IJN Nagara Class Light Cruisers
The Nagara class of light cruisers shared a similiar design to British cruisers of the day, specifically the placement of a fixed flying-off platform towards the bow of the ship over the number one and two guns. The Nagara were also the first ships in the fleet to be equipped with 24in torpedo tubes. In total, six cruisers were laid down beginning with the Nagara on 9 Septeber 1920 and concluding with the Abukuma on 8 December 1921.
By the 1930's, the flying off platforms had been removed, and the entire class underwent various refittings. The ships were instead outfitted with revolving fly-off platforms in the aft, as well as further armed with AA guns. None of the six ships survived the Pacific War. The first sunk was the Nagara on 7 August 1944 and the last was the Isuzu on 7 April 1945. The Yura, the Kinu, and the Abukuma, all were sunk during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Yura, one of the six Nagara class ships was built at Sasebo, Japan. Commissioned March 1923, she served with cruiser squadrons and as a submarine squadron flagship during the years leading up to World War II, operating in Japanese home waters and frequently off China. In 1930 Yura served as a test platform for aircraft catapults installed in front of her bridge and, in 1933-34 received a rotating catapult amidships as well as a new mainmast to support an aircraft derrick. She took part in combat with the Chinese at Shanghai in the first part of 1932 and again during 1937-39 as Sino-Japanese hostilities burst into full-scale war.
In 1940, Yura and her subordinate submarines moved into the central Pacific as Japan extended her preparations against an increasingly possible war with the United States. The next year, they went to the South China area, from which they supported landings in Malaya, Borneo and Sarawak after the Pacific War began in December 1941. During the first four months of 1942, she operated off Indo-China, participated in anti-shipping operations off Singapore and in the Indian Ocean and supported the invasions of Java and Samatra. Yura, serving as a destroyer squadron flagship, helped screen the Midway Occupation Force during the Battle of Midway in early June.
Two months later, after Allied forces landed in the southern Solomon Islands to began the long and difficult Guadalcanal Campaign, Yura was sent to Truk to support the Japanese counterattack. She took part in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on 24 August 1942 and was slightly damaged by U.S. B-17 bombers off Shortland Island on 25 September. When the Japanese prepared a major effort to retake Guadalcanal in mid-October, she covered reinforcement operations. On the 25th of that month, Yura was leading a group of destroyers toward Guadalcanal as an "attack unit" when she was hit by SBD bombers and seriously damaged. Her speed greatly reduced, she retreated for several hours and was then hit again and stopped. After her crew had been taken off, Yura was scuttled by her consorts' torpedos and gunfire.
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