Japanese cruiser Yahagi

Japanese cruiser Yahagi was a light cruiser of the Dai-Nippon Teikoku Kaigun, belonging to the class Agano.

History

The Yahagi was the second of four light cruisers class Agano completed and, like the other ships of its class, it was conceived as a flagship of a destroyer flotilla.

It was completed 29 December 1943 and in February 1944 he was sent to Singapore to patrol Lingga and to do some tests. In May sailed from Singapore to Tawi-Tawi with the aircraft carriers Taiho, Shokaku and Zuikaku and the cruisers Myoko and Haguro.

During the Battle of the Philippine Sea, fought June 19, 1944, the Yahagi was part of the “Force A” of ‘Admiral Ozawa Jisaburō that collided off the coast of Saipan Fift with the U.S. Fleet in what was to be a decisive battle. The Yahagi was in command of the destroyer Asagumo, Urakaze, Isokaze, Tanikaze, Wakatsuki, Hatsuzuki, Akizuki and Shimotsuki. During the clashes with the Task Force 58 U.S. naval aviation Japanese suffered heavy losses, so many that the battle became known as “‘The great turkey shoot at the Marianas”, to emphasize the ease with which U.S. planes shot down those enemies .

During the battle, the Yahagi and Uarakaze drew rescued 570 men of the Shokaku after it was torpedoed by the submarine Cavalla.

Between the end of June and beginning of July 1944 the Yahagi was subjected to work in the shipyards of Kure. Were installed 2 more triple turrets of 25 mm anti-aircraft guns, bringing to 48 the total of weapons of this caliber. In addition, the Yahagi was equipped with a Type 13 air search radar and a surface radar Type 22 and shot control.

The Yahagi was placed in the second section of the Force in the Central Force under the command of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, who took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which began Oct. 22, 1944. The Yahagi commanded a force composed of destroyers Kiyoshimo, Nowaki, Urakaze, Yukikaze, and Hamakaze Isokaze. The ship was accompanied by the battle cruisers and Kongō Haruna and the heavy cruisers Tone, Chikuma, Kumano and Suzuya. The Kurita’s Central Force collided with the U.S. ships of Task Force 38 on October 24, in what became known as the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea.

During the fighting the Japanese fleet undergoes 11 raids by more than 250 aircraft took off from aircraft carrier Enterprise, Essex, Intrepid, Franklin, Lexington and Cabot. In the battle is damaged and remain sunk the Musashi and the Yamato Nagato, while the Yahagi not report any damage. The next day, it takes part in the battle off Samar, also in this case no damage. On October 26th, off the coast of Panay, Force A was attacked by 80 aircraft, followed by 30 heavy bombers Consolidated B-24 Liberator and finally an additional 60 aircraft. None of the planes struck the Yahagi, who was able to return to Brunei safely.

On 16 November 1944 the Yahagi became the flagship of the retroammiraglio Keizo Komura. On the same day the Yahagi was ordered to return to Japan in order to apply to jobs. He remained in Japanese waters until March 1945.

Operation Ten-Go

On 6 April 1945, the Yahagi was ordered to join the Task Force of the Yamato Admiral Seiichi Itō, who would take part to’ Operation Ten-Go, the last major offensive of the Imperial Navy, whose goal was to attack the U.S. naval force off Okinawa. Was initially rejected because it is considered a suicide mission, but Vice Admiral Ryūnosuke Kusaka was able to convince the high command of the Imperial Navy that the attack would have been useful to divert the attention of the U.S. aircraft from their ships, so as to allow the kamikaze to attack them with greater ease.

The Yahagi then joined the Yamato, sailed from Tokushima. At 12:20 on April 7 the Yamato Task Force, composed only by the Yamato and Yahagi, by an escort of 8 destroyers and 115 aircraft, mostly bombers, attacked the Task Force 58, composed of 11 aircraft carriers for a total of 386 aircraft (180 fighters, 75 bombers, 131 torpedo bombers), 6 battleships and a large number of cruisers and destroyers. 12:46 a torpedo struck the Yahagi directly in the engine room, killing all the experts engines and leaving the cruiser property. Rest in the water, the Yahagi was hit by more than six torpedoes and 12 bombs launched by several waves of air strikes. The Isokaze tried to come to the aid of the Yahagi but was attacked and heavily damaged, sank shortly after. At 14:05 the Yahagi capsized and sank. Claimed the lives of 445 crew members. The retroammiraglio Keizo Komura and Tameichi Hara, captain of the Yahagi, were among the survivors rescued by Hatsushimo and Yukikaze. The survivors were able to see the Yamato in the distance, steaming away to the south under the attacks of the U.S. aircraft.

A few minutes later, at 14:23, the Yamato exploded.

The Yahagi was radiata office June 20, 1945.

Military boats of World War II

Units of the Imperial Japanese Navy

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