|Ship Class||Nagara-class Light Cruiser|
|Laid Down||10 Aug 1920|
|Launched||29 Oct 1921|
|Commissioned||15 Aug 1923|
|Sunk||7 Apr 1945|
|Displacement||5088 tons standard; 5832 tons full|
|Machinery||12 Kampon boilers, Gihon geared turbines, 4 shafts|
|Power Output||90000 SHP|
|Range||9,000nm at 10 knots|
|Armament||38x25mm Type 96 AA guns, 6x13mm machine guns, 4x2x610mm torpedo tubes, depth charge rails|
|Armor||62mm belt, 30mm deck|
Isuzu was the second Nagara-class light cruisers. Shortly after she entered service, she was assigned to patrol the Yangtze River in China. Between 20 Aug and 10 Dec 1928, she was commanded by Captain Isoroku Yamamoto. Between 1 Dec 1936 and 1 Dec 1937, she was commanded by Captain Tamon Yamaguchi. In the mid-1930s, she patrolled the Chinese coast.
When WW2 began, Isuzu supported Japanese landings in southern China. At the opening stages of the Pacific War in 1941, as a part of the 15th Escort Squadron of Vice Admiral Kiyoshi Hara's Second China Expeditionary Fleet, she covered the landings at Hong Kong. She remained in Hong Kong until Apr 1942. In early Apr 1942, she escorted troop transport from Mako, Pescadores to Singora, Thailand and Camranh Bay, Indochina. On 10 Apr, she was reassigned to Rear Admiral Kenzaburo Hara's Cruiser Division 16. She patrolled the Dutch East Indies for the remainder of Apr. On 1 May, she became Hara's flagship. On 28 Jun, she returned to Yokosuka, Japan for repairs and overhaul. On 26 Jul, she participated in the Banda Sea operation in which she supported landings on the Tanimbar Islands.
On 16 Sep, Isuzu was assigned to escort the first wave of Japanese transports for the Solomon Islands, and shortly after she became Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka's flagship for Destroyer Squadron 2. Between 11 and 12 Oct 1942, she led Destroyer Division 31 near Guadalcanal and fired upon US Marine batteries on Tulagi Island while battleships Haruna and Kongo bombarded Henderson Field. Between 24 and 25 Oct, she participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz. Between 3 and 5 Nov, she escorted transports to Shortland. On 13 Nov, she participated in the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal and sustained damage from two dive bomber near misses, flooding her No. 3 boiler room; she received emergency repairs at Shortland and Truk before returning to Yokosuka for permanent repairs in Dec. At the Mitsubishi Yokohama Shipyard in Japan, she received a Type 21 air search radar and had her No. 5 and No. 7 140-millimeter gun mounts removed for a twin 12.7-centimeter high-angle gun mount and two triple 25-millimeter anti-aircraft gun mounts to improve her anti-aircraft capabilities. On 1 Apr 1943, with her repairs and modifications not quite complete, she was assigned to Rear Admiral Kenzo Ito's newly formed Cruiser Division 14, but repair work held her in port until 21 May. She arrived in Truk on 21 Jun. On 25 Jun, she ferried troops to Nauru. In Oct, she ferried troops to Shanghai, China, and was discovered and attacked by American submarine Shad, but none of the ten torpedoes fired hit any of the ships in the convoy. Isuzu returned to Truk on 28 Oct to escort a convoy to Kavieng, New Ireland, Solomon Islands. The convoy was attacked 97 kilometers north of Kavieng by 13 US Army Air Force B-24 Liberator bombers, and she was damaged by a mine, suffering hull damage and two disabled guns. She sailed to Rabaul for repairs, and was strafed at Rabaul on 5 Nov by American aircraft. In Nov, she ferried troops from Ponape, Caroline Islands to Kwajalein and Mili of the Marshall Islands. On 5 Dec, she was attacked by SBD Dauntless dive bombers and TBF Avenger torpedo bombers at Roi, Marshall Islands, forcing her to receive temporary repairs at Kwajalein and Truk and to return to Yokosoka, Japan for permanent repairs in Jan 1944. At Yokosuka, she was converted to an anti-aircraft cruiser, with the work done by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries; all of her 140-millimeter guns were removed as well as her catapult and seaplane, replaced additional 127-millimeter guns and 25-millimeter guns. She also received additional air and surface search radars, depth charge rails, and sonar. On 20 Aug, she became Rear Admiral Heitaro Edo's flagship for Cruiser Division 31, organized for anti-submarine duties, though she would remain in the shipyard until 14 Sep.
On 20 Oct 1944, Isuzu was a part of Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's Northern Mobile Force and was engaged in the Battle off Cape Engaño off Luzon, Philippine Islands between 25 and 26 Oct. During that battle, Isuzu rescued 480 survivors of Chitose and then attempted to cover, unsuccessfully, Chiyoda from American air attacks. She returned to Kure, Japan to embark troops for Manila, Philippine Islands and Brunei, Borneo. On 19 Nov, while 89 kilometers off Corregidor, Luzon, Philippine Islands, she was attacked by American submarine Hake and was hit by one of the six torpedoes fired. She suffered severe damage to her stern and lost her rudder, but she was able to sail to Singapore and then Surabaya, Java for repairs.
On 4 Apr 1945, Isuzu was assigned to transport an army detachment from Kupang to Sumbawa, both in the Dutch East Indies. She was spotted by American submarines Charr, Besugo, and Gabilan and British submarine Spark. On 6 Apr, she was attacked by ten Dutch B-25 Mitchell bombers based out of Darwin, Australia and suffered damage from near misses. Later on the same day, she disembarked troops at Bima Bay northeast of Sumbawa. Shortly after, she was hit by bombs dropped from Australian B-24 Liberator bombers. In that afternoon, her group was attacked by USS Besugo, and the attack sank a minesweeper. On 7 Apr, while 97 kilometers northwest of Bima, Isuzu was hit on the port side by one of five torpedoes fired by USS Gabilan. As she listed and was settling by the bow, USS Charr fired four torpedoes, hitting Isuzu twice near the aft engine room. Charr fired an additional salvo of two torpedoes, one of which hit Isuzu and broke off her bow. She sank with 190 losses. 450 men, including Captain Gengo Matsuda, survived.
Isuzu Operational Timeline
|15 Aug 1923||Isuzu was commissioned into service.|
» Tamon Yamaguchi
» Isoroku Yamamoto
» Battle of Hong Kong
» Dutch East Indies Campaign, Java
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» Marshall Islands Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
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General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944