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Japanese destroyer Mochizuki
Mochizuki underway on August 17, 1932.
Career Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
Name: Mochizuki
Owner: Empire of Japan
Operator: Imperial Japanese Navy
Builder: Uraga Dock Company, Japan
Yard number: Destroyer No. 33
Laid down: March 23, 1926
Launched: April 28, 1927
Commissioned: October 31, 1927
Renamed: as Mochizuki August 1, 1928
Struck: January 5, 1944
Fate: sunk in air attack October 24, 1943
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 1,315 long tons (1,336 t) normal,
1,445 long tons (1,468 t) full load
Length: 97.54 m (320.0 ft) pp,
102.72 m (337.0 ft) overall
Beam: 9.16 m (30.1 ft)
Draught: 2.96 m (9.7 ft)
Propulsion: 4 x Ro-Gō Kampon water-tube boilers
2 x Kampon geared turbines
38,500 ihp (28,700 kW); 2 shafts
Speed: 37.25 knots (68.99 km/h)
Range: 3600 nm @ 14 knots
(6,700 km at 26 km/h)
Complement: 154
Armament: 4 ×Type 3 120 mm 45 caliber naval gun,
2 x Type 92 7.7 mm machine gun,
2 x triple Type 12 torpedo tubes
(12 × 610 mm Type 8 torpedoes),
18 x depth charges
16 x Ichi-Gō naval mines
Service record
Part of: Destroyer Division 30
Operations: Second Sino-Japanese War
Battle of Wake Island
Solomon Islands campaign
New Guinea campaign

Mochizuki (bottom) and seaplane tender Kiyokawa Maru (top) maneuver under aerial attack by US Navy aircraft from the carrier Yorktown during the Invasion of Lae-Salamaua on March 10, 1942.

Mochizuki (望月 ”Full Moon”?)[1] was one of twelve Mutsuki-class destroyers, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy following World War I. Advanced for their time, these ships served as first-line destroyers through the 1930s, but were considered obsolescent by the start of the Pacific War.[2]


Construction of the Mutsuki-class destroyers was authorized as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy's build up following the abandonment of the Washington Naval Treaty from fiscal 1923. The class was a follow-on to the earlier Minekaze-class and Kamikaze class destroyers, with which they shared many common design characteristics.[3] Mochizuki, built at the Uraga Dock Company was laid down on March 23, 1926, launched on April 28, 1927 and commissioned on October 31, 1927.[4] Originally commissioned simply as “Destroyer No. 33”, it was assigned the name Mochizuki on August 1, 1928.

In the late 1930s, Mochizuki participated in combat actions in the Second Sino-Japanese War, covering the landings of Japanese troops in central and southern China.

World War II history

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mochizuki was part of Desron 30 under Destroyer Division 6 in the IJN 4th Fleet, and deployed from Truk as part of the Wake Island invasion force. After being repulsed in the First Battle of Wake Island on December 11, 1941, Mochizuki returned on December 23 for the second, and ultimately successful attempt.[5] In January 1942, Mochizuki escorted a troop convoy from Kwajalein Atoll to Truk, and then to Guam, and then from February through March joined the invasion of the Solomon Islands, covering the landings of Japanese forces during ”Operation R” (the invasion of Rabaul, New Ireland and New Britain), and during ”Operation SR” (the invasion of Lae and Salamaua on New Guinea), and in April, covering landings on the Admiralty Islands.[6] During the Battle of the Coral Sea from May 7–8, 1942, Mochizuki was assigned to the "Operation Mo" invasion force for Port Moresby. After that operation was cancelled, it returned to Truk, escorting airfield construction convoys between Truk, Lae and Guadalcanal until recalled to Japan in mid-July for refitting.[7]

After repairs were completed at Sasebo Naval Arsenal, Mochizuki was reassigned to the IJN 8th Fleet. At the end of September, Mochizuki sortied with Isokaze to rescue survivors from the destroyer Yayoi on Normanby Island. On October 14–15, Mochizuki provided cover for the cruisers Kinugasa and Chōkai during a bombardment of Henderson Field.[8] Throughout November, Mochizuki made numerous “Tokyo Express” troop transport runs to Guadalcanal. On one of these runs (November 8), she was hit by a dud torpedo from PT-61. On another run (November 13–15), she assisted Amagiri in rescuing 1500 survivors from the torpedoed Nagara maru and Canberra maru transports.

On December 1, 1942, Mochizuki was reassigned to the IJN 8th Fleet. In the remainder of the month, she served as escort to the cruisers Kumano and Suzuya in the Admiralty Islands operations, and landings of troops at Buna and Finschhafen in New Guinea. Mochizuki came under air attack on several occasions, suffering minor damage After making two “Tokyo Express” runs from Rabaul to Kolombangara and Rekata Bay in January 1943, Mochizuki returned to Sasebo for repairs. She returned to Rabaul at the end of March, assisting the torpedoed Florida maru along the way. Through the end of June 1943, Mochizuki was used as a “Tokyo Express” transport to Rekata, Buna, Tuluvu and Kolombangara. During the Battle of Kula Gulf on July 5–6, Mochizuki engaged USS Radford (DD-446) and USS Nicholas (DD-449), taking minor damage by shell hits on her No.1 gun turret and torpedo launchers. The damage was severe enough to warrant a return to Sasebo to the end of August. After returning to Rabaul at the end of September, Mochizuki resumed “Tokyo Express” operations During one such operation, on October 24, 1943 while en route from Rabaul to Jacquinot Bay (New Britain) Mochizuki came under attack by U.S. Navy PBY Catalinas, 90 mi (140 km) south-southwest of Rabaul 5°42′S 151°40′E / 5.7°S 151.667°E / -5.7; 151.667Coordinates: 5°42′S 151°40′E / 5.7°S 151.667°E / -5.7; 151.667, sinking after a direct bomb hit into engineering. Most of the crew were rescued by her sister ship Uzuki.[9]

Mochizuki was struck from the navy list on January 5, 1944.[10]


  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • Devereaux, Colonel James P.S., USMC (1947). The Story of Wake Island. The Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-264-0. 
  • 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. 
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1958). The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942 – February 1943, vol. 5 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-58305-7. 
  • 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


  1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 609
  2. Jones, Daniel H. (2003). "IJN Minekaze, Kamikaze and Mutsuki class Destroyers". Ship Modeler's Mailing List (SMML). 
  3. Howarth, The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun.
  4. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Mutsuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  5. Devereaux, The Story of Wake Island
  6. Dull. A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy
  7. Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Mutsuki: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. 
  8. Morison. The Struggle for Guadalcanal
  9. Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Mochizuki: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. 
  10. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Mutsuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 

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