Furutaka Class, Japanese Heavy Cruisers

Photograph of Furutaka-class heavy cruiser

Naval Historical Center #NH 97700

Schematic of Furutaka-class heavy cruiser

Naval Historical Center #NH 97699



8700 tons standard displacement


607'6" by 55'6" by 18'4"
185.17m by 16.92m by 5.59m

Maximum speed      

33 knots




1 Model 3 catapult
2 seaplanes


3x2 8"/50 Mark 2 guns
4x1 4.7"/45 dual-purpose guns
4x2 25mm/60 AA guns
2x2 13mm/76 machine guns
2x4 Long Lance torpedo tubes (1 reload)


1200 tons or 13.8% of displacement
3" (76mm) NVNC belt inclined at 9 degrees
Torpedo bulges (no armored holding bulkhead)
1.4" (35mm) NVNC middle deck
1.9" (48mm) HT plates at upper deck level
1.5" (38mm) NVNC uptakes
2x0.7" (2x18mm) Dücol bridge
2" (51mm) sides/1.4" (35mm) top NVNC magazine
1" (25mm) HT steering rooms
1" (25mm) NVNC turret
2.2" (57mm) NVNC barbettes
4-shaft geared turbines (110,000 shp)
10 Kampon boilers


1858 tons fuel oil


7900 nautical miles (14,600km) at 14 knots

The Furutakas were completed in 1926 as the last pre-Washington Treaty cruisers of the Japanese Navy. They were designed specifically to outclass the British Hawkins and U.S. Omaha and incorporated many of the lessons of the experimental Yubari. Great efforts were made to reduce hull weight while maintaining strength, but the final displacement was still nearly 1000 tons greater than planned. Even so, they were the smallest heavy cruisers ever built. Their protection scheme was rather light for heavy cruisers at 14% of displacement, being designed only against 6" (152mm) shells.

This class introduced the use of a centerline longitudinal bulkhead. This was controversial because rapid flooding of one side could capsize the ship. Provisions were added to allow rapid counterflooding if necessary, and longitudinal bulkheads remained a feature of many subsequent Japanese warship designs.

They were modernized twice in the 1930s, replacing the original six single main gun turrets with three twin turrets and receiving the Long Lance torpedo. Their antiaircraft battery was also improved. During the 1932 modernization, it was discovered that over 3000 hull rivets had been knocked loose on Furutaka, indicating some problems with the quality of the riveting.

Units in the Pacific:


Guam Invasion Force     
Sunk by gunfire and torpedoes 1942-10-11 off Cape Esperance


Guam Invasion Force Torpedoed 1942-8-10 off Kavieng by S-44

Image Gallery

Bow view of Furutaka class cruiser

U.S. Navy

Aerial view of Furutaka class cruiser

U.S. Navy

Recognition diagram of Furutaka class cruiser

U.S. Navy


Lacroix and Wells (1997)
Whitley (1995)

Worth (2001)

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