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Shiratsuyu-class destroyer
Class overview
Operators:  Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Hatsuharu-class
Succeeded by: Asashio-class
Built: 1931–1935
In commission: 1933–1945
Completed: 10
Lost: 10
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 1,685 long tons (1,712 t) standard
Length: 103.5 m (340 ft) pp
107.5 m (352 ft 8 in) waterline
Beam: 9.9 m (32 ft 6 in)
Draught: 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) (original),
33.3 knots (modified)
Range: 4,000 nmi (7,400 km) @ 14 kn (26 km/h)
Complement: 180
Armament: • 5 × Type 3 127 mm 50 caliber naval guns (2×2, 1×1)
• 2 ×Type 93 13mm machine guns (2×1)
• 8 × 610 mm (24 in) torpedo tubes (2×4)
• 16 × Type 91 torpedoes
• 16 × depth charges

The Shiratsuyu-class destroyers (白露型駆逐艦 Shiratsuyugata kuchikukan?) were a class of ten destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy in service before and during World War II.[1]


The initial six Shiratsuyu class destroyers were modified versions of the Hatsuharu-class, and had been originally planned as the final six vessels of that class under the ”Circle-One” Naval Expansion Plan.

However, design issues with the Hatsuharu class ships, notably their “top-heavy” design relative to their small displacement, resulted in extensive modifications, to the point where the final six vessels on order were named as a separate class. An additional four vessels were ordered under the ”Circle-Two Naval Expansion Plan of fiscal 1934, and all vessels were completed by 1937.

As with the Hatsuharu-class, the Shiratsuyu-class destroyers 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.[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]


In general layout, the Shiratsuyu-class vessels closely resembled the Ariake-sub-class, or final version of the Hatsuharu-class, differing only in the more compact bridge design and the shape and inclination of the funnels. The hull retained the general configuration of the Hatsuharu class with a long forecastle with a pronounced flare to improve sea-keeping at high speeds by adding buoyancy and reducing the spray and water coming over the deck.

The Shiratsuyu-class were the first Japanese warships to be completed with quadruple torpedo mounts and telephone communications to the torpedo station. As with the Hatsuharu-class. the torpedo launchers were given a protective shield to allow for use in heavy weather and to protect against splinter damage.


The Shiratsuyu-class, as with the previous Hatsuharu-class, carried two sets of Kampon geared turbines, one for each shaft. Each set consisted one low-pressure and one high-pressure turbine, plus a cruise turbine connected to the high-pressure turbine. The LP and HP turbines were connected to the propeller shaft by a two-pinion reduction gear. Each propeller had a diameter of 3.05 m (10.0 ft) and a pitch of 3.7 m (12 ft). The total horsepower of the Shiratsuyu-class was only 42,000 hp (31,000 kW) compared to the 42,000 hp (31,000 kW) of their Fubuki-class predecessors, but the machinery was significantly lighter and more powerful on a unit basis. The Shiratsuyu's machinery weighed only 106 tonnes (104 long tons; 117 short tons) compared to the 144 tonnes (142 long tons; 159 short tons) of the Fubuki-class, or 396 shaft horsepower per tonne versus 347 shaft horsepower per tonne for the older ships.[4]

Similarly the three Kampon Type Ro-Gō boilers used in the Shiratsuyu-class ships weighed 50 tonnes (49 long tons; 55 short tons) in comparison to the 51 tonnes (50 long tons; 56 short tons) boilers used in the Fubuki-class, but produced 14,000 hp (10,000 kW) each while the older boilers produced 12,500 hp (9,300 kW). This gave a ratio of 3.6 kg per shaft horsepower for the Shiratsuyu-class compared to the 4.1 kg per shaft horsepower of their predecessors. The newer design of boilers initially used steam pressurized to 20-bar (290 psi), just like the older models, but used superheating to improve efficiency while the older boilers simply used saturated steam.[5]

A single 100 kW turbo-generator was fitted behind the reduction gears in a separate compartment and two 40 kW diesel generators were located between the propeller shafts. As initially completed the Shiratsuyu-class had a range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) at a speed of 18 knots (33 km/h) with 460 tonnes (450 long tons; 510 short tons) of fuel.[6]


The Shiratsuyu-class destroyers used the same 50 caliber 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 naval gun as the Fubuki-class, but all turrets could elevate to 75° to give the main guns a minimal ability to engage aircraft. During the war the single turret was removed on all surviving ships and replaced with from 13 to 21 (depending on the individual vessel) 25 mm (0.98 in) Type 96 anti-aircraft guns in double and triple mounts. Although these powered mounts were unsatisfactory because their traverse and elevation speeds were too slow to engage high-speed aircraft[7] more single mounts were fitted to ships in the last year of the war.

For example. Hatsushimo mounted ten single 25 guns when she was sunk in July 1945. Four license-built Hotchkiss 13.2 mm (0.52 in) Type 93 machine guns were also fitted to Hatsushimo, but these were also of limited utility against modern aircraft.[8]

The 61 cm Type 90 torpedo was mounted in quadruple tube Type 92 launchers, derived from the twin tube Type 89 launcher used in the Takao-class heavy cruisers. Shields were fitted to both the torpedo mounts and lockers to protect them from the weather and from strafing aircraft. Initially the shields were made from Duralumin to save weight, but these quickly corroded and had to be replaced. "NiCrMo" steel, taken from the air chambers of obsolete torpedoes, 3 mm (0.12 in) in thickness, was chosen for the new shields to save weight. It was traversed by an electro-hydraulic system and could traverse 360° in twenty-five seconds. If the backup manual system was used the time required increased to two minutes. Each tube could be reloaded in twenty-three seconds using the endless wire and winch provided.[9]

Only eighteen depth charges were initially carried in a rack at the stern, but this increased to thirty-six after the autumn of 1942. Apparently no sonar or hydrophones were fitted until after the outbreak of the war when the Type 93 sonar and Type 93 hydrophones were mounted.[10]


Radar was not installed on the surviving ships of this class until late in the war, possibly as late as 1944. They were given a Type 22 radar on the foremast, a Type 13 on the mainmast and a Type E-27 radar countermeasures device was carried high on the foremast.[10]

Operational history

None of the Shiratsuyu-class ships survived the Pacific War. The lead ship of the class, Shiratsuyu was sunk northeast of Mindanao in a collision with the oiler Seiyo Maru. Most of the class were lost by US submarines, and Kawakaze, Yudachi, and Murasame being lost in surface actions. Only Harusame fell victim to aircraft.

Murasame was employed in several campaigns, beginning with the invasion of the Philippines. In 1942 she participated in the Battle of the Java Sea and the Battle of Midway. During the Guadalcanal Campaign Murasame played a supporting role in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands and was sunk at the Battle of Kolombangara.

Shigure was squadron flagship of Captain Tameichi Hara through much of 1942-43, and became one of the most famous Japanese destroyers of the war. She survived numerous battles in the Solomons (including being the sole survivor of the Battle off of Kolombangara), until she was torpedoed and sunk off the Gulf of Siam by USS Blackfin (SS-322) in early 1945.[11]

List of ships

Ships of the Shiratsuyu-class[12]
Ship Shipyard Laid down Launched Completed Fate
白露 Shiratsuyu Sasebo Naval Arsenal 14 November 1933 5 April 1935 20 August 1936 Collision 15 June 1944
時雨 Shigure Uraga Dock Company 9 December 1933 18 May 1935 7 September 1936 Sunk in action 24 January 1945
村雨 Murasame Fujinagata Shipyards 1 February 1934 20 June 1935 7 January 1937 Sunk in action, 6 March 1943
夕立 Yudachi Sasebo Naval Arsenal 16 October 1934 21 June 1936 7 January 1937 Sunk in action 13 November 1942
五月雨 Samidare Uraga Dock Company 19 December 1934 6 July 1935 29 January 1937 Sunk in action 26 August 1944
春雨 Harusame Uraga Dock Company 3 February 1935 21 September 1935 26 August 1937 Sunk in action 8 June 1944
山風 Yamakaze Uraga Dock Company 25 May 1935 21 February 1936 30 June 1937 Sunk in action 23 June 1942
江風 Kawakaze Fujinagata Shipyards 25 April 1935 1 November 1936 30 April 1937 Sunk in action 6 August 1943
海風 Umikaze Maizuru Naval Arsenal 4 May 1935 27 November 1936 31 May 1937 Sunk in action 1 February 1944
涼風 Suzukaze Uraga Dock Company 9 July 1935 11 March 1937 31 August 1937 Sunk in action 25 January 1944



  • Evans, David (1979). Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-192-7. 
  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • Roger Chesneau, ed (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946. Grenwitch: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7. 
  • 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
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Cassell Publishing. ISBN 1-85409-521-8. 

External links


  1. Jentsura, Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945
  2. Peattie & Evans, Kaigun .
  3., IJN Shiratsuyu class destroyers
  4. Lengerer, p. 101
  5. Lengerer, p. 102
  6. Lengerer, pp. 101-102
  7. "Japan 25 mm/60 (1") Type 96 Model 1". 4 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  8. Lengerer, pp. 104-5
  9. Lengerer, pp. 102-3
  10. 10.0 10.1 Lengerer, p. 106
  11. Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy
  12. Nishida, Hiroshi. "Materials of IJN: Shiratsuyu class destroyer". Imperial Japanese Navy. 

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