Japanese cruiser Jintsu

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Sendai class light cruiser.jpg
Japanese Light Cruiser Jintsu
Career (Japan) Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Jintsu
Namesake: Jinzū River
Ordered: 1920 Fiscal Year
Laid down: 4 August 1922
Launched: 8 December 1923
Commissioned: 31 July 1925[1]
Struck: 10 September 1943
Fate: sunk 13 July 1943
by Allied cruiser at the Battle of Kolombangara, Solomon Islands 07°38′S 157°06′E / 7.633°S 157.100°E / -7.633; 157.100.
General characteristics
Class & type: Sendai-class cruiser
Displacement: 5,195 tons (standard)
Length: 152.4 meters
Beam: 14.2 meters
Draught: 4.9 meters
Propulsion: 4 shaft Parsons geared turbines
10 Kampon boilers
90,000 shp
Speed: 35.3 knots (65.4 km/h)
Range: 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 452
Armament: 7 × 5.5-inch (140 mm) guns (7x1)
2 × 80 mm guns,
4 × 610 mm torpedo tubes (4x2)
48 mines
Armor: 64 mm (belt)
29 mm (deck)
Aircraft carried: 1 x floatplane, 1 catapult

Jintsu (神通 軽巡洋艦 Jintsu keijun'yōkan?) was a Sendai-class light cruiser in the Imperial Japanese Navy, named after the Jinzū River in the Gifu and Toyama prefectures of central Japan.

Background[edit]

Jintsu was the second vessel completed in the three-ship Sendai 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]

Early career[edit]

Jintsu was completed at Kawasaki Kobe shipyards on 21 July 1925. During a night training exercise on 24 August 1927, she inadvertently rammed and sank the destroyer Warabi, and had to be taken to Maizuru for major repairs.

In 1928, Jintsu was assigned to cover landings of Japanese troops in Shandong province during the Jinan Incident, and was later based out of Tsingtao.

From 1929 to 1941, Jintsu was assigned to patrols of the China coast and to covering the landings of Japanese forces in China from 1937 onwards after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Early stages of the Pacific War[edit]

On 26 November 1941, Jintsu became the flagship of Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka and DesRon 2 under the Philippine Seizure Force, Southern Force, of the Japanese Third Fleet. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Jintsu was engaged in the invasion of the southern Philippines, escorting transports with the IJA 16th Infantry Division and Kure No. 1 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) from forward bases in Palau to Davao, Legaspi and Jolo. After the Philippines was in Japanese hands by the end of December, Jintsu was reassigned to Rear Admiral Kubo's Eastern Netherlands East Indies Seizure Force with DesDiv 15 and DesDiv 16.

Battle of the Java Sea[edit]

On 9 January 1942, Jintsu departed Davao for the invasion of the Celebes, escorting transports holding the Sasebo No. 1 Combined Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF). On 17 January, a Kawanishi E7K2 "Alf" reconnaissance floatplane launched from Jintsu shot down a Dutch Lockheed Hudson light bomber near Menado, but was shot down itself before it could return. In early February, Jintsu was assigned to the invasion force for Ambon, followed by both Dutch and Portuguese Timor and eastern Java.

Jintsu was thus at the Battle of the Java Sea on 27 February 1942. Her destroyer groups included DesDiv 7's Ushio, Sazanami, Yamakaze and Kawakaze and DesDiv 16's Yukikaze, Tokitsukaze, Amatsukaze and Hatsukaze, and she accompanied the cruisers Nachi, Haguro, and Naka.

At 1547, Jintsu with her destroyer squadrons (and also the Inazuma), engaged Dutch Rear Admiral Karel W. F. M. Doorman's Strike Force's light cruiser HNLMS De Ruyter, cruisers HMS Exeter, USS Houston, light cruisers HMAS Perth, HNLMS Java, destroyers HMS Electra, HMS Encounter, HMS Jupiter, HNLMS Kortenaer, HNLMS Witte de With and old destroyers USS Alden, USS John D. Edwards, USS John D. Ford and USS Paul Jones.

Floatplanes launched from Jintsu, Naka and Nachi marked Doorman's ships' positions and to help target Japanese gunnery. At 1727, Jintsu launched eight Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at Doorman's force. These were followed by torpedoes from DesRon 2's destroyers. In all, 72 torpedoes were launched, but incredibly, not one hit a target, and the Allied fleet was later destroyed by other surface units. Jintsu was credited with assisting in the sinking of the Electra.

Jintsu returned to Japan in March for refit and repairs. While at Kure, the Doolittle Raid bombed the Japanese home islands. Jintsu was one of the many vessels sent in an unsuccessful pursuit of the American carrier force.

In May, Jintsu was sent to Saipan where she was joined to the Midway Invasion Force, escorting transports and oilers. During the Battle of Midway on 3 June 1942, the convoy was bombed by nine Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses. Later, the convoy was attacked by torpedo-carrying Consolidated PBY Catalina amphibious patrol planes. One oiler was hit during these attacks, but Jintsu returned to Truk, and then to Japan unscathed.

In July, in a reorganization of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Jintsu was reassigned to the newly formed Japanese 8th Fleet under the overall command of Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa. After American forces invaded Guadalcanal in August, Jintsu was sent to the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands campaigns[edit]

On 16 August 1942, Jintsu departed Truk commanding a major reinforcement for Guadalcanal. On 20 August, the troops were landed, but the lightly armed Japanese failed to storm Guadalcanal's Henderson Field. Rear Admiral Tanaka received a signal from Vice Admiral Nishizo Tsukahara's 11th Air Fleet HQ to turn his convoy about and head north to avoid an American task force. Shortly thereafter, he received another signal from Vice Admiral Mikawa's Eighth Fleet HQ ordering him to change course to 250-degrees WSW. Tanaka, faced with conflicting orders from the senior officer in the area and his own superior, was further frustrated by poor radio reception which prevented him from contacting either headquarters. He compromised and changed course to 320 degrees (WNW), 190 nautical miles (352 km) south of Guadalcanal.

Meanwhile, 20 American carrier planes (Cactus Air Force) from USS Long Island arrived to reinforce the American defenses at Guadalcanal. In response, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto ordered Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's Third Fleet, with aircraft carriers Shōkaku, Zuikaku, Ryūjō, battleships Hiei, Kirishima, cruisers Kumano, Suzuya, Chikuma, Tone and Nagara and three destroyers to reinforce Admiral Tanaka in Jintsu.

On 23 August, 200 nautical miles (370 km) north of Guadalcanal, Rear Admiral Tanaka's convoy was spotted by a Catalina PBY flying boat. At 0830, Tanaka received a signal from Vice Admiral Mikawa's Eighth Fleet headquarters directing him to head north to avoid the American task force. At 1430, Tanaka received a signal from Vice Admiral Tsukahara's 11th Air Fleet headquarters directing him to land troops on Guadacanal the next day. Tanaka, faced with yet a second set of conflicting orders, replied that he could not comply because some of his ships were too slow.

The Battle of the Eastern Solomons occurred over the following two days, 24 August 1942. Jintsu rendezvoused with Ryūjō, which launched two air strikes against Henderson Field. However, Ryūjō herself was hit by aircraft from USS Saratoga, with four bombs and a torpedo hit that flooded her starboard engine room, and sank that night.

On 25 August, 150 nautical miles (278 km) north of Guadalcanal, six USMC Douglas SBD Dauntless dive-bombers attacked the Jintsu convoy, sinking one transport and damaging another. A 500-lb. bomb hit Jintsu, starting fires and flooding her forward magazines. Twenty-four crewmen were killed and Admiral Tanaka was injured. He shifted his flag to Kagero and Jintsu withdrew to Shortland, and from there to Truk, where she underwent emergency repairs for the next month. In October, she was sent back to Japan, where two Type 96 triple-mount 25 mm AA guns were installed.

Battle of Kolombangara[edit]

After repairs/modifications were completed on 9 January 1943, Jintsu became flagship of DesRon 2 and departed Kure bound for Truk. Jintsu was immediately assigned to the operation to evacuate surviving Japanese army troops from Guadalcanal, which she covered successfully. Through July, Jintsu made several transport runs, escorting forces moving between Truk, Roi and Kwajalein.

On 13 July 1943, Jintsu was in the Battle of Kolombangara. At 0330, Jintsu departed Rabaul as flagship of Rear Admiral Isaki, with the destroyers Yukikaze, Hamakaze, Yūgure, Japanese destroyer Mikazuki, Kiyonami and destroyer-transports Satsuki, Minazuki, Yūnagi and Matsukaze with 1200 troops to reinforce Japanese positions on Kolombangara island, in the Solomon Islands. Soon after arriving into position, Jintsu's radar detected the presence of an Allied fleet before visual contact was made.

The Allied fleet consisted of the cruisers USS Honolulu, USS St. Louis, HMNZS Leander, and the destroyers USS Ralph Talbot, USS Maury, USS Gwin, USS Woodworth and the USS Buchanan, USS Radford, USS Jenkins, USS Nicholas, USS O'Bannon and the USS Taylor.

Admiral Isaki ordered a night torpedo attack, and his ships launched 31 Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes, as Jintsu illuminated the Allied fleet with her searchlights. The illumination was fatal, as Jintsu was hit by at least ten 6-inch (150 mm) shells from the Allied cruisers, setting her on fire. The barrage killed both Rear Admiral Isaki and Captain Sato; shortly afterwards a torpedo hit Jintsu starboard in the aft engine room.

As Captain Zenjiro Shimai of Yukikaze assumed command of the Japanese fleet and counterattacked (sinking Gwin, and damaging Leander and St. Louis), Jintsu broke in two and sank at 07°38′S 157°06′E / 7.633°S 157.100°E / -7.633; 157.100.

POWs of the Jintsu aboard the USS Nicholas

Later, Japanese submarine I-180 rescued 21 crewmen and a few more were recovered by the Americans, but 482 men were lost.

Jintsu was removed from the navy list on 10 September 1943

References[edit]

Books[edit]

  • 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. 
  • Evans, David (1979). Kaigun : Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-192-7. 
  • 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 Two: An International Encyclopedia. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-141-6. 

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p. 794

See also[edit]