Japanese Heavy Cruisers
The Imperial Japanese Navy laid out a total of 18 Heavy Cruisers organized in 6 different main classes.
Heavy Cruiser Classes and Number of Units
Japanese Heavy Cruisers
The origin of the composition of Imperial Japanese Navy and specially of its cruisers fleet is largely rooted in the treaty that followed the Washington Naval Treaty, which is known as the London Naval Treaty, signed in 1930. This Treaty established the main decisions for the forthcoming strategy in construction of cruisers that followed those from 1920s. It was defined the limits on both heavy cruisers: A heavy cruiser may have guns larger than 155 mm (6.1 inches). In contrast, light cruisers will have smaller-calibre guns. The Treaty of fix as 10,000 tons displacement the limit for both types of cruisers. This was the point at which the split between ‘heavy’ and ‘light’ cruisers finally became official and widespread.
This book from Osprey is probably one of the best publications for Japanese Heavy Cruisers. It does not include a lot of data, information and photos of the Japanese Cruisers during 1941-1945 but also many drawings, and colorful illustrations that are very useful for model kit constructors. The colorful drawings allow us to capture the details and authentic color used during different periods of time in the Pacific War. But if you want more information, maybe the Bible for the Japanese Cruisers will be the following book by Eric Lacroix:
It is easy to see that this agreement only satisfied to Britain and America. However, for Japan, it strongly limited the numbers of heavy cruisers that the Imperial Japanese Navy could have. Because the Imperial Japanese Navy considered heavy cruisers as key warships in a line of battle with their 8-inch guns and heavy torpedo armament, the IJN placed less priority on purpose-built light cruisers, most of their existing types dating back to the 1920s , which were largely relegated to a variety of leading destroyer squadrons.
The Japanese Navy finally came with a solution. It was decided to build the Mogami class, which was declared as a 10,000 ton light cruiser with fifteen 6.1-inch guns. In practice, they displaced over 12,000 tons, and it was always intended to replace her turrets to give a final armament of ten 203 mm guns. because this kind of strategies were largely used during the years previous to the WWII, the distinction between Heavy and Light cruisers if often confusing.
The following list summarises the name of the heavy cruiser, the builder, the class and type, the displacement (tons), the commissioned date into IJN and the fate:
Ashigara: Kawasaki, Kobe; Myōkō-class heavy cruiser; 13,300; 8 February 1929; 8 June 1945; Sunk by HMS Trenchant in Bangka Strait.
Aoba: Mitsubishi, Nagasaki Aoba-class heavy cruiser 10,822 20 September 1927 28 July 1945; Sunk by USN aircraft, Kure, Hiroshima
Atago: Kure Naval Arsenal, Japan Takao-class heavy cruiser 15,490 30 March 1932 23 October 1944; Sunk by USS Darter at Battle of the Palawan Passage
Chikuma: Mitsubishi, Nagasaki Tone-class heavy cruiser 15,200 20 May 1939 25 October 1944; Sunk at Battle off Samar
Chōkai: Mitsubishi, Nagasaki Takao-class heavy cruiser 15,490 30 June 1932 25 October 1944; Sunk by USN during Battle off Samar
Furutaka: Mitsubishi, Nagasaki Furutaka-class heavy cruiser 9,150 31 March 1926 12 October 1942; Sunk by USN cruisers, Battle of Cape Esperance
Haguro: Mitsubishi, Nagasaki Myōkō-class heavy cruiser 13,300 25 April 1929 16 May 1945; Sunk by Royal Navy at Battle of the Malacca Strait
Kako: Kawasaki, Kobe Furutaka-class heavy cruiser 9,150 30 July 1926 10 August 1942; Sunk by USS S-44 off Savo Island
Kinugasa: Kawasaki, Kobe Aoba-class heavy cruiser 10,822 30 September 1927 14 November 1942; Sunk by USN aircraft at Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
Kumano: Kawasaki, Kobe Mogami-class heavy cruiser 13,440 31 October 1937 25 November 1944; Sunk by USN aircraft at Santa Cruz, Philippines
Maya: Kawasaki, Kobe Takao-class heavy cruiser 15,490 30 June 1932 23 October 1944; Sunk by USS Dace at Battle of the Palawan Passage
Mikuma: Mitsubishi, Nagasaki Mogami-class heavy cruiser 13,440 29 August 1935 6 June 1942; Sunk by USN aircraft, Battle of Midway
Mogami: Kure Naval Arsenal, Japan Mogami-class heavy cruiser 13,440 28 July 1935 25 October 1944; Scuttled after Battle of the Surigao Strait
Myōkō: Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan Myōkō-class heavy cruiser 13,300 31 July 1929 10 August 1946 ; surrendered to Royal Navy at end of World War II
Nachi: Kure Naval Arsenal, Japan Myōkō-class heavy cruiser 13,300 28 November 1928 5 November 1944; Sunk by USN aircraft at Manila Bay
Suzuya: Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan Mogami-class heavy cruiser 13,440 31 October 1937 25 October 1944; Scuttled after Battle off Samar
Takao: Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan Takao-class heavy cruiser 15,490 31 May 1932 5 September 1945; surrendered to Royal Navy at end of World War II
Tone: Mitsubishi, Nagasaki Tone-class heavy cruiser 15,200 20 November 1938 24 July 1945; Sunk at Etajima, Hiroshima
▽ Imperial Japanese Navy – Nihon Kaigun
▽ Simulations & Wargames
▽ World War II: Pacific Theater
▽Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)
▽ Simulations & Wargames
▽ World War II: European Theater