(ATAGO by Takeshi Yuki)
HIJMS TAKAO: Tabular Record of Movement
© 1997-2012 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
28 April 1927:
Laid down at Yokosuka Navy Yard.
12 May 1930:
Launched and named TAKAO.
31 March 1932:
In sea trials conducted off the coast of Tateyama, TAKAO makes 35.6 knots and develops 139,500 shaft horsepower.
31 May 1932:
Completed and registered in the IJN. An unknown officer is the CO.
1 November 1932:
Captain (Admiral, posthumously) Sawamoto Yorio (36) (former CO of NAKA) assumes command.
15 November 1933:
Captain (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi (36) (former CO of NAKA) assumes command.
15 November 1934:
An unknown officer assumes command.
15 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hara Kenzaburo (37) (former CO of JINTSU) assumes command.
25 April 1936:
An unknown officer assumes command.
1 December 1936:
Captain (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo (39)(former CO of MUTSU) assumes command.
1 December 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Daigo Tadashige (40) (former CO of IWATE) assumes command.
3 June 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsuyama Mitsuharu (40)(former CO of KINUGASA) assumes command.
14 July 1939:
In sea trials conducted off the coast of Tateyama, TAKAO makes 34.25 knots and develops 133,100 shaft horsepower.
21 August 1939:
Yokosuka. TAKAO's reconstruction is completed.
15 November 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Kengo (42) (former CO of KUMA) assumes command.
1 November 1940:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Yamaguchi Jihei (41) (former CO of TATSUTA) assumes command.
15 August 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Asakura Bunji (former CO of AO IRO) assumes command.
29 November 1941:
TAKAO is in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 4 with ATAGO (F) and MAYA. CruDiv 4 departs Saeki Bay with Kondo's Second Fleet, Southern Force, Malay Force, Main Body: BatDiv 3's HARUNA and KONGO and destroyers ARASHI, HAGIKAZE, AKATSUKI, HATAKAZE, NOWAKI, MAIKAZE, MICHISHIO and HIBIKI.
2 December 1941:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadore Islands. The Main Body 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). 
4 December 1941:
The Main Body departs Mako for the South China Sea to provide distant support for the invasion forces.
8 December 1941: The Invasions of Malaya and the Philippines:
Cruiser MAYA detaches from the Main Body to support the landings at Appari and Vigan in the Philippines.
9 December 1941: The Pursuit of the Royal Navy's "Force Z":
The Main Body is SE of Indochina near Poulo Condore Island. At 1415, LtCdr Harada Tamae's submarine I-65 reports sighting a British force steaming NNW at 14 knots. This is Vice Admiral Sir Tom Phillips who sorties from Singapore to find and attack the Malaya invasion transports with his Force Z's new battleship HMS PRINCE OF WALES, the old battlecruiser HMS REPULSE, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, EXPRESS, TENEDOS and Australian destroyer HMAS VAMPIRE. The Main Body sorties south for a night attack against Force Z, but no contact is made.
10 December 1941:
At dawn, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 7's KUMANO, MOGAMI, MIKUMA and SUZUYA with DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI and four destroyers join the Main Body. Kondo also orders Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo (former CO of HARUNA) to join in the hunt with cruiser CHOKAI.
In the afternoon, all ships depart the search area after receiving reports that both British capital ships were sunk off Kuantan, Malaya. Force Z was overwhelmed by 88 torpedo-bombers (Type 96 Mitsubishi G3M2 "Nells" and Type 1 G4M1 "Bettys") of the Genzan, Kanoya and Mihoro Kokutais of Rear Admiral Matsunaga Sadaichi's (former CO of ISUZU) 22nd Air Flotilla based at Saigon and Thudaumot in French Indochina. 840 British seamen are lost including Admiral Phillips.
11 December 1941:
The Main Body arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina.
14 December 1941:
The Main Body departs Camranh to cover the Second Malaya Convoy, NE of Natuna Besar Island.
That same day, LtCdr Tyrell D. Jacobs' USS SARGO (SS-188) receives an "Ultra" message based on code-breaking. The signal gives Jacobs course and speed data necessary for him to intercept three cruisers - probably including TAKAO - that left Camranh. The cruisers arrive at the designated intercept point, but Jacobs is unable to gain an attack position and the cruisers pass by safely.
17 December 1941:
The Main Body returns to Camranh.
20 December 1941:
The Main Body departs Camranh to cover the invasion landings at Lingayen Gulf, Philippines.
21-23 December 1941:
The Main Body lies off the coast of Luzon.
24 December 1941:
The Main Body returns to Camranh.
8 January 1942:
The Main Body departs Camranh for Mako.
11 January 1942:
The Main Body arrives at Mako.
14 January 1942:
The Main Body departs Mako for the Palau Islands in the Carolines.
18 January 1942:
The Main Body arrives at Palau. Provides distant cover for the Dutch East Indies invasion forces.
16 February 1942:
Departs Palau with MAYA as distant cover for Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi's Carrier Striking Force raid on Port Darwin, Australia.
21 February 1942:
The Main Body arrives at Staring (Teluk) Bay near Kendari, Celebes. Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi (former CO of YAMASHIRO) also arrives from his 19 February attack on Darwin with his Striking Force: CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU, Bat Div 3/1's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and seven destroyers. The Main Body and the Carrier Striking Force refuel.
The Main Body splits into two groups to provide distant support of air attacks on Ambon Island. HARUNA, CarDiv 2, CruDiv 4's MAYA and four destroyers operate out of Palau to the east of Mindanao, Philippines. KONGO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO and TAKAO and four destroyers operate south of Palau.
25 February 1942:
CruDiv 4's TAKAO, ATAGO and MAYA with DesDiv 4's ARASHI and NOWAKI depart Staring Bay under Vice Admiral Kondo to engage shipping escaping from Java.
1 March 1942:
Operating S of Tjilatjap, Java, Kondo's force sinks 981-ton Dutch motorship TORADJA, 620-ton auxiliary minesweeper HMS SCOTT HARLEY and captures 1, 020-ton Dutch steamship BINTOEHAN.
A floatplane from TAKAO finds and bombs 5, 412-ton Dutch merchant ENGGANO and sets the freighter afire. (The hulk is sunk three days later by CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and destroyer URAKAZE).
2 March 1942:
At 2206, TAKAO and ATAGO overhaul and sink LtCdr Harold C. Pound's old four stack destroyer USS PILLSBURY (DD-227) that had been mis-identified as light cruiser USS MARBLEHEAD. At 2232, they sink PILLSBURY with all hands at 15-38S, 113-13E.
4 March 1942:
TAKAO and ATAGO with NOWAKI sink RAN LtCdr Robert W. Rankin's Australian sloop YARRA, RNR Lt. F. Nixon's British Motor Minesweeper 51, tanker FRANCOL and Captain J. P. L. Reid's depot ship ANKING.
7 March 1942:
At 1305, arrives at Staring Bay.
11 March 1942:
Departs Staring Bay with MAYA for Yokosuka.
18 March 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Refit. New high angle AA guns are installed.
18 April 1942: The First Bombing of Japan:
Vice Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey's (former CO of SARATOGA, Cv-3) Task Force 16.2's HORNET (CV-8), VINCENNES (CA-44), NASHVILLE (CL-43), oiler CIMARRON (AO-22) and destroyers GWIN (DD-433), MEREDITH (DD-434), GRAYSON (DD-435) and MONSSEN (DD-436) accompanied by Task Force 16.1's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), NORTHAMPTON (CA-28), oiler SABINE (AO-25) and destroyers BALCH (DD-363), BENHAM (DD-397), ELLET (DD-398) and FANNING (DD-385) approach the Japanese home islands. The carriers and cruisers come to within 668 nautical miles of Japan.
Led by Lt Col (later General/Medal of Honor) James H. Doolittle, 16 Army B-25 "Mitchell" twin-engine bombers of the 17th Bomb Group take off from Captain (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's carrier HORNET and strike targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe. At Yokosuka, a B-25 damages light carrier RYUHO in a drydock undergoing conversion from submarine depot ship TAIGEI.
After the raid, MAYA, TAKAO and ATAGO put to sea in an unsuccessful pursuit of Doolittle's Force.
22 April 1942:
Arrives back at Yokusuka.
1 May 1942:
Departs Yokosuka with MAYA for Hashirajima.
2 May 1942:
40 miles off Cape Omae Zaki, Southern Honshu. TAKAO assists seaplane carrier MIZUHO torpedoed and sunk by USS DRUM (SS-228) at 34-26N, 138-14E. Returns to Yokosuka with 471 survivors of MIZUHO.
2 May 1942:
4 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima.
22 May 1942:
Departs Kure for Ominato with MAYA in Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro's (former CO of MUTSU) Fifth Fleet, Second Strike Force under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kakuta Kakuji (former CO of NAGATO) with carriers JUNYO, RYUJO, DesDiv 3's SHIOKAZE, DesDiv 6's IKAZUCHI, DesDiv 7's AKEBONO, SAZANAMI and the USHIO.
27 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
MAYA and TAKAO depart Ominato for the Aleutians in Rear Admiral Kakuta's Carrier Striking Force. They accompany Vice Admiral Hosogaya's Main Body with the destroyers INAZUMA and IKAZUCHI, oilers FUJISAN and NISSAN MARUs and three cargo ships. They cover invasion convoy bound for Kiska, and also support attacks against Attu Island.
2 June 1942:
Arrives at Paramushiro.
3 June 1942: Operation "AL" - The Invasion of the Aleutians:
Departs Paramushiro. The Second Mobile Force detaches and launches air attacks against U.S. installations in the Aleutians at Dutch Harbor and Unalaska Island.
MAYA and TAKAO each catapult two reconnaissance float biplanes. USAAF P-40 "Warhawk" fighters from Umnak Island bounce the floatplanes, shoot down two and heavily damage the other two.
200 miles SW of Dutch Harbor. About 1000, JUNYO's combat air patrol shoots down a USN PBY "Catalina" patrol flying boat from Umnak. TAKAO picks up three survivors from a raft as POWs.
5 June 1942:
During another attack on Dutch Harbor, TAKAO shoots down a B-17E "Flying Fortress".
7-20 June 1942:
Covers the invasion of Attu with the Second Mobile Force.
24 June 1942:
Arrives at Ominato.
7 August 1942: American Operation "Watchtower" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's (former CO of ASTORIA, CA-34) Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (MOH-'14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 63's land-based aircraft, lands Maj Gen (later General/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening a seven-month campaign to take the island.
11 August 1942:
CruDiv 4's TAKAO, ATAGO (F) and MAYA depart Hashirajima with Vice Admiral Kondo's Second Fleet, Advanced Force: CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO, CarDiv 11's seaplane tender CHITOSE, DesRon 4's light cruiser YURA, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO, DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE, SUZUKAZE, UMIKAZE, DesDiv 27's ARIAKE, SHIGURE, SHIRATSUYU, YUGURE and the Support Force's battleship MUTSU.
17 August 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
20 August 1942 - Operation "KA": The Reinforcement of Guadalcanal:
CruDiv 4 departs Truk in Kondo's Second Fleet with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (former CO of FUSO) Vanguard Force: BatDiv 11's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, the Support Force's CHITOSE, CruDiv 5's MYOKO and the HAGURO, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, Desron 10's light cruiser NAGARA with KAZAGUMO, YUGUMO, MAKIGUMO, AKIGUMO, HATSUKAZE, AKIZUKI, AMATSUKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, NOWAKI, TANIKAZE and MAIKAZE.
Kondo's Second Fleet joins Vice Admiral Nagumo's Third Fleet, Carrier Strike Force, Main Body's CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA.
24 August 1942: The Battle of the Eastern Solomons:
Cruises NE of Guadalcanal with the Carrier Strike Force, Main Body. Vice Admiral Fletcher's Task Force 61's SARATOGA (CV-3) and ENTERPRISE (CV-6) launch aircraft that find and sink light carrier RYUJO. In turn, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU launch aircraft that find and hit ENTERPRISE with three bombs. That evening, aircraft from SARATOGA damage seaplane carrier CHITOSE.
5 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
10 September 1942:
Nagumo's Third Fleet sorties from Truk: CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, BatDiv 11's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA, DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and 11 destroyers.
The Third Fleet accompanies Kondo's Second Fleet: Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) Close Support Force: BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2's light cruiser ISUZU with six destroyers to an area north of the Solomon Islands .
15-17 September 1942:
At sea. The fleet refuels destroyers.
18-20 September 1942:
The Second and the Third fleets sortie towards the Solomons.
20 September 1942:
The fleets are ordered to return to Truk.
23 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
11 October 1942:
The TAKAO, ATAGO, and MAYA sortie from Truk with Kondo's Second Fleet, Advance Force: CruDiv 5's MYOKO, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2's light cruiser ISUZU with destroyers KAWAKAZE, MAKINAMI, SUZUKAZE, TAKANAMI, UMIKAZE and NAGANAMI and Vice Admiral Kurita's Second Fleet, Close Support Force's Bat Div 3's KONGO, and HARUNA, destroyers HARUSAME, KAGERO, MURASAME, SAMIDARE, OYASHIO and YUDACHI followed by Nagumo's Third Fleet, Carrier Strike Force.
17-18 October 1942:
The fleet refuels at sea.
26 October 1942: The Battle of Santa Cruz:
The Carrier Strike Force engages Task Force 16's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and Task Force 17's USS HORNET (CV-8) in air battle. HORNET is sunk.
30 October 1942:
The Second and Third Fleets return to Truk.
9 November 1942:
Vice Admiral Kondo departs Truk for Ontong Java area with his Main Body's CruDiv 4's ATAGO (FF) and TAKAO, Air Striking Unit: carrier JUNYO, Screen: BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 8's TONE, DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI, DesDiv 19's URANAMI, SHIKINAMI and AYANAMI and DesDiv 11's HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI.
The Main Body also includes Vice Admiral Abe's Bombardment Unit: BatDiv 11's HIEI and the KIRISHIMA accompanied by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (former CO of HARUNA) Close Screen: DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA, DesDiv 6's IKAZUCHI, INAZUMA and AKATSUKI, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE, DesDiv 61's TERUZUKI and Rear Admiral Takama Tamotsu's (former CO of HARUNA) Ahead Sweeping Unit: DesRon 4's ASAGUMO, DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, MURASAME, HARUSUME and SAMIDARE.
The Main Body supports air attacks on USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) south of Guadalcanal; however, the strike force fails to locate the American carrier.
12 November 1942:
BatDiv 11 and DesRon 10 detach to bombard Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. At 1030, a USAAF B-17 heading towards Savo Island spots Abe's force.
13 November 1942: The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
CruDiv 4 cruises off Ontong Java with Kondo's fleet. HIEI is sunk off Savo Island.
14 November 1942:
After the loss of HIEI, Vice Admiral Kondo forms an Emergency Bombardment Force: BatDiv 11's KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 4's TAKAO and ATAGO screened by Rear Admiral Kimura's DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA with DesDiv 6's INAZUMA, DesDiv 11's HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI, DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE and AMATSUKAZE, DesDiv 27's SAMIDARE and DesDiv 61's TERUZUKI.
The Emergency Bombardment Force follows Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hashimoto Shintaro's (former CO of HYUGA) Ahead Sweeping Unit: DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI with DesDiv 19's AYANAMI, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI.
The Emergency Bombardment Force departs Ontong Java for Henderson Field. Enroute, KIRISHIMA is attacked unsuccessfully by USS TROUT (SS-202) that misses with five torpedoes.
15 November 1942:
The Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
In a night gun battle with USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) and USS WASHINGTON (BB-56) and destroyers, TAKAO and ATAGO hit SOUTH DAKOTA with seventeen 8-inch hits, five 6-inch and one 5-inch hit. KIRISHIMA also hits SOUTH DAKOTA with a single 14-inch round that explodes on her aft No. 3 turret's barbette. SOUTH DAKOTA is damaged but not sunk. Early in the battle, TAKAO and ATAGO each launch eight Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at the WASHINGTON, but they all miss.
KIRISHIMA and destroyer AYANAMI are sunk as a result of the action. ATAGO is damaged slightly, but TAKAO is not damaged. CruDiv 4 and the DesRons retire northward.
18 November 1942:
Returns to Truk.
22 November 1942:
Departs Truk with seaplane carrier NISSHIN, DesDiv 6's IKAZUCHI and DesDiv 27's SAMIDARE.
27 November 1942:
Arrives at Kure for battle-damage repairs and refit.
19 December 1942:
Departs Yokosuka with DesDiv 27's SAMIDARE.
24 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
31 January 1943: Operation "KE" - Evacuation of Guadalcanal.
CruDivs 4 and 5 depart Truk and cruise N of the Solomons as distant support.
9 February 1943:
Arrives at Truk. Remains until July.
23 February 1943:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Inoguchi Toshihira (former CO of NATORI) assumes command. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Asakura is reassigned and later becomes CO of MUSASHI.
21 July 1943:
Departs Truk with ATAGO.
26 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
28 July 1943:
Enters dock. Undergoes refit and modification. Two triple mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns are installed bringing their total to 18 barrels.
2 August 1943:
16 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka carrying army troops, supplies with BatDiv 1's YAMATO and NAGATO, Bat Div 2's FUSO, escort carrier TAIYO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO and TAKAO, DesDiv 7's USHIO, DesDiv 10's AKIGUMO and YUGUMO, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE.
23 August 1943:
Arrives at Truk.
25 August 1943:
Departs Truk with men of the 958 Naval Aeronautical Squadron embarked who had arrived aboard NAGATO.
27 August 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul. When TAKAO enters port, natives riding canoes surround the ship. They have bananas and papayas to sell. TAKAO's crewmen barter for the fruit with tobacco and canned goods. Disembarks troops and seamen. Later that same day, the ship departs.
29 August 1943:
Arrives back at Truk.
18 September 1943:
At Truk. The fleet sorties to Brown Island, Eniwetok in response to raids on Tarawa, Makin and Abemama Atolls launched by Rear Admiral Charles A. Pownall's (former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 15's carriers LEXINGTON (CV-16), PRINCETON (CVL-23) and BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24).
Vice Admiral Ozawa Jizaburo (former CO of HARUNA), in tactical command, leads the fleet's first section: BatDiv 1's YAMATO and NAGATO, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU (followed by ZUIHO on 19 September), CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, light cruisers AGANO and NOSHIRO and destroyers.
Vice Admiral Kurita leads the second section with his Advance Force's ATAGO and TAKAO.
Admiral Koga Mineichi (former CO of ISE), CINC, Combined Fleet, remains at Truk in the fleet's flagship, MUSASHI with BatDiv 2's FUSO and BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA.
25 September 1943:
No contact is made with Task Force 15. The fleet arrives back at Truk.
5-6 October 1943:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Alfred E. Montgomery's (former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 14's carriers ESSEX (CV-9), YORKTOWN (CV-10), LEXINGTON (CV-16), INDEPENDENCE (CV-22), BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24) and COWPENS (CVL-25) launch raids on Wake Island and the Marshall Islands.
17 October 1943:
The Japanese intercept radio traffic that suggests the Americans are planning another raid on Wake. Admiral Koga sorties from Truk to Brown Atoll, Eniwetok to intercept the enemy task force with the fleet's BatDiv 1's YAMATO, MUSASHI and NAGATO, Bat Div 2's FUSO, Bat Div 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and the ZUIHO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA, and CHOKAI, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA and MOGAMI, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, light cruisers AGANO and OYODO and many destroyers.
20 October 1943:
Arrives at Brown Island, Eniwetok.
23 October 1943:
Departs Brown and sorties to a position 250 miles S of Wake. Returns after no contact is made with enemy forces.
26 October 1943:
The fleet arrives back at Truk.
28 October 1943:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Hayashi Shigechika (former CO of CL KASHIMA) assumes command. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Inoguchi later becomes the last CO of MUSASHI and is KIA.
1 November 1943: American Operation "Shoestring II"- The Invasion of Bougainville:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Theodore S. Wilkinson's (former XO of INDIANAPOLIS, CA-35). Third Amphibious Force, TF 31, lands Lt Gen (later General/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Amphibious Corps at Cape Torokina, Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, Solomons.
2 November 1943: The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay:
Vice Admiral Omori Sentaro (former CO of KIOKAWA MARU) departs Rabaul to escort 1,000 IJA troops to Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville to oppose the American invasion at Cape Torokina. Omori's force includes the heavy cruisers MYOKO and HAGURO and light cruisers SENDAI and AGANO with six destroyers. The Japanese force is intercepted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) A. S. Merrill's (former CO of INDIANA, BB-58) Task Force 39 with four radar-equipped light cruisers and eight destroyers. At 0150, all four of Merrill's cruisers take SENDAI under 6-inch fire and set her afire. She soon sinks with most of her crew. Admiral Omori withdraws with the remaining Japanese forces.
3 November 1943:
CruDiv 4, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, and MOGAMI and CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA depart Truk to attack American forces that landed on 1 November at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville.
5 November 1943: The Carrier Raid on Rabaul:
The cruiser force arrives at Rabaul. While refueling in Simpson Harbor from oiler KOKUYO MARU the cruisers are attacked by SBD dive-bombers from USS SARATOGA (CV-2). TAKAO is hit by two 500-lb. bombs, holed below waterline and her steering is damaged. Twenty-three crewmen are killed.
5 November 1943:
Departs Rabaul with ATAGO.
7 November 1943:
Arrives at Truk.
11 November 1943:
15 November 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
15 November 1943:
Drydocked for battle-damage repairs, refit and modifications. Eight single mount 25-mm AA guns are installed and a Type 22 surface-search radar is fitted.
18 January 1944:
Repairs are completed.
29 January 1944:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk, but is diverted to assist damaged escort carrier UNYO that was torpedoed by USS HADDOCK (SS-231) on 19 January and later temporarily patched up at Saipan.
1 February 1944:
Rendevous with UNYO at sea.
7 February 1944:
TAKAO and UNYO arrive at Yokosuka.
15 February 1944:
20 February 1944:
Arrives at Palau.
1 March 1944:
CruDiv 4 is reassigned to Vice Admiral Ozawa's First Mobile Fleet.
29 March 1944:
CruDivs 4 and 5, light cruiser NOSHIRO and DesDiv 27's HARUSAME sortie from Palau.
1-4 April 1944:
At Davao, Philippines.
6 April 1944:
The cruiser force is attacked by USS DACE (SS-247), but she misses with six improperly set bow torpedoes. The cruiser force is also sighted by DARTER (SS-227), but she is unable to attack.
7 April 1944:
The cruiser force is sighted coming out of Davao Bay by USS SCAMP (SS-277) but she is also unable to attack.
9 April 1944:
The cruiser force arrives at Lingga (S of Singapore).
11 May 1944:
CruDiv 4 departs Lingga with Vice Admiral Ozawa's First Mobile Fleet.
12-13 May 1944:
At sea. Fleet deployment, firing practice.
13 May 1944:
Arrives at Tawi Tawi.
27 May 1944: American Operation "Horlicks" - The Invasion of Biak:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral/CNO) William M. Fechteler's (former CO of INDIANA, BB-58) Task Force 77 lands Maj Gen Horace H. Fuller's 41st Division on Biak off New Guinea.
12 June 1944: American Operation "Forager" - The Invasion of Saipan:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's (former CO of ASTORIA, CA-34) Task Force 52 lands Marine LtGen Holland M. Smith's V Amphibious Corps and the invasion of Saipan begins.
13 June 1944: Operation "A-GO" - The Battle of the Philippine Sea:
In Tokyo, the CINC, Combined Fleet, Admiral Toyoda Soemu, (former CO of HYUGA), sends out a signal that activates the "A-Go" plan for the Defense of the Marianas.
Vice Admiral Ozawa's First Mobile Force departs Tawi Tawi to oppose the American landings on Saipan with Force "A": CarDiv 1's TAIHO (FF), ZUIKAKU and SHOKAKU, Rear Admiral Kimura Susumu's DesRon 10's light cruiser YAHAGI, DesDiv 10's TANIKAZE, URAKAZE and ISOKAZE and DesDiv 61's WAKATSUKI, HATSUZUKI, AKIZUKI and SHIMOTSUKI.
That same day, Vice Admiral Kurita's Mobile Force Vanguard departs Tawi Tawi to oppose the American Fifth Fleet in a "decisive battle" off Saipan with BatDiv 3's HARUNA, KONGO, CarDiv 3's CHITOSE, CHIYODA and ZUIHO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA and CHOKAI, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 8’s TONE and CHIKUMA, DesRon 2's light cruisers NOSHIRO and YAHAGI with destroyers ASASHIMO, KISHINAMI, TAMANAMI, HAMAKAZE, FUJINAMI, SHIMAKAZE, ASAGUMO, URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, WAKATSUKI, HATSUYUKI, AKIZUKI, SHIMOTSUKI, MICHISHIO, SHIGURE, SAMIDARE, HAYASHIO and AKISHIMO.
At sea, joins Vice Admiral Ugaki Matome's (former CO of HYUGA) aborted Operation "Kon" force: BatDiv 1's YAMATO and MUSASHI, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO, DesRon 2's light cruiser NOSHIRO and destroyers OKINAMI, SHIMAKAZE and ASAGUMO.
19 June 1944:
Vice Admiral Kurita's Second Fleet steams about 100 miles ahead of Vice Admiral Ozawa's carriers.
At 0920, YAMATO's lookouts spot aircraft approaching at 13,125 feet. This is the fighter unit of Air Group 601's second strike. Admiral Kurita has received no information about a friendly overflight. TAKAO fires four starshells meaning "identify yourself", but no reply is received. At 16,400 yards, the fleet executes a turn to port and opens fire. Four "Zekes" are damaged. Another ditches.
The Mobile Fleet's aircraft attack U.S. Task Force 58 off Saipan but suffer overwhelming losses in the "Great Mariana's Turkey Shoot".
22 June 1944:
At 1300, the Mobile Fleet arrives at Nakagusuku, Okinawa. Refuels destroyers, departs.
24 June 1944:
The Mobile Fleet arrives at Hashirajima.
26 June 1944:
Refit and modification at Kure. Four triple and 22 single mount 25-mm. AA guns are installed bringing their total to 60 barrels. A Type 13 air-search radar is also fitted.
8 July 1944:
Departs Kure with ATAGO.
16 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.
26 July 1944:
30 July 1944:
6 August 1944:
8 August 1944:
Departs Singapore for Lingga. Arrives that day.
26 August 1944:
Departs Lingga with ATAGO for Singapore. Arrives that day.
29 August 1944:
Departs Singapore. Arrives that day back at Lingga. Captain Onoda Sutejiro assumes command. Captain Hayashi is relieved. Training resumes.
18 October 1944:
Departs Lingga with the fleet.
20 October 1944:
Arrives at Brunei, Borneo. Refuels.
22 October 1944: Operation "SHO-I-GO"(Victory) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
Sorties with Vice Admiral Kurita's First Mobile Striking Force, Force A (Center Force). Vice Admiral Ugaki, aboard YAMATO, leads the first section of Force A's BatDiv 1's YAMATO, MUSASHI and NAGATO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, CHOKAI, and MAYA, CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, DesRon 2's flagship light cruiser NOSHIRO and DesDiv 2's HAYASHIMO, AKISHIMO, KIYOSHIMO, DesDiv 31's KISHINAMI, OKINAMI, ASASHIMO and DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI, NAGANAMI, HAMANAMI and destroyer SHIMAKAZE.
23 October 1944: The Battle of the Palawan Passage:
At 0634, the TAKAO is hit by two torpedoes from Cdr (later Captain) David McClintock's DARTER (SS-227), set afire and goes dead in the water. DARTER sinks Vice Admiral Kurita's flagship ATAGO. Cdr (later Captain) Bladen Clagett's DACE (SS-247) sinks MAYA. In attempting an end-around attack on TAKAO, McClintock runs DARTER hard aground on the largely uncharted Bombay Shoal. DARTER has to be abandoned. Clagett's DACE rescues DARTER's crew.
In the evening, TAKAO gets underway for Brunei with destroyers NAGANAMI and ASASHIMO, torpedo boat HIYODORI and steamer MITSU MARU.
At 0830, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: “Takao CA was torpedoed at 0830 in position 09-28N, 117-17E. Hiyodori will transfer command of the convoy to the next senior commander, proceed immediately to the scene of the Takao disaster and undertake rescue operations as directed by the captain of the latter ship. Mitsu Maru will leave convoy to tow the Takao.”
At 1730, codebreakers decrypt another message that reads: “In accordance with DesOrd 544, at 1730, set out at full speed, in command of Mitsu Maru, to the scene of Takao disaster. Position 09-28 N., 117-17 E. Speed 10 knots. At 0700 on 24th will arrive at scene.”
24 October 1944:
NAGANAMI and HIYODORI detach to inspect the abandoned hulk of DARTER on the Bombay Shoal. Later, they rejoin TAKAO and escort her to Brunei with ASASHIMO, MITSU MARU and merchant vessel KAMO.
25 October 1944:
TAKAO arrives at Brunei.
8 November 1944:
12 November 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.
15 November 1944:
CruDiv 4 is deactivated. TAKAO is reassigned to CruDiv 5.
15 November 1944:
TAKAO and MYOKO are deemed unrepairable at Singapore and impossible to tow to Japan. Both are moored in the Seletar harbor as floating AA batteries.
15 January 1945:
Captain Onoda assumes command of MYOKO as an additional duty to command of TAKAO.
1 February 1945:
The USAAF XXth Air Force on Tinian dispatches 113 B-29s (Mission 33) to hit the Seletar Naval Base. They bomb the former Admiralty IX Floating Drydock and the West Wall area of the base.
1 February 1945:
At Seletar harbor, Singapore.
22 March 1945:
Captain Onoda is relieved of command of both TAKAO and MYOKO. Captain Ishisaka Takeo asssumes command of TAKAO.
26 July 1945: British Operation "Struggle":
The British, after taking Rangoon, Burma, are fast moving towards Singapore. TAKAO and MYOKO's eight-inch guns pose a threat to any forces that may try to cross the causeway from Johore, Malaya to Singapore Island. The cruisers could also wreak havoc with Allied shipping attacking from seaward.
Lt G. S. C. Clarabut's submarine HMS STYGIAN departs Brunei and tows S/Lt Frank Ogden's midget submarine HMS XE3 towards Singapore. HMS SPARK tows HMS XE1, under Lt J. E. Smart who is assigned to attack MYOKO.
30 July 1945:
At 0600, S/Lt Ogden and his passage crew turn XE3 over to Lt Ian Fraser and his three-man crew to execute the attack on TAKAO. At 2300, XE3 slips her tow at 036 degrees from the Horsburgh Light. Intelligence briefed them that the buoys marking the channel swept through the minefield would be lit, but all are extinguished except the Horsburgh Light.
31 July 1945:
At 0217, the main engine is stopped and they creep past a listening post using the electric motor only. About 0240, Fraser fixes their position at 8. 3 miles from Johore. He goes ahead on his main engine at 4.5 knots. At 0400, a large tanker and an escorting motor launch come into view closing at high speed. XE3 dives. About 0420, she surfaces, but the two ships are still nearby, heading towards them. XE3 dives again.
As XE3 makes her way up the Johore Strait her echo-sounder registers the depth at thirty feet as she crosses the Johore Shoal. At 0800 they pass through the boom guarding the harbor. At 1250, TAKAO comes into view. Suddenly, a liberty boat full of sailors passes by at about 40 feet, but without spotting XE3.
Fraser maneuvers XE3 into position under TAKAO with only a foot of water between her and the cruiser's keel. Leading Seaman Magennis dons his breathing appartus, succeeds in cleaning away marine growth and plants six limpet mines spread across 45 feet of TAKAO's hull. Magennis re-enters the midget and her crew operates the hand wheels to drop the two side cargoes - one full of two tons of high explosive and the other the empty limpet carrier. The HE charge falls away, but the limpet carrier refuses to budge.
TAKAO slowly settles with the tide. XE-3 is trapped under her bilge keel. After much thrashing with the motor and pumping water the midget frees herself from the cruiser. Now, the flooded limpet carrier has to be ditched. The only way to release it is by hand. Magennis, already exhausted, dons his breathing apparatus again and completes the task. At 2130, some but not all of the limpet mines explode and blow a 23 by 10 foot hole in the starboard side of TAKAO's hull. Her keel buckles, the blast disables her turrets and damages her rangefinder, but she does not sink. Postwar, it is learned that she was manned by a skeleton crew and had no ammunition aboard for her 8-inch main armament.
Later, Lt Fraser and Leading Seaman Magennis are each awarded Britain's highest military award for valor - the Victoria Cross.
21 September 1945:
Surrenders at Seletar to British forces.
27 October 1946:
At 0730, TAKAO departs Seletar and is towed to the Straits of Malacca by HM Fleet tugs GRIPER and ASSIDUOUS escorted by cruiser HMS NEWFOUNDLAND. The group is accompanied by NITTO MARU and ex-subchaser CH-17. At noon, TAKAO is scuttled by gunfire from HMS NEWFOUNDLAND off Port Swettenham, Malaya (now Port Klang, Malaysia) at 03-05-05N, 100-41-00 E. CH-17 takes TAKAO's Japanese crew back to Singapore after the scuttling.
3 May 1947:
Removed from the Navy List.
 Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was the highest point in the Japanese Empire at the time.
Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada. Thanks also go to "Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands, Andrew Obluski of Poland and Randy Stone of the United States.
Thanks also go to John Whitman of the USA for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages and to
Brian Seward of Canada, a former HM Fleet tug ASSIDUOUS crewman, who witnessed TAKAO's demise.
- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.