Kinugasa (1926)

Kinugasa during her commissioning ceremony at Kobe, 30 September, 1927. You can just make out the single 120mm (4.7") guns along her sides. Imperial Japanese Navy photo, in the collection of the Mikasa Memorial Museum.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

The second of the two Aoba-class heavy cruisers, Kinugasa commissioned in 1927, and was modified the following year to become the first Japanese warship to carry an aircraft catapult. Kinugasa spent her early career patrolling the China coast, until she was placed in reserve in 1937. Over the next three years she was modernized, increasing her beam, but decreasing her draft, and installing fifty 25mm AA guns. Kinugasa's cruising range also increased by 1,200 nautical miles. Recommissioned in 1940, Kinugasa covered landings on Guam and Wake Island in December, 1941, and then moved into the South Pacific to cover landings in the Solomons and New Guinea. She was assigned to support the landing forces deployed for the Coral Sea operation. Kinugasa escorted the damaged carrier Shokaku to Truk after the battle, then was sent home to Japan for an overhaul in late June. She was assigned to the Solomons campaign in August, participating in the Battle of Savo Island on 9 August, where she received light damage. She was damaged again during the Battle of Cape Esperance, in exchange for inflicting moderate damage on two American cruisers, and was able to bombard the airfield on Guadalcanal three days later. Kinugasa was sunk by aircraft from the USS Enterprise (CV-6), on 14 November, 1942, with the loss of 511 of her crew.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: During the Battle of Savo Island, the Kinugasa's captain was angered when the force was ordered to withdraw, rather than attack the invasion transports. Before Kinugasa headed North with the rest, he ordered a torpedo spread fired at a range of 13 miles. No hits were recorded.