Japanese destroyer Yūdachi (1936)

Yūdachi (夕立, "Evening Squall")[2] was the fourth of ten Shiratsuyu-class destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy under the "Circle One" Program (Maru Ichi Keikaku).[3]

Yūdachi underway on 30 November 1936
History
Empire of Japan
Name: Yūdachi
Namesake: 夕立 ("Evening Squall")[1]
Ordered: 1931 FY
Builder: Sasebo Naval Arsenal
Laid down: 16 October 1934
Launched: 21 June 1936
Commissioned: 7 January 1937
Struck: 15 December 1942
Fate: Sunk 13 November 1942
General characteristics
Class and type: Shiratsuyu-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,685 long tons (1,712 t)
Length:
  • 103.5 m (340 ft) pp
  • 107.5 m (352 ft 8 in) waterline
Beam: 9.9 m (32 ft 6 in)
Draft: 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in)
Propulsion:
Speed: 34 knots (39 mph; 63 km/h)
Range: 4,000 nmi (7,400 km) at 18 kn (33 km/h)
Complement: 226
Armament:
Service record
Operations:

History

The Shiratsuyu-class destroyers were modified versions of the Hatsuharu class, and were designed to accompany the Japanese main striking force and to conduct both day and night torpedo attacks against the United States Navy as it advanced across the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese naval strategic projections.[4] Despite being one of the most powerful classes of destroyers in the world at the time of their completion, none survived the Pacific War.[5] Yūdachi, built at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal was laid down on 16 October 1934, launched on 21 June 1936 and commissioned on 7 January 1937.[6]

Operational history

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Yūdachi was assigned to Destroyer Division 2 of Destroyer Squadron 2 of the IJN 2nd Fleet together with her sister ships Murasame, Harusame, and Samidare, and had sortied from Mako Guard District as part of the "Operation M" (the invasion of the Philippines). From January 1942, Yūdachi participated in operations in the Netherlands East Indies, including the invasions of Tarakan, Balikpapan and eastern Java. During the Battle of the Java Sea, Yūdachi engaged a group of Allied destroyers and cruisers. Returning to Subic Bay in the Philippines on 16 March, Yūdachi assisted in the blockade of Manila Bay and the invasion of Cebu, returning to Yokosuka for repairs in early May. During the Battle of Midway on 4–6 June, Yūdachi was part of the Midway Occupation Force under the overall command of Admiral Nobutake Kondō.

From mid-June, Yūdachi deployed from Kure via Singapore and Mergui for raiding operations in the Indian Ocean, but the operation was cancelled due to reverses suffered by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Solomon Islands. Yūdachi arrived at Shortland Island on 30 August, and was immediately assigned to "Tokyo Express" high speed transport runs to Guadalcanal. During one such mission from 4–5 September, Yūdachi assisted in the sinking of the destroyers USS Gregory and USS Little. Yūdachi continued making missions to Guadalcanal through November, participating briefly in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October under Admiral Takeo Kurita.

On the night of 12–13 November 1942, in the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Yūdachi escorted the Bombardment Force of Rear Admiral Abe Hiroaki. The lead ship in the formation at beginning of battle, Yūdachi had to swerve to avoid U.S. ships, then torpedoed the cruiser USS Portland. Yūdachi then mistook the destroyer USS Sterett for a friendly ship and flashed its recognition signals. Sterett fired back, hitting Yūdachi's #1 boiler room, leaving the ship dead in the water. After Yūdachi was disabled, 207 survivors were removed by Samidare, which then failed to scuttle her with three torpedoes.[7] The abandoned hulk was later sunk by gunfire of Portland, southeast of Savo Island at position (09°14′S 159°52′E). According to James Hornfischer, Yūdachi was showing a white flag before Portland fired, but this was deliberately ignored by the American captain, who directed his gunnery officer to "sink the S.O.B.".[8]

Notes

  1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. page 283
  2. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. page 283
  3. Lengerer, pp. 92–3
  4. Peattie & Evans, Kaigun .
  5. Globalsecurity.org, IJN Shiratsuyu class destroyers
  6. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Shiratsuyu class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  7. O'Hara, Vincent (2013). The U.S. Navy Against the Axis: Surface Combat, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1612513433.
  8. Hornfischer, James (2011). Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal. New York: Bantam. p. 322.

References

  • 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.
  • Lengerer, Hans (2007). The Japanese Destroyers of the Hatsuharu Class. Warship 2007. London: Conway. pp. 91–110. ISBN 1-84486-041-8.OCLC 77257764
  • 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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