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Notes: The MOGAMI class were a part of the 1931 Supplementary Program, designed as light cruisers (although they were larger than most foreign heavy cruisers). During trials, both MOGAMI and MIKUMA showed welding defects in their hulls, questionable stability, and distortions which prevented the turrets from being trained properly. Both were taken in for refits in 1936-1938. Additional strengthening of the hull and armor brought their displacement to 11,200 tons, but reduced their top speed to 35.9 knots. The 40mm AA guns were removed, and replaced with eight-25mm and 4-13mm AA guns. KUMANO and SUZUYA were completed to these specifications. In 1939-40, the class was "converted" to "true" heavy cruisers at Kure Navy Yard with twin 8" turrets replacing the triple 6.1" turrets, and more armor added, bringing their displacement to 12,400 tons and slightly reducing their top speed.
MOGAMI was commissioned into the 7th Cruiser Division in July, 1935, where she served with her three sister ships. Upon the beginning of hostilities in 1941, MOGAMI took part in many operations. CruDiv 7 was present at the Battle of the Sunda Strait on 28 February 1942. During this battle, the American CA HOUSTON and the Australian CL PERTH were sunk. In early June, 1942, CruDiv 7 was present at the Battle of Midway. On 5 June, while avoiding torpedoes fired by the American submarine TAMBOR, MIKUMA steered into the path of MOGAMI and the two ships collided, MOGAMI hitting MIKUMA on her port side just abaft the bridge. MOGAMI's bow was caved in, while MIKUMA had some oil tanks ruptured. The destroyers ARASHIO and ASASHIO were assigned to escort the damaged heavy cruisers, and they set course for Wake Island. On 6 June, the group was spotted and attacked by dive bombers from the American carriers ENTERPRISE and HORNET. In this attack, MOGAMI suffered six direct bomb hits; her #5 turret was destroyed and 81 of her crew were killed. (In this attack, MIKUMA was sunk; MOGAMI and the destroyers were able to rescue 240 of her crew).
Following emergency repairs at Truk, MOGAMI returned to Sasebo for repairs. While there, it was decided to improve the Combined Fleet's scouting capabilities by converting MOGAMI to an "aircraft cruiser". Her aft 8" turrets were removed, and their magazines were modified to store aviation fuel and weapons. All of her 25mm and 13mm AA guns were removed, and replaced by 30 - 25mm AA guns in triple mounts, and a Type 21 air search radar was fitted. Her aft deck was extended and fitted with rails to facilitate handling her expanded air compliment, designed to be 11 Aichi E16A ("Paul") float planes. As these were not available at the time, MOGAMI returned to service with three older Mitsubishi F1M2 ("Pete") biplanes and four Aichi E13A1 ("Jake") aircraft. MOGAMI was returned to active service with the First Fleet in November, 1942.
In May, 1943, MOGAMI was assigned to a force assembled to intervene in the American attempt to recapture the Aleutian Islands. While assembling for this sortie, the MOGAMI collided with the oiler TOA MARU, but suffered little damage. Before the group could depart Tokyo Bay, the Aleutians fell to the Americans, and the mission was cancelled. MOGAMI took part in several operations thereafter; on 5 November 1943 while anchored at Truk, MOGAMI was hit by a single bomb dropped by a SBD from the American carrier SARATOGA; 19 of her crew were killed. MOGAMI sailed to Kure for repairs; while there, eight single 25mm AA guns were added to her "flight deck". Repairs were completed on 17 February 1944. Once again, MOGAMI returned to active duty. She took part in the "A-Go" Operation at the Battle of the Philippine Sea on 13-19 June 1944. Upon her return to Kure in late June, 1944, MOGAMI once again had her anti-aircraft battery augmented with the addition of four more triple 25mm and ten single 25mm mounts, bringing her total 25mm battery to 60 barrels. At the same time, her radar suite was updated with the fitting of a Type 22 surface search and a Type 13 air search radar. Following this refit, MOGAMI returned to active duty on 8 July 1944.
On 18 October 1944, MOGAMI was assigned to Battle Division 2 of the "First Raiding Force" of Force C (commanded by Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura) for "Operation Sho-Go" ("Victory"), along with the battleships FUSO and YAMASHIRO and the destroyers ASAGUMO, MICHISHIO, SHIGURE and YAMAGUMO. The Battle of Leyte Gulf began on 22 October. In the Battle of the Surigao Strait on 25 October 1944, Force C was attacked by American PT boats (nearly 40 were deployed) shortly after midnight; no hits were scored. Force C then came under attack from American Admiral Jesse Oldendorf's battleline of the battleships CALIFORNIA, MARYLAND, MISSISSIPPI, PENNSYLVANIA, TENNESSEE and WEST VIRGINIA, the cruisers BOISE, COLUMBIA, DENVER, LOUISVILLE, MINNEAPOLIS, PHOENIX, PORTLAND and the HMAS SHROPSHIRE, along with nearly 30 destroyers. Both the FUSO and the YAMASHIRO were sunk, as was the destroyer YAMAGUMO. MOGAMI suffered four 8" hits from the American cruisers; her bridge and air defense center were destroyed, and the captain and executive officer were killed. While attempting to retire to the north, the MOGAMI was accidentally rammed by the NACHI (Vice Admiral Kiyohide Shima's force of the heavy cruisers NACHI and ASHIGARA and eight destroyers had arrived late in the battle). While holed above the waterline, fires ignited, detonating five of her torpedoes, which disabled her starboard engines. The remainder of Force C were attacked by the American cruisers PORTLAND, LOUISVILLE and DENVER. During this phase of the battle, MOGAMI was hit by between ten and twenty 8" and 6" shells. At 0550, the destroyer AKEBONO was assigned to escort MOGAMI for a return to Coron for repairs. But at 0830, her port engines broke down, leaving MOGAMI adrift. Shortly thereafter, MOGAMI was attacked by 17 TBF "Avenger" torpedo bombers from Task Force 77.4.1, which scored two 500-lb. bomb hits. Dead in the water with no chance of escape, MOGAMI was ordered to be scuttled. A single torpedo from AKEBONO finally sank MOGAMI just a little after 1300; 192 of her crew were killed in the battle (AKEBONO was able to rescue 700 sailors).
(Note: Many thanks to Combined Fleet for most of MOGAMI's operational history!!)