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IJN Akitsuki Class Destroyers

The design of the Akitsuki class destroyers centered on task force defense. Ordered as part of the 1939 and 1941 Naval Programs, the Akitsuki destroyers were armed with heavy anti-aircraft and anti-submarine equipment. The last six destroyers, beginning with the Fuyutsuki were better described as "quasi" sister ships, due to the war demands they were built with simpler materials and methods than their predecessors.

Two of the destroyers, Fuyutsuki and Suzutsuki, were part of the suicidal sortie lead by the Yamato against American forces on Okinawa. Both managed to survive the failed mission, but were effectively sidelined until the end of the war. Several years later, in 1948, both ships were demolished and their hull used as a breakwater at Wakamatsu Port.

Akizuki, first the class of 2701-ton destroyers optimized for anti-aircraft purposes, was built at Maizuru , Japan . Completed in June 1942, she entered combat as a escort during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in August 1942. For the next two months, Akizuki continued her involvement in the bitter campaign to retake Guadalcanal . In mid-October she escorted ships taking reinforcements to the embattled island. Later, on 25 October, she was part of a force sent to support a major effort to capture the American positions on Guadalcanal , but was hit and damaged in the same air attacks that sank the light cruiser Yura.

Following repairs, Akizuki rejoined the Mobile Fleet. She escorted the largest aircraft carriers during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944 and was assigned a similar role in the operation that led to the Battle of Cape Engaño on 25 October 1944 . During the first U.S. carrier plane attacks in that action she was hit amidships and set afire. Within a few minutes of receiving this damage, Akizuki exploded and sank.

 




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