IJN Matsu Class Escort Destroyers
The Matsu class escort destroyers were designed as a replacement of naval losses with a shortage of raw materials in mind. They had a simplified design and were made for swift construction. The Matsu were the first Japanese ships designed with an improved layout for boilers and turbines to decrease the chances of total power failure should a bomb successfully target the engine compartment.
Despite having a displacement half of previous destroyers, the Matsu were still heavily armed with anti-aircraft weaponry and quadruple torpedo tubes. The destroyers were ordered in the 1942 Program and were laid over the next two years. Eighteen destroyers in total were built, while an additional eleven were cancelled. Eleven survived the war with many being handed over to the victorious Allied powers.
The Matsu, first of her class, completed and launched in late April, 1944. Commissioned, she was assigned to the 11th Submarine Flotilla, and later the Fleet Escort Force. She successfully participated in the Third "I-Go" operation, which involved transporting reinforcements to Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima islands. It was on the return of this mission that the Matsu met her fate, when the American Task Force 38 hunted down the Japanese fleet. In order to save the fleet, the Matsu remained behind and confronted a U.S. cruiser fleet composed of fifteen ships. She was sunk on 4 August 1944.
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