Japanese destroyer Oboro (1930)

Oboro (, "Moonlight")[1] was the seventeenth of twenty-four Fubuki-class destroyer, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy following World War I. When introduced into service, these ships were the most powerful destroyers in the world.[2] They served as first-line destroyers through the 1930s, and remained formidable weapons systems well into the Pacific War.

Oboro on 22 July 1936
Empire of Japan
Name: Oboro
Namesake: Japanese destroyer Oboro (1899)
Ordered: 1923 Fiscal Year
Builder: Sasebo Naval Arsenal
Yard number: Destroyer No. 51
Laid down: 29 November 1929
Launched: 8 November 1930
Commissioned: 31 October 1931
Struck: 15 November 1942
Fate: Sunk in air attack, 17 October 1942
General characteristics
Class and type: Fubuki-class destroyer
  • 111.96 m (367.3 ft) pp
  • 115.3 m (378 ft) waterline
  • 118.41 m (388.5 ft) overall
Beam: 10.4 m (34 ft 1 in)
Draft: 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)
  • 4 × Kampon type boilers
  • 2 × Kampon Type Ro geared turbines
  • 2 × shafts at 50,000 ihp (37,000 kW)
Speed: 38 knots (44 mph; 70 km/h)
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,300 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 219
Service record


Construction of the advanced Fubuki-class destroyers was authorized as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy's expansion program from fiscal 1923, intended to give Japan a qualitative edge with the world's most modern ships.[3] The Fubuki class had performance that was a quantum leap over previous destroyer designs, so much so that they were designated Special Type destroyers (特型, Tokugata). The large size, powerful engines, high speed, large radius of action and unprecedented armament gave these destroyers the firepower similar to many light cruisers in other navies.[4] Oboro, built at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal was the seventh in an improved series, which incorporated a modified gun turret which could elevate her main battery of Type 3 127 mm 50 caliber naval guns to 75° as opposed to the original 40°, thus permitting the guns to be used as dual purpose guns against aircraft.[5] Oboro was laid down on 29 November 1930, launched on 8 November 1930 and commissioned on 31 October 1931.[6] Originally assigned hull designation “Destroyer No. 51”, she was commissioned as Oboro.

The 4th Fleet Incident occurred only a year after her commissioning, and Oboro was quickly taken back to the shipyards to have her hull strengthened.

Operational history

On completion, Oboro was assigned to Destroyer Division 20 under the IJN 2nd Fleet. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, from 1937, Oboro covered landing of Japanese forces in Shanghai and Hangzhou. From 1940, she was assigned to patrol and cover landings of Japanese forces in south China and in the Invasion of French Indochina.

World War II history

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Oboro was assigned to Carrier Division 5 of the IJN 1st Air Fleet, and had deployed from Yokosuka Naval District to Hahajima in the Bonin Islands, from which it subsequently provided cover for Japanese landing operations in the Invasion of Guam.[7]

From mid-December to April 1942, Oboro was based at Kwajalein, and from mid-April to the end of August 1942, Oboro was based at Yokosuka, patrolling in the nearby waters, and escorting convoys from Yokosuka to Ōminato Guard District to the north, and Mako Guard District to the southwest.

On 11 October 1942, Oboro departed Yokosuka with a re-supply convoy for Kiska in the Japanese-occupied Aleutian Islands. Oboro was sunk on 17 October in an air attack by USAAF B-26 Marauders 30 nautical miles (56 km) northeast of Kiska at position 52°17′N 178°08′E. A direct bomb hit among munitions being carried caused the ship to explode and sink, leaving only 17 survivors, including her captain (LtCdr Hiro Yamana), who were rescued by the destroyer Hatsuharu (also heavily damaged in same attack).[8][9]

On 15 November 1942, Oboro was removed from the navy list.[10]


  1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 754
  2. Globalsecurity.org. "IJN Fubuki class destroyers".
  3. Fitzsimons, Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare p.1040
  4. Peattie & Evans, Kaigun page 221-222.
  5. F Fitzsimons, Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1977), Volume 10, p.1040.<
  6. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Fubuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  7. Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Oboro: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. Combinedfleet.com. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  8. D’Albas. Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II.
  9. Brown. Warship Losses of World War II
  10. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Fubuki class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy.


  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X.
  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X.
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895–1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11402-8.
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X.
  • Nelson, Andrew N. (1967). Japanese–English Character Dictionary. Tuttle. ISBN 0-8048-0408-7.
  • Watts, Anthony J (1967). Japanese Warships of World War II. Doubleday. ASIN B000KEV3J8.
  • Whitley, M J (2000). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-521-8.
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