Japanese destroyer Kisaragi (1925)

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For the Japanese destroyer Kisaragi (1905), see Kamikaze-class destroyer (1905).
Kisaragi II.jpg
Kisaragi in February 1927
Career (Empire of Japan)
Name: Kisaragi
Namesake: Japanese destroyer Kisaragi (1905)
Builder: Maizuru Naval Arsenal, Japan
Yard number: Destroyer No. 21
Laid down: 3 June 1924
Launched: 5 June 1925
Commissioned: 21 December 1925
Renamed: as Kisaragi 1 August 1928
Struck: 15 January 1942
Fate: sunk 11 December 1941
General characteristics
Class and type: Mutsuki-class 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: 3,600 nautical miles (6,700 km) at 14 knots (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

Kisaragi (如月 ”February”?)[1] was one 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] Kisaragi had the distinction of being the second major Japanese warship sunk during the war (after Hayate earlier the same day).[3] She should not be confused with an earlier World War I period Kamikaze-class destroyer with the same name.


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 and Kamikaze-class destroyers, with which they shared many common design characteristics.[4] Kisaragi, was laid down at the Maizuru Naval Arsenal on 3 June 1922, launched on 5 June 1925 and commissioned on 21 December 1925.[5] Originally commissioned simply as Destroyer No. 21, the vessel was assigned the name Kisaragi on 1 August 1928.

World War II history[edit]

As part of the attack on Pearl Harbor during the opening days of World War II in the Pacific Ocean, the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff ordered the seizure of Wake Island, then garrisoned by the United States Marine Corps. Kisaragi was part of Desron 6 under Destroyer Division 30 in the IJN 4th Fleet, and deployed from Truk under command of Lieutenant Commander Yoichiro Ogawa.[6]

Early on the morning of 11 December 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 Yūbari, Tenryū, and Tatsuta; and destroyers with Yayoi, Hayate, Mutsuki, Kisaragi, Oite, and Asanagi, two old Momi-class vessels converted to patrol boats (Patrol Boat No. 32 and Patrol Boat No. 33), and two troop transports containing 450 SNLF troops.

The American defenders fired at the invasion fleet with their six 5"/51 caliber coastal artillery guns, which had been removed from scrapped battleships, sinking Hayate. The cruiser Yūbari was also hit eleven times. Kisaragi was sailing away from the engagement when it came under air attack by four F4F Wildcat fighter planes from Wake armed with 100-pound bombs. One Wildcat, piloted by Henry "Hammering Hank" Elrod, dropped his bombs on Kisaragi‍ '​s stern, which was packed with depth charges.[7] This caused the ship to explode and sink with all hands about 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Wake Island at location 18°55′N 166°17′E / 18.917°N 166.283°E / 18.917; 166.283Coordinates: 18°55′N 166°17′E / 18.917°N 166.283°E / 18.917; 166.283[8] The sinking of Kisaragi would contribute to Elrod being posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Kisaragi was struck from the navy list on 15 January 1942.[9] Despite this setback, the Japanese successfully completed the invasion of Wake Island at the end of December.


  1. ^ Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. page 301
  2. ^ Jones, Daniel H. (2003). "IJN Minekaze, Kamikaze and Mutsuki class Destroyers". Ship Modeler's Mailing List (SMML). 
  3. ^ Brown, Warship Losses of World War Two
  4. ^ Howarth, The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun.
  5. ^ Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Mutsuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  6. ^ Dull. A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy
  7. ^ Devereaux, The Story of Wake Island
  8. ^ Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Kisaragi: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. Combinedfleet.com. 
  9. ^ Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Mutsuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 


  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • Devereaux, Colonel James P.S., USMC (1947). The Story of Wake Island. The Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-264-0. 
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895–1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11402-8. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Nelson, Andrew N. (1967). Japanese–English Character Dictionary. Tuttle. ISBN 0-8048-0408-7. 
  • Watts, Anthony J (1967). Japanese Warships of World War II. Doubleday. ASIN B000KEV3J8. 
  • Whitley, M J (2000). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-521-8. 

External links[edit]