The lead ship of her class, Takao was built at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal and commissioned on May 31, 1932. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, she took part in the landings at Philippines in early 1942 and the landings at the Aleutian Islands that June. During the Battle of Santa Cruz in October, she helped in the sinking of USS Hornet (CV-8). The following month, Takao participated in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Attacked and damaged in November 1943 by SBD Dauntless dive bombers from USS Saratoga (CV-3), she was in dry-dock for repairs until early 1944. Taking part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea that June, she was ordered to face the U.S. Navy during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Takao was attacked and damaged by torpedoes from USS Darter (SS-227) on October 23. Making her way to Singapore, she was deemed unrepairable. Attacked by Royal Navy midget submarines in July 1945, she received further damage. In October 1946, Takao was towed to the Strait of Malacca and sunk as a target ship by the Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Newfoundland.
Image: NH 111672: Japanese heavy cruiser HIJMS Takao. Starboard view.
A model of Tako is on display “In Harm’s Way: Pacific:” at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy in building 76.