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Japanese destroyer Asagumo (1938)
Asagumo underway on September 14, 1939
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Asagumo
Ordered: 1934 Maru-2 Program
Builder: Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: December 23, 1936
Launched: November 5, 1937
Commissioned: March 30, 1938
Struck: January 10, 1945
Fate: Sunk in Battle of Surigao Strait, October 25, 1944
General characteristics
Class & type: Asashio-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,370 long tons (2,408 t)
Length: 111 m (364 ft) pp
115 m (377 ft 4 in)waterline
118.3 m (388 ft 1 in) OA
Beam: 10.386 m (34 ft 0.9 in)
Draft: 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2-shaft geared turbine, 3 boilers, 50,000 shp (37,285 kW)
Speed: 35 knots (40 mph; 65 km/h)
Range: 5,700 nmi (10,600 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
960 nmi (1,780 km) at 34 kn (63 km/h)
Complement: 230
Armament: • 6 × 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 DP guns
• up to 28 × Type 96 AA guns
• up to 4 × Type 93 AA guns
• 8 × 24 in (610 mm) torpedo tubes
• 36 depth charges
Service record
Part of: 9th Destroyer Division (1941-1942)
4th Torpedo Squadron (1942-1943)
Operations: Battle of Badung Strait (1942)
Battle of Midway (1942)
Solomon Islands Campaign (1942)
Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (1942)
Battle of the Bismarck Sea (1943)
Battle of Leyte Gulf (1944)

Asagumo (朝雲 Morning Cloud?) [1] was the fifth of ten Asashio-class destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the mid-1930s under the Circle Two Supplementary Naval Expansion Program (Maru Ni Keikaku).


The Asashio-class destroyers were larger and more capable that the preceding Shiratsuyu class, as Japanese naval architects were no longer constrained by the provisions of the London Naval Treaty. These light cruiser-sized vessels were designed to take advantage of Japan’s lead in torpedo technology, and to accompany the Japanese main striking force and in both day and night attacks against the United States Navy as it advanced across the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese naval strategic projections.[2] Despite being one of the most powerful classes of destroyers in the world at the time of their completion, none survived the Pacific War.[3]

Asagumo, built at the Kawasaki Shipyards in Kobe was laid down on December 23, 1936, launched on November 5, 1937 and commissioned on March 31, 1938.[4]

Operational history

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Asagumo was assigned to Destroyer Division 9 (Desdiv 9), and a member of Destroyer Squadron 4 (Desron 4) of the IJN 2nd Fleet, escorting Admiral Nobutake Kondō's Southern Force Main Body out of Mako Guard District as distant cover to the Malaya and Philippines invasion forces in December 1941.[5]

In early 1942, Asagumo escorted troop convoys to Lingayen, Tarakan, Balikpapan and Makassar in the Netherlands East Indies. During the Battle of Badung Strait, she assisted in sinking HMS Electra, and suffered medium damage with hit to her engine room, which killed four crewmen and wounded 19 others. On 18 March, after emergency repairs at Balikpapan, she escorted the repair ship Yamabiko Maru to Makassar, and returned at the end of the month to the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal for repairs.

At the end of May, Asagumo joined the escort for the Midway Invasion Force during the Battle of Midway. In July, she was sent to northern waters, patrolling from Ōminato Guard District towards the Kurile Islands. Afterwards, she was sent south to Truk together with the cruiser Chōkai, and onwards to Kwajalein, returning to Yokosuka on 8 August 1942.

Returning to Truk later that month, Asagumo provided support in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. From September, she was assigned to patrols from Truk towards Shortland, and in October and November was assigned to nine "Tokyo Express" high speed transport operations in the Solomon Islands. During this time, she was made the flagship of the 4th Torpedo Squadron, and participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz. During the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 12 November, she assisted in sinking USS Monssen (DD-436) and damaging USS Helena (CL-50), and afterward assisted the damaged Yudachi. During the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, she rescued survivors from the battleship Kirishima. At the end of the year, she returned to Yokosuka in the company of the aircraft carrier Chūyō.

Returning to Truk in mid-January 1943 in the company of the aircraft carrier Jun'yō, she conveyed a convoy to Wewak in New Guinea. During the remainder of January and February, she assisted in the evacuation of surviving Japanese forces from Guadalcanal and other points in the Solomon Islands.

During the Battle of the Bismarck Sea of 1–4 March she survived numerous air attacks while rescuing survivors from various sunken vessels. During the remainder of March and first week of April, she made several transport runs to reinforce the Japanese position at Kolombangara. She returned to Yokosuka for repairs on 13 April.

After repairs were completed in late May, Asagumo was based at Paramushiro in the Kurile Islands. She participated in the Japanese retreat from Kiska Island in July and returned to Yokosuka with Maya in briefly in August. At the end of October, she was reassigned to the IJN 3rd Fleet. She was also modified by the removal of her X-turret, which was replaced by two triple Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Guns.

Asagumo return to Truk in early January 1944 to escort Yamato back to Kure Naval Arsenal. She returned to Singapore with Shōkaku and Zuikaku in February, returning with Zuikaku to Kure in March and back again to Singapore. She escorted a convoy to Tawitawi in May, from which she escorted Fusō to Davao. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June, she was part of Admiral Ozawa's force, but sent on detached duty to Okinawa owing to fuel problems. In July, she returned to Manila, and was in Brunei in mid-October.

In October, she was assigned to Vice Admiral Shōji Nishimura's fleet at the Battle of Surigao Strait, Asagumo was torpedoed by USS McDermut (DD-677) and subsequently finished off by gunfire from US Navy cruisers and destroyers at position (10°04′N 125°21′E / 10.067°N 125.35°E / 10.067; 125.35Coordinates: 10°04′N 125°21′E / 10.067°N 125.35°E / 10.067; 125.35). Of her crew, 191 were killed, but 39 survivors, including her captain, Commander Shibayama, were taken prisoner by the Americans.[6]Asagumo was removed from the navy list on 10 January 1945.

It was said that she rescued survivors of the battleship Fusō, which was torpedoed by USS Melvin (DD-680), threw off formation, blew up, broke into two, and sank afterwards, only for them to all go down with the ship when Asagumo sank.

See also


  1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 750
  2. Peattie & Evans, Kaigun .
  3., IJN Asashio class destroyers
  4. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Asashio class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  5. Allyn D. Nevitt (1998). "IJN MInegumo: Tabular Record of Movement". 
  6. Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 


  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X. 
  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • Hammel, Eric (1988). Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea : The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Nov. 13–15, 1942. (CA): Pacifica Press. ISBN 0-517-56952-3. 
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895–1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11402-8. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Nelson, Andrew N. (1967). Japanese–English Character Dictionary. Tuttle. ISBN 0-8048-0408-7. 
  • Watts, Anthony J (1967). Japanese Warships of World War II. Doubleday. ASIN B000KEV3J8. 
  • Whitley, M J (2000). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-521-8. 

External links

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