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Chidori-class torpedo boat
IJN torpedo boat CHIDORI in 1934.jpg
Chidori after refit 1934
Class overview
Name: Chidori-class torpedo boat
Builders: Maizuru Naval Construction Department
Fujinagata Shipbuilding Yard
Operators: Naval Ensign of Japan.svg Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Hayabusa class
Succeeded by: Ōtori class
Built: 1931—34
In service: 1933—45
In commission: 1933—47
Planned: 20
Completed: 4
Cancelled: 16 (replaced by Ōtori-class)
Lost: 3
Retired: 1
General characteristics as built
Class & type: Chidori-class
Type: Torpedo Boat
Displacement: 535 long tons (544 t) for standard
738 long tons (750 t) full load
Length: 82.0 m (269 ft 0 in) overall
79.0 m (259 ft 2 in) waterline
Beam: 7.40 m (24 ft 3 in)
8.10 m (26 ft 7 in) w/ bulges
Draft: 2.50 m (8 ft 2 in) (average)
Propulsion: 2 × Kampon water tube boilers,
2 × Kampon impulse turbines,
2 shafts, 11,000 shp (8,200 kW)
Speed: 30.0 knots (34.5 mph; 55.6 km/h)
Range: 3,000 nmi (5,600 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h)
Complement: 120
Armament: 3 × 127 mm (5.0 in) Type 3 guns (1×2, 1×1)
1 × 12.7 mm (0.50 in) machine gun
4 × 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes (2×2)
8 × 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedoes
9 × depth charges
General characteristics after rebuilding
Displacement: 600 long tons (610 t) (standard)
815 long tons (828 t) (full load)
Draft: 2.38 m (7 ft 10 in)
Speed: 28.0 knots (32.2 mph; 51.9 km/h)
Range: 1,600 nmi (3,000 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h)

Chidori, November 1934
3 × 120 mm (4.7 in) L/45 guns (3×1)
1 × 13.2 mm (0.52 in) machine gun
2 × 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes (2×1)
9 × depth charges

Hatsukari, December 1944
2 × 120 mm (4.7 in) L/45 guns (2×1)
10 Type 96 25mm AA guns (10×1)
2 × 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes (2×1)
48 × depth charges

The Chidori-class torpedo boat (千鳥型水雷艇 Chidori-gata suiraitei?) was an Imperial Japanese Navy class of torpedo boats that served during the Second World War. They proved to have too much armament for the hull and Tomozuru (友鶴?) capsized shortly after completion in heavy weather. The entire class had to be rebuilt before they became satisfactory sea-boats. They saw service in the Battle of the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies campaign as escorts and continued in that role for the rest of the war. Three were sunk during the war and the fourth was seized by the British at Hong Kong after the end of the war where it was scrapped later.


Initial look of Chidori

In 1930, the London Naval Treaty was concluded in which the IJN received a heavy limit on the destroyers. The IJN planned to build the under 600 tons class destroyer which were not limited by the treaty, and the category Torpedo boat was revived for them. The aim for these ships was to have half the armament of the Fubuki-class destroyer. Initially, four boats were constructed for evaluation, out of a planned twenty, in the Circle 1 Programme. After Chidori was completed, the IJN discovered on her trials that her center of gravity was too high and that she was 92 tonnes (91 long tons; 101 short tons) overweight. The IJN ordered 250 millimetres (9.8 in) bulges fitted to the rest of the class. However, this proved to be insufficient.[1]


As initially completed the Chidori-class torpedo boats displaced 535 long tons (544 t) at standard load, but displaced 738 long tons (750 t) at full load. They were 82.0 m (269 ft 0 in) long overall, had a beam 7.40 m (24 ft 3 in) and an average draft of 2.50 m (8 ft 2 in).[2]


They were exceedingly heavily armed for their size with three 127 mm (5.0 in) Type 3 gun mounted in a single power-driven gun turret placed on the forecastle, ahead of the bridge, and a power-driven twin-gun turret aft. Sources are contradictory on her anti-aircraft armament, Whitley says that they had a single license-built Vickers 40 mm (2 pounder pom pom) and others credit them with a single 12.7 mm (0.50 in) machine gun. Two sets of twin 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes were mounted abaft the single funnel. In total these weapons represented 22.7% of the displacement.[3]

During the war the rear gun was landed and replaced with Type 96 25mm AA guns. A total of ten of these were carried by the end of the war. The number of depth charges carried was also increased over the course of the war to 48.[4]


Two Kampon geared turbines drove two shafts. They were powered by two Kampon water-tube boilers and produced a total of 11,000 shaft horsepower (8,200 kW). They were rated at 30.0 knots (34.5 mph; 55.6 km/h) and had a range of 3,000 nmi (5,600 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h) or 9,000 nmi (17,000 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h) using the 152 tonnes (150 long tons; 168 short tons) of fuel carried.[2]

The Tomozuru Incident

On 12 March 1934, shortly after completion, Tomozuru (友鶴?) sailed in company with her sister Chidori (千鳥?) and the light cruiser Tatsuta for night torpedo training. The weather worsened during the exercise and it was called off at 0325; the ships returning to port. Tomozuru never arrived and a search was launched. She was spotted at 1405 that same day, capsized, but still afloat. Thirteen of her 113 man crew were rescued. She was towed to Sasebo and docked where she was rebuilt and returned to service.[5]


This disaster forced the IJN to review the stability of every ship recently completed, under construction or still being designed. The Chidori's themselves exchanged their 127 mm (5.0 in) Type 3 guns for hand-worked 12 cm 11th Year Type M guns, landed the rear twin torpedo tube mount and the bridge structure was cut down by one level. The bulges were removed, but displacement increased to 815 long tons (828 t) with the addition of 60–90 tonnes (59–89 long tons; 66–99 short tons) ballast. Their speed dropped to 28 knots (32 mph; 52 km/h) and range decreased to 1,600 nmi (3,000 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h). Their successors, the Ōtori-class torpedo boats were redesigned to reduce the top-heaviness that caused Tomozuru to capsize.[4]


Tomozuru 24 March 1945

In 1937, the 4 sisters were organized into Torpedo Flotilla 21 and made a sortie for the Battle of Shanghai. All four saw action in the Battle of the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies campaign. Chidori and Manazuru returned to home waters after Torpedo Flotilla 21 was disbanded in the spring of 1942 and were on escort duties for the rest of the war. Hatsukari and Tomozuru remained in that area for most of the rest of the war on escort operations. Tomozuru returned to Japan late in the war, but Hatsukari entered Hong Kong on 21 May 1945 and was engaged in anti-aircraft battles until the end of war. Following Japan's surrender, the Hatsukari was seized by the Royal Navy, and later scrapped.[6]

Ships in class

Ship Builder Laid down Launched Completed Improved Fate
Chidori (千鳥?) Maizuru Naval Construction Department 13-10-1931 01-04-1933 20-11-1933 November 1934 Sunk 21-12-1944 by USS Tilefish at west of Omaezaki 34°33′N 138°02′E / 34.55°N 138.033°E / 34.55; 138.033.
Manazuru (真鶴?) Fujinagata Shipbuilding Yard 22-12-1931 11-07-1933 31-01-1934 November 1934 Sunk 01-03-1945 by air raid at Naha 26°17′N 127°35′E / 26.283°N 127.583°E / 26.283; 127.583.
Tomozuru (友鶴?) Maizuru Naval Construction Department 11-11-1932 01-10-1933 24-02-1934 May 1935 Sunk 24-03-1945 by air raid at west of Amami Ōshima 29°15′N 125°13′E / 29.25°N 125.217°E / 29.25; 125.217.
Hatsukari (初雁?) Fujinagata Shipbuilding Yard 06-04-1933 19-12-1933 15-07-1934 Captured by United Kingdom at the end of war. Decommissioned 03-05-1947, scrapped 1948.


  1. Brown, p. 144
  2. 2.0 2.1 Whitley, p. 208
  3. Whitley, pp. 208-9
  4. 4.0 4.1 Whitley, p. 209
  5. Brown, pp. 143-44
  6. Neavitt, Allyn D.. "Long Lancers". Retrieved 2009-07-16. 


  • Brown, David K. (2009). Weather and Warship Casualties 1934-1944. Warship 2009. London: Conways. pp. 143–53. ISBN 978-1-84486-089-0. 
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Cassell Publishing. ISBN 1-85409-521-8. 
  • "Rekishi Gunzō". , History of Pacific War Vol.62 Ships of The Imperial Japanese Forces, Gakken (Japan), January 2008, ISBN 978-4-05-605008-0
  • Collection of writings by Sizuo Fukui Vol.5, Stories of Japanese Destroyers, Kōjinsha (Japan) 1993, ISBN 4-7698-0611-6
  • Collection of writings by Sizuo Fukui Vol.10, Stories of Japanese Support Vessels, Kōjinsha (Japan), December 1993, ISBN 4-7698-0658-2
  • Model Art Extra No.340, Drawings of Imperial Japanese Naval Vessels Part-1, Model Art Co. Ltd. (Japan), October 1989
  • Model Art Ship Modelling Special No.25, Genealogy of Japanese Destroyers Part-2, Model Art Co. Ltd. (Japan), August 2007
  • The Maru Special, Japanese Naval Vessels No.39 Japanese torpedo boats, Ushio Shobō (Japan), May 1980
  • The Maru Special, War ship mechanism 4, Japanese destroyers, Ushio Shobō (Japan), November 1982

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