Japanese Heavy Cruiser Aoba
Originally designed and planned as the third and fourth vessels in the Furutaka class of heavy cruisers, Aoba and Kinugasa finally emerged as a separate Heavy Cruiser class. The Aoba participated in many operations during the WWII and played an important role for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Her characteristic structure and weapon system included a main battery of six 20 cm/50 3rd Year Type naval guns in three double turrets, two forward and one aft.
Pre-WWII period. During these years, she was frequently dispatched to patrol the China coast in the late 1920s and the 1930s. Aoba was extensively modernized at Sasebo Navy Yard from 1938–1940, receiving new torpedo tubes, enhanced anti-aircraft guns, improved fire controls and better aircraft facilities.
In 1941, Aoba was flagship of Rear Admiral Aritomo Goto and formed with the Crusier Div 6, consisting of Aoba, Kinugasa,Furutaka and Kako. Crusier Div 6 engaged in the invasion of Guam and in the second invasion of Wake Island.
Battle of Coral Sea. Although attacked by naval planes, Furutaka and Kinugasa, were undamaged in the battle, and escorted Shōkaku back to Truk. Kako and Aoba continued to cover the withdrawing Port Moresby invasion convoy.
On 7 August 1942, Savo Island battle was held. It was a major victory for the Japanese side and many US cruisers and destroyers were sunk. In the Japanese side,Chōkai was hit three times; Kinugasa twice, Aoba once, and Furutaka was not damaged.
At the Battle of Cape Esperance on 11 October 1942, Cruiser Div 6’s cruisers (Aoba, Furutaka and Kinugasa), and destroyers (Fubuki and Hatsuyuki) departed Shortland to provide cover for a troop reinforcement convoy by shelling Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. the task force was detected by US seaplanes and this time the US Navy had a task force with radar ready to intercept.
Both fleets opened fire, but a grave miss in the orders issued by Admiral Goto led his ships to the disaster. Furutaka was sunk. Aoba was hit by up to forty 6-inch and 8-inch shells. The bridge was wrecked, the No. 2 turret was knocked out and the No. 3 turret destroyed. Other hits put four of the Aoba’s boilers off line. Admiral Goto was mortally wounded and 80 other crewmen were killed. After temporary repairs at Shortland, Aoba limped back to Truk on 15 October. There, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto personally inspected the damage and ordered the ship back to Japan
On 3 April, while moored at Kavieng, New Ireland, Aoba was bombed by Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the Fifth Air Force’s 43rd Bomb Group. A direct hit on Aoba caused two Type 93 Long Lance torpedoes to explode and set the ship on fire while the B-17’s strafed the decks with machine guns. Aoba had to be beached to avoid sinking.
After being towed back to Truk, and again to Kure on 1 August, Aoba was again repaired and re-fitted, however, Aoba‘s maximum speed was reduced to 25 knots (46 km/h) due to irreparable engine damage.
On 23 October 1944, Aoba was attacked by the submarine USS Bream. One of six torpedoes hit Aoba in the No. 2 engine room. Aoba limped into Cavite Navy Yard near Manila, but while under emergency repairs the following day and on 29 October the ship was bombed by carrier-based planes from Task Force 38. On arrival at Kure on 12 December, Aoba was examined but declared irreparable, and re-rated as a reserve ship.
Severely bombed when at port. During a US air raid on Kure harbor on 24 April 1945, Aoba was further damaged by bombing, and settled on the shallow bottom of the harbor. On 24 July 1945, about 30 planes from Task Force 38 attacked Kure, and bombed Aoba again. At 2200 hours, Aoba settled to the bottom in 25 feet (7.6 m) of water at Coordinates: . On 28 July 1945, the hulk was again attacked by ten of Task Force 38’s carrier aircraft and by the 7th Air Force B-24 Liberator bombers, which hit it again with four more 500 pounds (227 kg) bombs, breaking off the stern. Aoba was formally removed from the Navy List on 20 November 1945. Her wreck was scrapped in 1946–47.
Class & type: Aoba-class cruiser
Displacement: 8,300 tons (standard); 9,000 (final)
Length: 185.17 m (607 ft 6 in)
15.83 m (51 ft 11 in) (initial)
17.56 m (57 ft 7 in) (final)
5.71 m (18 ft 9 in) (initial)
5.66 m (18 ft 7 in) (final)
4-shaft Brown Curtis geared turbines
12 Kampon boilers
102,000 shp (76,000 kW)
Speed: 36–33.43 kn (66.67–61.91 km/h)
7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 14 kn (26 km/h) (initial)
8,223 nmi (15,229 km) at 14 knots (final)
Complement: 643 (initial) – 657 (final)
6 × 7.9in (200mm)/50-cal guns (3×2),
4 × 4.7in (120mm)/45-cal (4×1),
12 × 24in (610mm) torpedotubes (6×2)
6 × 8in (203mm)/50-cal guns (3×2),
4 × 4.7in (120mm)/45-cal (4×1),
8 × 24in (610mm) torpedo tubes (2×4)
50 × 25 mm AA guns
76 mm (belt)
36 mm (deck)
1 × floatplane (initial)
2 × floatplane, 1 catapult (final)