Military


IJN Akatsuki Class Destroyers

The Akatsuki class destroyers were ordered in the 1927 Building Program and were the last 'Special Type' destroyers laid down after the Fubuki class. Only four ships comprised the Akatsuki class, which were laid down in 1930 and completed by 1933. Like the Fubuki class, the Akatsuki class underwent a rebuilding between 1935 and 1937 to fix problems with hull strength and stability.

The first ship welded in the Japanese Navy was the Hibiki, which was incidentally the only ship of her class to survive the war. Ownership of the Hibiki was assumed by the Soviet Union after the war in 1947, and she served as the Pritky until she was scrapped in 1963.

Ikazuchi, a 1680-ton destroyer built at Uraga, Japan, was completed in August 1932. She took part in operations during the war with China that began in mid-1937 and was active through the first two and a half years of the Pacific War. On 8 December 1941, as that war began, she was one of the Japanese warships that attacked Hong Kong, sinking two British gunboats. During the first months of 1942, Ikazuchi participated in the East Indies campaign, including the invasion of Java and the battle on 1 March 1942 in which the British cruiser Exeter, destroyer Encounter and U.S. destroyer Pope were sunk.

In early June 1942 Ikazuchi took part in operations in the north Pacific that resulted in the capture of Attu and Kiska islands. Later in the year, she went south to join the protracted campaign to retake Guadalcanal and, on 25 October she and two other destroyers conducted a daylight raid into the waters off Guadalcanal. In the resulting action, the U.S. Navy fast minesweeper Zane was damaged and fleet tug Seminole and patrol craft YP-284 were sunk before the Japanese ships were driven off by U.S. Marine coastal artillery. Ikazuchi also particpated in the first night action of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, on 13 November 1942. Stationed on the right flank of the battleships Hiei and Kirishima with two other destroyers, she engaged several U.S. warships, among them the cruiser Atlanta, and received damage to her forward gun mount.

Ikazuchi returned to the north Pacific in 1943, and again engaged U.S. Navy ships in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands on 26 March. Later, she operated in the central Pacific. On 13 April 1944, while patrolling between Guam and the Caroline Islands, Ikazuchi was torpedoed and sunk by the U.S. submarine Harder.




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