Japanese cruiser Ashigara

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For other ships of the same name, see JS Ashigara (DDG-178).
Japanese cruiser Ashigara 1942.jpg
Ashigara in drydock at Singapore, December 1942
Career IJN Ensign
Name: Ashigara
Namesake: Mount Ashigara
Operator:  Empire of Japan
Ordered: 1923
Builder: Kawasaki shipyard, Kobe
Laid down: April 11, 1925
Launched: April 22, 1928
Commissioned: August 20, 1929
Fate: sunk, Action of 8 June 1945
General characteristics
Class & type: Myōkō-class cruiser
Displacement: 13,300 long tons (13,500 t)
Length: 203.76 m (668 ft 6 in)
Beam: 19 m (62 ft 4 in)
Draft: 5.03 m (16 ft 6 in)
Speed: 35.5 knots (40.9 mph; 65.7 km/h)
Complement: 920–970
Armament: 10 × 203 mm (8.0 in) guns (5×2)
6 × 120 mm (4.7 in) (to 1934) or 8 × 127 mm (5.0 in) (from 1935) guns
2 × 13 mm (0.51 in) machine guns
12 × 610 mm (24 in) torpedo tubes[1]
Aircraft carried: 1
Service record
Part of: Empire of Japan Imperial Japanese Navy
Operations:

Pacific War

Ashigara (足柄) was a Myōkō-class heavy cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The other ships of her class were Myōkō (妙高), Nachi (那智), and Haguro (羽黒). Ashigara was named after a mountain on the border of Kanagawa and Shizuoka prefectures, also known as Mount Kintoki.

The ships of this class displaced 13,300 tons, were 204 m (669 ft) long, and were capable of 36 knots. They carried one aircraft and their main armament were ten 8 inch guns. Ashigara was laid down at the Kawasaki shipyard in Kobe on April 11, 1925, launched on April 22, 1928, and was commissioned into the Imperial Navy on August 20, 1929.

SS President Hoover[edit]

In the small hours of December 11, 1937 the ocean liner SS President Hoover ran aground in a typhoon on Kasho-to off Formosa, and 14 hours later Ashigara and a Mutsuki-class destroyer arrived to assist.[2] The two warships stood by as Hoover's 330 crew got all 503 passengers and themselves ashore.[2]

On December 12 the Clemson-class destroyers USS Alden and USS Barker arrived and Ashigara cleared them to enter Japanese territorial waters.[2] On the 13th the liner SS President McKinley arrived to repatriate about 630 survivors, and on the 14th Ashigara and her destroyer escort provided flat-bottomed boats to ferry them from the beach to a motor launch and lifeboats that took them out to the liner.[2] On 15 December the liner SS President Pierce evacuated the last 200 survivors, and Alden was allowed to remain to guard Hoover's wreck until Japanese authorities relieved her on December 23.[2]

Second World War[edit]

In World War II she took part in the Invasion of the Philippines in December 1941. In the Battle of the Java Sea on March 1, 1942 she shared in the sinking of the cruiser HMS Exeter and the destroyer HMS Encounter.

From 1942 to 1944 she was assigned to guard duties and troop transportation and saw no action.

In the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 24, 1944, Ashigara, with Captain Hayao Miura in command, was assigned to Vice Admiral Kiyohide Shima's force along with Nachi and eight destroyers. This force entered Surigao Strait on October 25 after Admiral Shoji Nishimura's First Raiding Force had been destroyed, following the losses of Fusō and Nishimura's Yamashiro along with their escorts in the hands of Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf's fleet and aircraft, in which during this action Nishimura was killed aboard the Yamashiro. Ashigara and Nachi fired their torpedoes and retreated (Nachi with damage from a collision with Mogami).

In December 1944 Ashigara took part in an attempted attack on the American landings on Mindoro in the Philippines along with the Ōyodo and the destroyers Kiyoshimo, Asashimo, Kasumi, Kaya, Kashi, and Sugi. On December 26 she came under air attack and was damaged by a 227 kg (500 lb) bomb, but was able to shell the American beachhead on December 27 of the same year.

Fate[edit]

Further information: Action of 8 June 1945

On June 8, 1945, Ashigara left Batavia for Singapore with 1,600 troops on board, escorted by the destroyer Kamikaze. In the Bangka Strait the two ships came under attack from three Allied submarines, USS Blueback, HMS Trenchant and HMS Stygian. Kamikaze attacked Trenchant with gunfire, forcing her to submerge, and then with depth charges, but Trenchant's C.O., Commander Arthur Hezlet, spotted Ashigara and fired eight torpedoes at her at about 12:15. Ashigara was hit five times at a range of 4,000 yards[3] and capsized at 12:37 (01°59′S 104°56′E / 1.983°S 104.933°E / -1.983; 104.933Coordinates: 01°59′S 104°56′E / 1.983°S 104.933°E / -1.983; 104.933).[4] Kamikaze rescued 400 troops and 853 crew, including Miura.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p. 808-809.
  2. ^ a b c d e Tully, Anthony; Hackett, Bob; Kingsepp, Sander (2012). "Stranding of S.S. PRESIDENT HOOVER - December 1937". Rising Storm – The Imperial Japanese Navy and China 1931–1941. Imperial Japanese Navy Page. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Submarine History: Submarine Service: Operations and Support: Royal Navy
  4. ^ Hackett, Bob; Sander Kingsepp (2009). "HIJMS Ashigara: Tabular Record of Movement". Junyokan!. combinedfleet.com. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  • 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. 
  • Lacroix, Eric; Linton Wells (1997). Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-311-3.