|Operators:||Imperial Japanese Navy|
|Preceded by:||Hatsuharu class|
|Succeeded by:||Asashio class|
|Displacement:||1,685 long tons (1,712 t) standard|
|Beam:||9.9 m (32 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||3.5 m (11 ft 6 in)|
|Range:||4,000 nmi (7,400 km) @ 14 kn (26 km/h)|
The initial six Shiratsuyu-class destroyers were modified versions of the Hatsuharu class, and had been originally planned as the final six vessels of that class under the ”Circle-One” Naval Expansion Plan.
However, design issues with the Hatsuharu-class ships, notably their “top-heavy” design relative to their small displacement, resulted in extensive modifications, to the point where the final six vessels on order were named as a separate class. An additional four vessels were ordered under the ”Circle-Two Naval Expansion Plan of fiscal 1934, and all vessels were completed by 1937.
As with the Hatsuharu class, the Shiratsuyu-class destroyers were designed to accompany the Japanese main striking force and to conduct both day and night torpedo attacks against the United States Navy as it advanced across the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese naval strategic projections. Despite being one of the most powerful classes of destroyers in the world at the time of their completion, none survived the Pacific War.
In general layout, the Shiratsuyu-class vessels closely resembled the Ariake sub-class, or final version of the Hatsuharu class, differing only in the more compact bridge design and the shape and inclination of the funnels. The hull retained the general configuration of the Hatsuharu class with a long forecastle with a pronounced flare to improve sea-keeping at high speeds by adding buoyancy and reducing the spray and water coming over the deck.
The Shiratsuyu class were the first Japanese warships to be completed with quadruple torpedo mounts and telephone communications to the torpedo station. As with the Hatsuharu class. the torpedo launchers were given a protective shield to allow for use in heavy weather and to protect against splinter damage.
The Shiratsuyu class, as with the previous Hatsuharu class, carried two sets of Kampon geared turbines, one for each shaft. Each set consisted one low-pressure and one high-pressure turbine, plus a cruise turbine connected to the high-pressure turbine. The LP and HP turbines were connected to the propeller shaft by a two-pinion reduction gear. Each propeller had a diameter of 3.05 m (10.0 ft) and a pitch of 3.7 m (12 ft). The total horsepower of the Shiratsuyu class was only 42,000 hp (31,000 kW) compared to the 50,000 hp (37,000 kW) of their Fubuki-class predecessors, but the machinery was significantly lighter and more powerful on a unit basis. The Shiratsuyus' machinery weighed only 106 tonnes (104 long tons; 117 short tons) compared to the 144 tonnes (142 long tons; 159 short tons) of the Fubuki class, or 396 shaft horsepower per tonne versus 347 shaft horsepower per tonne for the older ships.
Similarly the three Kampon Type Ro-Gō boilers used in the Shiratsuyu-class ships weighed 50 tonnes (49 long tons; 55 short tons) in comparison to the 51 tonnes (50 long tons; 56 short tons) boilers used in the Fubuki class, but produced 14,000 hp (10,000 kW) each while the older boilers produced 12,500 hp (9,300 kW). This gave a ratio of 3.6 kg per shaft horsepower for the Shiratsuyu class compared to the 4.1 kg per shaft horsepower of their predecessors. The newer design of boilers initially used steam pressurized to 20-bar (290 psi), just like the older models, but used superheating to improve efficiency while the older boilers simply used saturated steam.
A single 100 kW turbo-generator was fitted behind the reduction gears in a separate compartment and two 40 kW diesel generators were located between the propeller shafts. As initially completed the Shiratsuyu class had a range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) at a speed of 18 knots (33 km/h) with 460 tonnes (450 long tons; 510 short tons) of fuel.
The Shiratsuyu-class destroyers used the same 50 caliber 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 naval gun as the Fubuki class, but all turrets could elevate to 75° to give the main guns a minimal ability to engage aircraft. During the war the single turret was removed on all surviving ships and replaced with from 13 to 21 (depending on the individual vessel) 25 mm (0.98 in) Type 96 anti-aircraft guns in double and triple mounts. Although these powered mounts were unsatisfactory because their traverse and elevation speeds were too slow to engage high-speed aircraft more single mounts were fitted to ships in the last year of the war.
For example, Hatsushimo of the related Hatsuharu class mounted ten single 25 guns when she was lost in July 1945. Four license-built Hotchkiss 13.2 mm (0.52 in) Type 93 machine guns were also fitted to Hatsushimo, but these were also of limited utility against modern aircraft.
The 61 cm Type 90 torpedo was mounted in quadruple tube Type 92 launchers, derived from the twin tube Type 89 launcher used in the Takao-class heavy cruisers. Shields were fitted to both the torpedo mounts and lockers to protect them from the weather and from strafing aircraft. Initially the shields were made from Duralumin to save weight, but these quickly corroded and had to be replaced. "NiCrMo" steel, taken from the air chambers of obsolete torpedoes, 3 mm (0.12 in) in thickness, was chosen for the new shields to save weight. It was traversed by an electro-hydraulic system and could traverse 360° in twenty-five seconds. If the backup manual system was used the time required increased to two minutes. Each tube could be reloaded in twenty-three seconds using the endless wire and winch provided.
Only eighteen depth charges were initially carried in a rack at the stern, but this increased to thirty-six after the autumn of 1942. Apparently no sonar or hydrophones were fitted until after the outbreak of the war when the Type 93 sonar and Type 93 hydrophones were mounted.
Radar was not installed on the surviving ships of this class until late in the war, possibly as late as 1944. They were given a Type 22 radar on the foremast, a Type 13 on the mainmast and a Type E-27 radar countermeasures device was carried high on the foremast.
None of the Shiratsuyu-class ships survived the Pacific War. The lead ship of the class, Shiratsuyu was sunk northeast of Mindanao in a collision with the oiler Seiyo Maru. Most of the class were lost by US submarines, and Kawakaze, Yudachi, and Murasame being lost in surface actions. Only Harusame fell victim to aircraft.
Murasame was employed in several campaigns, beginning with the invasion of the Philippines. In 1942 she participated in the Battle of the Java Sea and the Battle of Midway. During the Guadalcanal Campaign Murasame played a supporting role in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands and was sunk at the Battle of Blackett Strait.
Shigure was squadron flagship of Captain Tameichi Hara through much of 1942-43, and became one of the most famous Japanese destroyers of the war. She survived numerous battles in the Solomons until she was torpedoed and sunk off the Gulf of Siam by the submarine USS Blackfin in early 1945.
List of ships
|白露||Shiratsuyu||Sasebo Naval Arsenal||14 November 1933||5 April 1935||20 August 1936||Collision 15 June 1944 at|
|時雨||Shigure||Uraga Dock Company||9 December 1933||18 May 1935||7 September 1936||Torpedoed in Gulf of Siam, 24 January 1945 at|
|村雨||Murasame||Fujinagata Shipyards||1 February 1934||20 June 1935||7 January 1937||Sunk in action, 6 March 1943 at|
|夕立||Yūdachi||Sasebo Naval Arsenal||16 October 1934||21 June 1936||7 January 1937||Sunk in action 13 November 1942 at|
|春雨||Harusame||Uraga Dock Company||3 February 1935||21 September 1935||26 August 1937||Air attack NW of Manokwari, New Guinea, 8 June 1944 at|
|五月雨||Samidare||Uraga Dock Company||19 December 1934||6 July 1935||29 January 1937||Torpedoed near Palau, 25 August 1944 at|
|海風||Umikaze||Maizuru Naval Arsenal||4 May 1935||27 November 1936||31 May 1937||Torpedoed at Truk Atoll, 1 February 1944 at|
|山風||Yamakaze||Uraga Dock Company||25 May 1935||21 February 1936||30 June 1937||Torpedoed SE of Yokosuka, 25 June 1942 at|
|江風||Kawakaze||Fujinagata Shipyards||25 April 1935||1 November 1936||30 April 1937||Sunk in action 6 August 1943 at|
|涼風||Suzukaze||Uraga Dock Company||9 July 1935||11 March 1937||31 August 1937||Torpedoed NNW of Pohnpei, 25 January 1944 at|
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