|Japanese cruiser Noshiro|
Noshiro in Tokyo Bay, July 1943
|Ordered:||1939 Fiscal Year|
|Builder:||Yokosuka Naval Arsenal|
|Laid down:||4 September 1941|
|Launched:||19 July 1942|
|Commissioned:||30 June 1943|
|Struck:||20 December 1944|
Sunk 26 October 1944 by USN aircraft|
south of Mindoro Sulu Sea
|Class & type:||Agano class cruiser|
|Displacement:||6,652 tons (standard)|
4 shaft Gihon geared turbines|
6 Kampon boilers
|Speed:||35 knots (65 km/h)|
|Range:||6,300 nautical miles (11,670 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h)|
6 × 152 mm guns|
4 × 76 mm guns,
2 × 25 mm triple AA guns,
8 × 610 mm torpedo tubes (4x2)
60 mm (belt) |
20 mm (deck)
|Aircraft carried:||2 x floatplanes, 1 catapult|
Noshiro was launched at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on 19 July 1942 and completed less than a year later on 30 June 1943. Initially assigned to the Japanese 1st Fleet, on 15 August 1943, Noshiro was reassigned to Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's Second Fleet as the flagship of DesRon 2, replacing Jintsu, which had been sunk a month earlier at the Battle of Kolombangara.
Battles in the Gilbert Islands and Solomon Islands
On 18 September 1943, in reaction to air raids on Tarawa launched by USN aircraft carriers USS Lexington (CV-16), USS Princeton (CVL-23) and USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24), the Combined Fleet sortied to Eniwetok with a massive force but failed to make contact and returned to Truk in the Caroline Islands.
Likewise, from 17 October 1943 – 26 October 1943, the Combined Fleet failed to contact Task Force 15 after it bombed Wake Island.
On 1 November 1943, the United States launched Operation Shoestring to retake Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. The day after the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay (2 November 1943), Noshiro departed Truk with CruDiv 4's Atago, Takao and Maya, CruDiv 7's Suzuya and Mogami, CruDiv 8's Chikuma and four destroyers, arriving at Rabaul on 5 November 1943. While refueling in Simpson Harbor from the oiler Kokuyo Maru the cruisers were attacked by 97 planes from Task Force 38's USS Saratoga (CV-3) and Princeton (CVL-23). Noshiro was hit by a dud Mark 13 aerial torpedo.
On 20 November 1943, American "Operation Galvanic" to retake the Gilbert Islands invaded Tarawa. The invasion fleet of 200 ships included 13 battleships and 11 carriers. Noshiro responded by sailing from Truk with Suzuya, Kumano, Chokai, Oyodo and several destroyers. The group was attacked on 1 January 1944 by aircraft from USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) and USS Monterey (CVL-26). One of Noshiro's gun turrets was put out of action temporarily by the attack and ten crewmen killed.
On 19 January 1944, Noshiro was dispatched from Truk to assist the Japanese aircraft carrier Unyo after it had been torpedoed by the USS Haddock (SS-231) by towing it back to Saipan. Noshiro continued on to Yokosuka, going into dry dock for repairs and refit on 1 February 1944. Six triple-mount and eight single-mount Type 96 25 mm AA guns were fitted. This brought the Noshiro's 25 mm total to 32 barrels (8x3) (8x1).
Battles in the Philippines
Retrofit was completed by 28 March 1944, enabling Noshiro to depart for Davao and Lingga on 5 April 1944 with CruDiv 4's Atago, Takao and Chokai, CruDiv 5's Myoko and Haguro and the destroyer Harusame.
The cruiser group was attacked by USS Dace (SS-247), which missed with all six bow torpedoes, and was also sighted by USS Darter (SS-227), which failed to achieve an attack vector. Likewise, the cruiser group was sighted coming out of Davao Bay on 7 April 1944 by the USS Scamp (SS-277), which was also unable to attack, and by USS Gurnard (SS-254) on 18 May 1944 which fired a full salvo of six bow torpedoes, all of which missed.
Noshiro was at "Operation A-Go" – The Battle of the Philippine Sea on 19 June 1944, where it was flagship of Rear Admiral Mikio Hayakawa.
From late June-early July 1944, Noshiro again was dry docked and refitted at Kura. Two more triple-mount Type 96 25 mm AA gun mounts were installed amidships bringing the total number of 25 mm guns to 48 barrels (10x3, 18x1). A Type 13 air-search and Type 22 surface-search radar were also fitted.
On 8 July 1944, Noshiro departed Kure with the destroyers carrying army troops and material to Singapore, and remained in the vicinity for the following three months conducting training.
On 18 October 1944, Noshiro was ordered to Brunei, in preparation for the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which begins on 22 October 1944. Noshiro, as DesRon 2's flagship, sortied with Admiral Kurita's First Mobile Striking Force, Force "A" (Center Force). At the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea on 24 October 1944, Force A was attacked 11 times by over 250 carrier aircraft from Task Force 38 with USS Essex (CV-9), USS Lexington (CV-16), USS Intrepid (CV-11), USS Cabot (CVL-28), USS Franklin (CV-13) and the USS Enterprise (CV-6). Although the Yamato, Nagato, Haruna, Myoko and Tone were damaged, Noshiro escaped unharmed.
The following day, at the Battle off Samar, Noshiro hit the escort carrier USS White Plains (CVE-66) with several 6-inch shells, but was in turn hit starboard side by a 5-inch shell from an American destroyer. She also participated in the sinking of USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), which was one of two cases of an aircraft carrier being sunk solely by naval gunfire.
On 26 October 1944, west of Panay, Kurita's force was attacked by 80 Grumman TBM-1C Avenger torpedo-bombers from USS Wasp (CV-18) and USS Cowpens (CVL-25). One bomb exploded in Noshiro's AA shell magazine, starting a fire that was quickly extinguished.
In the second attack, six more Avengers attacked Noshiro, which dodged their torpedoes, but in the third wave, an Avenger launched a Mark 13 aerial torpedo that hit in the No. 3 boiler room. It instantly flooded, and the No. 1 boiler room flooded shortly thereafter. The inrush of water threw all of Noshiro's boilers off line, and she came to a halt with a 16-degree list to port.
While emergency repairs were carried out and Noshiro dead in the water, the destroyer Hamanami came alongside and removed Rear Admiral Hayakawa, who later transferred to Yamato. At 1014, a fourth attack of 28 TBMs and SB2C-3 Helldiver dive-bombers from USS Hornet (CV-12) struck with another torpedo to starboard beneath Noshiro's No. 2 main turret. Noshiro's AA gunners later claimed to have shot down six of the attacking planes. Captain Kajiwara ordered the forward magazines flooded in an attempt to righten the ship. Five minutes later, with the forward deck awash and the list steadily increasing, Kajiwara gave the order to abandon ship. At 1113, Noshiro sank at south of Mindoro.
The destroyers Akishimo and Hamanami rescued Captain Kajiwara and 328 survivors.
Noshiro was removed from the Navy List on 20 December 1944.
- Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X.
- D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X.
- Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1.
- Evans, David (1979). Kaigun : Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-192-7.
- Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11402-8.
- Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X.
- Lacroix, Eric; Linton Wells (1997). Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-311-3.
- Whitley, M.J. (1995). Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-141-6.
- Parshall, Jon; Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, & Allyn Nevitt. CombinedFleet.com: Agano class "Imperial Japanese Navy Page (Combinedfleet.com)". http://combinedfleet.com/ship.php?q=agano_c.htm CombinedFleet.com: Agano class. Retrieved 2006-06-14. tabular record: CombinedFleet.com: Noshiro history
- Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p. 794.
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