Imperial Japanese Navy Heavy Cruiser Kako
The Imperial Japanese Navy (Nihon Kaigun) heavy cruiser Kako got her name after the Kako River in Hyogo prefecture, Japan. Kako was completed at Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation at Kobe on 20 July 1926. Assigned to the Fifth Squadron (Sentai) from then until 1933, she served in Japanese and Chinese waters, participating in fleet maneuvers and combat operations off the China coast. Kako was given a major refit in 1929–30, improving her machinery and slightly changing her appearance. Briefly operating with Cruiser Division 6 (CruDiv6) in 1933, Kako was in the naval review off Yokohama in late August. She went into guard ship status in November of that year and into reserve in 1934.In July 1936, Kako began an extensive reconstruction at Sasebo Navy Yard, which was completed by 27 December 1937. At this time, the ship’s six single 200 mm (7.9 in) main gun turrets were replaced by three 203.2 mm (8 in) twin turrets.
Sharing operations with Furutaka. The heavy cruiser Kako shared most of her operation time with the cruiser Furutaka, of the same class. After Guam and Wake islands operations, the cruiser Kako participated, also with Furutaka, in the Coral Sea Battle.
Coral Sea Battle. On 8 May 1942 46 SBDs, 21 TBDs and 15 Grumman F4F Wildcats from Yorktown and Lexington damaged the aircraft carrier Shōkaku severely above the waterline and forced her retirement. As Furutaka and Kinugasa, undamaged in the battle, escorted Shōkaku back to Truk, Kako and Aoba continued to cover the withdrawingPort Moresby invasion convoy.
Accident. After refueling at Shortland on 9 May, Kako was stranded on a reef entering Queen Carola Harbor, but was soon re-floated. Kako returned to Kure Naval Arsenal on 22 May 1942 for repairs, and returned to Truk on 23 June and from Truk to Rekata Bay, Santa Isabel Island, where she was assigned patrols through July.
Battle of Savo island: The death of the Furutaka class cruisers. On 8 August 1942, north of Guadalcanal a three-seat Aichi E13A1 “Jake” reconnaissance floatplane launched from Kako was shot down by an SBD Dauntless of VS-72 from the aircraft carrier USS Wasp. This was the prelude to the Battle of Savo Island the following day.
Victory: On 9 August, the four heavy cruisers of CruDiv 6 (Aoba, Kako, Furutaka and Kinugasa), the heavy cruiser Chōkai, light cruisers Tenryū and Yūbari and destroyer Yūnagi engaged the Allied forces in a night gun and torpedo action.At about 2300, Chōkai, Furutaka and Kako all launched their reconnaissance floatplanes. The circling floatplanes dropped flares illuminating the targets and all the Japanese ships opened fire. The cruisers USS Astoria, Quincy, Vincennes and HMAS Canberra were sunk. The cruiser USS Chicago was damaged as were the destroyers Ralph Talbot and Patterson. Kako‘s gunfire hit Vincennes in the hangar and destroyed all of her Curtiss SOC Seagull floatplanes.
Defeat: On 10 August, CruDiv 6’s four cruisers were ordered unescorted to Kavieng, while the remainder of the striking force returned to Rabaul. At 0650 the American submarine USS S-44 sighted CruDiv 6 on a track less than 900 yards (800 m) away and fired four Mark 10 torpedoes from 700 yards (600 m) at the rear ship in the group, which happened to be Kako. At 0708, three torpedoes hit Kako. The first struck to starboard abreast the No. 1 turret. The other torpedoes hit further aft, in the vicinity of the forward magazines and boiler rooms 1 and 2. Kako had all of her portholes open, and within 5 minutes she rolled over on her starboard side and exploded as sea water reached her boilers. At 0715, Kako disappeared bow first in the sea off Simbari Island at Coordinates: in about 130 feet (40 m) of water. Aoba, Furutaka and Kinugasa rescued Captain Takahashi and most of Kako‘s crew, but thirty-four crewmen were killed.
Namesake: Kako River
Ordered: 1923 Fiscal Year
Laid down: 5 December 1922
Launched: 10 April 1925
Commissioned: 20 July 1926
Struck: 15 September 1942
sunk 10 August 1942 by USS S-44
off Savo Island
Displacement: 7,950 tons (standard)
Length: 176.8 m (580 ft 1 in)
Beam: 15.8 m (51 ft 10 in)
Draught: 5.6 m (18 ft 4 in)
4-shaft Brown Curtis geared turbines
12 Kampon boilers
102,000 shp (76,000 kW)
Speed: 34.5 knots (64 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
6 × 7.9in (200mm)/50-cal guns (6×1),
4 × 3.1in (76mm)/40-cal (4×1),
12 × 24in (610mm) torpedo tubes (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)
Belt 76 mm (3.0 in)
deck 36 mm (1.4 in)
Aircraft carried: 1 x floatplane, 1 catapult