Mutsuki-class destroyer

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Japanese destroyer Mutsuki 1930.jpg
Mutsuki in 1930
Class overview
Name: Mutsuki class
Operators:  Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Kamikaze class
Succeeded by: Fubuki class
Built: 1924-1927
Planned: 12
Completed: 12
Lost: 12
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
  • 1,315 long tons (1,336 t) normal,
  • 1,445 long tons (1,468 t) full load
  • 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)
Speed: 37.25 knots (68.99 km/h)
Range: 3,600 nautical miles (6,700 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 154

The Mutsuki-class destroyers (睦月型駆逐艦 Mutsukigata kuchikukan?) were a class of twelve destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy.[3] All were given traditional poetic names of the months of the year by the Lunar calendar or phases of the moon. Some authors consider the Kamikaze and Mutsuki-class destroyers to be extensions of the earlier Minekaze class.[4]


With the imposition of the Washington Naval Treaty limiting the number and size of capital warships, increased emphasis was placed by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the quantity and firepower of its destroyer fleet to counter what was perceived to be the growing threat from the United States Navy. The Mutsuki-class destroyers were an improved version of the Kamikaze class destroyers and were ordered under the 1923 fiscal budget.[5]

Along with the Minekaze and Kamikaze classes, the Mutsuki-class ships formed the backbone of Japanese destroyer formations throughout the twenties and thirties. The Minekaze and Kamikaze classes were withdrawn from front line service and reassigned to secondary duties towards the end of the 1930s, but the Mutsukis were retained as first line destroyers due to their range and their more powerful torpedo armament.[6] All saw combat during World War II, and none survived the war.

Initially, the Mutsuki-class ships had only hull numbers due to the projected large number of warships the Japanese navy expected to build through the Eight-eight fleet plan. This proved to be extremely unpopular with the crews and was a constant source of confusion in communications. In August 1928, names were assigned.[7]


Office of Naval Intelligence recognition drawing of Mutsuki class

The Mutsuki-class destroyers were based on the same hull design as the previous Kamikaze class, except with a double curvature configuration of the bow, a feature which became a standard in all later Japanese destroyers.

The Mutsuki class was the first to be fitted with the newly developed 24-inch (610 mm) torpedoes, with greater range and larger warhead than previous torpedoes in the Japanese inventory. Originally Type 8 torpedoes were carried, arranged in two triple mountings. These were later replaced with the famous Type 93 "Long Lance" oxygen-propelled torpedoes during World War II.

In September 1935, many ships in the navy were severely damaged by a typhoon while on training exercises, in what was later termed the Fourth Fleet Incident, including a number of the Mutsuki-class destroyers, which had several plates buckled and bridges wrecked. During 1936-37 the Mutsuki-class ships were retrofitted with a strengthened, more compact, bridge, with redesigned watertight shields on the torpedo mounts. With the new shields the torpedoes could be worked in all weather conditions thus extending the useful life of the class.[8]

From 1941-1942 the Mutsuki-class destroyers were refitted with the 120 mm/45 main guns reduced to two single mounts and ten Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Guns added. The minesweeping and minelaying equipment was removed and replaced with four depth charge launchers, with 36 depth charges.

In June 1944, the surviving vessels were again refit, with the number of Type 96 25 mm antiaircraft guns increased to twenty, and an additional five Type 93 13 mm AA Guns also installed.

Operational history[edit]

The Mutsuki class formed the 5th and 6th Destroyer Squadrons. Mutsuki and Kisaragi participated in the Battle of Wake Island at the start of the war, during which time Kisaragi was lost due to aircraft bombardment. The remaining eleven vessels participated in the invasions of the Philippines and Netherlands East Indies. In the subsequent Solomon Islands campaign surviving ships were exposed to considerable danger as fast transports in “Tokyo Express” missions in trying to re-supply island garrisons. Mutsuki, Nagatsuki, Kikuzuki, Mikazuki and Mochizuki were lost due to air attack in various battles in the Solomons.[9]

Surviving vessels participated in the New Guinea campaign, mostly in the role of “Tokyo Express” transports. Yayoi was lost in an air attack off New Guinea and Fumizuki in Operation Hailstone at Truk. In the final stages of the war, Uzuki was lost to US PT-boats and Satsuki and Yūzuki to an attacks and Minazuki to submarine torpedoes in the Philippines.

None of the Mutsuki-class destroyers survived the war.[10]

List of ships[edit]

Kanji Name Builder Laid down Launched Completed Fate
睦月 Mutsuki
Sasebo Naval Arsenal, Japan 21 May 1924 23 July 1925 25 March 1926 Dai-19-Gō Kuchikukan (第十九号駆逐艦?); renamed Mutsuki ("January") on 1 August 1928; sunk in air attack in Solomon Islands [07.47S, 160.13E] on 25 August 1942; struck 1 October 1942
如月 Kisaragi
Maizuru Naval Arsenal, Japan 3 June 1924 5 June 1925 21 December 1925 Dai-21-Gō Kuchikukan (第二十一号駆逐艦?); renamed Kisaragi (“February”) on 1 August 1928; combat loss off Wake Island [18.55N, 166.17E] on 11 December 1941; struck 15 January 1942
弥生 Yayoi
Uraga Dock Company, Japan 11 January 1924 11 July 1925 28 August 1926 Dai-23-Gō Kuchikukan (第二十三号駆逐艦?); renamed Yayoi (“March”) on 1 August 1928; sunk in air attack in Solomon Islands [08.45S, 151.25E] on 11 September 1942; struck 20 October 1942
卯月 Uzuki
Ishikawajima Shipyards, Japan 11 January 1924 15 October 1925 14 September 1926 Dai-25-Gō Kuchikukan (第二十五号駆逐艦?); renamed Uzuki (“April”) on 1 August 1928; Sunk Ormoc Bay [11.03N, 124.23E] on 12 December 1944; struck 10 January 1945
皐月 Satsuki
Fujinagata Shipyards, Japan 1 December 1924 25 March 1925 15 November 1925 renamed Satsuki (“May”) on 1 August 1928; sunk in air attack at Manila Bay [15.35N, 120.55E] on 21 September 1944; struck 10 November 1944
水無月 Minazuki
Uraga Dock Company, Japan 24 March 1924 25 March 1926 22 March 1927 Dai-28-Gō Kuchikukan (第二十八号駆逐艦?); renamed Minatsuki (“June”) on 1 August 1928; Torpedoed in Celebes Sea [04.05N, 119.30E] on 6 June 1944; struck 10 August 1944
文月 Fumizuki
Fujinagata Shipyards, Japan 20 October 1924 16 February 1926 3 July 1926 Dai-29-Gō Kuchikukan (第二十九号駆逐艦?); renamed Fumizuki (“July”) on 1 August 1928; sunk in air attack at Truk [07.24N, 151.44E] on 18 February 1944; struck 31 March 1944
長月 Nagatsuki
Ishikawajima Shipyards, Japan 16 April 1925 6 October 1926 30 April 1927 Dai-30-Gō Kuchikukan (第三十号駆逐艦?); renamed Nagatsuki (“September”) on 1 August 1928; combat loss in central Solomons [08.02S, 157.12E] on 6 July 1943; struck 1 November 1943
菊月 Kikuzuki
Maizuru Naval Arsenal, Japan 15 June 1925 15 May 1926 20 November 1926 Dai-31-Gō Kuchikukan (第三十一号駆逐艦?); renamed Kikuzuki (“September”) on 1 August 1928; sunk in air attack at Tulagi [09.07S, 160.12E] on 4 May 1942; struck 25 May 1942. Later salvaged by USS Menominee (AT-73), 6 October 1943.
三日月 Mikazuki
Sasebo Naval Arsenal, Japan 21 August 1925 12 July 1926 5 May 1927 Dai-32-Gō Kuchikukan (第三十二号駆逐艦?);renamed Mikazuki (“Crescent Moon”) on 1 August 1928; sunk in air attack at Cape Gloucester [05.27S, 148.25E] on 29 July 1943; struck 15 October 1943
望月 Mochizuki
Uraga Dock Company, Japan 23 March 1926 28 April 1927 31 October 1927 Dai-33-Gō Kuchikukan (第三十三号駆逐艦?); renamed Mochizuki (“Full Moon”) on 1 August 1928; sunk in air attack in central Solomons [05.42S, 151.40E] on 24 October 1943; struck 5 January 1944
夕月 Yūzuki
Fujinagata Shipyards, Japan 27 November 1926 4 March 1927 25 July 1927 Dai-34-Gō Kuchikukan (第三十四号駆逐艦?) renamed Yūzuki (“Evening Moon”) on 1 August 1928; sunk in air attack at Cebu [11.20N, 124.10E] on 12 December 1944; struck 10 January 1945



  1. ^ Yayoi was equipped 2 x Metropolitan-Vickers geared turbines. Nagatsuki was equipped 2 x Escher Wyss & Cie Zoelly geared turbines.
  2. ^ Kikuzuki, Mikazuki, Mochizuki and Yūzuki were equipped 2 x paravanes.
  3. ^ Jentsura, Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945
  4. ^ Jones, Daniel H. (2003). "IJN Minekaze, Kamikaze and Mutsuki class Destroyers". Ship Modeler's Mailing List (SMML. 
  5. ^, IJN Mutsuki class destroyers
  6. ^ Evans. Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy
  7. ^ Nishida, Hiroshi. "Materials of IJN: Mutsuki class destroyer". Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  8. ^ Juntsura. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945
  9. ^ Morison. The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942 – February 1943
  10. ^ Brown. Warship Losses of World War Two


External links[edit]