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Tomiji Koyanagi

Given NameTomiji


ww2dbaseTomiji Koyanagi was a 30-year veteran of the Japanese Navy. From the start of the Pacific War until Dec 1942, he was the commanding officer of battleship Kongo of Battleship Division 3. In Nov 1942, he was promoted to the rank of rear admiral and was assigned the commander of a destroyer squadron. In Jul 1943, he became Vice Admial Takeo Kurita's chief of staff with the Second Fleet. During the Leyte campaign in Oct 1944, he was aboard the flagship, heavy cruiser Atago, with Kurita when the fleet was ambushed by American submarines Darter and Dace. Atago was hit by four torpedoes from Darter and capsized at 0553 on 23 Oct 1944. Koyanagi survived and transferred to battleship Yamato with Kurita. While Koyanagi did not feel the transfer affected morale greatly, the loss of half of his communications personnel with the sinking of Atago did cause minor consequences during the course of the operation. He was severely injured by fragments from a near miss on 26 Oct, placing him in a hospital until Aug 1945. Between Aug 1945 and the end of the war, he served in Yokosuka. After the war, he was interrogated by Lieutenant Commander James A. Field, Jr. of the United States Navy Reserve in Tokyo on 24 Oct 1945. Field noted Koyanagi "answered questions frankly and directly and was considered a reliable witness", commenting that Koyanagi's "testimony [was] of importance... in that it [gave] the clearest and fullest analysis thus far obtained of the reasons for the Japanese decision to go north rather than enter Leyte Gulf on the morning of 25 October." The reason for Kurita's retreat northward, according to Koyanagi, was due to a combination of factors which included the destruction of Shoji Nishimura's fleet at Surigao Strait, limited supply of fuel, and the possibility of engaging William Halsey's fleet to the north.

ww2dbaseSource: Interrogations of Japanese Officials.

Last Major Revision: Feb 2007

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More on Tomiji Koyanagi
Event(s) Participated:
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign

Ship(s) Served:
» Atago
» Kongo
» Yamato

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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal

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