HIJMS FURUTAKA: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2007 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

Revision 6

31 March 1926:
Nagasaki. Completed at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and commissioned in the IJN.

30 April 1939:
Kure Navy Yard. Reconstruction is completed.

28 November 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Araki Tsutau (former CO of KITAKAMI) assumes command. FURUTAKA is in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro's (former CO of ISUZU) First Fleet in Rear Admiral Goto Aritomo's (former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6 with the AOBA (F), KAKO and KINUGASA.

2 December 1941:
Hahajima, Bonin Islands. FURUTAKA receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. This signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).[1]

4 December 1941:
CruDiv 6 departs Hahajima in support of the invasion of Guam.

8 December 1941: The Invasion of Wake Island:
Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (former CO of NAGARA) DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI, eight destroyers, two transports and three submarines assault Wake Island. The United States Marines beat back the first attack. Kajioka loses LtCdr Takatsuka Minoru's destroyer HAYATE to Lt John A. McAlister's 5-inch Battery "L" on Wilkes Island and LtCdr Ogawa Yoichiro's destroyer KISARAGI to Marine Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcats" of VMF-211.

10 December 1941: The Invasion of Guam:
The Invasion Force lands 5,500 troops of MajGen Horii Tomitara's South Seas Detachment. CruDiv 6 departs for Truk arriving that same day.

12 December 1941:
CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU are detached from Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's Striking Force returning from Pearl Harbor to reinforce Kajioka, as are Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's CruDiv 8's TONE, CHIKUMA and two destroyers. Seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and two destroyers also reinforce Kajioka. Rear Admiral Abe, the senior officer present, is in overall command.

13 December 1941:
CruDiv 6 departs Truk for Wake.

23 December 1941- The Second Invasion of Wake:
After a magnificent stand, Wake's small garrison is overwhelmed and forced to surrender.

10 January 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Truk.

18 January 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Truk.

23 January: Operation "O"- The Invasion of Rabaul and Kavieng:
CruDiv 6 covers the invasion landings.

30 January 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Rabaul.

1 February 1942:
Vice Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. Halsey Jr's (former CO of SARATOGA, CV-3) Task Force 8 (ENTERPRISE, CV-6) raids Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshall Islands. ENTERPRISE's Douglas "Dauntless" SBDs of VB-6 and VS-6 and TBD "Devastators" of VT-6 sink a transport and damage light cruiser KATORI, submarine I-23, submarine depot ship YASUKUNI MARU and several other ships.

CruDiv 6 departs Rabaul that day in response to the American raids.

4 February 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Roi.

6 February 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Kwajalein.

10 February 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Truk.

20 February 1942: Aborted Raid on Rabaul:
Rear Admiral Wilson Brown's (later President Roosevelt's Naval Aide) Task Force 11 (LEXINGTON, CV-2), is en route to attack Rabaul. The task force is spotted by a Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" flying boat of the Yokohama Naval Air Group (NAG). Since surprise is lost, the American attack is cancelled. TF-11 is attacked off Bougainville by the 4th NAG's land-based bombers, but the Japanese are beaten off with heavy losses.

That same day, FURUTAKA, KAKO and KINUGASA sortie from Truk in an unsuccessful pursuit of the Americans.

23 February 1942:
FURUTAKA, KAKO and KINUGASA arrive back at Truk.

2 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Truk.

5 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Rabaul.

8 March 1942: Operation "SR" - The Invasion of Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA support the invasions.

9 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Buka, Bougainville.

11 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Rabaul.

14 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart Rabaul.

15 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Buka.

17 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart Buka.

18 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at the Moewe Passage, near Kavieng, New Ireland.

26 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart the Moewe Passage.

27 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Rabaul.

28 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart Rabaul.

30 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 cover the invasion landings at Shortland.

31 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 cover the invasion landings at Kieta, Bougainville.

1 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Rabaul. Refuel and depart that same day.

2 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at the Moewe Passage.

5 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart the Moewe Passage.

7 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Manus, Admirality Islands.

8 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 depart Manus.

10 April 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 arrive at Truk. Refit.

30 April 1942: Operation "MO" - The Invasions of Tulagi, Solomons and Port Moresby, New Guinea:
CruDiv 6 and light carrier SHOHO sortie from Truk in Vice Admiral Inoue Shigeyoshi's (former CO of HIEI) Fourth Fleet's Main Body Support Force.

3 May 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at the Queen Carola anchorage near Buka and provides distant cover for the landings at Tulagi.

4 May 1942:
Rabaul, New Britain. Rear Admiral Kajioka's Port Moresby Attack Force departs with DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI, four destroyers and a patrol boat escorting Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso's (former CO of HIEI) Transport Force of 12 transports, 3 oilers, minelayer TSUGARU and three mine-sweepers towards the Jomard Pass, Louisiade Archipelago.

Tulagi, Solomons. That same day, Rear Admiral (MOH '14/later Admiral) Frank Jack Fletcher's (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 17's YORKTOWN (CV-5), cruisers CHESTER (CA-27), PORTLAND (CA-33) and ASTORIA (CA-34) with six destroyers launches three strikes, comprising 99 planes, at Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide's (former CO of OI). Tulagi Invasion Force. YORKTOWN's TBD torpedo planes and SBD dive-bombers sink destroyer KIKUZUKI and three minesweepers and damage four other ships.

Queen Carola. CruDiv 6 departs towards Guadalcanal that day in response to reports of YORKTOWN's raids on Tulagi.

5 May 1942:
Fletcher's force turns to engage Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo's (former CO of MUTSU) Carrier Strike Force: Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hara Chuichi's (former CO of TATSUTA) CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, Takagi's CruDiv 5's MYOKO and HAGURO, six destroyers and an oiler.

CruDiv 6 arrives at the Shortland anchorage that day and refuels from oiler IRO.

6 May 1942:
At Shortland. CruDiv 6 is attacked unsuccessfully by four USAAF Boeing B-17s "Flying Fortresses".

7 May 1942:The Battle of the Coral Sea:
CruDiv 6 departs Shortland and effects a rendezvous at sea with light carrier SHOHO.

Rear Admiral Hara's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU launch a 78-plane strike against a reported American carrier and cruiser sighted to the south. An hour later, another report advises that an American carrier and about ten other ships were sighted 280 miles NW. CarDiv 5's planes do not find "a carrier and cruiser", but find two other American ships. They damage oiler USS NEOSHO (AO-23) and sink her escort, destroyer SIMS (DD-409).

N of Tagula Island. At 1100, the SHOHO is attacked by 93 SBD dive-bombers and TBD torpedo-bombers from Fletcher's YORKTOWN and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Aubrey W. Fitch's (former CO of LEXINGTON (CV-2)Task Force 11's LEXINGTON, MINNEAPOLIS (CA-36), NEW ORLEANS (CA-32) and five destroyers. SHOHO is sunk off Misima Island.

8 May 1942:
Forty-six SBDs, 21 TBDs and 15 Grumman F4F "Wildcats" from YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON find Hara's CarDiv 5. They damage SHOKAKU severely above the waterline and force her retirement. ZUIKAKU's air group also suffers heavy losses.

Thirty-six of CarDiv 5's Type 97 Nakajima B5N2 "Kate" attack planes with 24 Type 99 Aichi D3A1 "Val" dive-bombers covered by 36 Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M "Zekes" damage YORKTOWN. LEXINGTON, hit by at least five torpedoes and several bombs, is further damaged when gasoline vapors ignite and trigger massive explosions that cause her to be abandoned. Later she is scuttled by destroyer PHELPS (DD-360).

FURUTAKA and KINUGASA, undamaged in the battle, detach from CruDiv 6 to escort SHOKAKU back to Truk. AOBA and KAKO cover the withdrawing Port Moresby invasion convoy.

9 May 1942:
Refuels at Shortland.

10 May 1942:
The Battle of the Coral Sea halts the Japanese thrust toward Port Moresby and they cancel Operation MO. FURUTAKA and KINUGASA arrive at Kieta.

13 May 1942:
FURUTAKA and KINUGASA arrive at Shortland and refuel.

15 May 1942:
FURUTAKA and KINUGASA depart Shortland.

17 May 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

31 May 1942:
FURUTAKA and KINUGASA depart Truk.

5 June 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

10 June 1942:
In dock.

15 June 1942:

28 June 1942:
FURUTAKA and KINUGASA depart Kure.

4 July 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

7 July 1942:
FURUTAKA and KINUGASA depart Truk.

9 July 1942:
Arrives at Kieta and refuels.

14 July 1942:
The IJN undergoes a major reorganization. The Eighth Fleet is created under Vice Admiral Mikawa Gun'ichi (former CO of KIRISHIMA) and based at Rabaul.

14-26 July 1942:
FURUTAKA and KINUGASA pay calls at various IJN bases in the Solomons, New Britain and New Ireland arriving at the Mowe Passage, near Kavieng.

27 July 1942:
CruDiv 6 is reassigned to the Eighth Fleet.

7 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CHOKAI depart the Mowe Passage through the "Slot" towards Guadalcanal with the light cruisers TENRYU and YUBARI and destroyer YUNAGI. At Rabaul, CHOKAI embarks the Commander of the Eighth Fleet, Vice Admiral Mikawa and his staff.

9 August 1942: The Battle of Savo Island.
Rear Admiral (VC-'18/later Admiral Sir) Victor A. Crutchley's, RN, (former CO of HMS WARSPITE), Task Group 62.6 of cruisers and destroyers is screening the invasion transports at Savo Island off Guadalcanal. Crutchley is ordered to attend a meeting with ComTaskFor 62 Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner, (former CO of ASTORIA, CA-34). Before detaching to Guadalcanal with his flagship, cruiser AUSTRALIA, Crutchley approves the disposition of his screen around the entrances to Savo, but does not provide a battle plan for the Senior Officer Present, Captain Howard D. "Ping" Bode of USS CHICAGO (CA-29) to follow in the event of an attack. [2]

CruDiv 6, CHOKAI, light cruisers TENRYU and YUBARI and destroyer YUNAGI prepare to engage the Allied Forces in a night gun and torpedo action. At about 2300, CHOKAI, FURUTAKA and KAKO all launch their spotter float planes. At 0138, CHOKAI launches a salvo of Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at the Allied force from only 5,000 yards. The circling float planes then drop flares to illuminate the targets and all the Japanese ships open fire. Captain William G. Greenman's ASTORIA (CA-34), Captain Samuel N. Moore's QUINCY (CA-39), Captain (later Rear Admiral) Frederick L. Riefkohl's VINCENNES (CA-44) and Captain Frank E. Getting's (former CO of AMC HMAS KANIMBLA) cruiser HMAS CANBERRA are sunk. Captain Bode's CHICAGO is damaged as are RALPH TALBOT (DD-390) and PATTERSON (DD-392).

On the Japanese side, CHOKAI is hit three times, KINUGASA is hit twice, AOBA once and FURUTAKA is not damaged. Now the heavily-laden American invasion transports off Guadalcanal are virtually unprotected and in harm's way. Admiral Mikawa, unaware that Admiral Fletcher has withdrawn his carriers covering the invasion, fears an air attack at daybreak. He orders a retirement and leaves Admiral Turner's transports untouched.

10 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 retires towards Kavieng. On the way, LtCdr John R. Moore's USS S-44 sets up on the last cruiser in the line. Moore fires four Mark 10 torpedoes at 700 yards. Three torpedoes hit KAKO in her boiler rooms. She blows up and sinks.

FURUTAKA and the remainder of CruDiv 6 arrive at Mowe Passage, Kavieng for emergency repairs and refit.

17 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs the Mowe Passage.

19 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at the seaplane base at Rekata Bay, San Ysabel.

20 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 departs Rekata Bay.

22 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 arrives at Shortland.

23 August 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CHOKAI depart Shortland to provide distant cover for the Guadalcanal reinforcement convoys. That same day, a Consolidated PBY "Catalina" patrol plane of VP-23's "Black Cats" boldly, but unsucessfully, attacks FURUTAKA in broad daylight.

26 August 1942:
FURUTAKA detaches from CruDiv 6. Arrives at Kieta. During the next month, FURUTAKA shuttles between Kieta and Rabaul as needed to refuel and resupply.

12 September 1942:
S of New Ireland. Lt James W. Davis' S-47 (SS-158) attacks unsuccessfully an "AOBA-class heavy cruiser (7,100-tons)" that he identifies from the Navy's Recognition Manual, ONI-41-42, but this is probably FURUTAKA. [3]

1 October 1942:
CruDiv 6 is at Shortlands.

11 October 1942: The Battle of Cape Esperance:
Rear Admiral Goto's CruDiv 6's AOBA (F), FURUTAKA and KINUGASA and DesDiv 11's FUBUKI and HATSUYUKI depart Shortland towards Guadalcanal. Goto's mission is to provide cover for a troop reinforcement convoy by shelling Henderson Field.

Rear Admiral Joshima Takatsugu's (former CO of SHOKAKU) convoy of seaplane carriers CHITOSE and NISSHIN and six destroyers, reaches Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal and lands the IJA's 2nd Infantry Division, tanks and artillery.

A report is received that a B-17 of the 11th Bomb Group (H) has sighted a Japanese force approaching Guadalcanal. ComTaskFor 64's Rear Admiral Norman Scott (MOH posthumously), who has just completed escorting 6,000 troops of the Army's Americal Division from New Caledonia to Guadalcanal, launches two Vought OS2U "Kingfisher" reconnaissance planes. They spot and report Goto's force coming down the "Slot" at 30 knots. So alerted, Scott's radar-equipped Task Force 64's SAN FRANSCISCO (CA-38) (F), SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), light cruisers BOISE (CL-47), HELENA (CL-50) and five destroyers steam around the end of Guadalcanal to block the entrance to Savo Sound.

At 2235, Rear Admiral Goto's three cruisers and two destroyers are picked up by Captain Gilbert C. Hoover's HELENA's radar. Scott reverses course to cross the Japanese "T". Both fleets open fire. ComCruDiv 6, Rear Admiral Goto, thinking that he is under "friendly-fire", orders a 180-degree turn that exposes each of his ships to the Americans' broadsides.

The flagship AOBA is damaged heavily. Admiral Goto is mortally wounded on her bridge. After AOBA is crippled, Captain Araki turns FURUTAKA out of the line to engage Captain (later Vice Admiral) C. H. McMorris' USS SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25). LtCdr E. B. Taylor's DUNCAN (DD-485) launches two torpedoes toward FURUTAKA that either miss or fail to detonate. She continues firing at the cruiser until she is put out of action by numerous shell hits. At 2354, FURUTAKA is hit by a torpedo that floods her forward engine room.

Destroyer FUBUKI is sunk and HATSUYUKI damaged. Captain E. J. Moran's USS BOISE (CL-47), SALT LAKE CITY and the FARENHOLT (DD-491) are damaged.

About 90 shells hit FURUTAKA and some ignite her Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes that start heavy fires. The fires draw more gunfire.

12 October 1942:
At 0228, the FURUTAKA sinks stern first at 09-02N, 159-33 E. Thirty-three crewmen are killed. Captain Araki and 514 survivors are rescued by HATSUYUKI and by DesDiv 11's MURAKUMO and SHIRAYUKI of Admiral Joshima's Reinforcement Group. One hundred-ten of FURUTAKA's crew are later counted as missing.

That morning, Lt Cdr W. G. Cooper's McCALLA (DD-488) attempts to salvage the DUNCAN. Despite her efforts, DUNCAN sinks about 6 miles N of Savo Island. While McCALLA is engaged in rescuing American and Japanese survivors from the water, Cdr Inada Hiroshi's submarine I-2 makes an approach and fires a torpedo at her, but misses. The Americans take 115 of FURUTAKA's crew as prisoners of war.

90 miles WNW of Savo Island, MURAKUMO is retiring up the Slot when she is attacked and set afire by planes from Henderson Field. Destroyer NATSUGUMO is also sunk while assisting the MURAKUMO. SHIRAYUKI rescues MURAKUMO's survivors, then scuttles her with a torpedo. ASAGUMO rescues the survivors of ATSUGUMO.

Rear Admiral Goto dies aboard AOBA. He is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously. KINUGASA and AOBA return to Shortland that day.

10 November 1942:
Removed from Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was the highest point in the Japanese Empire at the time.

[2] The unlucky Captain Bode, who also was the CO of OKLAHOMA (BB-37) sunk at Pearl Harbor, broods over the Savo disaster, one of the greatest in American naval history. In 1943, while CO of Balboa NavSta, C.Z., he commits suicide.

[3] Davis claims he sank a cruiser at 05-29S, 152-17E at 2100 with three of four torpedoes fired in a night surface visual attack, but FURUTAKA was not damaged. The sounds heard by the submariners may have been prematures or end-of-run explosions of S-47's old Mark 10 torpedoes.

Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada - Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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