|March 25, 1887 – July 6, 1944 (aged 57)|
Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo
|Place of birth||Yonezawa, Yamagata Japan|
|Place of death||Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands|
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/branch||Imperial Japanese Navy|
|Years of service||1908-1944|
|Commands held||Aki, Hatsuyuki, Kirishima,
Sugi, Kisaragi, Momi, Naka, Takao, Yamashiro
11th Destroyer Division, 8th Cruiser Division, 3rd Cruiser Division, Kido Butai, 1st Carrier Division, 1st Air Fleet, IJN 3rd Fleet, Sasebo Naval District, Kure Naval District, IJN 1st Fleet, Central Pacific Area Fleet, IJN 14th Air Fleet
Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
Indian Ocean Raid,
Attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Darwin
Battle of Midway
|Awards||Order of the Rising Sun (2nd
Order of the Rising Sun (3rd class)
Order of the Golden Kite (3rd class)
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure
Chūichi Nagumo (南雲 忠一 Nagumo Chūichi , March 25, 1887 - July 6, 1944) was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II and one time commander of the Kido Butai (the carrier battle group).
Nagumo was born in the city of Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan in 1887. He graduated from the 36th class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1908, with a ranking of 8 out of a class of 191 cadets. As a midshipman, he served on the cruisers Soya, Nisshin and Niitaka. After his promotion to ensign in 1910, he was assigned to cruiser Asama.
After attending torpedo school and naval artillery school, he was promoted to sub-lieutenant and served on the battleship Aki, followed by the destroyer Hatsuyuki. In 1914, he was promoted to lieutenant and was assigned to the battleship Kirishima, followed by the destroyer Sugi. He was assigned his first command on 15 December 1917: the destroyer Kisaragi.
Nagumo graduated from the Naval War College, and was promoted to lieutenant commander in 1920. His specialty was torpedo and destroyer tactics. From 1920-1921, he was captain of the destroyer Momi, but was soon pulled to shore duty with various assignments by the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff. He became a commander in 1924. From 1925-1926, Nagumo accompanied a Japanese mission to study naval warfare strategy, tactics and equipment in Europe and the United States.
After his return to Japan, Nagumo served as an instructor at the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy from 1927-1929. Nagumo was promoted to the rank of captain in November 1929 and assumed command of the light cruiser Naka and from 1930-1931 was commander of the 11th Destroyer Division. After serving in administrative positions from 1931-1933, he assumed command of the heavy cruiser Takao from 1933-1934, and the battleship Yamashiro from 1934-1935. He was promoted to rear admiral on 1 November 1935.
As a Rear Admiral, Nagumo commanded the 8th Cruiser Division to support Imperial Japanese Army movements in China from the Yellow Sea. As a leading officer of the militaristic Fleet Faction, he also received a boost in his career from political forces.
From 1937-1938, he was Commandant of the Torpedo School, and from 1938-1939, he was commander of the 3rd Cruiser Division. Nagumo was promoted to vice admiral on 15 November 1939. From November 1940-April 1941, Nagumo was Commandant of the Naval War College.
On 10 April 1941, Nagumo was appointed Commander in Chief of the First Air Fleet, the Imperial Japanese Navy's main Carrier battle group, largely due to his seniority. Many contemporaries and historians have doubted his suitability for this command, given his lack of familiarity with naval aviation.
By this time, he had visibly aged, physically and mentally. Physically, he suffered from arthritis, perhaps from his younger days as an athletic kendo fencer. Mentally, he had become a cautious officer who spent every ounce of his effort going over tactical plans of every operation he was involved in.
Admiral Nishizo Tsukahara had some doubts with his appointment, and commented, "Nagumo was an officer of the old school, a specialist of torpedo and surface maneuvers.... He did not have any idea of the capability and potential of naval aviation." At home, Nagumo did not receive a loving description, either. One of his two sons described him as a brooding father who was obsessed (and later disappointed) with pressuring his sons to follow his footsteps into the navy. Contrastingly, Nagumo's junior officers in the navy viewed him as precisely the father figure that his sons did not.
However, despite his lack of experience, he was a strong advocate of combining sea and air power. Nevertheless, he was opposed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s plan to attack the United States at Pearl Harbor. While commanding the First Air Fleet, Nagumo oversaw the effective attack on Pearl Harbor, but he was later criticized for his failure to launch a third attack, which might have destroyed the fuel oil storage and repair facilities which would have rendered the most important American naval base in the Pacific useless, and the submarine base and intelligence station which were the main factors in Japan's defeat.
Nagumo was surrounded by able lieutenants such as Minoru Genda and Mitsuo Fuchida. He also fought well in the early 1942 campaigns. He was the fleet commander during the Bombing of Darwin and his Indian Ocean raid on the British Eastern Fleet was a success, sinking an aircraft carrier, two cruisers and two destroyers, and causing Admiral Sir James Somerville to retreat to East Africa.
At the end of his trip into the Indian Ocean, Nagumo's personal score card saw five battleships, one carrier, two cruisers, seven destroyers, dozens of merchantmen, transports, and various other vessels. He was also responsible for downing hundreds of Allied aircraft from six nations. Destruction brought upon Allied ports also disabled or slowed Allied operations. All the while, he had lost no more than a few dozen pilots.
However, at the Battle of Midway, Nagumo's near-perfect record finally came to an end. His Carrier Striking Task Force lost four carriers in what proved to be the turning point of the Pacific War, and the massive aircrew losses would prove decisive to the performance of the Japanese navy in later engagements.
Afterwards, Nagumo was re-assigned as Commander in Chief of the Third Fleet and commanded aircraft carriers in the Guadalcanal campaign, but his actions there were largely indecisive, and in hindsight he slowly frittered away much of Japan's maritime strength.
On 11 November 1942, Nagumo was re-assigned back to Japan, where he was given command of the Sasebo Naval District. He transferred to the Kure Naval District on 21 June 1943. From October 1943-February 1944, Nagumo was again Commander in Chief of the IJN 1st Fleet, which was largely involved in training duties by that time.
However, as the war situation continued to deteriorate against Japan, Nagumo was once again given a combat command. He was sent to the Mariana Islands on 4 March 1944 as commander in chief of the short-lived IJN 14th Air Fleet, and simultaneously commander in chief of the equally short-lived Central Pacific Area Fleet.
The invasion of Saipan began on 15 June 1944. Within days the IJN under Vice Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa were overwhelmed by the US 5th Fleet in the decisive Battle of the Philippine Sea costing Japan approximately 500 aircraft. Nagumo and his Army peer General Yoshitsugu Saito then were left on their own to defend the island of Saipan against the American assault. On 6 July, during the last stages of the Battle of Saipan, Nagumo committed suicide; not in the traditional method of seppuku, but rather a pistol to the temple. His remains were later found by U.S. Marines in the cave where he spent his last days as the commander of the Saipan defenders. He was posthumously promoted to admiral.
Chuichi Nagumo (25 March 1887 – 6 July 1944) was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II, overseeing the attack on Pearl Harbor. On July 6, during the last stages of the Battle of Saipan, Nagumo committed suicide; not in the traditional method of seppuku, but rather a pistol to the temple. His remains were later found by American Marines in the cave where he spent his last days as the commander of the Saipan defenders. He was posthumously promoted to admiral.