1st Special Squadron (Japanese Navy)

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1st Special Squadron
Active January 1917 – October 1918
Country Japan
Branch Naval Ensign of Japan.svgImperial Japanese Navy
Type Fleet
Role Protection shipping in the Pacific theatre of operations
Part of Admiral, Japanese Command

The 1st Special Squadron (January 1917 – October 1918) was an Imperial Japanese Navy fleet. In accordance with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, the fleet helped defend Australia and New Zealand as well as Allied shipping in the Pacific and Indian oceans during World War I.

Background[edit]

At the outbreak of war, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) stood at 3,800 personnel and consisted of sixteen ships, including the Indefatigable-class battlecruiser Australia, the light cruisers Sydney and Melbourne, the destroyers Parramatta, Yarra and Warrego, and the submarines AE1 and AE2. Another light cruiser (Brisbane) and three destroyers were under construction, and a small fleet of auxiliary ships was also being maintained.[citation needed]

After the Imperial German Navy's German East Asia Squadron was destroyed early in the war, most RAN ships were redeployed to the European theatres, leaving Australia and New Zealand exposed to German merchant raiders operating in the Pacific.[1] The Australian government requested help from the British Admiralty, as the remaining warships could not effectively protect the region.[2] These requests suggested that ships of the United States Navy be deployed to supplement the forces in Australian waters, but instead, the Admiralty contacted Japan and made arrangements for several ships to be sent to Australia.[2]

1st Special Squadron[edit]

In January 1917, Japan created the 1st Special Squadron, made up of several cruisers supported by the 2nd Destroyer Division. They were tasked to defend the Strait of Malacca and shipping from Australia to Aden.[3] To provide more coverage, the Japanese Navy formed the 3rd Special Squadron on March 26, 1917, to defend the eastern coast of Australia and New Zealand. With the capture and sinking of German raiders, the pressure against Allied shipping lessened, and after December 1917, the 3rd Special Squadron was dissolved and the operational area of the 1st Special Squadron was enlarged to include the eastern coast of Australia and New Zealand.[3] The defence of Australia, New Zealand and of Indian shipping lanes by Japanese ships continued until October 1918.[3]

Ships of the 1st Special Squadron[edit]

Cruisers
Name Kanji Image Launched Type
Yahagi 矢矧 Japanese cruiser Yahagi 1916.jpg October 3, 1911 Chikuma class
Tsushima 対馬 Japanese cruiser Tsushima.jpg December 15, 1902 Niitaka class
Niitaka 新高 Japanese cruiser Niitaka in 1922.jpg November 15, 1902 Niitaka class
2nd Destroyer Division
Name Kanji Image Launched Type
Kamikaze 神風 IJN Ushio at Vladivostok Taisho 9.jpg[A 1] July 15, 1905 Kamikaze class
Kisaragi 如月 Harasame-asakase.jpg[A 1] September 6, 1905 Kamikaze class
Hatsushimo 初霜 May 13, 1905 Kamikaze class
Hibiki March 31, 1906 Kamikaze class

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Picture is not of ship but a sister ship of the same class and design; see Kamikaze-class destroyer

Bibliography[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Jose 1987, p. 337.
  2. ^ a b Jose 1987, p. 338.
  3. ^ a b c Tucker, Roberts 2005, p. 611.

References[edit]