Libertad class Battleships (1892)

Libertad class battleships (1892)

Argentina: ARA Libertad, Independencia (1889-1968)

The Libertad class were two coastal battleships ordered by the Argentinian Navy in a context of extreme tension with Chile. Both were ordered from a British yard and launched in 1887, and differed in some ways. Libertad and Independencia provoked however a real sismic wave in South America. The first south american battleship was ordered by Brazil (Riachuelo) in 1882, becoming a wake up call for the USN. But the Libertad class were the first modern battleships of the Argentinian Navy, a threat on the Pacific (Brazil’s ship was in the Atlantic) and the start of a famous naval race in history, which almost ended in a full-out war with Chile and ruined both nations. After covering last year the second naval arms race, between these and Brazil, let’s dive into the origin of it all, this month and until late July.

Origins and Context to the Naval Arms Race

In South America, two nations with a large pacific facade were on the brink of war or full out war at several occasions: Chine and Argentina were freed from Spanish rule in xxx and xxx respectively. But their position on the “Southern Cone” was likely to hinter each others and was the object of several wars:
Indeed, this decade of high tension was primarily driven by territorial disputes over control of the southern region of Patagonia and the strategic importance of sea power in the region.
Tensions had been simmering for years due to conflicting territorial claims, specifically the ownership of the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel. Indeed, the Argentine and Chilean navies possessed insignificant naval forces in the 1860s. These were a colection of civilian vessels with had hoc addition of various guns. There were up to five warships in the second only. Argentina however became concerned over the newly built Imperial ambitions and significan naval program of the Brazilian Navy. The ongoing Chilean war against Spain also was a concerned as the latter were increasing considerable their own program. They were in the process to add far more capable warships in the 1870s.

Diplomatic relations between Argentina and Chile soured at the time based on boundary claims in Patagonia and after the War of the Pacific, the Chilean government managed to retake the lead in the Americas.
The arms race intensified in the 1880s when after Brazil’s acquisition, Argentina sought to acquire modern warships from Europe to strengthen its capabilities, and under the leadership of President Julio Argentino Roca, the country was poised to retake the advantage over Chile.

ARA Almirante Brown. Ordered before Brazil’s Riachuelo, this was a first ironclad for Argentina. A small, 14 knots, 4,200 long tons central battery ship protected by 9-inch (230 mm) plating she was armed with eight breech-loading guns, first in South America using steel armor and largest vessel in the Argentine fleet for over 15 years.
Argentina purchased the armored cruiser ARA Almirante Brown from Samuda Bros. in London in 1879 and she was launched on 6 October 1880. Thus ship really marked the start of their naval expansion. We will get to this one later, but is not cited as part of the naval race, although Chile was very much concerned but did not answered yet.

Indeed, in 1886, Argentina reinforced its effort by the purchase of a new battleship, this time a modern barbette vessel, in Britain. Launched in 1887, the Libertad, and later the Indepencia, added to the earlier and still valid Brown, this time rang bells at the Chilean Embassy and Chile, led by President José Manuel Balmaceda, responded to Argentina’s naval buildup by initiating its own massive shipbuilding program: The 1887 appropriation was for one battleship, two protected cruisers, and two torpedo gunboats, with the will to acquire new state-of-the-art vessels from Europe, such as the battleships Capitán Prat and Errazuriz, as well as armored cruisers. Since European yards were at full capacity already, both countries ordered mostly in Britain and France, until Italy became a valuable option in 1894.
So it’s really after this final announcement that naval arms race really began.

The Race’s ships

As often the case, the race started with classes of ships (coastal battleships, and then protected cruisers), which needed answer on both sides. Argentina was the first to ramp-up the game by ordering four armoured cruisers to Italy, in whih Chile tried to answer with more protected cruisers and its first armoured one (O’Higgins) and then a class of “cruiser-killer” which were modified pre-dreadnought and distant ancestors of the battlecruisers.

⚙ The naval Arms Race

Argentinian navy Armada de Argentina chilean navy Armada de Chile
Veinticinco de Mayo (PC) 1890
Libertad class (BB) 1892
Nueve de Julio (PC) 1891
Buenos Aires (PC) 1894
Garibaldi (AC) 1895
San Martín (AC) 1896
Pueyrredón (AC) 1897
General Belgrano (AC) 1898
Rivadavia class (AC) 1901
Capitán Prat (BB*) 1890
Presidente Pinto class (PC**) 1887
Blanco Encalada (PC) 1892
Esmeralda (AC) 1894
Ministro Zenteno (PC) 1894
O’Higgins (AC) 1896
Constitución class (BB) 1901
Chacabuco (PC) 1901

*BB: Battleship
**PC: Protected Cruiser
***AC: Armoured Cruiser

In 1891, Argentina thus had three ironclad/battleships, Chile one, but the race started to evolve into another terrain, cruisers, as Chile was willing to wage a commerce war against Argentina and recinforced her ironclad by two protected cruisers, fast and well armed. It’s really indeed with the order of the Presidente Pinto class (also from France) following the French young school theories, that Argentina was concerned and ordered a ship fast enough to catch them in Britain, Veinticinco de Mayo (launched 1890). To what the Argentinians answered with a new program and ordered in a short span Veinticinco de Mayo (1890), Nueve de Julio (1891) and finally Buenos Aires (1894) as the Chilean in between turned to Britain to acquired really matching protected cruisers from renown naval architect William Reed, the Blanco Encalada (1892) and Esmeralda (1894) at the time, world’s largest cruiser (Rurik was the former).
In 1895 the Argentinians announced their first armoured cruisers, the Gaibaldi class, to which the Chileans answered with the O’Higgins, and as Argentina announced two more, Chile, now on the brink of war, answered by ordering to Britain two “Garibaldi-killer”, the future Swiftsure class, more pre-dreadnought than armoured cruisers, to which the Argentinians answered with the Rivadvia class.

The Pacts of May

For all this time, the arms race escalated tensions each year between the two countries, and the possibility of armed conflict loomed large. To such point, both to avoid economic collapse and preserve balance and stability in the region (Both Argentina and Chile were important exporters to Britain and the US), and international mediation efforts, particularly led by the United States and the United Kingdom, helped defuse the situation. In 1902, the dispute was settled through arbitration by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, who awarded control of the Strait of Magellan to Chile.
The naval arms race between Argentina and Chile in the late 19th century highlighted the strategic importance of sea power in the region and underscored the unresolved territorial disputes between the two nations. The conflict was ultimately resolved through diplomatic means, but it left a lasting impact on the relationship between Argentina and Chile.
The “Pacts of May” succeeded into lessening tensions and a quasi-war until 1904 when Brazil’s congress voted a large naval construction plan (and trigerring the second, dreadnought race).

Design of the class

Order (July 1889)

Willing to answer the recently ordered Chilean Capitan Prat, On July 24, 1889, under the presidency of Miguel Juárez Celman and the Ministry of War and Navy was Eduardo Racedo, the Argentinian staff looked in Britain for the construction of a moden barbette steel ironclad. The contract was signed the same July 1889 through the Argentinian Commission in London, a contract with the shipyard Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. The order was for the construction of a “two ships, twin-shaft, ram-equipped battleships for riverine service” (dos acorazados de espolón de doble hélice para servicio de ríos”) at a cost of £176.000. This transaction was approved in September by the Ministry.
The ships were called in Spanish “riverine battleships” according to their general caracteristics. They were not up to scale compared to Western ships but rather coastal in nature, more in line with the previous ironclad Almirante Brown, and to the Chilean Capitain Prat, rather small to European standard.
She was in effect a coastal battleship with relatively low freeboard and draught in order to perform coastal and even riverine operations were practicable. In fact this was confimed both by Argentinian records (“Riverine Battleship” or “Acorazado de Río”) while the 1902 Jane’s Fighting Ships listed her a as “Coast Service Battleship”.


Side and top views of ARA Libertad in Brassey’s 1899 edition
The first ship was initially called Nueve de Julio. She was later renamed Libertad as new cruiser was assigned the previous name and construction was scheduled to start in 1890, launched in 1891 completed that year. After finalizing trials, in November 1892 the ship was formally accepted by the Argentine Navy under command of Captain Atilio Barilari. She departed Liverpool on December 20, 1892 and arrived at Buenos Aires on January 25, 1893.

Hull and general design

The Libertad class only measured 73.15 m (240.0 ft) or 70.10 metres (230 ft) between perpendiculars, for a beam of 13.55 m (44.5 ft) making for a ratio of 5.6/1; Her draft in comparison was low due to her riverine use, at just 3.96 m (13.0 ft). The class had a steel hull subdivided by transverse and longitudinal bulkheads, with a reinforced ram bow.
This was a rather simple ship design, with a single amidships funnel, single military mast with a protector platform and fighting top (for the 20 mm Nordenfelt). The central structure was organized around the two fore and aft main 9.4 inches Barbette Krupp guns, the forward structure supporting two tandem 47 mm guns, with a symmetrical arrangement aft. The same fore structure supported the conning tower, and the spotting deck was built above. The steering bridge was a wooden structure located aft of it, with a platform above. The four 120 mm Elwick guns were located in two amidsips positions on the weather deck. The service boats were located around the funnel as customary, as the the air intakes. The main mast was strapped at the rear of the fighting top. There was no wireless telegraphy at that time. The military mast differed on both ships.

Armour protection layout

For her role, this class was reasonably well protected, to the level of her own artillery as the belt armour was slightly inferior to her main gun caliber (9 inches versus 7.9 inches), as were the barbettes.
Deck: 50 mm (2.0 in)
Belt: 200 mm (7.9 in)
Main gun shields: 125 mm (4.9 in)
Barbettes: 200 mm (7.9 in)
Conning tower: 100 mm (3.9 in)


Speed was coherent for the technology of this day and age and role of coastal and riverine defence ships: She had two 2 shaft four-bladed bronze propellers, driven by two Vertical Compound steam engines rated for 3,000 ihp (2,200 kW) or 2,070 kilowatts (2,780 ihp) depending on the source. They were fed by four cylindrical boilers, and they carried 340 tons coal (maximum). Top speed was thus 11 knots (13 mph; 20 km/h) on regular use, but as tested, Libertad reached a top speed of 14.2 knots (26.3 km/h; 16.3 mph) in her sea trials. Range was limited to 3,000 nautical miles at the cruise speed of 10 knots.


Main: Two Krupp 24 cm K L/35

These ships were equipped specifically with German guns (Krupp) as there was a contract already to equip the ground troops were these. These were two 24 cm (9.4 inches) with 35 caliber barrels, placed on Vavasseur mountings and protected with armoured shields. They were developed in Germany from 1888 for the coastal battleships of the contemporary Odin class in the early 1890s.
It weighted 21.5 t (23.7 short tons) for 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in) or 7.8 m (25 ft 7 in) barrel only, and fired separate bagged charge projectiles 140–215 kg (309–474 lb) HE type.
It used the Cylindro-prismatic breech block, could elevate to +25°. Rate of fire was two rounds a minute at 580–650 m/s (1,900–2,100 ft/s) velocity and max range of 13 km (8.1 mi).

Secondary: 4x 4.7 in/40 Elwick

The Libertad class also had four 120 mm (4.7 in) Elswick guns, capable of faster-firing, and located alidships under shields, either side of the central structure. Arc of fire was enabled by cutouts in the structure and of around 110°. Developed from 1885 they were in short capable of 5–6 rounds per minute (1,786 fps) at 10,000 yards (9,100 m), thus close to the main guns.

Tertiary and TTs

The battery was constistent for the 1880s and comprised a seot of four Swedish Nordenfelt guns: Four 47 mm (1.9 in) QF or “3-pdr”, which fired a Fixed QF 3 lb 4 oz (1.5 kg) 47-millimetre (1.850 in) HE shell. The gun used a Vertical sliding-block breech with locking wedge. mz 1,959 ft/s (597 m/s), max range 4,000 yd (3,700 m)
She also had four 25 mm (0.98 in) or 1-pdr Nordenfelt guns in the fighting top, one for each angle, unshielded. These were short-range weapons firing a 7.25 ounces (0.206 kg) solid steel bullet with brass jacket at a muzzle velocity of 1,464 feet per second (446 m/s). Rate of fire was not far from a machine-gun thanks to overhead ammunition magazines, but hand-cranked in order to evacuate the spent cartridge and load a new one by gravity.

Lastly, the ships had two 457 mm (18.0 in) Whitehead torpedo tubes. These were of the standard British type; mounted into the hull in side fixed positions above the waterline.

⚙ specifications

Displacement 2,336 tons
Dimensions 73.15 x 13.55 x 3.96 m (240 x 44.5 x 13.0 ft)
Propulsion 2-shaft Vertical Compound SE 3,000 ihp (2,200 kW), 4 cyl. boilers
Speed 11 knots (13 mph; 20 km/h), 14.2 kts trials
Range 340 tons coal (maximum), 3000 nautical miles @ 10knots
Armament 2× 240mm Krupp, x4 120 mm Elswick, 4× 47 + 4× 25 mm Nordenfelt, 2× 457 mm Whitehead TTs
Protection Deck 50, Belt: 200, Main gun shields 125, barbettes 200, CT 100 mm
Crew 225

Career of the Libertad class ships

1st Division in 1894, with her sister ships and Almirante Brown. In 1905 Libertad was assigned to the hydrographic survey of the Río de la Plata, then the Training Division. In 1914 she trained crews for the new Rivadavia class dreadnought. In 1915 she was reclassified as a “coast guard ship”. In 1918–19 Libertad she was placed in reserve. Transfored in 1922–23 to a training ship and in reserve by 1924-25 she was upgraded to fuel oil and by 1927 she became a gunboat, assigned to the Gunboat Division in 1930. In December 1946 she was decommissioned, 1947 transferred to the Coast Guard as station ships for pilots in the River Plate until decomm. again in 1968.
Independencia on her side had a decisive intervention at El Espinillo, a battle in which her main cannons penetrated the armor of her rival Chilean ship Andes, putting an end to the battle
In 1895 she took part in large naval exercises on high seas with Chief of Naval Staff Captain Manuel José García-Mansilla and also in the 1902 and 1909 naval exercises. Decommissioned in 1946, stricken in 1948, by 1947-48 she became a submarine tender and base. And like her sister she was at the instruction of cadets, notably those of the new Rivadavia and Moreno and used afterwards as a lighthouse pontoon until 1968.

Argentinian navy ARA Libertad

After carrying out her sea trials in the Irish Sea, on November 26, 1892, the Argentine flag was hoisted while Captain Atilio Barilari assumed command for commission, and she sailed from Liverpool on December 20, bound for Buenos Aires, stopping in Las Palmas (Madeira) and San Vicente via Rio de Janeiro, reaching Buenos Aires on January 25, 1893.

During the trip four sailors died of suffocation in the torpedo locker, leading to an enquiry when back home, with Lieutenant Belisario P. Quiroga (XO) criticized about personnel recruitment. During the 1893 revolution Libertad remained mobilized under command of Captain Emilio V. Barilari, before being stationed in the Outer Road, as a sanitary ship.

The 1890-1900s

In 1894 she took part in 1st Naval Division maneuvers off Maldonado forming with Almirante Brown as flagship and Independencia.
On February 6, 1895 she joined in fleet exercizes and by April in maneuvers in the Bahía Blanca.
In October, frigate captain Hipólito Oliva assumed command and the ship returned to the training squadron, with the cruiser Nueve de Julio, Almirante Brown, Patria, Resguardo and Gaviota.
In 1896 she was placed in the 2nd Division, traveling to Brazil for a goodwill trip. In August Eduardo O’Connor took command, the ship visiting Puerto Belgrano and Puerto Madryn and Río Santiago.
In 1897 she became flagship of the Second Division, taking part in maneuvers and by October-November operated off Santa Cruz, San Sebastián Bay, Rada Tilly and Puerto Madryn. She made a training cruise to Isla Escondida, Bahía Blanca, Samborombón, and Montevideo,and back to the Río de la Plata on December 28.
In May 1898, Gregorio Aguerriberry took command and she was versed into the “Río de la Plata” Division with ARA Independencia, Almirante Brown and the transport Pampa for a cruise to the Beagle Channel and back in October participated in the Naval Review at Punta Piedras.

In November 1898, Vicente E. Montes assumed command, and ARA Libertad travelled to Ushuaia in early 1899, followed by firing tests in the Nuevo Gulf. In Buenos Aires she was placed into reserve in Rio Santiago (due to budget cuts). In 1901, captain Antonio L. Mathé took command while she was sent in drydock for her first overhaul.
In 1902, Libertad was versed to the 3rd Third Division but was operated with a skeleton crew in Río Santiago. In 1903, Lieutenant José M. Mascarello took command followed by Ernesto Anabia and the ship was assigned to the Sailor School.

In April 1904 she was in the Instruction Division and by June 1905 assigned to the Río de lo Plata Hydrographic Mission, under Ernesto Anabia. After some reserve, she was back to the Training Division, partially disarmed by 1906 and remobilized with the Instruction Division of the Río de la Plata under Julián Irizar.
In 1907 Ramón González Fernández became her new CO and by February 1908 she took the head of the Instruction Division. She made one of her last gunnery training with the cruiser Veinticinco de Mayo and went on under González Fernández in 1908 with the 3rd Division, Río de la Plata.
In 1909 under captain Carlos G. Daireaux she was reactivated for the maneuver plan in link wit the Argentine Centennial in 1910, leaving La Plata for the Huevo, Oso Marino, Thetis bays, and Le Maire strait, Ushuaia, Cape Horn, Río Gallegos and Santa Elena Bay. She later returned in Río Santiago.
By 1911 under Eduardo Mendez she received a wireless radio and the radiotelegraphic indicative “G.L.”, still in the 3rd Division, Río de la Plata. In 1912, she took part in the 3rd division maneuvers with artillery maintenance at the Zárate Marina Arsenal and went to Rio Grande do Sul to the rescue of the stranded steamship Colastiné, towed to port.

World War One

In January 1913, captain Ricardo Hermelo took command and by July she was back at the Cadet Instruction Division of the Naval Military School. In February 1914 under Carlos Somoza, she was assigned to the training of the future crews of the new battleships Moreno and Rivadavia built in the US.
In 1915 unde Eduardo Ramírez she was partially disarmed and by May reclassified as a coast guard (CO Jorge Games) and by 1916 became an auxiliary ship of the Training Division in Puerto Belgrano.
By 1917 under command of Arturo Nieva she joined the 2nd Division as auxiliary ship. In May, she was assigned to Comodoro Rivadavia to repress the oil industry worker’s strike, and was anchored at the Tierra del Fuego.
On February 19, 1918, budget cuts and lack of fuel had her disarmed and partially mothballed at Río Santiago Naval Base.

The interwar

By 1920 she she was fully reactivated and versed to the 3rd school Division. By January 1921 (Captain Pascual Brebbia) she transferred back to Argentina American Admiral G.W.Basset to Montevideo and Frederic Jesup Stimson (new Ambassador in the United States). She took part in the riverine squadron maneuvers in the Río de la Plata and Paraná. With the TBs Comodoro Py and Thorne, she sailed to Concepción del Uruguay for a sanitary blockade off Uruguay during a mass epidemic.
In August, she hosted the Machinists school. By December she took aboard cadets of the Naval School for a summer cruise to Puerto Madryn. In April 1922 became her new CO while she made a training trip to the South.
As the Argentine Navy made a raid to link Buenos Aires with Puerto Belgrano Naval Base she was detached as a support ship in Claromecó.
She later helped the steamer Trifussis, towed to port, and attended the national holidays of Uruguay. In 1924-1926 she remained in Río Santiago without commander and in drydock for her second and last major overhaul, seeing her boilers changed for oil-buning ones and by 1927 she made her sea trials under command of José M. Garibaldi, redesignated as a gunboat.
In 1928-1929 she underwent a new overhaul for her hull and structure and became flagship of the south coast Instruction Division with ARA Independencia, assisted by the fleet oiler Ministro Ezcurra when departing for a cruise off Ushuaia for the winter.
In 1930 she was back in Rio Santiago, 3rd Division under Pedro Florido and Gonzalo de Bustamante in 1931 for the gunnery school Division, which with ARA Independencia, Paraná and Rosario, making cruisers in inland rivers.
She was used to carry political prisoners to Ushuaia and stayed there until March 1932 until relieved. She again brought her guns as deterrence at Comodoro Rivadavia during another oilfield workers’s strike, and then at Rosario.
In February 1933, she transferred detained strikers to Ushuaia, passed Le Maire Strait and Isla de los Estados and was assigned as base ship and tender for Argentinian submersibles until replaced by General Belgrano. She was partially inactuvated in 1934 at Río Santiago Naval Base, gunnery schoo division. She took part in the 50th anniversary of Ushuaia base.
In 1935 she was cruising for the rivering squadron under Raúl Aliaga but was sent to Porto Alegre for the centennial of the War.
With ARA Bathurst in 1936 she departed for a cadets cruise until late 1937, and back to the Rivering Gunboat Division.
By 1938 this was repeated and by May she took part in the Revolution celebrations in San Nicolás de los Arroyos, followed by fleet exercises.

World War Two

At the end of January 1939, Commander Manuel A. Pardal assumed command of the ship, and by December 17, 1939, he recorded the sighting of KMS Admiral Spee with her flag hoisted high, leaving the port of Montevideo and later the large column of smoke and two large explosions at her stern as she was scuttled. Libertad then approached to assess the damage, as well as other ships from Montevideo.
In 1940, under captain Francisco Álvarez Colodrero she was sent to San Nicolás for the anniversary of the battle of Vuelta de Obligado.
In August 1941 under captain Vicente Palumbo she took part in the Uruguayan national festivities in montevideo. In September she escorted ARA Drummond with Independencia, hosting Vice President Ramón S. Castillo to the anniversary of the San Nicolás Agreement.
From 1942 to 1946, she was flagship of the Riverine Gunboats Squadron, operating in La Plata and Paraná.
By December 16, 1946 she was stricken from the Navy’s list, and by 1947 transferred to the Argentine Naval Prefecture as stationary ship for the coast guard until 1968, when she was sold for BU.

Argentinian navy ARA Independencia

ARA Independencia was laid down in March 15, 1890, launched by February 26, 1891 and commissioned on March 5, 1892. She had been built by the same yard, Laid Bros. of Birkenhead at a cost 176,000 pounds sterling. She was well advanced for her protection and had modern breech-loading rifled Krupp guns, Armstrong rapid-fire secondaries and proven Maxim-Nordenfelt light guns. Those on the fighting top were removable to be used as support for landing operations. Her armor made of compound steel was also seen as quite modern for Argentina.

On April 7, 1893, her crew came aboard and she was inaugurated by commander Captain D. Edelmiro Correa, setting sail on June 29 for Buenos Aires from Liverpool via Madeira (Cape Verde) and Rio de Janeiro, arrving on July 31, 1893. She was anchored at Río de la Plata and by August had armed personnel sent ashore to restore order.
On September 27, she recoaled and was sent to Rosario with the TB ARA Espora, trying to catch the rebel ship “Los Andes” turned against federal government. The Espora was in the vanguard to try to find the rebel ship and Captain D. Eduardo Muscari embaked to take command of “Los Andes”, once captured, but it took a naval battle, the only one of this ship.

Battle of Espinillo

On September 27, Rosario was spotted at 11:00 a.m. anchored to the N.W. of Martín García and waiting for the TB Espora to deliver a document. Espora ran aground due to an oversight of the pilot, at Las Palmas. Gaviota also arrived and with Bermejo, working to get Espora out of her stranding. ARA Independencia went on without her and dropped anchored by night at “La Paloma” joined later by Espora. On the 29th, at 10:20 a.m. Espora on the vanguard spotted “Los Andes” stranded at Espinillo bank, north of the Barranca del Rosario, assisted by the small steamer Victoria R. Given her draft, ARA Independencia was at a disadvantage, and could not close on “Los Andes” on the river. At 11:25 a.m. “Los Andes” opened fire on Espora at 4,000 m., the first salvo ending 20 meters from her bow. This was answered by Espora’s main 75 mm guns.

“Los Andes” fired two more salvos on Espora, while ARA Independencia cautiously closed in. When arrived at 4,000 m from “Los Andes” she opened fire with her main 240 mm cannons forward and went on fiting fir the newt 50 minutes, exchanging salvos with Los Andes including her secondary guns and light artillery, but soon on the shore, a flying battery and armed people started to also fire at the two government (Loyalist) ships. At 12:32 p.m. order of cease fire was given since “Los Andes” took refuge among foreign ships, apparently badly damaged.
At 9:30 p.m. the following day, the rebel ship sent Frigate Lieutenant D. Gerardo Valotta for a parley aboard the loyalist battleship, and Captain Correa answered by an ultimatum of two hours to hand over the ship, or be shelled until surrender.

The rebels requested an extension which was granted and at 01:30 a.m. April 30th, ARA Independencia fired a warning shot to which the ship surrendered. One of her 240 mm hit had flooded her, and this was not well controlled, the ship in danger of capsizing. Thus, captain Correa sent a crew led by Captain Muscari, dispatched to operate bilge pumps and try to save the ship; During this fight, ARA Independencia suffered no hit except for a perforation from a machine gun projectile, or glass breakage caused by the concussion of her own heavy cannons firing.
After the fight was over, the battleship was placed under overall command of Government Force’s General Roca, who determined the port to be blockaded and ordered to seize two steamers trying to leave it. Commander Correa sent a 50 armed men landing party (and took its lead) with the commanders Muscari and García ashore to receive the surrender of the rebel city of Rosario at the Police Headquarters, ending the revolution.

ARA Independencia in 1894-1914

In 1894, until May the battleship stayed in Rosario and was back in Buenos Aires by June. Her CO, Frigate Captain D. Edelmiro Correa stayed at his post while she ship is conformed in the 1st Division, and she sailed off Maldonado for the winter manoeuvers. By August 1894 she entered Montevideo for the Uruguayan national holidays.
In 1895, from February to April she took part in various drills in the Bahía Blanca area until Correa is replaced by D. Luis Barraza. She became flagship of the Chief of the General Staff, D. Manuel José García Mansilla.

In 1896 she integrated one of the newly created two divisions on June 24, in the 2nd, stationed in the Río de la Plata. In Novembe she headed for Golfo Nuevo for gunnery drilling off Madryn. In
1897 (March to July) she stayed off Montevideo. In August she became flagship, 2nd Division with ARA Libertad, Patria and the the newly commissioned Garibaldi. From October to November, training cruises brought them between Puerto Belgrano, San Sebastián, Santa Cruz, Bada Tillv and Madryn, and then to Isla Escondida, Bahía Blanca, Samborombón and Montevideo, back to Río Santiago.
1898 saw her training at home for the first half of the year, and naval maneuvers in October, and later the great naval review of Punta Piedras, 7th ship, first column. Later she remained for 80 consecutive days at sea for an expedition to the Beagle channel and spent the rest of the year at the Buenos Aires roadstead.
In 1899 she remained in the Río de la Plata Division under Captain Díaz. She was partially deactivated due to budget cuts except a trip she made to Ushuaia in February-March 1899.
January-March 1900 saw her in quarantine service in the Buenos Aires roadstead, her new commander being D. Belisario Quiroga before she returned in half-reserve in Río Santiago.
By 1901 she only change captain, to D. Luis E. Calderón. being semi-decommissioned at Río Santiago Base. In 1902 she is reintergrated in the 3rd Division seeing the “Pacts of May” signed between Cile, Argentina, UK and the USA to end the naval arms race. As a result in March she is placed in reduced commission with a skeleton crew in Río Santiago under Captain Calderón.
No change for 1903 but by 1904 the Instruction Division was created in April and she integrated it, carrying out training navigations through the Río de la Plata under captain D. Julián Irizar and later D. Horacio Thwaites. By 1905 she started various hydrographic missions at the mouth of the Río de la Plata, to update the charts. In November D. José Quiroga Finque taked command.
In 1906 hydrographic tasks went on and by August she rejoins the Instruction Division until December for exercises and combat drills in the Río de la Plata under command of Juan Peffabet, then D. José Moneta. She is replaced in 1907 in reduced commission and by January 1907 is sent to Arsenal del Río de la Plata in reserve until March, for the gunnery school cadets. In August she is sent to Puerto Belgrano at the gunnery school. In February 1908 she returned to the 3rd Division in the Río de la Plata to train cadets of the Sailor Apprentice School, and procuring river navigation training under command of D. Bernardo Meroño.

In 1909 she returns to the 3rd division in the Río de la Plata until Moreno Vera takes command and by December D. Guillermo Jurgensen.
By 1910 she tooks part in the May Centennial with the 3rd Division and participates in naval maneuvers, making port calls at La Plata, Bahía Gilí, Cabo Blanco, Le Maire, Ushuaia, Cape Horn, San Julián, Bahía Escondida, Rada La Plata ending the centennial Naval Review at Río Santiago, until D. Pedro Padilla took command.
In 1911 she has been equipped with wireless telegraphy and is assigned the indicative “G.I.”. Florencio Donovan became her new captain, and she remains in Río de la Plata, in semi-disarmed conditions except for two months as sanitary police ship in Río de la Plata.
In 1912 she returned for drills with the 3rd Division until December when Donoivan is replaced by Alberto Moreno. She made a gunnery drill off Zarate and took part in this year’s Bore Shooting Championship. In 1913 she returns to the 3rd Division, with a small training staff.

ARA Independencia In WW1

By 1914 she underwent her first major drydock overhaul at the Arsenal of Río Santiago under command of Manuel Fernández Oro, until the end of the year. By December Captain Nelson Page is appointed commander and in 1915 and she remaieds in Río Santiago until March, making sea trials in the Río de la Plata wheras D. Manuel Trueba is appointed and she joined the active fleet as an “auxiliary ship” of the Instruction Division, operating until the end of the year in the waters of Puerto Belgrano and redesignated later as Coast Guard ship.
In 1916 she went on with the Training Division off Puerto Belgrano, during which Commander D. Vicente Cabello taked command and by August Teodoro Caillet-Bois. She was at Buenos Aires for the July Centennial. In late 1917 Captain Caillet-Bois is replaced by D. Julio Ayala Torales. Next the ship is sent for another Hydrography mission, a srie of surveys until April in the Golfo Nuevo.
By 1918 she stays in hydrographic service in the Golfo Nuevo area, looking for anchorages for larger ships in Madryn, Pirámides, Cracker Bay and Punta Ninfas and updated nautical charts.

ARA Independencia In the interwar

By 1919 her mission ended under command of Frigate D. Carlos A. Braña and by February she was sent to Puerto Belgrano gunnery school, semi-inactivated, and leter returned for hydrographic works, to update maps for San Jorge and San José bays.
In 1920 she is in semi-reserve at Rio Santiago and underwent another overhaul, by June is she is transferred to the machinists school. In 1921 she is retransferred to the 3rd Division in Río de la Plata under command of T. Méndez Saravia. In January she departed with the school ships of the 3rd division dedicated to cadet training, and by May, Dalmiro Sáenz taked command.
In 1922 the 3rd Division is discarded, and Independencia is reclassified as Coast Guard under command of Juan Ezquerra, assigned to the School Ships Division with trainees from the Machinist School. By October Aquiles Valarche taked command as she starts training trips through La Plata and Paraná rivers.
In 1923 she is placed in semi-reserve at Río Santiago, under command of Guillermo Coelho. The next year she is placed under the authorities of the Río de la Plata Arsenal for anither overhaul, changing of boilers (new oil-fired ones) and a general modernization throughout the year. This ends in December 1926 followed by sea trials and she returned to the Instruction Division under command of Ricardo Vago.
In 1927 she is attached to the Naval Military School and by February-April, carries out an inspection commission of the southern naval facilities to San Julián with the Junior Staff Schools aboard. She went to Concepción del Uruguay, Rosario, Zarate for artillery drills and by november in San Matías for hydrographic work training. In December she is reclassified as Gunboat.
In 1928 she stays with the instruction Division, in Rosario with the gunboats Rosario and Paraná sent to quell the port strike. She is sent next to Buenos Aires to take aboatdthe remains of D. Vicente A. Echeverría to the city of Santa Fe, for burial in his native land. In December, she is part of a new Instruction Division as flagship, and starts a summer cruise with cadets under command of Jorge Siches and later Martín Arana.

In the interwar, date unknown. Notice her dark hrey livery and newly built fully enclosed bridge over the CT platform.

In 1929 she made a cruise in La Plata, arriving at Cabo Corrientes after a 90-day riverine navigation. She was placed in semi-reserve until November until a cruise to Puerto Madryn with cadets under Martín Arana and Mario Fincati, then Arturo Zimmermann and by 1930 made a cruise to Ushuai, assisting in the rescue of the stranded steamer Monte Cervantes. Later she returned to the instruction division with Libertad, Rosario and Paraná under command of Torcuato Monti, Luis E. Cartasso and Secundino Odriozola.
In 1931 Adolfo P. Garnaud takes commad and she is sent to the island Martín García in reinforced surveillance of political prisoners there. She later made a trip between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia with the division. In 1932 she is placed in semi-reserved under Carlos A. Moreno Vera until 1935, in overhaul the previous year.
By 1936 under Francisco Clariza she is transferred to the gunnery Division, river squadron in the Río de la Plata an Paraná. Ernesto Basílico taked command and in 1937 Captain Clariza, then Ernesto Pineyro and by 1938 Ruperto Parodi Lascano. On May 25 she is sent to Concepción del Uruguay’s national holidays. She trained off Puerto Belgrano.

ARA Independencia in WW2

By 1939 Américo Cáceres taked command and she is sent on May 25 to Santa Fe for the national holidays. In 1940 Pedro V. Ghirimoldi taked commmand and she went on trining with the Gunboat Division. By 1941 she is sent to Montevideo for the Uruguayan national festivities on August 22-27. In September with Libertad and the new escorts Drummond she is sent to to San Nicolás, taking aboard Vice President Dr. Ramón Castillo there for celebrations. José Schwarz later taked command and in 1942 she went on training with the gunnery division, and taked part in Montevideo’s Uruguayan national holidays in August. In 1943 José L. Echavarren taked command and after the revolution of June 4, 1943, D. Luis Harriaguc, then Carlos Rivero de Olazábal, still in the river squadron.
In 1944 no change, she is based in Río de la Plata, Rueños Aires, north Dock and Río Santiago base and by 1945 Pablo Caillet-Rois, seeing little activity.

Postwar years

By January 1946 Edgardo Izquierdo Brown takes command followed by Ramón Casanova and she sees no activity upon her general condition, a report advising his radiation. This is done by the Decree of December 16, 1946 but no immediately fulfilled. In 1947 D. Néstor P. Gabrielli taked command and it is decided to have her used as submarine base in Mar del Plata. On December 10, José Amor took command for her new role in in Mar del Plata.

From 1948 to 1951 under command of Captain Amor, she remained as mother ship for submarines, with their crews aboard for their stay in port, and immediate logistical support, and is is requested later to use her as a stationary lighthouse pontoon on an important roadstead for the safety of trade. She had her hull painted cherry red with a legend in white and the entire superstructure also repaitind in white, including spars and crow’s nest. She served in this new condition from 1949 to 1957, replaced Liberted as landfall Pontoon. During a strong storm in 1961 she dragged her anchor and was damaged. She was later repaired it at Naval Arsenal and returned to service. In 1964 she was collided by the Swedish oil tanker Hoeg, and nearly capsized. She was repaired again and returned to service as a pontoon. By 1968 she was finally sold for scrap to Ayasa SA, delivered on 12.18.1969.

Read More


Conway’s all the world’s fighting ships 1865-1905
Las maniobras Navales de 1902. La evolución de las tácticas de la Armada Argentina ante el conflicto con Chile, 1881-1902. Boletín del Centro Naval 824, 2009.
Caillet-Bois, Teodoro (1944). Historia Naval Argentina. Buenos Aires, Imprenta López.
Arguindeguy, Pablo E.; Rodríguez, Horacio (1999). Buques de la Armada Argentina 1852-1899 sus comandos y operaciones. Buenos Aires: Instituto Nacional Browniano.
Arguindeguy, Pablo (1972). Apuntes sobre los buques de la Armada Argentina (1810-1970). Comando en Jefe de la Armada.
Burzio, Humberto (1960). Armada Nacional, Secretaria de Estado de Marina.
Piccirilli, Ricardo; Gianello, Leoncio (1963). Biografías navales, Secretaría de Estado de Marina.
Burzaco, Ricardo and Patricio Ortíz. Acorazados y Cruceros de la Armada Argentina, 1881–1982. Eugenio B. Ediciones 1997
Memoria de Marina; OO. GG.; OO. DD.; Circulares; A. G .M.: años 1892/1969.
“La artillería del «Libertad» e «Independencia». Peffabet. B. C. N. Tomo 11.


Chilean_naval_arms_race ARA_Libertad ARA_Libertad_(1892) ARA_Independencia_(1893) Independencia

Model Kits

None found !


None found!

Rainbow class submersibles (1930)

R (Rainbow) class submersibles (1930)

Royal Navy Flag Patrol Submersibles 1929-1931:

HMS Rainbow, Regulus, Regent, Rover

WW2 British Submersibles:
X1 | Odin | Parthian | Rainbow | Thames | Swordfish | Porpoise/Grampus | Shark | Triton | U class | T class | S class | A class

The Rainbow-class submarine (R class) were four patrol submarines built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s. Although six were envisioned at first, only four were completed due to budgetary reason. The class comprised the HMS Rainbow, Regulus, Rover, and Regent. They were in straight line derived from the Parthian or P class, and like them destined for the far east. Only one made her career there, and survived. The four were repatriated in Alexandria, served in the Mediterranean, and two were sunk by mines, one by collision. HMS Rover survived a bombing in Crete and was being repaired at Ceylon when the Japanese attack commenced in early 1942. She became a Training Submarine in 1945.

⚠ Note: This is a starter article, to be Completed at a later date.

HMS Regent, seen from a plane in the Mediterranean, 1941

Design of the class

The Rainbow-class submarines were designed as improved Parthian class, also for long-range operations in the Far East, but yet smaller and more economical than the larger Odin and even the Parthian. They measured 287 feet 2 inches overall, for 29 feet 10 inches in beam and had a mean draft of 13 feet 10 inches (4.2 m). Displacing 1,772 long tons (1,800 t) surfaced and 2,030 long tons (2,060 t) submerged they carried a staff of 56 crewmen, and were capable of diving down to 300 feet (91.4 m).

Powerplant: It comprised for surface-running two 2,200 bhp (1,641 kW) diesels, connected to a propeller shaft each. Submerged power came from two 660-horsepower (492 kW) electric motor enabling a durfaced top speed of 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph) and 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph) underwater. Their range, always surfaced, reached 7,050 nautical miles (13,060 km; 8,110 mi) at the cruise speed of 9.2 knots (17.0 km/h; 10.6 mph) but down to just 62 nmi (115 km; 71 mi) undderwater at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph).

Armament: The four boats had the same six 21-inch torpedo tubes in the bow, two more in the stern. They just carried a reload for eaxch of the bow tubes, so a grand total of fourteen torpedoes in all. They also carried the same QF 4.7-inch (120 mm) Mark IX “deck” gun. Like on previous class the gun was carried in a structure and well protected, typical of this generation of British submersibles.

HMS Rover surfacing close to a British AMC in the Mediterranean

HMS Rainbow, stern

⚙ R-class specifications

Displacement 1,760 long tons (1,790 t) surfaced, 2,040 long tons (2,070 t) submerged
Dimensions 289 x 30 x 16 ft (88 x 9.1 x 4.9 m)
Propulsion 2 shafts Admiralty diesels 4,640 hp (3,460 kW), 2x EM 1,635 hp (1,219 kW)
Speed 17.5 knots (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h) surfaced, 8.6 kn (9.9 mph; 15.9 km/h) submerged
Armament 8 × 21 in TTs (6 bow, 2 stern), 14 reloads, QF 4 in (102 mm) Mk XII, 2× 20 mm AA
Crew 53

The Rainbow class in action

Royal Navy ww2 HMS Rainbow

HMS Rainbow served in the Far East until 1940, and then moved to the Mediterranean to face te Regia Marina. She was on patrol off Calabria on 23 September 1940 but disappeared as reported later, believed to have been sunk on 4 October in a collision with the Italian merchant ship Antonietta Costa reporting a massive underwater explosion after a schock, while underway in convoy from Albania. And until 1988 some historians advanced she had been sunk by the Italian submarine Enrico Toti, but this proven to be HMS Triad so the collision is the theory that remains.

Royal Navy ww2 HMS Regulus

HMS Regulus was built at Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness, stationed with the fourth Submarine Flotilla on the China station out of Hong Kong. In October 1939 she started a dangerous intel mission in the mouth of the Bungo Strait, off the coast of Japan, and observed IJN fleet exercises including several aircraft carriers. She even later entered Shibushi Bay and Osaka Bay to take photos. Back in the Mediterranean like the rest of the class, she made a patrol under command of Lt.Cdr. Frederick Basil Currie, from Alexandria to the southern Adriatic on 23 November 1940 but presumed los on 6 December 1940 off Taranto, probably hitting a mine.

Royal Navy ww2 HMS Rover

HMS Rover was commissioned on 29 January 1931, assigned like her sisters to the 4th Submarine Flotilla, China Station. In 1939 she was repatriate to Alexandria and patrolled the Suez canal, after being transferred via Singapore in early 1940. She teamed with the RAN in the Mediterranean, from Aden (August) and in early 1941 attacked Italian convoys.
In April 1941 during the Battle of Crete she was in Souda Bay helpint the crew of HMS York. On 24 April she was attacked by Stukas and bandly damaged. She was saved, but had to be towed to Alexandria and then Singapore for full repairs. She stayed there, to stem the Japanese advance in ealry 1942, operating from Bombay. She operated off Trincomalee, Ceylon and allegedly sunk ten Japanese ships during her numerous patrols. In 1945 she was a TS. She was sold for BU and scrapped on 30 July 1946.

Royal Navy ww2 HMS Regent

Like the others, HMS Regent was based in the China Station, 4th flotilla, and in April-May 1940 transferred to the 1st Submarine Flotilla in Alexandria, Egypt. From there she started a long wartime patrol career against axis convoys. She sank or damaged four ships during her career: On 5 October 1940 the 188 GRT Maria Grazia, and on 9 October the 5,900 GRT Antonietta Costa (so badly damaged she was a Total Loss), then on she sank on 15 January 1942 the 2,742 GRT Città di Messina and on 21 February 1942 the German-held Menes (5,609 GRT), badly damaged and written off.
He loss was a bit of a mystery. The most likely theory is that she was attacking a railways on 16 April 1943 in the Gulf of Taranto, engaged by the Italian corvette Gabbiano. She survived and two days later attacked a convoy off Monopoli but missed. An explosion was heard and now it is believed she hit a mine.

Read More


Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1921-47
Akermann, Paul (2002). Encyclopaedia of British Submarines 1901–1955 (reprint of the 1989 ed.). Penzance, Cornwall: Periscope Publishing
Bagnasco, Erminio (1977). Submarines of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press.
Caruana, Joseph (2012). “Emergency Victualling of Malta During WWII”. Warship International.
Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). Chatham Publishing.
McCartney, Innes (2006). British Submarines 1939–1945. New Vanguard. Vol. 129. Oxford, UK: Osprey.


Spanish Broadside Ironclad Numancia (1863)


Spanish Broadside Ironclad (1862-1910)

Numancia was a French-built Ironclad, the first “battleship” ever in service with the Armada. She had a fairly long career, and was rebuilt and rearmed four times. On 19 October 1873 she sank by accident the gunboat Fernando el Católico, in November 1902 protect Spanish citizens in Morocco, had a mutiny off Algiers in 1911 a mutiny, became a guardship after he reconstruction in France in 1897 during the Spanish American war, and sunk while being towed to be scrapped in Bilbao, running aground off Sesimbra, Portugal, in December 1916.

Numancia’s battle off Cartagena against Madrid insurgent’s Frigates.

Development & Context

Spain in 1859, when the French launched the armored frigate Gloire, followed soon after by Britain with its iron-hulled Warrior class, was found, like all the other navies, traditional or on the rise, caught off-guard. At the time, the Armada had valuable frigates (see the Spanish Armada 1860-70), two 85-guns ships of the line (Reina Doña Isabel II, Rey Don Francisco de Asís), four more (ex-Russian 74-guns in poor state, never really in service) three large screw frigates (Asturias, Berenguela, Blanca), and four sailing frigates plus many more sloops, corvettes, gunboats and smaller bricks and service vessels.

Under Queen Isabel II, her navy advisor urged the obtention of a 1861 naval program to give the Armada at least four broadside ironclads. The first two were ordered in 1861, and both in France but in different yards: Numancia at La Seyne (Toulon, Southern France, Med coast) and the second in a local yard prepared for this, at Ferrol (Royal Dockyard), Gaicia, Atlantic coast, but with French plans and guidance.

She was the first attempt to return Spain into the circle of the world’s main naval powers after the Trafalgar debacle and a very log eclipse. Her name honored the old Celtiberian inhabitants of Numancia, slained by the Roman invaders and became the second of the three ships bearing that name.

The idea of ​​having a fleet of protected warships was born in 1782 when Spain besieged the British-held Gibraltar. Since La Gloire opened the way to a new arms race, naval renovation for Spain became a golden opportunity to recover its lost prestige and place ater the debacle of Trafalgar in 1805. The Queen ws seduced by his advisors of the sight of an imposing fleet of armoured frigates, enough to make the Armada the world’s fourth largest naval power again. However, the government’s need was soon rebuffed by the Spanish shipyards, still setup for traditional shipbuilding, and lack of industrial basis for the hull’s iron construction, let alone wrough iron for the armour plating, and modern artillery. Therefore, foreign shipyards were immdiately thought for.

Numancia had her origin in April 1862, after signing in Madrid a contract with Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranée (La Seyne shipyard), for the construction in its 2nd basin of a vessel, more or less inspired by the contemporary Couronne class. Work started in September 1862, and she was launched on November 19, 1863, blessed by the local bishop and assisted by members of the Royal Family as well as the ambassador. First sea trials and armaments testing were carried out during her trip, after completion in December 1864, from the French shipyard to Cartagena. On December 20, she arrived, after crossing 472 nautical miles in 43 hours, which was considered excellent at the time. Cost amounted to 8,322,252 pesetas, making her the costiest Spanish ever to be commissioned at the time.


Conway’s profile

Her hull, unline Gloire and other French ironclads, called less for wood and more iron plating, held together by two million rivets. Her average draft of 7.90 m. The armour shell weighted 1,355 t, but based on teak wood padding with iron plates covered from 2.3 m below the waterline up to the upper deck. Both the upper and lower decks were 10 mm less at the stern and bow ends. Two elliptical wooden towers were used as conning towers, one at the bow and the other at the stern, reinforced with 120 mm iron plating for the helmsman and commander.

Hull and general arrangements

More detailed profile, as of 1885 – Instituto de Historia y cultura naval

Numancia’s hull measured 95.6 meters (313 ft 8 in) on the waterline, for 17.3 meters (56 ft 9 in) in beam, 7.7 meters (25 ft 3 in) draft and an overall displacement of 7,305 metric tons (7,190 long tons). She was fitted with a reinforced ram bow as customary for the time. Her crew comprised 561 officers and ratings.


Her rigging comprised four masts (including the bowsprit with three jibs), three simple squared masts (four sails levels for the main and foremasts -course, upper, top, etc but also spanker and mizen couse, topgallant for the mizenmast). In all, this sail area represented with the extra studdingsails a total of 1,800–1,900 (1,846 m² for a Spanish source) square meters (19,000–20,000 sq ft). It was a far cry to the 4,497 m² of the HMS Warrior though. Her top speed under sail is unknown. About 150 me were dedicated to it, knowing that most demanding rigging manoeuvers were all done using steam-driven casptans.

Steam power

A shipyard model in the Madrid’s Maritime Musem

Numancia received a pair of horizontal return connecting rod (RCR) steam engines at La Seyne shipyard, home built. They were a Dupuy de Lôme design, and the cylinders made ø2.14 m and a stroke of 1.5 m, fed by 8 boilers. With a power of 1,000 horsepower, this machine drove a four-blade bronze propeller of ø6.35 m, with a pitch of 8.5 m, after interconnection via gears on a single shaft. Steam was provided by eight cylindrical boilers, truncated into a single round funnel amidship and centerline.

Rated output, total, was 1,000 nominal horsepower, 3,700 indicated horsepower (2,800 kW). Numancia reached 12.7 knots (23.5 km/h; 14.6 mph) as designed, and verified later on trials. She also carried 1,100 metric tons (1,083 long tons) of coal in her hull, for a range of 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km; 3,500 mi), at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). Coal could be spared when rigging, adding to her overall range.


French Engraving, “L’illustration” Newsreel, Inside the Battery Deck during the 1877 Battle.

Due to her armament, and despite her tonnage, Numancian was armed and classed as a frigate. It was changed a lot, four times, during her long career:
Her main battery comprised forty 200-millimeter (7.9 in) -Presumably British*- smoothbore guns, all under portholes along the broadside. These pieces could elevate to 15°, but had no or little traverse, being stuck with a rather heavy wheeled carriage. A pulley system ws used to have back in place after recoil. They had a Muzzle velocity of 1,579 feet per second (481 m/s), and effective range of circa 3,000 yards (2,700 m), max range at 15° of 3,620 yards (3,310 m).

In 1867 her broadside was gutted and she was rearmed with just six 229-millimeter, three 200 mm Armstrong-Whitworth guns on the gun deck. For the secondary artillery on the main deck, eight locally built Trubia 160-millimeter (6.3 in) guns. They were all rifled muzzle-loading (RML).

In 1883 Numancia was this was simplified to eight Armstrong-Whitworth 254-millimeter (10 in) RML guns and seven 200 mm RMLs.

In 1896–1898, her armament was changed to six Hontoria* 160 mm and eight Canet 140-millimeter (5.5 in) rifled breech-loading guns and a pair of 354-millimeter (14 in) torpedo tubes.
*Spain licenced built Vickers guns hrough the firm Hontoria from 1879 onwards.

Armour Scheme

Scheme of the vessel in Brassey’s Naval Annual 1888

Numancia’s flanks were protected by a complete wrought iron waterline belt, 130-millimeter (5.1 in) thick. Presumably the armor plates came from Schneider & Cie, Le Creusot, only specialist in France at that tome. Above the belt, the gun battery was protected by another plating belt 120-millimeter (4.7 in) thick, a strake of armor extending all along unlike the main waterline belt. The deck was unarmored, as customary at the time. Artillery range was not great enough for parabolic enegagements.

Major 1896-98 Reconstruction

Numancia after refit in 1898, warships international

For the last leg of her career, spanning almost nineteen years, she was transformed into a modern guardship, taking advantage to her armour. This was done at La Seyne, where she was built many years prior. This was a two-years long process, pretty radical, as she was gutted down to the machinery compartment floor. There, she receiving brand new boilers, a new VTE engine (for 12 knots), and a brand new artillery:

  • 6x Hontoria RBL 160 mm guns ( in) placed
  • 8x Canet 140-millimeter (5.5 in) RBL placed
  • 2x 354 mm (14 in) torpedo tubes, underwater on the broadsides.

Her rigging was cut and she had instead new steel masts, with fighting tops (later to receive extra light guns to deal with torpedo boats). According to indeed, she received in 1900 twelve 47mm/40 Skoda QF guns.

Drawing by Pedrero, a visit onboard Numancia in Barcelona, 1898.

Read More/Src

The Armada in Cadiz, 1877 – engraving (HD)

Adamson, Robert E. & de St. Hubert, Christian (1991). “Question 12/89”. Warship International.
Brassey, Thomas (1888). The Naval Annual 1887. Portsmouth, England: J. Griffin.
de Saint Hubert, Christian (1984). “Early Spanish Steam Warships, Part II”. Warship International.
Chesneau, Roger & Kolesnik, Eugene M. (eds.). Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1860–1905.
Pastor y Fernandez de Checa, M. (1976). “The Spanish Ironclads Numancia, Vitoria and Pelayo, Pt. II
Silverstone, Paul H. (1984). Directory of the World’s Capital Ships. New York: Hippocrene Books.
“Spanish Ironclads Numancia and Vitoria”. Warship International. VIII (3)
Historia General de España y América : Revolución y Restauración: (1868-1931), José Andrés-Gallego
Navies in Modern World History – Lawrence Sondhaus
Battleships: An Illustrated History of Their Impact – Stanley Sandler
El cantón murciano Escrito por Antonio Puig Campillo
La vuelta al mundo en la Numancia de Benito Pérez Galdós
Antionio Perez Crespo – El Canton Murciano
Impresiones del viaje de circunnavegación en la fragata blindada Numancia Escrito por Eduardo Iriondo
Crónica de la provincia de Pontevedra
Escrito por Fernando Fulgosio

Viajes regios por mar en el transcurso de quinientos años: narración
cc commons photos
On weapons & warfare

Numancia in service

Numancia had a very long active life, and participated in practically all notable geopolitical naval events in the history of Spain in the XIXth Century, up to WWI.

On January 8, 1865, after months of training, she set sail from Cartagena to Cádiz, her main homeport, arriving the 11th. Captain Casto Méndez Núñez (future celebrity of the Armada) took command. Assigned to the Pacific squadron she started a long trip, with worries about how ironclads faired in such experiences looking at the French and English and their latest ironclads on long voyages. Departing on February 4, 1865, from Cádiz, she coaled in San Vicente on February 13, and after corssing the south Atlantic, arrived in Montevideo on March 13. She departed on April 2 for the Cape Horn accompanied by the Marqués de la Victoria, her coaler for the trip. She rounded the cape and found in Valparaíso on April 28, the corvette Vencedora. The Captain was informed that the Spanish squadron had moved to Callao, where she arrived in May 5, 1865.

Spanish–South American War

On February 17, 1866, with the vessel La Blanca, she departed Valparaíso for the Chiloé Islands, aiming at San Carlos in Particular, where she dropped anchor on the 27th, in the low port and on March, 1 dark port, on the 9th moving in the bay of Arauco where La Blanca seized a paddlewheel steamer. Two other coal barges were also captured a day later, allowing both ships to resupply. On March 12, the Spanish squadron comprised five ships and departed for Valparaíso, arriving on March 14-16.

Numancia took part in the bombardment of Valparaíso on March 31, 1866. Her captain, de facto now squadron commander, gave the signal to start the cannonade, firing eight blanks. The Frigate Villa de Madrid and Blanco went against the fiscal warehouses, and the Frigate Resolucion against the Railway, Numancia shelling the administration building and stock market. After an hour and fifty minutes, all was turned to rubble.

Painting by Rafael Monleón depicting the bombing of El Callao. In the center, the Numancia.

On March 14, she sailed northwards with the rest of the squadron in the Pacific, to El Callao, arriving on April 25, stopping at the Island of San Lorenzo. She took part in the battle of El Callao, at the head of the Pacific squadron, dealing with fortifications but receiving 52 hits. The first time she was seriously tested. Her armour proved its worth. When approaching the coast to carry out the initial shelling her bottom unknowingly cut electrical cables activating sea mines arranged in Callao, so she spare the squadron significant destruction.

Battle of Callao: Casto Mendez Nunez lay wounded on the bridge of Numancia.

After a victory on Callao, the fleet sailed to San Lorenzo Island, to be repaired. In all, for the squadron, 43 killed sailors were buried and captured ships were burned. On May, 10, the squadron departed, the frigates Villa de Madrid, Blanca, Resolucion and Almansa returning to Rio de Janeiro by rounding Cape Horn, with Captain (de facto admiral) Casto Méndez Núñez aboard Villa de Madrid.

Berenguela ws not fit for such crossing at that time of year, and was still repaired after having the most serious damage from this fight. Numancia was spared the same, in addition to having exhausted her coal. The second group was commanded by Manuel de la Pezuela y Lobo-Cabrilla, her new captain. Instead, she was to go through the Pacific. Thus, Numancia became the first Spanish armored ship to make a world’s tour: From Cadiz, she had stopped in Montevideo and Buenos Aires, rounded Cape Horn, stopped off Chile in San Carlos de Chiloe Island, attacked Concepcion, bombarded Valparaiso, shelled Coquimbo, Caldera, and stopping in Chincha Island before the battle of Callao, and from there, crossed the Pacific westwards to the Philippines.

She had the Pacific breeze at her stern, and with all her rigging up, both vessels, Numancia and Berenguela were able to sail to the Philippines together with the schooner Vencedora, and the steamships Marqués de la Victoria, Uncle Sam and the sailing transport Matauara. Numancia, however was slower than the rest due to her displacement and comparatively low sail surface, and delayed the rest of the squadron to such an extent that Berenguela used only her topsail to stay in.

Finally, Berenguela went ahead, and on May 15 when several cases of scurvy appeared in her crew, she took the steamer Uncle Sam with her. Numancia also separated on May 19 and arrived on Otaiti Island, on May 22, 1866 with 110 affected by scurvy on board. When her hull was studied, Mines cables caught underwater in Callao were found twisted around her propeller. Numancia departed and eventually arrived in Spanish-held Manila on September 8, 1866, after having overtaken Berenguela on August 29. Then she proceeded to her trip back to Europe, stopping in Indonesia, crossing the southern Indian Ocean, passed south of Madagascar and then rounded the Cape, crossing the South Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro before making her last leg back to Cadiz.

Cantonal Rebellion

Naval combat of Portmán, Cartagena, October 11, 1873

Nothing much happened in the next years, in 1867 she had a major overhaul in drydock, and in the 1870s, trained with the rest of the fleet. On July 13, 1873, the day after the revolutionary junta was constituted in Cartagena, Captain Antonio Gálvez Arce onboard the frigate Almansa convinced the crew members to join the uprising, despite the officer’s advice and the the Spanish flag was lowered. Soon, Numancia, Tetuán, Vitoria and Méndez Núñez, four of the seven Spanish ironclads, plus the steamship Fernando el Católico, joined the “Canton rebellion”. All those who join the loyalist cantonal squadron were declared pirates on July 20 by decree of the Nicolás Salmerón’s government.

On September 15, the fleet set sail from Cartagena with the Méndez Núñez and Fernando el Católico, under orders of General Carreras. They were shadowed by HMS Swiftsure, HMS Invincible, HMS Torch and the Italian corvette Venezia as observers, with troopships. They stopped in Águilas to collect funds and supplies, dropped anchor on the 16th and went back to Cartagena on September 17.

The bombardment of Alicante, 27 Sept. 1873

On September 21, Numancia raided Alicante, try to add the city to the cantonal rebellion, under threat of her battery. This failed and she retired on the 22nd to Cartagena after after inspicting the preparations for the defense of the plaza. on the 24th, she was back to Alicante with Méndez Núñez and Fernando el Católico. Together, they shelled the city to submission on the 27th, expending all their shells after a rain of steel for 5-7 hours.

The King disembarking at Cartagena

Numancia became flagship of the cantonal squadron based in Cartagena. There, she led the fleet into the Battle of Portmán, on October 11, 1873, against the government’s squadron. Numancia led the squadron but too such advance that she disrupted the Squadron order, which withdrawn.

She made another sortie with the fleet two days later. This time, the squadron had a way better good combat disposition, Numancia maintaining her speed and place in line for the other two slower ironclads, and the government’s fleet withdrawn this time, and abandoning the blockade.

On October 17, 1873, Numancia sailed from Cartagena to Valencia and Barcelona in a show of force with Tetuán, Méndez Núñez and Fernando el Católico, carrying Generals Juan Contreras, Roque Barcia, Tomaset, and several Valencian and Catalan federal leaders plus troops. They were shadowed all the way by three British frigates. Their main mission was to add land troops in these cities, and force them to join the Cantonal uprising.

At 04:00h AM, October 20, Numancia accidentally rammed Fernando el Católico. The ram pierced her hull and she sank in a few minutes with almost all her crew. The steamers Darro, Victoria, Bilbao, Extremadura were captured along the way, reinforcing the fleet.

After the capitulation of Cartagena, on January 12, 1874, she sailed for Mazalquivir, taking onboard 500 personalities into exile from Oran, including the cantonalist leaders Antonio Gálvez Arce and Juan Contreras y San Román. All the way, she was able to out-run the Madrid’s loyalts ironclad Vitoria and the frigate Carmen. Numancia later surrendered to Vitoria on 17 January.

Interwar Years

Nothing much happened in the following years 1874-1883. In 1877 with Vitoria, she was equipped with electrical lighting in Barcelona. The two became the first in the Spanish navy to be so equipped.

In 1883, Numancia took part in a naval parade in the port of Valencia to the future Frederick III of Germany, after Alfonso XII’s visit to Germany aboard the armored corvette SMS Prinz Adalbert, from Genoa. Soon after she was drydock for an important overhaul and rearmament.

With the Universal Exposition in Barcelona ​​on May 20, 1888, the Spanish squadron was anchored in full regalia, including Numancia, the screw frigates Gerona and Blanca, and brand new cruisers Castilla and Navarra, Isla from Luzón and Isla de Cuba, as well as the “proto-destroyer” Destructor, and the gunboats Pilar, Cóndor among others. This was an impresive show of how the Armada manage to modernize itself. Shortly after, she started a tour of goodwill visits through the Mediterranean, stopping in Italian and French ports. In Toulon, she attended the delivery of the brand new battleship Pelayo, built in her own shipyard and showing the Armada’s renewal. The latter became the new flagship.

Conversion to Coast Guard battleship

Nothing much happened of note in 1888-96. In 1896 however, like Vitoria, she was chosen to Toulon to be completely transformed and modernized as a coastguard battleship due to her speed, improper for fleet operations. During the Hispano-American War, she was therefore unavailable. Spain, in case of a USN raid home, pressed all its remaining ironclads as guardships on her western coast.

Once the war was over, she formed an important part of the Instruction Squadron with Vitoria, Pelayo and the cruiser Carlos V. The fleet needed fresh blood and to rebuilt it’s shattered prestige. In December 1909, during the Melilla war, Carlos V was unavailable, under repairs. The Ministry of the Navy sent instead Numancia as admiral ship to lead the second division in Moroccan waters.

In 1909 she was considered non-sea going. A new inspection in 1910, revealed that Numancia was now hopelessely obsolete. She was partly stripped, with a skeleton crew, used as a floating barrack and then accomodation ship in Tangier until 1912. After the Tangier mutiny of 1911, she was used as an asylum for Navy orphans.

There was a popular movement to preserve her as a historical monument since she took part in so many decisive parts of the recent Spanish History. But it went to nil, and she was stricken and sold for scrap to a company in Bilbao. There were three attempts to have her moved from Cádiz to Bilbao but she ran aground during the third, off the coast of Sesimbra, Portugal. This was on December 17, 1916. There, she was partially broken up and her remains layed there for many years in shallow waters.

WW2 IJN Destroyers

WW2 Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers

Imperial Japanese Navy About 80 destroyers 1919-1945

Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyer’s complete overview

Japanese destroyers acquired a fearsome reputation during WW2, contrary to WWI where they mostly completely forgotten, if not for their brief action in the Mediterranean, and deeds during the Port Arthur attack in 1905. This reputation is due to several factors, but cannot brush over their initial problems, mostly structural, that also plagued early models, and were corrected post-1936. Notably their armament, and in particular their very effective type 93 “Long Lance” torpedoes, world’s best at the time, larger, with more range, speed and the biggest warhread at the time. It was these destroyer’s “secret weapon” and did particularly well in many engagements where they were committed in particular condition where range was not an issue: In night attacks and the close confines of the Solomons islands in particular.

In December 1941, the IJN aligned arguably one of the most impressive force of destroyers of any navy, in quantity as well as in quality. There were basically two eras which divided this lineage: The ww1 series, with their typical “toothbrush” hull style, close to the German model, and which lasted in construction until 1923, and the new admiralty standard, imposed by the Yubari in 1926, a prototype for a super-fast, extremely well armed destroyer that was to set new high stakes for other fleets to follow. Production in large constant batches was relatively linear, but there were a few “super-destroyers” although no destroyer leaders as in other fleets as light cruisers were supposed to fill that role, notably the Sendai, Tenryu, and Kuma classes.

In this article will be exposed all the destroyer types used by the IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) during the second world war. It is not intended to detail the career of each individual ship or expand on design details, since all these classes would be individually covered in the future.

IJN Destroyers: WWI legacy and 1919 program

IJN Katsura at Brindisi in 1917, a second class Kaba class. Ten were also built for France.

In 1920, the IJN inherited from a largely untapped destroyer force constituted since the time of the Russo-Japanese war: 32 Asakaze class (1905, 380 tons, BU 1930), the two Umikaze (1910, 1030 tons, minesweepers 1930, BU 1936), the two Sakura (1911, 605 tons, BU 1931-33), the four Isokaze (1916, 1227 tons, BU 1935), the two Urakaze (1915, 90 tons, stricken 1936), the two Tanikaze (1918, 1300 tons, BU 1935), and the six Enoki class (1918, 850 tons, stricken 1938).

The four Momo class (1916, 835 tons) were still active when WW2 broke out in 1939: Momo was stricken in 1940, as Hinoki, Yanagi, but the latter BU in 1948.
IJN Kashii, of the 1916 Momo class, which was transferred in 1937 by the IJN to the puppet regime of the Manchukuo became its flagship, as Hai Wei. She was seized back in June 1942 and renamed IJN Kali, and was used for local auxiliary convoy escort and sunk by aircraft on 10 October 1944 off Okinawa.

Until the arrival of the Fubuki class in 1926, the IJN capitalized on “toothbrush” style destroyer with a characteristic cutout aft of their forecastle for a torpedo tube bank, forward of the bridge. This was a German design, which these WWI-era destroyers used, a sure way to differentiate them. They were all part of a gigantic naval construction program later interrupted by the signing of the Washington treaty. second Eight-Eight Fleet Program (八八艦隊, Hachihachi Kantai) was first and foremost targeting capital ships, and soon curtailed by the Diet as a “four-four” one. It saw notably the order for the first two Nagato class battleships.

IJN Hinoki off Wuhan’s coast, a second class Momo class destroyer.

Alongside these, the fleet needed a new generation of Japanese destroyers. It was quite a ride since the Asakaze class in 1906, already 32-ships strong, 381 tonnes; The Umikaze were the first IJN ocean-going 1000+ tons destroyers, followed by the Sakura, Isokaze, Tanikaze, while the “coastal types”, below 1,000 tons were produced in large quantities in between, the Kaba, Momo, Enoki and Urakaze class (1915). About a dozen of these arguably old WW1 destroyers survived into WW2 and even past 1945.

The Minekaze revolution (1919)

IJN Kawakaze on sea trials, October 1918 off Tateyama, colorized by irootoko Jr.: The last “classic” IJN destroyers based on British pre-1914 designs. With 37 knots and 1300 tonnes, they were still in the “light division” compared to many foreign designs.

They prepared the way for a new, major and innovative wartime class that redefined IJN standards at the time: The Minekaze class (F-41 design). First of the “toothbrush style” they really redefined what meant to be a destroyer, and arguably the Japanese created a world’s best, in large part to face the latest US Clemson class in construction, the Russian Novik class, or the last flotilla leaders (like the Shakespeare and Broke class), all large oceanic destroyers.

IJN Minekaze in 1932 – colorized by irootoko Jr. The new standard until the Fubuki.

There was no way to constrain the size of these, as a new requirement implied a top speed of 40 knots, which was better than the already fast 1918 Tanikaze (37 knots). This imposed a larger powerplant, and a higher freeboard to cope with heavy weather conditions, another prerequisite of the design. They were also the first destroyer built with a rigid two-storey command bridge, unlike the low, flimsy open bridges of all previous designs.

With an output of 38,500 shp, 4,000 more than the Urakaze, they managed more than 39 knots, but on 3,600 nautical miles, had the same three twin 21-in torpedo launchers (including one relocated forward of the bridge), and one more standard 4.7 inches main gun, in between funnels while the quarterdeck superstructure now mounted two guns. Fully loaded, they reached as built 1650 tonnes, versus 1580 for the previous Tanikaze. As part of the 1918 naval plan, fifteen were started, launched in 1919-1920, all missing WWI but soldiering in WW2. Compared to the contemporary US Clemson class, they were larger (1300 tonnes FL), more powerful and faster (27,600 shp, 35.5 kts), with larger guns (4-in of the Clemsons), but the latter still had a marked advantage in their primary weapon, four triple torpedo tubes banks instead of three twin.

Still, the last Russian avatar of the Novik, the Fidonisy-class destroyers were larger (1770 tons), much slower (31 kts), lightly armed (as the Clemsons) but with the same four triple TT banks, although using sub-standard caliber (17.7 inches). So apart for the torpedo armament, the Minekaze (as a convention, most Japanese destroyers were named after natural phenomenons, “Kaze” meaning “wind”) were above the pack. The lack of torpedo armament was soon recoignised as an issue and the admiralty did not waited long before asking the upgrade to triple banks.

This led to the next iteration, F-41B design, Kiyokaze class, nine ships in 1922-1925; Also renamed “Kamikaze class” in 1928, they were even larger at 1400/1720 tonnes, but still retained the same torpedo armament, sacrificing a bit of speed (37.2 knots), because their hull was essentially made beamier to acomodate a future topweight (notably armament) making them safer to upgrade in the interwar and WW2, unlike the previous Minekaze. However both classes were seen as quite expensive by the parliament, even though the Navy wanted more.

The third and last of these oceanic destroyer class were the twelve Mutsuki class (1925). They were slightly cheaper, smaller versions of the Minekaze, at 1315/1445 tons standard, they were shorter, beamier, even compared to the Kamikaze class. Approved by the new 1923 naval program they were the last hurrah of the “toothbrush style”, many refitted in WW2 for other roles, and soon eclipsed by the Fubukis.

The last 2nd class destroyers

In between appeared the Momi class (design F37), for which the Japanese followed the previous path of “second class” destroyers. Way cheaper than the Minekaze, they seemed downgraded in many areas, over a 850/1020 tons displacement. They naturally evolved from the Kaba/Momo/Enoki classes (1915-16). Based on almost half the output at 21,000 shp they still reached 36 knots thanks to their feather-like features, and had just three guns and two twin torpedo tubes banks. No less than twenty-one were delivered, launched in 1919-1921, but still adopted their bigger sisters “toothbrish style” now standard, as well as 21-in torpedo tubes (18 inches was the standard for 2nd class DDs until then).

They were followed by the eight Wakatake class destroyers, also 2nd class, but 50 tons heavier, with a greater draught, but mostly identical. Called Design F37B or N°2 type, they had Zoelly turbines (not Parsons) and slightly downgraded speed at 35.5 knots. Four more were cancelled. Their importance is often brushed aside considering their WW2 usefulness. Theyr were criticized by their flimsy construction and lack of stability. At 85 meters long (280 feets) they were also ill-suited for heavy weather operations. What is rather interesting is the way the admiralty had them converted for other tasks and still found them quite usable. All were indeed rated as minelayers/sweepers, but many ended as Kaiten carriers and assault transports in WW2. The concept of 2nd class destroyer was abandoned and only “resurrected” with the 1944 escort destroyers of the Matsu and Tachibana class.

The Fubuki revolution (1926)

IJN Amagiri Ishikawajima Nov 1930

Already when the Mutsuki construction was not even started in 1924, the admiralty worked on a new design which was to be a radical departure and aimed at giving the IJN an edge over foreign design over the years to come. The new Fubuki class (吹雪型駆逐艦, Fubukigata kuchikukan) took its origin in a 1922 departure over the Washington treaty’s limits for Japanese tonnage overall, and thus, it was believed this could be compensated just by exploiting the treaty absence of definition over destroyers. The Imperial Japanese Naval staff therefore published requirements for a destroyer with a maximum speed of 39 knots, a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 14 knots, armed with a large numbers of torpedoes, ideally twice as many current designs.

Not only these new destroyers would be far superior than any other foreign designs, they were powerful enough to collectovely taken on cruisers, and to operate with the new series of fast and powerful cruisers under consideration as part of a qualitative, rather than quantitative approach (capped by the treaty) to naval warfare at large.

This new program materialized indeed with the Myoko/Nachi class the first of which was launched in 1927 and armed with five twin 8-in guns and more torpedo tubes than the average cruisers. It was mirrored by a similar destroyer program destined to work with these in powerful, very fast attack surface combat groups, notably trained in night combat.

The initial design called for 40 knots on a 2000-ton displacement hull, an armament of all single 12.7 cm (5.0 in) guns and two twin 24-inch torpedo tubes but it was close to the Mutsuki, and later modified on the basis of a 1680 tonnes standard hull, more guns and torpedoes. Eventually precised they were included, and approved by the FY1923 budget, based on an even smaller 1750 ton design to be completed between 1926 and 1931.

Performance-wise, between armament and speed, they were eventually designated “Special Type Destroyers” (Toku-gata Kuchikukan). Their new specs, with twin guns, triple TT banks, greater speed and range made them potential adversaries for light cruisers, like the US Omaha class. In the latter, only the “destroyer leaders” Porter and Somers-class (only thirteen built) would be comparable. They were in fact superior to anything else built or planned.

As they entered service, the first ten ships (later called Type I) were called by numbers only, no name. However soon it appeared confusing in exercizes, and in 1928 a reform had them all named again, as the following groups, Type II Ayanami (ten ships) and Type III Akatsuki (Four ships). These modern destroyers simply outperformed any other destroyer class in the world until WW2 broke out. The British only could compete with their ‘Tribal’ design in the late 1930s and the US with their Sumner and Gearing classes in 1943-45.

The Fubuki, lead class of three sub-classes and many others to follow, was thus the best defining and more important destroyers to take part in WW2. They set a new standard to be followed until Japan surrendered. With the London treaty of 1930, however new tonnage limits for destroyers were defined, precisely to close this Washington treaty loophole. Under this new provision, signed by Japanese delegates, the new tonnage allowed was capped overall at 105,500 tons and per unit 1,850 tons. Also as defined, only 16% of the overall tonnage would be at that level (for potential destroyer leaders) while the the remainder would not exceed 1,500 tons per vessel. This explained while the Fubuki type was not followed and the Akatsuki group curtailed to just four ships.

Instead, the new Hatsuharu-class destroyer were designed to match this new limit, displacing only 1,530 t (1,510 long tons). Japanese engineers yet tried to keep as much armament and speed possible, but the necessary result was a step back, with 36 knots and a range of 4,000 nmi, just two twin turrets instead of three and the same for torpedo tubes. Only six were built, the last completed on 30 March 1935. Following the Tomozuru incident, the Fifth ship, Ariake was completely redesigned, ending as a sub-class.

They were followed by a new class heavier at 1680 tons to avoid being top-heavy and close to the sub-class Ariake, named the Shiratsuyu class, belonging to the ”Circle-One” Naval Expansion Plan. At that point, Japan still adhered to naval treaties, but will not sign the second London treaty of 1935. The Japanese just ignored the latter and thus, let all limitations expires.

This freed them to renew the Fubuki “special type” in a modernized way, ten years after (1936). The new 2,370 long tons (2,408 t) Asashio class (ten vessels) returned to the powerful standard or three triple turrets but instead of three torpedo tubes banks, had two quadruple, freeing space for more AA. The hull was much strenghtened, the powerplant was more modern, but this was paid in top speed, limited to 35 knots.

The success of the Asashio class led to a improved design, in a multitude of ways. For the Kagero class (1938), armament was essentially the same, but AA was increased. They also had some design simplifications and this led to the last interwar class of IJN destroyers. In all, nineteen would be built, the last completed in September 1941. Resources and manpower at that time still authorized to built no less than twenty repeats, known as the Yūgumo-class destroyer, the last completed in 1944, sixteen more cancelled in 1943 as budgets and resources were reallocated into a new wartime class.

Quasi-cruisers: The Shimakaze and Akizuki class

There were two very large destroyed planned when WW2 broke out: One remained experimental: It was IJN Shimakaze (島風), an experimental destroyer intended as a destroyer leader, for the new projected “Type C” that never went ahead. This was essentially a modern “super-fubuki” with 15 torpedo tubes (three quintuple tubes banks), all of course with the best torpedoes of the time, the deadly 610 mm (24 in) Type 93 “Long Lance”, and the same main three twin turrets, but increased AA, range, and speed.

Indeed, IJN Shimakaze became the testbed for a new generation of powerplants: The enormously powerful, high-temperature and high-pressure Kampon steam turbine developed together 79,240 shp (59,090 kW). She therefore renewed with a top speed of 39 knots (72 km/h; 45 mph), exceeded on trials at 40.9 knots. A truly “special destroyer” without any equivalent in world, and until the end of WW2 for that matter. As a “classic” destroyer, IJN Shiamakaze, which entered service in May 1943 was never surpassed. All sixteen following vessels (3,048 tons FL “super shimakaze”) were cancelled in 1942 as the IJN focused on a new type of “fleet escort”, completely changing direction.

In early 1940, the IJN looked at a way to spare her cruisers while escorting its aircraft carriers divisions inside the Kido Butai. Combined with the apparition of a rapid-fire dual purpose, very modern weapon, the Type 98 gun, this led to the definition of a brand new class, setup for anti-aircraft screening, for carrier battle groups, designated ‘Type-B Destroyer’ in the new wartime program.

They traded their torpedoes (single bank of four Type 92 torpedo tubes) for eight 100 mm/65 cal Type 98 DP guns in four twin mount for and aft and a powerful secondary AA, reaching 47 × 25 mm AA guns in 1945. At 440 feets long for a displacement of 3,700 long tons (3,759 t) full load, they were almost as large as early 1930 light cruisers. They benefited from the new davanced powerplant developed for the Shimakaze, but toned down to only reach “task force speed”, and thus, limited to 52,000 shp (39 MW) for 33 knots. About forty were planned in 1940, but only twelve completed, twenty cancelled, seven Akisuki and the remainder of the Fuyutsuki sub-class (four), plus all the Michitsuki class, never completed.

They proved very useful, offering as planned a good AA protection but performing many other tasks as well, and they were the first fitted with the Type 21 air-search radar. A successor class was planned, called the “super akizuki”, a slightly larger group of 16 ships based on a 2,933 tons standard authorized in the 1942 Additional Naval Armaments Supplement Programme. This was replaced by the Modified 5th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme (23 ships of 2,701 tons, all canceled before construction started.

Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers of world war two: The POSTER. All classes represented since the 1919 Minekaze class, including those never built and cancelled or never completed.

IJN Destroyers: Armament and specifics

IJN Fumizuki (Mutsuki class) in July 1926 freshly, into service, colorized by Irootoko Jr.

Main guns: 4.7 in/40-50

In WW2, the WWI-era surviving IJN destroyers still in use has been often relegated to other duties. In any case, they IJN adopted for its destroyers quite a powerful main armament back in 1910 with the 4.7 inches Vickers (120 mm) licence-built in Japan. It was used on virtually all IJN destroyers until the Fubuki class, but went from the 40 caliber to the 50 caliber, with a dual purpose mount on the Mutsuki class. They were spread along the ship in all possible platforms in a single, shielded mount; The 45 calibre was adopted on the Momi, Minekaze, Kamikaze, Wakatake & Mutsuki class.

Called 4.7″/45 (12 cm) 3rd Year Type, 12 cm/45 (4.7″) 3rd Year Type and 12 cm/45 (4.7″) 11th Year Type, they were simple hand-worked guns, of built up construction, with some having monobloc barrels and breech rings, wire wound. The three types differed by their Breech block shape and mechanism. Screw for the first, horizontal sliding breech for the two others.

They used the Common Type 0 HE: 44.9 lbs. (20.3 kg) and Type 1 HE: 44.9 lbs. (20.3 kg) or the ASW 1a 36.3 lbs. (16.4 kg) shell, the Illumination 2a model of 44.9 lbs. (20.3 kg) with a bursting Charge of 3.75 lbs. (HE) to 7.19 lbs. (3.8 kg) for the ASW model. They used a 11.6 lbs. (5.27 kg) propellant charge for a muzzle velocity of 2,707 fps (825 mps), the chamber having a working pressure of 17.5 tons/in2 (2,750 kg/cm2) and the approximate Barrel Life being about 700 to 1000 Rounds. The range was ether 16,400 yards (15,000 m) for the M1914 or 17,500 yards (16,000 m) for the M1922, at 33° elevation.

Main guns: 5 in/50 DP

From the Fubuki to the Shimakaze (1942), the standard interwar/WW2 main armament for destroyers. Always in turreted twin mounts. The 12.7 cm/50 (5″) 3rd Year Type (’50 caliber 3rd Year Type 12.7 cm Gun’) were common on IJN destroyers built from 1926 until the ed of WW2, in both single and twin mounts. They were the first to use weather and splinter-proof mounts, also being medium caliber guns with high elevation, so performing a dual purpose function. They had a very slow training speeds however, with hand ramming and in AA fire, no dedicated fire control. They were lade of built-up construction, with three layers or two layers, breech ring, breech bush. 700 guns were manufactured, using bag ammunition and Welin breech-blocks, which contrasted with their modern looks.

Main guns: 3.9 in/65 DP

These oddballs were used only in the “super destroyers” of the Akitsuki class, and were dual purpose, for which the AA role was their primary. They formed the main armament of these destroyers for which torpedoes were fewer than other types. They were influenced in part by the light cruisers of the Dido and Atlanta class on the allied side more the British Tribal class destroyers, and tailored specifically in 1940 as fast AA escorts for aircraft carriers, unlike previous destroyers, more versatile, used in independent formations to screen mixed combat fleets.

Main guns: 5 inch/40 calibre Type 89

Only used on the Matsu/Tachibana class destroyer escorts, they were essentially the same duek-purpose guns used on cruisers, battleshisips, aicraft carriers and to modernized older light cruisers. As destroyers main guns here, the 12.7 cm/40 Type 89 naval guns were developed from 1928 and produced from 1932. They fired a fixed 127 x 580mm ammunition weighting 20.9–23.45 kilograms (46.1–51.7 lb) depending on the type. The guns used an horizontal breech block, and could elevate to +90°, with 8-14 rpm and a muzzle velocity of 720–725 mps (2,360–2,380 ft/s), max ceiling of 9,440 meters (30,970 ft) at 90° and range 14,800 meters (48,600 ft) at 45°.

They were in paired mounts on the Matsu and Tachibana, protected by tall shielding.

AA MGs: 7.7mm Type 92 & 13mm Type 93

The first were derivatives of the Type 3 heavy machine gun, themsekves derivatives of Hotchkiss licenced M1914. They were completely useless in WW2 as per aircraft speed and removed to be used by Japanese Marines, more likely replaced by the 13.2 m.

The second were only used on the Akatsuki, Hatsuhara, Shiratsuyu classes. They were 13.2 mm Hotchkiss machine gun model 1929 from Hotchkiss et Cie in France and also used in Italy, Japan also producing these under license as the Type 93 heavy machine gun. In 1942 they were seen largely as useless and replaced by single or twin 25 mm Mounts.

AA guns: Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Gun

From the Asashio class onwards, IJN destroyers were given twin or triple mounts with the ubiquitous Type 96 25 mm AA guns. These were essentially a French 25 mm Hotchkiss design, evaluated in 1935, ordered, used for firing tests at Yokosuka and built as the “Type 94”, “Type 95”, and “Type 96”. After minor changes (castings to simplify production, Rheinmetall-type fire suppressor) design. Triple mounts appeared in 1941 and single in 1943.

Torpedoes: 18 in

The 457 mm types were used by WWI-era destroyers until the Mutsuki class. These were all of the Whiehead type, manufactured in Japan since the 1910 18″ (45 cm) Type 43. Likely those in use were the 18″ (45 cm) Type 44 No. 1 (1911) for the 8-8 program: Weight 1,585 lbs. (719 kg), 212 in (5.39 m) in lenght, 243 lbs. (110 kg) Picric Acid/Shimose warhead, Power/Range/Speed: 4,400 yards (4,000 m) at 36 knots, propelled by Kerosene-air fresh-wate.

Torpedoes: 21-in

533 mm caliber, standard as in any navy introduced in 1918 for the IJN, ot 6th year Type torpedo found on the Momi, Minekaze, Kamikaze & Wakatake classes. In stock were 21″ (53.3 cm) Type 44 No. 1/2 (1911) but more likely these were 53.3 cm (21″) Type 6 (1917). The latter wighted 3,157 lbs. (1,432 kg) overall for 269 in (6.84 m) long, carrying a 448 lbs. (203 kg) Shimose warhead at 7,650 yards/35 knots or 10,900 yards/32 kts, 16,400 yards/26 kts. They were propelled by a Kerosene-air wet-heater unit. Kills were these were rare, as the destroyers of this generation saw often their TTs removed for additional AA and hostile encounters with other destroyers or cruisers were rare in their escort/patrol role.

Torpedoes: 24-in Type 93/95

61 cm Type 93 torpedo found on the Mutsuki, Fubuki, Akatsuki classes, and all oxygen fuelled from the Hatsuhara and beyond. The Designer was Rear Admiral Kaneji Kishimoto, and Captain Toshihide Asakuma, and this started in 1928, then went on until 1932. The Type 93 became the nororious “secret weapon” unleashed by IJN destroyers and cruisers in WW2, which caused extebsive damage during the Solomons campaign expecially. The defective US Type 14 torpedo was in stark contrast with this. The Type 93 torpedo was dangerous to its user however but its effectiveness outweighed the risks anyway, claiming 23 Allied warships, 11 cruisers, 11 destroyers, and a fleet aircraft carrier and among these, 13 hits were fatal.

  • Mass: 2.7 tonnes (6000 lb)
  • Length: 9 metres (29 ft 6+5⁄16 in)
  • Diameter: 610 mm (2 ft 1⁄64 in)
  • Effective firing range: 22,000 m (24,000 yd) at 89–93 km/h (48–50 kn)
  • Maximum firing range: 40,400 m (44,200 yd) at 63–67 km/h (34–36 kn)
  • Warhead weight: 490 kg (1080 lb)
  • Propellant: Oxygen-enriched air
  • Maximum speed: 96 km/h (52 kn)
  • Launch platform: Surface ships twin, triple, quadruple and quintuple bank.

-The Type 95 had a smaller (405 kg/893 lb) warhead (mod 2: 550 kg/1,210 lb) but was in essence a Japanese equvalent to the US Mark 16 hydrogen peroxide torpedo, shorter range but much faster. It could also be fired fro a standard 21 in submarine tube as well. Range was 9,000 m (9,800 yd) at 49–51 knots and 12,000 at 45–47 kn, thrice the Mark 14, at the same speed.

Depth charges

Japanese Depth Charges were rather light and due to little practice in the matter, the crews usually set the fuses too shallow. In many cases it allowed the strongly built standard American submarines to escape. Intel about the “Gato” class in particular (Tench and Balao) capable to dive to 300 feet (90m) and beyond never made it to the admiralty. Escort commanders in addition grossly oversetimated their “kills” by just assuming it by the sight floating oil or debris. A classic trick known by German U-Boat commanders (as US commanders).

Free press however, a right to fight for, proved to be the source of a monumental blunder when a US Congressmen revealed in a press conference that U.S. submarines were indeed capable of diving very deep. This did not escaped Japanese agents in Washington, and this info was quickly forwarded to the admiralty, sending instructions to all captains.

-The standard IJN Type 95 depth charge has the following specs:

  • 30.5″ long, 17.7″ in diameter (77.5cm by 45cm).
  • 220 lb (100 kg), Type 88 explosive using ammonium perchlorate and ferrosilicate)
  • Fuse with water inlet detonating the charge by pressure.
  • Two depth settings: 100 feet (30m), 200 feet (60m).

-The 1942 Type 97 soon started to be delivered in turn, better suited for deeper operations and more powerful:

  • Warhead 324 lb (147kg) of Type 97 explosive (70% TNA/30% HNDA)
  • Same +300 foot (90m) settings

The Slowest ships could send a parachute-braked DC in order to retard its sinking until sonar contact was made again, reducing the setting however to just 100 feet (30m).

-The 1943 Type 2 DC was equivalent to British DCs

  • 230 lbs (105kg) Type 97 explosive
  • Later type (1944): 357 lbs (162kg)
  • Settings 98, 197, 292, 390, 480 ft (30,60,120,145m)

The Japanese also experimented with 220 lbs (100 kg) charge using magnetic influence fuse, but it was never ready as the war ended. The DCs took place in general five-charge racks, two per destroyer aft, and four to eight or more depth charge throwers. In fact so much were produced they also were fitted even on merchant ships. The average IJN destroyer in 1942 carried 30 depth charges, some in reserve, but dedicated escort ships could store as much as 300 depth charges, just liked US escort destroyers.

Radars and telemeters

-Type 94 Kosha Sochi The anti-aircraft fire control systems installed the Akizuki class destroyers specifically for AA purpose.

-The first radar sets were installed in Japanese destroyers in March 1942, initially in newly commissioned ships of the Yūgumo class. This continued at an increasing rate through 1943 and 1944, with retro-fitting of existing and even older, pre-1922, vessels.

Type 13: Aircraft detection radar experimentally introduced in 1941, widely fitted from March 1943. Effective up to 100 kilometres (62 mi).

Type 21: Used for aircraft and ship detection; introduced in August 1943. Effective against aircraft up to 100 kilometres and against ships up to 20 kilometres (12 mi). It was the first Japanese set capable of deriving height estimates for aircraft.

Type 22: Used for aircraft and ship detection up to 35 km and 34.5 km, respectively. Introduced in August 1943. It was also capable of gunnery control and became the most widely installed Japanese naval set.

Japanese WW2 Destroyers tactics

IJN destroyers organizations & formations

Destroyers were frequently named in groups of four (“-gumos” or “-shimos”) operating as single destroyer squadrons, followed British usage (useing the same letter). Several squadrons created a destroyer flotilla, commanded by a Rear Admiral, generally having his flagship among the older Kuma, Nagara or Sendai class cruisers, initially created as destroyer leaders.

Destroyer Flotilla

2-4 Sqn. Commanded by Rear Admiral, Light Cruiser Flagship

Destroyer Squadron 1

Senior Officer

Destroyer Squadron 2

Senior Officer

Destroyer Squadron 3

Senior Officer

Trial by fire

IJN Uzuki at full speed in 1926, off Tateyama

As par of the Kantai Kessen or Japanese Decisive Battle Doctrine, destroyers traditionally were tsake dto sally forth and disrupt an enemy battleship formation, giving the battleships an advantage when about to engage. When a battleship turned to ddge torpedoes, the optimal fire formation was broken, and the slow-turning turrets lost their initial heading.

But this was the early thinking inherited fro the Russo-Japanese war. In the interwar, the apprition of the aircraft carrier started to ask the destroyer for a new role: Providing escort of large combat groups (notably Kido Butai divisions) taking place on the flanks, screening forward, and tail of the formation. They could spot and report an enemy sight therefore so as the formation was prepared. But destroyers could also performed combat operations at a smaller scale, notably in night combat formations as shown in the Solomons and Carolines. They operated by division, or squadron strength, sometimes independently as shown in the “Tokyo express” supply runs.

They generally counted on speed to both surprise attack and disengage, using their long range torpedoes early in the engagement, and comprised two more more cruisers surrounded by twice as much destroyers. Both the cruisers and destroyers (especially the “special types”) carried also twice as much torpedoes compared to their opponents, in order to disrupt enemy formation. The use of a night formation was largely also dictated by the Type 93 torpedo with its very long range of 22,000 yards, and being wakeless. Emphasis was put on heavy training for this. To support this night fighting, Japanese optics industry, largely influenced by German optics industry, manufactured simply the best night binoculars in the world at that time.

Several Fubuki type II destroyers in 1941 in formation, guns trained for a shelling exercize

As Guadalcanal and the Solomons campaign revealed, this training and the configuration favored IJN force, which can generally pick the time of action, carefully scheduled their arrival in Ironbottom Sound around midnight. Well-trained Japanese lookouts were able to detect even before the early SC and SG radars US warships. Every battle opening started with a massive launch of Type 93 torpedoes, and rapid reloading of all tubes, followed by heavy gunfire and a second volley. It took a while to US commander to admit that they weren’t hitting mines, but were indeed struck by torpedoes, launched from an unthinkable range. This could not be in more stark contrast to the “garbage” Mark 14. The Japanese properly torpedoed the “Gun Club” in these early engagements (heavy cruisers had TTs removed before the war for stability), and many old school officers did not trust their temperamental radars either.

Its only when the first launched “Long Lance” torpedoes found their targets that the US forces were made aware of the enemy’s presence, and after star shells illuminating the targets -that is, if the explosion caused by the torpedoes were not enough- a deluge of fire followed, in which Japanese destroyers out-gunned individually their US counterparts with their six guns versus five or less (Fletcher and earlier classes).

Total Japanese surprise was notably achieved in a textbook victory at Savo Island, First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November 1942 and at the Battle of Tassafaronga, which was not in favor of the Japanese at first.

A Fubuki type II destroyer passing in front of IJN Nagato, 1941

Fortune reversed at the Battle of Cape Esperance, when using well the SG search radar in bad weather, foiling the work of Japanese lookouts. The Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal saw the deadly combination of the new fire control radars on US battleships did wonders and Tassafaronga, US commanders trusted more their better radars to surprise the Japanese. At Vella Gulf, a large engagement between US and Japanese destroyers ended in favor of the first, advantaged by their superior detection range and better fire precision. The Battle of Empress August Bay, and Cape St. George (November of 1943) only confirmed this path. All that time, the IJN still favoured night battles but they failed to invest and embrace the radar as fast as the US did.

The tally

With the Type 93 “Long Lance” torpedoes only, IJN destroyers in WW2 claimed the following:

  • Dutch destroyer HNLMS Piet Hein 19 February 1942 by IJN destroyer Asashio
  • British cruiser HMS Exeter (68) 1 March 1942 by IJN destroyer Ikazuchi
  • Destroyer USS Blue (DD-387) 22 August 1942 by IJN destroyer Kawakaze
  • Aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) 26 Oct 1942 by IJN destroyers Akigumo and Makigumo
  • Cruiser USS Atlanta (CL-51) 13 November 1942 by IJN destroyer Akatsuki
  • Destroyer USS Barton (DD-599) 13 November 1942 by IJN destroyer Amatsukaze
  • Destroyer USS Laffey (DD-459) 13 November 1942 by IJN destroyers
  • Destroyer USS Walke (DD-416) 14 November 1942 by IJN destroyers
  • Destroyer USS Benham (DD-397) 14 November 1942 by IJN destroyers; later scuttled by USS Gwin (DD-433)
  • Cruiser USS Northampton (CA-26) 30 November 1942 by IJN destroyer Oyashio
  • Destroyer USS Strong (DD-467) 5 July 1943 by IJN destroyer Niizuki
  • Cruiser USS Helena (CL-50) 5 July 1943 by IJN destroyers Suzukaze and Tanikaze
  • Destroyer USS Gwin (DD-433) 12 July 1943 by IJN destroyer
  • Destroyer USS Chevalier (DD-451) 6 October 1943 by IJN destroyer Yugumo
  • Destroyer USS Cooper (DD-695) 3 December 1944 probably by IJN destroyer Take

IJN Destroyers postwar: war prizes fate

IJN Yukikaze (‘Snowy Wind)’ converted as a transport in 1946 to repatriate Japanese troops from various stations in the Pacific. She was later handed over to the Republic of China as a war reparation, renamed Tan Yang, remaining the flagship of the ROC Navy until 1970. The Japanese attempted to repurchase her to convert her as a museum ship but this was denied by the Taiwanese, however instead she still obtained the rudder and an anchor, now displayed at the Japan Navy Academy Museum, as a later good will gesture.

-None of the Momi, Wakatake, Minekaze, Kamikaze ended as war prizes due to their age but Namikaze. All surviving vessels were BU in 1947-48, some hulked before.

-IJN Namikaze, of the Minekaze class was indeed granted to China as Shen Yang, BU at a later date (unknown)

-None of the Mutsuki class survived.

-Fubuki class IJN Ushio survived until 1948 (transport, and then BU).

-Akatsuki class IJN Hibiki was transferred to USSR as Pritky, BU 1963

-Kagero class IJN Yukikaze was transferred to the Chinese as war reparation, renamed Tan Yang. She served until the 1970s.

-Of the Akitsuki class, IJN Suzutsuki was used for transport until 1948 and then BU, as Fuyutsuki and Hanatsuki. Yoitsuki became a war reparation to China, renamed Fe Yang, BU 1963. Harutsuki was obtained by USSR as Pospeschny, BU date unknown. Natsutsuki and Michitsuki were never completed and BU in 1945-48.

-Most of the Matsu and Tachibana classes survived the war: Take and Maki (Matsu) were granted to UK, promptly BU, as well as Hagi, Sumire, Kusunoki (Tachibana). Others were also granted to the US: Kahi, Keyaki (Matsu), Kai, Odake, Kaba (Tachibana). Others had longer career: Kiri, Kaya, Shii, Hatsuzakura were all awarded to USSR in 1947, fate unknown. Lastly, those with the longer career were the ext IJN Sugi (Hui Yang), Kaede (Hen Yang), Tsuta (Hua Yang), and Hatsuyume (Hsin Yang).

IJN Kikuzuki (Mutsuki class) at Saeki Bay in October 1932. Her name was repeated in Kanjis along the hull amidship, which was unique to Japanese destroyers, and the identification number more commonly at the prow. She also shows operational markings of the fore funnel, three bands indicating a lead ship.

IJN Kisaragi in February 1927 (Mutsuki class)

IJN Yuzuki

IJN Yunagi

IJN Yayoi

IJN Shimakaze

IJN Sagiri on sea trials on August 1937 off Tateyama

IJN Oboro II on sea trials at Tateyama, July 22, 1936

IJN Akebono II, same, July 29, 1936

IJN Yukikaze in December 1939, the “luckiest ship” of the IJN, making it unscaved from ten major naval battles and over 100 escort and supply missions.

Bridge of IJN Yukikaze, a Kagero class destroyer.

IJN Hatsuharu and Nenohi “kissing” at anchor in Sasebo, September 1933

IJN Isokaze at anchor at Saeki Bay, October, 20, 1941

IJN Nowaki on sea trials, April 1941

IJN Kiyoshimo at Urage, May, 15, 1944. Note the absence of portholes. She was crippled by US Army bombers (as part of the San Jose bombardment force) and dead in the water, finished off by USS PT-223.

IJN Suzutsuki in Ainoura Sasebo after the war in November 1945

1916 and 1918 programs IJN Destroyers

Minekaze class destroyers (1919)

IJN Okikaze in 1932 – colorized by Irootoko Jr.

Minekaze, Sawakaze, Okikaze, Shimakaze, Nadakaze, Yakaze, Hakaze, Shiokaze, Akikaze, Yūkaze, Tachikazen, Hokaze, Nokaze, Namikaze, Numakaze

These 15 first-class destroyers, launched in 1919-22 and completed in 1920-23, were all active in the fleet in 1941. They originally carried a four 120-mm (4.7 in) armament and three twin torpedo tube banks. Two were converted in 1939 into patrol boats (Natakaze and Shimakaze), carrying 2 x 120, 10 x 25 mm AA cannons and a single twin torpedo tube bank. Their machinery was reduced by the removal of a boiler and then served as troop transports in 1941, without their aft gun and rebuilt deck.

The Yakaze became a target ship in 1937, partially disarmed. The hulls of the other ships were reinforced, equipped with ballast tanks, and in 1944 they received eighteen to twenty-two 25 mm AA guns, sacrificing a 4.7 in also to carry Kaiten. They were sunk in operation, but five, including Namikaze, continued her career under the Chinese flag.

IJN Yukaze

Minekaze after carrier conversion


Displacement 1,552 t. standard -1 692 t. Full Load

Dimensions 100 m long, 9.1 m wide, 3.1 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 19,000 hp.

Maximum speed 35.5 knots

Armament 3 x 120mm guns, 8 x 25mm AA, 16 DC, 2L, 4 TLT 533mm (2 × 2) guns

Crew 180

Momi class destroyers (1919)

IJN Ashi, date unknown

Momi, Kaya, Nashi, Take, Kaki, Tsuga, Nire, Kuri, Kiku, Aoi, Hagi, Fuji, Susuki, Hishi, Hasu, Warabi, Tade, Sumire, Tsuta, Ashi, Yomogi

The 21 second class destroyers of the Momi class (1919-1922), were not all in service in 1941: The Momi was damaged during a typhoon and its wreckage abandoned in 1932, and the Warabi disappeared with his crew in 1927. The Kaya was decommissioned and sold to scrap dealers in 1939, as was the Nashi. The 17 others were partially converted into patrol boats in 1940 (for 9 of them) or fast tankers on the same date (5 others), with a single boiler, speed of 18 knots; and the last three were kept in their first role. Their hull was reinforced, and they gained a DCA of 6 guns of 25 mm AA and 60 grenades ASM.

In 1941, the patrol boats and tankers were all transformed to embark a landing craft and 150 troopers, losing a gun of 120 mm back, and in 1944-45, carriers of Kaiten, with sometimes still a piece of 120 mm in less and about 20 guns 25 mm AA. The tankers had two fewer boilers, a reduced speed of 16 knots, 1 or 2 120mm guns, a single TLT bench, and were renamed and used as training ships. There were some survivors among those who were not torpedoed by submersibles: The Tomaruira No. 1 ex-Nire, the Take, the Osu ex-Khaki, the Fuji, the Tomaruira No. 2, ex-Ashi, the Asu and the ex-Sumire Mitaka.

Hasu in 1943

Tsuta 1943, as converted into an assault destroyer, with a Daihatsu landing craft aft and modified stern ramp


Displacement 800 t. standard -1,162 t. Full Load

Dimensions 92 m long, 8.8 m wide, 3 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 10,000 hp.

Maximum speed 18 knots

Armament 2 x 120mm guns, 6 x 25mm AA, 60 DC, 4L, 4 TLT 533mm (2 × 2) guns

Crew 180

Interwar IJN Destroyers

IJN Makazuki

Wakatake class destroyers (1920)

wow rendition of the Wakatake class

Wakatake, Kuretake, Sanae, Sawarabi, Asagao, Yūgao, Fuyō, Karukaya

The 8 destroyers of the Wakatake class were a follow-on to the Momi class, planned in the 8-6 Fleet Program, FY1921 as a low cost complement of the larger Minekaze-class. Initially planned to be thirteen vessels strong, but the Washington Naval Treaty capping added to budget restraints, so the last four were cancelled in 1922 leaving eight shils effectively completed. The Wakatake class were the last IJN “second class” destroyer, and future designs were larger. Numbers were given at completion, not names, but this proved extremely unpopular, causing also much confusion in communications. In 1928, names were assigned to these ships.

Their small displacement limited their role to fleet escorts and as the Momi-class they were limited to Chinese coastal patrols, including the yangtse, using their shallow draft. On 15 September 1932, IJN Sawarabi capsized due to poor stability north of Keelung (Formosa). In April 1940, Yūgao became “Patrol Boat No. 46” with less armament, a deleted boiler, 18 knots, and more AA and ASW grenades. It was a prototype for further conversions before WW2.

Six units remaining saw three (Wakatake, Kuretake, and Sanae) assigned to Destroyer Division 13 (Kure Naval District), ASW patrolling Seto Inland Sea, Bungo Strait and the other three, Asagao, Fuyō and Karukaya joined DesDiv 32 (Chinkai Guard District) patrolling the Tsushima Strait. From 10 April 1942, the 1st Surface Escort Division, Southwest Area Fleet had Desdivs 13 and 32 assigned to it. Its task was to escort convoys against USN submarines. They operated between Moji, Formosa (Taiwan) and the Philippines, and later included Singapore, French Indochina, the Netherlands East Indies and Palau. IJN Karukaya made 54 convoy escorts, the best service of them all, but was lost as four others to submarines, one of an air attack, but IJN Asagao survived.

ONI plate – IJN wakatake

IJN Harukaze in 1939


Displacement 1,530 t. standard -1,650 t. Full Load

Dimensions 85 m long, 9.1 m wide, 3.1 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 19,000 hp.

Maximum speed 35 knots

Armament 3 x 120mm cannons, 20 x 25mm AA, 16 DC, 2L, 4 TLT 533mm (2 × 2) guns

Crew 180

Kamikaze class destroyers (1922)

IJN Hayate on sea trials a Tateyama, November 1925

Kamikaze, Asakaze, Harukaze, Matsukaze, Hatakaze, Oite, Hayate, Asanagi, Yūnagi

The 9 destroyers of the Kamikaze class were the last designed before the Washington Treaty. They were launched in 1922-24 and completed in 1923-25. Originally, their displacement was 1,400 tons, but their hull was strengthened. Their military value in 1941 was not comparable to that of the “special type” post-Fubuki destroyers, but they were nevertheless used as intensely as the Mutsuki who followed them. They were originally simply numbered and received names in 1928. In 1941-42, they went back to the shipyard for modifications, earning 10 25mm AA guns. In 1944, the last had between 13 to 20 guns of this caliber and four machine guns. Their speed was smaller than originally, 34 knots against 36-37. There were only two survivors of the conflict, the others being sunk by US submarines, planes, the Hayate being sunk in December 1941 in front of Wake.

IJN Harukaze in 1939


Displacement 1,530 t. standard -1,650 t. Full Load

Dimensions 100 m long, 9.1 m wide, 3.1 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 19,000 hp.

Maximum speed 35 knots

Armament 3 x 120mm cannons, 20 x 25mm AA, 16 DC, 2L, 4 TLT 533mm (2 × 2) guns

Crew 180

IJN Kamikaze II

Mutsuki class destroyers (1924)

IJN Minazuki on sea trials, Feb. 1927

Mutsuki, Kisaragi, Yayoi, Uzuki, Satsuki, Minazuki, Fumizuki, Nagatsuki, Kikuzuki, Mikazuki, Mochizuki, Yūzuki

The Mutsuki were the fifth and last class of destroyers from the Minekaze of 1919, the new standard of first class destroyers of the imperial fleet. They followed the Kamikaze of 1922-23, differed in their larger dimensions, and especially their armament of torpedo tubes of 610 mm instead of 533, giving them a firepower far superior to the ships of allied fleets. In addition, they were versatile enough to carry out dredging and mine mooring missions with dedicated rails and equipment. 12 ships numbered from 19 to 34 were built. Their original characteristics were 1445 tons at full load for 37.2 knots, 4 pieces of 120, 6 TLTs in two benches, two AA machine guns and 150 DC.

Already overtaken in 1928, with the release of Fubuki, they were converted in 1941 in rapid troop transports, weighing down equipment, losing two of their cannons, and winning 10 25 mm AA guns, with 36 DC in locker and four mortars. In 1943-44, the losses in destroyers became so large that many were rearmed from their two 120-mm pieces. Some were camouflaged, like the Mutsuki above. In June 1944, they had 25 guns of 20 mm and 5 machine guns of 13.2 mm. In operation, they were fully engaged in the furious battles of the Solomon, or most were sunk. The Kisaragi was even sunk 3 days after Pearl Harbor. The others survived until 1944, and were victims of the overwhelming American air domination. None passed the year 1944.

IJN Mutsuki in 1944


Displacement 1,590 t. standard -1 880 t. Full Load

Dimensions 100.2 m long, 9.16 m wide, 2.96 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.

Maximum speed 34 knots

Armament 4 guns of 120, 10 guns of 25 AA, 36 DC, 4 LC, 6 TLT 610 mm (2 × 3)

Crew 150

Fubuki class destroyers (1927)

IJN Fubuki in sea trials at Miyazu, 1928.

Group I Fubuki, Shirayuki, Hatsuyuki, Miyuki, Murakumo, Shinonome, Usugumo, Shirakumo, Isonami, Uranami. Group II: Ayanami, Shikinami, Asagiri, Yūgiri, Amagiri, Sagiri, Oboro, Akebono, Sazanami, Ushio

The Fubuki represented a true revolution in naval history, as were the Novik Russians in their day, representing the new standard for destroyers. And it was Japan that was not a coincidence, launched this new standard. Anxious to challenge its third place in the concerts of the great maritime powers with the stated ambition to eventually dominate the entire eastern sphere, Japan designed a type of ship radically different from the former class destroyers, including the Mutsuki. The differences were innumerable, and the Fubuki inaugurated the “special type” which would become the reference for the classes to come, until 1945.

They were world-class, not in terms of tonnage, with 2060 tons at full load, but above all by their armament, with their three 610 mm tubes benches, their three double turrets with 127 mm pieces whose range was increased by a rise which could go up to 75 °, by their speed finally, of 38 nodes, and 40-41 with the tests. This speed combined with a rather light construction despite the exceptional quality of the steel archipelago, largely responsible for the myth developed around the best weapons ever created, the formidable Katanas, had fatal consequences on their stability, which had to be improved in 1935-37 by a strengthening of the hull, which increased their tonnage at full load to 2390 tons, and consequently their speed to 34 knots. Twenty buildings were launched in three program laws, the last entering into service in 1932, numbered from 35 to 54.

In operations, the Fubuki were obviously engaged in all clashes, and their excellent qualities proved in combat. In 1941, 19 were in service, the Miyuki sank after a tragic collision with Inazuma in 1934. 18 were sunk in combat, almost all carried AA artillery reinforced 14 guns 25 mm and 4 machine guns 13.2 mm AA, (two machine guns 13.2 mm in 1941) and 1944 22 of 25 and 10 13.2 mm in 1944. They had removed the turret No. 2 to make way for batteries. None passed the year 1944, except the Ushio, which survived until 1948.

Author’s HD illustration of the Fubuki


Displacement 2,080 t. standard -2,400 t. Full Load

Dimensions 118.4 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.2 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.

Maximum speed 34 knots

Armament 6 guns of 120, 14 guns of 25 AA, 4 x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 9 x 610 mm TTs (3 × 3)

Crew 221

Akatsuki class destroyers (1931)

IJN Akatsuki on sea trials at Tateyama, June, 18, 1937

Akatsuki, Hibiki, Ikazuchi, Inazuma

The Akatsuki were four units quite close to the Fubuki, a little shorter with a slightly deeper hull, and new boilers of a more modern model. They also had a high speed and hull considered too light, and were reinforced in 1935-37; from 1950 to 2265 tons PC, running 34 knots instead of 38. In 1941-42, they removed their rear turret No. 2 to make way for AA batteries. From 2 machine guns, this one passed to 14 guns of 25 mm, 4 machine guns, then in 1944, 22 guns of 25 mm in eleven double carriages and 10 machine guns of 13 mm in five double carriage, 28 of 25 mm for the Hibiki in 1945 , the only survivor of his class. It was offered to the USSR in 1947 in war damage and renamed Pritky, and it seems that it was kept in service until the sixties.

Author’s HD illustration of the Fubuki


Displacement 1,980 t. standard -2,265 t. Full Load

Dimensions 113.3 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.3 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.

Maximum speed 34 knots

Armament 4 guns of 120, 14 guns of 25 AA, 4 x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 9 x 610 mm TTs (3 × 3)

Crew 221

Hatsuharu class destroyers (1932)

IJN Hatsuharu at Sasebo NyD Nov. 1933

Hatsuharu, Nenohi, Wakaba, Hatsushimo, Ariake, Yūgure

These were built under the provisions of 1930 London Naval Treaty, which capped the overall destroyer tonnage for the IJN at 105,500 tons, with a unit cap at 1,850 tons, and just 16% at this tonnage of the total, 1,500 tons per vessel for the remainder. No longer able to built Fubuki and Akatsuki-class destroyers, naval architects were asked to design lighter vessels by at least 260 tons, but with the same armament. The final design had three turrets but five 127 mm guns instead of six, smaller hull and displacement. This compromise helped to reach the desired figures but at the price of grave strenght and stability issues. They were in fact beyond the admissible limit but still match the Admiralty needs. Despite all weight-saving they ended significantly overweight as completed (1,530 metric tons standard).

The capsizing of Tomozuru in 1934, compounded by two Fubuki class badly damaged by a storm created a scandal, fircong the general staff to ask architects ways to strenghten and lighten all ships with a variety of measures; As a result before 1939, all vessels had been significantly downgraded. All Hatsuharu-class ships were lost during the Pacific War, four sunk by aircraft, IJN Nenohi by the submarine USS Triton, Hatsushimo, last IJN destroyer lost in WW2 by a mine on 30 July 1945. The two DesDiv (2×3) created with this class took part in the Invasion of the Aleutians.

ONI plate – IJN Hatsuharu

⚙ Hatsuharu class specifications

Dimensions 113.3 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.3 m draft
Displacement 1,980 t. standard -2,265 t. Full Load
Crew 221
Propulsion 2 shafts Kampon turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.
Speed 34 knots
Armament 4x 120, 14x 25 AA, 4x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 3×3 610 mm TTs

Shiratsuyu class destroyers (1935)

IJN Yudachi on sea trials Dec.1936, colorized by Irootoko Jr.

Shiratsuyu, Shigure, Murasame, Yūdachi, Harusame, Samidare, Umikaze, Yamakaze, Kawakaze, Suzukaze

The first batch of six Shiratsuyu-class destroyers were modified versions of the Hatsuharu class, planned as last six vessels of the ”Circle-One” Naval Expansion Plan. Issues with the Hatsuharu-class, being notably “top-heavy”, needed extensive modifications, creating their own separate class. The redesign had them exceeded 1930 London Naval Treaty limuits, and four additional were ordered under the ”Circle-Two Naval Expansion Plan, FY1934, all being completed by 1937. They were numbered Dai-65 to Dai-74.

The Shiratsuyu-class destroyers were geared for day and night torpedo attacks across the Pacific Ocean, but none survived the War. They were closely modelled on the Ariake sub-class, with a lower and more compact bridge design, shape and inclination of the funnels, a bit shorter forecastle with pronounced flare for sealkeeping at high speeds, reducing spray, but longer stern. Same achinery cause with greater displacement and draft a top speed of 34 knots only. They were the first completed with quadruple torpedo mounts, telephone communications to the torpedo station. These had protective shield for coping with heavy weather and splinter damage as the Type 93 were particularly “sensitive”. The last four were heavily modified and ended as the Asashio Class.

IJN Harusame off Uraga, Nov, 30, 1943. colorized by Irootoko Jr

⚙ Hatsuharu class specifications

Dimensions 113.3 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.3 m draft
Displacement 1,980 t. standard -2,265 t. Full Load
Crew 221
Propulsion 2 shafts Kampon turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.
Speed 34 knots
Armament 4x 120, 14x 25 AA, 4x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 3×3 610 mm TTs

Asashio class destroyers (1936)

IJ Asashio on sea trials off Sasebo, July 1937.

Asashio, Ōshio, Michishio, Arashio, Asagumo, Yamagumo, Natsugumo, Minegumo, Arare, Kasumi

In 1935, the restrictions of the London Treaty came to an end. The Admiralty was therefore allowed to return to the “special type” that gave birth to Fubuki. But this time we had incorporated the advances made by the two previous lightened classes, so that the Asashio, much larger, kept their two quadruple tubes and again received a double turret, for three in all. Ten buildings were built, the last one entering service in 1938. They inaugurated new turbines, but they had a number of defects of youth which prolongated their tests, and problems of direction. Modifications were made and they were fully operational in December 1941.

During the war, they added to their 25 mm guns, 8 others, including two carriages instead of their rear turret, suppressed in 1943. In 1944, they had on average 28 guns 25 mm and four machine guns, their movement to full load making a jump to 2,635 tons. They were all sunk in combat, including three at the battle of Leyte (Surigao Strait), the others by planes or submarines.

Author’s illustration of the Asashio


Displacement 1,685 t. standard -1 950 t. Full Load

Dimensions 118.2 m long, 10.3 m wide, 3.7 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 3 boilers, 50,000 hp.

Maximum speed 35 knots

Weapon 6 guns 127 (3 × 2), 4 guns 25 mm AA, 16 DC, 8 TLT 610 mm (2 × 4)

Crew 200

⚙ Hatsuharu class specifications

Dimensions 113.3 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.3 m draft
Displacement 1,980 t. standard -2,265 t. Full Load
Crew 221
Propulsion 2 shafts Kampon turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.
Speed 34 knots
Armament 4x 120, 14x 25 AA, 4x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 3×3 610 mm TTs

Kagero class destroyers (1938)

IJN Amatsukaze in November 1940 off Uraga, on sea trials.

Kagerō, Shiranui, Kuroshio, Oyashio, Hayashio, Natsushio, Hatsukaze, Yukikaze, Amatsukaze, Tokitsukaze, Urakaze, Isokaze, Hamakaze, Tanikaze, Nowaki, Arashi, Hagikaze, Maikaze, Akigumo

These 18 ships were of the general opinion, the most successful of the Japanese destroyers. Heirs Fubuki, but with excellent protection, they relied on the previous Asashio in general design, except for its transmission system rudder and its turbines. The Hamakaze was the first, in 1943, to receive a radar. Their artillery AA increased considerably: In 1943, the turret N°3 was removed and replaced by 25 mm batteries. They had fourteen tubes the standard at the time, but by June 1944, eighteen to twenty-four, plus four 13 mm MGs. The bulk of the force was sunk partly by surface units and partly by aircraft. Only Yukikaze survived.

Author’s illustration of the Kagero


Displacement 2,033 t. standard -2,450 t. Full Load

Dimensions 116.2 m long, 10.8 m wide, 3.7 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 3 boilers, 52,000 hp.

Maximum speed 35 knots

Armament 6 guns of 120, 4 guns of 25 AA, 16 DC, 4 LC, 8 TLT 610 mm (2 × 4)

Crew 240

⚙ Hatsuharu class specifications

Dimensions 113.3 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.3 m draft
Displacement 1,980 t. standard -2,265 t. Full Load
Crew 221
Propulsion 2 shafts Kampon turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.
Speed 34 knots
Armament 4x 120, 14x 25 AA, 4x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 3×3 610 mm TTs

Yugumo class destroyers (1941)

IJN Hayanami, of the Yugumo class on sea trials, 24 July 1943

Akigumo, Yūgumo, Makigumo, Kazagumo, Naganami, Makinami, Takanami, Ōnami, Kiyonami, Tamanami, Suzunami, Fujinami, Hayanami, Hamanami, Okinami, Kishinami, Asashimo, Hayashimo, Akishimo, Kiyoshimo

The Yūgumo class were basically a repeat of the Kagerō, with minor improvements, notably around anti-aircraft capabilities. The first 11 belonged to the 1939 4th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme. The other 16 (Hayanami sub-class) were part of the 1941 Rapid Naval Armaments Supplement Programme, eight later canceled before being laid down. Another eight (Kai-Yūgumo sub-class) were planned under the 1942 Modified 5th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme but never ordered.

The Yūgumo class destroyers were 45 tons heavier, a bit longer longer and had a reshaped bridge, with a forward slope intended to reduce wind resistance, improve stability. Built at three different shipyards, they differed in minor way, but still relied on the same powerplant, two Kampon geared steam turbines, fed by three Kampon water-tube boilers for 52,000 shaft horsepower total and 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph).

The main battery remained the same as well as TTs, but theu had as anti-submarine weapons two depth charge throwers with 36 depth charges in store and two racks at the poop.

More importantly they were completed with four Type 96 25-millimeter (1.0 in) anti-aircraft guns, in two twin-mounts (aft smokestack) but it was soon increased with the addition of two triple-mount and one twin-mount forward of the bridge, plus a Type 22 radar. In 1944, a second triple-mount was added (platform behind the forward smokestack) and the last had twelve additional single-mount Type 96s plus the Type 13 radar, IJN Kiyoshimo also receiving extra Type 93 13mm machine guns.

Author’s illustration of the Kagero

⚙ Hatsuharu class specifications

Dimensions 113.3 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.3 m draft
Displacement 1,980 t. standard -2,265 t. Full Load
Crew 221
Propulsion 2 shafts Kampon turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.
Speed 34 knots
Armament 4x 120, 14x 25 AA, 4x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 3×3 610 mm TTs

Shimakaze class destroyers (1942)

IJN Shimakaze on May, 5, 1943 on sea trials, Miyazu Bay.

The Shimakaze was conceived in 1940 as the prototype of a new “special type”, which would once again be a new unsurpassed standard in speed and firepower, a “super-Fubuki” to be followed by a class of 16 units. Individually speaking, these ships were to be far superior to their American antagonists, who at the time were represented by the Benson, frail 1800-ton ships armed with 5 127mm pieces and eight torpedo tubes, and running 35 knots.

The comparison was indeed very advantageous: the Shimakaze, with its 3200 tons at full load, claimed 6 pieces of 127 mm, and especially 15 torpedo tubes in three quintuple benches, unprecedented yet, all served by a phenomenal power for a destroyer, 75,000 hp. As a result, the Shimakaze blithely surpassed 41 knots in testing. The Shimakaze was launched in July 1942 and put into service in May 1943. Its DCA will be considerably improved in 1944 by the suppression of its turret No. 2, its artillery pieces of 25 mm from 6 to 16, then 28 in 1944, with 4 13 mm machine guns.

Displacement 2,567 t. standard -3,000 t. Full Load

Dimensions 125 m long, 11.2 m wide, 4.14 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 3 boilers, 75,000 hp.

Maximum speed 39 knots

Armament 6 guns of 127 (3 × 2), 6 guns 25 mm AA, 18 DC, 15 TLT 610 mm (3 × 5)

Crew 300

⚙ Hatsuharu class specifications

Dimensions 113.3 m long, 10.36 m wide, 3.3 m draft
Displacement 1,980 t. standard -2,265 t. Full Load
Crew 221
Propulsion 2 shafts Kampon turbines, 4 boilers, 38,000 hp.
Speed 34 knots
Armament 4x 120, 14x 25 AA, 4x 13.2 mm AA, 36 DC, 4 DCT, 3×3 610 mm TTs

Akizuki class destroyers (1942)

IJN Hatsuzuki on December 1942 sea trials, Miyazu Bay.

Akizuki, Teruzuki, Suzutsuki, Hatsuzuki, Niizuki, Wakatsuki, Shimotsuki, Fuyutsuki, Harutsuki, Yoizuki, Natsuzuki, Michitsuki, Hanazuki

The Akizuki class obeyed a 1939 directive calling for antiaircraft escorts for carrier groups. But as they eventually had to respond to a surface attack, a quadruple bench of torpedo tubes was built in the center. The Fuyutsuki in 1944. He will be one of the few survivors of the war. This artillery of a particular kind was concentrated in 4 double turrets of pieces of 100 mm with long range and with fast fire. The semi-automated turrets were heavy and spread towards the center of the ship, as for a cruiser. Moreover, with their 3,700 tons at full load, double the Fletcher, they were typically analyzed by experts as “super-destroyers” category popular late 1937, and at the edge of a light cruiser (5,000 tons).

Although these ships already display a strong ASW battery, and a four triple 25mm AA, this “auxiliary” defense was greatly augmented, with the installation of fourteen, then twenty-nine 25mm barrels, and for survivors in 1945, from forty to fifty-one, which made them the best armed destroyers ever built. The Akitsuki did possessed any armor, but their hull was strongly built unlike the prewar treaty-bound vessels. This was demonstrated time and time again, as for many Japanese cruisers of slender and falsely light appearance.

Half of the Akitsuki fought little if any, being put into service too late. Only twelve units of the planned program were finally put into service, the others broken up in their slipways in 1948. Only six were sunk during the conflict, including one by one submarine, two by airplanes, and finally three by surface actions, as one by PT-Boats in December 1942 at Guadalcanal, shortly after her commissioning.

The first, IJN Akitsuki, was launched in July 1941, completed much later, and not operational at Pearl Harbor. Four others had been launched in 1942, completed in 1943, one in 1943 and the last four in 1944, completed in 1945. They also saw little fighting, remaining almost all their short service at home, surviving the war, even escaping the raids of July 1945. They were BU in 1948 but two transferred, one to the Chinese (Fen Yang) and the others to USSR.

IJN Fuyuzuki illustration


Displacement 2,701 t. standard -3,700 t. Full Load

Dimensions 134.2 m long, 11.6 m wide, 4.15 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 3 boilers, 52,000 hp.

Maximum speed 33 knots

Weapon 8 x 100 mm AA DP (4 × 2), 4 x 25 mm AA, 72 DC, 4 x 610 mm TTs (1 × 4)

Crew 300

IJN WW2 escort destroyers

Matsu class escort destroyers (1944)

IJN Maki late 1944

Matsu, Momo, Take, Ume, Kuwa, Maki, Kiri, Sugi, Momi, Hinoki, Kashi, Kaya, Kaede, Sakura, Nara, Tsubaki, Keyaki, Yanagi

At the end of 1942, the terrible losses suffered by the Nippon fleet because of the American submarines inspired the Imperial Admiralty the same response as the allies to respond to the U-Boat in the Atlantic: Dozens of destroyers of escort, smaller and cheaper than the “real” destroyers. However, again, the Japanese wanted to dominate their equivalents, and these ships were much better armed than Allied ships of this type.

For example, the initial design provided for a sixfold torpedo tube bench (…), which was not retained later. The protection was neat, as evidenced by the idea of ​​placing their turbines in two separate compartments to prevent a hit on the goal does not immobilize the ship … On the other hand, their construction was simplified to the possible and very fast: The Matsu , the head of class, will be put on hold in September 1943, launched in February 1944 and completed in April. 17 other ships will be built in less than 6 months under this first series. Their DCA rose to 29 25 mm AA guns in 1945.


Displacement 1,262 t. standard -1 500 t. Full Load

Dimensions 100 m long, 9.3 m wide, 3.3 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 19,000 hp.

Maximum speed 27.8 knots

Armament 3 x 127mm (1 × 2 + 1) guns, 24 x 25mm AA, 36 DC, 4L, 4 TLT 610mm (1 × 4) guns

Crew 120

Tachibana class escort destroyers (1944)

Tachibana, Nire, Tsuta, Hagi, Kaki, Shii, Nashi, Sumire, Enoki, Kusunoki, Odake, Hatsuzakura, Kaba, Hatsuyume, Yaezakura, Tochi, Yadake, Katsura, Wakazakura, Azura, Sakaki, Kuzu, Hishi – 12 cancelled, 12 more unnamed, Cancelled March 1945.

The second set, Tachibana, was virtually a copy of the first, with 33 units planned, but only 14 will be completed. They differed from the Matsu only, in extremely simplified shell shapes, and some in the superstructure as well, notably squarish shapes.

Their initial DCA was 24 guns also 25 mm, quickly increased to 29, and their ASW arsenal increased from 36 to 60 deep-fired grenades with mortars. Matsu was destroyed in action as well as well as three of the Tachibana class. Some of the survivors were BU in 1947-48, but IJN Nashi was refloated and repaired repaired in 1955, returning into service as an experimental radar picket in the new Japanese Self-Defense Navy.

Some units went to the British and Americans a war reparation, and promptly BU or used as targets. Those who were delivered to the Russians saw some service, and more with the Chinese (four in all, until 1965 for one). A third class of 80 ships was planned for 1945, but soon cancelled.


Displacement 1,262 t. standard -1 500 t. Full Load

Dimensions 100 m long, 9.3 m wide, 3.3 m draft

Machines 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 boilers, 19,000 hp.

Maximum speed 27.8 knots

Armament 3 x 127mm (1 × 2 + 1) guns, 24 x 25mm AA, 36 DC, 4L, 4 TLT 610mm (1 × 4) guns

Crew 120

Other Japanese escorts: Type A to D (1944-45)

All these ships would be seen in a dedicated article soon. The building time and cost of new destroyers started to be unbearable for the Japanese economy in 1944 and thus, priority swapped to lighter, simpler mass-produced escort destroyers of the Matsu/Tachibana type, and four even smaller escort vessels types were also mass-produced. They were not classed as destroyer escorts, but just “escort vessels” or kaibōkan (海防艦, “sea defence ship”).

Shimushu class Type A (1939)

First multi purpose patrol/escorts/minesweepers. Four ships built launched 1939-40.

Propelled by two Diesels (3,100 kW (4,200 shp)), 19.7 kn (36.5 km/h), range 8,000 nmi (15,000 km)/16 kts (30 kph), Oil 120t. Armament three 4.7in/45 guns, 4x25mm AA, 12 DCs. 860/1004 tons, 76.20 x 9.1 x 3 m.

Etorofu class Type A (1942)

Modified Type A, same specs but 870/1004 tons, 36 DCs. Fourteen ships built. IJN Kanju received two 4.7 in guns only.

Mikura class Type B (1943)

Eight ships built, improved A types still with the same armament with a forward twin mount and single aft, but 120 DCs. Also: 940/1004 tons, 78.7 m long. Top speed 19.5 kts, range 11,000 km (6,000 nmi) at 16 kts.

Ukuru class Type B (1944)

Thirt-Two vessels built from 1944 to the end of the war. Same specs as above, but two more 25 mm AA guns and range 10,656 kilometres (5,754 nmi) at 16 kn.

Type C (1944)

Reduced, more economical versions of the Type A/B, the first with diesels and second with turbines. 745/797 tons, 67.5 x 8.4 x 2.90m, 2 shafts diesels 1,900 bhp, 16.5 kts; range about 10,000 nm, armed with two single 4.7 in guns, six 25 mm AA and 120 DCs (including 12 DC throwers). All 59 ships numbered.

Type D (1944)

Repeat of the Type C but with steam turbines. Specs 740/925 tons, 69.5 x 8.60 x 3.05 m, 1 shaft steam turbine, 2 boilers, 2500 shp, 17.5 kts, est. range 9,000 np. Same armamment. Sixty-eight completed before V day out of 120 planned in all. They were mass-produced using modular design techniques pushed to the limit. The use of tubines improved their speed but limited the endurance. In 1945 AA armametn was pushed to sixteen 25 mm AA guns, and they carried thirteen DCT.



Japanese Naval Preparations for World War 2, Yôichi Hirama

Japanese Naval and Merchant Shipping Losses ww2 by All Causes

Legends of warfare, Fubuki-Class Destroyers, Lars Ahlberg, Hans Lengerer.

Proceeding’s article by veteran Warren S. Howard, 1952

IJN radars (archived)

naweaps IJN Torpedoes WW2

Colorized photos of IJN DDs

Tahibana class on

IJN destroyers summary on

IJN Torpedoes on

Advanced Japanese Destroyers of World War II

IJN depht charges on The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia

On wikipedia (generic)

Irootoko colorized DDs Pics images galore: fubuki

same, shiratsuyu-and-asashio-class-and-shimakaze

same, hatsuharu-akizuki-fuyutsuki-and-akatsuki-classes

same, murakumo-kaba-momo-kawakaze-minekaze-kamikaze-and-mutsuki

Same, kagero, yugumo, matsu

Same, Asashio & Shimakaze


Naval Weapons of World War Two by John Campbell

Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War by Eric Lacroix and Linton Wells II

Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press

Ireland, Bernard (1996). Warships of World War II. HarperCollins.

Fitzsimons, Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1977)

The Operations of the Navy in the Dutch East Indies and the Bay of Bengal (War History Office, National Defense College of Japan (Second Senshi Sōsho volume).


Model kits

Akizuki in detail –

IJN Special Type destroyers Inazuma w/WWII IJN New Vessel Equipment Set 7

WWII IJN Destroyer Fuyuzuki Upgrade Set for Aoshima, Five Star Model 1:700

Fubuki class on scalemates

Tamiya’s destroyers

Akizuki class, Aoshima.

Note: Aoshima stopped production of naval kits in the late 1970s apparently. Some of Tamiya’s are still on catalog. 1/350 IJN DDS kits are rarer. Ex. Kagero by Tamiya #tam78032. Aoshima, Hasegawa, Fujimi covered them as well.

Skywave also produced a range of DDs, 1/700 like the Hatsuharu Class. At some point, Answer-Angraf also published a cardboard 1/200 Hatsushimo (Hatsuharu class).

Earlier destroyers (1918-1924) are not hard to find either. The Mutsuki was covered for example by Hasegawa at 1:700, Pit-Road, Yamashita Hobby, Rainbow, Skywave (probably motivated by here very rare camouflage).

Minekaze was covered by Pit-road and XP Forge, Momi by Hasegawa and Five Stars, and Hasegawa, the Kamikaze by Pit-Road at 1/700 and XP Forge at 1:1200. The Wakatake by Hasegawa, and Five stars.