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Japanese cruiser Tone (1937)
Japanese cruiser Tone.jpg
Japanese heavy cruiser Tone
Career (Japan) Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Tone
Namesake: Tone River
Ordered: 1932 Fiscal Year
Laid down: 1 December 1934
Launched: 21 November 1937
Commissioned: 20 November 1938[1]
Struck: 20 November 1945
Fate: sunk 24 July 1945 by USN aircraft at Kure, Hiroshima 34°14′N 132°30′E / 34.233°N 132.5°E / 34.233; 132.5Coordinates: 34°14′N 132°30′E / 34.233°N 132.5°E / 34.233; 132.5
General characteristics
Class & type: Tone-class heavy cruiser
Displacement: 11,213 tons (standard); 15,443 (final)[Clarification needed]
Length: 189.1 m (620 ft 5 in)
Beam: 19.4 m (63 ft 8 in)
Draught: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in)
Propulsion: Gihon geared turbines[Clarification needed]
8 oil-fired boilers
152,000 shp
4 shafts
Speed: 35-knot (65 km/h)
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km) @18 knots (33 km/h)
Complement: 874
Armor: 100 mm (3.9 in) (belt)
65-30 mm (2.6-1.2 in) (deck)[2]
Aircraft carried: 6 x Aichi E13A floatplanes

IJN Tone (利根 重巡洋艦 Tone jūjun'yōkan?) was the lead ship in the two-vessel Tone-class of heavy cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was named after the Tone River, in the Kantō region of Japan and was completed on 20 November 1938 at Mitsubishi's Nagasaki shipyards. Tone was designed for long-range scouting missions and had a large seaplane capacity. She was extensively employed during World War II usually providing scouting services to their aircraft carrier task forces. She almost always operated in this capacity in conjunction with her sister ship Chikuma.

World War II

Early Pacific War

At the end of 1941, Tone was assigned to CruDiv 8 with her sister ship, Chikuma, and was thus present during the attack on Pearl Harbor. That day, 7 December 1941, Tone and Chikuma each launched one Aichi E13A1 "Jake" floatplane for a final weather reconnaissance over Oahu. At 0630, Tone and Chikuma each launched short-range Nakajima E8N "Dave" two-seat floatplanes to act as pickets and patrol south of the Striking Force. Tone's floatplane flew to Lahaina, but found no American fleet units present. During the subsequent attack, the Arizona, Oklahoma, West Virginia and California were sunk and Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Maryland and many smaller ships were damaged.

On 16 December, CruDiv 8 was ordered to assist in the second attempted invasion of Wake Island. Tone launched two "Daves" for ASW patrols. After the fall of Wake Island, CruDiv 8 returned to Kure, Hiroshima. By 14 January 1942, CruDiv 8 was based out of Truk in the Caroline Islands, and covered the landings of Japanese troops at Rabaul, New Britain as well as attacks on Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea. On 24 January, Tone's floatplanes attacked the Admiralty Islands. After 1 February air raid on Kwajalein by Vice Admiral William Halsey, Jr aboard Enterprise, Tone departed Truk with the Carrier Striking Force in an unsuccessful pursuit. Chikuma and Tone later participated in the Raid on Port Darwin, Australia on 19 February, destroying 15 aircraft and sinking 11 ships. Tone launched a floatplane to report in weather conditions prior to the attack, but the plane’s radio failed and it returned without reporting. Later, another floatplane had greater success, and shot down a PBY Catalina of the RAAF.

Battle of the Java Sea

On 1 March 1942, Tone spotted the old Edsall, 250 miles (400 km) SSE of Christmas Island. Four days later, floatplanes from Tone and Chikuma took part on the strike against Tjilatjap. On 6 March, Tone rescued a British seaman who had been adrift since his ship had been sunk off Java on 27 February.

Indian Ocean Raids

On 5 April 1942, Tone was part of a major task force which launched 315 aircraft against Columbo, Ceylon. Tenedos, Hector and 27 aircraft were destroyed and over 500 killed in the harbor, while cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire were destroyed at sea. Tone and the rest of the task force returned to Japan in mid-April 1942, when it was almost immediately assigned to the unsuccessful pursuit of Admiral Halsey's Task Force 16.2 with the Hornet after the Doolittle Raid.

Battle of Midway

At the crucial Battle of Midway, Tone and CruDiv 8 was part of Vice Admiral Chūichi Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force. On 4 June, Tone and Chikuma each launched two "Jakes" to search out 300 miles (480 km) for American carriers. Tone's floatplane discovered American ships, but owing to internal bureaucracy in their command structure its report was not immediately delivered to admiral Nagumo. As a result, he had already ordered his aircraft to prepare for another attack on Midway before he received the report. Tone was attacked by enemy carrier aircraft during the battle, but sustained no damage, except the loss of a "Dave" with its crew. Chikuma and Tone were then detached to support Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya's Aleutian invasion force. However, the anticipated American counter-attack failed to materialize. CruDiv 8 cruised northern waters uneventfully.

Rear Admiral Chuichi Hara assumed command of CruDiv 8 from 14 July 1942. With the US invasion of Guadalcanal, Chikuma and Tone were ordered south again on 16 August with the aircraft carriers Shōkaku, Zuikaku, Zuihō, Jun'yō, Hiyō and Ryūjō. They were joined by the battleships Hiei, Kirishima, seaplane tender Chitose, and cruisers Atago, Maya, Takao, Nagara.

Battle of the Eastern Solomons

On 24 August 1942, CruDiv 7's Kumano and Suzuya arrived to join the reinforcement fleet for Guadalcanal. The following morning, a PBY spotted Ryūjō, which SBD Dauntlesses and TBF Avengers from Enterprise unsuccessfully attacked. Seven floatplanes from Tone and Chikuma were launched to locate the American fleet. One of Chikuma's planes spotted the Americans, but was shot down before its report could be relayed. However, a second floatplane was more successful, and the Japanese launched an attack against Enterprise, hitting it with three bombs which set her wooden deck on fire. However, in the meantime, the Americans located the Japanese fleet, and Ryūjō was sunk by planes from the Saratoga. Tone was attacked unsuccessfully by two Avengers whose Mark 13 torpedoes missed, returning to Truk safely.

Battle of Santa Cruz

Through October, Chikuma and Tone patrolled north of the Solomon Islands, awaiting word of recapture of Henderson Field by the Japanese. On 19 October, Tone (with Teruzuki) was detached on an independent mission to scout for American ships. Both ships operated off the Santa Cruz Islands until a Kawanishi H6K "Emily" from Jaluit Atoll sighted a carrier off the New Hebrides. On 26 October 1942, 250 miles (400 km) northeast of Guadalcanal, Rear Admiral Hiroaki Abe's task force launched seven floatplanes to scout south of Guadalcanal. They located the American fleet, and Abe followed with an attack by 13 Nakajima B5N2 "Kate" torpedo planes which sank the Hornet and damaged the South Dakota and cruiser San Juan. However, two of the four aircraft launched by Tone during the attack were shot down.

Tone supported Japanese reinforcement efforts at Guadalcanal through mid-November 1942, and was then assigned to patrols from its base in Truk through mid-February 1943. After returning to Maizuru for refit on 21 February, two additional twin-mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns were installed along with a Type 21 air-search radar. On 15 March 1943 Rear Admiral Kishi Fukuji assumed command of CruDiv 8, and Tone was ordered back to Truk. However, on 17 May, Chikuma and Tone were tasked to accompany battleship Musashi back to Tokyo for the state funeral of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Tone was back in Truk by 15 July, having avoided numerous submarine attacks along the route. From July to November, Tone was engaged in making troop transport runs to Rabaul, and to patrols of the Marshall Islands in unsuccessful pursuit of the American fleet. While back at Kure on 6 November, Tone gained additional 25-mm AA guns, bringing its total to 20. CruDiv 8 was disbanded on 1 January 1944, and both Tone and Chikuma were reassigned to CruDiv 7 (with Suzuya and Kumano) under Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura. Tone returned to Truk on 2 January. In February, Tone assisted with the evacuation of Japanese forces from Truk to Palau.

From 1 March 1944, Tone was assigned to commerce raiding in the Indian Ocean. On 9 March, Tone sank the British freighter SS Behar, taking aboard 108 survivors against orders. Of the survivors, 32 were disembarked as prisoners of war at Batavia. Admiral Naomasa Sakonju on the Aoba ordered that the remaining prisoners be “disposed of”, and they were taken out to sea and beheaded. (Following the war, Sakonju was executed for war crimes, including the murder of these prisoners, while the former commander of Tone, Captain Haruo Mayazumi, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.)[3] On 20 March 1944, Rear Admiral Kazutaka Shiraishi assumed command of CruDiv 7.

Battle of the Philippine Sea

On 13 June 1944, Admiral Soemu Toyoda activated "Operation A-GO" for the defense of the Mariana Islands. Tone was assigned to Force "C" of Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's Mobile Fleet, which proceeded through the Visayan Sea to the Philippine Sea headed towards Saipan. On 20 June, after Haruna, Kongō and carrier Chiyoda were attacked by aircraft from the Bunker Hill, Monterey and Cabot and the bulk of the Japanese air cover was destroyed in the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot", Tone retired with the Mobile Fleet to Okinawa, and from there to Kure. While at Kure from 26 June – 8 July 1944, Tone gained additional Type 96 25-mm AA, bringing its total to 57. Two new Type 22 surface-search radars and a Type 13 air-search radar were also fitted. After ferrying army troops to Okinawa, Tone was reassigned back to Singapore in July.

Battle of Leyte Gulf

On 23 October 1944, Tone (with Kumano, Suzuya and Chikuma) sortied from Brunei towards the Philippines with Kurita's First Mobile Striking Force. In the Battle of the Palawan Passage, Atago and Maya were sunk by submarines, and Takao damaged. On 24 October, CruDiv 7 was part of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's Center Force. In the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea the Center Force suffered eleven raids by planes from the carriers American Task Group 38.2, Musashi was sunk and Tone was hit by bombs.The following day, during the Battle off Samar Yamato, Nagato, Haruna and Myoko were damaged. Tone engaged American destroyer Heermann but was driven away by air attack. She escaped back through the San Bernardino Strait without further damage, but Tone's sister ships Chikuma, Chokai, and Suzuya were lost.

Drydock and use as a training ship

Tone sunk near Kure

On 6 November, Tone departed Brunei towards Manila, and onward to Mako in the Pescadores and Kure. Back in dry dock in Maizuru, Tone gained four additional triple-mount 25-mm AA guns aft, bringing its total to 62. The Type 21 radar was replaced with a Type 22. CruDiv 7 was disbanded 21 November and Tone re-assigned to CruDiv 5 with Kumano. Once repairs were completed on 18 February 1945, Tone relocated to Etajima, where it was moored for use as a training ship. It was slightly damaged in an air raid on 19 March.

Sinking during the bombing of Kure

On 24 July 1945, Task Force 38 launched a large air raid against Kure aimed at the final destruction of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Nine aircraft from the light carrier Monterey hit Tone with three bombs, causing her to settle to the bottom of the bay. The hulk was attacked again on 28 July by rockets and armor-piercing bombs dropped by planes from the Wasp, Bataan and Ticonderoga. Tone was removed from the Navy List on 20 November 1945. Its hulk was raised and scrapped after the war from 1947–1948.



  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • Cox, Robert Jon (2010). The Battle Off Samar: Taffy III at Leyte Gulf (5th Edition). Agogeebic Press, LLC. ISBN 0-9822390-4-1. 
  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X. 
  • Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941–1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1. 
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895–1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11402-8. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Lacroix, Eric; Linton Wells (1997). Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-311-3. 
  • Whitley, M.J. (1995). Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-141-6. 

External links

Three photos of Tone, but you must type Tone in the pic search window,


See also

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