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  Hatsuyuki No. 14
Fubuki Class Destroyer

2,057 Tons
11.86m / 115.3m / 118.41m
4 x 40mm
Click For Enlargement
Shirley Cook 2006

Ship History
Built by Maizuru Naval Yard beginning 1927. Laid down April 12, 1926. Launched September 29, 1929 and completed March 30, 1929. Originally assigned hull designation “Destroyer No. 37”, she was completed as Hatsuyuki (初雪) meaning "First Snow". Assigned to the 2nd Fleet, Destroyer Division 11.

Wartime History
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Hatsuyuki helped cover landings of Japanese forces during the Battle of Shanghai during 1937, and landings of Japanese forces at Hangzhou in northern China. In 1940, she also participated in the Invasion of French Indochina (Vietnam).

At the start of the Pacific War, Hatsuyuki was assigned to Destroyer Division 11 of Desron 3 of the 1st Fleet, and deployed from Kure Naval District to the port of Samah, Hainan Island.

From December 4, 1941 to January 30, 1942 Hatsuyuki was part of the escort for the heavy cruisers Suzuya, Kumano, Mogami and Mikuma out of Samah and Camranh Bay on Vietnam in support of Malaya, Banka-Palembang and Anambas invasions.

On February 18, 1942 she intercepted two transports attempting to flee from Singapore. On February 27, 1942 Hatsuyuki joined the western Java invasion force and participated in the Battle of Sunda Strait on March 1, 1942 and assisted in the sinking of HMAS Perth and USS Houston.

On March 12, 1942 she joined the northern Sumatra invasion force. On March 23, 1942 joined the Andaman Islands invasion force and participated in patrol and escort duties operating out of Port Blair during the Japanese raids into the Indian Ocean then returned to Kure. Between April 13-22, 1943 underwent maintenance at the Kure Naval Arsenal.

On June 4-5, 1942 Hatsuyuki was an escorting destroyer during the Battle of Midway.

In July 1942, Hatsuyuki sailed from Amami-Ōshima to Mako Guard District, Singapore, Sabang and Mergui for a projected second Indian Ocean raid. The operation was cancelled due to the American landing on Guadalcanal. Instead, Hatsuyuki proceeded to Truk.

During August 1942, Hatsuyuki was used for high speed transport missions in the Solomon Islands as part of the "Tokyo Express" operating off southern Bougainville and Shortlands then traveling overnight to land troops and supplies at Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal. On September 4-5, 1942 Hatsuyuki assisted in sinking the USS Gregory DD-82 (APD-3) and USS Little DD-79 (APD-4).

During the Battle of Cape Esperance during the night of October 11-12, 1942, Hatsuyuki rescued 518 survivors off Furutaka. Two days later escorted the badly damaged Aoba to Truk Lagoon. During the Battle of Santa Cruz on 26 October, Hatsuyuki patrolled Shortlands.

Participated in the November 12-15 Naval Battle for Guadalcanal. Initially she escorted the Support Force commanded by Admiral Takeo Kurita, then joined the Emergency Bombardment Force of Admiral Nobutake Kondō. With Nagara in the assault on enemy destroyers, Hatsuyuki assisted in sinking USS Benham, USS Walke, and USS Preston and damaging USS Gwin.

On Novembe 18, returned to Truk Lagoon. In December, made one more transport run to Rabaul in December, Hatsuyuki was assigned to escort Hiyō back to Kure Naval Arsenal for repairs.

In January 1943, Hatsuyuki escorted a troop convoy from Pusan to Palau and then to Wewak. She continued to patrol and escort in the Solomons until the end of February, when reassigned to the 8th Fleet. In March, Hatsuyuki assisted the rescue of survivors of the Battle of Bismarck Sea, before returning to Kure for refit.

In May, she escorted aircraft carrier Taiyō from Yokouka to Manila, Surabaya, Singapore, and back to Mako Guard District to Sasebo Naval District. During June, Hatsuyuki returned to Rabaul, and resumed Tokyo Express supply missions in the Solomons.

Participated in the second battle of Kula Gulf, July 5-6, 1943. During the battle, Hatsuyuki engaged a group of American cruisers and destroyers, and was hit by six dud shells, which damaged her steering and killed six crewmen.

Sinking History
On July 17, 1943 while docked at Shortlands unloading passengers (other sources state off Buin on southern Bougainville) at roughly Lat 06.50S, Long 155.47E when attacked by Allied aircraft. A bomb hit exploded the after magazine, sinking the ship in shallow water, with 120 dead (including 38 passengers) and 36 wounded.

This shipwreck was discovered postwar. During the early 1970's the destroyer was heavily salvaged by divers for scrap metal by Dave Barnett / Pacific Diving. In addition to the wartime damage, salvage divers used World War II ordnance as explosive charges to open the hull to allow divers to access internal compartments. They also used explosives to blow one of the turrets off the wreck.

Shirley Cook dove the wreck in late 1970s:
"No photographs of this, but have a very fancy porthole which nearly cost me my life. Left a bucket full of tools on the deck there as well."

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Last Updated
August 18, 2018



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