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Japanese destroyer Murakumo (1928)
Career Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
Name: Murakumo
Owner: Empire of Japan
Operator: Imperial Japanese Navy
Ordered: 1923 Fiscal Year
Builder: Fujinagata Shipyards
Yard number: Destroyer No.39
Laid down: 25 April 1927
Launched: 27 September 1928
Commissioned: 10 May 1929
Struck: 15 November 1942
Fate: Sunk in action, 12 October 1942
General characteristics
Class & type: Fubuki-class destroyer
Type: Destroyer
  • 1,750 long tons (1,780 t) standard
  • 2,050 long tons (2,080 t) re-built
  • 111.96 m (367.3 ft) pp
  • 115.3 m (378 ft) waterline
  • 118.41 m (388.5 ft) overall
  • Beam: 10.4 m (34 ft 1 in)
    Draft: 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)
    • 4 × Kampon type boilers
    • 2 × Kampon Type Ro geared turbines
    • 2 × shafts at 50,000 ihp (37,000 kW)
    Speed: 38 knots (44 mph; 70 km/h)
    Range: 5,000 nmi (9,300 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
    Complement: 219
    Service record
    Operations: Second Sino-Japanese War
    Invasion of French Indochina
    Battle of Malaya
    Battle of Sunda Strait
    Indian Ocean raid
    Battle of Midway
    Solomon Islands campaign
    Guadalcanal campaign
    Battle of Cape Esperance

    Murakumo (叢雲 ”Massed Clouds”?) was a Fubuki class [1] was the fifth of twenty-four Fubuki-class destroyers, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy following World War I. When introduced into service, these ships were the most powerful destroyers in the world.[2] They served as first-line destroyers through the 1930s, and remained formidable weapons systems well into the Pacific War.


    Construction of the advanced Fubuki-class destroyers was authorized as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy's expansion program from fiscal 1923, intended to give Japan a qualitative edge with the world's most modern ships.[3] The Fubuki-class had performance that was a quantum leap over previous destroyer designs, so much so that they were designated Special Type destroyers (特型 Tokugata?). The large size, powerful engines, high speed, large radius of action and unprecedented armament gave these destroyers the firepower similar to many light cruisers in other navies.[4] Murakumo, built at the Fujinagata Shipyards in Osaka was laid down on April 25, 1927, launched on September 27, 1928 and commissioned on May 10, 1929.[5] Originally assigned hull designation “Destroyer No. 39”, she was completed as Murakumo.

    Operational history[]

    On completion, Murakumo was assigned to Destroyer Division 12 under the IJN 2nd Fleet. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Murakumo was assigned to patrols of the central China coast, and participated in the Invasion of French Indochina in 1940.

    World War II history[]

    At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Murakumo was assigned to Destroyer Division 12 of Desron 3 of the IJN 1st Fleet, and had deployed from Kure Naval District to the port of Samah on Hainan Island. From 4 December to 12 December, she covered Japanese landings at Kota Bharu in Malaya. From 16 December, Murakumo was assigned to cover Japanese landings during "Operation B" in British Borneo. During this operation, Murakumo engaged the Dutch submarine K-XVI with depth charges after the submarine had torpedoed Sagiri. Although Murakumo claimed credit for sinking K-XVI, credit was later awarded to submarine I-66.

    In February 1942, Murakumo was part of the escort for the heavy cruiser Chōkai during "Operation L", the invasion of Banka-Palembang and Anambas Islands. Murakumo joined the Western Java invasion force, and was in the Battle of Sunda Strait on 1 March, assisting in the sinking of the Australian cruiser HMAS Perth and the American cruiser USS Houston.[6] On 10 March, Murakumo was reassigned to Destroyer Division 20 of Desron3 of the IJN 1st Fleet, and subsequently was involved in "Operation T" (the invasion of northern Sumatra) on 12 March and the "Operation D", (the invasion of the Andaman Islands) on 23 March. From 13–22 April Murakumo returned via Singapore and Camranh Bay to Kure Naval Arsenal, for maintenance.[7]

    On 4–5 June 1942, Murakumo participated in the Battle of Midway as part of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s main fleet.

    In July 1942, Murakumo sailed from Amami-Oshima to Mako Guard District, Singapore, Sabang and Mergui for a projected second Indian Ocean raid. The operation was cancelled due to the Guadalcanal campaign, and Murakumo was ordered to Truk instead. From August onwards, Murakumo was used for "Tokyo Express" high speed transport missions in the Solomon Islands. On one of this missions, on 4–5 September, Murakumo assisted in sinking the USS Gregory (APD-3) and USS Little (APD-4).[8]

    On another mission on 11–12 October 1942, as Murakumo was attempting to assist Japanese cruiser Furutaka in aftermath of the Battle of Cape Esperance, she was attacked by Allied aircraft. Three near-misses, a torpedo hit and then a bomb hit left the ship unmaneuverable and aflame, with 22 crewmen dead. Shirayuki rescued survivors, including Murakumo skipper Lieutenant Commander Higashi, then scuttled Murakumo with a torpedo 90 nautical miles (170 km) west-northwest of Savo Island at position 08°40′S 159°20′E / 8.667°S 159.333°E / -8.667; 159.333Coordinates: 08°40′S 159°20′E / 8.667°S 159.333°E / -8.667; 159.333.[9]

    On 15 November 1942, Murakumo was removed from the navy list.[10]


    • 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. 
    • Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1. 
    • 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. 
    • Kilpatrick, C. W. (1987). Naval Night Battles of the Solomons. Exposition Press. ISBN 0-682-40333-4. 
    • 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 79
    2. "IJN Fubuki class destroyers". 
    3. Fitzsimons, Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare p.1040
    4. Peattie & Evans, Kaigun page 221-222.
    5. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Fubuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
    6. Muir.Order of Battle - The Battle of the Sunda Strait 1942
    7. Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Murakumo: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. 
    8. Brown. Warship Losses of World War Two
    9. D'Albas. Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II.
    10. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Fubuki class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 

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