The Agano-class Light Cruisers

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Agano-class Light Cruisers


Light cruiser Agano in 1942.

Light cruiser Agano in 1942.


The  Agano-class cruisers (阿賀野型軽巡洋艦 ) were designed warships from the Imperial Japanese Navy to be operated as light cruisers. The common characteristic for their designation was the Japanese rivers. Therefore, each of the four warship represented a Japanese river name.

If compared with previous designs of light cruisers, the Agano-class were faster, but had, at the same time, little protection. On the offensive side, they also had some drawbacks because they were under-gunned for their comparatively large size. In spite of that, they participated in almost all the important and decisive battles during the later part of the Pacific War.

An improved version of the Agano-class was known as the Oyodo-class. However, the war ended before the Oyodo-class was completed and only on warship for this class was built.

The Imperial Japanese Navy had arranged a standardized design for light cruisers as flagships for destroyer and submarine squadrons. They consisted on a light weight of 5,500 ton displacement, just after World War I. However, by the 1930s these vessels were old, as contemporary destroyers had more maneuverability and speed, and at the same time, carried more powerful armament. Their protection was also lower than contemporary ones.. As quick as the restrictions of the London Naval Treaty were removed, the Navy General Staff designed a  new strategy. The design costs were assigned to the Fourth Fleet Supplemental Budget to build 13 new 6000 ton cruisers between 1939 and 1945 to replace the Tenryū-class cruiser, Kuma-class cruiser, and Nagara-class cruiser. These vessels were planned to be reorganized as the flagships for six destroyer squadrons and seven submarine squadrons. The new design was finalized in October 1937; however, construction was delayed due to overloading of the Japanese shipyards. The amount of the construction for each ship was 16.4 million yen.

The positive aspects of the design for the Agano class was that it was essentially constructed following the technologies developed by the Yubari. This resulted in an refined and uncluttered deck, elegant line and single smokestack. Compared with others Japanese light cruisers, the Agano class was not severely overweight. Therefore, it was an advantage because so the four warships of its class had quite excellent stability and seaworthiness.


  • Agano-class Light Cruiser:
    Agano, Noshiro, Yahagi, Sakawa (Timeline for the cruiser Yahagi) (New)



Class and type: Agano-class cruiser
Displacement: 6,652 t (6,547 long tons) (standard); 7,590 t (7,470 long tons) (loaded)
Length: 174 m (571 ft)
Beam: 15.2 m (50 ft)
Draught: 5.6 m (18 ft)
  • 4 shaft Gihon geared turbines
  • 6 Kampon boilers
  • 100,000 shp (75,000 kW)
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Range: 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h)
Complement: 726
  • 6 × 152 mm Type 41 guns (3×2)
  • 4 × 8 cm/60 Type 98 naval guns (2×2),
  • 2 × triple Type 96 25 mm AA guns,
  • 2 × twin 13 mm machine guns
  • 8 × 610 mm torpedo tubes (4×2)
  • 48 naval mines
  • Belt 60 mm (2 in)
  • Deck 20 mm (1 in)
Aircraft carried: 2 x floatplane
Aviation facilities: 1 aircraft catapult

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