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Japanese destroyer Asashio (1936)
Asashio underway in July 1937.
Career Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
Name: Asashio
Ordered: 1934
Builder: Sasebo Naval Arsenal
Laid down: 7 September 1935
Launched: 16 December 1936
Commissioned: 31 August 1937
Struck: 1 April 1943
Fate: Sunk by air attack in Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 3 March 1943
General characteristics
Class & type: Asashio class destroyer
Displacement: 2,370 long tons (2,408 t)
Length: 111 m (364 ft) pp
115 m (377 ft 4 in) waterline
Beam: 10.3 m (33 ft 10 in)
Draft: 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft Kampon geared turbines
3 boilers, 50,000 hp (37,000 kW)
Speed: 35 knots (40 mph; 65 km/h)
Range: 5,700 nmi (10,600 km) @ 10 kn (19 km/h)
Complement: 226
Armament: 6 × 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 naval guns DP guns (3×2), (early) 3 × (later) up to 28 × Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Gun, up to 4 × Type 93 13 mm machine guns, 8 × 610 mm (24 in) torpedo tubes (2×4), 36 depth charges


Asashio (朝潮?, "Morning Tide") [1] was the lead ship of the ten Asashio-class destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the mid-1930s under the Circle Two Program (Maru Ni Keikaku).


The Asahio class destroyers were larger and more capable that the preceding Shiratsuyu-class, as Japanese naval architects were no longer constrained by the provisions of the London Naval Treaty. These light cruiser-sized vessels were designed to take advantage of Japan’s lead in torpedo technology, and to accompany the Japanese main striking force and in both day and night attacks against the United States Navy as it advanced across the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese naval strategic projections.[2] Despite being one of the most powerful classes of destroyers in the world at the time of their completion, none survived the Pacific War.[3]

Asashio, built at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal was laid down on September 7, 1935, launched on December 16, 1936 and commissioned on August 31, 1937.[4] During trials, Asashio experienced steering problems and her maneuverability was unacceptable. The class was retrofitted with a redesigned stern and rudder design to resolve the problem. Other problems, chiefly involving the new and sophisticated 50,000 hp (37,000 kW) turbines, were also resolved.[5]

Operational history[]

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Asashio served as the flagship of Destroyer Division 8 (Desdiv 8), and a member of Destroyer Squadron 2 (Desron 2), escorting Admiral Nobutake Kondō's Southern Force Main Body out of Mako Guard District as distant cover to the Malaya and Philippines invasion forces in December 1941.[6] Asashio escorted a Malaya troop convoy from Mako towards Singora, then put into Hong Kong on 5 January 1942. She escorted another troop convoy to Davao, and then accompanied the Ambon invasion force (31 January), the Makassar invasion force (8 February) and the Bali/Lombok invasion force (18 February).[6]

Battle of Badung Strait[]

On the night of 19 February 1942, Asashio participated in the Battle of Badoeng Strait. Asashio was guarding the transport Sasago Maru off Bali when an Allied fleet attacked. Asashio has been credited with sinking the Dutch destroyer HNLMS Piet Hein with a torpedo, plus gunnery hits on the Dutch light cruiser HNLMS Tromp and the American destroyer USS Stewart (DD-224). Asashio suffered light damage: she was hit once with a 75 mm (3 in) shell from Tromp, losing a searchlight and four men killed, 11 wounded. She towed her damaged sister ship Michishio to Makassar after the battle.[6]

In March, Desdiv 8 returned to Yokosuka. In April, Desdiv 8 was reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 4 (Desron 4). Desron 4 sailed to Manila Bay to assist in the shelling of Corregidor in late April and May 1942, returning to Kure, before deploying to Guam.

Battle of Midway[]

At the Battle of Midway on 4–6 June 1942, Asashio and Desron 4 escorted Admiral Takeo Kurita's Support Group covering the Midway troop convoy. She suffered medium damage in air attacks on 6 June, when she was hit by one 500-lb (227 kg ) bomb, which killed 22 crewmen. She assisted her sister ship Arashio in rescuing 240 survivors from the heavy cruiser Mikuma, then escorted the crippled cruiser Mogami to Truk on 14 June. After emergency repairs by the repair ship Akashi, Asashio sailed to Sasebo for more extensive repairs on 29 June. She was then reassigned to Desdiv 8 and was based at Yokosuka Naval District.[6]

Naval battles of Guadalcanal[]

After a successful supply run to Jaluit and troop transport runs to Guadalcanal in September and October, Asashio was part of the escort for Admiral Gunichi Mikawa's Support Force during several naval battles near Guadalcanal in November, but did not see combat. On 14 November, Asashio assisted the damaged light cruiser Isuzu. Desdiv 8 then made three "Tokyo Express" troop transport runs to from Rabaul to Buna in late November and early December 1942. After the first, Asashio towed the damaged destroyer Umikaze back to Rabaul on 21 November. The third run was aborted due to Allied air attack on 8 December; Asashio was temporarily disabled by near-misses by bombs off of her stern. The division then made a successful troop transport run to Finschhafen on 18 December.[6]

On 7 January, Asashio and Desdiv 8 escorted Zuikaku, Mutsu and Suzuya from Truk to Kure, then returned to Truk. On 7 February, Desdiv 8 repeated the escort mission to Kure with the carrier Chūyō. The division then escorted another convoy from Truk to Rabaul, and a troop transport run from Rabaul to Madang and back. Desdiv 8 was assigned to Destroyer Squadron 3 of the IJN 8th Fleet on 25 February.[6]

Battle of the Bismarck Sea[]

On 3 March 1943, Asashio and Desron 3 escorted a troop convoy from Rabaul towards Lae. In the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, the convoy was hit by an Allied air attack. After weathering the first waves, Asashio was bombed and strafed later in the day while attempting to rescue survivors from the destroyers Arashio and Nojima. She was lost with all hands, approximately 45 nautical miles (83 km) southeast of Finschhafen, New Guinea at position (07°15′S 148°15′E / 7.25°S 148.25°E / -7.25; 148.25). Among the casualties was the commander of Desdiv 8, Capt. Yasuo Sato.[6]

Asashio was removed from the navy list on 1 April 1943.[7]


  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X. 
  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • Hammel, Eric (1988). Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea : The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Nov. 13–15, 1942. (CA): Pacifica Press. ISBN 0-517-56952-3. 
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1961). Aleutians, Gilberts and Marshalls, June 1942-April 1944, vol. 7 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ASIN B0007FBB8I. 
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895–1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11402-8. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Nelson, Andrew N. (1967). Japanese–English Character Dictionary. Tuttle. ISBN 0-8048-0408-7. 
  • Watts, Anthony J (1967). Japanese Warships of World War II. Doubleday. ASIN B000KEV3J8. 
  • Whitley, M J (2000). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-521-8. 

External links[]


  1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 750
  2. Peattie & Evans, Kaigun .
  3., IJN Asashio class destroyers
  4. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Asashio class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  5. Allyn D. Nevitt (1998). "Asashio class Destroyers". Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Allyn D. Nevitt (1998). "IJN Asashio: Tabular Record of Movement". Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  7. Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 

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