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IJN Sendai Class Light Cruisers

The Sendai class light cruisers were an improved version of the Nagara class approved in the navy's 1921 - 1922 Estimates. Their boilers were better located and instead of three funnels, the Sendai had four. Each ship was designed with a flying-off platform and hangar, but did not actually carry aircraft until a catapult system was installed in 1929. Four Sendai vessels were laid down, but the last, the Kako was demolished on the slipway with accordance to the Washington Naval Treaty stipulations. The remaining ships were the Naka, the Sendai, and the Jintsu.

Other later modifications involved the replacement of a pole mainmast with the Japanese signature tripod, the relocation of the aircraft catapults to aft, and the re-positioning of the seventh gun further aft. While more powerful AA guns were added to the ships halfway through the war, the Naka and the Sendai were both sunk by American carrier aircraft. The Jintsu alone was sunk under a barrage of gunfire and torpedoes from U.S. cruisers.

Jintsu, a 5595-ton Sendai class light cruiser, was built at Kobe, Japan. She was completed at the end of July 1925 and for the next three years mainly served with other light cruisers. On 24 August 1927, during one of the realistic exercises that honed the Japanese surface navy into a formidible night-fighting force, she collided with and sank the destroyer Warabi, suffering severe damage to her bow. In 1929, Jintsu became a destroyer squadron flagship, a task that occupied her during most of the rest of her career. In addition to participation in fleet maneuvers, she made frequent cruises to Chinese waters during the 1920s and 1930s, and provided support for Japanese operations during the war with China that began in mid-1937.

Soon after the commencement of the Pacific War in December 1941, Jintsu and her destroyers took part in the invasion of the southern Philippines. During the first two months of 1942, they participated in the assault on the Netherlands East Indies. Jintsu engaged Allied ships in the Battle of the Java Sea in late February, firing a dozen torpedoes, and was damaged when hit by a shell from a British destroyer.

In early June 1942, Jintsu escorted invasion shipping during the Battle of Midway, retreating with her convoy after the loss of the Japanese aircraft carriers on June 4th. Two months later, following the Allied landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi, she was ordered to Truk to participate in the campaign to retake those islands. However, on 25 August 1942, while escorting transports, she was hit by a bomb and seriously damaged. Repair work kept her in Japan for the rest of the year.

Jintsu returned to Truk in January 1943, still in the role of destroyer squadron leader. She was held in readiness there for the next several months, undertaking but one significant mission, a transport voyage to Kwajalein Atoll in June. However, in early July, she was sent south to Rabaul to support the reinforcement of Japanese bases in the Central Solomons. On 12-13 July 1943, while escorting destroyer transports taking troops to Vila, on Kolombangara, she encountered a superior force of Allied cruisers and destroyers. Hit hard by gunfire from the cruisers USS Honolulu, USS St. Louis and HMNZS Leander, and by a destroyer's torpedo, Jintsu broke in two amidships and sank with the loss of nearly 500 of her crew.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:25:15 ZULU