Takao file photo [2030]


Ship ClassTakao-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderYokosuka Naval Arsenal
Laid Down28 Apr 1927
Launched12 May 1930
Commissioned31 May 1932
Sunk19 Oct 1946
Displacement9,850 tons standard; 15,490 tons full
Length669 feet
Beam68 feet
Draft21 feet
Machinery4-shaft geared turbine, 12 Kampon boilers
Power Output132,000 shaft horsepower
Speed34 knots
Range8,500nm at 14 knots
Armament10x8in, 8x4.7in, 66x25mm anti-aircraft, 16 torpedo tubes
Armor1.5-5in main belt, 1.3in main deck, 0.5-1in upper deck, 3-4in bulkheads, 1in turrets


ww2dbaseTakao was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers. At the start of the Pacific War, she was commanded by Captain Asakura Bunji and participated in the invasion of the Philippine Islands in Dec 1941, providing gunfire support at Lingayen Gulf. In Feb-Mar 1942, she participated in the Battle of the Java Sea. In Jun 1942, she was a part of the Aleutian force in the two-prong attack against the Aleutian Islands and Midway Atoll; she downed a B-17 bomber during the battle. Beginning in Aug 1942, she operated in the South Pacific. She participated in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in Oct 1942, the Second Battle of Guadalcanal in Nov 1942, and the evacuation of Guadalcanal in 1943. On 5 Nov 1943, she was attacked by American carrier Saratoga's SBD dive bombers while refueling at Rabaul, with her steering damaged by two bombs; he was forced to return to Yokosuka for extended repairs. In Oct 1944, she operated under Takeo Kurita and sailed with the force to attack American landing forces in the Philippines. While in the Palawan Passage, American submarines Darter and Dace intercepted the fleet on 23 Oct. At 0524, Darther fired a spread of torpedoes and scored four or five hits on fleet mate Atago; she sank roughly 30 minutes later with heavy casualties. At 0534, Darter hit Takao twice, shattering two shafts, breaking her fantail, and flooded three boiler rooms. Takao was sent back to Singapore for repairs, escorted by the destroyers Naganami and Asashimo, the torpedo boat Hiyodori, and the transport Mitsu Maru. When she arrived at Singapore, she was moored and became a stationary anti-aircraft gun battery. She was attacked by British submarine XE3 during Operation Struggle at 2100 on 31 Jul 1945, whose magnetic limpet mines blew a hole 20-meter by 10-meter wide and took a number of her guns out of commission. The Japanese were at first clueless of the infiltration by XE3, and remained so until divers investigating the damage found unexploded mines still attached to Takao's hull. After the surrender, she was boarded by British personnel on 21 Sep 1945. She was eventually sunk as a target ship for HMS Newfoundland in the Malacca Strait.

ww2dbaseSources: Interrogation of Japanese Officials, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Feb 2007

Heavy Cruiser Takao Interactive Map


Japanese heavy cruiser Takao, early 1930sView of forward turrets and bridge of heavy cruiser Takao, 20 Mar 1932Japanese heavy cruiser Takao on a trial run at full speed off Tateyama, Tokyo Bay, 1 Jul 1932Japanese heavy cruiser Takao underway, summer 1937
See all 10 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Takao


Map depicting Japanese and US Naval movements during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal the night of Nov 14, 1942.

Takao Operational Timeline

31 May 1932 Takao was commissioned into service.
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.
2 Mar 1942 Japanese cruisers Takao and Atago sank US destroyer USS Pillsbury 500 miles south of Java, Dutch East Indies at 2100 hours, all 173 aboard were killed.
5 Nov 1943 During the US raid on Rabaul, New Britain, Takao was hit on the main deck near No. 2 turret, killing 23.
6 Nov 1943 Takao departed Rabaul, New Britain for Truk, Caroline Islands to receive temporary repairs.
31 Jul 1945 Operation Struggle: British midget submarine XE3, crewed by Lieutenant Ian Fraser, Acting Leading Seaman James Magennis, Sub-Lieutenant William James Lanyon Smith, (of New Zealand), and Engine Room Artificer Third Class Charles Alfred Reed, attacked Japanese shipping at Singapore, sinking heavy cruiser Takao. Fraser and Magennis would later be awarded the Victoria Cross for this sinking, while Smith would receive the Distinguished Service Order and Reed the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.

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More on Takao
» Nobuhito
» Daigo, Tadashige
» Inoguchi, Toshihira
» Nagumo, Chuichi
» Takagi, Takeo

Event(s) Participated:
» Invasion of the Philippine Islands
» Dutch East Indies Campaign, Java
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign

» Interrogation Nav 82, Captain Tsuneo Shiki

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Heavy Cruiser Takao Photo Gallery
Japanese heavy cruiser Takao, early 1930s
See all 10 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Takao

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