Nagumo, Admiral Chuichi, 1887-1944

Nagumo commanded First Carrier Strike Force Kido Butai, from his flagship the Akagi for the first eleven months of the war. This was the Japanese Navy’s corps d’elite, but Nagumo was a torpedo expert, not an aviation specialist, unhappy in his position and overcautious. He led his force at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and decided against sending his planes in for a third attack, though it could have been decisive. He then commanded Kido Butai at Midway where he showed hesitation and an inability to adapt to this new form of battle in which enemy fleets never made contact. Nagumo then fought two unsuccessful naval battles of Guadalcanal: the Battles of the Eastern Solomons and of Santa Cruz Islands. He was relieved of that command and posted to the Marianas. There he organized the defense of Saipan. He committed suicide on 6 July 1944 when it was clear that all was lost.

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