The Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II

A Graphic Presentation of the Japanese Naval Organization
and List of Combatant and Non-Combatant Vessels
Lost or Damaged in the War

Japanese Monograph 116


Prepared by
Military History Section, Special Staff, General Headquarters, Far East Command
February 1952


Through instructions from the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to the Japanese Government, 12 October 1945, subject: Institution for War Records Investigation, steps were initiated to exploit military historical records and official reports of the Japanese War Ministry and Japanese General Staff. Upon dissolution of the War Ministry and the Japanese General Staff, and the transfer of their former functions to the Demobilization Bureau, research and compilation continued and developed into a series of historical monographs.

The paucity of original orders, plans and unit journals, which are normally essential in the preparation of this type of record, but were largely lost or destroyed during field operations or bombing raids, rendered the task of compilation most difficult; particularly distressing has been the complete lack of official strength reports, normal in AG or G3 records. However, while many of the important orders, plans, and estimates have been reconstructed from memory and therefore are not textually identical with the originals, they are believed to be generally accurate and reliable.


Table of Contents

  Imperial Japanese Navy Chain of Command Frontispiece
  Foreword ii
  Preface v
Part I. Organization of the Fleets  
    Combined Fleet 1
    First Fleet 1-3
    Second Fleet 3-5
    Third Fleet 5-8
    Fourth Fleet 9-12
    Fifth Fleet 13-14
    Sixth Fleet 15-17
    Seventh Fleet 17
    Eighth Fleet 18-21
    Ninth Fleet 21
    Attached Units 22-27
Part II. Organization of the Area Fleets  
    Southwest Area Fleet 28-39
    Southeast Area Fleet 40-41
    Northeast Area Fleet 42
    Central Pacific Area Fleet 43
    Tenth Area Fleet 44
    China Area Fleet 45-47
Part III. Organization of the Naval Air Fleets  
    First Air Fleet 48-50
    Second Air Fleet 51
    Third Air Fleet 51-52
    Fifth Air Fleet 553
    Tenth Air Fleet 54
    Eleventh Air Fleet 55-56
    Twelfth Air Fleet 56-57
    Thirteenth Air Fleet 58
    Fourteenth Air Fleet 58
Part IV. Organization of the General Escort Command  
    General Escort Command 59-65
    First Escort Fleet 62-65
Part V. Organization of the Submarine Forces 66-99
Part VI. Organization of Naval Ship Divisions  
    Destroyer Divisions 100-105
    Subchaser Divisions 106-110
    Minesweeper Divisions 111-115
    Gunboat Divisions 116-119
    Transport Divisions 119
    Coast Defense Groups 120-121
    Torpedo Boat Divisions 121
Part VII. Organization of the Naval Air Groups and Airfield Units 122-170
Part VIII. Monthly Losses of Combatant and Non-Combatant Vessels  
    December 1941 to December 1943 171-195
    January 1944 to December 1944 196-218
    January 1945 to August 1945 291-240
Part IX. Chronological Summation of Japanese Submarine Losses 241-247
Appendix Alphabetical List of Combatant, Non-Combatant and Converted Vessels  
  (A) Combatant Vessels 248-256
  (B) Non-Combatant and Converted Vessels 257-279



Monograph No. 116, The Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II, one of the Japanese Operational Monograph Series covering operations of the Japanese Army and Navy during the period 1941-1945, is intended primarily as a reference for research and analysis, specifically in connection with other volumes in the series, and does not purport to be complete in itself.

Initially prepared in Japanese by former officers of the Japanese Navy under the supervision of the 2d Demobilization Bureau (Navy), the material was translated into English by the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service, General Headquarters, Far East Command, and edited for clarity, coherence, and accuracy by the Japanese Research Division, Military History Section, General Headquarters, Far East Command.

The chief sources used in compilation of this document included: Greater East Asia Imperial Japanese Navy Wartime Organization, original and revisions, issued by the Chief of the Navy General Staff, 1 June 1945; Battle Lessons, compiled by the Yokosuka Air Group; wartime diaries, battle reports, and Summaries of Merit of various units and ships, as submitted to the Navy Ministry and Navy General Staff; documents and reports of the Civil Merchant Marine Committee and individual ship owners; wartime documents and radio messages available at the 2d Demobilization Bureau Liquidation Office; and interrogations, statements, and private records of personnel concerned. In many instances material was either lacking altogether or consisted of mere scraps, resulting in a certain amount of inaccuracy and incompleteness in some portions of the report. The report has been checked against all available Japanese sources, but has not been compared with documents or material from other sources. To accomplish the latter would have involved a considerable amount of time, delaying publication of the monograph still further.

The graphic presentation originally used in compiling the document in Japanese was carried over into its translated form as the simplest and most accurate method of depicting the information.


That portion of Monograph 116 pertaining to Japanese shipping losses (Part VIII and IX) is not intended as a duplication of information in Japanese Naval and Merchant Shipping Losses During World War II by All Causes, prepared by the Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee and published by the United States Department of the Navy in February 1947. The latter volume lists only those vessels of 500 or more gross tons, while this document lists all vessels, regardless of size. In comparing the two studies, information in this document pertaining to the names of the ships and tonnage should be accepted, while information in the U.S. Navy publication as to damage or sinking and the location of the strike probably will be more accurate, since, although the ship owners were conversant with the names and sizes of their ships, their information covering the exact location and time of loss was not complete. Thus, many ships listed as missing in this report no doubt will be indicated as sunk in the U.S. Navy volume.

This document supplements others in the Japanese Operational Monograph Series, particularly those pertaining to operations of the Japanese Navy, of which the following are only a few: Monographs No. 79 through 102, covering naval operations in Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Okinawa, New Guinea, the Aleutians, Midway, Iwo Jima, the Netherlands East Indies, and other areas; Monographs No. 105 thru 125, covering naval operations against Soviet Russia, Malaya, Borneo, and the defense of the Japanese homeland, as well as naval communications and submarine activities. Certain number of these documents are already on file in the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army; the remainder, as yet unfinished, will be forwarded there upon completion. The majority of the monographs re typewritten; difficulties inherent in reproducing the charts in this monograph in any quantity necessitated that it be printed.


Chain of Command of the Imperial Japanese Navy
(From 8 December 1941 to 15 August 1945)

Orgnization Chart


Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Larry Jewell & Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation