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DDK Yamagumo Class

With the Second Defense Buildup Plan putting emphasis on anti-submarine ability mainly, the DD 113 Yamagumo escort ships were built. These unusual vessels were designated anti-submarine hunter-killer destroyers (DDK). The design is an updated version of the destroyer escorts built for the US Navy in the immediate post-WWII period.

In their day they were well equipped for ASW missions. This warship was built as an escort ship which put emphasis on the anti-submarine armament. At the same time, heavy weather navigation was stressed, in order to be able to show high-speed opeartions. The sonar dome is installed in the bow's lowest section. Because the construction at that time involved the a warship which for the first time used a diesel engine on a 2,000 ton class ship, it attracted attention from around the world.

The are equipped with ASROC rocket launchers and torpedo tubes as anti-submarine armament, but because it is complete the anti-submarine soldier equipment, the anti-warship armament is only a 3 inch rapid fire gun.

The first three units were completed several years before the later trio, which accounts for the break in the numbering [three units of the DD 116 Minegumo class intervened], but all six are ships of the class ship. Yamagumo (DD-113) & Makigumo (DD-114) were used for training from 1991 and later retired. Asagumo (DD-115) was used as auxillary from 1993. The 2nd unit was demilitarized in 1995, as was the 3rd unit warship in 1997. Asagumo (DD-115) was reclassified as an auxiliary vessel [ASU-7018] for service as a Submarine Tender on 18 October 1993. Aokumo (DD-119) was reclassified as TV-3512 for service as a training ship on 18 March 1999, and assigned to the 1st Training Squadron based at Kure. The remaining two units were assigned to the Ominato local party, until the 5th unit was re-classified as a training ship (the TV-3514).

Namesakes

By mid-1943, the tide had clearly turned in the Pacific War, and the Allies had begun to fight their way back westward across the island chains to Japan. The American submarine Sculpin left Pearl Harbor for her ninth war patrol on 5 November 1943. After refueling at Johnston Island on 7 November, she departed for her assigned station northeast of Truk. Sculpin arrived on station on 16 November and made radar contact with a large, high-speed convoy on the night of the 18th. The Japanese destroyer IJS Yamagumo dropped a pattern of depth charges. The Sculpin later surfaced in full view of Yamagumo, which was still patrolling the area. As Sculpin crash-dived again, the Japanese destroyer dropped a string of 18 depth charges, severely damaging the boat. Sculpin surfaced, and with decks awash, her crew manned the deck guns. The result of this uneven contest was hardly in doubt. Yamagumo's first salvo hit Sculpin's conning tower, killing the entire bridge watch team, including Connaway and his executive and gunnery officers. The gun crew died almost instantly from shrapnel. The senior ship's officer surviving, a reserve lieutenant, ordered the boat scuttled and the crew to abandon ship. With his personal knowledge of ULTRA, the captain of the Sculpin -- John Philip Cromwell -- realized immediately that to abandon ship and become a prisoner of the Japanese would create a serious danger of compromising these vital secrets to the enemy under the influence of drugs or torture. For this reason, he refused to leave the stricken submarine and gave his life to avoid capture. He and 11 others rode Sculpin on her final plunge to the bottom, where her secrets would be safe forever.

During the Battle of Surigao Strait [2300 October 24 - 0721 October 25 1944] the American destroyer McDermut hit three the Japanese destroyers, sinking Yamagumo and Michisio, while blowing the bow off Asagumo and forcing her to retire.




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