Akizuki class (1941)
The Akizuki- class ( Japanese 秋月 型 駆 逐 艦 , Akizuki-gata kuchikukan ) was a class of twelve destroyers of the Japanese Empire that were used in World War II . The ships of the class were also designated by the Imperial Japanese Navy as Type B destroyers ( Japanese 乙型 駆 逐 艦 , otsu-gata kuchikukan ).
The Akizuki- class was primarily designed to aid larger ships in repelling enemy aircraft. For this purpose, four towers with two guns each with a caliber of 100 mm and a caliber length of 65 were planned along the longitudinal axis of the ships . In addition to their role as anti-aircraft guns , these guns could also be used against other ships. The gun turrets weighed 34 tons each , and the two inner turrets B and C were also installed in an elevated position, which led to balance problems. In order to accommodate the heavy armament, however, the hulls of the Akizuki class had to be enlarged to ensure a stable platform for the use of weapons. The result was a hull around 134 meters long with a width of up to 11.60 meters.
The dimensions, the shape of the superstructure and the arrangement of the armament were similar to those previously tested on the cruiser Yūbari , which is why the destroyers in the Pacific War were often mistaken for the light cruiser by American forces .
The main armament of the Akizuki -class consisted of four turrets with an approximately 3 mm thick fragmentation protection, in each of which two 100 mm L / 65 type 98 guns were housed. This weapon was considered to be one of the most advanced designs in Japanese gun construction, and its development was not completed until 1938. Each gun weighed 3,053 kg and could fire a projectile weighing 13 kg at a muzzle velocity of 1010 meters per second around 19 km at sea targets and attack air targets at a height of up to 13 km. The tubes of each tower could be aligned vertically upwards from −3 ° to up to 90 °, and a rate of fire of 19 to 21 rounds per minute could be achieved.
Like all Japanese warships that time was also based air defense of the Akizuki class at close range to the 25-mm type 96 - automatic cannon . The weapon was installed in twin, triple and single mounts , and their number was increased in the later course of the war as the threat from the air increased. While the original design provided for four pipes in two twin mountings, some ships received up to 51 pipes in the later course of the war.
The original planning of the ships for use as escorts for aircraft carriers made torpedo armament, which was only suitable for fighting surface targets, unnecessary. Later they decided on torpedo armament and planned four torpedo tubes , which were combined in a rotating set that was placed on the superstructure amidships. A reserve torpedo was available for each tube, so that a total of eight Type 93 torpedoes were carried.
Two boilers were combined in the front boiler room, the third was in a separate room behind it. A combination of one high-power and one low-power turbine was connected to a shaft , and the propellers were attached to both shafts . The system developed 51,400 hp (37,804.65 kW ). The ships carried around 1071 ts of heavy fuel oil and reached speeds of up to 33.7 knots.
Later in the war, the ships carried a Type 22 fire control radar and a Type 13 aerial search radar on the main mast behind the bridge.
To search for submarines, the ships were equipped with a Type 3 Model 1 echolocation system and a Type 4 hydrophone from 1944 onwards . With the hydrophone, at a speed of the destroyer of 12 knots, a loud target such as a torpedo could be perceived at 6000 meters and a quiet target such as a slow submarine at up to 1000 meters.
A total of four programs for the construction of ships of the class were launched. The first construction program, called Akizuki class , comprised seven ships, the second, called Fuyuzuki class ( 冬 月 型 , Fuyuzuki-gata ), with a slightly simplified design, comprised four, the third, the so-called Michizuki class ( 満 月型 , Michizuki-gata ), was supposed to involve the construction of 21 ships, but only one was finished by the end of the war. Program Four was never implemented, it was to become a high-speed version of the original destroyer.
The Akizuki ( 秋月 , "autumn moon") was laid down in Maizuru in July 1940 and put into service on June 11, 1942. It was sunk in the Pacific War on October 25, 1944 during the Battle of Cape Engano .
The Teruzuki ( 照 月 , "shining moon") was put into service in August 1942. She was attacked by American speedboats during the Pacific War on the night of December 11, 1942 and caught fire after being hit by a torpedo. The fire triggered a secondary explosion of her depth charges and she sank near the island of Guadalcanal .
The Suzutsuki ( 涼 月 , "cool moon") was laid down in March 1941 and put into service in December 1942. She was used as an escort for the super battleship Yamato towards the end of the Pacific War . On April 7, 1945 her bow was torn off by a torpedo hit during Operation Ten-gō . The crew managed to bring it back to Japan, where it was scrapped after the war.
The Hatsuzuki ( 初 月 , "first moon") was laid down in July 1941 and put into service in December 1942. During the Battle of Cape Engano, she covered the recovery of shipwrecked sailors from the aircraft carriers Zuikaku and Zuihō by two Japanese destroyers. After an almost two-hour chase and a 20-minute battle with advancing American cruisers and destroyers, she was finally sunk with most of her crew on October 25, 1944 at around 8:59 p.m.
The Niizuki ( 新月 , "new moon") was laid down in December 1941 and put into service in March 1943. She was hit on July 6, 1943 in the Battle of the Kula Gulf by radar-guided gunfire of the American fleet and went down around 2:00 a.m.
The Wakatsuki ( 若 月 , "young moon") was laid down in March 1942 and put into service in May 1943. It was sunk by American carrier aircraft on November 11, 1944 during a transport mission to bring supplies to Japanese troops in the Philippines .
The Shimotsuki ( 霜 月 , "frost moon" or "frost month" = November) was laid down in July 1942 and put into service in March 1944. She only carried out security tasks and was sunk during such a mission on November 25, 1944 by the submarine USS Cavalla 240 nautical miles from Singapore .
The Fuyuzuki ( 冬 月 , "winter moon ") belonged to the second series. She was laid down in May 1943 and put into service in May 1944. She was part of the Yamato escort during Operation Ten-gō in April 1945 and was later badly damaged by a sea mine . It was scrapped after the war.
The Harutsuki ( 春 月 , "spring moon") belonged to the second series. She was laid down in December 1943 and put into service in December 1944. It was handed over to the Soviet Union after the war and scrapped in 1969.
The Yoizuki ( 宵 月 , "evening moon") belonged to the second series. She was laid down in August 1943 and put into service in January 1945. After the war ended, it was used as a transporter for Japanese troops who had to be transported from various Pacific islands to Japan. It later went to the Republic of China and was scrapped in 1963.
The Natsuzuki ( 夏 月 , "summer moon ") belonged to the second series. She was laid down in May 1944 and put into service in April 1945. It was awarded to the United Kingdom after the war and finally scrapped in 1948.
The Hanazuki ( 花 月 , "flower moon ") was the only ship of the third class that was put into service before the end of the war. She was laid down in February 1944 and entered service on December 26, 1944. She did not take part in any major combat operations and was sunk by the Americans in 1948 as a target ship after the war.
Evidence and references
- Sometimes also Teruzuki or Terusuki class after the second ship of the class, as the Americans thought they were the type ship of the class in 1946.
- REPORTS OF THE US NAVAL TECHNICAL MISSION TO JAPAN 1945-1946, SERIES S: SHIP AND RELATED TARGETS, S-01-3, Surface Warship Hull.
- Raymond A. Bawal Jr .: Titans of the Rising Sun The Rise and Fall of Japans Yamato Class Battleships . Inland Expressions, 2010, ISBN 0-9818157-3-1 .
- Hans Lengerer: Imperial Warships Illustrated - Imperial Japanese Warships Volume 2 (pages 30 - 87), VDMedienvertrieb Heinz Nickel, 2020, ISBN 978-3-86619-158-7
- USNTMJ O-47 page 15
- Akizuki class at combinedfleet.com, viewed on March 16, 2011
- USNTMJ O-54 page 25
- USNTMJ O-47 page 17 and following
- Titans of the Rising Sun The Rise and Fall of Japans Yamato Class Battleships , 135
- USNTMJ E-10 page 11