Maya (1930)

Maya off the Philippines in May, 1944. Note that her third forward 20cm (8") turret has been replaced with additional 127mm (5") heavy AA guns. Imperial Japanese Navy photo, now public domain.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Third of the Takao-class heavy cruisers, Maya was laid down in 1928, and commissioned on 30 June, 1932. While stability issues due to excess top weight were identified in the class, and steps were taken to address them, Maya was not modified to the extent Takao and Atago were. She first saw action in the Second Sino-Japanese War, supporting the landing of the Japanese Army's 6th Division in August, 1937. Maya was initially held in reserve in December, 1941, before sailing to support the invasion of the Philippines. In 1942, she was sent South to support the invasions of Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, and helped hunt down and sink fleeing Allied ships in February and March. Maya was sent to cover the capture of Attu and Kiska in June, but the only action she saw was when her floatplanes were attacked by US aircraft. Maya was involved in the Guadalcanal campaign, but missed the major surface battles. After being crashed into by an American dive bomber, Maya ended 1942 in Japan, undergoing repairs. Maya was part of the Japanese resupply force that engaged the Americans in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, in March, 1943, where she was damaged by gunfire. She was sent to Rabaul late that year, but was forced back to Japan for repairs from American carrier attack in November, when she was again rammed by an airplane. During repairs, Maya was rebuilt as an anti-aircraft cruiser, trading her hangar and number 3 20cm (8") turret for additional AA guns. The conversion was successful, as Maya was able to prevent enough American aircraft getting though to sink the carrier Chiyoda during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. However, she deployed as part of the Center Force in October, to counter the American landings in the Philippines, and was sunk by four torpedoes from the submarine USS Dace in the Palawan Passage on 23 October, 1944.

Bonus Photos

Memorial for Maya at Tōri Tenjō-ji Temple in Kobe, Japan. Photo uploaded to Wikimedia by user Jnn.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Maya's wreck was located by the RV Petrel in 2019, upright in very good condition.