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  Hatsuyuki No. 14
IJN
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, she intercepted two transports attempting to flee from Singapore. On February 27, Hatsuyuki joined the western Java invasion force, and was in the Battle of Sunda Strait on March 1, assisting in the sinking of HMAS Perth and USS Houston.

Next, participated in the northern Sumatra invasion force on March 12 and the Andaman Islands invasion force on March 23. She served patrol and escort duties out of Port Blair during the Japanese raids into the Indian Ocean. On 13-22 April she returned to Kure Naval Arsenal for maintenance.

On June 4-5, 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 Guadalcanal, and Hatsuyuki moved to Truk Lagoon.

During August, Hatsuyuki was used for Tokyo Express high speed transport missions in the Solomon Islands from southern Bougainville and Shortlands to Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal. On September 4-5, Hatsuyuki assisted in sinking the USS Gregory and USS Little.

During the Battle of Cape Esperance on 11-12 October, Hatsuyuki took 518 survivors off Furutaka, and 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) at roughly 06.50S, 155.47E was attacked by Allied aircraft. A bomb exploded the after magazine, sinking the ship in shallow water, with 120 dead (including 38 passengers) and 36 wounded.

Shipwreck
This wreck was discovered post war and heavily salvaged divers for scrap metal in the early 1970s. In addition to the wartime damage, explosive charges were exploded on the wreck to access inside compartments, blowing the turrets off the wreck and opening the hull.

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
January 10, 2018

 

Map
06.50S
155.47E


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