Japanese destroyer Shiranui (1938)

Shiranui (不知火, alternatively Shiranuhi, Phosphorescent Light) [1] was the second vessel to be commissioned in the 19-vessel Kagerō-class destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the late-1930s under the Circle Three Supplementary Naval Expansion Program (Maru San Keikaku).

Shiranui on 20 December 1939
Empire of Japan
Name: Shiranui
Ordered: Uraga Dock Company
Laid down: 30 August 1937
Launched: 28 June 1938
Completed: 20 December 1939
Struck: 10 December 1944
Fate: Sunk in action, 27 October 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: Kagerō-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,033 long tons (2,066 t) standard
Length: 118.5 m (388 ft 9 in)
Beam: 10.8 m (35 ft 5 in)
Draft: 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in)
  • 3 × Kampon water tube boilers
  • 2 × Kanpon impulse turbines
  • 2 × shafts, 52,000 shp (39 MW)
Speed: 35.5 knots (40.9 mph; 65.7 km/h)
Range: 5,000 NM at 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Complement: 239


The Kagerō-class destroyers were outwardly almost identical to the preceding light cruiser-sized Asashio class, with improvements made by Japanese naval architects to improve stability and to take advantage of Japan’s lead in torpedo technology. They were designed to accompany the Japanese main striking force and in both day and night attacks against the United States Navy as it advanced across the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese naval strategic projections.[2] Despite being one of the most powerful classes of destroyers in the world at the time of their completion, only one survived the Pacific War.[3]

Shiranui, built at the Uraga Dock Company, was laid down on 30 August 1937, launched on 28 June 1938 and commissioned on 20 December 1939.[4]

Operational history

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Shiranui, was assigned to Destroyer Division 18 (Desdiv 18), and a member of Destroyer Squadron 2 (Desron 2) of the IJN 2nd Fleet, and had deployed from Etorofu in the Kurile Islands, as part of the escort for Admiral Nagumo’s Carrier Strike Force. She returned to Kure on 24 December.[5]

In January 1942, Shiranui escorted aircraft carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku to Truk, and onwards to Rabaul to cover landings of Japanese forces at Rabaul, Kavieng and Salamaua. In February, she escorted the Japanese carriers in the Bombing of Darwin, and was then based at Staring-baai in Sulawesi, Netherlands East Indies for patrols south of Java.

Shiranui departed Staring-baai on 27 March to escort the carrier force in the Indian Ocean raid on 27 March After the Japanese air strikes on Colombo and Trincomalee in Ceylon, she returned to Kure Naval Arsenal for repairs on 23 April. She deployed from Saipan on 3 June as part of the escort for the troop convoy in the Battle of Midway. Afterwards, she escorted the cruisers Kumano and Suzuya from Truk back to Kure.

On 28 June, she was assigned to escort the aircraft carrier Chiyoda to Kiska in the Aleutian Islands on a supply mission. On 5 July, while outside Kiska Harbor, she was hit amidships by a torpedo fired by the submarine USS Growler, which severed her bow, killing three crewmen. Her crew managed to keep her afloat and she took two months to limp back to Maizuru under tow, where she remained under repairs until 15 November 1943. During these repairs, her "X"-turret was replaced by two additional triple Type 96 25mm AA guns.

On 15 November 1943, Shiranui was assigned to the IJN 9th Fleet, and escorted convoys to Palau, Wewak and Hollandia during January and February 1944. On 1 March, she was reassigned to the IJN 5th Fleet and was assigned to northern waters, making patrols from her base at Ominato Guard District in April, and returning with the cruisers Nachi and Ashigara to Kure at the start of August. During the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 24–25 October 1944, Shiranui was assigned to Vice Admiral Shōji Nishimura’s diversionary force at the Battle of Surigao Strait. After the battle, she departed Coron to search for the missing cruiser Kinu and destroyer Uranami, and took on survivors from the destroyer Hayashimo. On 27 October she was sunk with all hands by dive-bombers from USS Enterprise,[6] 80 miles (130 km) north of Iloilo, Panay (12°0′N 122°30′E).[7]

Shiranui was removed from the navy list on 10 December 1944.

See also


  1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 39;
  2. Peattie & Evans, Kaigun .
  3. Globalsecurity.org, IJN Kagero class destroyers
  4. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Asashio class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  5. Allyn D. Nevitt (1998). "IJN Shiranui: Tabular Record of Movement". combinedfleet.com.
  6. Anthony Tully (2014). "Editorial Notes - HAYASHIMO". combinedfleet.com.
  7. Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X.


  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X.
  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X.
  • Evans, David (1979). Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-192-7.
  • Roger Chesneau, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946. Grenwitch: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • 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.
  • Watts, A. J. Japanese Warships of World War II, Ian Allan, London, 1967.
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Cassell Publishing. ISBN 1-85409-521-8.
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