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IJN Kagero Class Destroyers

The Kagero class destroyers were the largest destroyers built at the time. Their design was based off of the Asashio class coupled with improvements. They were considered the perfect fleet destroyer. The Kagero class was approved of in the 1937 and 1939 Programs and were laid down in the same period. The ships were completed between November, 1939, and June, 1941. Of the eighteen completed, only one survived the war, the Yukikaze, and she was sent to China in 1947 and renamed the Tan Yang.

Yukikaze, a 2033-ton destroyer built at Sasebo, Japan, was commissioned in January 1940. In December 1941, a few days after the beginning of the Pacific War, she supported landings at Legaspi, Luzon, and during the first two months of the next year was employed in the campaign to seize the Dutch East Indies. On 27 February 1942 Yukikaze was part of the Japanese cruiser-destroyer force that defeated the Allied naval units in the Battle of the Java Sea.

Yukikaze screened troop transports during the Battle of the Midway in June 1942. She was next in action in the long and difficult Guadalcanal Campaign, serving as an escort in the carrier battles of the Eastern Solomons in August and the Santa Cruz Islands in October. She also participated in the chaotic night action off Guadalcanal on the night of 13 November 1942. In March 1943 Yukikaze was one of the few Japanese ships that survived relentless U.S. Air Force attacks during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Four months later, in mid-July, she engaged Allied ships in the Battle of Kolombangara.

In the June 1944 Battle of the Philippine Sea Yukikaze served as an escort for the Japanese oilers. On 24-25 October, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, she was part of the primary striking force which, after enduring U.S. carrier plane attacks in the Sibuyan Sea, battled American escort aircraft carriers and their destroyer companions in the Battle off Samar. Yukikaze's last major combat operation, on 7 April 1945, was as part of the force built around the battleship Yamato in a desperate, and intentionally suicidal, attempt to attack U.S. forces off Okinawa.

She was joined in the sortie by her sister ship, the Isokaze. The Isokaze was damaged severly in the raid and the Yukikaze was forced to sink her with her own batteries. Having escaped the air attacks that sank Yamato, Yukikaze returned to Japan. In late July 1945, shortly before the fighting ended, she was damaged by a mine, but was apparently not seriously hurt.

One of the handful of Japan's larger destroyers (out of a hundred) to survive the war in serviceable condition, she was disarmed for use bringing Japanese military personnel and civilians home from that nation's former overseas empire. In July 1947, shortly after this task was completed, Yukikaze was transferred to the Chinese Navy, which renamed her Tan Yang. She accompanied the Nationalist Government to Taiwan after it was driven from the mainland in 1949 and continued in service for two more decades. The old destroyer was scrapped in 1971.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:23:50 ZULU