Home > Encyclopedia > Chikuma

Chikuma

The Japanese First Class Cruiser Chikuma, as she is generally known, although the official name was changed to Tikuma in 1936, was laid down on 1 October 1935 and completed in 1939. Her displacement was 8,500 tons, length 614 feet and beam 63 feet. Her complement was 850 men. Her armament comprised eight 8-inch guns, eight 5-inch anti-aircraft guns and 12 machine guns as well as 12 21-inch torpedo tubes. She was equipped to carry six aircraft and her guns were mounted forward in four in-line turrets in order to leave the stern free for an aircraft launching ramp. Together with the cruiser Tone, she was to provide Admiral Nagumo's (Nagumo, Chuichi) task force with aircraft reconnaissance on the morning of 7 December. Three men, a pilot, an observer and a wireless operator are said to have taken off in a single aircraft, although the Mitsubishi F1M (Navy Type 0 Observation Seaplane Model 11) is designated a two-seat patrol/reconnaissance floatplane. They were to observe Pearl Harbor discreetly from some five miles away. After the attack had been launched further patrols were flown in case of danger from American surface vessels. At 0738 local time the first scout aircraft returned and reported good conditions prevailed and 10 battleships, a heavy cruiser and 10 light cruisers were in Pearl Harbor. At that time the First Attack Wave was some 25 miles from Oahu. Chikuma was damaged in fighting near Guadalcanal in October 1942, fought in the Solomon Isalnds in November 1943 and was finally sunk by torpedo and bombing attacks in the Battles of the Leyte Gulf in October 1944.

See also: First Attack Wave; Nagumo, Chuichi; Oahu; Pearl Harbor; Tone

You can find out more about the ship Chikuma in the following Osprey books:

CAMPAIGN 62 Pearl Harbor 1941; CAMPAIGN 30 Midway 1942