Japanese cruiser Kuma

Japanese cruiser Kuma

nihongo|"IJN Kuma"|球磨 軽巡洋艦|Kuma keijunyōkan was a "Kuma"-class light cruiser in the Imperial Japanese Navy, named after the Kuma River in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan.


"Kuma" was the lead ship of the five vessels in the "Kuma"-class of light cruisers and was intended for use both as a long-range, high speed scout ship, and also as a command vessel for destroyer or submarine flotillas.

ervice career

Early career

"Kuma" was completed at the Sasebo Navy Yard on 31 August 1920. Immediately after commissioning, "Kuma" was assigned to cover the landings of Japanese troops in Siberia during Japan's Siberian Intervention against the Bolshevik Red Army. It was subsequently based at Port Arthur, and patrolled the China coast between the Kwantung Leased Territory and Tsingtao, China.

As the Second Sino-Japanese War began to escalate, "Kuma" patrolled the China coast, and covered the landings of Japanese forces in central China.

Invasion of the Philippines

On 10 April 1941, "Kuma" was assigned to Vice Admiral Ibo Takahashi's CruDiv 16 in the Japanese 3rd Fleet. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor on 8 December 1941, "Kuma" was participating in the invasion of the northern Philippines, having departed from its base in Mako, Pescadores Islands with the "Ashigara", "Maya" and destroyers "Asakaze" and "Matsukaze". From 10 December - 11 December, "Kuma" covered landings at Aparri and Vigan; off Vigan, "Kuma" was attacked unsuccessfully by five USAAF Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the 14th Squadron. On 22 December, "Kuma" covered further landings at Lingayen Gulf, Philippines.

On 3 January 1942, "Kuma" was re-assigned to Vice Admiral Rokuzo Sugiyama's Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet. It was assigned to patrols around the Philippine islands from 10 January to 27 February 1942.

In March, "Kuma" was assigned to cover the invasion of the southern Philippines, shelling Cebu harbor on 1 March, and covering the landings at Zamboanga, Mindanao on 3 March. A Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF) from "Kuma" rescued about 80 Japanese nationals who had been interned.

On 9 April 1942, off Cebu, "Kuma" and the torpedo boat "Kiji" were attacked by U.S. torpedo boats "PT-34" and "PT-41". "Kuma" was hit in the bow by one of eight Mark 18 Torpedoes fired, but it was a dud. The PT-34 was destroyed by Mitsubishi F1M "Petes" launched from the seaplane tender "Sanuki Maru".

On 10 April, "Kuma" covered landings on Cebu by the Kawaguchi Detachment's 35th Infantry Brigade HQ and the 124th Infantry Regiment, and on 16 April landings on Panay by the Kawamura Detachment's 9th Infantry Brigade HQ and the 41st Infantry Regiment. On 6 May, "Kuma" covered the final assault on the American bastion on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. Afterwards, "Kuma" remained on patrol at Manila until 12 August 1942.

Dutch East Indies and New Guinea campaigns

After a refit at Kure in September, the "Kuma" returned to Manila on 20 September 1942 and was reassigned to Vice Admiral Shiro Takasu's Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet (Netherlands East Indies Force). It was sent to Hong Kong to embark troops of the 38th Infantry Division, which it disembarked at Rabaul, New Britain on 10 October. The "Kuma" then proceeded to Makassar, Celebes where it began patrols until 13 April 1943, with occasional embarkation of reinforcements for Rabaul, Kaimana, New Guinea and Kabui, New Guinea.

From late April though the end of May 1943, the "Kuma" was refitted at the Seletar Naval Base Singapore, and afterwards resumed patrols around the Dutch East Indies to 23 June.

On 23 June 1943, while at Makassar with CruDiv 16's "Kinu", "Oi", and "Kitakami", "Kuma" was attacked by 17 Consolidated Aircraft B-24 Liberator bombers of the 319th Squadron/90th Bomb Group (H) of the 5th Air Force. All four light cruisers were straddled by near-misses, but suffered only slight damage.

On 24 June 1943, CruDiv 16's flag was transferred from "Kinu" to "Kuma". Both cruisers then departed Makassar for patrols around the Dutch East Indies until 23 October. From 1 November, "Kuma" was refit in Singapore. Its No. 5 140-mm gun was removed as were her catapult and derrick. Two triple mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns were fitted. This brought the total number of "Kuma's" 25-mm AA guns to ten barrels (2x3, 2x2). Refit was completed by 12 November, and patrols/transport runs around the Dutch East Indies resumed, extending occasionally to Port Blair, Andaman Islands, Penang, Mergui, Burma through 9 January 1944.

On 11 January 1944, after departing from Penang with the "Uranami" on anti-submarine warfare exercises, "Kuma" was sighted by Royal Navy submarine "HMS Tally-Ho (P317)" based at Trincomalee, Ceylon. At 10 miles northwest of Penang, the "HMS Tally-Ho" fired a seven-torpedo salvo from 1,900 yards. "Kuma's" lookouts spotted the torpedoes' wakes, and although the rudder was sent hard over, "Kuma" was hit starboard aft by two torpedoes, setting the ship on fire. "Kuma" sank by the stern in the vicinity of coord|05|26|N|99|52|E detonating her own depth-charges. "Uranami" took on "Kuma's" survivors including Captain Sugino, but 138 crewmen perished with the ship.

"Kuma" was removed from the Navy list on 10 March 1944.

List of Captains

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Tohei Aoki - 14 July 1919 - 31 August 1920

Capt. Tohei Aoki - 31 August 1920 - 15 February 1921

Capt. Rekizo Miyamura - 15 February 1921 - 1 November 1921

Capt. Kumagoro Migita - 1 November 1921 - 20 November 1922

Capt. Jutaro Takahashi - 20 November 1922 - 15 October 1923

Cmdr. / Capt. Shigeru Matsushita - 15 October 1923 - 10 May 1924 (Promoted to Captain on 1 December 1923.)

Capt. Saisuke Hashimoto - 10 May 1924 - 1 December 1924

Capt. Makoto Imagawa - 1 December 1924 - 20 April 1925

Capt. Toki Yamamoto - 20 April 1925- 1 December 1925

Capt. Kanzo Fukushima - 1 December 1925 - 1 November 1926

Capt. Hiroshi Ono - 1 November 1926 - 1 December 1927

Capt. Yoshihiro Hayashi - 1 December 1927 - 30 November 1929

Capt. Teijiro Sugisaka - 30 November 1929 - 1 December 1930

Capt. Chuichi Yunokawa - 1 December 1930 - 1 December 1931

Capt. Sadao Tsunoda - 1 December 1931 - 1 December 1932

Capt. Yazuru Kumaoka - 1 December 1932 - 15 November 1933

Capt. Shigenori Horiuchi - 15 November 1933 - 10 April 1935

Capt. Aritaka Aihara - 10 April 1935 - 15 November 1935

Capt. Daigo Tadashige - 15 November 1935 - 1 December 1936

Capt. Tsutomu Sato - 1 December 1936 - 15 June 1938

Capt. Sukeyoshi Yatsushiro - 15 June 1938 - 18 May 1939

Capt. Kengo Kobayashi - 18 May 1939 - 15 November 1939

Capt. Shiro Hiratsuka - 15 November 1939 - 15 October 1940

Capt. Matsuro Eguchi - 15 October 1940 - 20 September 1941

Capt. Kiyomi Shibuya - 20 September 1941 - 14 November 1942

Capt. Ichiro Yokoyama - 14 November 1942 - 14 August 1943

Capt. Shuichi Sugino - 14 August 1943 - 11 January 1944



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last = Brown
first = David
authorlink =
year = 1990
title = Warship Losses of World War Two
publisher = Naval Institute Press
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id = ISBN 1-55750-914-X

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id = ISBN 0-8159-5302-X

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last = Dull
first = Paul S.
authorlink =
year = 1978
chapter =
title = A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945
publisher = Naval Institute Press
location =
id = ISBN 0-87021-097-1

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last = Evans
first = David
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year = 1979
title = Kaigun : Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941
publisher = Naval Institute Press
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id = ISBN 0-87021-192-7

*cite book
last = Howarth
first = Stephen
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year = 1983
title = The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945
publisher = Atheneum
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id = ISBN 0-68911-402-8

*cite book
last = Jentsura
first = Hansgeorg
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year = 1976
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title = Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945
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title = Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War
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title = Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia
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External links

*cite web
last = Parshall
first = Jon
coauthors = Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, & Allyn Nevitt
year =
url = http://www.combinedfleet.com/kuma_c.htm CombinedFleet.com: "Kuma" class
title = Imperial Japanese Navy Page (Combinedfleet.com)
work =
accessdate =

*Tabular record: [http://www.combinedfleet.com/kuma_t.htm CombinedFleet.com: "Kuma" history]


ee also

*List of World War II ships

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