Myōkō-class Heavy cruiser, Ashigara (1945) Hungry wolf!

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Myōkō-class Heavy cruiser, Ashigara (1945)

Cruisers “IJN Ashigara” and “Admiral Graf Spee” in Kiel Harbour. May 24, 1937.


Sub Category: Heavy cruiser

Class: Myōkō-class



IJN Ashigara was the last ship of Myōkō-class heavy cruisers, which were active in World War II.

In the fall of 1924, the Admiralty placed an order for the construction of a fourth Myōkō-class heavy cruiser at the Kawasaki Shipyards in Kobe. The ship was laid down on April 11 1925. The cruiser was named after Mount Ashigara, located between Shizuoka Prefecture and Kanagawa Prefecture. The construction of the ship’s hull lasted a little over three years. Launching took place on April 22 1928 in the presence of Prince Nashimoto Morimasa. Completion and commissioning of the ship took over a year.

IJN Ashigara had the following dimensions: length - 201,74 m, width - 19 m, draft - 6,23 m. There also was a 93 m anti-torpedo bulge. Hull was flat-deck with a significant elevation in the bow, but at the same time it’s quite low-breasted. Despite all this, she had good seaworthiness. The stem was S-shaped.

Early stages of the WWII

IJN Ashigara began the war as a CruDiv 16’s flagship, acting in conjunction with ships from CruDiv 4 (IJN Maya) and DesDiv 5 (IJN Matsukaze, IJN Asakaze), while they participated in the invasion of the Northern Philippines. After supporting the landing operations, she returned to Mako on 14 December 1941.

IJN Ashigara accompanied General Masaharu Homma’s 14th Army landing in Lingayen Gulf on December 22 1941. After it, on December 26, the cruiser left Mako for Takao.

On 26 February 1942, IJN Myōkō and destroyer IJN Inazuma arrive at Makassar from Sasebo and join IJN Ashigara, destroyers IJN Ikazuchi and IJN Akebono. All ships sortie the same day into the Java Sea.

On 1 March 1942 IJN Ashigara took part in The Battle of the Java Sea and was involved in the sinking of the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and destroyer HMS Encounter.

Service and refits in 1943-1944

During the refit on 9 April 1943, the cruiser received a new Type 21 air-search radar. The AA armament was also strengthened - 2 twin-mounts of 25-mm Type 96 AA guns were installed near the mainmast. After the refit IJN Ashigara was again assigned as the CruDiv 16’s flagship. Service in a distant theater of operations was not rife with events. The cruiser was docked again in October 1943 in Singapore. In early January IJN Ashigara took part in the transport of troops to Mergui, and in February she was reassigned to the CruDiv 21, 5th Fleet (Northern Area). After it, the cruiser visited Sasebo, where in March 1944 she underwent another repair and modernization. In the aft part, 8 additional 25-mm guns were installed, as well as a new Type 22 surface-search radar. Later IJN Ashigara was based at Ominato until June 1944. She once again missed a major battle at the Mariana Islands.

In September 1944, she departed to Kure for refit. Traditionally, AA armament was reinforced. This time, 24 25-mm guns were installed at once: 2 twin-mounts, in the bow and stern, and 20 single-mounts. As a result, the total number of AA armament reached 48 guns, which, in the absence of an advanced fire-control system, didn’t solve the problem of the ship’s short range air defense. A new Type 13 air-search radar was installed on the mainmast with a detection range of 100 km for aircraft groups and 50 km for single aircraft. The surface-search radar was also replaced. Now the cruiser was equipped with a Type 22 No. 4 surface-search radar, which could detect a large ship at a distance of 25 km, in addition, it was possible to carry out fire correction. After refit she underwent to the sea.

In mid-October 1944, IJN Ashigara, as part of the Vice Admiral Shima Kiyohide’s forces, took part in an attempt to pursue the “defeated” American fleet, which attacked the island of Formosa. In fact, the Japanese were opposed by a fully combat-ready and significantly superior force of the American fleet. Fortunately, aerial reconnaissance timely reported enemy forces, and the Japanese ships returned to base. Soon there was a message about the beginning of the American landing in the Philippines and almost all the combat-ready forces of the Japanese Navy were thrown into the decisive battle.

On 24 October 1944, IJN Ashigara and IJN Nachi departed Coron to support Vice Admiral Nishimura Shoji’s First Raiding Force’s BatDiv 2 (IJN Yamashiro and IJN Fuso) and CruDiv 7 (IJN Mogami). Having reached Surigao Strait, IJN Ashigara and IJN Nachi, at about 04:20 that night, picked up two targets on their Type 22 surface-search radars. Vice Admiral Shima ordered a torpedo attack and the cruisers turned to starboard to bring their tubes to bear. At 04:27, each cruiser launched 8 torpedoes by radar, but obtained no hits. But after colliding of IJN Nachi with IJN Mogami at 04:29, Shima orders his force to retire.

At 13:30 of 26 October 1944, IJN Ashigara and DesDiv 7 (IJN Kasumi and IJN Ushio) overtake heavily damaged IJN Kumano, limping towards Coron. At 16:30, the group arrives at Coron where they refuel from oiler IJN Nichiei Maru. On 27 October 1944 IJN Ashigara departs Coron with IJN Nachi and DesDiv 7. IJN Ashigara detaches for Palawan.

The sinking of the ship
On June 4 1945, IJN Ashigara together with the destroyer IJN Kamikaze, sailed from Singapore to Batavia through the Bangka Strait. They arrived there safely. On June 7, IJN Ashigara with 1600 army troops and 489 tons on board of cargo left the port and headed for Singapore. At the exit from the port, the cruiser was spotted by submarines USS Blueback (SS-326) and USS Chub (SS-329), which couldn’t attack it, but transmitted information about its course and speed. On June 8 at 11:48 am IJN Ashigara was seen from submarine HMS Trenchant (P331). At 12:09, from a distance of approximately 4700 yards, the submarine fired at IJN Ashigara eight Mark VIII torpedoes from her bow and deck torpedo tubes. The cruiser’s lookouts spot the torpedoes, but she is trapped between the shore and the minefield. IJN Ashigara still tries to comb the torpedoes, but cannot complete the maneuver in time because of her inoperable port engine. She is hit to starboard by five torpedoes, but continues moving ahead by inertia, completely obscured by smoke. Her 25-mm AA guns open fire briefly, targeting HMS Trenchant’s periscope. The crew of the cruiser tried to save the ship to the last, but at 12:39 IJN Ashigara capsized to the starboard and disappeared under water. The place of sinking was soon approached, called by radio, IJN Kamikaze, who managed to take on board 853 crewmen and about 400 army troops. On June 9, they were taken to Singapore.

On August 20 1945, the heavy cruiser IJN Ashigara was removed from Navy List.

Historical photographs


Cruiser IJN Ashigara. The beginning of the 30s.

r/drydockporn - Japanese heavy cruiser Ashigara docked at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore, while her hull is repainted, December 31, 1942 [6948x5040]
Japanese heavy cruiser Ashigara docked at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore, while her hull is repainted, December 31, 1942

heavy cruiser Ashigara


  • Belt/side - 102 / mm.
  • Deck - 32-35 mm.
  • Traverse - 76-102/76-102 mm. (bow / stern)
  • Barbettes - 76 mm.
  • GK towers - 25.4/ 25.4/25.4 mm. forehead / side / rear / roof)
  • Tiller compartment - 25-50 mm.


Schematic armor diagram of the heavy cruiser Ashigara
Technical component:

  • Crew - 890
  • Standard displacement:10980 t
  • Full-load displacement: 15994 t
  • Max length: 201,74 m
  • Max width: 19,0 m
  • Average draft at trial state: 6,23 m
  • Main boiler: 4 TZA “Campon”
  • Main engine: 12 boilers “Campon Ro Go”
  • Power: 130000
  • Speed: 35,5 knots


  • 5х2 - 203 mm/50 (8") 3rd Year Type No. 2
  • 4x2 - 127mm 12.7 cm/40 (5") Type 89
  • 6x3 - 25 mm/60 (1") Type 96
  • 4x2 - 25 mm/60 (1") Type 96
  • 28x1 - 25 mm/60 (1") Type 96
  • 4x4 - 610mm Torpedo tubes

Schematic diagram of the heavy cruiser Ashigara. The location of guns and air defense 1944

All resources:
THE IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY 5 heavy cruisers book Myoko, Ashigara, Nachi
SV Suliga Japanese heavy cruisers (in two volumes). - M .: Galeya Print, 1997 .-- 96 + 120 p. - ISBN 5-7559-0020-5
Jane’s Fighting Ships of World War II.pdf “Jane’s Fighting Ships of World War II” by McCurtie, Francis
IJN Myoko Class Cruisers (Warship Pictorial 17)



I hope this gets added soonish. It’s sad that the only Myoko (Myoukou?) class in game is a premium. Especially because iirc Ashigara would get the Type 21 fire control radar and the Type 22 surface search radar, both of which were fitted in 1945.

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