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Akatsuki Class Destroyer

1,750 tons (standard)
2,050 tons (rebuilt)

6 x 127mm guns
28 x 25mm guns
10 x 13mm MG
9 x torpedo tubes
36 x depth charges

Ship History
Laid down on February 17, 1930 at Sasebo Naval Arsenal. Launched May 7, 1932. Completed November 30, 1932. Comissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Akatsuki meaning dawn in Japanese.

Wartime History
On November 29, 1941 departed the Terashima Strait to Mako (Pescadores). Covered the "Southern Force" escorting convoys attacking Malaya and the Philippines during December 4, 1941 until January 4, 1942.

During January 6-12, 1942 escorted Maya from Mako to Palau. Departed January 18 then arrived at Davao. On January 29 escorted tankers from Davao to Tarakan and Balikpapan until February 4. Next, escorted troop convoy from Davao to Camranh Bay during February 5-9. On February 27, escorted western Java invasion force.

On March 10 to Subic Bay and during March 19-26 escorted convoy to Kure and then returned to Yokosuka for maintenance. During May 22-26 escorted Takao and Maya from Kure to Ominato.

On May 28, 1942 departed Ominato and cross the northern Pacific. On to June 7, 1942 participated in the invasion of Kiska. During June 13, 1942 to June 27, 1942 escorted Hibiki from Kiska to Paramushiro then to Ominato.

On July 4 departed Ominato and returend to Kiska and performed anti-submarine patrols, departing July 18. Returned via Shimushu to Yokosuka for maintenance. On August 6 departed for another patrol in the Kiska area then returned to Ominato to Kure on August 31.

During September 1-6 escorted Zuihō from Kure to Truk. From September 9-12, escorted Unyō from Truk to Kavieng and returned to Truk, then September 13-18 escorted Unyō to Kure.

On September 29, escorted a troop convoy from Saeki via Okinawa to Saipan and Rabaul then to the Shortlands arriving Ocotober 12.

On October 14, 1942 troop transport run to Guadalcanal.

On October 17, 1942 troop transport run to Guadalcanal.

On October 25, 1942 1st Attack Unit destroyers Akatsuki, Ikazuchi, and Shiratsuyu provide naval gunfire support during the day to Japanese Army operation against Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. When the force entered Iron Bottom Sound. At 10:30am they opened fire with with armor-piercing shells loaded for the shore bombardment on USS Trever (DMS-16) and USS Zane (DMS-14) scoring a direct hit on Zane. At 10:40am turned to open fire on USS Seminole (AT-65) and YP-284 off Lunga Point. During the battle, Akatsuki sustained damaged to the no. 3 turret from shore batteries and suffered four dead aboard.

On November 2, 1942 Akatsuki escorted transports bound for Guadalcanal. On November 3, 1942 departed Shortlands escorting Chitose and Chiyoda bound for Truk.

During November 12, 1942 Akatsuki escorted Abe's bombardment force including Hiei and Kirishima on a mission to bombard Henderson Field on Guadalcanal and participated in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal during the night of November 12-13, 1942.

Sinking History
On November 13, 1942 during Naval Battle of Guadalcanal the Japanese encountered U. S. Navy cruisers and destroyers. At the start of the engagement, Akatsuki was on the right flank of the Japanese force and switched on her searchlights illuminating USS Atlanta (CL-51) with searchlight beams and was immediately targeted by gunfire from U. S. Navy vessels. Sunk south of Savo Island in Iron Bottom Sound at roughly Lat 09° 17′S Long 159° 56′E. On December 15, 1942 officially removed from the Navy list.

Akatsuki is often incorrectly credited with torpedoing USS Atlanta (CL-51). According to Akatsuki’s chief torpedo officer Michihara Shinya who survived the sinking, Akatsuki did not fire any torpedoes during the battle. The torpedo that hit the crusiers was likely fired by either Inazuma or Ikazuchi. On August 25, 1943 arrives Truk.

Fates of the Crew
Only eighteen of crew members survived and were rescued by American ships and interred as prisoners at Featherston POW Camp in New Zealand.

Beyond Death and Dishonour by Michiharu Shinya
Thanks to Kevin Denlay for additional information

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020


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