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Japanese cruiser Yahagi (1942)
Japanese light cruiser Yahagi underway off Sasebo, Japan, in December 1943.jpg
Yahagi off of Sasebo, Nagasaki in December 1943
Career (Japan) Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Yahagi
Ordered: 1939 Fiscal Year
Laid down: 11 November 1941
Launched: 25 October 1942
Commissioned: 29 December 1943 [1]
Struck: 20 June 1945
Fate: Sunk 7 April 1945 by USN aircraft south of Kyūshū
30°47′N 128°08′E / 30.783°N 128.133°E / 30.783; 128.133
General characteristics
Class & type: Agano-class cruiser
Displacement: 6,652 tons (standard)
Length: 162 meters
Beam: 15.2 meters
Draught: 5.6 meters
Propulsion: 4 shaft Gihon geared turbines
6 Kampon boilers
100,000 shp
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h)
Range: 6,300 nautical miles (11,670 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h)
Complement: 736
Armament: 6 × 15cm/50 Type 41 guns (3x2)
4 × 80mm/65 Type 98 guns (2x2)
32 × 25mm/60 Type 96 AA guns
8 × 610 mm torpedo tubes (4x2)
48 mines
Armor: 60 mm (belt)
20 mm (deck)
Aircraft carried: 2 x floatplanes, 1 catapult

Yahagi (矢矧 軽巡洋艦 Yahagi keijun'yōkan?) was an Agano-class light cruiser which served with the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.

Background[edit | edit source]

Yahagi was the second of the four vessels completed in the Agano class of light cruisers, and like other vessels of her class, she was intended for use as the flagship of a destroyer flotilla.

Service career[edit | edit source]

Early career[edit | edit source]

Yahagi was completed at Sasebo Navy Yard on 29 December 1943 and was dispatched to Singapore for patrols of Lingga and for training in February 1944. In May, it departed Singapore for Tawi Tawi with the aircraft carriers Taihō, Zuikaku and Shōkaku and cruisers Myōkō and Haguro.

Battles in the Philippines[edit | edit source]

The Battle of the Philippine Sea occurred on 19 June 1944. Yahagi was in Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's “Force A” to oppose the American Fifth Fleet in a "decisive battle" off Saipan as command ship for DesDiv 10's Asagumo, DesDiv 17's Urakaze, Isokaze and Tanikaze, DesDiv 61's Wakatsuki, Hatsuzuki, Akizuki and Shimotsuki, screening the aircraft carriers. On 19 June 1944 the Mobile Fleet's aircraft attacked USN Task Force 58, but suffer overwhelming aircraft losses in the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot". Yahagi and Urakaze rescued 570 crewmen from the carrier Shōkaku after it was torpedoed by USS Cavalla.

After dry dock and refitting at Kure from late June – early July 1944, Yahagi was fitted with two additional triple-mount Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Gun mounts amidships (bringing its total to 48 barrels) and a Type 13 air-search and a Type 22 surface-search radar set. On 8 July 1944, Yahagi departed Kure with troops, and numerous battleships, cruisers and destroyers to return to Singapore.

On 22 October 1944, Yahagi was in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Second Section of Force "A" of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's First Mobile Striking Force: (Center Force), commanding DesRon 10's DesDiv 2's Kiyoshimo, DesDiv 4's Nowaki and DesDiv 17's Urakaze, Yukikaze, Hamakaze and Isokaze. It is accompanied by battleships Kongō and the Haruna and cruisers Tone, Chikuma, Kumano and Suzuya. During the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea on 24 October 1944, the fleet endures 11 raids by over 250 Task Force 38 carrier aircraft from the USS Enterprise, USS Essex, USS Intrepid, USS Franklin, USS Lexington and USS Cabot. Although Japanese battleship Musashi was sunk and Yamato and Nagato were hit, Yahagi was unscathed. Likewise in the Battle off Samar on 25 October 1944, Yahagi fought its way through the battle without damage. On 26 October 1944, Force A was attacked by 80 carrier aircraft off Panay, followed by 30 USAAF B-24 Liberator heavy bombers and an additional 60 carrier-based aircraft. Throughout these attacks Yahagi was not hit and returned to Brunei safely.

The Yahagi sinking

End of the Imperial Japanese Navy[edit | edit source]

On 16 November 1944, DesRon 10 was deactivated and Yahagi was assigned as the flagship of Rear Admiral Komura Keizo's new DesRon 2. Yahagi was ordered back to Japan on the same day for refit. It remained in Japanese home waters until March 1945.

On 6 April 1945, Yahagi received orders for "Operation Ten-Go", to attack the American invasion force on Okinawa. Yahagi was ordered to accompany Yamato from Tokushima for its final suicide mission against the American fleet.

At 1220 on 7 April 1945 the Yamato force was attacked by waves of 386 aircraft (180 fighters, 75 bombers, 131 torpedo planes) from Task Force 58.

Light cruiser Yahagi under intense bomb and torpedo attack[2]

At 12:46, a torpedo hit Yahagi directly in her engine room, killing the entire engineering room crew and bringing her to a complete stop. Dead in the water, Yahagi was hit by at least six more torpedoes and 12 bombs by succeeding waves of air attacks. Japanese destroyer Isokaze attempted to come to Yahagi's aid but was attacked, heavily damaged, and sank sometime later. Yahagi capsized and sank at 14:05 at 30°47′N 128°08′E / 30.783°N 128.133°E / 30.783; 128.133 taking 445 crewmen with her. Rear Admiral Komura and Captain Tameichi Hara were among the survivors rescued by Hatsushimo and Yukikaze. Her survivors could see the Yamato in the distance, still steaming south as U.S. aircraft continued their attacks. However, in reality, Yamato was only minutes away from sinking.[3]

Yahagi was removed from the Navy List on 20 June 1945.

References[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • 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. 
  • Feifer, George (2001). "Operation Heaven Number One". The Battle of Okinawa: The Blood and the Bomb. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-215-5. 
  • Hara, Tameichi (1961). "The Last Sortie". Japanese Destroyer Captain. New York & Toronto: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-1-59114-354-3. OCLC 255849609.  — First-hand account of the battle by the captain of the Japanese cruiser Yahagi.
  • 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. 
  • Skulski, Janusz (1989). The Battleship Yamato. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-019-X. 
  • Spurr, Russell (1995). A Glorious Way to Die: The Kamikaze Mission of the Battleship Yamato, April 1945. Newmarket Press. ISBN 1-55704-248-9. 
  • Whitley, M.J. (1995). Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-141-6. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p. 794.
  2. CombinedFleet.com
  3. Hara, Japanese Destroyer Captain, 298.

See also[edit | edit source]



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