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IJN Fubuki Class Destroyers

The Fubuki class destroyers at the time of their completion, 1928 to 1932, were the most powerful destroyers on the seas. Designated as 'Special Type,' the Fubuki destroyers were ordered over a period of several naval build programs, starting from 1923 and concluding in 1927. In all, twenty were laid down and completed. All but two of the class were sunk during the Pacific War, one was loss prior to the war in a ship to ship collision and the other was scrapped in 1948.

The Fubuki class was divided into two models. Model I incorporated the first ten ships and were simpler in construction than the ships that followed. They had a rangefinder on the compass bridge, an exposed gun-fire control room, and were equipped with a Type A gun turret that only elevate all of its barrels at the same time and only to forty degrees. Model II Fubuki destroyers were an improvement on this design. They had larger bridges which encompassed the rangefinder, an azimuth compass sighting device, the gun-fire control room, as well as a range finding tower. They also benefited from the deployment of Type B turrets, which unlike the Type A, could elevate their guns seperately and thirty-five degrees higher.

The Shikinami was one of the first Model II destroyers laid down. Constructed at the Maizuru Naval Yard, she was finished in an unusually swift time of a year and five months. In the early 1930's, the Shikinami underwent improvements which included removal of speaking tubes, changes to increase hull strength and improve stability. In 1932, she assisted in the landing of Japanese troops at Shanghai. During the Pacific War, the Shikinami supported the successful landing of troops in Malaya and later engaged in the Battle of Batavia from 28 February to 1 March 1942. Later in the war, she was present for the Battle of Midway, Third Battle of Solomon, Battle of the Bismark Sea, as well as the Battle off Biak. She was sunk, however, on 12 September 1944, when the submarine USS Growler torpedoed her in the East China Sea east of Hainan.

The Fubuki had twin enclosed turretts with an elecation of intially 40 degrees, and in later models, 75 degrees. Like the Mutsuki class before it, the Fubuki class originally were designated with numbers instead of names. They finally received names in 1928. From 1935 to 1937, the class were rebuilt to improve hull strength and stability.

The Amagiri, a 1750-ton destroyer, was built at Tokyo, Japan. She was completed in November 1930 and spent the next decade taking part in combat exercises and, during the later 1930s, in operations connected with the Sino-Japanese War. When Japan began the Pacific War on 8 December 1942, Amagiri covered landings on the coast of Thailand. Later involved with the campaign to conquer Malaya and Singapore, she engaged two British destroyers off the Malay coast on the night of 27 January 1942. She also supported the invasion of western Java in February and served with Admiral Yamamoto's force in the Battle of Midway

Amagiri participated in the 14-15 October and 14 November bombardment missions during the Guadalcanal Campaign, and helped escort the last major Japanese convoy to that island, on 15 November 1942. Employed as a high-speed transport during the Central Solomons Campaign, she participated in the Battle of Kula Gulf on the night of 5-6 July 1943. While on another reinforcement run to Vila on 2 August, Amagiri rammed and sank the U.S. motor torpedo boat PT-109 and engaged other PT boats in Blackett Strait, south of Kolombangara. Later in the year, she was at Rabaul during the U.S. carrier air raids on 5 and 8 November and carried troops to Bougainville on 6-7 November. Another reinforcement mission to Bougainville, on 24-25 November 1943, resulted in the Battle of Cape Saint George, in which Amagiri escaped pursuing U.S. destroyers led by Captain Arleigh Burke. She was sunk by a mine near Borneo on 23 April 1944.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:22:50 ZULU