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Original box for WWII RAN Operational map plotting model of Japanese light Cruiser ISUZU

Date: c 1939 - 1945
Overall: 30 x 185 x 50 mm
Medium: Cardboard, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Box
Object No: 00051360
Related Place:Yokohama,

User Terms

    Scale lead models of naval ships were used by the RAN to plot specific vessels on maps during war operations planning.

    The ISUZU was a 5,500 Ton Light Cruiser of the Nagara Class from the Imperial Japanese Navy that saw active service during World War II in the Pacific arena. In April 1945 it was sunk following two direct torpedo hits from USS CHARR.
    SignificanceThis lead scale model of the ISUZU is an example of the tools and equipment used during wartime operational planning. The ISUZU was active in the Pacific arena during World War II and was attacked by allied forces, including the RAAF.
    HistoryScale lead models of naval ships were used by the RAN to plot specific vessels on maps during war operations planning.

    The ISUZU was a 5,500 ton Light Cruiser of the Nagara Class from the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was named after a small river in the Mie Prefecture of southern Honshu, the main island of Japan, and was designed for a maximum cruise speed of 36 knots. These cruisers were designed to be the flagship of the destroyer squadrons and were fitted with seven 14-cm guns, two 8-cm HA guns, two 6.5-mm machines guns and eight 61-cm torpedo tubes. They were designed to carry small aircraft (Type 10 ship borne fighter), with a hangar below the compass bridge. However, takeoff required great skill and the aircraft could not land on the cruiser as the platform was very short.

    The ISUZU was commissioned and registered at Yokosuka on 15 August 1923, and was the flagship of its Sentai (cruiser division). On 15 September 1941 the ISUZU was assigned to Sentai 15 of the Second China Expeditionary Fleet, patrolling the sea around Hong Kong with the assistance of two destroyers. They entered the harbour on 25 December 1941 after the surrender of Hong Kong. ISUZU stayed there until early April 1942 as a guard ship, except for a short period performing duties as an escort for army transports at Mako and Singora.

    Between April and September 1942 ISUZU was assigned to Sentai 16 of the Second South Expeditionary Fleet, performing patrol and guard duties in the Java Sea for two months. From 30 June to 8 July ISUZU returned to Japan for repairs and an overhaul. At the end of July the cruiser supported landing operations on the Tanimbar Islands. After a brief sojourn to Singapore the ISUZU returned to patrol duties in the Java Sea until instructed to escort the first wave of transports carrying the 2nd Infantry Division from the Dutch Indies to the Solomon Islands in September. The ISUZU was then sent to Truk, an island group in Micronesia that served as the Japanese naval base in the Pacific. Over several nights in October 1942 ISUZU took part in the naval battle of Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands) when the Japanese unsuccessfully attempted to retake Henderson airfield from the US. Heavy losses were sustained by both sides.

    On the night of the 13-14 November 1942 IZUSU and other vessels were attacked by TBF and SBD aircraft from the USS ENTERPRISE near Rendova Island. The ISUZU sustained two near misses resulting in the flooding of the No. 3 boiler room and reducing the ships' speed to 15 kts. Another vessel was sunk and two others damaged. At Shortlands Island ISUZU had emergency repairs to fix the damage, followed by further repairs at Truk. At Yokohama the vessel had a re-fit with significant modifications during January, March and April 1943.

    On 1 April 1943 ISUZU was transferred to the newly formed Sentai 14 and attached to the Fourth Fleet. Between June and December 1943 ISUZU was deployed to the Central Pacific Area, providing escort and patrol services, and performing supply and troop runs. On 4 November 1943 the ISUZU detonated a mine laid southwest of Kavieng (Papua New Guinea) by the Catalina flying boats of the RAAF. Some ships in the convoy were sunk in the minefield, ISUZU sustained damage to the hull and gun mounts. ISUZU again sustained damage on 5 December following an air attack by US forces. There were several near misses and three direct hits by small bombs damaging the rudder and killing twenty crew. Emergency repairs were completed at Kwajalein Island (part of the Marshall Islands) and then at Truk.

    Between May and September 1944 ISUZU was modified into an Antiaircraft Cruiser at Yokohama. In August the cruiser was assigned flagship of Sentai 31, known as the Antisubmarine Mop-Up Force, which was attached to the Combined Fleet to provide antisubmarine protection for fleet units. ISUZU sustained damage and fatalities following attacks at Bungo Strait (Japan) and Corregidor (Philippines), the last attack causing severe damage to the stern.

    In April 1945 ISUZU was on escort duty in the Lesser Sunda Islands Archipelago in Indonesia when aircraft and torpedo attacks over a couple of days again damaged the vessel. Whilst emergency repairs were undertaken the vessel sustained two further direct torpedo hits from USS CHARR, this time to the port near the aft engine room. This caused the bow to break off and the ship to capsize. 450 crew were rescued but 190 did not survive. ISUZU was the 13th 5,500-Ton cruiser to be sunk during the war. Out of the 15 built between 1916 and 1920 only one (KITAKAMI) survived the war.

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