The ships of this class displaced 13,300 tons, were 201 m (661 ft) long, and were capable of 36 kt (67 km/h). They carried two aircraft and their main armament was ten 203 mm (8 in) guns in five twin turrets. At the time they were built, this was the heaviest armament of any cruiser class in the world.
Nachi then moved to the Aleutian Islands where she was engaged in the diversionary attack on the islands on 3 June 1942; she was back in the Aleutians when she was damaged on 26 March 1943 in the battle of the Komandorski Islands, and was engaged in an action at Kiska in July 1943. By October 1944 she was in the Philippines where she was damaged in the Battle of Surigao Strait on 25 October 1944.
The Nachi was attacked by three enemy aircraft waves and hit least nine times with torpedoes as well as rockets. The Nachi was broken by two big explosions into three parts and sank in middle of a large oil slick.
John Prados, in his book, Combined Fleet Decoded, writes that a major intelligence coup was the finding of a large set of code documents on tables and in drawers in the wreckage by U.S. Navy divers. They were surprised that the documents were not even in a safe. It was important because Nachi was flagship of the Second Striking Force at the time. Early Japanese radar equipment was also recovered.
The original wartime caption of a picture taken of the sinking Nachi by Lexington aircraft reads,
Note by target coordinator: We circled down to
It has been speculated that a large amount of gold was onboard the Nachi when she was sunk, which was later recovered by American divers. However this is a heavily disputed and questionable claim which is not asserted by the majority of academics, and is not believed to be the case as there is little evidence for it.
- Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Yoshiyuki Niiyama - 10 September 1928 - 26 November 1928
- Capt. Yoshiyuki Niiyama - 26 November 1928 - 30 November 1929
- Capt. Jiro Onishi - 30 November 1929 - 1 December 1930
- Capt. Noboru Hirata - 1 December 1930 - 1 December 1931
- Capt. Hiroyoshi Tabata - 1 December 1931 - 1 December 1932
- Capt. Yoshinosuke Owada - 1 December 1932 - 15 November 1933
- Capt. Fuchina Iwaihara - 15 November 1933 - 15 November 1934
- Capt. Marquis Teruhisa Komatsu - 15 November 1934 - 2 December 1935
- Capt. Michitaro Totsuka - 2 December 1935 - 16 November 1936
- Capt. Ryozo Fukuda - 16 November 1936 - 1 December 1937
- Capt. Kanki Iwagoe - 1 December 1937 - 10 October 1939
- Capt. Tsutomu Sato - 10 October 1939 - 15 November 1939
- Capt. Sukeyoshi Yatsushiro - 15 November 1939 - 15 November 1940
- Capt. Tamotsu Takama - 15 November 1940 - 20 August 1941
- Capt. / Rear Admiral Takahiko Kiyota - 20 August 1941 - 16 November 1942 (Promoted to Rear Admiral on 1 November 1942.)
- Capt. Akira Soji - 16 November 1942 - 10 September 1943
- Capt. Shiro Shibuya - 10 September 1943 - 20 August 1944
- Capt. / Rear Admiral* Enpei Kanooka - 20 August 1944 - 5 November 1944 (KIA)
- D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X.
- Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1.
- Lacroix, Eric; Linton Wells (1997). Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-311-3.
- Seagrave, Sterling (2003). Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold. Verso. ISBN 1-85984-542-8.
- Parshall, Jon; Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, & Allyn Nevitt Imperial Japanese Navy Page (Combinedfleet.com). Retrieved on 2006-06-14..
- Nachi tabular record of movement during WWII