Japanese cruiser Tone

Japanese cruiser Tone

nihongo|"IJN Tone"|利根 重巡洋艦|Tone jūjunyōkan was the lead ship in the two-vessel "Tone"-class of heavy cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was named after the Tone River, in the Kantō region of Japan and was completed on 20 November 1938 at Mitsubishi's Nagasaki shipyards. "Tone" was designed for long-range scouting missions and had a large seaplane capacity. She was extensively employed during World War II in conjunction with an aircraft carrier task force, or as part of a cruiser squadron with her sister ship, "Chikuma".

World War II

Early Pacific War

At the end of 1941, " Tone " was assigned to CruDiv 8 with her sister ship, "Chikuma", and was thus present during the attack on Pearl Harbor. That day, 7 December 1941, "Tone" and "Chikuma" each launched one Aichi E13A1 Type 0 "Jake" floatplane for a final weather reconnaissance over Oahu. At 0630, "Tone" and "Chikuma" each launched short range Nakajima E8N Type 95 "Dave" two-seat floatplanes to act as pickets and patrol south of the Striking Force. "Tone's" floatplane flew to Lahaina, but found no American fleet units present. During the subsequent attack, the "USS Arizona", "USS Oklahoma", "USS West Virginia" and "USS California" were sunk and "USS Nevada", "USS Pennsylvania", "USS Tennessee", "USS Maryland" and many smaller ships were damaged.

On 16 December CruDiv 8 was ordered to assist in the second attempted invasion of Wake Island. "Tone" launched two E8N2 for ASW patrols. After the fall of Wake Island, CruDiv 8 returned to Kure, Hiroshima. By 14 January 1942, CruDiv 8 was based out of Truk in the Caroline Islands, and covered the landings of Japanese troops at Rabaul, New Britain as well as attacks on Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea. On 24 January "Tone's" floatplanes attacked the Admiralty Islands. After the 1 February air raid on Kwajalein by Vice Admiral William Halsey, Jr aboard "USS Enterprise", "Tone" departed Truk with the Carrier Striking Force in an unsuccessful pursuit. "Chikuma" and "Tone" later participated in the Raid on Port Darwin, Australia on 19 February, destroying 15 aircraft and sinking 11 ships. "Tone" launched a floatplane to report in weather conditions prior to the attack, but the plane’s radio failed and it returned without reporting. Later, another floatplane had greater success, and shot down a PBY Catalina of the RAAF.

Battle of the Java Sea

On 1 March 1942, "Tone" spotted the old "USS Edsall", 250 miles SSE of Christmas Island. Four days later, floatplanes from "Tone" and "Chikuma" took part on the strike against Tjilatjap. On 6 March, "Tone" rescued a British seaman who had been adrift since his ship had been sunk off Java on 27 February.

Indian Ocean Raids

On 5 April 1942, "Tone" was part of a major task force which launched 315 aircraft against Columbo, Ceylon. "HMS Tenedos", "HMS Hector" and 27 aircraft were destroyed and over 500 killed in the harbor, while cruisers "HMS Cornwall" and "HMS Dorsetshire" were destroyed at sea. "Tone" and the rest of the task force returned to Japan in mid-April 1942, when it was almost immediately assigned to the unsuccessful pursuit of Admiral Halsey's Task Force 16.2 with the "USS Hornet" after the Doolittle Raid.

Battle of Midway

At the crucial Battle of Midway, "Tone" and CruDiv 8 was part of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force. On 4 June, "Tone" and "Chikuma" each launched two Aichi E13A1 "Jake" long-range reconnaissance floatplanes to search out 300 miles for American carriers. "Tone's" floatplane discovered American ships, but owing to internal bureaucracy in their command structure its report was not immediately delivered to admiral Nagumo. As a result, he had already ordered his aircraft to prepare for another attack on Midway before he received the report. "Tone" was attacked by enemy carrier aircraft during the battle, but sustained no damage, except the loss of an E8N2 "Dave" with its crew. "Chikuma" and "Tone" were then detached to support Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya's Aleutian invasion force. However, the anticipated American counter-attack failed to materialize. CruDiv 8 cruised northern waters uneventfully.

Rear Admiral Chuichi Hara assumed command of CruDiv 8 from 14 July 1942. With the US invasion of Guadalcanal, "Chikuma" and "Tone" were ordered south again on 16 August with the aircraft carriers "Shokaku", "Zuikaku", "Zuiho", "Junyō", "Hiyo" and "Ryujo". They were joined by the battleships "Hiei", "Kirishima", seaplane tender "Chitose", and cruisers "Atago", "Maya", "Takao", "Nagara".

Battle of the Eastern Solomons

On 24 August 1942, CruDiv 7's "Kumano", "Suzuya" and "Mogami" arrived to join the reinforcement fleet for Guadalcanal. The following morning, a PBY Catalina seaplane spotted "Ryujo", which SBDs and TBFs from "Enterprise" unsuccessfully attacked. Seven floatplanes from "Tone" and "Chikuma" were launched to locate the American fleet. One of "Chikuma's" planes spotted the Americans, but was shot down before its report could be relayed. However, a second floatplane was more successful, and the Japanese launched an attack against "Enterprise", hitting it with three bombs which set her wooden deck on fire. However, in the meantime, the Americans located the Japanese fleet, and "Ryujo" was sunk by planes from the "USS Saratoga". "Tone" was attacked unsuccessfully by two TBFs whose Mark 13 torpedoes missed, returning to Truk safely.

Battle of Santa Cruz

Through October, "Chikuma" and "Tone" patrolled north of the Solomon Islands, awaiting word of recapture of Henderson Field by the Japanese. On 19 October, "Tone" (with "Teruzuki") was detached on an independent mission to scout for American ships. Both ships operated off the Santa Cruz Islands until a Kawanishi H6K Emily from Jaluit Atoll sighted a carrier off the New Hebrides. On 26 October 1942, 250 miles northeast of Guadalcanal, Rear Admiral Hiroaki Abe's task force launched seven floatplanes to scout south of Guadalcanal. They located the American fleet, and Abe followed with an attack by 13 Nakajima B5N2 "Kate" torpedo planes which sank the "USS Hornet" and damaged the "USS South Dakota" and cruiser "USS San Juan". However, two of the four aircraft launched by "Tone" during the attack were shot down.

"Tone" supported Japanese reinforcement efforts at Guadalcanal through mid-November 1942, and was then assigned to patrols from its base in Truk through mid-February 1943. After returning to Maizuru for refit on 21 February, two additional twin-mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns were installed along with a Type 21 air-search radar. On 15 March 1943 Rear Admiral Kishi Fukuji assumed command of CruDiv 8, and "Tone" was ordered back to Truk. However, on 17 May, "Chikuma" and "Tone" were tasked to accompany battleship "Musashi" back to Tokyo for the state funeral of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. "Tone" was back in Truk by 15 July, having avoided numerous submarine attacks along the route. From July to November, "Tone" was engaged in making troop transport runs to Rabaul, and to patrols of the Marshall Islands in unsuccessful pursuit of the American fleet. While back at Kure on 6 November, "Tone" gained additional 25-mm AA guns, bringing its total to 20. CruDiv 8 was disbanded on 1 January 1944, and both "Tone" and "Chikuma" were reassigned to CruDiv 7 (with "Suzuya" and "Kumano") under Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura. "Tone" returned to Truk on 2 January. In February, "Tone" assisted with the evacuation of Japanese forces from Truk to Palau.

From 1 March 1944, "Tone" was assigned to commerce raiding in the Indian Ocean. On 9 March, "Tone" sank the British freighter SS "Behar", taking aboard 108 survivors against orders. Of the survivors, 32 were disembarked as prisoners of war at Batavia. Admiral Sakonjo Naomasa on the "Aoba" ordered that the remaining prisoners be “disposed of”, and they were taken out to sea and beheaded. (Following the war, Sakonju was executed for war crimes, including the murder of these prisoners, while the former commander of "Tone", Captain Haruo Mayazumi, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.) [ http://www.cofepow.org.uk/pages/ships_behar.htm Downloaded 16/9/06 ] On 20 March 1944, Rear Admiral Kazutaka Shiraishi assumed command of CruDiv 7.

Battle of the Philippine Sea

On 13 June 1944, Admiral Soemu Toyoda activated "Operation A-GO" for the defense of the Mariana Islands. "Tone" was assigned to Force "C" of Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's Mobile Fleet, which proceeded through the Visayan Sea to the Philippine Sea headed towards Saipan. On 20 June, after "Haruna", "Kongo" and carrier "Chiyoda" were attacked by aircraft from the "USS Bunker Hill", "USS Monterey" and "USS Cabot" and the bulk of the Japanese air cover was destroyed in the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”, "Tone" retired with the Mobile Fleet to Okinawa, and from there to Kure. While at Kure from 26 June-8 July 1944, "Tone" gained additional Type 96 25-mm AA, bringing its total to 57. Two new Type 22 surface-search radars and a Type 13 air-search radar were also fitted. After ferrying army troops to Okinawa "Tone" was reassigned back to Singapore in July.

Battle of Leyte Gulf

On 23 October 1944, "Tone" (with "Kumano", "Suzuya" and " Chikuma") sortied from Brunei towards the Philippines with Vice Admiral Kurita's First Mobile Striking Force. In the Battle of the Palawan Passage, "Atago" and "Maya" were sunk by submarines, and "Takao" damaged. On 24 October, CruDiv 7 was part of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's Center Force. In the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea the Center Force suffered eleven raids by planes from the carriers American Task Group 38.2, and "Tone" was hit by bombs. The following day, during the Battle off Samar, "Musashi" was sunk, "Yamato", "Nagato", "Haruna" and "Myoko" were damaged. "Tone" engaged American destroyer USS "Heermann" but was driven away by air attack. She escaped back through the San Bernardino Strait without further damage, but "Tone's" sister "Chikuma", "Chokai", and "Suzuya" were lost.

On 6 November, "Tone" departed Brunei towards Manila, and onward to Mako in the Pescadores and Kure. Back in dry dock in Maizuru, Tone gained four additional triple mount 25-mm AA guns aft, bringing its total to 62. The Type 21 radar was replaced with a Type 22. CruDiv 7 was disbanded 21 November and "Tone" re-assigned to CruDiv 5 with "Kumano". Once repairs were completed on 18 February 1945, "Tone" relocated to Etajima, where it was moored for use as a training ship. It was slightly damaged in an air raid on 19 March.

On 24 July 1945, Task Force 38 launched a large air raid against Kure aimed at the final destruction of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Nine aircraft from the "USS Monterey" hit "Tone" with three bombs, causing her to settle to the bottom of the bay. The hulk was attacked again on 28 July by rockets and armor piercing bombs dropped by planes from the "USS Wasp" and "USS Ticonderoga". "Tone" was removed from the Navy List on 20 November 1945. Its hulk was raised and scrapped after the war from 1947-1948.

List of Captains

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Teizo Hara - 1 November 1938 - 20 November 1938

Capt. Teizo Hara - 20 November 1938 - 15 November 1939

Capt. Shinzo Onishi - 15 November 1939 - 15 October 1940

Capt. Masao Nishida - 15 October 1940 - 10 September 1941

Capt. Tametsugu Okada - 10 September 1941 - 14 July 1942

Capt. Yuji Kobe - 14 July 1942 - 1 December 1943

Capt. Haruo Mayuzumi - 1 December 1943 - 6 January 1945

Capt. Yusaku Okada - 6 January 1945 - 24 July 1945



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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/tone_c.htm CombinedFleet.com: "Tone" class
title = Imperial Japanese Navy Page (Combinedfleet.com)
work =
accessdate = 2006-06-14

*Tabular record: [http://www.combinedfleet.com/tone_t.htm CombinedFleet.com: "Tone" history] (Retrieved 26 January 2007.)Three photos of Tone, but you must type Tone in the pic search window,
* http://www.world-war.co.uk/index.php3


ee also

*List of World War II ships

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