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fighting ships of the world

IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY (JAPAN)

CRUISERS

KUMA light cruisers (1920-1921)

Oi 1922

Tama 1941

Tama 1941

Oi 1941

Name No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
球磨 <Kuma>   Sasebo K K 29/8/1918 14/7/1919 31/8/1920 sunk 11/1/1944
多摩 <Tama>   Mitsubishi, Nagasaki 10/8/1918 10/2/1920 29/1/1921 sunk 25/10/1944
北上 <Kitakami>   Sasebo K K 1/9/1919 3/7/1920 15/4/1921 damaged 24/7/1945, never repaired
大井 <Oi>   Kawasaki, Kobe 24/11/1919 15/7/1920 3/10/1921 sunk 19/7/1944
木曾 <Kiso>   Mitsubishi, Nagasaki 10/6/1919 14/12/1920 4/5/1921 sunk 13/11/1944

  

Displacement normal, t

5500

Displacement full, t

5832

Length, m

158.5 wl 162.2 oa

Breadth, m

14.2

Draught, m

4.80

No of shafts

4

Machinery

Mitsubishi-Parsons-Gihon geared steam turbines, 12 Kampon boilers

Oi: Brown-Curtis geared steam turbines, 12 Kampon boilers

Power, h. p.

90000

Max speed, kts

36

Fuel, t

coal 350 + oil 1260

Endurance, nm(kts)

4000(14)

Armour, mm

belt: 63, shields: 20, deck: 29 (45 over magazines), CT: 51 - 25

Armament

7 x 1 - 140/50 3-shiki, 2 x 1 - 76/40 3-shiki, 2 x 1 - 6.5/115, 4 x 2 - 533 TT, 48 mines

Complement

450

Ship project history: Five ships of Kuma class were built under the FY1917 program within the limits of the program "8-4". According to this program it was provided to supplement IJN with six 3500t ships of "improved Tenryu" class and three 7200t "scouts", but when in Japan plans of Americans about building of 10 Omaha class cruisers became known (originally: 7100t, 35kts, 8 152mm guns), late 1917 the program was corrected. The project of "scouts" have decided to redesign (that moved their building for later time), and instead of too weak against American ships 3500t "improved Tenryu" to create the project of universal 5500t cruisers, capable to fulfil function of scout and leader. In total building of eight such ships which have received a designation as a cruiser of "medium model", and one more experimental ship of "small model" (future Yubari) was provided.

New 5500t cruisers project based on drawings of Tenryu. Displacement growth was expended to increase of machinery power (from 51000hp to 90000hp), that has allowed to raise speed to 36kts. Usage of so powerful machinery has forced to transfer from 3-shaft to 4-shaft scheme. Boilers number has increased to 12, and, as well as on a prototype, two had mixed firing.

Though the number of 140mm guns has increased to seven, the arrangement scheme has appeared is far from ideal: six guns could participate in side salvo (because of installation of No3 and No4 guns aside on forecastle break), and turn angles of No2, No5 and No6 guns have been strongly limited. For the sake of justice, it is necessary to notice, that contender of 5500t Japanese cruisers, Omaha, originally (before project redesigning) can use in side salvo only half from eight guns only.

Additionally cruiser had 2 76mm AA guns and 4 twin 533mm TT, placed aside. Besides, ships could take also mines.

Of eight scheduled to building under the program "8-4" cruisers five (Kuma class) were built on an original project, three more concerned to advanced Nagara class.

In 1935-1938 on all five ships of this class boilers were transferred from mixed firing to oil. Then for stability raise works on reduction of the upper weight are conducted, besides, ships received 103-200t of solid ballast (more 202-289t of liquid ballast were carried in double bottom space). Total displacement has come nearer to 8000t, and maximal speed decreased to 32kts.

In 1941 Kitakami and Oi have passed one of the most unusual conversions (former at Sasebo, latter at Maizuru) in which course have been converted to "torpedo cruisers". The project of conversion, developed in autumn 1938, provided replacement of existing armament by 4 twin 127mm DP mounts (on two fore and aft), 4x2 25mm AA MGs and 11 (on five aside and one in a centreline) quadruple 610mm TT for well-known "long lances" oxygen torpedoes of type93.

The initial plan supposed to convert to "torpedo cruisers" three ships: Kitakami, Oi and Kiso. Shortage of 127mm mounts and 610mm TTs have served as a cause of a failure from conversion of Kiso, and on two remaining ships the amount of works has been shrunk: fore group of 140mm guns was retained, and number of TTs was shrank from 11 to 10 (at the expense of abandoning from TT on centreline).

For aside placing of massive torpedo mounts on about 60m length (from forecastle break to aft ER bulkhead) the deck was expanded at the expense of sponsons to 17.5m.

In summer 1942 it has been decided to convert both "torpedo cruisers" to fast transports. In August-September they have passed conversion in which course number of TTs was shrunk to six (64), and exempted space used for placing of two Daihatsu type landing crafts. Number of 25mm MGs (became 23 and 22) has simultaneously been increased, and DCT were mounted on the stern (18 DC totally).

Later Kitakami and Oi changed 140mm guns on 2 twin 127mm/40 DP mounts. Besides, on Kitakami number of TT have shrunk to two (24), and exempted space used for placing of six Daihatsu type landing crtafts.

In August, 1944-January, 1945 during repair of battle damages received as a result of torpedo hit, Kitakami was converted to Kaiten human torpedo carrier. Such eight torpedoes took places on sponsons and were floated on a stern shipway (this slipway approximately on 1m increased hull length). They were taken aboard by 20t derrick removed from seaplane carrier Chitose after her conversion to aircraft carrier. Remained 610mm TT were removed, as well as 140mm guns. Instead of the latter new 2x2 127mm/40 DP mounts were installed. During conversion cruiser lost two shafts and turbine units from damaged engine rooms, power has fallen to 35000hp, and speed to 23.8kts. Standard displacement has decreased to 5640t.

Ship protection: Main belt (7.32m high) protected only machinery, its upper part (73.2x3.00m) was 51mm thick and lower part (68.3x4.32m) 63mm. 29mm flat deck connected with upper edge of belt. CT had 51mm sides and 25mm roof.

Modernizations: 1932 - 1934, Kuma, Tama: + 1 catapult, 1 seaplane

1934, Tama: - 2 x 1 - 76/40; + 2 x 2 - 13.2/76

1934 - 1938, all: - 2 x 1 - 6.5/115; + 2 x 1 - 7.7/80

1935 - 1938, all: boilers were converted to oil, maximal fuel stowage was 1600t, solid and liquid ballasts were added. Full displacement increased to 8000t and maximal speed fell to 32kts.

1937, Kiso: - 2 x 1 - 76/40; + 2 x 1 - 12.7/62

1937 - 1940, Kuma, Kitakami, Oi: - 2 x 1 - 76/40; + 2 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki

1937 - 1940, Tama: - 2 x 2 - 13.2/76; + 2 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki

1937 - 1940, Kiso: - 2 x 1 - 12.7/62; + 2 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki

1941 - 1942, all: - 2 x 1 - 7.7/80

1941, Kitakami, Oi: were converted to torpedo cruisers with data as follows: 5780 / 7800t; 162.2x17.5x5.60m; 4 x 1 - 140/50 3-shiki, 2 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki, 10 x 4 - 610 TT, large 60m sponsons were fitted.

8 - 9/1942, Kitakami, Oi: - 4 x 4 - 610 TT; + 2 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 2 DCR (18), 2 landing craft of Daihatsu type.

4/1943, Kiso: + 2 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki, 21-go radar

5/1943, Kiso: + 1 x 1 - 75/44 88-shiki

11/1943, Kuma: - 1 x 1 - 140/50 (no 5), catapult and seaplane; + 2 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki

11/1943, Tama: - 2 x 1 - 140/60 (No 5, 7), catapult and seaplane; + 1 x 2 - 127/40 89-shiki, 4 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 6 x 1 - 25/60 96-shiki, 2 x 1 - 13.2/76, 21-go radar

3/1944, Kiso: - 2 x 1 - 140/50 (No 5, 7), 1 x 1 - 75/44, 2 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki; + 1 x 2 - 127/40 89-shiki, 3 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 6 x 1 - 25/60 96-shiki, 1 x 2 - 13.2/76

6/1944, Tama: + 1 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 2 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki, 12 x 1 - 25/60 96-shiki, 5 x 1 - 13.2/76, 2 DCR (36), 22-go radar

6/1944, Kiso: + 1 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 2 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki, 12 x 1 - 25/60 96-shiki, 8 x 1 - 13.2/76, 22-go radar

1/1945, Kitakami: length oa increased to 163.0m by stern chute for human torpedoes of Kaiten type, torpedoes were handled by large 30t derrick. Displacement was 5640 / 7009t. All old armament was removed, cruiser was armed as follows: 2 x 2 - 127/40 89-shiki, 12 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 31 x 1 - 25/60 96-shiki, 2 DCT, 2 DCR (24), 8 Kaiten human torpedoes, 2 13-go and 1 22-go radars. 2 shafts and half of boilers were removed, ship can obtain 23.8kts speed with 35000hp of machinery power.

7/1945, Kitakami: + 27 x 1 - 25/60 96-shiki

Naval service: Kuma 11/1/1944 was sunk at Penang by British submarine Tally Ho. Oi 19/7/1944 was sunk S off Hong Kong by American submarine Flasher. Tama during battle in Leyte Gulf 25/10/1944 was damaged by American carrier aircraft and sunk this day SE off Engano by American submarine Jallao. Kiso 13/11/1944 was sunk by American carrier aircraft of TF.38 W off Manila, her wreck was salvaged in 1955 and scrapped in 1956.

Kitakami 27/1/1944 was hard damaged by British submarine Templar, temporarily repaired by late July, 1944. 24/7/1945 she was hard damaged at Kure during raid of American carrier aircraft of TF.38. 28/7/1945 she has received new damages during next raid of TF.38 aircraft and was never completely repaired. She was used for repatriation after war and stricken only 30/11/1945.

Kuma     

Kuma 1935

 

Ivan Gogin, 2008-14