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IJN Kuma Class Light Cruisers

The Kuma class light cruisers were the end product of a compromise between an ocean going scout ship and an improved version of the Tenryu class. The goal was the production of an intermediate class cruiser which could do both scout and flotilla assignments. The class name sake, the Kuma, was laid down in August, 1918, and was soon followed by four other sister ships.

From their completion in late 1920 through to late 1921, the ships went occassional modernizations and conversions. The first ship to experience such a modification was the Kiso, which was outfitted with an aft located rotating take-off platform. While no plane ever used the platform, the Kiso retained a unique forward and flat surfaced superstructure shape which differentiated her from her sistes..

The Oi and the Kitakami were both converted into torpedo cruisers just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Two years later, the Kitakami was converted again into a landing craft carrier until severely damaged. Under the process of repair, she was converted for the last time into a Kaiten, or human torpedo, carrier until the end of the war. In order to do this, she was equipped with a 20 ton crane to the aft to maneuver the eight Kaiten she was assigned. Only the Kuma and Tama were equipped with catapults and the necessary cranes to handle aircraft. All but one of the five ships were sunk during the Pacific War.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:24:05 ZULU