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Japanese destroyer Shiratsuyu (1935)
IJN DD Shiratsuyu in 1937.jpg
Shiratsuyu in 1937.
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Shiratsuyu
Ordered: 1931 FY
Builder: Sasebo Naval Arsenal
Laid down: 14 November 1933
Launched: 5 April 1935
Commissioned: 7 September 1936
Struck: 10 August 1944
Fate: Collision 15 June 1944
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 nmi (7,400 km) @ 14 kn (26 km/h)
Complement: 180
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 Midway (1942)
Battle of the Coral Sea
First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (1942)
Battle of Empress Augusta Bay (1943)

Shiratsuyu (白露 ”White Dew”?) [1] was the lead ship of ten Shiratsuyu-class destroyers, and first of six to be built for the Imperial Japanese Navy under the Circle One Program (Maru Ichi Keikaku).[2]


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] Shiratsuyu, built at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal was laid down on November 14, 1933, launched on April 5, 1935 and commissioned on September 7, 1936.[5]

Operational history

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Shiratsuyu was assigned to Destroyer Division 27 of Destroyer Squadron 1 of the IJN 1st Fleet, and remained in Japanese home waters as part of the protection of the Japanese battleship forces. From mid-January 1942, she was assisted to escorting convoys between Japan and Taiwan, and in mid-February escorted the aircraft carrier Zuihō to Davao and back to Hashirajima. In April, it escorted the Shōkaku and Zuikaku from Mako to Truk, from which it joined Admiral Takeo Takagi’s Strike Force at the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 7–8. At the end of May, it escorted Myōkō and Haguro back to Kure, from which it was assigned to Admiral Shirō Takasu’s, Aleutians Guard Force during the Battle of Midway on 4–6 June. On 14 July she was assigned back to the IJN 2nd Fleet and returned to Truk in mid-August, from which she was deployed as a high speed transport to carry troops to reoccupy Makin Atoll after the Makin Raid.

Until mid-September, Shiratsuyu remained based out of Jaluit in the Marshall Islands, but from October was deployed to the Solomon Islands, where she made several "Tokyo Express" high speed transport runs to Guadalcanal. On an attack mission to Guadalcanal on 25 October, she assisted in sinking the American tug USS Seminole (AT-65) and damaging the USS Zane (DMS-14). She participated in the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on the night of 12–13 November 1942, rescuing survivors from the torpedoed battleship Hiei, but was not involved in combat. On 23 November, while on a transport run to Lae, she rescued survivors from Hayashio, which she then scuttled with a torpedo.

However, on her next mission to Buna on 28 November, Shiratsuyu took a direct hit from a bomb during an attack by USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress bombers in her bow, which required emergency repairs at Rabaul, Truk, and Saipan before she should reach Sasebo on 25 February 1943 for complete repairs. She returned to active duty on 20 July 1943 with the IJN 2nd Fleet, escorting the Unyō from Yokosuka to Truk and back in late August. She returned to Rabaul in mid-October, after which she was assigned to troop transport runs to Qavuvu.

During the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay on 2 November, she collided with Samidare, after which she was strafed by American aircraft, leaving four dead and two wounded, and necessitating a return to Sasebo in November. During this refit, one gun turret was removed and replaced by two triple 25-mm anti-aircraft guns.

She returned to Truk at the end of December as part of the escort for Myōkō, Haguro and Tone, continuing on to Kavieng in early January. From February through April, she was part of the escort for the Musashi. From the end of April, she was reassigned to Take Ichi convoy duty, escorting troop convoys from China to the Philippines and other points in southeast Asia.

Shiratsuyu was attacked on 8 June off of Biak by US Navy aircraft, with four killed and five crewmen injured. On the night of 14 June, she collided with the Japanese tanker Seiyo Maru 90 nautical miles (170 km) southeast of Surigao Strait (09°09′N 126°51′E / 9.15°N 126.85°E / 9.15; 126.85), after which her depth charges exploded among survivors. Of her crew, 104 were killed, including her captain, Commander Matsuda. She was removed from the navy list on 10 August 1944.


  1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 636, 946
  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. 


  • 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. 
  • 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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