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Japanese cruiser Yura

Japanese cruiser Yura

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The was the third of the six vessels completed in the Nagara class
Nagara class cruiser
-External links: *...

 of light cruiser
Light cruiser
A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

s, and like other vessels of her class, she was intended for use as the flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 of a destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

 flotilla. She was named after the Yura River near Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

, Japan.

Early career

Yura was completed at the Sasebo Navy Yard on 20 March 1923. In 1930, she served as a test platform for aircraft catapult
Aircraft catapult
An aircraft catapult is a device used to launch aircraft from ships—in particular aircraft carriers—as a form of assisted take off. It consists of a track built into the flight deck, below which is a large piston or shuttle that is attached through the track to the nose gear of the aircraft, or in...

s installed in front of her bridge and, in 1933-34 received a rotating catapult amidships as well as a new mainmast to support an aircraft derrick. During the Manchurian Incident, Yura was deployed to Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 China in early 1932, and again between 1937–1939, to cover the landings of Japanese troops.

Early stages of the Pacific War

On 1 September 1941, Yura was flagship of Rear Admiral
Rear admiral (United States)
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. The uniformed services of the United States are unique in having two grades of rear admirals.- Rear admiral :...

 Daigo Tadashige
Daigo Tadashige
Marquis was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.-Biography:Born in Chiyoda, Tokyo into a kuge family of court nobility related to the Fujiwara aristocracy, Daigo was a graduate of the Gakushuin Peers' school. He went on to graduate from the 40th class of the Imperial...

's SubRon 5. It was assigned to the South Area Force based in Hainan
Hainan is the smallest province of the People's Republic of China . Although the province comprises some two hundred islands scattered among three archipelagos off the southern coast, of its land mass is Hainan Island , from which the province takes its name...

. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

, Yura was covering the first wave of the Malaya Invasion Force south of the Cape of Camau
Cape of Camau
Cape of Camau, in Vietnam, is the most southern point of Indochina mainland....

, French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....


On 9 December 1941, Yura and its squadron was ordered to pursue and sink
Sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse
The sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse was a Second World War naval engagement that took place north of Singapore, off the east coast of Malaya, near Kuantan, Pahang where the British Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse were sunk by land-based bombers and...

 the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 Force Z
Force Z
Force Z was an Allied naval detachment consisting of the battleship , the battlecruiser , and four destroyers, , , , and . Initially an aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable was included, but she ran aground in the Caribbean, and was not replaced by HMS Hermes which was regarded as too slow.A renamed...

 (the Royal Navy battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

 , battlecruiser
Battlecruisers were large capital ships built in the first half of the 20th century. They were developed in the first decade of the century as the successor to the armoured cruiser, but their evolution was more closely linked to that of the dreadnought battleship...

  and supporting destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

s). Although Yura received word from that the British ships have been spotted, due to poor wireless reception, the signal was unclear and the British vessels were overwhelmed by torpedo bomber
Torpedo bomber
A torpedo bomber is a bomber aircraft designed primarily to attack ships with aerial torpedoes which could also carry out conventional bombings. Torpedo bombers existed almost exclusively prior to and during World War II when they were an important element in many famous battles, notably the...

s of the 22nd Air Flotilla from bases in Indochina before Yura and her submarines could take action.

Yura was then assigned to the invasion of Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

 from 13 – 26 December 1941, covering landings in Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, Miri
Miri is a city in northern Sarawak, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is the second largest city in Sarawak, with a population of about 300,000, and the government administrative centre of Miri District in Miri Division....

, Seria
Seria is a town in the Belait District of Brunei Darussalam. Its full name is Pekan Seria in full . Seria was originally known as Padang Berawa which is Wild Pigeon's Field in Malay. The name "Seria" comes from the river located very near where oil was first discovered in the area in 1929...

, Lutong and Kuching
Kuching , officially the City of Kuching, and formerly the City of Sarawak, is the capital and most populous city of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. It is the largest city on the island of Borneo, and the fourth largest city in Malaysia....

. The 2,500 men of the "Kawaguchi Detachment" and the No. 2 Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) quickly captured Miri's airfield and oil fields. The operation was completed, and Yura returned to its base at Camranh Bay, Indochina by the end of the year.

In February, Yura was assigned to Vice Admiral
Vice admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

 Ibō Takahashi
Ibo Takahashi
- Books :...

's Third Fleet, Southern Force and covered the invasion of Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, protecting the landings of troops at Palembang
Palembang is the capital city of the South Sumatra province in Indonesia. Palembang is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia, and has a history of being a capital of a maritime empire. Located on the Musi River banks on the east coast of southern Sumatra island, it has an area of 400.61 square...

, Banka
Banka may refer to:* Banka, Bihar, a town in Bihar, India* Banka district, Bihar, India* Bankə, Azerbaijan*Banka, Cameroon* the Banka Gold Mining Project operated by Mwana Africa plc, in Ghana...

 Island, and Bantam
Bantam (city)
Bantam in Banten province near the western end of Java was a strategically important site and formerly a major trading city, with a secure harbor on the Sunda Strait through which all ocean-going traffic passed, at the mouth of Banten River that provided a navigable passage for light craft into...

 Bay and Merak on Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...


On 1 March 1942, near Euretan Wetan the Dutch
Royal Netherlands Navy
The Koninklijke Marine is the navy of the Netherlands. In the mid-17th century the Dutch Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and it played an active role in the wars of the Dutch Republic and later those of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 submarine K-XIV made visual contact with Yura and attacked, launching two torpedoes from 2500–3000 meters, but both either missed or were duds. The Japanese made six depth charge
Depth charge
A depth charge is an anti-submarine warfare weapon intended to destroy or cripple a target submarine by the shock of exploding near it. Most use explosives and a fuze set to go off at a preselected depth in the ocean. Depth charges can be dropped by either surface ships, patrol aircraft, or from...

 attacks, dropping about 25 depth charges, but K-XIV survived and escaped via Sunda Strait
Sunda Strait
The Sunda Strait is the strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. It connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean...

 to Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

, Ceylon. On 4 March, Yura rescued the crew of the tanker Erimo (sunk by ). On 6 March, Yura was assigned to the No. 1 Escort Unit, and continued to cover troop landings in Sumatra and the Andaman Islands
Andaman Islands
The Andaman Islands are a group of Indian Ocean archipelagic islands in the Bay of Bengal between India to the west, and Burma , to the north and east...

 through the end of the month.

Indian Ocean Raids

In April, Yura was assigned to raids in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean raid
The Indian Ocean raid was a naval sortie by the Fast Carrier Strike Force of the Imperial Japanese Navy from 31 March-10 April 1942 against Allied shipping and bases in the Indian Ocean. It was an early engagement of the Pacific campaign of World War II...

 under Vice Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa
Jisaburo Ozawa
was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. He was the last Commander-in-Chief of Combined Fleet. Many military historians regard Ozawa as one of the most capable Japanese flag officers.-Biography:...

's Second Expeditionary Fleet. Yura, accompanied by the destroyers , , , and , depart Mergui
Myeik is a city in Tanintharyi Division in Myanmar , located in the extreme south of the country on the coast of an island on the Andaman Sea. the estimated population was over 209,000. The area inland from the city is a major smuggling corridor into Thailand.-History:Myeik was the southernmost...

 and steamed into the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 with cruisers and , , and and light carrier to attack merchant shipping.

On 6 April 1942, 14 miles (22.5 km) east of Kalingapatam in the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 Yura and Yugiri sank Dutch merchant Batavia en route from Calcutta to Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

. Yura and Yugiri also sank Dutch motorships Banjoewangi and British steamer Taksang. At the end of April, Yura returned to Sasebo Navy Yard for a refit.

Battle of Midway

On 10 May 1942, Yura became flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 of Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura's 4th Destroyer Squadron. At the Battle of Midway
Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...

, the squadron also included Captain Ranji Oe's 3rd Destroyer Division of 4 destroyers and Captain Yasuo Sato's 9th Destroyer Division of 3 destroyers. 4th Destroyer Squadron was in Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondō's Second Fleet, Strike Force. Yura did not see combat at Midway.

Solomon Islands Campaigns

On 7 August 1942 the United States began "Operation Watchtower" to retake Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal is a tropical island in the South-Western Pacific. The largest island in the Solomons, it was discovered by the Spanish expedition of Alvaro de Mendaña in 1568...

, and the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

. Yura was dispatched to Truk with Vice Admiral Kondo's Second Fleet to begin reinforcement operations, and was thus at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Battle of the Eastern Solomons
The naval Battle of the Eastern Solomons The naval Battle of the Eastern Solomons The naval Battle of the Eastern Solomons (also known as the Battle of the Stewart Islands and, in Japanese sources, as the , took place on 24–25 August 1942, and was the third carrier battle of the Pacific campaign...

 on 24 August 1942. Although the light carrier Ryujo was sunk and the seaplane carrier Chitose was damaged, Yura emerged unscathed, and returned to Truk on 5 September 1942.

For the remainder of September, Yura patrolled between Truk, Guadalcanal and Shortland Islands
Shortland Islands
The Shortland Islands are group of islands belonging to the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, at . Named by John Shortland, they lie in the extreme northwest of the country's territory, close to the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. The largest island is Shortland Island...

. On 25 September 1942, while at Shortland, it was attacked by two Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the USAAF 11th Bomb Group based at Espiritu Santo
Espiritu Santo
Espiritu Santo is the largest island in the nation of Vanuatu, with an area of . It belongs to the archipelago of the New Hebrides in the Pacific region of Melanesia. It is in the Sanma Province of Vanuatu....

 and was slightly damaged by a small bomb.

On 11 October 1942, the claimed a torpedo hit forward of Yuras bridge that inflicted minor damage, but postwar analysis failed to confirm this attack and Yura was apparently not damaged this day.

On 12 October 1942, Yura departed Shortland to escort seaplane tenders Nisshin and Chitose returning from a transport run from Guadalcanal, and on 14 October 1942, Yura assisted in landing 1,100 troops on Cape Esperance
Cape Esperance
Cape Esperance is the northernmost point on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. The Battle of Cape Esperance, one of several naval engagements fought in the waters north of the island during the World War II Guadalcanal campaign, took its name from this point...

, Guadalcanal. Another "Tokyo Express" troop transport run to Guadalcanal was made on 17 October 1942 to carry 2,100 troops, field artillery
Field artillery
Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, long range, short range and extremely long range target engagement....

 pieces and anti-tank guns.

On 18 October 1942, en route back to Shortland, Yura was attacked by off Choiseul Island
Choiseul Island
Choiseul Island, native name Lauru, is the largest island of the Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, at .-Description:This island is named after Étienne François, duc de Choiseul....

. The Grampus fired four Mark 14 torpedo
Mark 14 torpedo
The Mark 14 torpedo was the United States Navy's standard submarine-launched anti-ship torpedo of World War II.This weapon was plagued with many problems which crippled its performance early in the war, and was supplemented by the Mark 18 electric torpedo in the last 2 years of the war...

es at the Yura. One hit but did not explode, and Yura departed the area with a dent in her port side.

On 24 October 1942, Yura departed Shortland to bombard Guadalcanal with the No. 2 Attack Unit consisting of Rear Admiral Takama's flagship , , and .

At the north entrance to Indispensable Strait, off Guadalcanal, on 25 October 1942 (the day before the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, 26 October 1942, sometimes referred to as the Battle of Santa Cruz or in Japanese sources as the , was the fourth carrier battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II and the fourth major naval engagement fought between the United States Navy and the Imperial...

), Yura, leading an attack group of destroyers off Santa Isabel Island
Santa Isabel Island
Santa Isabel Island is the longest in the Solomon Islands, South Pacific, and the largest in the group of islands in Isabel Province.-Location and geographic data:...

 in the Solomons was attacked by five SBD Dauntless
SBD Dauntless
The Douglas SBD Dauntless was a naval dive bomber made by Douglas during World War II. The SBD was the United States Navy's main dive bomber from mid-1940 until late 1943, when it was largely replaced by the SB2C Helldiver...

 dive-bombers of VS-71 and hit aft by two bombs near the engine room. She flooded and settled by the stern. After receiving reports of the attack, Vice Admiral Mikawa, CINC, Eighth Fleet, cancelled Rear Admiral Takama's bombardment mission. The No. 2 Attack Unit reversed course back towards Shortland. On the way back, Yura was attacked again by three USAAF P-39 Airacobras and by four Marine SBDs, but these attacks failed to cause any additional damage. Captain Sato attempted to beach Yura but she was attacked again by four SBDs, three F4F Wildcat
F4F Wildcat
The Grumman F4F Wildcat was an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service with both the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy in 1940...

s and four P-39s. Soon after this attack, the Yura was attacked by another six USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress bombers from Espiritu Santo. These attacks reignited Yuras' fires.

At 18:30, after her crew was taken off, destroyers Harusame and Yudachi scuttled Yura with torpedoes. She broke in two and the forward portion sank. At 19:00, the stern portion was sunk off Savo Island
Savo Island
Savo Island is a volcanic island in the Solomon Islands group in the South Pacific ocean. It is located to the northeast of the northern tip of Guadalcanal Island at . Politically, Savo Island is a part of the Solomons' Central Province. The indigenous language of Savo is the Savosavo language.The...

by gunfire from Yudachi at 08°15′S 159°07′E.

Yura was removed from the Navy List on 20 November 1942.

External links

tabular record: Tabular Record of Movement (World War II only) – Jonathan Parshall