(KIRISHIMA in 1932 colorized by Irootoko, Jr.

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2001-2016 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Lars Ahlberg.
Revision 19

17 March 1912:
Nagasaki. A battlecruiser is laid down at Mitsubishi Zosen Kaisha's shipyard. She will be built based on plans for KONGO designed by Sir George Thurston of the British shipbuilding firm of Vickers-Armstrong. Most of the parts used in her construction are manufactured in Japan.

1 December 1913:
Launched and named KIRISHIMA

26 December 1913:
Moved to Sasebo.

15 December 1914:
Sasebo. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kamaya Rokuro (14)(former CO of BB AKI) is appointed Chief Equipping Officer.

19 April 1915:
Completed and commissioned in the IJN. Attached to the Sasebo Naval District. Captain Kamaya is her first Commanding Officer.

12 June 1915:
KIRISHIMA and sister HARUNA are assigned to BatDiv 1, First Fleet.

13 December 1915:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Shima Takeshi (15).(former CO of BB AKI) is appointed CO. BatDiv 3 is reassigned to Second Fleet.

9 April 1916:
Departs Sasebo for operations off China.

19 April 1916:
Arrives at Sasebo.

1 December 1916:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsumura Junichi (18) (former CO of BC IKOMA) is appointed CO.

1 April 1917:
Departs Sasebo with sisters KONGO and HARUNA to patrol off the Chinese coast.

11 April 1917:
Returns to Sasebo.

16 July 1917:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Nakamura Masaki (20).(former CO of CL CHITOSE) is appointed CO.

1 December 1917:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mimura Kinzaburo (18) (former CO of BB KASHIMA) is appointed CO.

11 April 1918:
Departs Sasebo with KONGO and HIEI to patrol off Tsingtao.

17 April 1918:
Arrives at Inchon, Korea.

10 July 1918:
Departs Miyajima for an extended cruise to Canada with HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught (1883-1938) aboard. [1]

24 August 1918:
Returns to Yokosuka.

10 November 1918:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Katsuki Genjiro (21)(former CO of BC IKOMA) is appointed CO.

25 March 1919:
Departs Shibushi Bay, Kyushu, to patrol off Chinese coast in company of HIEI and HARUNA.

9 April 1919:
Returns to Sasebo.

28 June 1919 - The Treaty of Versailles:
After the defeat of Germany, Japan is given a mandate over the ex-German islands in the Pacific with the exception of Tsingtao.

20 November 1919:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yokoo Hisashi(23)(former CO of DD NOWAKI) is appointed CO.

8 January 1920:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yasumura Sukeichi (23)(former CO of BB KASHIMA) is appointed CO.

1 December 1920:
Reassigned to BatDiv 3, Second Fleet.

19 August 1921:
Departs Sasebo in company of KONGO and NAGATO to patrol off Lushun (Port Arthur), Tsingtao and Dairen, China.

30 August 1921:
Arrives Ariake Bay.

1 December 1921:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Teraoka Heigo(27)(former CO of BC KURAMA) is appointed CO.

6 February 1922: The Washington Treaty:
Washington, DC. Japan, United States, Britain, France and Italy agree to limit the displacement and main armament of their capital ships, aircraft carriers and cruisers and to limit the total tonnage and age of their capital ships and carriers. Battleships and aircraft carriers are set at a ratio of 5:5:3 for the navies of Great Britain, the United States and Japan. Japan's Plenipotentiary at the conference is her Minister of the Navy, Admiral (later Fleet Admiral/Prime Minister), the Baron, Kato Tomosaburo.

19 June 1922:
Departs Sasebo in company of KONGO and HIEI, patrols off Tsingtao and Dairen.

4 July 1922:
Arrives at Chinhae, Korea.

30 August 1922:
Departs Sasebo to join KONGO, HIEI, ISE, NAGATO, MUTSU and TENRYU (flagship of DesRon 1).

10 September 1922:
Following maneuvers in St. Vladimir Bay area, all ships return to Otaru on 10 September.

14 September 1922:
During the maneuvers KIRISHIMA collides with destroyer FUJI. Both vessels sustain minor damage.

1 December 1922:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ando Masataka(28)(former CO of DD UZUKI) is appointed CO.

18 February 1923:
Departs Kure in company of KONGO to patrol in the Mandate Islands area.

15 March 1923:
Returns to Sasebo.

25 August 1923:
Departs Yokosuka in company of HIEI and NAGATO to participate in maneuvers in Korea Bay.

1 September 1923:
Changshan archipelago, Korea Bay. A 1500, while preparing for post-maneuvers inspection, a radio message is received about the Great Kanto Earthquake, one of the worst earthquakes in history, that hit the Kanto plain destroying Tokyo, Yokohama and their surroundings. About 140,000 people are killed by the earthquake and the fires caused by it.

2 September 1923:
The battleships of the First Fleet depart Changshan for Kyushu.

5 September 1923:
Returns to Kure. Participates in earthquake rescue works until 30 September.

6 November 1923:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sakamoto Teiji (28).(former CO of CL KITAKAMI) is appointed CO.

1 December 1923:
Placed in third reserve in Kure for a rebuild.

During a minor refit at Sasebo the elevation of the 14-inch guns is increased from 20 degrees to 33 degrees.

1 September 1924:
Attached to BatDiv 4, Second Fleet.

1 December 1924:
Captain (later Admiral) Fujita Hisanori (29)(former CO of CL SUMA) is appointed CO.

30 March 1925:
Departs Nagasaki for operations off Chefoo, China.

5 April 1925:
Arrives at Lushun (Port Arthur), China.

14 April 1925:
Departs Dairen, China.

23 April 1925:
Arrives at Sasebo.

20 October 1925:
Captain (later Admiral/Viscount) Kato Takayoshi (31) (former ADC to Crown Prince Hirohito) is appointed CO.

29 March 1926:
Departs Tokuyama in company of HIEI to patrol off Tsingtao and Weihaiwei, China.

9 April 1926:
Arrives at Lushun (Port Arthur), China.

1 December 1926:
Placed in third reserve for her first reconstruction at Kure. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Honshuku Naojiro (30)(former CO of CL KISO) is appointed CO.

May 1927: First Reconstruction:
Kure. The thickness of KIRISHIMA’s horizontal armor over her magazines and machinery spaces is increased. Torpedo-bulges are added. All of her 36 Yarrow boilers are removed and replaced with 10 newer type boilers. The number of KIRISHIMA’s funnels is reduced from three to two and four torpedo tubes are removed. The foremast is rebuilt as a pagoda. Anti-torpedo net booms are removed.

1 December 1927:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Iwamura Kanekoto (31)(former CO of CL TATSUTA) is appointed CO.

10 March 1928:
Captain Furukawa Yoshikazu is appointed CO.

10 December 1928:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Inoue Choji (former CO of CA AOBA) is appointed CO.

8 February 1929:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Hirota Minoru (32)(former CO of AC IZUMO) is appointed the CO.

1 November 1929: (
Captain Fujisawa Takuo (33)(former CO of MYOKO) is appointed CO.

16 April 1930:
Kure. KIRISHIMA's First Reconstruction is completed.

22 April 1930: The London Treaty:
London. The Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament is signed by Japan, Great Britain and the United States. It is an extension of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. The signatories agree not to build new capital ships until 1937. A number of existing capital ships are to be scrapped.

August-October 1930:
Refit at Sasebo to install the aircraft equipment.

1 December 1930:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kikuno Shigeru (34)(former CO of CL TENRYU) is appointed CO. Reassigned to BatDiv 1, First Fleet.

September 1931: The Manchurian Incident:
Manchuria. Japan claims Chinese soldiers sabotaged the Japanese-controlled Manchurian railway. The Japanese Kwantung army attacks the Chinese Army and soon conquer all of Manchuria. They set up the puppet state of Manchukuo headed by the former Emperor of China, Henry Pu-Yi. China appeals to the League of Nations. The League sends V. A. G. R. Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton, to Manchuria to lead a Commission to investigate.

1 December 1931:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Uno Sekizo (34)(former CO of CV KAGA) is appointed CO.

27 March 1932:
Departs Sasebo and participated in the Shanghai, China, incident.

3 April 1932:
Arrives at Dairen, China.

1 December 1932:
Placed in third reserve. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kitaoka Haruo (34)(former CO of AC TOKIWA) is appointed CO.

25 February 1933:
Geneva, Switzerland. The League of Nations. The Lytton Commission reports that Japan violated Chinese sovereignty and should return Manchuria to China. At a Special Assembly, 40 nations vote that Japan should withdraw. Only Japan votes against it. Instead of returning Manchuria, Japan instructs its representative Yosuke Matsuoka (later Foreign Minister), to walk out of the League. After withdrawing from the League, Japan also decides that she will no longer abide by restrictions such as the Washington of 1922 and the London Treaty of 1930 that impose limitations on the number and size of her warships.

November 1932 to spring 1933:
During an AA upgrade at Sasebo 3-in guns are replaced by four twin 5-inch and four 40 mm Vickers guns.

16 August 1933:
Departs Tateyama in company of FUSO and NAGATO to patrol in Mandate Islands area, joining KONGO, HARUNA and HYUGA en route.

21 August 1933:
Returns to Kisarazu to participate in the naval review off Yokohama.

15 November 1933:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takahashi Ibo (former CO of CA ATAGO) is appointed CO. Attached to BatDiv 1, First Fleet.

27 September 1934:
Departs Lushun, China, for operations off Tsingtao, China.

5 October 1934:
Arrives at Sasebo.

Late 1933:
Aircraft handling deck is extended to accommodate a catapult. Two to three Nakajima E4N2 Type 90-2-2 floatplanes are embarked.

15 November 1934:
Reserve ship. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tange Kunji (36)(former CO of AC KASUGA) is appointed CO. Reassigned to BatDiv 1, First Fleet, replacing HARUNA.

18 November 1934: Second Reconstruction:
Sasebo. KIRISHIMA is reconstructed to transform her into a fast battleship. Her stern is lengthened by 26-feet. Her foremast is rebuilt to accommodate a new main gun director. All boilers are removed and replaced with 8 Kampon boilers and she receives new geared turbines. Her speed is increased to 30 knots. The elevation of the 14-inch guns is increased to 43 degrees and the elevation of the 6-inch guns to 30 degrees. She is reequipped with two Nakajima E8N1 Type 95 Dave and one Kawanishi E7K1 Type 94 Alf floatplanes.

15 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mikawa Gunichi (36)(former CO of CHOKAI) is appointed CO.

1 June 1936:
All KONGOs are reassigned to BatDiv 3, First Fleet.

8 June 1936:
The second reconstruction is completed.

4 August 1936:
Departs Keelung in company of FUSO, patrols off Amoy, China.

7 August 1936:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

1 December 1936:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Makita Kakusaburo (38)(former CO of CL ISUZU) is appointed CO.

27 March 1937:
Departs Terajima Channel for Tsingtao in company of HARUNA, HYUGA, NAGATO and MUTSU, CruDiv 8, DesRons 1 and 2, and SubRon 1.

6 April 1937:
Returns to Ariake Bay.

7 July 1937: The "First China Incident" and the Beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War:
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) troops on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops across the river think they are under attack. They fire live round back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to the Peiping (Beijing) suburb of Wanping to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

20 August 1937:
KIRISHIMA departs Atsuta (near Nagoya) with HARUNA. KIRISHIMA is carrying the 68th Infantry Regiment’s 1st Battalion (less 4th Company, 2 machine-gun platoons and baggage) and two other battalions of the 3rd Infantry Division.

22 August 1937:
Launches two floatplane strikes against targets in Shanghai area. Off Saddle Islands the troops are transferred to light cruiser NATORI (532 men) and destroyer HATSUSHIMO (233 men).

23 August 1937:
KIRISHIMA's floatplanes reconnoiter military objects in the Shanghai area.

24 August 1937:
Arrives at Sasebo.

15 September 1937:
Departs Sasebo for operations off northern China in company of HARUNA.

23 September 1937:
Returns to Sasebo.

1 December 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kanazawa Masao (39)(former CO of CL TENRYU) is appointed CO.

9 April 1938:
Departs Sasebo for operations off southern China.

17 October 1938:
Departs Sasebo and operates off southern China.

21 October 1938:
Early in the morning when ancored off Amoy, several vessels of the squadron are photographed from HMS BIRMINGHAM. KIRISHIMA launches an E8N Dave floatplane, which manages to take several photos of the retiring BIRMINGHAM.

23 October 1938:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

15 November 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Tada Takeo (40)(former CO of AO TSURUMI) is appointed CO. KIRISHIMA is designated flagship of ComBatDiv 3, Rear Admiral (later Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi.

22 March 1939:
Departs Kagoshima Bight in company of KONGO, FUSO, ISE and NAGATO to patrol off northern Chinese coast.

2 April 1939:
Arrives at Sasebo.

15 November 1939:
Placed in fourth reserve for a refit at Sasebo. Turret faces and barbettes receive additional armor. A new catapult is fitted (probably earlier). Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji (38), CO of CV KAGA, assumes joint command of KIRISHIMA.

27 December 1939:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tomonari Saichiro (38) (former CO of CA HAGURO) is appointed CO.

19 October 1940:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Shiraishi Kazutaka (former CO of CA FURUTAKA) is appointed CO.

15 November 1940:
Reassigned to BatDiv 3, First Fleet.

25 February 1941:
Departs Sasebo in company of HYUGA and MUTSU to patrol off the Chinese coast.

3 March 1941:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

7 March 1941:
Departs Mako.

11 March 1941:
Arrives at Shibushi Bay.

28 March 1941:
Departs Shibushi Bay.

29 March 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

25 April 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

27 April 1941:
Arrives at Sukumo Bay.

13 May 1941:
Departs Sukumo Bay.

14 May 1941:
Arrives at Beppu Bay.

18 May 1941:
Departs Beppu Bay.

19 May 1941:
Arrives at Sukumo Bay.

3 June 1941:
Departs Sukumo Bay.

5 June 1941:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

9 June 1941:
Departs Yokkaichi and arrives at Ise Bay.

23 June 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.

27 June 1941:
Departs Ariake Bay.

30 June 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

8 July 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

11 July 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.

16 July 1941:
Departs Ariake Bay.

17 July 1941:
Arrives at Komatsu Shima.

20 July 1941:
Departs Komatsu Shima.

22 July 1941:
Arrives at Sukumo Bay.

27 July 1941:
Departs Sukumo Bay.

28 July 1941:
Arrives at Beppu.

1 August 1941:
Departs Beppu and arrives at Saeki Bay.

11 August 1941:
Departs Saeki Bay.

14 August 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

15 August 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yamaguchi Jihei (41).(former CO of CA TAKAO) is appointed CO.

4 October 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

5 October 1941:
Arrives off Murozumi Bight.

17 October 1941:
Departs Murozumi Bight and arrives at Saeki.

2 November 1941:
Departs Saeki and arrives at Ariake Bay.

4 November 1941:
Departs Ariake Bay.

6 November 1941:
Arrives at Kagoshima.

7 November 1941:
Departs Kagoshima.

9 November 1941:
Arrives at Saeki Bay.

10 November 1941:
Departs Saeki Bay.

11 November 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo and prepares for war.

15 November 1941:
KIRISHIMA is assigned to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro's (former CO of CL ISUZU) First Fleet at the Combined Fleet's anchorage at Hashirajima in Hiroshima Bay in Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) BatDiv 3 with her sisters HIEI, HARUNA and KONGO. KIRISHIMA is home-ported at Sasebo Naval Base.

17 November 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

22 November 1941:
Arrives at Hitokappu Bay, Etorofu Island, Kuriles.

26 November 1941: Operation "Z":
BatDiv 3, Section 1's KIRISHIMA and HIEI depart Hitokappu Bay, Etorofu Island in the Kuriles with Vice Admiral Mikawa's Support Force: CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA, destroyers and Supply Groups Nos. 1 and 2. Mikawa's Force accompanies Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) First Air Fleet Striking Force ("Kido Butai"): CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU and CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU.

KIRISHIMA and HIEI take up position to the rear of Kido Butai and steam eastward at 13 knots.

2 December 1941:
940 miles north of Midway Island. KIRISHIMA receives the coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).

That same day, the oilers refuel BatDiv 3/1's KIRISHIMA and HIEI.

4 December 1941:
The Striking Force reaches the rendezvous point (42N, 170E) and the warships refuel to capacity from the Supply Group's oilers.

7 December 1941: The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
At 0630, BatDiv 3/1 launches their E8N Dave two-seat reconnaissance floatplanes to patrol south of the Striking Force. CruDiv 8 also launches picket floatplanes.

At 0755, the Striking Force's first wave of 189 aircraft (90 Type 97 Nakajima B5N2 Kate attack planes, 54 Type 99 Aichi D3A1 Val dive-bombers and 45 Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeke fighters) led by Cdr (later Captain) Fuchida Mitsuo attack the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and other military installations on Oahu, Hawaiian Islands.

About 0840, they are followed by a second wave of 171 aircraft (54 Kates, 81 Vals and 36 Zekes) led by LtCdr Shimazaki Shigekazu. By 0945, they retire towards their carriers.

During the attacks, the Striking Force sinks battleships USS ARIZONA (BB-39), CALIFORNIA (BB-44), OKLAHOMA (BB-37) and WEST VIRGINIA (BB-49) and damages MARYLAND (BB-46), NEVADA (BB-36), PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38) and TENNESSEE (BB-43) and other smaller ships. 2,335 American servicemen die in the attack, most on ARIZONA. After recovering all but 29 of its aircraft lost in the attack, the Striking Force departs Hawaiian waters towards Japan.

During the sortie KIRISHIMA receives serious damage after being swamped by successive waves.

24 December 1941:
KIRISHIMA arrives at Kure.

27 December 1941:
At Kure. Drydocked.

30 December 1941:
Undocked. Returns to Hashirajima.

8 January 1942:
BatDiv 3/1 departs Hashirajima for Truk with the Carrier Striking Force: CarDivs 1 and 5, CruDiv 8 and DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and destroyers.

14 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

17 January 1942: - Operation "R" - The Invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng:
BatDiv 3/1 departs Truk with the Carrier Striking Force, CruDiv 8 and DesRon 1 for an area north of New Ireland. BatDiv 3/1 provides cover for the Striking Force's air attacks and distant support of the invasion forces.

23 January 1942:
Departs New Ireland area.

27 January 1942:
Returns to Truk. CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU detaches from the Carrier Striking Force for Japan.

1 February 1942:
BatDiv 3/1 departs Truk with the Carrier Striking Force: CarDiv 1, CarDiv 5's ZUIKAKU, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and DesRon 1 in pursuit of Vice Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. "Bull" Halsey's (former CO of SARATOGA, CV-3) Task Force 8 (ENTERPRISE, CV-6) and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's Task Force 17 (YORKTOWN, CV-5) reported to be attacking Wotje, Kwajalein, Jaluit, Makin, and Mili in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.

4 February 1942:
BatDiv 3/1 and the Carrier Striking Force group are ordered to Palau. CarDiv 5's ZUIKAKU detaches via Truk for Japan to join SHOKAKU.

8 February 1942:
BatDiv 3/1, CarDiv 1, CHIKUMA and DesRon 1 arrive at Palau.

18 February 1942:
Bat Div 3 departs Palau for Staring (Teluk) Bay, near Kendari, Celebes (now Sulwasei).

21 February 1942:
BatDiv 3 arrives at Staring Bay. Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake (former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 4's ATAGO, MAYA and TAKAO and six destroyers also arrive and refuel. Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) First Air Fleet Striking Force ("Kido Butai") CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU and CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA with DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE and DesDiv 18's KASUMI, SHIRANUHI and ARIAKE arrives from their stike on Darwin, Australia and refuels.

25 February 1942:
BatDiv 3 departs Staring Bay in support of the Carrier Striking Force's attacks on Java.

1 March 1942:
S of Java. At 1154, one of KIRISHIMA’s E8N2 floatplanes drops two 60-kg bombs on a fleeing Allied merchant.

250 miles SSE of Christmas Island. At 1550 (local), the Mobile Force is steaming at 16 knots at 14-25S, 106-50E, when one of AKAGI's combat air patrol fighters sights a "MARBLEHEAD-class" light cruiser (actually Lt Joshua J. Nix's EDSALL (DD-219) steaming about 30 kilometers behind the force.

At 1552, Vice Admiral Nagumo orders BatDiv 3/2 and CruDiv 8 to intercept the cruiser and destroy it. Vice Admiral Mikawa leads the chase from HIEI, flanked by heavy cruisers CHIKUMA (port) and TONE (starboard), leading KIRISHIMA.

At 1602, EDSALL is sighted from HIEI off port bow, 16 miles away. At 1603, CHIKUMA opens fire with her 8-inch guns at extremely long range. All her shots miss. EDSALL, damaged earlier by one of her depth charges, lays down a smokescreen and begins evasive maneuvers.

At 1616, HIEI opens fire with her 14-inch guns at a range of 27,900 yards, straddling the target, but not hitting it.

At 1620, HIEI signals: "All forces, charge!” The target is soon identified as a destroyer by lookouts from HIEI and CHIKUMA.

At 1655, HIEI and heavy cruisers check the fire without having scored a single hit. HIRYU launches eight and SORYU nine D3A1 "Val" dive bombers against EDSALL. Between 1657 and 1720 the destroyer receives several bomb hits, slowing her down and setting afire. EDSALL is enveloped in white smoke and slowly circling counterclockwise. KAGA’s dive bombers are credited with five hits, SORYU’s with three hits and HIRYU’s with one direct hit on EDSALL.[2]

At 1718, KIRISHIMA, now heading NNE, joins the fight, opening fire from main and secondary guns at EDSALL. At 1720, HIEI opens fire from her main and secondary guns at a range of 19,400 yards. At 1730, both battleships are ordered to check fire. In all, HIEI fires 210 14-inch and 70 6-inch shells at EDSALL and KIRISHIMA fires 87 14-in and 62 6-in shells. At 1731, battered old destroyer EDSALL sinks by the stern at 13-45S, 106-47E.

During the engagement, KIRISHIMA fires 87 14-in and 62 6-in shells.

11 March 1942:
After the surrender of the Dutch East Indies, returns to Staring Bay.

11-25 March 1942:
At Staring Bay. BatDiv 3 refuels, then assumes 'standby alert'. After more than three months of continuous operations, the crews are allowed some rest and relaxation.

26 March 1942: Operation "C" - The Raids in the Indian Ocean:
Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's Carrier Striking Force sorties from Staring Bay via Timor Sea into the Indian Ocean with CarDiv 1's AKAGI, CarDiv 2’s SORYU and HIRYU, CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3's KONGO, HARUNA, HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's KASUMI, SHIRANUHI, ARARE and KAGERO, DesDiv 4's MAIKAZE and HAGIKAZE, CarDiv 5's AKIGUMO and fleet oiler SHINKOKU MARU.

31 March 1942:
Auxiliary tankers KYOKUTO MARU, KENYO MARU and NIPPON MARU join Nagumo's Force.

1 April 1942:
Meanwhile, at 1100, Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) Second Expeditionary Fleet, Malaya Force departs Mergui and steams into the Bay of Bengal to attack merchant shipping with CruDiv 4's CHOKAI (F) and CruDiv 7 's SUZUYA, KUMANO, MIKUMA and MOGAMI, light cruiser YURA and destroyers FUBUKI, SHIRAYUKI, HATSUYUKI and MURAKUMA, which are replaced on 3 April by AYANAMI, YUGIRI, ASAGIRI and SHIOKAZE. YURA and CHOKAI support CarDiv 4's light carrier RYUJO.

2 April 1942:
After refueling Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force, SHINKOKU MARU, KYOKUTO MARU, KENYO MARU and NIPPON MARU are detached.

4 April 1942:
350 nms S of Ceylon. About 1600, the carrier Striking Force is located by Consolidated PBY "Catalina" flying boat QL-A of 413 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) flown by squadron leader Squadron Leader Leonard Birchall, out of Koggala. Birchall manages to radio in the position of the Japanese fleet and alert Colombo about the impending attack before his Catalina is shot down by six A6M2 Zeke fighters from carrier HIRYU. Birchall is one of the six survivors of the crew of nine picked up by ISOKAZE.

5 April 1942, Easter Sunday: The Attack on the British naval base at Colombo:
At 0730, 127 aircraft from the Striking Force (53 Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” dive-bombers [18 from SORYU, 18 from HIRYU and 17 from AKAGI], 38 Aichi D3A1 “Val” torpedo-bombers [19 each from SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU] and 36 Mitsubishi A6M “Zeke” fighters (9 each from AKAGI, SORYU, HIRYU and ZUIKAKU) of the "Kido Butai's" aircraft, led by Cdr (later Captain) Fuchida Mitsuo (of Pearl Harbor), attack the British naval base at Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

The planes damage the base's facilities, destroy at least 26 aircraft (6 Fairey "Swordfish", 4 Fairey "Fulmars" and at least 16 Hawker "Hurricanes") and sink destroyer HMS TENEDOS undergoing refit, armed merchant cruiser HMS HECTOR and 5834-ton Norwegian tanker SOLI. The planes also damage submarine tender HMS LUCIA, 5,943-ton British freighter BENLEDI and 5,950-ton British freighter CLAN MUROCH. 81 civilians and 56 RN personnel are killed at Colombo (TENEDOS 33, HECTOR 4, LUCIA 2, FAA aircrew and ground crew 12.

A Kawanishi E7K "Alf" three-seat float biplane from cruiser TONE finds Vice Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet Sir) James Somerville's (former CO of HMS NORFOLK) British Eastern Fleet's cruisers HMS CORNWALL and HMS DORSETSHIRE at sea - without air cover. Between 1338-1400, 53 D3A Val dive-bombers (17 from AKAGI, 18 from HIRYU and 18 from SORYU, led by LtCdr Egusa Takashige (SORYU’s Air Group Commander), sink both ships. 424 RN personnel are killed (DORSETSHIRE 234, CORNWALL 190). After the attack, the Striking Force withdraws to the SE and searches unsuccessfully for the rest of Somerville's fleet.

Meanwhile, during the afternoon aircraft from RYUJO sink the 5,082-ton British cargo vessel HARPASA and damage two other merchantmen, the 7,823-ton British ship DARDANUS and 4,839-ton US-built Greek ship POINT CLEAR. At 2030, Ozawa's Mobile Force separates into three groups to attack merchant shipping in the Bay of Bengal. CruDiv 7/1's KUMANO and SUZUYA, under Rear Admiral Kurita, form the Northern Group with destroyer SHIRAKUMO. Carrier RYUJO, CHOKAI, SubRon 5's light cruiser YURA, Des Div 20's YUGIRI and ASAGIRI form the Center Group under Admiral Ozawa. MOGAMI, MIKUMA and destroyer AMAGIRI form the Southern Group.

(Tracks of Nagumo and Ozawa's Forces)

6 April 1942:
Bay of Bengal. At about 0600, the three ships of Kurita’s Northern Group attack and sink the 5,381-ton Norwegian tanker ELSA. After 0730, KUMANO and SUZUYA and destroyer SHIRAKUMO attack a six-ship convoy and sink 4,986-ton American Export Line’s EXMOOR (ex-CITY OF ST. JOSEPH), 9,066-ton British freighter MALDA, 7,718-ton British freighter AUTOCLYCUS and 2,441-ton British freighter SHINKUANG at 19N, 86E. Ozawa's cruisers also sink 6,622-ton British freighter INDORA and Captain J. H. Gregory’s British India Line’s 4,921-ton cargo ship SILKSWORTH. About 50 of SILKSWORTH's mostly Chinese crewmen survive.

Temporarily detached from the rest of Ozawa’s Center Group, YURA and YUGIRI sink 1,279-ton Dutch merchant BATAVIA en route from Calcutta to Karachi. YURA and YUGIRI also sink 1,279-ton Dutch freighter BANJOEWANGI and 3,471-ton British steamer TAKSANG.

The rest of the Center Group, RYUJO, CHOKAI and ASAGIRI, sink five ships:
5,491-ton American freighter BIENVILLE is bombed by RYUJO's aircraft. She is finished off by gunfire from CHOKAI, and reportedly also from RYUJO, and then by a torpedo from CHOKAI.
6,426-ton British cargo ship GANGES is attacked by one of CHOKAI’s floatplanes and two of RYUJO’s aircraft, and is then sunk by gunfire from the surface ships, including gunfire from RYUJO.
2,646-ton British ship SINKIANG is attacked by aircraft and then likewise sunk by gunfire.
5,686-ton American freighter SELMA CITY is bombed by CHOKAI’s floatplanes. She is also attacked and hit by two aircraft from RYUJO, but by then is already sinking and abandoned.
2,073-ton Dutch freighter VAN DER CAPELLEN is bombed and damaged by RYUJO's aircraft and sinks two days later.

That same day, 5,268-ton British freighter ANGLO-CANADIAN is attacked by five aircraft from RYUJO, including two armed with torpedoes, and score one hit, a bomb which does not explode but which starts a fire. Also that day, RYUJO launches strikes against Cocanada and Vizagapatam. 3,827-ton British merchant MARION MOLLER is damaged at Vizagapatam.

Ozawa’s Southern Group sinks four ships. They first encounter disabled DARDANUS, under tow by the 5,281-ton British ship GANDARA. The three Japanese ships promptly open fire on the two merchantmen, which are finished off with torpedoes from AMAGIRI. Two Norwegian vessels are then sunk, 4,434-ton DAGFRED and 1,515-ton HERMOD.

In all Ozawa's commerce raiding detachment sinks twenty ships of about 93,247 tons during their brief foray in the Bay of Bengal.

9 April 1942: The Attack on the British naval base at Trincomalee:
At 0600, Nagumo's Striking Force launches 132 aircraft led by Cdr Fuchida to attack the British naval base at Trincomalee, Ceylon (91 B5N2 Kate dive-bombers [18 from AKAGI, 18 from SORYU and 18 from HIRYU, 19 from SHOKAKU and 18 from ZUIKAKU] and 41 A6M2 Zeke fighters [6 from AKAGI, 9 from SORYU, 6 from HIRYU, 10 from SHOKAKU and 10 from ZUIKAKU]).

The Japanese find the harbor almost empty of warships, but sink 9,066-ton British merchant SAGAING and a "Walrus" amphibian and three crated Fairey “Albacore” aircraft she was carrying, and damage old 15-inch monitor HMS EREBUS. Non-operational Dutch light cruiser SUMATRA is also hit, but the 800 kg bomb does not explode. Outside the harbor, southbound 4,784-ton Greek MARIONGA D. THERMIOTIS is damaged by strafing and seven men are wounded.

HARUNA launches an E8N2 “Dave” floatplane. At 0755, it spots an enemy carrier 65 miles south of the base. Between 0843 and 0853, the Striking Force launches 85 D3A Vals, (18 from SORYU, 18 from HIRYU and 18 from SHOKAKU, 17 from AKAGI and 14 from ZUIKAKU), escorted by 9 A6M Zekes (3 each from AKAGI, SORYU, HIRYU) which sink old light carrier HMS HERMES. 306 RN personnel are KIA, but hospital ship HMHS VITA, en route from Trincomalee to Colombo, arrives and picks up over 600 survivors.

Other sailors are rescued by local craft or swim to shore. Nagumo's aircraft also find and sink Australian destroyer HMAS VAMPIRE, 8 KIA, corvette HMS HOLLYHOCK, 53 KIA, oilers ATHELSTANE and BRITISH SERGEANT and Norwegian merchant ship NORVIKEN.

During the day, nine of the Royal Air Force’s No. 11 Squadron’s Bristol "Blenheim" bombers attack KONGO, but score no hits and lose four of their number to Nagumo's Combat Air Patrol "Zekes" and another is lost during the return flight when they encounter three Zekes from HIRYU returning from the attack on HERMES. BatDiv3 and the Striking Force continue heading SE.

10 April 1942:
About midnight, the fleet changes course to the NE. During the next 36 hours, BatDiv 3 and the Striking Force gradually bear southwards again and pass through the Andaman Sea entering the Straits of Malacca.

13 April 1942:
By nightfall, the fleet passes Singapore and enters the South China Sea, bound for Japan.

15 April 1942:
Oiler NIPPON MARU refuels KIRISHIMA with 1,100 metric tons of fuel oil.

20 April 1942:
Early naval aviator Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Iwabuchi Sanji (43)(former CO of KASHII) is appointed CO. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yamaguchi is reassigned as the Chief of Staff of Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's First Southern Expeditionary Fleet (Malay Force) based at Singapore.

22 April 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo. Maintains standby alert.

11 May 1942:
At Sasebo. Drydocked. 25-mm AA guns Nos. 7 and 8 are relocated from the upper deck to the vicinity of the forward funnel to provide better arcs of fire.

20 May 1942:

21 May 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

23 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima, then conducts battle training.

27 May 1942:
Rear Admiral Abe Hiroaki's (former CO of FUSO) Support Group, BatDiv 3, Section 2's KIRISHIMA and HARUNA depart Hashirajima with Vice Admiral Nagumo's First Mobile Force, Carrier Strike Force's CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE and DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and 11 destroyers.

4 June 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
KIRISHIMA is steaming abreast with AKAGI on her starboard beam when the Strike Force is attacked by four USAAF torpedo-carrying Martin B-26 "Marauders" of the 69th Squadron, 38th Bombardment Group. Ten A6M "Zeke" fighters are sent to intercept them. KIRISHIMA helps to repel the attack, firing her main caliber guns. Two of the B-26s are shot down.

0825: LtCdr William H. Brockman in USS NAUTILUS (SS-168) fires a Mark 14 steam torpedo at KIRISHIMA from 4,500 yards but misses. He attempts to fire another torpedo but it malfunctions and never leaves the tube. KIRISHIMA opens fire with her starboard batteries unsuccessfully at the submarine's periscope. Light cruiser NAGARA counter-attacks NAUTILUS unsuccessfully with depth charges. KIRISHIMA departs the area at 25 knots.

1025: HARUNA is dive-bombed unsuccessfully by planes from USS YORKTOWN (CV-5), but during the next few minutes the carriers AKAGI, KAGA and SORYU are all hit and set afire by SDB dive-bombers from YORKTOWN and ENTERPRISE. Detached and north of the Kido Butai, undamaged carrier HIRYU launches 24 aircraft to attack the American carriers.

1220: HIRYU's D3A1 Val dive-bombers find and hit Rear Admiral (MOH '14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) flagship, USS YORKTOWN (CV-5), with two bombs that stop her dead in the water. After about an hour, YORKTOWN's damage control teams restore her power.

1442: A second strike by the last ten of HIRYU's B5N2 Kates sends two torpedoes into YORKTOWN and she again loses power. Later she is torpedoed by submarine I-168 and finally sinks on 7 June.

1658: Twenty-four SDB dive-bombers launched from ENTERPRISE, including 10 recovered from abandoned YORKTOWN, find HIRYU, hit her with four bombs and set her ablaze.

1730: Captain Iwabuchi is ordered to standby to tow HIRYU with KIRISHIMA. As night falls and HIRYU blazes, Iwabuchi grows concerned about the possibility of a submarine attack on his now illuminated battleship. He radios Nagumo for permission to abandon HIRYU.

1837: Nagumo orders Iwabuchi to rejoin NAGARA now the flagship after AKAGI was sunk.

5 June 1942:
That night, KIRISHIMA takes aboard an unknown number of survivors from carriers AKAGI, KAGA, SORYU and HIRYU who were rescued earlier by DesRon 10's destroyers.

14 June 1942:
Returns to Hashirajima.

9 July 1942:
Moves to Kure. Maintains standby alert.

14 July 1942:
KIRISHIMA and HIEI (F) are reassigned from the First Fleet to Vice Admiral Nagumo's Third Fleet in Rear Admiral Abe Hiroaki's new BatDiv 11. KIRISHIMA and HIEI's aircraft complement is upgraded: they receive one Aichi E13A1 "Jake" reconnaissance floatplane and two Mitsubishi Type F1M2 "Pete" floatplanes, tail codes CIII-x (in red) .

16 August 1942:
BatDiv 11's KIRISHIMA and HIEI depart Kure via Yokosuka towards Truk with a task group: CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU, CarDiv 2's light carrier RYUJO, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and 11 destroyers. [3]

20-23 August 1942:
The CINC, Combined Fleet, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (former CO of AKAGI) cancels a planned stop at Truk. The fleet refuels at sea from oilers while enroute towards Guadalcanal.

24 August 1942: The Battle of the Eastern Solomons:
BatDiv 11 cruises northeast of Guadalcanal with the Carrier Strike Force, Mobile Force, Main Body: CarDiv 1, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA, Desron 10. Detached light carrier RYUJO is sunk by aircraft from Task Group 11's USS SARATOGA (CV-3). CarDiv 1 launches an air attack against Task Force 16's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) which is hit by three bombs but is not sunk. Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" bomb CarDiv 1. SHOKAKU is slightly damaged by bomb fragments. KIRISHIMA is not damaged.

28 August 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Maintains standby alert.

30 August 1942:
BatDiv 11 arrives at Truk. Refuels from oiler TATEKAWA MARU.

10 September 1942:
BatDiv 11 sorties from Truk with Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi's Third Fleet: CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA, DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and 11 destroyers. The Third Fleet accompanies Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (former CO of KONGO) Second Fleet: Bat Div 3's KONGO, HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO and DesRon 2 to an area north of the Solomon Islands.

15-17 September 1942:
At sea. The fleets refuel destroyers.

18-20 September 1942:
The Second and Third Fleets sortie towards the Solomons.

20 September 1942:
The fleets are ordered to return to Truk.

23 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Undergoes maintenance and conducts training. Maintains standby alert. Two floatplanes are landed, one Jake and one Pete.

11 October 1942:
BatDiv 11 departs Truk to attack U.S. forces off Guadalcanal with Rear Admiral Abe's Vanguard Force: CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesRon 10's light Cruiser NAGARA and eight destroyers. The Vanguard Force accompanies Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kakuta Kakuji's (former CO of NAGATO) Air Group Force: CarDiv 2's HIYO, JUNYO, destroyers HAYASHIO and KUROSHIO. Abe and Kakuta's forces are followed by Nagumo's Carrier Strike Force, Main Body: CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, cruiser KUMANO and eight destroyers.

12 October 1942:
East of the Solomon Islands. BatDiv 11's KIRISHIMA and HIEI and the Second and Third Fleets take up position to provide distant cover for Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA that is detached with DesRon 2's light cruiser ISUZU and destroyers and proceeds to Guadalcanal.

14-15 October 1942:
BatDiv 11 maintains distant cover while KONGO and HARUNA bombard Henderson Field. The next night, Vice Admiral Mikawa's Eighth Fleet cruisers CHOKAI and KINUGASA bombard the airfield again.

23 October 1942:
650 miles north of Espirtu Santo. The Vanguard Force is sighted by a PBY "Catalina" patrol plane based in the Santa Cruz Islands.

25 October 1942:
After 1000 an AirSoPac PBY-5A "Catalina" spots the Vanguard Force. It is intercepted by two F1M2 Pete floatplanes from KIRISHIMA and chased away, receiving over 70 hits. The patrol plane is damaged, but finally escapes.

1450: The Vanguard Force is sighted heading north at 25 knots by six B-17s of the 11th Bombardment Group (Heavy) based at Espirtu Santo.

1510. The six B-17s bomb KIRISHIMA but score no hits.

26 October 1942: The Battle of Santa Cruz:
0630: The Vanguard Force making 20 knots is reported by two Douglas "Dauntless" SDB dive-bombers of Air Group 10 from USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6).

0740: Kondo orders Abe's Vanguard Force to forego screening Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force and to close on an American carrier force sighted earlier by a Nakajima B5N Kate from ZUIKAKU.

The Vanguard Force is attacked by dive-bombers and torpedo planes from ENTERPRISE and HORNET (CV-8). Three SDB dive-bombers attack KIRISHIMA. She is not damaged, but several 1,000-lb. bombs hit CHIKUMA.

Nagumo and Kakuta launch air attacks that mortally damage HORNET. They also damage ENTERPRISE and light anti-aircraft cruiser SAN JUAN (CLAA-54). A 550-lb bomb hits new battleship SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57). It jams her No. 1 turret in train and disables two of the three 16-inch rifles in her No. 2 turret.

30 October 1942:
The Vanguard Force returns to Truk, then maintains 'standby alert'.

1 November 1942:
BatDiv 11's Rear Admiral Abe Hiroaki is promoted to Vice Admiral.

2 November 1942:
Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo (former CO of HARUNA) assumes command of the Third Fleet. Vice Admiral Nagumo is reassigned as the Commandant of the Sasebo Naval Station. Vice Admiral Kondo, Commander of the Second Fleet, is appointed the Deputy Commander of the Combined Fleet.

9 November 1942:
At 1643, Vice Admiral Kondo's Advance Force and Vice Admiral Abe Hiroaki's Volunteer Attack Force (the latter including BatDiv 11) depart Truk for Shortland.

10 November 1942:
At 0530, BatDiv 11 and DesDiv 27's SHIGURE, SHIRATSUYU and YUGURE depart the Shortland anchorage off Bougainville to execute Vice Admiral Kondo's planned landing of 14,500 men, heavy weapons and supplies of the IJA's 38th Infantry Division and the 8th Special Naval Landing Force on Guadalcanal. The twelve destroyers of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanka Raizo's (former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2 will escort an 11-ship high-speed reinforcement convoy. The landing is to be preceded by another bombardment of Henderson Field. Part of Kondo's plan calls for DesDiv 27's destroyers to act as picket ships between Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands.

12 November 1942:
In the early morning, BatDiv 11 is joined by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA (F) and destroyers AKATSUKI, AMATSUKAZE, IKAZUCHI, INAZUMA, TERUZUKI and YUKIKAZE that arrive from Truk.

1030: A B-17 heading towards Savo Island spots Abe's force. Two covering Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters, launched from a holding position north of Malaita Island by Vice Admiral Kakuta's carrier JUNYO, attempt unsuccessfully to intercept the bomber.

1530: Abe's force rendezvous with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Takama Tamotsu's (former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 4 sweeping unit's ASAGUMO (F), HARUSAME, MURASAME, SAMIDARE and YUDACHI. Abe orders the destroyers to form a tight double half-ring formation as an anti-submarine measure. NAGARA follows with BatDiv 11 in column behind. The force proceeds south down the "Slot" at 18 knots.

HIEI catapults an F1M2 Pete reconnaissance floatplane. A heavy rainstorm begins that lasts several hours. The plane reports more than a dozen enemy warships off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal.

13 November 1942:The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
0000: Abe orders his force to reverse course and slow to 12 knots because of the weather.

0040: The rain squall finally ends. Abe orders his force to again reverse course and proceed towards Savo Island, Guadalcanal.

0110: Abe orders BatDiv 11 to make their 14-inch main batteries ready to fire Type 3 shells.

0124: Captain Gilbert C. Hoover's USS HELENA's (CL-50) SG radar picks up a return at 28,000 yards, probably destroyer YUDACHI.

0125: Lookouts aboard HIEI sight Cape Esperance. Admiral Abe orders that preparations begin for the shelling of Henderson Field. Unknown to Abe, HELENA's radar picks up KIRISHIMA and battleship HIEI at 32,000 yards.

HELENA alerts Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan's (a former naval aide to President Roosevelt), Task Group 67.4 consisting of cruisers USS SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38)(F), PORTLAND (CA-33), ATLANTA (CL-51), JUNEAU (CL-52) and destroyers CUSHING (DD-376), LAFFEY (DD-459), STERETT (DD-407), MONSSEN (DD-436), FLETCHER (DD-445), O'BANNON (DD-450), AARON WARD (DD-483) and BARTON (DD-599).

0131: HELENA's radar picks up smaller returns, most probably Abe's destroyers.

Admiral Callaghan orders a northward turn in an attempt to cross the Japanese formation's "T", but the maneuver is executed too late.

0142: Cdr Kikkawa Kiyoshi's lead destroyer YUDACHI and HIEI's lookouts report sighting enemy warships only 9,000 meters away. Abe quickly orders BatDiv 11's gunnery officers to replace the Type 3 incendiary shells with Type 1 armor piercing shells.

YUDACHI almost collides with LtCdr Edward N. Parker's destroyer CUSHING (DD-376), leading four destroyers in the van of the American force, but not equipped with radar. YUDACHI goes full left rudder and veers off to port.

0150: HIEI and Cdr Takasuka Osamu's destroyer AKATSUKI switch on their searchlights and illuminate Captain Samuel P. Jenkins' ATLANTA. Abe's force commences a night gun battle with American cruisers and destroyers. ATLANTA and HELENA quickly shoot out AKATSUKI’s probing searchlight. AKATSUKI is also hit by gunfire from Captain Cassin Young's (MOH at Pearl Harbor) SAN FRANCISCO and sinks with all hands.

Return fire from Japanese warships rains down on ATLANTA. In the confusion of the battle, SAN FRANCISCO mistakenly also fires on ATLANTA and hits her with about nineteen 8-inch shells. Rear Admiral Norman Scott, most of his staff, and many other crewmen are KIA. ATLANTA is then hit port side in the forward engine room by a torpedo, probably fired by LtCdr Terauchi Masamichi's destroyer INAZUMA. ATLANTA loses all but auxiliary diesel power. Without primary power, she cannot train and fire her guns and drifts out of control. She is forced to shift steering control to her steering engine room aft.

0154: HIEI, passing SAN FRANCISCO on an opposite course, opens fire at about 2,500 yards. Her main and secondary armament shatter SAN FRANCISCO’s superstructure. Rear Admiral Callaghan, three of his staff officers and skipper Captain Young are among those killed.

HIEI is only able to get off two salvos before she is hit by two 8-inch shells, most probably from SAN FRANCISCO. One shell is a dud, but the other penetrates HIEI’s hull on the starboard quarter and the resultant flooding disables HIEI’s steering gear. Vice Admiral Abe orders KIRISHIMA to detach from HIEI and head northward.

0200: Abe abandons his bombardment mission and withdraws from the battle.

During the battle, KIRISHIMA fires 27 Type 1 AP, 22 Type 3 and 8 Type 0 incendiary 14-in shells, plus 313 secondary caliber shells. She scores three hits with Type 3 incendiary shells on SAN FRANCISCO’s armor belt on port side, causing minor flooding and a fire in the laundry. KIRISHIMA claims her target as sunk. In turn, she receives one 8-in shell hit from SAN FRANCISCO and loses seven men to machine gun fire. KIRISHIMA shifts fire to USS HELENA, hitting her once. She also damages several destroyers, including LAFFEY, MONSSEN, and possibly AARON WARD.

On the Japanese side, Cdr Hara’s destroyer AMATSUKAZE is damaged by gunfire from light cruiser HELENA that knocks out AMATSUKAZE’s guns, main director and jams her rudder. Destroyer IKAZUCHI's No. 1 mount is knocked out by gunfire and destroyer MURASAME is hit in the forward boiler room.

Rear Admirals Callaghan and Scott are awarded Medals of Honor (MOH) posthumously. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Bruce McCandless, who assumes command of SAN FRANCISCO and Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Herbert E. Schonland, SAN FRANCISCO's damage control officer, are also both awarded Medals of Honor.

0615: HIEI, unsteerable and circling at five knots, is attacked repeatedly by Marine Douglas SDB "Dauntless" dive-bombers of VMSB-131 from Henderson Field and Grumman TBF "Avenger" torpedo planes and SDBs from ENTERPRISE (CV-6).

0815: Vice Admiral Abe signals KIRISHIMA to tow HIEI to Shortland that night and orders the rest of the Attack Force to retire. Then he transfers his flag to destroyer YUKIKAZE.

0930: Tug USS BOBOLINK (AT-131) arrives and takes ATLANTA under tow.

1400: Flooding from the torpedo hit makes it clear that ATLANTA cannot be saved. Captain Jenkins orders her surviving crewmen taken off by Higgins boats sent from Guadalcanal. Jenkins and a demolition party remain until the scuttling charges explode, then leave the ship.

1530: During the day, HIEI suffers 70 American sorties. She takes on a list to starboard and is down at the stern. Vice Admiral Abe orders Captain Nishida to Abandon Ship. Nishida reluctantly orders HIEI scuttled. The Emperor's portrait is removed. Nishida and other survivors are rescued by DesDiv 27's SHIGURE, SHIRATSUYU, YUGURE and DesDiv 61's TERUZUKI.

1652: 360 miles south of Guadalcanal. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Thomas L. Gatch's USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) escorting Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Thomas C. Kinkaid's (former CO of INDIANAPOLIS, CA-35) Task Force 16's ENTERPRISE (CV-6) from Noumea, New Caledonia to Guadalcanal, joins Captain (later Vice Admiral) Glenn B. Davis' new battleship WASHINGTON (BB-56) and destroyers PRESTON (DD-379), BENHAM (DD-397), WALKE (DD-416) and GWIN (DD-433) at sea. As ordered by Vice Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, ComSoPac, they form Task Force 64 under the command of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Willis A. Lee (former CO of CONCORD, CL-10) aboard WASHINGTON.

1838: Admiral Yamamoto orders Abe not to scuttle HIEI, but the message is received too late.

1900-0100: HIEI sinks by the stern at 09-00S, 159-00E. 188 crewmen are lost.

1915: TF 64 detaches from the ENTERPRISE group and heads north at 26 knots.

2015: ATLANTA sinks three miles west of Lunga Point in 180 feet of water.

Admiral Yamamoto relieves Abe of tactical command and orders his deputy Vice Admiral Kondo to shell Henderson Field the next night. For this tasking, Kondo orders his battle worthy forces to rendezvous north of Guadalcanal. [4]

2210: Admiral Kondo's Force gathers at the rendezvous point at Ontong Java. He forms an Emergency Bombardment (Volunteer Attack) Force composed of KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO (F) and TAKAO. DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA and six destroyers form a Screening Unit while DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI and three destroyers form a Sweeping Unit. Carrier JUNYO, battleships KONGO and HARUNA and the remainder of Kondo's Second Fleet Advanced Force are to hold station as distant cover.

14 November 1942:
0130-0200: CHOKAI, MAYA and SUZUYA bombard Henderson Field with 1, 370 8-inch shells, then retire towards Shortlands.

0530: Vice Admiral Kondo's Bombardment Force is detached from the Advance Force and proceeds slowly southeastward while KONGO and HARUNA refuel the destroyers. After refueling, KONGO and HARUNA detach and take up station with the covering force.

0739: LtCdr (later Vice Admiral/Medal of Honor) Lawson P. "Red" Ramage's USS TROUT (SS-202) sights KIRISHIMA but the submarine is unable to gain an attack position.

During the day, Rear Admiral Tanaka's reinforcement convoy is attacked repeatedly by aircraft from the "Cactus Air Force" on Guadalcanal and ENTERPRISE's Air Group. Six of Tanaka's 11 troop transports are sunk or abandoned and one damaged so severely that she is forced to return to Shortland. Tanaka presses on with his four remaining transports.

1455: 100 miles south of Guadalcanal. A Japanese search plane sights Lee's TF 64, but misidentifies the ships as two "cruisers" and four destroyers.

1518: East of Santa Ysabel Island, TROUT again sights KIRISHIMA. Ramage fires five Mark-14 torpedoes at her. One, a dud, hits the battleship. Another passes under a destroyer, and others narrowly miss Kondo's flagship, ATAGO.

2045: Kondo receives a report from another search plane of a sighting of two enemy "cruisers" and four destroyers heading north at 25 knots.

2210: Lookouts aboard light cruiser SENDAI report sighting two enemy "cruisers" and four destroyers north of Savo Island. Admiral Kondo splits his force so that they can attack the Americans from several directions at once.

The Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal:
Ironbottom Sound off Savo Island. TF 64 approaches Guadalcanal on a northerly course in a line-ahead formation. Destroyer USS WALKE leads, followed by BENHAM, PRESTON and GWIN, with USS WASHINGTON and SOUTH DAKOTA 5,000 yards behind.

At 2301, WASHINGTON makes radar contact at 18,000 yards, bearing to the east of Savo Island. At 2316, WASHINGTON opens fire on SENDAI and URANAMI with her 16-inch main battery. SENDAI makes smoke, puts about and retires undamaged. Light cruiser NAGARA and destroyer AYANAMI engage the Americans with gunfire and torpedoes. Destroyers PRESTON and WALKE are sunk; BENHAM is so badly damaged that she must be scuttled the next evening by GWIN (by gunfire, after attempts with four Mark 15 torpedoes fail). Five-inch shells from SOUTH DAKOTA and WASHINGTON's cripple AYANAMI and she has to be scuttled by URANAMI.

At 2340, SOUTH DAKOTA resumes fire at Hashimoto's ships. Her rear turret sets fire to three floatplanes on her own quarterdeck. The next salvo blows two planes overboard, but then SOUTH DAKOTA's radar is disabled by an electrical malfunction.

At 2351, Admiral Kondo orders his unit to stand by to change course to 130 in order to proceed with his bombardment mission. ATAGO is leading TAKAO and KIRISHIMA in a line-ahead formation, when a new type enemy battleship is sighted off the starboard bow.

Around 2353, KIRISHIMA and ATAGO illuminate SOUTH DAKOTA with their searchlights and then open fire, followed by TAKAO; ATAGO also launches a salvo of eight torpedoes. Within the next few minutes KIRISHIMA fires a total of 117 14-inch shells (68 Type 3 incendiaries, 22 Type 0 Common and 27 Type 1 APC), scoring multiple hits with secondary and main guns. One Type 1 APC explodes against SOUTH DAKOTA's No. 3 turret's barbette.

SOUTH DAKOTA also takes seventeen 8-inch hits from ATAGO and TAKAO, plus five 6-inch and one 5-inch hits. The hits prove the worth of SOUTH DAKOTA's armor, but make a shambles of her superstructure, tear up radar and communications cables, shatter her radar plot, disable her gun directors and destroy four of her six fire-control radars.

15 November 1942:
Undetected, WASHINGTON approaches to within 5,800 yards and opens fire at KIRISHIMA around 0000. First straddled, KIRISHIMA attempts to return fire, but her forward turrets are quickly disabled and a fire breaks out in the forward wireless station.

At 0002, WASHINGTON checks fire, when her target is reported as sunk. At 0004 she resumes fire, scoring new hits during the next three minutes. KIRISHIMA is reported to be ablaze and heading away, making two complete circles en route. WASHINGTON fires 36 additional rounds from her main guns. [5]

Aboard KIRISHIMA multiple fires are burning in amidships and stern area. Both aft turrets are disabled as a result of damage to their hydraulic system. The steering compartment is partially flooded and the rudders jammed at 10 degrees starboard. Multiple underwater hits cause an increasing list to starboard. To prevent an explosion, Capt Iwabuchi orders the forward magazines flooded.

Despite rising temperature in the engine rooms, the crippled battleship is capable of making speed, but she remains practically unnavigable. Several attempts are made to steer with the help of engines, but to no avail. The divers sent to the steering compartment fail to penetrate the watertight scuttles in the adjacent bulkhead. By 0249, the entire steering compartment is flooded and KIRISHIMA starts to drift. By that time most fires are put out.

NAGARA briefly tries to tow the battered battleship, but this attempt fails. When the starboard list increases, Iwabuchi orders to flood port engine rooms. Destroyers ASAGUMO, TERUZUKI and SAMIDARE are ordered to stand by to pick up the crew in case of need.

WASHINGTON is untouched.

Kondo orders Rear Admiral Tanka's reinforcement convoy to turn away (At dawn, Tanaka lands about 2,000 troops by running his four remaining transports aground on the beach near Tassafaronga). The attempt to tow badly battered KIRISHIMA by NAGARA is given up.

0325: KIRISHIMA suddenly rolls over and capsizes to port 7.5 miles NW of Savo Island at 09-05S, 159-42E. A total of 212 crewmen are lost. ASAGUMO, TERUZUKI and SAMIDARE rescue Captain Iwabuchi, his Executive Officer Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Ono Koro (later KIA as MUTSU's XO) and 1,098 survivors. The Emperor's portrait is transferred to destroyer ASAGUMO. [5]

The first battleship vs. battleship encounter in the Pacific War is over, as is Admiral Yamamoto's "decisive naval battle" for Guadalcanal.

(The Victor-USS WASHINGTON (BB-56) prior to the Battle of Guadalcanal

22 November 1942:
Captain Iwabuchi is formally relieved of command.[6]

20 December 1942:
BatDiv 11 is deactivated and KIRISHIMA is removed from the Navy List.

August 1992:
Oceanographer Dr. Robert D. Ballard discovers the wreck of KIRISHIMA in 4,000 feet of water, resting upside down with its bow blown off. [7]

Authors' Notes:
[1] According to a British source from 1993, the Prince’s party also included Russian Grand Duchess Larissa Tudor, escaping from her home country. This legend is not corroborated by any Japanese sources

[2] On 2 March 1942, Admiral Nagumo issued a day order, crediting the attack on EDSALL to aircraft from KAGA, HIRYU and SORYU. Most Japanese accounts (including the memoirs of Capt Genda Minoru) credit only SORYU's Vals which were not led by LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Egusa Takashige as alleged in many works.

[3] Several sources suggest that KIRISHIMA was fitted with a "Type 21 Model 1" radar in early August. This is not correct: KIRISHIMA was scheduled to receive a Type 21 radar, but departed without it.

[4] Vice Admiral Abe is reassigned to the Naval General Staff and retires on 20 March 1943.

[5] The exact number and location of hits is still under question. USSBS postwar analysis based on interviews with almost hundred IJN officers suggests that KIRISHIMA received nine 16-inch shell hits and forty 5-inch shell hits. This is consistent with Admiral Lee’s estimate of eight 16-inch shell hits as documented in his action report. However, using a post-action sketch shown in an article written by LtCdr Ikeda Tsuruki (assistant gunnery officer of KIRISHIMA), naval researcher Robert Lundgren has completed an analysis suggesting that the real number might be some 20 major caliber hits and seventeen smaller caliber hits.

Naval Researcher Robert Lundgren has completed an exhaustive "Kirishima Damage Analysis©" and a study entitled "The Battleship Action 14-15 November 1942©", both of which are available in pdf. format on’s “ The Robert Lundgren Historical Resource” at

[6] Promoted to Rear Admiral in 1943, Iwabuchi is in command of the 31st Naval Special Base Force at Manila defending the city when killed around 25 February 1945, at Intramuros - the old Spanish walled city. He is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously.

[7 Ballard's Remotely Operated Vehicle was able to make only one video-photographic pass over the wreck. Its location and condition indicate it is undoubtedly KIRISHIMA.

Thanks go to Mr. James W. Grace, author of the exhaustive "The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Night Action, 13 November 1942" and J-Aircraft reader Mr. Andrew Pennock for bringing Mr. Lundgren's reports to our attention.

Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Messrs. Iwasaki Yutaka, Kuroyama Kazuo, Nakagawa Tsutomu, Toyama Misao and Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan; Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada and Mr. Matthew Jones of the United States. Thanks also go to the late John Whitman and to Fontessa-san of Japan for information about 1937 in Rev 14 and reader John O'Keefe for some editing of Rev 18.

Thanks go to Rob Stuart of Canada for information about Operation "C". For more info see Rob's splendid "20 Ships, Not 23: Ozawa’s Score, 5-6 April 1942."

NB: Older map on this TROM page erroneously shows 23 ships sunk.

– Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Lars Ahlberg.

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