Mikura-class escort ship

The Mikura-class escort ships (御蔵型海防艦, Mikura-gata kaibōkan) were a class of fourteen kaibōkan escort vessels built for the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Eight of the fourteen ships were sunk during the war. The class was also referred to by internal Japanese documents as the "B-class" coastal defense vessel (乙型海防艦, Otsu-gata kaibōkan).

Nomi in 1944
Class overview
Name: Mikura class
Operators:  Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Etorofu class
Succeeded by: Ukuru class
Built: 19421944
In commission: 19431948
Completed: 8
Lost: 5
General characteristics
Type: Escort vessel
Displacement: 940 long tons (955 t) standard
Length: 77.7 m (255 ft)
Beam: 9.1 m (29 ft 10 in)
Draught: 3.05 m (10 ft)
Propulsion: 2 shaft, geared diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,281 kW)
Speed: 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph)
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Complement: 150
Armament:

Background

The Mikura-class kaibōkan, as with the Chidori class torpedo boat, was a consequence of the 1930 London Naval Treaty, which placed limitations on the total destroyer tonnage the Imperial Japanese Navy was permitted. One way in which the treaty could be circumvented was to use a loophole in the treaty which permitted ships of between 600 and 2,000 tons, with no more than four guns over 76mm, no torpedoes, and with a maximum speed of no more than 20 knots. A new class of vessel was designed to use this loophole, and was given the obsolete designation of kaibōkan (Kai = sea, ocean, Bo = defence, Kan = ship), which had previously been used to designate obsolete battleships which had been reassigned to coastal defense duties. The first of these vessels were the Shimushu class and Etorofu; however, after the start of the Pacific War, it became apparent that a design more capable of anti-submarine warfare was needed. The 1941 Rapid Naval Armaments Supplement Programme authorized eight of these new vessels, which were designated the Mikura-class. [1]

Production began in late 1942 concurrently with later Etorofu-class vessels.[1]

Description

Although the Mikura-class was based on the two previous classes of escort vessels and used a simplified version of the Etorofu-class hull, it presented a much different appearance, with a stepped bridge, smaller single smokestack located further aft, shape of the aft deckhouse, and the type of main gun.[1]

The ships measured 77.7 meters (254 ft 11 in) overall, with a beam of 9.1 meters (29 ft 10 in) and a draft of 3.05 meters (10 ft 0 in).[2] They displaced 960 metric tons (940 long tons) at standard load and 970 metric tons (955 long tons) at deep load. The ships had two diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft, which were rated at a total of 4,400 brake horsepower (3,300 kW) for a speed of 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph). The ships had a range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at a speed of 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph).[3]

The main battery of the Mikura-class consisted of three Type 10 120 mm AA guns one forward, and a twin unshielded mount aft. These were dual-purpose guns capable of attacking both surface and aircraft targets. Anti-aircraft protection was by four Type 96 25-millimeter (1.0 in) anti-aircraft guns in two twin-gun mounts abreast the bridge. The Mikura class was initially armed with 120 Type 95 depth charges with two Type 94 depth charge launchers and had a Model 93 sonar and a Type 93 hydrophone. [1]

Later in the war, a third Type 94 depth charge launcher was added on the stern and the paravanes were removed. During the Pacific War, the number of Type 96 anti-aircraft guns was increased with the addition of a triple-mount in front of the bridge and an additional four single-mounts. A Type 22 and a Type 13 radar were also added. A Type 97 81-millimeter (3.2 in) trench mortar was also installed front of the bridge[3]

Operational service

All eight vessels in the class saw extensive combat service in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, where they were used for convoy escort. Two American submarines may have been destroyed by Mikura-class vessels, with Chiburi given credit for the sinking of USS Growler on 8 November 1944 and Mikura given credit for assisting in the destruction of USS Trigger on March 28, 1945. Of the eight vessels in the class, five were lost in combat (four to USN submarines). One ship survived the war to be used for repatriation duties and one was given as a reparations to the Republic of China Navy, under whose flag it continued to serve until scrapped in 1963.

Ships in class

Kanji Name Builder Laid down Launched Completed Fate
御蔵 Mikura NKK-Tsurumi Shipyards 1 Oct 1942 16 Jul 1943 31 Oct 1943 Sunk by USS Threadfin on 28 Mar 1945, SW of Shikoku [31-45N, 131-45E]
三宅 Miyake NKK-Tsurumi Shipyards 12 Feb 1943 30 Aug 1943 30 Nov 1943 Scrapped 2 Jul 1948
淡路 Awaji Hitachi-Sakurajima Shipyards 1 Jun 1943 30 Oct 1943 25 Jan 1944 Sunk by USS Picuda on 15 Feb 1944, Bashi Strait [22-34N, 121-51E]
能美 Nōmi Hitachi-Sakurajima Shipyards 10 Aug 1943 3 Dec 1943 28 Feb 1944 Sunk by USS Tirante on 14 Apr 1945, NW of Jeju Island [33-25N, 126-15E]
倉橋 Kurahashi NKK-Tsurumi Shipyards 1 Jun 1943 15 Oct 1943 19 Feb 1944 Ceded to UK in 1947, scrapped 1948
屋代 Yashiro Hitachi-Sakurajima Shipyards 18 Nov 1943 16 Feb 1944 10 May 1944 Ceded to China 29 Aug 1947, renamed Cheng An, scrapped 1963
千振 Chiburi NKK-Tsurumi Shipyards 20 Jul 1943 30 Nov 1943 3 Apr 1944 Sunk by USN aircraft 12 Jan 1945 off Off Cape St. Jacques [10-20N, 107-50E]
草垣 Kusagaki NKK-Tsurumi Shipyards 7 Sep 1943 12 Jan 1944 1 Jul 1944 Sunk by USS Guitarro on 14 Apr 1945, Off Capones Island, Luzon [14-50N, 119-57E]

See also

Notes

  1. Stille, Mark (2017). Imperial Japanese Navy Antisubmarine Escorts 1941–45. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. p. 26-30. ISBN 978 1 4728 1817 1.
  2. Chesneau, p. 205
  3. Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 187

References

  • Mikura class at Combined Fleet (Retrieved November 25, 2007)
  • (Retrieved November 25, 2007)
  • Worth, Richard, Fleets of World War II, Da Capo Press (2001), ISBN 0-306-81116-2
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