEI, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake forms an Emergency Bombardment Force composed of BatDiv 11's KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO (F) and TAKAO, DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and destroyers ASAGUMO, TERUZUKI, HATSUYUKI, SHIRAYUKI, IKAZUCHI and SAMIDARE.

14 November 1942:
DesRon 3's SENDAI and DesDiv 19's AYANAMI, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI form a Sweeping Unit. CarDiv 2's JUNYO, battleships KONGO and HARUNA and the remainder of Kondo's Second Fleet Advanced Force are to hold station as distant cover.

15 November 1942: The Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
Iron Bottom Bay off Savo Island. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Willis A. Lee's Task Force 64 approaches Guadalcanal on a northerly course in a column formation. USS WALKE (DD-416) leads, followed by BENHAM (DD-397), PRESTON (DD-379) and the GWIN (DD-433) with Captain Glenn B. Davis' new battleship USS WASHINGTON (BB-56) and Captain (later Vice Admiral) Thomas L. Gatch's SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) 5,000 yards behind.

At 0001, WASHINGTON makes radar contact at 18,000 yards, bearing to the east of Savo Island. At 0016, WASHINGTON opens fire on SENDAI with her 16-inch main battery. SENDAI makes smoke, puts about and retires undamaged.

Light cruiser NAGARA and destroyers engage the Americans with gunfire and "Long Lance" torpedoes. During the action, more than 30 torpedoes are launched at SOUTH DAKOTA. They all miss her, but PRESTON and WALKE are sunk and BENHAM is so badly damaged that she must be scuttled the next evening by GWIN.

WASHINGTON approaches to within 8,400 yards of KIRISHIMA undetected. WASHINGTON hits KIRISHIMA with eight or nine of seventy-five 16-inch AP radar-directed shells that she fires. KIRISHIMA is set afire, two of her 14-inch turrets are disabled, her rudder is destroyed and she is holed at the waterline. KIRISHIMA lists to starboard and begins circling to port, smoking and ablaze.

SOUTH DAKOTA and WASHINGTON's secondary five-inch armament repeatedly hit destroyer AYANAMI. She has to be scuttled by URANAMI. At 0325, KIRISHIMA is also scuttled, then rolls over to starboard and capsizes. The victorious WASHINGTON is untouched.

18 November 1942:
SENDAI and her destroyers return to Truk.

18 November-28 December 1942:
At Truk.

28 December 1942-3 January 1943:
Truk. Refit by repair ship AKASHI.

3-22 January 1943:
At Truk.

21 January 1943:
Two 25 mm guns removed from oiler SANYO MARU are transferred to SENDAI.

22 January 1943:
Departs Truk.

24 January 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

25 February 1943:
Rabaul. DesRon 3's SENDAI and DesDivs 11 and 22 are reassigned from the First Fleet to Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Eighth Fleet at Rabaul.

23 March 1943:
Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Akiyama Teruo (former CO of NAKA) assumes command of DesRon 3 from Rear Admiral Hashimoto.

1 April 1943:
Vice Admiral, the Baron, Samejima Tomoshige (former CO of NAGATO) assumes command of the Eighth Fleet. Vice Admiral Mikawa is reassigned as the Schoolmaster of the Naval Navigation School.

3 April 1943:
Rabaul. DesDiv 30 is reassigned to DesRon 3.

10 April 1943:
Departs Rabaul.

12 April 1943:
Arrives at Truk. Begins refit.

19 April 1943:
Refit is completed. Departs Truk.

21 April 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul. Departs the same day.

21 April 1943:
Arrives at Kavieng. SENDAI takes damaged heavy cruiser AOBA under tow and departs the same day with destroyers HATSUZUKI and NAGATSUKI.

25 April 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

28 April 1943:
Departs Truk.

4 May 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

5 May 1943:
At Sasebo for repairs and refit. A Type 21 radar is installed. The No. five 5.5-inch gun mount is removed. Two triple 25-mm AA gun mounts are installed.

20 May 1943:
Captain Shoji Kiichiro (former ComDesDiv 16) is appointed CO. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Morishita is posted as CO of HARUNA, and later CO of YAMATO.

25 June 1943:
Departs Sasebo. That same day, destroyer NIIZUKI becomes flagship of DesRon 3.

28 June 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Embarks troops.

30 June 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

5 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

6 July 1943:
Departs Truk with YUGURE.

7 July 1943:
Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously), the Baron, Ijuin Matsuji (former CO of KONGO and son of Fleet Admiral Ijuin Goro, former CINC, Combined Fleet) assumes command of DesRon 3 from Rear Admiral Akiyama who was KIA aboard NIIZUKI sunk at the Battle of Kula Gulf on 5-6 July.

8 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul, disembarks troops and departs.

9 July 1943:
Arrives at the Shortland Island anchorage.

During the next three months, SENDAI operates out of Rabaul covering reinforcement convoys to Buin and Shortland.

18 July 1943:
SENDAI departs Rabaul for the Vella Gulf with CruDiv7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 4's CHOKAI, DesDiv 27's YUGURE, DesDiv 31's KIYONAMI and destroyers MIKAZUKI and MATSUKAZE acting as fast transports carrying troop reinforcements. Off Kolombangara, the group is attacked by Guadalcanal-based Marine Grumman TBM "Avenger" torpedo-bombers. KUMANO and CHOKAI's aft hull plates are damaged by near-misses from 2000-lb bombs dropped by radar.

20 July 1943:
The transport group is attacked by North American B-25 "Mitchell" skip bombers. DesDiv 27's YUGURE and DesDiv 31's KIYONAMI are sunk with all hands.

21 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

28 August 1943:
SENDAI departs Rabaul on a troop transport run to Shortland with destroyer SAZANAMI.

31 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Bougainville with CruDiv 5, DesRons 2, 3 to cover a reinforcement convoy of destroyer-transports AMAGIRI, YUNAGI, UZUKI and FUZUKI.

1 November 1943: American Operation "SHOESTRING II": The Invasion of Bougainville:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Theodore S. Wilkinson's Third Amphibious Force, Task Force 31, lands LtGen Vandegrift's 1st Marine Amphibious Corps at Cape Torokina, Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, Solomons.

After the American invasion of Cape Torokina, DesRon 3 is assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's (former CO of ISE) Attack Force with CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO and Rear Admiral Matsubara Hiroshi's (former CO of DD ASAGIRI) DesRon 2's light cruiser AGANO and destroyers NAGANAMI, WAKATSUKI and HATSUKAZE.

That same day, SENDAI is bombed by a Consolidated B-24 "Liberator", but suffers no damage.

2 November 1943: The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay:
Vice Admiral Omori departs Rabaul to escort 1,000 IJA troops to Empress Augusta Bay to oppose the American invasion at Cape Torokina, Bougainville. Omori's force includes CruDiv 5's MYOKO (F) and HAGURO, Rear Admiral Ijuin's DesRon 3's SENDAI with destroyers SHIGURE, SAMIDARE and SHIRATSUYU and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Osugi Morikazu's (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 10's light cruiser AGANO with destroyers NAGANAMI, WAKATSUKI and HATSUKAZE and destroyer-transports AMAGIRI, YUNAGI, UZUKI and FUZUKI.

At 0026, HAGURO catapults a floatplane, probably a Mitsubishi F1M "Pete".

At 0031, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Aaron S. Merrill (former CO of INDIANA, BB-58) intercepts the Japanese with his Task Force 39's CruDiv 12's radar-equipped light cruisers USS CLEVELAND (CL-55), COLUMBIA (CL-56), MONTPELIER (CL-57) and DENVER (CL-58), Captain (later Admiral/CNO) "31 knot" Arleigh Burke's destroyers USS STANLY (DD-478), CHARLES F. AUSBURNE (DD-570), CLAXTON (DD-571) and DYSON (DD-572) and Cdr B. L Austin's CONVERSE (DD-509), FOOTE (DD-511), SPENCE (DD-512) and THATCHER (DD-514).

At 0040, HAGURO's floatplane spots several American warships 20 mile S of Omori's force. At that same time, Captain Burke's four van destroyers launch 25 Mark-15 steam torpedoes at Omori's force.

At 0045, lookouts on SHIGURE spot the American destroyers at 7,500 yards. SHIGURE turns hard starboard and launches eight torpedoes towards them. SENDAI also turns hard starboard, but bears down on SHIGURE. SHIGURE barely avoids a collision with SENDAI, but the following SAMIDARE side-swipes SHIRATSUYU and crushes her hull portside.

At 0050, all four of Merrill's cruisers take SENDAI under radar directed 6-inch fire. They hit her with their first salvo and more thereafter setting her afire.

About 0100, Omori's flagship MYOKO collides with HATSUKAZE and the destroyer loses her bow. At 0108, American destroyer FOOTE is hit by a torpedo and damaged heavily, but does not sink.

At 0115, MYOKO and HAGURO are straddled by American shells. Both cruisers open fire blindly and launch 24 torpedoes in the direction of Merrill's forces. In the next 20 minutes, HAGURO takes about ten hits from 5-inch and 6-inch shells, but most are duds and the damage is minor.

At 0134, Vice Admiral Omori orders the withdrawl of the remaining Japanese forces. He signals Rabaul and requests a submarine be dispatched to rescue survivors. At 0200, SENDAI is abandoned. ComDesRon 3 Rear Admiral Ijuin enters the water. 236 other SENDAI crewmen are rescued by destroyers.[3]

Burke's destroyers finish off HATSUKAZE by gunfire. She goes down with all 240 hands.

SENDAI remains afloat until 0430 when she sinks at 06-10S, 154-20E. Captain Shoji and 184 crewmen go down with her.

Captain Shoji is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

5 January 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
[1] On 12 June 2002, Dutch divers of the International Association for Handicapped Divers locate the wreck of O-20 about 35 miles NE of Kota Bharu, Malaysia at a depth of 144 feet.

[2] Dubbed "Bloody Ridge", it is later renamed "Edson's Ridge" in honor of LtCol (later MajGen/MOH) Merritt A. Edson, CO of the First Marine Raider Battalion that held the ridge against repeated assaults by MajGen Kawaguchi Kiyotake's 6,000-man Brigade attempting to retake Henderson Field.

[3] On 3 Nov 43, Rear Admiral Ijuin and 75 survivors from SENDAI are rescued by LtCdr Shoda Keiji's submarine RO-104.

Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Aldert Gritter/"Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands and Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.


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