Third Fleet (Imperial Japanese Navy)

The 3rd Fleet (第三艦隊, Dai-san Kantai) was a fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), which was created, and subsequently disbanded on six separate occasions and revived on five separate occasions.

History

Russo-Japanese War

First established on 28 December 1903, the 3rd Fleet was created by the Imperial General Headquarters as an administrative unit to manage vessels considered obsolete for front-line combat service. These vessels were used primarily for training and for coastal patrol duties. The 3rd Fleet came under the aegis of the Combined Fleet for the duration of the Russo-Japanese War from March 1904. Although initially derided as a "dinosaur fleet",[1] the 3rd fleet proved invaluable at the Battle of Tsushima and the Invasion of Sakhalin. It was disbanded on 20 December 1905.

South China Fleet

The 3rd Fleet was revived on 24 December 1908 as an expeditionary force during the Chinese Republican Revolution, to safeguard Japanese interests (civilians and property) on the Chinese mainland and (if necessary) to conduct emergency evacuation. It was nicknamed the "South China Fleet" after its chief area of envisioned activity was the South China Sea. Its cruisers patrolled the Yangtze River and other large rivers in China, and its headquarters was in the Japanese concession in Shanghai. It was disbanded on 25 December 1915.

World War I

The 3rd Fleet was reconstituted on the same day as the dissolution of the "South China Fleet", initially to act as a training force to supplement Japan's contribution to the World War I under the terms of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. When the Russian Revolution was proclaimed by the communist forces in Russia, the mission of the 3rd Fleet was changed to that of patrols of the Russian sea coast for the Siberian Intervention by Japanese ground forces in support of anti-Bolshevik forces. The 3rd Fleet was disbanded on 1 December 1922, and many of its vessels were scrapped almost immediately under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.

First China Expeditionary Fleet

The 3rd Fleet was again raised on 2 February 1938 as part of Japan's emergency buildup of forces after the Shanghai Incident. The buildup took the form of three separate expeditionary fleets, consisting primarily of cruisers and gunboats to patrol the Chinese coast and major riverways and to support the landings of Japanese ground forces. With the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, the 3rd Fleet came under the aegis of the China Area Fleet. It was disbanded on 15 November 1939; however, some of the organizational and command structures for ground forces under the First China Expeditionary Fleet remained in place until August 1943.

Southern Expeditionary Fleet

The 3rd Fleet was recreated once again on 10 April 1941 with the additional designation "Southern Expeditionary Fleet" for the specific task of invading the Philippine islands. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, its headquarters was in Palau and its mission expanded to include the invasions of Java, Borneo and other islands of the Netherlands East Indies. It was superseded by the 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet under the aegis of the Southwest Area Fleet on 10 March 1942.

World War II

The sixth (and final) incarnation of the 3rd Fleet was formed on 14 July 1942 immediately after the disastrous Battle of Midway as an aircraft carrier task force modeled after similar units in the United States Navy. It was centered on the new aircraft carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku. It played an important role during the Pyrrhic victory at the Battle of Santa Cruz, in which the American aircraft carrier Hornet was sunk, but at the cost of many of the best air crews in the Japanese Navy.

After March 1944, the 3rd Fleet was basically merged with the 2nd Fleet, and suffered through the disastrous Battle of the Philippine Sea, losing 3 of its aircraft carriers, including the newly commissioned Taihō and over 350 carrier planes.

In October 1944, the 3rd Fleet was designated the "Northern Force" in a three-force plan to defeat the Allied invasion of the Japanese-held Philippines. The 3rd Fleet carriers were divested of all but 108 aircraft and sent to lure the American-led fleet away from protecting the troop landing ships. On 25–26 October, facing a large force that included ten USN carriers, with 600–1,000 aircraft,[2] 3rd Fleet lost 4 aircraft carriers, one light cruiser and one destroyer at the Battle off Cape Engaño. The 3rd Fleet effectively ceased to exist, and was officially disbanded on 15 December 1944.[3]

Commanders of the 3rd Fleet

1st Creation (Russo-Japanese War)

[4]

Commander-in-ChiefDatesPrevious PostNext PostNotes
1Vice-Admiral
Kataoka Shichirō
片岡七郎
28 December
1903
20 December
1905
Commander
Takeshiki Naval Base
Commander-in-chief
1st Fleet

2nd Creation (World War I)

RankNameDates
1AdmiralKakuichi Murakami13 December 19156 April 1917
2AdmiralRyokitsu Arima6 April 19171 December 1918
3AdmiralTeijiro Kuroi1 December 19181 December 1919
4AdmiralKaneo Nomaguchi1 December 19191 December 1920
5AdmiralKozaburo Oguri1 December 19201 December 1921
6AdmiralBaron Kantarō Suzuki1 December 192127 July 1922
7Vice-AdmiralNaoe Nakano27 July 19221 December 1922

3rd Creation (2nd Sino-Japanese War)

Commander-in-ChiefDatesPrevious PostNext PostNotes
1Vice-Admiral
Nomura Kichisaburō
野村吉三郎
2 February
1932
28 June
1932
Commander-in-chief
Yokosuka Naval District
Commander-in-chief
Yokosuka Naval District
Relieved after being blinded in eye
during the Hongkou Park bombing 29 April 1932.
2Vice-Admiral
Sakonji Seizō
左近司政三
28 June
1932
1 December
1932
Commander-in-chief
Sasebo Naval District
3Vice-Admiral
Mitsumasa Yonai
米内光政
1 December
1932
15 September
1933
Commander
Chinkai Guard District
Attendant
Navy General Staff
4Vice-Admiral
Imamura Nobujirō
15 September
1933
15 November
1934
Commander-in-chief
Sasebo Naval District
5Vice-Admiral
Hyakutake Gengo
百武源吾
15 November
1934
1 December
1935
Commander-in-chief
Maizuru Guard District
Commander-in-chief
Sasebo Naval District
6Vice-Admiral
Oikawa Koshirō
及川古志郎
1 December
1935
1 December
1936
Director
Naval Aviation Bureau
7Admiral
Hasegawa Kiyoshi
長谷川清
1 December
1936
25 April
1938
Vice-Minister of the NavyCommander-in-chief
Yokosuka Naval District
Also Commander-in-chief China Area Fleet
after 20 October 1937
8Vice-Admiral
Oikawa Koshirō
及川古志郎
25 April
1938
15 November
1939
Chief
Naval Aviation Bureau
Commander-in-chief
China Area Fleet
Also Commander-in-chief China Area Fleet

On 15 November 1939 the 4th Fleet was reorganized into the 1st China Expeditionary Fleet.
Admiral Oikawa retained command of the China Area Fleet but command of the former 3rd Fleet passed to Tanimoto Umatarō. Command History continues there.

4th Creation (Pacific War)

RankNameDates
1AdmiralIbō Takahashi10 April 194110 March 1942
XDisbanded10 March 194214 July 1942
1AdmiralChuichi Nagumo14 July 194211 November 1942
2Vice-AdmiralJisaburō Ozawa11 November 194215 November 1944

Chief of Staff

RankNameDates
1Rear-AdmiralShizuka Nakamura28 December 190312 January 1905
2Vice-AdmiralKoshi Saito12 January 19052 November 1905
XDisbanded20 December 190513 December 1915
1Rear-AdmiralShichitaro Takagi13 December 19151 April 1916
2Rear-AdmiralTokutaro Hiraga1 April 191619 March 1917
3Vice-AdmiralHisatsune Iida19 March 19171 December 1917
4Vice-AdmiralShichigoro Saito1 December 19171 December 1918
5Vice-AdmiralShinzaburo Furukawa1 December 191810 June 1919
6Vice-AdmiralKosaburo Uchida10 June 191920 November 1920
7Rear-AdmiralHisamori Taguchi20 November 19201 December 1921
8Vice-AdmiralNaomoto Komatsu1 December 19211 December 1922
XDisbanded1 December 19222 February 1932
1AdmiralShigetarō Shimada2 February 193228 June 1932
2Vice-AdmiralShigeru Kikuno28 June 19321 April 1933
3Rear-AdmiralSeizaburo Mitsui1 April 193315 November 1933
4AdmiralShirō Takasu15 November 193315 November 1934
5Vice-AdmiralEijiro Kondo15 November 19342 December 1935
6Vice-AdmiralSeiichi Iwamura2 December 193516 November 1936
7Vice-AdmiralRokuzo Sugiyama16 November 193625 April 1938
8Vice-AdmiralJinichi Kusaka25 April 193823 October 1939
9AdmiralShigeyoshi Inoue23 October 193915 November 1939
XDisbanded15 November 193910 April 1941
1Vice-AdmiralToshihisa Nakamura10 April 194110 March 1942
2Vice-AdmiralRyunosuke Kusaka14 July 194223 November 1942
3Vice-AdmiralSadayoshi Yamada23 November 19426 December 1943
4Rear-AdmiralKeizo Komura6 December 19431 October 1944
5Rear-AdmiralSueo Obayashi1 October 194415 November 1944

Notes

  1. Jukes, The Russo-Japanese War
  2. Morison, Samuel Eliot (2004) [1956]. Leyte, June 1944 – January 1945, vol. 12 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press; Reprint edition. ISBN 0-252-07063-1.
  3. D'Albas, The Death of a Navy
  4. Wendel, Axis History Database

References

  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X.
  • Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1.
  • Jukes, Geoffry (2002). The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905. Osprey Essential Histories. ISBN 978-1-84176-446-7.
  • Lacroix, Eric; Linton Wells (1997). Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-311-3.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.