Ashigara (1928)

Ashigara drydocked in Singapore, in December, 1942. Note the awning over A position 203mm turret. Imperial Japanese Navy photo.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

The final unit of the Myoko-class heavy cruisers, Ashigara commissioned 20 August, 1929, Ashigara, like her sisters, ended up half again as heavy as the 10,000 ton limit of the Washington Treaty. Ashigara was active off China early on, and underwent refit with the rest of her class in 1933-35. Ashigara participated in the naval review off Spithead in England in May, 1937, and in December, she assisted with the saving of 833 passengers and crew from the liner President Hoover, being one of the first two ships to arrive on the scene. During World War II, Ashigara covered the invasion of Luzon in December, 1941, then shifted south to support the invasion of the Dutch East Indies. During the Second Battle of the Java Sea, she helped sink the British cruiser HMS Exeter and destroyer HMS Encounter on 1 March. After occupying Christmas Island in May, Ashigara primarily operated as a troop transport in the southwest Pacific, until she was sent north in February, 1944. When the Americans invaded the Philippines in October, Ashigara was assigned to the force that attemted to penetrate the invasion area through Surigao Strait. Ashigara was one of the few Japanese ships that escaped the ensuing Battle of Surigao Strait, and she retreated South. She bombarded American positions in the Philippines in December, but was stuck in the south. Ashigara was sunk on 8 June, 1945, by the submarine HMS Trenchant, while carrying Japanese Army troops. She went down with 1,200 soldiers and 100 of her own crew. She was removed from the Navy List on 20 August, 1945, exactly 16 years after commissioning.