Chidori-class torpedo boat
Chidori on trial run off Maizuru, after 1934 refit
|Name:||Chidori-class torpedo boat|
|Operators:||Imperial Japanese Navy|
|Preceded by:||Hayabusa class|
|Succeeded by:||Ōtori class|
|Cancelled:||16 (replaced by Ōtori-class)|
|General characteristics as built|
|Class and type:||Chidori-class|
|Draft:||2.50 m (8 ft 2 in) (average)|
|Speed:||30.0 knots (34.5 mph; 55.6 km/h)|
|Range:||3,000 nmi (5,600 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h)|
|General characteristics after rebuilding|
|Draft:||2.38 m (7 ft 10 in)|
|Speed:||28.0 knots (32.2 mph; 51.9 km/h)|
|Range:||1,600 nmi (3,000 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h)|
The Chidori-class torpedo boat (千鳥型水雷艇 Chidori-gata suiraitei) was an Imperial Japanese Navy class of torpedo boats that served during the Second World War. They proved to have too much armament for the hull and Tomozuru (友鶴) capsized shortly after completion in heavy weather. The entire class had to be rebuilt before they became satisfactory sea-boats. They saw service in the Battle of the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies campaign as escorts and continued in that role for the rest of the war. Three were sunk during the war and the fourth was seized by the British at Hong Kong after the end of the war where it was scrapped later.
In 1930, the London Naval Treaty was concluded in which the IJN received a heavy limit on the destroyers. The IJN planned to build the under 600 tons class destroyer which were not limited by the treaty, and the category Torpedo boat was revived for them. The aim for these ships was to have half the armament of the Fubuki-class destroyer. Initially, four boats were constructed for evaluation, out of a planned twenty, in the Circle 1 Programme. After Chidori was completed, the IJN discovered on her trials that her center of gravity was too high and that she was 92 tonnes (91 long tons; 101 short tons) overweight. The IJN ordered 250 millimetres (9.8 in) bulges fitted to the rest of the class. However, this proved to be insufficient.
As initially completed the Chidori-class torpedo boats displaced 535 long tons (544 t) at standard load, but displaced 738 long tons (750 t) at full load. They were 82.0 m (269 ft 0 in) long overall, had a beam 7.40 m (24 ft 3 in) and an average draft of 2.50 m (8 ft 2 in).
They were exceedingly heavily armed for their size with three 127 mm (5.0 in) Type 3 guns mounted in a single-gun power-driven gun turret placed on the forecastle, ahead of the bridge, and a power-driven twin-gun turret aft. Sources are contradictory on her anti-aircraft armament, Whitley says that they had a single license-built Vickers 40 mm (2 pounder pom pom) and others credit them with a single 12.7 mm (0.50 in) machine gun. Two sets of twin 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes were mounted abaft the single funnel. In total these weapons represented 22.7% of the displacement.
During the war the rear gun was removed and replaced with Type 96 25mm AA guns. A total of ten of these were carried by the end of the war. The number of depth charges carried was also increased over the course of the war to 48.
Two Kampon geared turbines drove two shafts. They were powered by two Kampon water-tube boilers and produced a total of 11,000 shaft horsepower (8,200 kW). They were rated at 30.0 knots (34.5 mph; 55.6 km/h) and had a range of 3,000 nmi (5,600 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h) or 9,000 nmi (17,000 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h) using the 152 tonnes (150 long tons; 168 short tons) of fuel carried.
The Tomozuru Incident
On 12 March 1934, shortly after completion, Tomozuru (友鶴) sailed in company with her sister Chidori (千鳥) and the light cruiser Tatsuta for night torpedo training. The weather worsened during the exercise and it was called off at 0325; the ships returning to port. Tomozuru never arrived and a search was launched. She was spotted at 1405 that same day, capsized, but still afloat. Thirteen of her 113 man crew were rescued. She was towed to Sasebo and docked where she was rebuilt and returned to service.
This disaster forced the IJN to review the stability of every ship recently completed, under construction or still being designed. The Chidori's themselves exchanged their 127 mm (5.0 in) Type 3 guns for hand-worked 12 cm 11th Year Type M guns, landed the rear twin torpedo tube mount and the bridge structure was cut down by one level. The bulges were removed, but displacement increased to 815 long tons (828 t) with the addition of 60–90 tonnes (59–89 long tons; 66–99 short tons) ballast. Their speed dropped to 28 knots (32 mph; 52 km/h) and range decreased to 1,600 nmi (3,000 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h). Their successors, the Ōtori-class torpedo boats were redesigned to reduce the top-heaviness that caused Tomozuru to capsize.
In 1937, the 4 sisters were organized into Torpedo Flotilla 21 and made a sortie for the Battle of Shanghai. All four saw action in the Battle of the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies campaign. Chidori and Manazuru returned to home waters after Torpedo Flotilla 21 was disbanded in the spring of 1942 and were on escort duties for the rest of the war. Hatsukari and Tomozuru remained in that area for most of the rest of the war on escort operations. Tomozuru returned to Japan late in the war, but Hatsukari entered Hong Kong on 21 May 1945 and was engaged in anti-aircraft battles until the end of war. Following Japan's surrender, the Hatsukari was seized by the Royal Navy, and later scrapped.
Ships in class
|Chidori (千鳥)||Maizuru Naval Construction Department||13-10-1931||01-04-1933||20-11-1933||November 1934||Sunk 21-12-1944 by USS Tilefish at west of Omaezaki .|
|Manazuru (真鶴)||Fujinagata Shipbuilding Yard||22-12-1931||11-07-1933||31-01-1934||November 1934||Sunk 01-03-1945 by air raid at Naha .|
|Tomozuru (友鶴)||Maizuru Naval Construction Department||11-11-1932||01-10-1933||24-02-1934||May 1935||Sunk 24-03-1945 by air raid at west of Amami Ōshima .|
|Hatsukari (初雁)||Fujinagata Shipbuilding Yard||06-04-1933||19-12-1933||15-07-1934||Captured by United Kingdom at the end of war. Decommissioned 03-05-1947, scrapped 1948.|
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- Whitley, p. 208
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- Whitley, p. 209
- Brown, pp. 143-44
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