Japanese destroyer Yukikaze (1939)

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Yukikaze
Yukikaze underway in December 1939
Career (Japan)
Name: Yukikaze
Launched: 24 March 1939
Commissioned: 20 January 1940
Struck: 5 October 1945
Fate: Transferred to Republic of China, 6 July 1947
Career (Republic of China)
Name: ROCS Tan Yang (丹陽)
Acquired: 6 July 1947
Commissioned: 1 May 1948
Decommissioned: 16 November 1966
Fate: Scrapped in 1970
General characteristics
Class & type: Kagero-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

Yukikaze (雪風?, "Snowy Wind") was a Kagero-class destroyer in service with the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. She was the only member of her class to survive the war. The attrition rate of Japanese destroyers was extremely high due to heavy, prolonged combat and the need to use them to transport supplies to scattered Japanese island garrisons.

Early in the war she took part in the invasions of the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. She participated in the battles of Midway, Santa Cruz, Leyte Gulf, and the Philippine Sea, as well as a lengthy stint on Guadalcanal troop runs and the naval battles around that island. Yukikaze also survived Operation Ten-Go, the abortive attack on the American force landing on Okinawa, during which the Yamato was sunk. Between these major engagements, Yukikaze participated in escort duty for ships in transit, particularly in the redeployment of Shinano during which the newly completed carrier was torpedoed by a USN submarine and sunk. She spent the last months of the war on security duty in Japanese harbors and survived many Allied air raids.

As a result of participating and surviving some of the most dangerous battles the IJN had fought, Yukikaze is very popular in Japan, being called "the unsinkable ship" and "the miracle ship" much like Shigure prior to that ship's sinking by USS Blackfin (SS-322). But some others within the IJN regarded the ship as a bad omen because ships the destroyer was tasked to escort tended to be sunk with heavy casualties.

After the war, she was used as a transport to bring home Japanese military forces still abroad. Yukikaze and Hibiki were the only ships to survive among the 82 Japanese destroyers built before the war.

ROCS Tan Yang[edit]

On 6 July 1947, Yukikaze was transferred to the Republic of China as a war reparation, where she was renamed Tan Yang (丹陽). She was finally scrapped in 1970, after running aground during a typhoon, and following a campaign to get her returned to Japan for preservation as a museum ship. Her rudder and one of her anchors were repatriated to Japan.

Tan Yang served as flagship of the Republic of China Navy, and between 1947 and 1953 was fitted with Type 89 12.7 cm/40 dual mounted guns, in addition to the Type 98 10cm/65 dual mounted guns already in use. In 1953, Tan Yang was refitted; all Japanese armaments were removed and replaced with three open air mounted 5"/38 caliber guns, 3"/50 caliber guns replaced the torpedo tubes, Bofors 40 mm guns, and newer depth charge launchers. The Republic of China Navy had no use for the original torpedo tubes as they did not have access to the appropriate armaments.

She is notable for transporting Chiang Kai-shek out of mainland China during the evacuation to Taiwan within the final stages of the Chinese Civil War.[citation needed] During her time in service, she sank one People's Liberation Army Navy corvette and lightly damaged another during 1957, prior to the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis.

External links[edit]

Yukikaze