Kagerō-class destroyer

The Kagerō-class destroyers (陽炎型駆逐艦,, Kagerō-gata Kuchikukan) were a group of 19 destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy during the 1930s. The class was also called Destroyer Type-A (甲型駆逐艦,, Kō-gata Kuchikukan) within the Imperial Japanese Navy from their plan name. At the time of introduction, these destroyers were among the most deadly destroyers afloat, primarily due to the excellent range and lethality of its "Long Lance" torpedo.

Yukikaze in December 1939.
Class overview
Name: Kagerō class
Preceded by: Asashio class
Succeeded by:
In commission:
Planned: 18 (1937) + 4 (1939)
Completed: 19
Cancelled: 3 (The dummy for the naval budget of the Yamato-class battleships)
Lost: 18
Scrapped: 1
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
  • 2,000 long tons (2,032 t) standard
  • 2,500 long tons (2,540 t) battle condition
  • 118.5 m (388 ft 9 in) full,
  • 116.2 m (381 ft 3 in) waterline
Beam: 10.8 m (35 ft 5 in)
Draught: 3.76 m (12 ft 4 in)
  • 3 × Kampon water tube boilers,
  • 2 × Kanpon impulse turbines,
  • 2 × shafts, 52,000 shp (39,000 kW)
Speed: 35.5 knots (65.7 km/h; 40.9 mph)
Complement: 239 (Kagerō, 1939)


Following on the success of the Asashio class, the Kagerō class was very similar in design, but was slightly larger and incorporated a number of improvements which had been gained through operational experience. It had a heavier main battery and much heavier torpedo armament than other contemporary foreign destroyer designs.[1] The first 15 ships of this class were ordered in the 1937 3rd Naval Armaments Supplement Programme and the final four vessels were ordered under the 1939 4th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme. The final vessel in the class, Akigumo, was sometimes mistaken for part of the succeeding Yūgumo class by immediate postwar historians due to confusion over the number of fictitious destroyers listed in the Japanese budgetary records in an effort to conceal the budget devoted to the secret Yamato-class battleships.

Design and description

The Kagerō class used the same hull and bridge as the preceding Asashio class and had an almost identical silhouette. The main visual difference was that the reloads for the forward torpedo launcher were located in front of the launcher instead of to the rear.[1] The ships measured 118.5 meters (388 ft 9 in) overall, with a beam of 10.8 meters (35 ft 5 in) and a draft of 3.76 meters (12 ft 4 in).[2] They displaced 2,065 metric tons (2,032 long tons) at standard load and 2,529 metric tons (2,489 long tons) at deep load.[3] The displacement and beam were thus slightly larger than for the Asashio class, giving greater stability.[1]

Their crew numbered 240 officers and enlisted men. The ships 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 shaft horsepower (39,000 kW) for a designed speed of 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph). The ships had a range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at a speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph).[4] Amatsukaze had an experimental boiler which developed a higher steam pressure, but this did not result in any increase in performance.[1]


As built, the weapons suite of the Kagerō class was identical to that of the preceding Asashio class. The main battery consisted of six 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 naval guns in three twin-gun turrets, one superfiring pair aft and one turret forward of the superstructure. The guns were capable of 55-degree elevation. The ships were also armed with eight 610-millimeter (24.0 in) torpedo tubes for the oxygen-fueled Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo in two quadruple traversing mounts; one reload was carried for each tube.[3] Their anti-submarine weapons initially comprised 16 depth charges,[4] which was increased to 36 during the course of the Pacific War.

In terms of anti-aircraft capability, initially two twin-mount Type 96 AA guns were placed forward of the second smokestack. As the war progressed, the number of Type 96 guns was gradually increased. In 1942–1943, the twin mounts were replaced by triple mounts, and another twin mount was added forward of the bridge. From 1943–1944, on surviving vessels the superfiring "X" turret was removed and replaced by two more triple mounts. In late 1944, the seven surviving vessels were fitted with a varying number of additional guns. Isokaze and Hamakaze received seven single mounts, whereas Yukikaze received 14 single mounts and four Type 93 13 mm machine guns.[1]

Hamakaze became the first Japanese destroyer to be equipped with radar when a Type 22 set was installed in late 1942. The other vessels were equipped with radar as they rotated back to Japan for repair or refit. All seven vessels surviving in mid 1944 also received a Type 13 radar.[1]

Operational history

During the war the Kagerō class was used extensively in the Solomons campaign, and wartime attrition was severe, with 18 of 19 vessels lost. In all, six were sunk by air attack, five by submarine attack, five in battle with other surface forces, one by a mine, and the remaining two sunk by a combination of mines and air attack. Yukikaze was the only Kagerō-class ship afloat at the end of the war.

Ships in class

Ship Shipyard Laid down Launched Completed Fate
17 Kagerō (陽炎) Maizuru Naval Arsenal 3 September 1937 27 September 1938 6 November 1939 Air attack SW of Rendova, 8 May 1943 at 08°08′S 156°55′E
18 Shiranui (不知火) Uraga Dock Company 30 August 1937 28 June 1938 20 December 1939 Air attack N of Iloilo, Panay, 27 October 1944 at 12°0′N 122°30′E
19 Kuroshio (黒潮) Fujinagata Shipyards 31 August 1937 25 October 1938 27 January 1940 Mined leaving Vila, Kolombangara, 8 May 1943 at 08°08′S 156°55′E
20 Oyashio (親潮) Maizuru Naval Arsenal 29 March 1938 29 November 1938 20 August 1940 Mined, air attack leaving Vila, Kolombangara, 8 May 1943 at 08°08′S 156°55′E
21 Hayashio (早潮) Uraga Dock Company 30 June 1938 19 April 1939 31 August 1940 Scuttled after air attack, Guna Bay, 24 November 1942 at 07°0′S 147°30′E
22 Natsushio (夏潮) Fujinagata Shipyards 9 December 1937 23 February 1939 31 August 1940 Torpedoed S of Makassar, 9 February 1942 at 05°10′S 119°24′E
23 Hatsukaze (初風) Kawasaki-Kobe 3 December 1937 24 January 1939 15 February 1940 Sunk in Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, 2 November 1943 at 06°01′S 153°58′E
24 Yukikaze (雪風) Sasebo Naval Arsenal 2 August 1938 24 March 1939 20 January 1940 Surrendered to Republic of China on 6 July 1947 at Shanghai,
renamed DD-12 Tan Yang (丹陽), scrapped 1970
25 Amatsukaze (天津風) Maizuru Naval Arsenal 14 February 1939 19 October 1939 26 October 1940 Air attack E of Amoy, 6 April 1945 at 24°30′N 118°10′E
26 Tokitsukaze (時津風) Uraga Dock Company 20 February 1939 10 November 1939 15 December 1940 Air attack SE of Finschhafen, 3 March 1943 at 07°16′S 148°15′E
27 Urakaze (浦風) Fujinagata Shipyards 11 April 1939 19 April 1940 15 December 1940 Torpedoed NNW of Keelung, Taiwan, 21 November 1944 at 26°09′N 121°23′E
28 Isokaze (磯風) Sasebo Naval Arsenal 25 November 1938 19 June 1939 30 November 1940 Scuttled SW of Nagasaki following air attack, 7 April 1945 at 30.46°N 128.92°E / 30.46; 128.92 (Isokaze)
29 Hamakaze (浜風) Uraga Dock Company 20 November 1939 25 November 1940 30 June 1941 Air attack SW of Nagasaki, 7 April 1945 at 30°47′N 128°08′E
30 Tanikaze (谷風) Fujinagata Shipyards 18 October 1939 1 November 1940 25 April 1941 Torpedoed in Sibutu Passage, 9 June 1944 at 05°42′N 120°41′E
31 Nowaki (野分) Maizuru Naval Arsenal 8 November 1939 17 September 1940 28 April 1941 Sunk in surface action, 25 October 1944 at 13°0′N 124°54′E
3 destroyers The dummy for the naval budget of the Yamato-class battleships
112 Arashi () Maizuru Naval Arsenal 4 May 1939 22 April 1940 27 January 1941 Sunk in Battle of Vella Gulf, 6 August 1943 at 07°50′S 156°55′E
113 Hagikaze (萩風) Uraga Dock Company 23 May 1939 18 June 1940 31 March 1941 Sunk in Battle of Vella Gulf, 6 August 1943 at 07°50′S 156°55′E
114 Maikaze (舞風) Fujinagata Shipyards 22 April 1940 13 March 1941 15 July 1941 Sunk in surface action, 17 February 1944 at 07°45′N 151°20′E
115 Akigumo (秋雲) Uraga Dock Company 2 July 1940 11 April 1941 27 September 1941 Torpedoed SE of Zamboanga, Philippines, 11 April 1944 at 06°43′N 122°23′E

A fictional Kagerō-class destroyer named Harekaze (晴風, Fine Wind) appears in High School Fleet.

Another fictional Kagerō class ship, the Hidoiame, is shown in the Destroyermen series of books written by Taylor Anderson. She appears in Firestorm, Iron Grey Sea, Storm Surge, and is briefly mentioned again in Straits of Hell.


  1. Stille, Mark (2013). Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919–45 (2). Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. p. 9-15. ISBN 978 1 84908 987 6.
  2. Chesneau, p. 194
  3. Whitley, pp. 200–01
  4. Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 148


  • 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.

Further reading

  • "Rekishi Gunzō"., History of Pacific War Vol.64 Mutsuki class destroyer, Gakken (Japan), May 2008, ISBN 978-4-05-605091-2
  • Collection of writings by Sizuo Fukui Vol.5, Stories of Japanese Destroyers, Kōjinsha (Japan) 1993, ISBN 4-7698-0611-6
  • Model Art Extra No.340, Drawings of Imperial Japanese Naval Vessels Part-1, Model Art Co. Ltd. (Japan), October 1989, Book code 08734-10
  • Daiji Katagiri, Ship Name Chronicles of the Imperial Japanese Navy Combined Fleet, Kōjinsha (Japan), June 1988, ISBN 4-7698-0386-9
  • The Maru Special, Japanese Naval Vessels No.41 Japanese Destroyers I, Ushio Shobō (Japan), July 1980, Book code 68343-42
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