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Japanese destroyer Inazuma (1932)
Inazuma underway on March 24, 1936.
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Inazuma
Namesake: Japanese destroyer Inazuma (1899)
Ordered: 1923 Fiscal Year
Builder: Fujinagata Shipyards
Laid down: March 7, 1930
Launched: February 25, 1932
Commissioned: November 15, 1932
Struck: June 10, 1944
Fate: sunk in action May 14, 1944
General characteristics
Class & type: Fubuki-class destroyer
  • 1,750 long tons (1,780 t) standard
  • 2,050 long tons (2,080 t) re-built
  • 111.96 m (367.3 ft) pp
  • 115.3 m (378 ft) waterline
  • 118.41 m (388.5 ft) overall
  • Beam: 10.4 m (34 ft 1 in)
    Draft: 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)
    • 4 × Kampon type boilers
    • 2 × Kampon Type Ro geared turbines
    • 2 × shafts at 50,000 ihp (37,000 kW)
    Speed: 38 knots (44 mph; 70 km/h)
    Range: 5,000 nmi (9,300 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
    Complement: 219
    Service record
    Operations: Battle of Hong Kong
    Battle of Sunda Strait
    Aleutian campaign
    Solomons campaign

    Inazuma ( "Lightning"?) [1] was the twenty-fourth (and last) Fubuki-class destroyer destroyers, or the fourth (and last) of Akatsuki-class destroyer (if that sub-class is considered independently), built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the inter-war period. When introduced into service, these ships were the most powerful destroyers in the world.[2] They remained formidable weapons systems well into the Pacific War.


    Construction of the advanced Fubuki-class destroyers was authorized as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy's expansion program from fiscal 1923, intended to give Japan a qualitative edge with the world's most modern ships.[3] The Fubuki-class had performance that was a quantum leap over previous destroyer designs, so much so that they were designated Special Type destroyers (特型 Tokugata?). The large size, powerful engines, high speed, large radius of action and unprecedented armament gave these destroyers the firepower similar to many light cruisers in other navies. The Akatsuki sub-class was an improved version of the Fubuki, externally almost identical, but incorporating changes to her propulsion system.[4]

    Inazuma, built at the Fujinagata Shipyards in Osaka was the fourth (and last) in the “Type III” improved series of Fubuki destroyers, incorporating a modified gun turret which could elevate her main battery of Type 3 127 mm 50 caliber naval guns to 75° as opposed to the original 40°, thus permitting the guns to be used as dual purpose guns against aircraft.[5] Inazuma was laid down on March 7, 1930, launched on February 25, 1932 and commissioned on November 15, 1932.[6]

    Operational history

    Soon after completion, on June 9, 1934, Inazuma collided with destroyer Miyuki while on maneuvers off of Cheju Island. The collision sank Miyuki and severed the bow on Inazuma, which was towed to Sasebo Naval Arsenal by the cruiser Nachi for extensive repairs.

    After repairs were completed, she was assigned to Destroyer Division 6 along with her sister ships, Ikazuchi, Hibiki, and Akatsuki, under the IJN 1st Fleet.

    World War II history

    At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Inazuma was assigned to Destroyer Division 6 of Desron 1 of the IJN 1st Fleet, and had deployed from Mako Guard District to provide cover for landing operations in the Invasion of Hong Kong. After assisting the cruiser Isuzu in sinking British gunboats HMS Cicada and HMS Robin, she helped secure Hong Kong Harbor.

    After the start of 1942, Inazuma deployed from Hong Kong to Davao, providing cover for landing operations during the Battle of Manado in the Netherlands East Indies. On 20 January, Inazuma collided with the transport Sendai Maru at Davao, and suffered considerable damage, which was later repaired by the repair ship Akashi until further work could be performed at Mako.

    On 1 March, Inazuma was involved in the Second Battle of the Java Sea, where she assisted in the sinking of the USS Pope (DD-225), HMS Encounter (H10), HMS Exeter (from which she rescued 376 survivors from Exeter and 151 from Pope).[7] After assisting in operations in the Philippines in March, she returned to Yokosuka Naval Arsenal for repairs in April.

    Inazuma deployed from Ōminato Guard District in support of Admiral Boshirō Hosogaya’s Northern Force in the Aleutians campaign, patrolling waters around Kiska and Attu during June and July, and rescuing 36 survivors from the torpedoed destroyer Nenohi. She continued to be assigned to northern patrols in the Chishima islands and Aleutian islands through the end of August.[8]

    From September, Inazuma was reassigned to Kure Naval District, and training exercises in the Inland Sea with the new aircraft carriers Japanese aircraft carrier  Junyō and Hiyō. From October, Inazuma escorted these aircraft carriers to Truk, and patrolled from Truk to the northern Solomon Islands.

    During the First and Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal from 12–15 November, Inazuma claimed sinking an American cruiser (never confirmed) and assisted in sinking American destroyers USS Benham (DD-397), USS Walke (DD-416) and USS Preston (DD-379) and damaging USS Gwin (DD-433).[9]

    After the battle, Inazuma was based at Truk, and used for numerous “Tokyo Express” high speed transport runs throughout the Solomon Islands.[10]

    In mid-January 1943, Inazuma was sent back for maintenance at Kure, escorting Zuikaku, Mutsu and Suzuya. After repairs were completed in February, she was assigned back to Ōminato to resume patrols of northern waters, and was at the Battle of the Komandorski Islands in March, albeit as escort for transports and away from the main combat. From April through the end of 1943, Inazuma escorted numerous convoys between Yokosuka and Truk.

    In February 1944, Inazuma was reassigned to the Combined Fleet, and from March served primarily as escort for the aircraft carrier Chiyoda on various missions from Palau.

    While escorting a tanker convoy from Manila towards Balikpapan on 14 March 1944, Inazuma exploded after being struck by torpedoes launched by USS Bonefish (SS-223) in the Celebes Sea near Tawitawi at position 5°8′N 119°38′E / 5.133°N 119.633°E / 5.133; 119.633Coordinates: 5°8′N 119°38′E / 5.133°N 119.633°E / 5.133; 119.633.[11] Her sister ship Hibiki rescued the 125 survivors, which did not include her captain, Commander Tokiwa.[12]

    On 10 June 1944, Inazuma was removed from the navy list.[13]

    See also


    • 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. 
    • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1961). Aleutians, Gilberts and Marshalls, June 1942-April 1944, vol. 7 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ASIN B0007FBB8I. 
    • 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

    Inazuma in 1937.


    1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 943
    2. "IJN Fubuki class destroyers". 
    3. Fitzsimons, Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare p.1040
    4. Peattie & Evans, Kaigun page 221-222.
    5. F Fitzsimons, Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1977), Volume 10, p.1040.<
    6. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Fubuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
    7. Muir, Dan Order of Battle - The Battle of the Sunda Strait 1942
    8. Morison. Aleutians, Gilberts and Marshalls, June 1942-April 1944.
    9. Hammel. Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea.
    10. D’Albas. Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II.
    11. Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Inazuma: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. 
    12. Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Hibiki: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. 
    13. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Fubuki class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 

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