|Ship Class||Takao-class Heavy Cruiser|
|Launched||5 Apr 1931|
|Commissioned||1 Jun 1932|
|Sunk||25 Oct 1944|
|Displacement||9,850 tons standard; 15,490 tons full|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseChokai, built at Nagasaki, Japan, was commissioned in June 1932. After several months of training, she was assigned to the 4th Sentai (Squadron) in December 1932. During the rest of the decade she regularly took part in fleet exercises and operations, frequently off the China coast. In 1939-40, she was flagship the Second China Expeditionary Fleet, conducting combat activities off southern China, and during 1941 took part in further operations in that area and in an intensified war readiness program in Japanese home waters.
ww2dbaseWhen Japan began the Pacific War in December 1941, Chokai supported the campaign to capture Malaya. In January and February 1942, she participated in operations to seize Borneo and the Dutch East Indies. Damaged by grounding on 22 February, she was next in action during the early April 1942 Indian Ocean raid, during which she sank three American and British merchant ships. In June 1942, she was part of the Covering Group during the Battle of Midway and in July was sent to the southern Pacific to become flagship of the Eighth Fleet. In that role, Chokai led the Japanese squadron during the victorious Battle of Savo Island on 9 August 1942, receiving shellfire damage that was repaired locally. For the next six months, she participated in the unsuccessful Japanese attempts to retake Guadalcanal. On 14 November, she joined in on a bombardment of Guadalcanal's Henderson Field, and was somewhat damaged by air attacks while withdrawing.
ww2dbaseChokai continued her role as as Eighth Fleet flagship until just after Guadalcanal was evacuated in early February 1943. Thereafter, she operated from Truk and Rabaul, supporting Japanese attempts to protect their Solomons and New Guinea area bases from the Allied offensive. The cruiser was also briefly refitted in Japan in February-March and more extensively in August and September 1943. To avoid the threat of U.S. carrier aircraft attacks, her base was shifted westward from Truk to the Palaus in February 1944 and in late March to the East Indies area. In June Chokai participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. When U.S. forces assaulted Leyte in October 1944, Chokai joined the rest of the First Mobile Fleet in the counter-move that produced the great Battle of Leyte Gulf. After surviving submarine attack on 23 October and carrier air strikes in the Sibuyan Sea the next day, on 25 October 1944 she was critically damaged by aircraft bombs during the Battle off Samar. Rendered immobile, Chokai's crew was removed and she was sunk by Japanese destroyer torpedoes.
ww2dbaseSource: Naval Historical Center
Last Major Revision: Jan 2005
Heavy Cruiser Chokai Interactive Map
Chokai Operational Timeline
|1 Jun 1932||Chokai was commissioned into service.|
|4 Nov 1943||Chokai departed Rabaul, New Britain.|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943