Japanese destroyer Niizuki
|Builder:||Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard|
|Laid down:||8 December 1941|
|Launched:||29 June 1942|
|Completed:||31 March 1943|
|Commissioned:||31 March 1943, 11th Destroyer Squadron|
|Struck:||10 September 1943|
|Fate:||Sunk, Battle of Kula Gulf, 6 July 1943|
|Class and type:||Akizuki-class destroyer|
|Length:||134.2 m (440 ft 3 in)|
|Beam:||11.6 m (38 ft 1 in)|
|Draft:||4.15 m (13 ft 7 in)|
|Speed:||33 knots (38 mph; 61 km/h)|
|Range:||8,300 nmi (15,400 km) at 18 kn (21 mph; 33 km/h)|
Design and description
The Akizuki-class ships were originally designed as anti-aircraft escorts for carrier battle groups, but were modified with torpedo tubes and depth charges to meet the need for more general-purpose destroyer. Her crew numbered 300 officers and enlisted men. The ships measured 134.2 meters (440 ft 3 in) overall, with a beam of 11.6 meters (38 ft 1 in) and a draft of 4.15 meters (13 ft 7 in). They displaced 2,744 metric tons (2,701 long tons) at standard load and 3,759 metric tons (3,700 long tons) at deep load.
The ship had two Kampon geared steam turbines, each driving one propeller shaft, using steam provided by three Kampon water-tube boilers. The turbines were rated at a total of 52,000 indicated horsepower (39,000 kW) for a designed speed of 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph). The ship carried up to 1,097 long tons (1,115 t) of fuel oil which gave them a range of 8,300 nautical miles (15,400 km; 9,600 mi) at a speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph).
The main armament of the Akizuki class consisted of eight Type 98 100-millimeter (3.9 in) dual purpose guns in four twin-gun turrets, two superfiring pairs fore and aft of the superstructure. They carried four Type 96 25-millimeter (1.0 in) anti-aircraft guns in two twin-gun mounts. The ships were also armed with four 610-millimeter (24.0 in) torpedo tubes in a single quadruple traversing mount; one reload was carried for each tube. Their anti-submarine weapons comprised six depth charge throwers for which 72 depth charges were carried.
Construction and career
On the night of 4–5 July 1943, Niizuki led a troop transport run to Kolombangara. With her radar she detected U.S. ships in Kula Gulf, and she, along with the destroyers Yūnagi and Nagatsuki, fired a salvo of torpedoes, which sank the destroyer USS Strong. The attack, from a distance of 11 nautical miles (20 km), is believed to be longest-range successful torpedo attack in history.
On the night of 5–6 July 1943, Niizuki led another troop transport run to Kolombangara. In the Battle of Kula Gulf, she was sunk by gunfire from a U.S. cruiser-destroyer group, 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Kolombangara (7°57′S 157°12′E). All 290 people including the captain, the crew, and the command of 3rd Destroyer squadron were killed.
Niizuki's wreck was discovered by RV Petrel in January 2019. She sits upright in 745 meters (2,444 feet) of water and is heavily damaged. Surprisingly, her mast is still attached and completely upright.
- Chesneau, p. 195
- Whitley, p. 204
- Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 150
- Whitley, pp. 204–05
- Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
- Jentschura, Hansgeorg; Jung, Dieter & Mickel, Peter (1977). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 0-87021-893-X.
- Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.