Japanese cruiser Nachi

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Japanese cruiser Nachi 1929.jpg
Nachi photographed soon after her full-power trials in November 1928
Career IJN Ensign
Name: Nachi
Namesake: Mount Nachi
Operator:  Empire of Japan
Ordered: 1923
Builder: Kure Naval Arsenal
Laid down: 26 November 1924
Launched: 15 June 1927
Commissioned: 28 November 1928
Struck: 20 January 1945
Fate: Sunk, 5 November 1944
General characteristics
Class & type: Myōkō-class cruiser
Displacement: 13,300 long tons (13,500 t)
Length: 201.7 m (661 ft 9 in)
Beam: 20.73 m (68 ft 0 in)
Draft: 6.32 m (20 ft 9 in)
Installed power: 130,000 shp (97,000 kW)
Propulsion: 4 × geared steam turbines
12 × boilers
4 × shafts
Speed: 36 kn (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Complement: 773
Armament: •10 × 203 mm (8.0 in) guns (5x2)
• 6 × 120 mm (4.7 in) guns (to 1934) or 8 × 127 mm (5.0 in) guns (from 1935)
• 2 × 13 mm (0.51 in) machine guns
• 12 × 610 mm (24 in) torpedo tubes[1]
Armor: •Main belt: 100 mm (3.9 in)
• Main deck: 37 mm (1.5 in)
Turrets: 25 mm (0.98 in)
Barbettes: 75 mm (3.0 in)
Aircraft carried: 2 × floatplanes
Service record
Part of: Empire of Japan Imperial Japanese Navy
Operations:

Pacific War

Nachi (那智?) was the second of four Myōkō-class heavy cruisers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy — the other ships of the class being Myōkō, Ashigara and Haguro. She was named after a mountain in Wakayama Prefecture.

The ships of this class displaced 13,300 long tons (13,500 t), were 201 m (659 ft) long and capable of 36 kn (67 km/h; 41 mph). They carried two floatplanes, their main armament was ten 203 mm (8.0 in) guns in five twin turrets. This was the heaviest armament of any cruiser class in the world, at the time they were built.

Service history[edit]

Nachi was laid down at the Kure Naval Arsenal on 26 November 1924, launched and named on 15 June 1927, and was commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 26 November 1928. Her service in World War II started in the Dutch East Indies, where she engaged the enemy off Makassar on 8 February 1942. She played a key role in the Battle of the Java Sea on 27 February, and was involved in the sinking of HMS Exeter and Encounter in another action off south Borneo on 1 March.

Nachi then moved to the Aleutian Islands where she was engaged in the diversionary attack on the islands on 3 June; she was back in the Aleutians when she was damaged on 26 March in the battle of the Komandorski Islands, and was engaged in an action at Kiska in July 1943.

By October 1944, she was in the Philippines and took part in the Leyte Campaign, as part of a cruiser force under the command of Vice Admiral Kiyohide Shima. Nachi was damaged in the Battle of Surigao Strait on 25 October after a collision with Mogami.

Fate[edit]

Nachi was in Manila Bay on 5 November 1944 when she was attacked by three waves of US planes from the aircraft carriers USS Lexington and Ticonderoga of Task Force 38.

In the engagement, Nachi was hit at least nine times with torpedoes as well as rockets. She was broken into three parts by two large explosions and sank in the middle of a large oil slick (14°31′N 120°44′E / 14.517°N 120.733°E / 14.517; 120.733Coordinates: 14°31′N 120°44′E / 14.517°N 120.733°E / 14.517; 120.733).[2] Of the crew, 807 were lost, including the captain, while 220 survived. Nachi's flag commander, Vice Admiral Kiyohide Shima was ashore for a conference at the time of the attack, but arrived at dockside in time to watch in horror as his flagship was blown apart.

John Prados, in his book, Combined Fleet Decoded, writes that a major intelligence coup was the finding of a large set of code documents on tables and in drawers in the wreckage by US Navy divers. They were surprised that the documents were not even in a safe. It was important because Nachi was the flagship of the Second Striking Force at the time. Early Japanese radar equipment was also recovered.

The original wartime caption of a picture taken of the sinking Nachi by Lexington aircraft reads,

Note by target coordinator: We circled down to 20 feet to make sure there were absolutely no survivors. Fifteen or twenty oily figures were served with .50-caliber just to make sure.[3]

It has been speculated that a large amount of gold was on board Nachi when she was sunk, which was later recovered by American divers. However, this is a heavily-disputed and questionable claim, which is not asserted by the majority of academics, and is not believed to be the case as there is little evidence for it.[dubious ]

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. 
  • Lacroix, Eric; Linton Wells (1997). Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-311-3. 
  • Seagrave, Sterling (2003). Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold. Verso. ISBN 1-85984-542-8. 

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p. 808–809.
  2. ^ Hackett, Bob; Sander Kingsepp (2010). "IJN Nachi: Tabular Record of Movement". Junyokan!. combinedfleet.com. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  3. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p. 356.