WW2 Japanese Destroyers

Japanese Navy light About 80 destroyers 1919-1945

Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyer’s complete overview

In this article will be exposed all the destroyer types used by the IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) during the second world war. It is not intended to detail the career of each individual ship or expand on design details. In December 1941, the IJN aligned arguably one of the most impressive force of destroyers of any navy, in quantity as well as in quality. There were basically two eras which divided this lineage: The ww1 series, with their typical “toothbrush” hull style, close to the German model, and which lasted in construction until 1923, and the new admiralty standard, imposed by the Yubari in 1926, a prototype for a super-fast, extremely well armed destroyer that was to set new high stakes for other fleets to follow. Production in large constant batches was relatively linear, but there were a few “super-destroyers” although no destroyer leaders as in other fleets as light cruisers were supposed to fill that role, notably the Sendai, Tenryu, and Kuma classes.

This is a placeholder post, to be proofread, triple-checked, completed and re-release at a later date on social networks

1916 and 1918 programs IJN Destroyers

Minekaze (1919)

These 15 first-class destroyers, launched in 1919-22 and completed in 1920-23, were all active in the fleet in 1941. They originally carried a 3-piece 120-mm armament and two double benches. of 533 mm torpedo tubes. Two were converted in 1939 into patrol boats (Natakaze and Shimakaze), carrying 2 x 120, 10 x 25 mm AA cannons and a single torpedo tube bench. Their engine was reduced by a boiler and then served as troop transports in 1941, without their rear 120 mm piece.

The Yakaze became a target ship in 1937, partially disarmed. The hulls of the other ships were reinforced, equipped with ballast tanks, and in 1944 they received a DCA of 18 to 22 guns of 25 mm, serving with a gun of 120 mm in less lifeboats of the pilots or transports of Kaiten. They were sunk in operation, except 5, including the Namikaze who continued his career under the Chinese flag.

IJN Yukaze

Minekaze after carrier conversion

Displacement 1,552 t. standard -1 692 t. Full Load
Dimensions 100 m long, 9.1 m wide, 3.1 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 19,000 hp.
Maximum speed 35.5 knots
Armament 3 x 120mm guns, 8 x 25mm AA, 16 DC, 2L, 4 TLT 533mm (2 × 2) guns
Crew 180

Momi (1919)

The 21 second class destroyers of the Momi class (1919-1922), were not all in service in 1941: The Momi was damaged during a typhoon and its wreckage abandoned in 1932, and the Warabi disappeared with his crew in 1927. The Kaya was decommissioned and sold to scrap dealers in 1939, as was the Nashi. The 17 others were partially converted into patrol boats in 1940 (for 9 of them) or fast tankers on the same date (5 others), with a single boiler, speed of 18 knots; and the last three were kept in their first role. Their hull was reinforced, and they gained a DCA of 6 guns of 25 mm AA and 60 grenades ASM.

In 1941, the patrol boats and tankers were all transformed to embark a landing craft and 150 troopers, losing a gun of 120 mm back, and in 1944-45, carriers of Kaiten, with sometimes still a piece of 120 mm in less and about 20 guns 25 mm AA. The tankers had two fewer boilers, a reduced speed of 16 knots, 1 or 2 120mm guns, a single TLT bench, and were renamed and used as training ships. There were some survivors among those who were not torpedoed by submersibles: The Tomaruira No. 1 ex-Nire, the Take, the Osu ex-Khaki, the Fuji, the Tomaruira No. 2, ex-Ashi, the Asu and the ex-Sumire Mitaka.

Hasu 1943

Tsuta 1943, as converted into assault destroyer

Displacement 800 t. standard -1 162 t. Full Load
Dimensions 92 m long, 8.8 m wide, 3 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 10,000 hp.
Maximum speed 18 knots
Armament 2 x 120mm guns, 6 x 25mm AA, 60 DC, 4L, 4 TLT 533mm (2 × 2) guns
Crew 180

Kamikaze (1922)

The 9 destroyers of the Kamikaze class were the last designed before the Washington Treaty. They were launched in 1922-24 and completed in 1923-25. Originally, their displacement was 1,400 tons, but their hull was strengthened. Their military value in 1941 was not comparable to that of the “special type” post-Fubuki destroyers, but they were nevertheless used as intensely as the Mutsuki who followed them.

They were originally simply numbered and received names in 1928. In 1941-42, they went back to the shipyard for modifications, earning 10 25mm AA guns. In 1944, the last had between 13 to 20 guns of this caliber and four machine guns. Their speed was smaller than originally, 34 knots against 36-37. There were only two survivors of the conflict, the others being sunk by US submarines, planes, the Hayate being sunk in December 1941 in front of Wake.

Displacement 1,530 t. standard -1 650 t. Full Load
Dimensions 100 m long, 9.1 m wide, 3.1 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 19,000 hp.
Maximum speed 35 knots
Armament 3 x 120mm cannons, 20 x 25mm AA, 16 DC, 2L, 4 TLT 533mm (2 × 2) guns
Crew 180

Mutsuki (1924)

The Mutsuki were the fifth and last class of destroyers from the Minekaze of 1919, the new standard of first class destroyers of the imperial fleet. They followed the Kamikaze of 1922-23, differed in their larger dimensions, and especially their armament of torpedo tubes of 610 mm instead of 533, giving them a firepower far superior to the ships of allied fleets. In addition, they were versatile enough to carry out dredging and mine mooring missions with dedicated rails and equipment. 12 ships numbered from 19 to 34 were built. Their original characteristics were 1445 tons at full load for 37.2 knots, 4 pieces of 120, 6 TLTs in two benches, two AA machine guns and 150 DC.

Already overtaken in 1928, with the release of Fubuki, they were converted in 1941 in rapid troop transports, weighing down equipment, losing two of their cannons, and winning 10 25 mm AA guns, with 36 DC in locker and four mortars. In 1943-44, the losses in destroyers became so large that many were rearmed from their two 120-mm pieces. Some were camouflaged, like the Mutsuki above. In June 1944, they had 25 guns of 20 mm and 5 machine guns of 13.2 mm. In operation, they were fully engaged in the furious battles of the Solomon, or most were sunk. The Kisaragi was even sunk 3 days after Pearl Harbor. The others survived until 1944, and were victims of the overwhelming American air domination. None passed the year 1944.

Displacement 1,590 t. standard -1 880 t. Full Load
Dimensions 100.2 m long, 9.16 m wide, 2.96 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.
Maximum speed 34 knots
Armament 4 guns of 120, 10 guns of 25 AA, 36 DC, 4 LC, 6 TLT 610 mm (2 × 3)
Crew 150

Interwar IJN Destroyers

Fubuki (1927)

Author’s HD illustration of the Fubuki

The Fubuki represented a true revolution in naval history, as were the Novik Russians in their day, representing the new standard for destroyers. And it was Japan that was not a coincidence, launched this new standard. Anxious to challenge its third place in the concerts of the great maritime powers with the stated ambition to eventually dominate the entire eastern sphere, Japan designed a type of ship radically different from the former class destroyers, including the Mutsuki. The differences were innumerable, and the Fubuki inaugurated the “special type” which would become the reference for the classes to come, until 1945.

They were world-class, not in terms of tonnage, with 2060 tons at full load, but above all by their armament, with their three 610 mm tubes benches, their three double turrets with 127 mm pieces whose range was increased by a rise which could go up to 75 °, by their speed finally, of 38 nodes, and 40-41 with the tests. This speed combined with a rather light construction despite the exceptional quality of the steel archipelago, largely responsible for the myth developed around the best weapons ever created, the formidable Katanas, had fatal consequences on their stability, which had to be improved in 1935-37 by a strengthening of the hull, which increased their tonnage at full load to 2390 tons, and consequently their speed to 34 knots. Twenty buildings were launched in three program laws, the last entering into service in 1932, numbered from 35 to 54.

In operations, the Fubuki were obviously engaged in all clashes, and their excellent qualities proved in combat. In 1941, 19 were in service, the Miyuki sank after a tragic collision with Inazuma in 1934. 18 were sunk in combat, almost all carried AA artillery reinforced 14 guns 25 mm and 4 machine guns 13.2 mm AA, (two machine guns 13.2 mm in 1941) and 1944 22 of 25 and 10 13.2 mm in 1944. They had removed the turret No. 2 to make way for batteries. None passed the year 1944, except the Ushio, which survived until 1948.

Displacement 2,080 t. standard -2,400 t. Full Load
Dimensions 118.4 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.2 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.
Maximum speed 34 knots
Armament 6 guns of 120, 14 guns of 25 AA, 4 x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 9 x 610 mm TTs (3 × 3)
Crew 221

Akatsuki (1931)

The Akatsuki were four units quite close to the Fubuki, a little shorter with a slightly deeper hull, and new boilers of a more modern model. They also had a high speed and hull considered too light, and were reinforced in 1935-37; from 1950 to 2265 tons PC, running 34 knots instead of 38. In 1941-42, they removed their rear turret No. 2 to make way for AA batteries. From 2 machine guns, this one passed to 14 guns of 25 mm, 4 machine guns, then in 1944, 22 guns of 25 mm in eleven double carriages and 10 machine guns of 13 mm in five double carriage, 28 of 25 mm for the Hibiki in 1945 , the only survivor of his class. It was offered to the USSR in 1947 in war damage and renamed Pritky, and it seems that it was kept in service until the sixties.

Author’s HD illustration of the Fubuki

Displacement 1,980 t. standard -2,265 t. Full Load
Dimensions 113.3 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.3 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.
Maximum speed 34 knots
Armament 4 guns of 120, 14 guns of 25 AA, 4 x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 9 x 610 mm TTs (3 × 3)
Crew 221

Hatusharu (1932)

Shiratsuyu (1935)

Asashio (1936)

Author’s illustration of the Asashio

In 1935, the restrictions of the London Treaty came to an end. The Admiralty was therefore allowed to return to the “special type” that gave birth to Fubuki. But this time we had incorporated the advances made by the two previous lightened classes, so that the Asashio, much larger, kept their two quadruple tubes and again received a double turret, for three in all. Ten buildings were built, the last one entering service in 1938. They inaugurated new turbines, but they had a number of defects of youth which prolonged their tests, and problems of direction. Feasts and modifications were made and they were fully operational in December 1941.

During the war, they added to their 25 mm pieces, 8 others, including two carriages instead of their rear turret, suppressed in 1943. In 1944, they had on average 28 guns 25 mm and four machine guns, their movement to full load making a jump to 2635 tons. They were all sunk in combat, including three at the battle of Leyte (Surigao Strait), the others by planes or submarines.

Displacement 1,685 t. standard -1 950 t. Full Load
Dimensions 118.2 m long, 10.3 m wide, 3.7 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 3 boilers, 50,000 hp.
Maximum speed 35 knots
Weapon 6 guns 127 (3 × 2), 4 guns 25 mm AA, 16 DC, 8 TLT 610 mm (2 × 4)
Crew 200

Kagero (1938)

Author’s illustration of the Kagero

These 18 ships were of the general opinion, the most successful of the Japanese destroyers. Heirs Fubuki, but with excellent protection, they relied on the previous Asashio in general design, except for its transmission system rudder and its turbines. The Hamakaze was the first, in 1943, to receive a radar. Their artillery AA increased considerably: In 1943, the turret N ° 3 jumped, replaced by batteries. They had 14 guns of 25 mm, the standard endowment at the time, and in June 1944, 18 to 24, plus 4 machine guns of 13 mm. The bulk of the force was sunk partly by surface units and partly by aircraft, and the only survivor, the Yukikaze, was transferred to the Chinese for war damage. He became Tan Yang under this flag in 1947, and served until the 1970s.

Displacement 2,033 t. standard -2,450 t. Full Load
Dimensions 116.2 m long, 10.8 m wide, 3.7 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 3 boilers, 52,000 hp.
Maximum speed 35 knots
Armament 6 guns of 120, 4 guns of 25 AA, 16 DC, 4 LC, 8 TLT 610 mm (2 × 4)
Crew 240

Yugumo (1941)

Shimakaze (1942)

The Shimakaze was conceived in 1940 as the prototype of a new “special type”, which would once again be a new unsurpassed standard in speed and firepower, a “super-Fubuki” to be followed by a class of 16 units. Individually speaking, these ships were to be far superior to their American antagonists, who at the time were represented by the Benson, frail 1800-ton ships armed with 5 127mm pieces and eight torpedo tubes, and running 35 knots.

The comparison was indeed very advantageous: the Shimakaze, with its 3200 tons at full load, claimed 6 pieces of 127 mm, and especially 15 torpedo tubes in three quintuple benches, unprecedented yet, all served by a phenomenal power for a destroyer, 75,000 hp. As a result, the Shimakaze blithely surpassed 41 knots in testing. The Shimakaze was launched in July 1942 and put into service in May 1943. Its DCA will be considerably improved in 1944 by the suppression of its turret No. 2, its artillery pieces of 25 mm from 6 to 16, then 28 in 1944, with 4 13 mm machine guns.

Displacement 2,567 t. standard -3,000 t. Full Load
Dimensions 125 m long, 11.2 m wide, 4.14 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 3 boilers, 75,000 hp.
Maximum speed 39 knots
Armament 6 guns of 127 (3 × 2), 6 guns 25 mm AA, 18 DC, 15 TLT 610 mm (3 × 5)
Crew 300

Akitsuki (1942)

The Akitsuki class obeyed a 1939 directive calling for antiaircraft escorts for carrier groups. But as they eventually had to respond to a surface attack, a quadruple bench of torpedo tubes was built in the center. The Fuyutsuki in 1944. He will be one of the few survivors of the war. This artillery of a particular kind was concentrated in 4 double turrets of pieces of 100 mm with long range and with fast fire. The semi-automated turrets were heavy and spread towards the center of the ship, as for a cruiser. Moreover, with their 3,700 tons at full load, double the Fletcher, they were typically analyzed by experts as “super-destroyers” category popular late 1937, and the edge of the light cruiser (5000 tons).

Although these ships already display a strong ASM battery, and a 4-piece 25mm DCA, this “auxiliary” defense was greatly augmented, with the installation of 15, then 29 25mm gunshells, and for survivors in 1945, from 40 to 51 guns of this caliber, which made them the best armed destroyers ever built. The Akitsuki did not have any particular armor, but their solidity was demonstrated time and time again, as for many Japanese cruisers of slender and falsely light appearance.

Half of the Akitsuki finally fought very little, being put into service too late. Only twelve units of the planned program were finally put into service, the others demolished in situ in 1948. Only six units were sunk during the conflict, including one by one submarine, two by airplanes, and finally three by one. other surface ships, including one by PT-Boats (which translated a certain courage…) in December 1942 at Guadalcanal, shortly after its commissioning.

The first, the Akitsuki was launched in July 1941: It was completed much later and was not operational at Pearl Harbor. 4 others had been launched in 1942 and completed in 1943, 1 in 1943 ended in 1944 and the last 5 in 1944 and completed in 1945. They also saw little fighting, remaining almost all their short service in France, and survived logically to war, escaping the great bombing raids of July 1945. They were demolished in 1948, and two of them transferred, one to the Chinese who used it until 1963 under the name of Fen Yang, and the other to the USSR who scraped it much earlier.

Displacement 2,701 t. standard -3,700 t. Full Load
Dimensions 134.2 m long, 11.6 m wide, 4.15 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 3 boilers, 52,000 hp.
Maximum speed 33 knots
Weapon 8 x 100 mm AA DP (4 × 2), 4 x 25 mm AA, 72 DC, 4 x 610 mm TTs (1 × 4)
Crew 300

IJN WW2 escort destroyers

Matsu (1944)

At the end of 1942, the terrible losses suffered by the Nippon fleet because of the American submarines inspired the Imperial Admiralty the same response as the allies to respond to the U-Boat in the Atlantic: Dozens of destroyers of escort, smaller and cheaper than the “real” destroyers. However, again, the Japanese wanted to dominate their equivalents, and these ships were much better armed than Allied ships of this type.

For example, the initial design provided for a sixfold torpedo tube bench (…), which was not retained later. The protection was neat, as evidenced by the idea of ​​placing their turbines in two separate compartments to prevent a hit on the goal does not immobilize the ship … On the other hand, their construction was simplified to the possible and very fast: The Matsu , the head of class, will be put on hold in September 1943, launched in February 1944 and completed in April. 17 other ships will be built in less than 6 months under this first series. Their DCA rose to 29 25 mm AA guns in 1945.

Displacement 1,262 t. standard -1 500 t. Full Load
Dimensions 100 m long, 9.3 m wide, 3.3 m draft
Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 19,000 hp.
Maximum speed 27.8 knots
Armament 3 x 127mm (1 × 2 + 1) guns, 24 x 25mm AA, 36 DC, 4L, 4 TLT 610mm (1 × 4) guns
Crew 120

Tachibana (1944)

The second set, Tachibana, was virtually a copy of the first, with 33 units planned, but only 14 will be completed. They differed from the Matsu only in extremely simplified shell shapes, and some slight modifications of the superstructure. Their initial DCA was 24 guns also 25 mm, quickly increased to 29, and their ASM arsenal increased from 36 to 60 deep-fired grenades with mortars. Matus were killed in battle and 3 Tachibana. Some of the survivors were demolished in 1947-48, but the Nashi, who was among the victims of the conflict, was rescued and repaired in 1955 to return to service as an experimental radar picket in the new MAJ (Japanese Self-Defense Navy). Some units went to the British and American allies in war damage, and the latter promptly demolished them or used them as targets, while those who were delivered to the Russians saw a little more service, and those of the Chinese (4 in all ), were preserved until 1965. A third class, of 80 units, was planned for 1945, but at that time the coast of the archipelago was already under the bombs.

Fuso class battleships (1915)
Hōshō (1921)

5 Replies to “WW2 Japanese Destroyers”

  1. WARABI was Sunk 24 August 1927 in collision with Jintsu off Cape Miho; struck 15 September 1927.

    24 August 1927:
    4 miles E of Jizo Zaki lighthouse, Shimane Prefecture. During night maneuvers off Mihogaseki Bight, JINTSU rams destroyer WARABI and receives heavy damage, losing a large section of her forefoot. WARABI sinks with 92 sailors lost. JINTSU is towed to Maizuru.

  2. I do not mean to be discourteous or rude, but there is a lot of corrections that could be made in the english text. It appears either translated poorly, or by a non native english speaker. If you would like some editing suggestions, feel free to email me, would not mind helping at all. I have been studying WW2 history in the pacific for probably 30 years and I have never heard a torpedo launcher called a “bench”.

    1. You’re not, Jason, that’s right, this post is merely a stub or starter made from google-translated old archives mostly from Conway’s. It’s specificied, and there are many illustrations and descriptions missing. I’m SEO-oriented at this stage, subtitled it’s made for bots. I thank you for your proposal, i will do a complete proofreading/checking before release in due time. And i will invite you to participate if you want to then. Thanks a lot for your proposal. Cheers !

  3. In all the articles on this website there is very little discussion on Japan’s 24″ oxygen fueled torpedo. It is talked about in passing, when discussing various classes of ships but no in depth analysis on its capabilities, strategies employed, plus, its advantages and disadvantages. This is disappointing because it was instrumental in many of Japan’s early victories and also the cause of much self inflicted damage to IJN ships. It was also the classic use of an asymmetric weapon, one which the USN never really developed a counter to. This torpedo was central to how much of the Pacific war was fought. The IJN favored situations where its advantage was maximized, as the war progressed the USN went out of its way to avoid such situations.

    1. Because as mentioned, “this is a placeholder post, to be proofread, triple-checked, completed and re-release at a later date on social networks”. The rewrite will be much more beefed up, up to ten times this. Of course i will dwelve in detail on the IJN DDs armament and tactics. Torpedo types and especially the “long lance” will also have their own post in the tech section. Best example of a rewrite, look at the Kongo class which is just out.
      All the best !

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