Tama file photo [7642]


Ship ClassKuma-class Light Cruiser
BuilderMitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard
Laid Down10 Aug 1918
Launched10 Feb 1920
Commissioned29 Jan 1921
Sunk20 Oct 1944
Displacement5,100 tons standard; 5,832 tons full
Length532 feet
Beam46 feet
Draft15 feet
Machinery12 Kampon boilers, Gihon geared turbines, 4 shafts
Power Output90,000 shaft horsepower
Speed36 knots
Range5,000nm at 14 knots
Armament7x140mm guns, 2x80mm guns, 4x2x533mm torpedo tubes, 48 mines
Armor64mm belt, 29mm deck
Aircraft1 floatplane


ww2dbaseUpon commissioning, light cruiser Tama covered the Japanese troops during the Siberian Intervention against the Red Army. In 1925, she sailed to San Pedro, California, United States, carrying on board the remains of the American ambassador to Japan, who had passed away in Tokyo, Japan. In early 1932, operating out of Taiwan, she patrolled the Manchurian coast during the Mukden Incident and supported the landing of Japanese troops near Shanghai, China. On 10 Jan 1935, she hosted German naval attachƩ Captain Paul Wenneker. On 10 Sep 1941, she became the flagship of Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya's Cruiser Division 21.

ww2dbaseOn 2 Dec 1941, Tama was sent to the Kurile Islands for patrols, and returned to Yokosuka, Japan for repairs after being damaged by severe weather. On 21 Jan 1942, Cruiser Division 21 departed Yokosuka for patrols near Hokkaido, Japan, and was recalled after the Americans raided Marcus Island on 5 Mar. The division was re-assigned to the 1st Fleet to escort battleships Hyuga and Ise. In early Apr, Cruiser Division 21, again patrolled waters in northern Japan. In mid-Apr, she unsuccessfully searched for the American fleet that delivered the Doolittle Raiders before returning to the northern waters. On 28 May 1942, she departed from Mutsu Bay in Japan to participate in the invasion of the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, United States, acting as a troop transport. She returned to Japan on 23 Jun to provide cover for a reinforcement convoy back to Kiska, Aleutian Islands. She remained in the Aleutian Islands area until 2 Aug. On 25 Oct 1942, she embarked further reinforcement at Kashiwabara, Paramushiro, Japan and sailed for Attu. She patrolled the North Pacific Ocean between the Aleutian Islands and Hakkaido and ran several more supply runs to Attu. On 26 Mar 1943, she participated in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands. She remained in the North Pacific until 30 Aug 1943.

ww2dbaseAfter a refit at Yokosuka, Tama was sent south with troops and supplies for Ponape, Caroline Islands on 15 Sep 1943. In Oct, she transferred troops from Shanghai, China to Truk, Caroline Islands and Rabaul, New Britain, Solomon Islands. On 21 Oct, after having already disembarked troops at Rabaul, she was attacked by Australian Beaufort bombers from Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; she was damaged by near misses and received temporary repairs at Rabaul. At the end of that month, she returned to Yokosuka for permanent repairs and a major refit, exchanging her No. 5 and No. 7 140-millimeter guns and the catapult and derrick for additional anti-aircraft weapons and a Type 21 Air Search radar. The work was done on 9 Dec and she departed Yokosuka on 24 Dec for patrols to the north. Between Jun and Aug 1944, she made two troops transport runs to the Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands).

ww2dbaseOn 30 Aug, Tama left Cruiser Division 21 to become the flagship of Destroyer Squadron 11 of the Combined Fleet. During the Battle off Cape EngaƱo in Oct 1944, she was hit in the No. 2 boiler room by a Mark 13 torpedo launched by an American TBM Avenger torpedo bomber. Sailing at 14 knots toward Okinawa, Japan to seek refuge, unescorted by this point, she was intercepted by American submarine Jallao on Jallao's first war patrol. The submarine launched three bow torpedoes at the distance of 1,000 yards, and all three missed. She then launched a salvo of four stern torpedoes at 800 yards, hitting Tama with three. Tama broke in two and sank within minutes northeast of Luzon, Philippine Islands, with all hands.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2009

Light Cruiser Tama Interactive Map


Light cruiser Tama in arctic camouflage, 1942

Tama Operational Timeline

29 Jan 1921 Tama was commissioned into service.
26 Mar 1943 During the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, Japanese cruisers Nachi, Maya, Tama, and Abukuma with destroyers Wakaba, Hatsushimo, Ikazuchi, Inazuma, and Usugumo plus three transport ships engaged United States Navy cruisers Salt Lake City and Richmond escorted by destroyers Coghlan, Bailey, Dale, and Monaghan in one of the very few pure naval surface battles of World War II involving long-range guns. Nachi was forced to push one of her floatplanes overboard (concussion damage from her own guns), fired several Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at the US forces (none of which hit), and received five hits (killing 14). Salt Lake City sustained moderate damage and was dead in the water for a short time. Bailey, Coghlan, and Monaghan made a bold torpedo attack that became known as the Charge of the Irish Destroyers.

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More on Tama
» Abe, Hiroaki

Event(s) Participated:
» First Battle of Shanghai
» Battle of Xiamen
» Guangdong Operation
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Aleutian Islands Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign

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Light Cruiser Tama Photo Gallery
Light cruiser Tama in arctic camouflage, 1942

Famous WW2 Quote
"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"

Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943

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