Furutaka file photo [1274]


Ship ClassFurutaka-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderMitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard
Laid Down5 Dec 1922
Launched25 Feb 1925
Commissioned31 Mar 1926
Sunk12 Oct 1942
Displacement9,150 tons standard; 10,507 tons full
Length595 feet
Beam51 feet
Draft18 feet
Machinery4-shaft Parsons geared turbines, 12 Kampon boilers
Power Output102,000 shaft horsepower
Speed34 knots
Range7,000nm at 14 knots
Armor76mm belt, 36mm deck
Aircraft1 floatplane


ww2dbaseNamed after the mountain at Etajima, Hiroshima, Japan where the Imperial Japanese Navy Academy was located, the heavy cruiser Furutaka was commissioned at Nagasaki, Japan in 1926. Between 1926 and 1930, she was a member of the 5th Sendai (Squadron). Between 1931 and 1933, she was placed in reserve. Between 1933 and 1936, she served off Chinese waters and engaged in intensive combat exercises. Between 1936 and mid 1939, she was modernized at Kure Navy Yard, Japan. The modernization included replacing her single gun mounts with twin turrets, widening of her beam (thus increasing displacement from 7,950 tons to 9,150 tons), upgrading her boilers, upgrading her anti-aircraft weapons, and upgrading her fire control equipment. Between 1939 and 1941, she patrolled in waters near the Japanese home islands as a part of the 6th Sendai.

ww2dbaseDuring the opening chapters of the Pacific War, Furutaka sailed in support of the invasion of Guam and Wake islands as a part of Rear Admiral Aritomo Goto's 6th Sendai. Between 18 Jan and Mar 1942, with 6th Sendai, she supported Japanese landings at Rabaul, New Britain and Kavieng, New Ireland. In Mar and Apr, she covered the landings at the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. During the Battle of the Coral Sea, on 8 May 1942, carrier Shokaku was damaged by American aircraft, and Furutaka escorted her back to Truk in the Caroline Islands. On 5 Jun, she returned to Kure for repairs, returning to Truk on 7 Jul.

ww2dbaseOn 14 Jul, 6th Sendai which Furutaka was still a part of was assigned to the newly created Eighth Fleet under Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi, with which fleet she patrolled in the Solomon Islands. On 9 Aug, 6th Sendai engaged in the Battle of Savo Island, in which the American fleet suffered serious losses including the loss of 1,000 lives. In Aug and Sep, she sailed between Kieta and Rabaul, attacked by a PBY Catalina aircraft in late Aug and submarine USS S-47 on 12 Sep, but escaped unscathed on both occasions.

ww2dbaseDuring the night of 11-12 Oct 1942, Furutaka was engaged in the Battle of Cape Esperance. The American fleet crossed the Japanese fleet's "T", and in the confusion of the start of the attack, Admiral Goto thought he was fired upon by mistake by Japanese ships, and maneuvered in a way that further exposed the fleet to the Americans. Flagship Aoba was quickly hit and heavily damaged, mortally wounding Goto. Under the direction of Captain Tsutau Araki, who had been the commanding officer since 28 Nov 1941, Furutaka maneuvered herself between Aoba and the American ships, sacrificing herself to protect the flagship from further harm. Destroyer USS Duncan fired two torpedoes at Furutaka that either missed or failed to detonate, but the 90 shell hits from American ships were effective in damaging Furutaka, igniting some of her Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes and causing fires. At 2354, an American torpedo hit her, flooding her forward engine room. After efforts to control flooding failed, orders were given to abandon her. At 0228 on 12 Oct, she sank by the stern. 514 survivors, including Captain Araki, were rescued by destroyers Hatsuyuki, Murakumo and Shirayuki. 33 men were killed with additional 110 men reported as missing; 115 were captured by Americans.

ww2dbaseSources: Struggle for Guadalcanal, United States Navy Naval Historical Center, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2008

Heavy Cruiser Furutaka Interactive Map

Furutaka Operational Timeline

31 Mar 1926 Furutaka was commissioned into service.
8 Aug 1942 In the pre-dawn morning, 7 Japanese cruisers and 1 destroyer under Gunichi Mikawa departed Kavieng, New Ireland and Rabaul, New Britain, sailing south without being detected; after sundown, the force caught Allied warships by surprise off Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands; in the Battle of Savo Island, Japanese cruisers Chōkai, Aoba, Kako, Kinugasa, and Furutaka used Type 93 torpedoes and gunfire to sink US cruisers USS Quincy, Vincennes, and Astoria and Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra; 1,077 US personnel were killed in this battle (Canberra was badly damaged and was ultimately scuttled by a US destroyer).
9 Aug 1942 Northwest of Savo Island in the Solomons, destroyer USS Ralph Talbot was fired upon by a friendly ship shortly after midnight. Two men were killed. Minutes later, Ralph Talbot exchanged gunfire with Japanese cruiser Furutaka that killed ten men aboard Ralph Talbot, wounded 23, and left two men missing.
12 Oct 1942 Japanese cruiser Furutaka maneuvered herself in between flagship Aoba and American ships during Battle of Cape Esperance, saving the flagship but causing her own demise.


Furutaka at 1926, photo 1 of 3Furutaka at 1926, photo 2 of 3Furutaka at 1926, photo 3 of 3Furutaka as member of the Japanese Navy 5th Sentai (Squadron), circa 1927-1928
See all 13 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Furutaka

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
22 Feb 2009 01:51:42 PM

Furutaka launched 25 Feb.1925 completed 31 March 1926, modernized 1 Apr.1937 to 30 Apr. 1939. Sunk 11 Oct. 1942 by gunfire north- east of Savo Island by the U.S. Cruisers Salt Lake City and Boise.

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Event(s) Participated:
» Invasion of Guam
» Battle of Wake Island
» Guadalcanal Campaign

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Heavy Cruiser Furutaka Photo Gallery
Furutaka at 1926, photo 1 of 3
See all 13 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Furutaka

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