Tameichi Hara

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Tameichi Hara
TameichiHara.jpg
Born October 16, 1900
Kagawa Prefecture, Japan
Died October 10, 1980(1980-10-10) (aged 79)
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Rank Captain
Unit Destroyer Amatsukaze
27th Destroyer Squadron
Cruiser Yahagi
Commands held  Imperial Japanese Navy
Battles/wars World War II
Battle of the Java Sea
Battle of Midway
Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
Battle of Vella Gulf
Naval Battle of Vella Lavella
Battle off Horaniu
Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
Operation Ten-Go

Tameichi Hara (原 為一 Hara Tameichi?, October 16, 1900 – October 10, 1980) was an Imperial Japanese naval commander during the Pacific War and the author of the IJN manual on torpedo attack techniques, notable for his high skill, particularly in torpedo warfare and night fighting.

Early life[edit]

A native of Kagawa Prefecture and of samurai descent, Hara graduated with the 49th class from the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy at Etajima in 1921. In 1932 Hara was assigned as a surface warfare instructor and in the middle of the same year his naval doctrine was accepted. At the beginning of the war he was a captain of destroyer Amatsukaze, but for most of the war he was a destroyer squadron commander, aboard Shigure. Hara's conception was first used in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

Military career[edit]

Amatsukaze (center bottom), under Hara's command, maneuvers at high speed to evade a high-level bomb attack by USAAF B-17 bombers on the disabled Japanese aircraft carrier Ryūjō (center right) during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

On 13 November 1942, Hara’s destroyer, Amatsukaze sank the USS Barton (DD-599) during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Hara, as commander of the Amatsukaze, also participated in the Battle of the Java Sea, the sinking of the submarine USS Perch (SS-176) and the occupation of Christmas Island. While serving with the Shigure, Hara was involved in several of the naval engagements during the latter part of the Solomon Islands Campaign. He commanded a Japanese destroyer in all major Pacific sea conflicts: Empress Augusta Bay, Coral Sea, the invasion of the Philippines, Guadalcanal, Savo Island, and Midway. While on a re-supply mission through Blackett Straight in August 1943, upon noticing a fire-ball explosion near the destroyer Amagiri in front of his destroyer Shigure, he ordered his ship's crew to shoot at Lt. John F. Kennedy's Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109, sinking it.

Hara's last sortie was as captain of the Yahagi, the light cruiser which accompanied Yamato's fateful last mission as part of Operation Ten-Go, which he survived. He ended the war at Kawatana training Japanese sailors to operate Shinyo suicide boats. He later commanded merchant ships which transported salt. His memoirs were later translated into English and became an important reference for the Japanese perspective for historians writing about the Pacific Campaign of World War II. In his memoir, Hara objects to compulsory suicide as official doctrine, because he sees this as a violation of bushido values. He turned pacifist before the Bomb. Hara was the only IJN destroyer captain at the start of World War II who survived it. His personal doctrines demonstrate why he survived and the Japanese lost the war—they were inflexible, and he was not. His doctrines were "Never ever do the same thing twice" and "If he hits you high, then hit him low; if he hits you low, then hit him high," the latter a maxim of Douglas MacArthur's. Hara criticizes his superiors for using cavalry tactics to fight naval battles; never understanding the implications of air power; dividing their forces in the face of enemy forces of unknown strength; basing tactics on what they thought their enemy would do; failing to appreciate the speed with which the enemy could develop new weapons and accepting a war of attrition with a foe more capable of maintaining it.

Memoirs[edit]

External links[edit]