Takao Class, Japanese Heavy Cruisers

Photograph of Takao-class heavy cruiser

Wikimedia Commons


Tonnage 9850 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 668'6" by 59'2" and 20'1"
203.76m by 18.03m by 6.12m
Maximum speed       35.5 knots
Complement 920
Aircraft 2 Model 3 catapults
3 seaplanes
Armament 5x2 8"/50 guns
4x1 4.7"/45 dual-purpose guns
2x4 13mm/76 AA guns
4x2 24" (61cm) torpedo tubes (two reloads)
Protection 2368.2 tons
4" (102mm) NVNC machinery belt sloped at 12 degrees
3.5" (89mm) NVNC bulkheads of NVNC steel
1.9" (47mm) NVNC lower deck
1.4" (35mm) NVNC middle deck reinforced amidships with 1" (25mm) upper and 0.6" (16mm) lower HT plate
1" (25mm) top/2" (51mm) side/1.5" (38mm) end NVNC protection for steering room
1" (25mm) NVNC turret
3" (76mm) NVNC barbettes
0.6" (16mm) HT or Dücol bridge area
3.5" (89mm) NVNC uptakes
2.3" (58mm) Dücol holding bulkheads inside torpedo bulges
4-shaft Kanpon geared turbines (133,000 shp)
12 Kampon boilers
Bunkerage 2318 tons fuel oil
Range 7000 nautical miles (13,000 km) at 14 knots
5000 nautical miles (9300 km) at 18 knots
Extensive and variable modifications.

<1942: Takao, Atago added 4x2 25mm/60 AA guns and replaced the quad 13mm with twin 13mm. Torpedo banks altered to 4x2 Long Lance. Chokai, Maya torpedo banks also altered to fire Long Lance, and 2x2 13mm added and quad 13mm replaced with twin 25mm.

1942: Takao, Atago replaced 4.7" guns with twin 5"/40 dual-purpose guns. Chokai and Maya replaced twin 13mm with twin 25mm for a total of 6x2 25mm guns.

1942-9: Added Type 21 radar.

1943-7: Atago and Takao light AA increased to 2x3, 6x2 25mm and Type 13 radar fitted.

1943-9: Chokai, Maya received 2x2 25mm and Type 22 radar.

Late 1943: Atago, Takao had a total of 2x3, 6x2, 8x1 25mm guns. Chokai had total of 8x2, 10x1 25mm guns.

1944-4: Maya converted to antiaircraft cruiser, landing one 8" turret, all 4.7" guns, and one dual 25mm gun. Hanger reduced to two aircraft. Total armament now 4x2 8", 6x2 unshielded 5"/40 dual-purpose guns, 13x3, 9x1 25mm, and 36x1 13mm guns. Torpedo banks altered to 4x4 tubes with no reloads.

1944-8: Maya adds another 18x1 25mm guns.
would have been converted to an AA cruiser on the same plan as Maya, but she never returned to home waters for the conversion.

The Takaos were completed in 1932 as fleet or squadron flagships. They resembled the Myokos but incorporated modifications based on intelligence on the British Kents and on U.S. cruiser catapults. Their hulls were  constructed of Dücol rather than HT steel. Much of the superstructure was constructed of aluminum to save weight, but this experiment was judged unsuccessful due to corrosion problems. Their torpedos were placed in trainable mounts outside the hull, rather than in fixed mounts just above the machinery spaces, as in earlier Japanese cruiser designs. Like the previous classes, their weight gradually crept up and over the treaty limit, but this was probably not deliberate.

Though designed for three aircraft, only two were normally carried.

Fast and well-armed, these ships were designed to serve as fleet flagships, and so had distinctive massive superstructures that would not have been out of place on a battleship. They were the match of any contemporary foreign ship and, like all Japanese cruisers of this era, were refitted with the deadly Long Lance torpedo.

Units in the Pacific:

Atago Distant Cover Force (Kondo) Torpedoed 1944-10-23 in Palawan Passage by Darter


Distant Cover Force (Kondo)


Main Body (Ozawa)

Sunk by gunfire and aircraft 1944-10-25 off Samar


Close Covering Force at Magong (Takahashi)      

Torpedoed 1944-10-23 in Palawan Passage by Dace

References (accessed 2007-11-12)

Evans and Peattie (1997)

Gogin (2010; accessed 2013-2-2)

Lacroix and Wells (1997)
Whitley (1995)

Worth (2001)

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