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(laid down as SUZUKA, OTONASE and MINASE, respectively; renamed in November, 1921)
Notes: The NAGARA class were a development of the preceding KUMA class, and were the first Japanese cruisers to carry the 24" torpedo. They were designed and built with flying-off platforms over the #1 and #2 gun mounts, forward of the bridge. Hangars were built into the bridgework, giving them tall, slab-sided forward superstructures. However, it appears that these were never used. NATORI was fitted with a revolving catapult and a seaplane during a refit in July, 1931 - September, 1932; she also received a tripod mainmast at that time. During World War II, NATORI had two of her 5.5" guns removed and replaced by two 5" AA guns in a twin mount; her light AA guns were augmented with 16 - 25mm guns (in four triple and two twin mounts) and a quad 13mm mount. Her torpedo battery was also increased to 24 - 24" TT in six quadruple mounts.
On 31 January 1941, NATORI was the site for a treaty signature marking the end of a border dispute between Siam and French Indochina. NATORI was the flagship of the 1st Surprise Attack Force for the landings at Aparri on 10 December 1941. During this invasion, NATORI was attacked by American aircraft, but suffered only a couple of near-misses. On 18 February 1942, NATORI, YURA and eight destroyers screened the 56 transports of the invasion force of Batavia. NATORI took part in the Battle of Sunda Strait on the night of 28 February - 1 March 1942. Then on 28 March 1942, NATORI (along with NAGARA and NAKA and two destroyers) landed troops on Christmas Island, 190 south of Java. NAKA received a torpedo hit from the American submarine SEAWOLF on 1 April 1942; NATORI successfully towed NAKA to Bantam Bay for repairs. Following several patrols in the Java Sea, NATORI returned to Japan for a refit in June - July, 1942. She then returned to the south Pacific (she was based at Makassar) and patrolled that area. On 9 January 1943, NATORI was hit by a torpedo from the American submarine TAUTOG; her rudder was destroyed, but by varying the speed of her propellers, she was able to return to Ambon for repairs. While there on 21 January 1943, the harbor was bombed by American B-24 bombers; a near-miss flooded NATORI's #2 boiler room; she departed that day for Makassar for temporary repairs, then sailed for Singapore for more repairs, and arrived there on 2 February. NATORI then returned to Maizuru for permanent repairs and refit, which took place in the first week of June, 1943. However, the yards were so overworked, that full repairs could not be carried out, and NATORI was reclassified as a "Fourth Reserve" ship. Full repairs were finished on 1 April 1944, and NATORI was restored to full duty. On 15 May 1944, NATORI was made flagship of DesRon 3 and assigned to screen Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo's Chuichi's Central Pacific Fleet She took part in the Battle of the Philippines on 18 June 1944, but was undamaged. In July, 1944, NATORI made two trips from Palau to Davao, evacuating Japanese personnel. On 18 August 1944, NATORI was spotted by the American submarine HARDHEAD, 250 miles northeast of Suriago. A torpedo from her HARDHEAD's first spread hit a boiler room on the port side, stopping NATORI dead in the water. A second torpedo hit her midships on her starboard side, and NATORI sunk with the loss of 330 of her crew.
(Note: Many thanks to Combined Fleet for most of NATORI's operational history!!)