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Japanese cruiser Kumano
IJN Kumano
Kumano, October 1938
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Kumano
Namesake: Kumano River in Wakayama Prefecture
Builder: Kawasaki Shipyard, Kobe
Laid down: April 1934
Launched: 15 October 1936
Completed: October 1937
Fate: Sunk, 25 November 1944
General characteristics
Class & type: Mogami-class cruiser
Displacement: 13,440 long tons (13,660 t) (full load_
Length: 201.6 m (661 ft 5 in)
Beam: 22 m (72 ft 2 in)
Draft: 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in)
Installed power: 41 ft 6 in (12.65 m)
Propulsion: 4 × impulse single-geared steam turbines
10 × Kanpon boilers
152,000 shp
4 × shafts
Speed: 35 knots (40 mph; 65 km/h)
Complement: 850
Armament: As Built: 15 × 155 mm (6.1 in)/60 cal dual purpose guns (5x3) 8 × 127 mm (5.0 in)/40 cal dual purpose guns (4x2)
4 × 40 mm (1.57 in) anti-aircraft guns
12 × 610 mm (24 in) torpedo tubes (4x3)
Final:[1] 10 × 200 mm (7.9 in)s (5x2)[2]
8 × 127 mm/40 cal guns (4x2)
50 × 25 mm anti-aircraft guns
12 × 610 mm torpedo tubes
Armor: Belt: 10 cm (3.9 in)
Deck: 3.5 cm (1.4 in)
Turrets: 2.5 cm (1.0 in)
Magazines: 12.7 cm (5.0 in)
Aircraft carried: 3 × Type 1 scout aircraft
Aviation facilities: 2 × catapults

Kumano (熊野) was one of four Mogami-class heavy cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. She was completed at the Kawasaki Shipyard in Kobe on 31 October 1937. She displaced 13,440 long tons (13,660 t) with a length of 649 ft 10 in (198.07 m) and a beam of 66 ft 3 in (20.19 m), and had a top speed of 35 kn (65 km/h; 40 mph). Kumano was initially armed as a light cruiser with fifteen 155 mm (6.1 in) guns in five turrets (three forward and two aft), eight 127 mm (5 in) dual-purpose guns, fifty 25 mm (1.0 in) anti-aircraft guns, and twelve tubes for 610 mm (24 in) type 90 torpedoes with provision for 12 more in position for rapid reload. Before the war, the type 90 torpedoes would be replaced by the infamous "Long Lance" torpedoes. From 1939-1940, Kumano was converted to a heavy cruiser by replacing the triple 155 mm gun turrets with an equal number of twin turrets for 200 mm (8 in) guns.[1]

Operational history

Old photograph, before the refit

On 6 April 1942 during the Indian Ocean Raid heavy cruisers Kumano and Suzuya with destroyer Shirakumo sank the British Steamships Silksworth, Autolycus, Malda and Shinkuang and the American Steamship Exmoor.[3] Present at Midway (4–7 June 1942) as part of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's Cruiser Division 7, along with her sisters Mogami, Mikuma (sunk) and Suzuya, her war-record is otherwise of little interest until 20 June 1944, when she was attacked by U.S. carrier aircraft from USS Bunker Hill, Monterey, and Cabot. During this action, the aircraft carrier Hiyō was sunk and the battleship Haruna was badly damaged.

Light anti-aircraft armament was increased to thirty 25 mm guns by January 1944, and increased again to 50 guns in July.[1] On 25 October 1944, Kumano was part of the Japanese Central Force in the Battle off Samar. She was hit by a Mk-15 torpedo fired by the destroyer USS Johnston, which literally blew off her bow. As Kumano was retiring towards the San Bernardino Strait, she came under aerial attack and suffered minor damage.

The next day, Kumano was attacked from aircraft launched by USS Hancock while in the Sibuyan Sea, and was struck by three 500 lb (227 kg) bombs. She survived and sailed to Manila Bay for repairs on her bow and all four boilers.

Kumano under attack, 26 October 1944.

She returned to service, and on 6 November 1944 Kumano was guarding convoy Ma-Ta 31. The convoy came under attack by a U.S. submarine wolf-pack consisting of USS Batfish, Guitarro, Bream, Raton and Ray. Of the aforementioned U.S. submarines, Ray inflicted the most severe damage on Kumano. In all, the American submarines launched 23 torpedoes towards the convoy, two of which struck the Kumano. The first hit destroyed her recently replaced bow, and the second damaged her starboard engine room, flooding all four of her engine rooms. She took on an 11° list and lost steerage. At 19:30, she was towed to Dasol Bay by the cargo ship Doryo Maru, and from there she was moved to Santa Cruz on the Philippine Island of Luzon.

While undergoing repairs in Santa Cruz on 25 November, Kumano came under aerial attack by aircraft launched by USS Ticonderoga. Five torpedoes and four 500 lb bombs struck her, and at 15:15 she rolled over and sank in about 31 m (102 ft) of water.

Admiral William "Bull" Halsey reportedly once remarked that "if there was a Japanese ship he could feel sorry for at all, it would be the Kumano".



  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X. 
  • Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4. 
  • Cox, Robert Jon (2010). The Battle Off Samar: Taffy III at Leyte Gulf (5th Edition). Agogeebic Press, LLC. ISBN 0-9822390-4-1. 
  • Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1. 
  • Lacroix, Eric; Linton Wells (1997). Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-311-3. 
  • Watts, Anthony J. (1967). Japanese Warships of World War II. Doubleday & Company. 

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Watts (1967) p.99
  2. Campbell (1985) pp.185-187
  3. L, Klemen (1999-2000). "Allied Merchant Ship Losses in the Pacific and Southeast Asia". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. 

Coordinates: 15°44′58″N 119°47′57″E / 15.74944°N 119.79917°E / 15.74944; 119.79917

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