Agano-class cruiser

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Japanese cruiser Agano.jpg
Agano in October 1942, off of Sasebo, Nagasaki
Class overview
Name: Agano
Preceded by: Sendai class
Succeeded by: Ōyodo
Completed: 4 ordered,
4 laid down,
4 commissioned
Lost: 3
General characteristics
Type: Light cruiser
Displacement: 6,652 tons (standard); 7,590 tons (loaded)
Length: 162 m (531 ft)
Beam: 15.2 m (50 ft)
Draught: 5.6 m (18 ft)
Propulsion: 4 shaft Gihon geared turbines
6 Kampon boilers
100,000 shp (75,000 kW)
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Range: 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h)
Crew: 360
Armament: 6 × 152 mm Type 41 guns (3 × 2)
4 × 76 mm guns,
32 × 25 mm Type 96 AA guns
8 × 610 mm torpedo tubes (4 × 2)
16 depth charges
Armour: 60 mm (belt)
20 mm (deck)
Aircraft carried: 2 × floatplanes, 1 catapult

The four Agano-class cruisers (阿賀野型軽巡洋艦 Agano-gata keijun'yōkan?) were light cruisers operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy. They participated in numerous actions during World War II.

The Agano class was followed by the larger Ōyodo class, of which only one vessel was completed.

Background[edit]

The Imperial Japanese Navy had standardized on 5,500 ton displacement light cruisers as flagships for destroyer and submarine squadrons, and numerous vessels constructed shortly after World War I served in this role. The Agano class was conceived in the 1930s as a replacement for the aging Tenryū, Kuma and Nagara classes. Larger than these previous light cruisers, the Agano-class vessels were fast, but with little protection, and were under-gunned for their size.

Originally they were to have eight 6.1-inch guns in four twin mounts but the X turret was eliminated to allow a heavier torpedo armament and to save on costs.

Design[edit]

Initial design specifications for the Agano class called for a nominal 5,000 ton displacement hull with six 6.1-inch (155 mm) guns and eight 5-inch (127 mm) dual purpose guns. Its armor was designed to protect against 6 inch gun and vital parts had additional protections. The Agano class was unique among Japanese cruisers in that its main armament could elevate to 55 degrees, but this was still not enough to make them effective as anti-aircraft weapons.

The engines were a quadruple-shaft geared turbine arrangement with six boilers, developing 100.000 shp (74.570 kW) for a maximum speed of 35 knots (65 km/h). Like Yūbari, the Agano class had its stacks join into a single funnel.

As completed, the main armament was the same type of 152 mm (6 inch) gun as used on the Kongō-class battlecruisers, some of these weapons having been removed from the Fusō and Kongō classes during their modernizations in the early and late 1930s, respectively. This gun fired a 100 lb (45 kg) projectile 22,970 yards (21,000 m). Secondary armament consisted of four 80 mm HA, which were actually 3-inch (76.2 mm) guns in two twin mountings. These guns fired a 13.2 lb (6.0 kg) projectile and were of unique size in the Japanese navy. The design was equipped with thirty-two 25 mm AA guns. The torpedo tubes were mounted on the centerline, as was more common with destroyers, and had a rapid reload system with eight spare torpedoes. Being mounted on the centerline allowed the twin launchers to fire to either port or starboard, meaning that a full eight-torpedo broadside could be fired, whereas a ship with separate port and starboard launchers can only fire half of its torpedoes at a time. The design included a single catapult forward of the main mast, with stowage for two floatplanes. Depth charge equipment was also fitted.

In subsequent upgrades, the 25 mm anti-aircraft weaponry increased to 46 sets by 1944, and then to 52 sets and finally 61 sets by July 1944 on the surviving ships.

Ships in class[edit]

Four ships were budgeted under the 1939 4th Naval Replenishment Programme, three from the Sasebo Navy Yard and one from Yokosuka Naval Arsenal.

Agano[edit]

Completed on 31 October 1942, Agano participated in the battles for Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands during 1943. Agano was badly damaged in Rabaul harbor by aircraft from USS Saratoga and USS Princeton, and in a subsequent attack by aircraft from TF38 on 11 November she received a torpedo hit. Ordered to home waters for repair, she was torpedoed and sunk north of Truk by the US submarine USS Skate, on 16 February 1944.

Noshiro[edit]

Commissioned on 30 June 1943, Noshiro participated in operations in the Solomon Islands and was damaged during the US carrier aircraft raids on Rabaul on 5 November 1943. She served in the Marianas in the summer of 1944, and was part of Admiral Kurita's force during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. At the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. She was west of Panay while withdrawing from the Battle off Samar on the morning of 26 October when she was sunk by aircraft from USS Wasp (CV-18) and USS Cowpens (CVL-25).

Yahagi[edit]

Commissioned on 29 December 1943 Yahagi saw action in the Marianas in May/June 1944, during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. After the US invasion of Okinawa on 1 April 1945, she was ordered to accompany the Yamato on its suicide mission against the American fleet at Okinawa. Yahagi was hit by some seven torpedoes as well as a dozen bombs, and sank on the afternoon of 7 April 1945.

Sakawa[edit]

Sakawa was not completed until the end of 1944, by which time there was little fuel available. She survived the war unscratched. After the war she was expended in the atom bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946.

References[edit]

Books[edit]

  • 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. 
  • 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 II: An International Encyclopedia. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-141-6. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Media related to Agano class cruiser at Wikimedia Commons