Japanese destroyer Mutsuki

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Mutsuki
Japanese destroyer Mutsuki
Career Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
Name: Mutsuki
Owner: Empire of Japan
Operator: Imperial Japanese Navy
Builder: Sasebo Naval Arsenal, Japan
Yard number: Destroyer No. 19
Laid down: May 21, 1924
Launched: July 23, 1925
Commissioned: March 25, 1926
Renamed: as Mutsuki August 1, 1928
Struck: October 1, 1942
Fate: sunk in air attack August 25, 1942
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 1,315 long tons (1,336 t) normal,
1,445 long tons (1,468 t) full load
Length: 97.54 m (320.0 ft) pp,
102.72 m (337.0 ft) overall
Beam: 9.16 m (30.1 ft)
Draught: 2.96 m (9.7 ft)
Propulsion: 4 x Ro-Gō Kampon water-tube boilers
2 x Kampon geared turbines
38,500 ihp (28,700 kW); 2 shafts
Speed: 37.25 knots (68.99 km/h)
Range: 3600 nm @ 14 knots
(6,700 km at 26 km/h)
Complement: 154
Armament: 4 ×Type 3 120 mm 45 caliber naval guns,
2 x Type 92 7.7 mm machine guns,
2 x triple Type 12 torpedo tubes
(12 × 610 mm Type 8 torpedoes),
18 x depth charges
16 x Ichi-Gō naval mines
Service record
Part of: Destroyer Division 30
Operations: Battle of Wake Island
Solomon Islands campaign

Mutsuki (睦月 ”January”?)[1] was the lead ship of twelve Mutsuki-class destroyers, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy following World War I. Advanced for their time, these ships served as first-line destroyers through the 1930s, but were considered obsolescent by the start of the Pacific War.[2]

History[edit]

Construction of the Mutsuki-class destroyers was authorized as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy's build up following the abandonment of the Washington Naval Treaty from fiscal 1923. The class was a follow-on to the earlier Minekaze-class and Kamikaze class destroyers, with which they shared many common design characteristics.[3] Mutsuki, built at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal was laid down on May 21, 1924, launched on July 23, 1925 and commissioned on March 26, 1926.[4] Originally commissioned simply as “Destroyer No. 19”, it was assigned the name Mutsuki on August 1, 1928.

In the late 1930s, Mutsuki participated in combat in China, including the First Shanghai Incident of 1932 and other actions in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

World War II history[edit]

Mutsuki in July 1941 at Palau.

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mutsuki was part of Destroyer Division 30 under Cruiser-Destroyer Squadron 6 in the IJN 4th Fleet, and deployed from Truk as part of the Wake Island invasion force.

Early on the morning of December 11, 1941 (in what was later termed the Battle of Wake Island, the American garrison repulsed the first Japanese landing attempts by the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF), which was screened by the light cruisers Yubari, Tenryū, and Tatsuta; and destroyers with Yayoi, Hayate, Kisaragi, Mutsuki, Oite, and Asanagi, two old Momi-class converted to patrol boats (Patrol Boat No. 32 and Patrol Boat No. 33), and two troop transports containing 450 Special Naval Landing Force troops. After taking heavy losses (including Kisaragi and Hayate), the Japanese force withdrew before landing. This was the first Japanese defeat of the war, and also the only occasion in World War II when an amphibious assault was repulsed by shore-based guns.[5] Mutsuki returned on December 23 with the second Wake Island invasion force, and carried a SNLF advance landing party.[6]

In early 1942, Mutsuki escorted a troop convoy from Truk to Guam, and then joined the invasion of the Solomon Islands, covering the landings of Japanese forces during ”Operation R” (the invasion of Rabaul, New Ireland and New Britain), and during ”Operation SR” (the invasion of Lae and Salamaua on New Guinea), and in April, covering landings on the Admiralty Islands.

During the Battle of the Coral Sea from May 7–8, 1942, Mutsuki was assigned to the “Operation Mo” invasion force for Port Moresby. After that operation was cancelled, Mutsuki remained based out of Rabaul, escorting shipping between Truk, Rabaul and Palau until recalled to Japan in July for refitting.[7]

After repairs were completed at Sasebo Naval Arsenal on July 12, 1942, Mutsuki was reassigned to the IJN 8th Fleet and participated in the bombardment of Henderson Field on August 24, 1942.[8] During the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on August 25, 1942, Mutsuki was sunk in an attack by USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress bombers while assisting the damaged transport Kinryu maru, 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Santa Isabel island. 7°47′S 160°13′E / 7.783°S 160.217°E / -7.783; 160.217Coordinates: 7°47′S 160°13′E / 7.783°S 160.217°E / -7.783; 160.217[9] Mutsuki took a direct bomb hit in its engineering section, killing 41 crewmen and injuring 11 more. Yayoi took on the survivors, which included her captain, Lt. Cdr. Kenji Hatano.[10]

Mutsuki was struck from the navy list on October 1, 1942.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 644
  2. ^ Jones, Daniel H. (2003). "IJN Minekaze, Kamikaze and Mutsuki class Destroyers". Ship Modeler's Mailing List (SMML). 
  3. ^ Howarth, The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun.
  4. ^ Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Mutsuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  5. ^ Devereaux, The Story of Wake Island
  6. ^ Dull. A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy
  7. ^ Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Mutsuki: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. Combinedfleet.com. 
  8. ^ Morison. The Struggle for Guadalcanal
  9. ^ Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Mutsuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  10. ^ Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Mutsuki: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. Combinedfleet.com.