Japanese destroyer Arashi

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Arashi
Arashi underway in December 1940.
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Arashi
Launched: 22 April 1940
Commissioned: 25 November 1940
Struck: 15 October 1943
Fate: Sunk in action, 7 August 1943
General characteristics
Class & type: Kagerō-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,490 long tons (2,530 t)
Length: 118.5 m (388 ft 9 in)
Beam: 10.8 m (35 ft 5 in)
Draft: 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in)
Speed: 35 knots (40 mph; 65 km/h)
Complement: 240
Armament: • 6 × 5 in (127 mm)/50 caliber DP guns
• up to 28 × 25 mm AA guns
• up to 4 × 13 mm AA guns
• 8 × 24 in (610 mm) torpedo tubes
• 36 depth charges
Service record
Operations: Battle of Vella Gulf (1943)
Victories: USS Asheville (1942)

Arashi (?, "Storm") was a Kagero-class destroyer of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Arashi played a vital role in World War II by inadvertently guiding US attack planes to the Japanese carrier fleet at the Battle of Midway. Arashi had become separated from the Japanese carrier force while attempting to destroy an American submarine, the USS Nautilus. Following her attacks on the Nautilus the Arashi steamed at high speed to rejoin the group. All four IJN carriers were sunk by Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers of the carriers USS Yorktown and USS Enterprise, giving the US a decisive victory and checking Japanese momentum in the Pacific War.

Service[edit]

Early Operations[edit]

On 3 March 1942 Arashi assisted in sinking the gunboat USS Asheville.

Midway[edit]

Main article: Battle of Midway

Arashi is most famous for its involvement in the Battle of Midway. Providing escort to the carrier group, the destroyer was alerted to the presence of an approaching U.S. submarine, the USS Nautilus, when a Japanese Zero Fighter dived and fired machine guns on the Nautilus as it came to periscope depth. Arashi spotted the encounter and began to drop depth charges. The Japanese Task force changed course while the Arashi continued its attack on the Nautilus. Having kept Nautilus down long enough that she no longer was a threat, the captain of the Arashi finally broke off the attack and steamed north to rejoin the carrier group. As two squadrons of dive bombers from Enterprise searched above for the Japanese Task Force, the Arashi was spotted making great speed to the north. The ship's speed created a long wake, which acted as a direction arrow to the American aviators, guiding them to the Japanese carriers. Meanwhile, Japanese fighter aircraft protecting the carriers had been pulled away as they all attempted to engage an incoming torpedo attack from Hornet '​s VT-8 torpedo squad. At the moment of decision, the Japanese carriers were essentially without high air cover. This made for an uncontested approach for the American dive bombers. The Enterprise dive bombers happened to arrive over the Japanese carriers Kaga and Akagi unimpeded, scoring multiple hits on Kaga and a single hit on Akagi that doomed both ships.[1]

During the battle the Arashi is known to have picked up one of the downed airman from the Yorktown. He had been made to provide the Japanese with a general description of the make-up of the force they had been fighting against, the only clear description of the American carrier forces the Japanese obtained during the battle. According to Adm Chuici Nagumo's battle report, the airman died the day following his recovery and was buried at sea. Among other facts the Japanese learned, the report indicated the pilot had been from Chicago.[2][3] This was in fact Ens. Wesley Osmus, one of the TBD pilots of VT-3. Osmus was flying the last plane in VT-3s formation, and thus was first to be attacked and destroyed as they made their approach. Osmus was picked up later on 4 June and buried 5 June. A U.S. Naval investigation after the war interviewed witnesses who reported that after his interrogation Osmus had been taken to the stern of Arashi and struck in the back of the neck with a fire axe. He clung briefly to the railing, and then was pushed overboard into the sea.[4][5] An attempt was made to find the captain of the Arashi and try him for war crimes, but it was discovered that he had died later in the conflict, and the matter was set aside.

At the Solomon Islands[edit]

The Arashi was part of a Japanese convoy that sailed through the Blackett Strait in 1943. It included fellow destroyers Amagiri, Hagikaze, and Shigure. The convoy's lead ship, Amagiri, is famous for being the vessel to ram and sink the American patrol craft PT-109, the PT boat commanded by Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, who would survive the war and go on to become the President of the United States.

On 7 August 1943, Arashi was again attempting to land reinforcements to the garrison on New Georgia island as part of a four destroyer fast convoy when she was intercepted by a US destroyer force lying in wait between Kolombangara and Vella Lavella (07°50′S 156°55′E / 7.833°S 156.917°E / -7.833; 156.917). The US forces struck with complete surprise. The Arashi along with the Hagikaze and Kawakaze were sunk by torpedoes and naval gunfire from USS Dunlap, USS Craven and USS Maury in what became known as the Battle of Vella Gulf.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Parshall, Jonathan; Tully, Anthony (2005). Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books. p. 217. ISBN 1-57488-923-0. 
  2. ^ Chūichi Nagumo (June 1942). "CINC First Air Fleet Detailed Battle Report no. 6". 
  3. ^ Cressman, Robert (1999). The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Naval Institute Press. p. 101. ISBN 1-55750-149-1. 
  4. ^ Parshall, Tully & 2005 p. 563
  5. ^ "Osmus". Navy Historical Society. 

External links[edit]