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  Akatsuki
IJN
Akatsuki Class Destroyer

1,750 tons (standard)
2,050 tons (rebuilt)

6 x 127mm guns
28 x 25mm guns
10 x 13mm MG
9 x torpedo tubes
36 x depth charges

Ship History
Laid down on February 17, 1930 at Sasebo Naval Arsenal. Launched on May 7, 1932. Completed on November 30, 1932. Named Akatsuki meaning dawn in Japanese.

Wartime History
On November 29, 1941 departed the Terashima Strait to Mako (Pescadores). Covered the "Southern Force" escorting convoys attacking Malaya and the Philippines during December 4, 1941 until January 4, 1942.

During January 6-12, 1942 escorted Maya from Mako to Palau. Departed January 18 then arrived at Davao. On January 29 escorted tankers from Davao to Tarakan and Balikpapan until February 4. Next, escorted troop convoy from Davao to Camranh Bay during February 5-9. On February 27, escorted western Java invasion force.

On March 10 to Subic Bay and during March 19-26 escorted convoy to Kure and then returned to Yokosuka for maintenance. During May 22-26 escorted Takao and Maya from Kure to Ominato.

During May 28 - June 7 departed Ominato for the invasion of Kiska. On June 13-27 escorted Hibiki from Kiska back to Paramushiro then onward to Ominato.

On July 4 departed Ominato back to Kiska and performed anti-submarine patrols, departing July 18. Returned via Shimushu to Yokosuka for maintenance. On August 6 departed for another patrol in the Kiska area then returned to Ominato to Kure on August 31.

During September 1-6 escorted Zuihō from Kure to Truk. From September 9-12, escorted Unyō from Truk to Kavieng and returned to Truk, then September 13-18 escorted Unyō to Kure.

On September 29, escorted a troop convoy from Saeki via Okinawa to Saipan and Rabaul then to the Shortlands arriving Ocotober 12.

On October 14 made a troop transport run to Guadalcanal.

On October 17 made a troop transport run to Guadalcanal.

On October 25 led a mission to Guadalcanal and attacked USS Seminole (AT-65) and YP-284. Also damaged USS Zane (DMS-14). During the battle sustained damaged to the no. 3 turret from shore batteries and suffered four death.

On November 2, 1942 Akatsuki escorted transports bound for Guadalcanal. On November 3, 1942 departed Shortlands escorting Chitose and Chiyoda bound for Truk.

During November 12, 1942 Akatsuki escorted Abe's bombardment force including Hiei and Kirishima on a mission to bombard Henderson Field on Guadalcanal and participated in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

Sinking History
On November 13, 1942 during Naval Battle of Guadalcanal the Japanese force encountered U. S. Navy cruisers and destroyers. At the start of the engagement, Akatsuki was on the right flank of the Japanese force and switched on her searchlights illuminating USS Atlanta (CL-51) with searchlight beams and was immediately targeted by gunfire from U. S. Navy vessels. Sunk south of Savo Island in Iron Bottom Sound at roughly Lat 09° 17′S Long 159° 56′E. On December 15, 1942 officially removed from the Navy list.

Akatsuki is often incorrectly credited with torpedoing USS Atlanta (CL-51). According to Akatsuki’s chief torpedo officer Michihara Shinya who survived the sinking, Akatsuki did not fire any torpedoes during the battle. The torpedo that hit the crusiers was likely fired by either Inazuma or Ikazuchi.

Fates of the Crew
Only eighteen of crew members survived and were rescued by American ships and interred as prisoners at Featherston POW Camp in New Zealand.

References
Beyond Death and Dishonour by Michiharu Shinya
Thanks to Kevin Denlay for additional information

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Last Updated
January 10, 2018

 

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