Japanese destroyer Sakaki (1915)

Sakaki (, "Sakaki Tree") was a Japanese destroyer of the Kaba-class, built in Japan, that served in the last part of World War I, and throughout World War II, as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy. While operating near Malta Sakaki was hit and damaged by Austro-Hungarian Navy U-boat U-27.

Japanese sailors bring ashore boxes containing the cremated remains of the first Japanese victims of the war, the crew of the Japanese destroyer Sakaki, sunk on 11 June 1917 Austro-Hungarian Navy U-boat U-27 hit Sakaki off Crete killing 68 of her 92 crewmen.[1]
 Imperial Japanese Navy
Name: Sakaki
Laid down: 1 December 1914
Launched: 31 March 1915
Fate: Retired 1 April 1932
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
  • 655 long tons (666 t) normal,
  • 810 long tons (820 t) full load
  • 79.2 m (260 ft) pp,
  • 83.6 m (274 ft) overall
Beam: 7.3 m (24 ft)
Draught: 2.3 m (7.5 ft)
Propulsion: 3-shaft reciprocating, 2 heavy oil-fired + 2 oil/coal-fired boilers 9,500 ihp (7,100 kW)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Range: 1,200 nautical miles (2,200 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)
Complement: 94


At the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial Japanese Navy had a total of two modern destroyers capable of overseas deployment: the Sakura class Sakura and Tachibana. It was clear that this force would not enable Japan to fulfill its obligations under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, so the Japanese government pushed through an Emergency Naval Expansion Budget in fiscal 1914 to allow for the construction of ten new destroyers. As speed was of the essence, the orders were given to both government and civilian shipyards (as was the case with the construction of the Russo-Japanese War vintage Kamikaze-class). [2]

Twelve more vessels were built by the same shipyards in Japan per an order from the French Navy, where they were designated the Tribal class (or Arabe class) [3] named Algérien, Annamite, Arabe, Bambara, Hova, Kabyle, Marocain, Sakalave, Sénégalais, Somali, Tonkinois, and Touareg. The Arabe class were the most advanced destroyers in the French inventory in World War I.[4]


The ten Kaba-class vessels were built simultaneously at eight different shipyards around Japan. As there was no time to design a new vessel, plans for the previous Sakura-class destroyers were distributed to each shipyard, with the instructions that the power plant was to be a conventional coal-fired triple expansion steam engine, and not a steam turbine.

Armament was the same as that of the Sakura class, with one QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I - IV, mounted on the deck forward of the bridge, and four 3 inch 12 pounder guns, mounted one on either side and two towards the stern of the ship, with two torpedo launchers.

Operational history

Given the speed of construction and the fact that eight different shipyards were used, it is a tribute to the Japanese shipbuilders that all ten sister ships of the Sakaki were uniform in appearance and capabilities, and performed reliably in their overseas deployment to the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea in combat operations in World War I. [5] This deployment began with Rear Admiral Kozo Sato arrived in Malta in mid-April 1917, with the cruiser Akashi as his flagship and eight Kaba-class destroyers.[6] [7] The Japanese fleet was nominally independent, but carried out operations under the direction of the Royal Navy command on Malta, primarily in escort operations for transport and troopship convoys and in anti-submarine warfare operations.[7]

Sakaki was damaged by the Austro-Hungarian Navy U-boat U-27 on 11 June 1917 off of Crete with the loss of 68[A 1] of her 92 crewmen, including her skipper.[8] [9] [10] She was salvaged and repaired.[11][12] The ashes of the dead Japanese sailors were returned to Japan by the Imperial Japanese Navy.[1]

See also



  1. Authors Evan & Peattie say that 59 were KIA[8]
  1. New-York Tribune, December 2, 1917, p. 4.
  2. Howarth 1983.
  3. "Arabe French destroyer class". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  4. Tucker & Mary 2005, p. 165.
  5. Jentschura, Jung & Mickel 1977.
  6. "Japanese Navy, IJN, World War 1". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  7. Halpern 1995, p. 393.
  8. Evans & Peattie 2015, p. 169.
  9. Tucker & Mary 2005, p. 1069.
  10. Saxon 2000, p. 62.
  11. "Japanese Destroyers". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  12. "Japanese Navy, IJN, World War 1". Retrieved 21 December 2016.


Further reading

  • Cocker, Maurice (1983). Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893–1981. Ian Allan. ISBN 9780711010758.

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