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11,200 Tons (standard)
4 × 127mm (5 in) guns
12 × 25mm AA guns
4 x Catapults
8 × 127mm (5 in) guns
30-48 × 25 mm AA guns
2 x Elevators
30 x Aircraft
On November 15, 1939, Chitose is assigned as flagship for Admiral Katagiri Eikichi, with Kamoi and Kinugasa Maru of the 17th Sentai for the new 4th Fleet Based at Truk Lagoon, arriving during December. Also, Captain Nishida Masao assumes command.
During December 1939 and into 1940, Chitose, Kamoi and Kinugasa Maru carrying construction crews and technicians to build seaplane bases and facilities at Dublon Island for the Dublon Seaplane Base. Next, Malakal (Koror, Palau), Roi and Eyebe Seaplane Base and Saipan. The tenders also make several trips to and from Japan to replenish construction supplies.
On June 3, 1940, Captain Nomoto Tameki assumes command. On October 11, 1940 participates in the Imperial Naval Review. Afterwards, arrived at Sasebo on October 15 and undergoes overhaul and repairs. The CO of battleship Kongo, Captain Tanaka Raizo, assumes temporary command of CHITOSE as an additional duty. On November 15, 1940 Captain Yamamoto Chikao (former CO 15th Air Group) assumes command. On August 20, 1941 Captain Furukawa Tamotsu assumes command.
During November 1941, Chitose is in Rear Admiral Fujita Ruitaro's 11th Seaplane Tender Division with Mizuho. Chitose aircraft are coded "YI-xx". On December 2, 1941 arrived at Palau.
On August 24, 1942 during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons attacked by a pair of SBD Dauntless from USS Saratoga CV-3 that scored two near hits with bombs that damage the vessel.
On September 28, 1942 departs Kavieng, and arrives at Shortland.
Ramming by Chitose F1M2 Pete
During the combat, B-17E 41-9118 was deliberately rammed from below by F1M2 Pete piloted by PO Katsuki Kiyomi from Chitose to prevent it from bombing Nisshin. During the ramming, the B-17's right wing was torn off and damage sustained to the vertical stabilizer, causing it to crash. The ramming damaged the Pete's right wing, but both Katsuki and his observer successfully bail out and were rescued by destroyer Akitsuki. For this attack, Kiyomi earned a commendation and gold chevron.
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