|Born||2 Oct 1886|
|Died||9 Nov 1966|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseJisaburo Ozawa graduated from the Imperial Naval Academy in 1909. He was a professor at the academy in the mid-1930s, but it was not before long when he was activated for sea-going duties as war. Between 1935 and 1937, he served as the commanding officer of light cruiser Maya and then battleship Haruna. He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral in 1936. Between 1937 and 1938, served as the chief of staff of the Combined Fleet. Between 1938 and 1941, he served as commanding officer of various naval units before being recalled to the Navy General Headquarters in 1941 as a staff officer. He was promoted to the rank of vice admiral in 1940. Nicknamed "the Gargoyle", he was considered among the ugliest flag officers in the Japanese Navy, but people who served under him found him to be a compassionate officer and a fine tactician. Starting in Nov 1942, his responsibilities grew tremendously, serving as commander in chief of Third Fleet until Mar 1944, vice chief of the Navy General Headquarters for eight months, then finally the commander in chief of the Combined Fleet until near the end of the war. Due to problems that had already taken place before his tenure as the head of the Combined Fleet, his service was haunted by an uninterrupted series of losses to the American naval forces. In Jun 1944, he commanded the fleet that faced the US 5th Fleet in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, in which Japan suffered a complete defeat, losing nearly 400 aircraft; withdrawing to Okinawa, he submitted his resignation letter, but it was rejected. During the Leyte campaign, his carrier fleet served little more than a bait force, flight decks empty for lack of available aircraft. Nevertheless, Ozawa played his role intelligently and professionally until the end.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Ozawa was interrogated by Rear Admiral R. A. Ofstie of the United States Navy and Lieutenant Commander J. A. Field, Jr. of the United States Naval Reserves in Tokyo on 30 Oct 1945. They commented Ozawa as "an officer of impressive personality, dignified presence, and thoughtful habit of mind. While his memory for fine detail was not always precise his opinions were considered of the highest value." At the end of the interrogation, he offered his opinion that "[i]t is my opinion that this war should never have taken place." However, if war was to be considered unavoidable, he attributed Japan's defeat to the inability to manufacture adequate supply of aircraft and the failure to improve electronic devices.
ww2dbaseSources: Interrogations of Japanese Officials, Nihon Kaigun, Wikipedia.
Last Major Revision: Mar 2007
Jisaburo Ozawa Timeline
|2 Oct 1886||Jisaburo Ozawa was born.|
|18 Feb 1937||Jisaburo Ozawa was named the chief of staff of the Japanese Navy Combined Fleet.|
|29 May 1945||Jisaburo Ozawa was named the commander-in-chief of the Japanese Navy Combined Fleet.|
|25 Jun 1945||Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa ordered a special attack on the American anchorage at Ulithi, Caroline Islands. Operation Hikari was planned to use submarines I-13 and I-14 to bring Saiun aircraft over Ulithi for reconnaissance. Operation Arashi would then have submarines I-400 and I-401 bring Seiran aircraft to perform special attacks on American ships if the conditions were favorable. Kaiten special attack submarines were to attack at the same time as well.|
|9 Nov 1966||Jisaburo Ozawa passed away.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945