Mogami class cruisers (1932)

Japanese Navy Heavy Cruisers Mogami, Mikuma, Suzuya, Kumano.

The light gun avalanche

Mogami class cruisers (Mogami, Mikuma, Suzuya, Kumano), launched in 1934 (1936 for Kumano) and completed in pairs respectively in 1935 and 1937 at the Kure, Mitsubishi (Nagasaki), Yokosuka and Kawasaki (Kobe) yards , delay resulting from the tests conducted with the first two, who were victims of vibrations due to the structural weakness of the hull that the turrets were unusable. The last two were revised and reinforced, receiving ballasts for stability, while the first two were re-docked in 1936-38 for the same modifications.

They were classified as light cruisers because of initial standard displacement of 8,500 tons, 15 155mm guns in five triple turrets like the contemporary Brooklyn Americans, and capable of spinning 37 knots. However, by their size, they were more like heavy cruisers.

Mogami at Kure
Mogami at Kure in 1935 trials

Design of the Mogami

In 1939, they displaced 11,200 tons as standard, or 3,700 tons of reinforcements. In a second series of modifications to Kure in 1939-40, they became real heavy cruisers, their 155 pieces being abandoned in favor of an armament of 5 double turrets of 203 mm. Their width increased and their protection was further improved. Their AA artillery, initially composed of 8 double turrets of 127 mm and 4 pieces of 40 mm passed to 20, then 30 guns of 25 mm AA, and finally 50 for the survivors on the eve of the battle of Leyte.

Suzuya on trials
Suzuya on trials at Tateyama

Still with the aim of safeguarding stability, their torpedo-tube carriages were triple and not quadruple, but there were still four. Their footbridge and their very small superstructures offered less vulnerability to enemy fire and inspired those of the cruisers. come.

Mogami with 8-in guns
Mogami with 8-in guns 1940

IJN Kumano in target practice off cape Ashizuri 1939
IJN Kumano in target practice off cape Ashizuri 1939

The Mogami, Mikuma, Suzuya and Kumano in action

The Mogami and the Mikuma were engaged at the Battle of Midway in June 1942 under the command of Admiral Yamamoto. But this time the luck had changed sides, and the two ships were badly damaged, first in the confusion of the night, by a serious collision on June 6, 1942, at 2:15 am, then around 5 am, while Admiral ordered the withdrawal of the fleet by the SBD Dauntless dive bombers of the US Navy.

The Mikuma did not survive and sank, while the Mogami was attacked later in the day. He survived and dragged himself to Kure for a long time in one year. As a result, it was rebuilt into a hybrid aircraft carrier, capable of carrying 11 seaplanes, including torpedo boats, and A6M2N Rufe fighters, to provide coverage to the squadrons. In 1943, he resumed service with a DCA composed of 30 guns of 25 mm in fifteen twin mounts.

Mogami after conversion
Rear deck of the Mogami after conversion

This reconstruction had inspired the admiralty who decided to order the construction of two buildings of the same type, the class Ibuki, but only one was completed, and as a fast aircraft carrier. The Mogami was engaged in the battle of the Strait of Surigao soon after, and there was on this occasion manhandled by the firing of the American cruisers. All three (Mogami, Suzuya and Kumano) were also present at the Battle of Samar near Leyte in the Philippines in October 1944.

The Mogami sank on October 25, completed by Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers. Suzuya was also sentenced for the same purpose, while Kumano survived. He tried to flee patrols for a month and was finally spotted and bombed by other aircraft on November 25, exactly one month after the disappearance of his twins.

Mogami Kure 1935

Chikuma 1936
Chikuma in 1936

IJN Mogami after conversion as a seaplane carrier 1942
IJN Mogami after conversion as a seaplane carrier 1942

Specifications

Displacement 12 400 t. standard -13,670 t. Full Load
Dimensions 201 m long, 20.50 m wide, 5.9 m draft
Propulsion 4 propellers, 4 turbines, 12 boilers, 152,000 hp.
Top speed 35 knots
Protection From 130 (stores) to 250 mm
Armament 10 x 203 mm (5 × 2), 8 x 127mm (4 × 2), 2 x 40, 20 x 25 mm AA, 6 x 13.2 mm AA, 12 x 610 mm TTs (4 × 3), 3 aircraft
Crew 850

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