Combat ships. Cruisers. When unlucky with fate to the fullest

Combat ships. Cruisers. When unlucky with fate to the fullest
Combat ships. Cruisers. When unlucky with fate to the fullest

The entire short life of ships of this class can be characterized by one term “unlucky”. And most importantly, what these ships were unlucky for was that Japan went to war. And these cruisers, which, in general, were not cruisers, were forced to take on cruising duties. Well, what came of it - we'll see.

Usually, light cruisers in Japan were named after the rivers of the Land of the Rising Sun. But this series, apparently to emphasize the difference, was named after the most famous Shinto temples in the country.

The Katori Temple was located on the Tone River in Chiba Prefecture, the Kashima Temple in Ibaraki Prefecture, the Kasii-no-miya Temple in Fukuoka Prefecture. The unofficial name of the fourth unfinished cruiser was in honor of the Kashinara temple on Mount Unebi.

In general, the Katori-class cruisers were not intended to be used as combat ships, primarily because they were built as training ships. Therefore, the weapons on them were very weak, there was practically no booking, the power plant was mixed, that is, it consisted of steam boilers and turbines, along with which ordinary diesel engines existed. This made it possible to train specialists in various fields.

Well, the conditions for placing the crew on these ships were very different from ordinary warships. While the average Nagara-class light cruiser carried a crew of 430-450, the Katori had a crew of 315 and 350-375 cadets. This amount had to be placed with all the outgoing consequences. This means that armor, weapons, speed - everything had to be sacrificed for the placement of the second crew on the ships.

However, there was a real possibility of using ships in wartime as staff. For this purpose, they were best suited, because Japanese naval officers were not spoiled by everyday life and the premises planned for future officers in civilian life were quite suitable for real officers in wartime. Moreover, the ships were equipped with various training classes that could be used for a variety of purposes.

Combat ships. Cruisers. When unlucky with fate to the fullest

The result is interesting ships. A displacement like a light cruiser, 5800 tons, the maximum speed of a turtle of those times, 18 knots, but the premises and household services could well accommodate and use 650-700 people on board.

And immediately after the launch of "Katori", the Naval General Staff, where they also appreciated everything perfectly, decided to convert the ship into a floating headquarters / flagship of the Sixth Fleet. "Kasii" was being completed according to a modified project, and "Kasim" was converted into a floating headquarters after the outbreak of the war.

What were these ships?

Dimensions (edit)… Length 133.5 m, maximum width 15.95 m, draft 5.8 m.

The hull was divided by waterproof superstructures into nine compartments. The double bottom was available only in the areas of the engine and boiler rooms and was used as fuel tanks.


The ship's reservation was conditional. The main protection of the cruisers was an armored deck with a thickness of 51.4 mm. There were no vertical armor belt and anti-torpedo bulkheads, that is, in fact, "Katori" could be safely called armored cruisers.

The main caliber guns had standard armor shields 20 mm thick, the shields of the air defense guns had a thickness of 10 mm. The armor of the elevators for supplying ammunition was 16 mm, the artillery cellars were armored with sheets of 32 mm thick.

In fact, the armor was worse than that of some destroyers. But these ships, I repeat, were not planned to be used in hostilities.


Power plant and driving performance

The power plant was very peculiar. Kampon installed two Kanpon # 22 mod.10 four-stroke, 10-cylinder diesel engines and two Kampon steam turbines with top of Kansei Hoanbu steam boilers each. Turbines and diesel engines were connected through a hydraulic transmission and each pair worked on its own shaft with a propeller.

The total fuel supply was 600 tons, the normal one was 380 tons of oil and 160 tons of diesel fuel. The design cruising range at a speed of 12 knots is 7000 nautical miles.

The maximum speed of 18 knots was achieved with turbines at 280 rpm and a power of 8000 hp. or with the combined use of diesels (3600 hp) and turbines (4400 hp). The economical course could be carried out by turbines (13 knots, 200 rpm, 2500 HP) or diesel engines (12 knots, 180 rpm, 2000 HP).

Crew and habitability

The crew of the ships, in addition to the main crew, was supposed to include 375 cadets - 200 future combat officers and navigators, 100 mechanics, 50 officers of the financial unit, 25 medics. Later, the number of cadets on board was reduced to 275 people. They were supplemented by 315 officers and crew members of the cruiser, and the total number was 590 people.

The living conditions of the crew of training cruisers of the "Katori" class, as well as the cadets stationed on them, far exceeded the usual living conditions for the Japanese fleet. Officers, cadets and lower ranks were accommodated separately, on the ships attention was paid to creating rooms for lectures for cadets, the ships had well-equipped medical rooms.


Despite the fact that the ships were training, they had weapons. The main caliber of the Katori-class cruisers consisted of four 140-mm guns.


The guns, as on the cruiser "Yubari", were installed in two-gun turrets. One tower installation was located at the bow of the ship, the second at the stern.

The supply of shells from the cellars to the upper deck was carried out by two chain hoists, and to the guns manually on rail hoists. The ammunition capacity of the guns on the cruisers was 90 rounds per barrel.

Auxiliary / anti-aircraft artillery


Initially, according to the project, one 127-mm two-gun mount in the stern of the ship was used as a universal artillery. Subsequently, torpedo tubes were removed on "Kasim" and "Kasia" and two more such installations were installed in their places.

The A1 Mod 1 setup was quite modern. The rotation was carried out by electric motors (there was also a manual emergency drive), the gun was loaded semi-automatically: when fired, the springs of the rammer were compressed by the recoil force, and the loader only had to put the next cartridge into the tray and press the lever that released the springs. The guns could be loaded at any elevation angle.


Ammunition was 150 rounds per barrel. High-explosive fragmentation and incendiary fragmentation shells were used.

The second air defense system was the Type 96 25-mm automatic guns.


Each ship carried two twin mounts of these guns. Naturally, in the process of modernization, the number of barrels increased and eventually reached 38 in various versions - one-, two- and three-barreled.

Single machine guns were guided and controlled manually. The paired and triple units had an electric drive (but it was possible in manual mode as well), the built units had remote control from the directors "type 95". The calculations only had to press the trigger and change the clips.

The submachine guns were fed from 15-shell carob-type clips. The stock of cartridges was 2,200 per barrel.


Four types of shells were used: armor-piercing, high-explosive fragmentation, incendiary and tracer. Every 4th or 5th round in a high-explosive or incendiary clip was a tracer.

The third and last air defense system (only for Kasia) was the eight Type 93 heavy machine guns installed during the modernization of 1944, that is, the Hotchkiss Model 1929.


In general, rather, a step of despair, because the usefulness of this weapon in 1944 was very dubious.

Mine torpedo armament

The cruisers were equipped with 533-mm torpedo tubes.


Two twin-tube torpedo tubes onboard with 8 torpedoes ammunition. It must be said that, unlike many of her colleagues, the Katori cruiser never used their torpedo tubes. And as soon as the modernization began, they preferred to part with them in favor of strengthening the air defense.

On the other hand, why does the command ship, which is in the rear, need an offensive weapon?

Anti-submarine and anti-mine weapons

According to the project, the cruisers did not carry anti-submarine weapons at all. But over time, both "Kasii" and "Kasim" were re-equipped into PLO ships. "Kasii" in 1944, "Kasima" in 1945.

At the stern of each cruiser, two bomb throwers for 18 depth charges and four bomb throwers with racks for 64 bombs were placed. And on "Kasia" there were eight bombers. The ammunition capacity was 142 depth charges.

Aircraft armament

Each cruiser had a Kure Type 2 Model 5 powder catapult. At first, the ships used Mitsubishi F1M seaplanes, then it was replaced by the Nakajima A6M2-N.


Electronic and hydroacoustic weapons

Initially, the cruisers were "clean" in this regard. There was no modern equipment on them. But over time, radars have taken root even in such a fleet as the Japanese. The Americans have convincingly proved that it is possible to fight not only with torpedoes at night.

Therefore, the ships registered:

- hydrophone Type 93 Mod 2;

- active acoustic station Type 93 Mod 3;

- Radar detection of air targets Type 21 Mod 2;

- Radar detection of surface targets Type 22 Mod 4;

- two infrared searchlights Type 2;

All in all - quite a decent set for ships of even the first line.

Combat service



Before the start of the war, the cruiser managed to make one training campaign, where he headed a training squadron in Yokosuka.

Since the beginning of the war, it was based on Kwajalein. In February 1942, he received numerous damage from American aircraft from the aircraft carrier "Enterprise" and was sent to repair and strengthen the air defense.

After repairs, he returned to Kwajalein and became the flagship of the 6th fleet. The deployment of the fleet headquarters did not prevent them from taking part in the transfer of people and goods to Roy Island.

During 1942-43 he was based on Truk and Kwajalein, where he played the role of the command ship of the 6th fleet.

02/17/1944, "Katori" went to sea, heading for Japan. While 60 miles north of Truk Atoll, it was attacked by American aircraft. The torpedo hit the forward engine compartment, causing a fire and flooding of the compartment.


The crew coped with the damage and, accompanied by the destroyer Novaki, went back to the base on Truk Island. However, American pilots passed information about Katori to “who should” and 40 miles from Truk Katori was intercepted by a detachment of American ships consisting of the heavy cruisers Indianapolis and New Orleans and the destroyers Bradford and Barnes.

The Americans, using their radars, very accurately went to the damaged Katori and simply riddled it with 152-mm and 127-mm shells. The Novaki set up a smokescreen and fled.

Considering that the enemy had 18 203-mm and 26 127-mm barrels against the four 140-mm and two 127-mm guns of the Japanese ship, the result of the battle was quite predictable: in half an hour the Katori, torn apart by American shells, sank to the bottom.

Expected for a ship that has no armor at all. Almost the entire crew was killed.



From the beginning of his service, from July 1941, he was first the flagship of the Southern Expeditionary Fleet, and then came under the jurisdiction of Admiral Ozawa, who commanded the Malay Task Force.

In December 1941, the cruiser took part in convoy operations and provided landings at Prachuap, Chumphon, Ban Dan and Nagon.

In 1942 he took part in the transfer of troops to Singora, Bangkok, took part in the occupation of the Paracel Islands, Palembangu, and northern Sumatra.

In total, he sailed 134 ships with troops and equipment from Singapore to Rangoon.

In 1943 she became the flagship of Admiral Okawaichi.On inspection trips, he visited Merguy, Rangoon, Blair, Sabang, Penang.

He was involved in the patrol service, in this service he patrolled various water areas, conducted convoys to the Andaman Islands. During one of these trips to Sabang, in August 1943 he received a torpedo from the British submarine "Trident", but remained afloat and managed to reach the base on his own.

After the repair, he lost the status of the flagship of the Southern Expeditionary Fleet and until the end of 1943 was engaged in escorting convoys to Blair Island and the Nicobar Islands.

At the beginning of 1944, she was recalled to the metropolis and, after being repaired in Sasebo, the Kasii was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Naval Academy. True, after three months the cruiser was taken back from the academy and converted into an PLO ship.


In April 1944, the torpedo tubes were dismantled, the number of 127-mm guns was increased to six and the number of 25-mm anti-aircraft guns to twenty (4 x 3; 8 x 2), two bomb releasers (each for 18 depth charges) and four bomb launchers were placed at the stern. with racks for 64 depth charges, installed hydrophone type 93 mod. 2, active acoustic station type 93 mod. 3, radar type 21 mod. 2.

After the modernization of the Kasia, it was reclassified into a command ship-PLO and included in the 1st Escort Division.

Until the end of 1944, "Kasii" was engaged in escorting convoys from Moi to Singapore and back.

01/12/1945 "Kasii" was in the convoy off the coast of French Indochina, where the convoy was attacked by American carrier-based aircraft from the American aircraft carriers "Essex", "Ticonderoga", "Langley" and "San Jacinto".

A torpedo hit the starboard side of the cruiser. The ship abruptly dropped speed, and taking advantage of this, the Americans hit two bombs in the stern. The explosions caused the detonation of depth charges on the racks, and that was the end of the Kasia. After 15 minutes, the cruiser with a torn stern disappeared under water.


25 people from the entire crew were saved. Both the crew and the landing party were killed, a total of 621 people.



This cruiser has served the longest as a training ship. For half a year. And then he was sent to Truk, where he was busy delivering army supplies to Saipan.

On December 1, 1941, the cruiser becomes the flagship of the 4th fleet. In 1942 he participated in the occupation of Rabaul and Kavieng, in the capture of Port Moresby.

Further, "Kasima" is based on Truk, making inspection trips with the command of the fleet.

In 1943 he was transferred to Kwajalein, from where he was engaged in the transfer of goods to Truk. At the end of 1943, "Kasima" loses the status of the flagship of the 4th fleet and goes to the disposal of the Naval Academy. Throughout 1944, the ship has been training crews.

In the second half of 1944, Kashima participated four times in escorting special-purpose convoys from Shimonoseki to Okinawa, once to Formosa and once to Keelung.

From December 1944 to January 1945, another repair of the body and mechanisms is underway in Kure "Kasima". The torpedo tubes are being dismantled, four 127-mm guns are added, the number of 25-mm anti-aircraft guns is brought to 30, bomb throwers and bomb releasers are being installed. Added electronic and hydroacoustic equipment like the "Kasia".


On January 1, 1945, the cruiser was included in the Escort Squadron No. 102 of the First Escort Fleet.

Until mid-February, "Kashima" conducts military exercises in the Inland Sea of ​​Japan. Then, as part of the next convoy, the cruiser goes to Shanghai. In July 1945, "Kashima" arrives in Maizuru, where she becomes the flagship of the First Escort Fleet. Until the end of the war, the ship served as a floating headquarters, being distracted by anti-submarine searches in the basing area.

After the end of the war, "Kasima" was completely disarmed and turned into a transport.


From December 1945 to December 1946, the ship transported immigrants from Singapore to Nagasaki. Immediately after the end of this mission, at the beginning of 1947, the Kashima was dismantled for metal in the same place, in Nagasaki.

What about the Katori-class cruisers? This is an interesting project, not typical for the Japanese Imperial Navy.As training ships "Katori" were very promising, but the outbreak of war made training ships unnecessary.

As command ships, these slow-moving and unarmored ships proved to be no less useful than normal cruisers. As for educational purposes, they were simply unlucky.

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