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Ozawa Jisaburo (1886-1966)


Photograph of Ozawa Jisaburo

Japanese Navy. Via CombinedFleet.com

Ozawa was born in southern Kyushu in 1886. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1909 and the Torpedo School in 1917. He served on most ship types and was a rear admiral by 1937. He was a vice admiral and commander of Japan's Southern Fleet during the invasion of Malaya in 1941.

Most historians regard Ozawa as one of the most capable Japanese flag officers. Though a surface warfare and torpedo expert, he had commanded 1 Carrier Division, and had absorbed many lessons from his air-minded subordinates, particular Fuchida Mitsuo, who later led the Pearl Harbor raid. Ozawa was the first high-ranking officer to recommend that the Japanese carrier forces be organized into an air fleet so that they could train and fight together.

Ozawa relieved Nagumo as commander of Japan's carrier forces in November 1942. He proved an aggressive and skilled commander, making the best of bad situations in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and at Leyte Gulf. His strategies were as sound as the situation permitted, his command simply being overwhelmed by American numerical, tactical, and technological superiority. He was the last commander of Combined Fleet, which by then was virtually nonexistent.

Ozawa was extremely tall for a Japanese (6'7") and was regarded as extraordinarily courageous, but he was also modest in demeanor and compassionate towards his men, refusing promotion to full Admiral. Reputedly one of the three ugliest admirals in the Imperial Navy, his nickname was "The Gargoyle" (Onigawara).

Service record

1886-10-2   Born in southern Kyushu
1909-11-19      
Midshipman     
Graduates from Naval Academy, standing 45th in a class of 179. Assigned to AC Soya
1910-7-16   BB Mikasa
1910-12-1   AC Kasuga
1910-12-15 Ensign  
1912-4-24   Gunnery School Basic Course
1912-8-9   Torpedo School Basic Course
1912-12-1 Lieutenant  
1912-12-20   DD Arare
1913-12-1   Hiei
1915-2-8   AC Chitose
1915-2-25   Yokosuka Sailor Corps
1915-12-13 Lieutenant BB Kawachi
1916-12-1   Naval College B-Course
1917-5-1   Torpedo School Advanced Course
1917-12-1   Commander, Torpedo Boat Division 2
1918-11-1   DD Hinoki
1919-12-1   Naval College A-Course
1921-12-1 Lieutenant commander     
Commander, Take
1922-12-1   Staff, Mako Guard District
1923-8-5   Commander, Shimakaze
1925-1-20   Commander, DD-3
1925-11-10   Kongo
1926-5-7   Staff, Combined Fleet
1926-12-1 Commander Staff, Destroyer Squadron 1
1927-12-1   Instructor, Torpedo School
1929-11-30   1 Naval District
1929-12-1   Navy General Staff
1930-2-5   Trip to Europe, United States
1930-12-1 Captain Commander, Destroyer Division 1
1931-1-31   Commander, Destroyer Division 4
1931-4-10   1 Naval District
1931-10-10   Commander, Destroyer Division 11
1931-12-1   Instructor, Naval College
1934-11-15   Commander, Maya
1935-10-28   Commander, Haruna
1936-12-1 Rear admiral
Instructor,  Naval College
1937-2-18   Chief of staff, Combined Fleet
1937-11-15   Commander, Cruiser Division 8
1938-11-15   Schoolmaster, Torpedo School
1939-11-15   Commander, Carrier Division 1
1940-11-1   Commander, Cruiser Division 3
1940-11-15 Vice admiral
 
1941-9. 6   Director, Naval College
1941-10-18   Commander, Southern Fleet
1942-1-3   Commander, First Southern Expeditionary Fleet
1942-7-14   Navy General Staff
1942-11-11   Commander, 3 Fleet
1944-3-1

Commander, 1 Mobile Fleet
1944-11-15   Navy General Staff
1944-11-18   Vice Chief of the Navy General Staff
1945-5-19   Navy General Staff
1945-5-29   Commander, Combined Fleet
1945-10-10
Retires
1966-11-9   died (80)

References

Boatner (1996)

CombinedFleet.com (accessed 2007-1-6)

Fuller (1992)

Materials of IJN (accessed 2008-1-11)

Prados (1995)

Thomas (2006)


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