The MegaMilitary Project | Online Edition #405
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Vice Admiral Hiroaki Abe

Hiroaki Abe - an Admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II

TK Tim Kirsten Updated
Hiroaki Abe

Hiroaki Abe was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Abe graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy (1911) and Naval Staff College (1925). He rose through the ranks as a torpedo officer and during 1922-23 commanded a destroyer.

He then commanded destroyer divisions, before commanding light cruiser Jintsu (1936) and battleship Fuso (1938). Promoted rear admiral (1938), he commanded 8th Cruiser Division in the attack on Pearl Harbor (7 December 1941). He led the bombardment groups in the attack on Wake Island (December 1941) and the Battle of Midway (June 1942). Instructed to bombard Henderson Airfield on Guadalcanal (November 1942) to cover a task force of transports bearing 13,000 Japanese reinforcements, his force was intercepted by Rear Admiral Daniel Callaghan’s U.S. Task Force 67.4.

In the ensuing furious, short night action off Lunga Point (12-13 November), his two battleships, one cruiser, and eleven destroyers were ranged against a U.S. force of five cruisers and eight destroyers. Abe lost his flagship, the battleship Hiei (badly damaged, she was sunk the next day by carrier aircraft, the first Japanese battleship lost in the war) and two destroyers. The Americans lost two cruisers and four destroyers, and Callaghan was killed. Abe could not complete his mission and the Japanese transports turned back. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto relieved Abe of duty (20 December) and he resigned from the navy (March 1943).

His younger brother, Toshio Abe, was also a career navy officer, and was captain of the aircraft carrier Shinano. Toshio went down with Shinano, when she was torpedoed and sunk by USS Archerfish (SS-311) while performing trials.

Vice Admiral Hiroaki Abe - Quick Facts

Service Unit/s:
Imperial Japanese Navy (1868-1945)
Military Rank/s:
Vice Admiral
  • WWII (1939-1945)
  • Pacific War (1941-1945)
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