Kumano file photo [30893]


Ship ClassMogami-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderKawasaki Shipyard, Kobe, Japan
Laid Down1 Apr 1934
Launched15 Oct 1936
Commissioned31 Oct 1937
Sunk25 Nov 1944
Displacement13,440 tons standard
Length650 feet
Beam66 feet
Draft19 feet
MachineryGear turbines, four shafts
Power Output152,000 shaft horsepower
Speed35 knots
Armament5x3x155mm guns, 8x127mm dual-purpose guns, 20x25mm anti-aircraft guns, 4x3x600mm torpedo tubes
Armor100mm belt, 35mm deck, 25mm turrets, 127mm magazines
AircraftThree Type 1 reconnaissance aircraft


ww2dbaseKumano was completed and commissioned in Oct 1937, but she soon entered reconstruction that did not complete until 20 Oct 1939. On 25 May 1941, Captain Kikumatsu Tanaka took command of the heavy cruiser. On 16 Jul 1941, along with her sister ships of the Mogami-class, she sailed for Hainan Island off southern China, arriving on 22 Jul. From Hainan, she participated in the opening stages of Operation FU, the invasion of French Indochina, as she escorted army convoys and other ships to Saigon, Vietnam. She left Indochina on 31 Jul, returning to Japan. On 20 Nov, she became Rear Admiral Takeo Kurita's flagship for Cruiser Division 7. On 26 Nov 191, the division arrived at Samah, Hainan Island in preparation for the invasion of Malaya that was to take place on 8 Dec 1941. During the invasion, Cruiser Division 7 operated off Cape Camau during the landings at Singora, Patani, and Kota Bharu and provided naval gunfire support. On 9 Dec, Kumano's scout planes were sent to shadow British Royal Navy's Force Z, but the aircraft were lost after running out of fuel; Force Z was later destroyed by Japanese aircraft. On 16, 23, and 26 Dec, she provided cover for the landings at Miri on Borneo, Anambas Island between Malaya and Borneo, and Endau in Malaya, respectively. On 13 Feb 1942, she covered the landings at Palembang and Banka Island, Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies. On 24 Feb, she departed from Anambas Island, where she was replenished, for Java; on the same day, cruisers Kumano and Suzuya covered the landings at Indramaju, Java. On 12 Mar, she covered the landings at Sabang and Iri, Sumatra. On 20 Mar, she supported the landings at the Andaman Islands. In early Apr 1942, as the northern force during the Indian Ocean raid, she took part in the sinking of Allied shipping in the Bay of Bengal. She was drydocked at Kure, Japan between 27 Apr and 4 May to repair the damage sustained during the early days of the Pacific War.

ww2dbaseOn 26 May 1942, Kumano arrived at Guam in the Mariana Islands in preparation of the Midway invasion; she was assigned to be in the close support group that escorted the invasion transports. She departed Guam on 28 May, and reached the Midway area on 5 Jun. On 5 Jun, Cruiser Division 7, which Kumano was still a part of, was ordered to bombard Midway, but the order was canceled before it was carried out. She played no critical role during the Battle of Midway, and retired to Truk in the Caroline Islands on 13 Jun.

ww2dbaseAfter returning to Kure, Japan, Cruiser Division 7 was transferred to the Third Fleet, which was centered around aircraft carriers. In late Jul 1942, she operated from Mergui, Burma to support the Japanese invasion of that country. On 7 Aug, Cruiser Division 7 departed for the Solomon Islands as a response of the American landings at Guadalcanal. On 24 and 25 Aug, Kumano sailed with the main body of the force that was engaged in the Battle of Eastern Solomons, but did not see direct combat as the battle was engaged only by carrier aircraft. On 14 Sep, one of her 25-mm anti-aircraft gun mounts was damaged during an American bombing attack conducted by B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft. On 26 Oct, she escorted carriers as the aircraft engaged in the Battle of Santa Cruz; Kumano did not see combat. She returned to Japan in early Nov, and spent 15-20 Nov in the drydocks in Kure.

ww2dbaseAfter transporting troops from Manila, Philippine Islands to Rabaul, New Britain, Kumano became the flagship of Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura at Kavieng, New Ireland. She escorted several troop transport runs in the region. On 27 Feb 1943, Captain Shunzo Fujita took command of her. Between 6 and 15 Apr, she was drydocked at Kure once again, where her anti-aircraft armament was upgraded to a total of 20 barrels of 25-mm guns, and a Type 21 air search radar was installed.

ww2dbaseIn Jun, Kumano delivered troops from Japan to Rabaul, then covered troop transports in the region. On one such mission on 18 Jul, she was attacked by a Guadalcanal-based American TBM Avenger torpedo bomber off Kolombangara, resulting in damage from near misses; she was temporarily repaired by repair ship Yamabiko Maru at Rabaul between 21 and 29 Jul and repair ship Akashi at Truk between 31 Jul and 28 Aug, and then received proper repairs at Kure between 2 Sep and 31 Oct.

ww2dbaseOn 24 Nov 1943, as a response to the American invasion of the Gilbert Islands, Cruiser Division 7 sailed for the Marshall Islands. On 8 Dec, Kumano was named the flagship of the division. She did not engage in any major action for the remainder of the year. In early 1944, operating out of Singapore, she engaged in training and patrol duties. Between 24 Mar and 7 Apr, her anti-aircraft armament was upgraded to a total of 28 barrels of 25-mm guns. On 29 Mar, Captain Soichiro Hitomi took over the command. In Jun, she escorted the carriers as the carrier aircraft engaged in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, but she did not see combat; after the battle, she retired to Okinawa on 22 Jun. On 25 Jun, she received additional 25-mm anti-aircraft guns, a Type 22 surface search radar, and a Type 13 air search radar at Kure, Japan. She operated out of Singapore for the subsequent months.

ww2dbaseOn 22 Oct 1944, Kumano departed from Brunei, Borneo to embark on the Japanese naval offensive in the Philippine Islands. On 25 Oct, she was engaged in the Battle off Samar. While her guns fired on the American destroyers and destroyer escorts, she was hit by a Mark 15 torpedo fired by destroyer USS Johnston, blowing off a portion of her bow, then was later attacked by American attack aircraft, damaging further by a near-miss. On 26 Oct, while in the Sibuyan Sea, she was attacked by aircraft from the American carrier Hancock and hit by three 500-lb bombs. She was able to flee to Manila, Philippine Islands on 28 Oct to receive temporary repairs. With temporary repairs complete, she sailed with the convoy Ma-Ta 31 for Takao, Taiwan. En route, the convoy was attacked by multiple American submarines. On 6 Nov, American submarines Batfish, Guitarro, Bream, Raton, and Ray formed a wolfpack to attack the convoy. They fired a total of 23 torpedoes at Kumano, hitting her twice at 1052. Her temporary bow was blown off, and she received damage to her starboard engine room. With an 11-degree list to starboard and all four engine rooms flooded, she lost all power, but was able to be towed to Santa Cruz, Luzon, Philippine Islands on the next day.

ww2dbaseOn 25 Nov 1944, while receiving repairs from the previous submarine attack, Kumano was caught in Santa Cruz harbor by carrier aircraft launched by USS Ticonderoga. She was hit by five torpedoes and four 500-lb bombs and sank in 100 feet of water at 1515. Captain Hitomi was killed during the attack.

ww2dbaseSource: Imperial Japanese Navy Page.

Last Major Revision: Nov 2007

Heavy Cruiser Kumano Interactive Map


Cruisers in Ise Bay, Japan, summer 1938; from front to back: Mogami, Mikuma, and KumanoCruiser Kumano, circa Oct 1938, as seen in US Navy Division of Naval InteligenceKumano, 19 Dec 1938; seen in Japanese Division of Navy Department Intelligence booklet 00-30V-57 / War Department Intelligence booklet FM 30-50Identification drawing of Japanese Mogami-class heavy cruiser as published in A503 FM30-50 booklet for identification of ships of the US Division of Naval Intelligence, Oct 1942
See all 6 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Kumano

Kumano Operational Timeline

5 Apr 1934 Japanese cruiser Kumano laid down at Kawasaki's shipyard, Kobe.
15 Oct 1936 Japanese cruiser Kumano launched at Kawasaki's shipyard, Kobe. Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu, a second cousin to the Emperor, represents the Imperial family.
31 Oct 1937 Kumano was commissioned into service.
8 Dec 1941 Japanese cruiser Kumano provided close support off Cap Camau during the landings at Singora, Patani and Kota Bharu on the Mayla Peninsula.
10 Dec 1941 Japanese submarine I-58 spotted British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse off British Malaya, launched five torpedoes, but all of them missed; beginning at 1117 hours, Japanese aircraft began to attack. Overwhelmed, HMS Repulse was sunk at 1233 hours (513 killed), followed by HMS Prince of Wales at 1318 hours (327 killed); destroyers HMS Electra, HMS Express, and HMS Vampire rescued 1,862 survivors. On land, the British commanders dispatched the 1st Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Gurkha Rifles regiment to Changlun and Asun in northern British Malaya to counter the Japanese advance; contact was made at Changlun at 2100 hours, where two Japanese tanks were destroyed before the Punjabi troops fell back toward Asun.
9 Mar 1942 Japanese cruisers Kumano, Chokai, and cruiser division 7 depart Singapore to cover Operation T - The Invasion of Northern Sumatra
12 Mar 1942 Japanese cruisers Kumano, Chokai, and cruiser division 7 cover the landings at Sabang in Operation T - The Invasion of Northern Sumatra
20 Mar 1942 Japanese cruisers Kumano, Chokai, and cruiser division 7 depart Singapore to support the seizure of Andaman Islands.
26 Mar 1942 Japanese cruiser Kumano arrives at Mergui, Burma.
1 Apr 1942 Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's Malaya Force, Second Expeditionary Fleet, departs Mergui, Burma and steams into the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean Raids to attack merchant shipping. The force includes light carrier Ryujo and cruisers Chokai, Suzuya, Kumano, Mikuma, Mogami, and Yura.
5 Apr 1942 Following Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa‚Äôs force‚Äôs attack on the British naval base at Colombo, Ceylon, the force is split creating a Northern Group commanded by Rear Admiral Takeo Kurita consisting of cruisers Kumano and Suzuya; the Center Group consisting of the carrier Ryujo and cruisers Chokai and Yura under Ozawa; and the Southern Group comprised of cruisers Mogami, and Mikuma under Captain Shakao Sakiyama for the purposes of smaller raids against merchant shipping.
6 Apr 1942 Kurita's Northern Group attacked and sank seven merchant ships totaling 41,000 tons along India's northeastern coast south of Calcutta (Kolkata).
11 Apr 1942 Ozawa's Force arrived at Singapore to conclude a successful sortie into the Indian Ocean.
13 Apr 1942 Kumano departed Singapore.
22 Apr 1942 Kumano arrived at Kure for an overhaul.
26 May 1942 Kumano joined the Midway Invasion Transport Group at Guam, Mariana Islands.
5 Jun 1942 Japanese cruiser Kumano was leading a column of sister Mogami-class cruisers Suzuya, Mikuma, and Mogami withdrawing from Midway. Kumano spotted the surfaced American submarine USS Tambor and ordered an emergency 45-degree turn to starboard, but Mikuma mistakenly made a 90-degree turn. Mogami rammed Mikuma on the portside below the bridge crumpling 40-feet of Mogami‚Äôs bow and piercing Mikuma‚Äôs fuel tanks, causing her to leak oil uncontrollably. This trailing oil slick led to Mikuma‚Äôs demise the following day.
13 Jun 1942 Kumano and Suzuya arrived at Truk, completing their part on the Battle of Midway.
24 Aug 1942 Kumano screened the carrier Ryujo and the battleship Kirishima in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and against an attack from B-17 bombers.
26 Oct 1942 Kumano screened the carriers Shokaku, Zuikaku, and Zuiho in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
7 Nov 1942 Kumano arrived at Kure Naval Arsenal for an overhaul.
4 Dec 1942 Kumano arrived at Rabaul and disembarked Army troops transported from Manila, Philippines.
16 Apr 1943 Kumano arrived at Kure Naval Arsenal for an overhaul and significant refit. Her twin 13mm machine guns were removed and replaced by two triple mount Type 96 25mm AA guns bringing their suite to 20 barrels (4x3, 4x2). A Type 21 air-search radar was fitted and most of her middle and lower deck scuttles were welded over.
18 Jul 1943 Kumano, Yugure, Kiyonami, and other ships departed Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands at 2150 hours as a part of the Night Battle Force to escort a transport run. 35 US Navy and US Marine Corps TBM Avenger dive bombers from Guadalcanal detected the Japanese force and attacked, damaging Kumano's aft hull plates, forcing the cruiser to withdraw toward Rabaul.
19 Jul 1943 US aircraft detected the Japanese Night Battle Force in the Solomon Islands at 1905 hours and attacked, and the attack was repulsed. At 2100 hours, Japanese destroyer transports were ordered to separately proceed to Vila, Kolombangara, Solomon Islands. At 2220 hours, flares were sighted over the transport destroyers, but no American warships arrived to attack. At 2310 hours, Japanese warships of the Night Battle Force (Kumano, Yugure, Kiyonami, Yukikaze, and others) reversed course for Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands.
20 Jul 1943 At 0010 hours, a US TBF aircraft equipped with radar detected the Japanese Night Battle Force between Vella Lavella Island and Choiseul Island in the Solomon Islands. Multiple waves of aircraft were launched to attack. At 0034 hours, Yugure was hit by a 2,000-poung bomb amidships (sinking within minutes), followed by a hit on Kumano in the starboard quarter. Additional attacks scored no hits; two TBF and two B-25 aircraft were shot down during the attacks. Kiyonami picked up about 20 of Yugure's survivors at about 0200 hours. At 0521 hours, eight US B-25 bombers tasked with finding the damaged Kumano found Kiyonami instead, scoring a hit that detonated a magazine, and Kiyonami sank within two minutes. Only one of Kiyonami's crew survived (not found until 4 Aug 1943); all of Yugure's survivors were killed. At 1108 hours, the destroyer transports, having successfully delivered 300 men and supplies to Vila, Kolombangara, Solomon Islands before dawn, joined the surviving ships of the Night Battle Force, and they would arrive at Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands at 1730 hours.
20 Nov 1943 Kumano and her task force departed Truk in response to the United States‚Äô landings on Tarawa.
20 Oct 1944 Kumano arrived at Brunei Bay, Borneo as part of Admiral Kurita‚Äôs First Raiding Force.
24 Oct 1944 As Kurita‚Äôs Center Force transited the Tablas Strait in the Philippines they came under attack from aircraft from carriers USS Essex and USS Lexington (Essex-class). Kumano received a bomb hot (a dud) to the roof of number 4 turret causing no damage.
24 Oct 1944 While withdrawing, damaged cruiser Kumano is again attacked in Tablas Strait, this time by aircraft from USS Hancock. Kumano was hit by two 1,000lb bomb hits and a near miss caused flooding that disabled several boilers. The cruiser went dead in the water. After emergency repairs, Kumano makes 10 knots, then is towed by cruiser Ashigara, and enters Coron Bay.
25 Oct 1944 As Kurita‚Äôs Center Force closed on Clifton Sprague‚Äôs escort carriers off Samar, destroyer USS Johnston attacked and launched torpedoes against the cruiser Kumano, blowing off Kumano‚Äôs bow and forcing her withdrawal.
27 Oct 1944 Damaged cruiser Kumano departed Coron Bay for Manila.
28 Oct 1944 Damaged cruiser Kumano arrived at Manila, Philippines.
29 Oct 1944 Damaged cruisers Kumano and Nachi are attacked by American carrier aircraft while in Manila Bay, Philippines.
3 Nov 1944 After repairs, damaged cruiser Kumano made some test runs off Manila, reaching a maximum speed of 15 knots.
4 Nov 1944 As part of a small convoy, Kumano departs Manila bound for Takao, Formosa (Taiwan).
6 Nov 1944 Kumano‚Äôs convoy was attacked by a wolfpack of four United States submarines Guitarro, Bream, Raton, and Ray off Cape Bolinao, Luzon, Philippines. Kumano was struck by two torpedoes that blew off her replacement bow section and flooded her engine rooms. Doryo Maru towed Kumano to Dasol Bay, Luzon.
7 Nov 1944 Kumano shifted to Santa Cruz Harbor, Luzon, Philippines and began repairs.
25 Nov 1944 The already badly damaged cruiser Kumano was again attacked by United States carrier aircraft in Santa Cruz Harbor, Luzon, Philippines. A well-coordinated bombing and torpedo attack by planes from USS Ticonderoga sent four 1,000lb bombs through Kumano‚Äôs deck and six well-spaced torpedoes into her port side. Within six minutes of the attack, the cruiser rolled over and sank.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
12 Sep 2020 02:59:11 PM

After the war, Kumano would receive an interesting sympathetic tribute. Admiral William Halsey remarked that ‚ÄúIf there was a Japanese ship I could feel sorry for at all, it would be the Kumano.‚ÄĚ

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More on Kumano
Event(s) Participated:
» Indochina Campaign
» Invasion of Malaya and Singapore
» Invasion of Burma
» Dutch East Indies Campaign, Borneo
» Dutch East Indies Campaign, Java
» Dutch East Indies Campaign, Sumatra
» Fall of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
» Raids into the Indian Ocean
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign

» Interrogation Nav 82, Captain Tsuneo Shiki

Partner Sites Content:
» Kumano Tabular Record of Movement

Heavy Cruiser Kumano Photo Gallery
Cruisers in Ise Bay, Japan, summer 1938; from front to back: Mogami, Mikuma, and Kumano
See all 6 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Kumano

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