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IJN Shiratsuyu Class Destroyers

The Shiratsuyu class destroyers were modified versions of the Hatsuharu class, and had been originally planned as part of that class. The Shiratsuyu class emerged after Japanese designers corrected the problem of 'top heavy' ships. After making necessary modifications, the Shiratsuyu, originally intended as part of the Hatsuharu class, was named its own class and all later ships of the same design added to it.

By the time of their completion, the Shiratsuyu class had exceded their original displacement by six hundred tons exceeding the plans drawn up with the 1930 Naval Treaty of London in mind. The ships were laid down between 1935 and 1937 for a total of ten destroyers. Despite being one of the most powerful classes of destroyers in the world at the time of their completion, none of the ships survived the Pacific War.

Murasame, a 1685-ton Shiratsuyu class destroyer built at Osaka , Japan , was completed in January 1937. During the Second World War she was employed in several campaigns, beginning with the invasion of the Philippines , during which she escorted transports that landed Japanese troops at Vigan, northwestern Luzon, on 11 December 1941. In January 1942 she participated in landings at Tarakan, Borneo , and was part of the force that defeated Allied warships in the Battle of the Java Sea on 27 February. Murasame also participated in the June 1942 Battle of the Midway as part of Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo's Covering Group.

During the Guadalcanal Campaign Murasame played a supporting role in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in late August 1942, was damaged by air attack during a supply run on 5 October 1942, escorted transports to Guadalcanal on 14-15 October, rescued crewmen when the light cruiser Yura was sunk on 25 October and took part in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands a few days later. She directly engaged U.S. warships during the brutal night battle off Guadalcanal on 13 November 194 , receiving damage that put her forward boiler room out of action.

On 5-6 March 1943, less than a month after the Japanese had given up the fight for Guadalcanal , Murasame and the destroyer Minegumo took supplies to the Japanese base at Vila , on Kolombangara Island . While withdrawing after landing their cargo, the two ships encountered a greatly superior U.S. Navy cruiser-destroyer task force. In a brief battle, both Japanese ships were sunk. None of Murasame's crewmen survived her loss.


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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:25:26 ZULU