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Japanese destroyer Shigure (1935)
IJN DD Shigure in 1939.jpg
IJN Shigure in 1939
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Shigure
Ordered: 1931 FY
Builder: Uraga Dock Company
Laid down: 9 December 1933
Launched: 18 May 1935
Commissioned: 7 September 1936
Struck: 10 March 1945
Fate: Sunk in action 24 January 1945
General characteristics
Class & type: Shiratsuyu-class destroyer
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 1,685 long tons (1,712 t)
Length: 103.5 m (340 ft) pp
107.5 m (352 ft 8 in) waterline
Beam: 9.9 m (32 ft 6 in)
Draft: 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft Kampon geared turbines
3 boilers, 42,000 hp (31,000 kW)
Speed: 34 knots (39 mph; 63 km/h)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) @ 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Complement: 226
Armament: • 5 × 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 naval guns (2×2, 1×1)
• 2 × 13 mm AA guns
• 8 × 24 in (610 mm) torpedo tubes
• 16 × depth charges
Service record
Operations: Battle of the Coral Sea
Battle of Midway
First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
Battle of Vella Gulf
Battle off Horaniu
Battle of Vella Lavella
Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
Battle of the Philippine Sea
Battle of Leyte Gulf
Battle of Surigao Strait

Shigure and Samidare operating off the coast of Bougainville in the Solomon Islands hours prior to the Naval Battle of Vella Lavella on October 7, 1943.

Shigure (時雨 ”Late Rains”?) [1] was the second of ten Shiratsuyu-class destroyers, and the first to be built for the Imperial Japanese Navy under the Circle One Program (Maru Ichi Keikaku).[2] Along with the destroyer Yukikaze, she developed a reputation within the Imperial Japanese Navy for being "lucky" or "unsinkable", emerging as the sole surviving Japanese warship from numerous battles. Shigure was torpedoed and sunk by USS Blackfin (SS-322) in the Gulf of Siam on 25 January 1945.


The Shiratsuyu class destroyers were modified versions of the Hatsuharu-class, and were designed to accompany the Japanese main striking force and to conduct both day and night torpedo attacks against the United States Navy as it advanced across the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese naval strategic projections.[3] Despite being one of the most powerful classes of destroyers in the world at the time of their completion, none survived the Pacific War.[4]

Shigure, built at the Uraga Dock Company was laid down on 9 December 1933, launched on 18 May 1935 and commissioned on 7 September 1936.[5]

Operational history

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Shigure was assigned to Destroyer Division 27 of Destroyer Squadron 1 of the IJN 1st Fleet on anti-submarine warfare patrols in Japanese home waters and to assist in guarding Japan’s main battle fleet. In early 1942, Shigure was assigned to convoy escort duties, escorting Zuihō to Davao, and Shōkaku, and Zuikaku to Truk. At the Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 May, Shigure was part of the escort for Admiral Takeo Takagi’s Strike Force and at the Battle of Midway on 4–6 June, she was part of the Aleutians Guard Force under Admiral Shirō Takasu. Shigure was reassigned to the IJN 2nd Fleet on 14 July after the Midway Operation was cancelled. In mid-August, Shigure escorted the fleet to Truk, and was then assigned to cover a troop transport run to reoccupy Makin Atoll after the Makin Raid. Based out of Jaluit in September, Shigure helped secure Abemama in the Gilbert Islands and Ndeni in the Santa Cruz Islands, before escorting a troop convoy from Palau to Rabaul on 24 September. In October and November, she made eight "Tokyo Express" troop transport runs to Guadalcanal. In the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on the night of 12–13 November 1942 she was part of the distant screening force and saw no combat, but later rescued survivors of the battleship Hiei. At the end of the year, she escorted Chūyō from Truk to Yokosuka and back to Truk.

In mid-January 1943, Shigure escorted a troop convoy from Truk to Shortlands, and was later assigned to "Operation KE", to cover troop evacuations from Guadalcanal. She returned to Sasebo in mid-February for repairs. Shigurereturned to Truk in mid-March, escorting Chūyō and Taiyō from Truk to Yokosuka in mid-April and returning with Chūyō and Unyō at the end of the month. In mid-May, she escorted Musashi from Truk to Yokosuka, returning to Truk by 21 June. In July, she was assigned to accompany the cruiser Nagara on various assignments around the Solomon Islands, and was reassigned to the IJN 2nd Fleet on 20 July. She made a "Tokyo Express" troop transport run to Rekata Bay on 27 July, and to Kolombangara on 1 August.

During the Battle of Vella Gulf of 6–7 August, Shigure was the only of four Japanese destroyers to escape.[6] During the Battle off Horaniu on 17–18 August, she again engaged United States Navy destroyers without damage while covering a troop transport mission to Vella Lavella. At the end of August, she made two troop evacuation runs to Rekata Bay, one of which was aborted, and one mission to Tuluvu and to Buka, Papua New Guinea in September. She further covered two troop evacuation missions to Kolombangara at the end of September and early October.She was covering troop evacuations at Vella Lavella during the 6–7 October Battle of Vella Lavella, and contributed to massive damage to USS Selfridge (DD-357). For the remainder of October, she participated in four more transport runs to points in New Guinea. At the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay on 2 November, she engaged an American cruiser-destroyer formation, but without damage. After making a final troop transport mission to Buka on 6 November, she escorted a convoy from Rabaul to Truk, rescuing 70 survivors of the transport Tokyo Maru en route on 10 November. She returned to Sasebo in mid-November for repairs. Departing Sasebo on 24 December, she collided with a fishing boat in Bungo Strait, and was forced to return again to Sasebo for further repairs.

In January 1944, Shigure escorted Japanese food ship Irako from Yokosuka to Truk, and in early February escorted tanker convoys from Truk to Tarakan and Balikpapan. She suffered heavy damage in an air raid on Truk by United States Navy aircraft, taking a direct bomb hit to her No.2 gun turret, killing 21 crewmen and wounding 45 others. She was withdrawn to Palau for emergency repairs, and returned to Sasebo on 22 March, where her damaged turret was removed and replaced by two triple Type 96 anti-aircraft gun mounts. Repairs completed by 11 May, she escorted Japanese battleship Musashi and aircraft carriers Japanese aircraft carrier Chitose, Japanese aircraft carrier Chiyoda, Japanese aircraft carrier Zuihō to Tawitawi, and from there to Davao. In June she was assigned to “Operation KON”, (the reinforcement of Biak), in response to American landings. She rescued 110 survivors from Japanese destroyer Harusame on 8 June, and then engaged in combat against a group of Allied cruisers and destroyers, taking two shell hits, which killed seven crewmen and wounded 15 others. From 19–20 June, Shigure was at the Battle of the Philippine Sea as part of Admiral Takatsugu Jōjima’s “Force B”, and assisted in the rescue of survivors from the aircraft carrier Japanese aircraft carrier Hiyō. In July, she was assigned to escort a troop convoy from Kure to Okinawa, and in August accompanied Japanese cruiser Kinu on a transport mission from Singapore to Brunei, Manila and Palau, returning via Cebu. In October, Shigure sortied from Lingga and Brunei and was at the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 22–25 October. She took minor damage from a direct bomb hit to her forward gun turret on 24 October, killing five crewmen and wounding six. She took further damage in the Battle of Surigao Strait in which a direct shell hit and several near misses took out her radio, compass, and steering, but she was the only ship of the “Southern Force” to survive the battle, and limped back to Brunei on 27 October. Shigure returned to Sasebo for repairs in November, possibly sinking USS Growler (SS-215) off Mindoro on 8 November en route. She was reassigned to the IJN 5th Fleet on 15 November and the IJN 2nd Fleet on 20 November, departing Kure on 17 December with Japanese aircraft carrier Unryū for Manila. After Unryū was sunk by USS Redfish (SS-395), Shigure and Japanese destroyer Momi rescued the 146 survivors.[7]

On 25 January 1945, while escorting a convoy from Hong Kong to Singapore, Shigure was torpedoed and sunk by USS Blackfin (SS-322) in the Gulf of Siam, approximately 160 miles (260 km) east of Kota Bharu, Malaya at position (06°00′N 103°48′E / 6°N 103.8°E / 6; 103.8). She sank slowly, allowing for 270 survivors to escape, with 37 crewmen lost. The survivors were rescued by Kanju and Miyake. Shigure was removed from the navy list on 10 March 1945.[8]


  1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 481
  2. Lengerer, pp. 92-3
  3. Peattie & Evans, Kaigun .
  4., IJN Shiratsuyu class destroyers
  5. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Shiratsuyu class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  6. D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X. 
  7. Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  8. Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Shigure: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. 


  • 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. 
  • Hara, Capt. Tameichi (1961). Japanese Destroyer Captain. New York: Ballantine Books. SBN 345-02522-9-125.  ISBN 978-1-59114-384-0 (2011 edition)
  • 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. 
  • Lengerer, Hans (2007). The Japanese Destroyers of the Hatsuharu Class. Warship 2007. London: Conway. pp. 91–110. ISBN 1-84486-041-8. OCLC 77257764
  • 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. 

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