Katori (1939)

Photo of Katori featured in a US Naval Intelligence identification manual.

Ship Class
Laid Down

Katori was the lead of a three-ship class of light cruisers. Ordered as a training ship, Katori would be pressed into service as an escort unit as Japan's strategic position worsened. Commissioned 20 April, 1940, Katori began service hosting the midshipman summer cruise that year, visiting ports around China and Japan, including Port Arthur and Shanghai. In November, 1941, Katori was used for a strategy meeting for the submarine fleet, and was pressed into service as flagship for the submarines for some time afterwards. Katori would spend most of her time at either Kwajalein or Truk in the Central Pacific. She was damaged by aircraft from USS Enterprise on 1 February, 1942, requiring repairs in Japan, and returned again in August for upgrades to her AA armament. During the major American air raid on Truk, 17-18 February, 1944, Katori was damaged by a single torpedo, while attempting to escort a small convoy away from the islands. On the 19th, she was caught by an American surface group, and sunk by gunfire from the USS Iowa.

Bonus Photos

Katori on fire from bomb and torpedo hits delivered by US Navy aircraft. She was finished off by surface ships shortly after. US Navy photo in the collection of the U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation.