Takao class cruisers (1930)

Japanese Navy Heavy Cruisers Takao, Atago, Maya & Chokai.

The best IJN heavy cruisers ?

The Takao heavy cruiser class, started in 1927-28, launched in 1930 and completed in 1932, including the Takao, Atago, Maya and Chokai were among the best and most active Japanese cruisers of the Second World War.

This is a placeholder post, to be proofread, triple-checked, completed and re-release at a later date on social networks

They drifted from the Nachi, to which they recaptured the essentials, with however better protection, including their armored bridges, an increase of the main parts and quadruple rotary torpedo tubes benches from the beginning. In addition, their standard displacement was even lower than the Nachi, with 9850 tons instead of 10,000, which compared to comparable American cruisers was exceptional.

They put their excellent provisions to the test of fire and resisted very well the impacts of the American buildings during the hard engagements of 1942-44. Their footbridge was notably very different from the Nachi, affecting much more solid and solid forms, very characteristic with their three superimposed bridges.

Chokai 1938


En 1939-40, Le Takao et l’Atago reçurent deux bancs quadruples de tubes lance-torpilles supplémentaires, portant le total à 16, reçurent des ballasts latéraux, et le doublement de leur artillerie secondaire, dont l’ajout de 8 canons de 25 mm AA. Leurs mensurations d’origines étaient 201,67 mètres de long par 18 de large et 6,11 de tirant d’eau pour 12 780 tonnes à pleine charge. À comparer avec leur fiche de 1941. Le Chokai et le Maya en revanche ne reçurent ni les bancs de tubes lance-torpilles supplémentaires ni les canons de 25 mm. Par contre tous virent leur artillerie AA augmenter considérablement. A la veille de la titanesque bataille de Leyte, ils disposaient de 60 à 66 canons de 25 mm AA.

Takao camouflaged
Takao surrendering to British Forces in 1945

The Takao, Maya, Chokai and Atago in action

In operations, these four vessels were the spearhead of the Japanese Navy, participating in most major engagements. All four were engaged in Admiral Kurita’s shock squadron on Toyoda’s orders during the Battle of Leyte in October 1944. The squadron was spotted on October 21st by American submarines, and attacked on the evening of the 23rd. by USS Darter and Dace, confirming their presence. They torpedoed and sent at the bottom Atago and Maya.

The USS Darter then attacked the Takao, who survived three shots on goal and barely reached Brunei, before joining Singapore for further repairs. Finally, the Chokai, the same day, is attacked by the American naval aviation, hit by several bombs of the Curtiss Helldivers, it is finally disabled and attacked by the American destroyers who open fire at close range and finish it. The Takao escaped the battle of Samar and was repaired but condemned to inaction in the harbor of Singapore. She was sunk on the spot by the British Navy commandos using the submarine XE3 submersible, which placed charges against his hull on July 31, 1945. An operation that was the subject of a film. In October 1946 he was refloated, towed and plasticized in the Straits of Malacca.


Displacement 13,400 t. standard -14 600 t. Full Load
Dimensions 203.76 m long, 20.73 m wide, 6.11 m draft
Propulsion 4 propellers, 4 turbines, 12 boilers, 130,000 hp.
Top speed 34.2 knots
Armor from 130 (magazines) to 25 mm
Armament 10 x 203 mm (5 × 2), 8 x 127mm (4 × 2), 8 x 25 mm AA, 6 x 13.2 mm AA, 8-16 TT 610 mm (2/4 × 4), 3 aircraft
Crew 773

WoW’s hazardous rendition of the IJN Atago

Nachi class Cruisers (1927)

2 Replies to “Takao class cruisers (1930)”

  1. Chokai was not sunk by American destroyers, he was crippled after receiving 18 to 20 bombs from the bombers of the carrier Kitkun Bay, remained afloat but lost direction and strength as seen.Seen from the crew of the heavy cruiser Tone, shortly after the battle, Captain Tatsuji Matsuzaki aboard the destroyer Fujinami, was responsible for the scuttle at 10 am, ironically, he said that Chokai was scuttled at 10:40 pm.

    It is worth remembering that Chokai was highly effective in sinking the heavy cruisers Canberra, Viscennes, Astoria and Quincy and damaging Ralph Talbot, Patterson and Chicago during the battle of Savo Island. Their crew was considered an Elite before they became fatigued and discouraged after the Marianas Turkey Shoot.

    The armament of the Takao class was considered very good by the Japanese, the dispersion discrepancies were caused by the powder bag much more energetic than that of other nations, in the overall the accuracy was better than the 8″/55 Mark 9 USN weapon that had a dispersion of 1830 meters over a distance of 19,300 meters, remembering that the Japanese 20.3cm / 50 had a tighter spread, from 330 to 483 meters at a distance of 19,300 and 22,000 meters.

    After improvements in 1938, they now have a dispersion of 280 meters over a distance of 22,000 meters. The impact power compared to other nations’ weapons was also superb, the Type 91 shell according to USN had excellent penetration characteristics, in the same test they were identical with the shell of the German gun of 20.3cm/60 of 122kg.

    An interesting point about the Takao class that unfortunately nobody says, is that by far they had superior stability compared to the Mogami class,as well as the hull using longitudinal rivets that increased the resistance more, Chokai was considered superb, because it was made by Mitsubishi, its internal part was more powerful and luxurious.

    In general, the Takao class and the New Orleans class had a very similar defect, the weight of the superstructure, although the Takao metacentric height was 1.50m and New Orleans 1.52m, Wichita 1.40m, Kent 1,37m.

    Chokai, Maya as well as Wichita were quite heavy, but in their entire career this did not put them at risk.


    1. Thanks Renan for this correction and additions. The Chokai class article will be thoroughly revised later this year. What you see is a 20 years old placeholder basically. There are a lot to say about these amazing heavy cruisers.

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