Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo


Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo

Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo

Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo was the most famous Japanese carrier admiral of the war, leading Kido Butai, the carrier strike force, at Pearl Harbor, the Indian Ocean raid, and Midway (Nagumo had under his command all six big fleet carriers for the Pearl Harbor attack, five of them for the Indian Ocean operation, and four at Midway). Although his own areas of expertise were torpedoes, propulsion, and destroyer operations (he was also an excellent wrestler in his younger days), due to seniority Nagumo got the Navy's most important carrier command at a critical juncture. He largely deferred to subordinates more expert in air and carrier operations-- his operations officer Genda and his chief-of-staff Kusaka-- in making tactical decisions.

After the debacle at Midway, Nagumo remained in command of the smaller carrier forces in the battles of the Eastern Solomons (August 1942) and the Santa Cruz Islands (October 1942), both part of the campaign for Guadalcanal. Nagumo thereafter wound up with shore commands, eventually becoming head of Central Pacific Area Fleet, based on Saipan. Hence he was nominal commander of the 6,000-odd Japanese Navy personnel ashore there at the time of the American landings. He committed suicide on Saipan in July 1944.

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Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942