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Japanese destroyer Yamagumo (1937)
Yamagumo underway on September 15, 1939.
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Yamagumo
Ordered: 1934 Maru-2 Program
Builder: Fujinagata Shipyards
Laid down: November 4, 1936
Launched: July 24, 1937
Commissioned: January 15, 1938
Struck: January 10, 1945
Fate: Sunk in action, October 25, 1944
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
118.3 m (388 ft 1 in) OA
Beam: 10.3 m (33 ft 10 in)
Draft: 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2-shaft geared turbine, 3 boilers, 50,000 shp (37,285 kW)
Speed: 35 knots (40 mph; 65 km/h)
Range: 5,700 nmi (10,600 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
960 nmi (1,780 km) at 34 kn (63 km/h)
Complement: 200
Armament: • 6 × 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 DP guns
• up to 28 × Type 96 AA guns
• up to 4 × Type 93 AA guns
• 8 × 24 in (610 mm) torpedo tubes
• 36 depth charges

Yamagumo (山雲 Mountain Cloud?)[1] was the sixth of ten Asashio-class destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the mid-1930s under the Circle Two Supplementary Naval Expansion Program (Maru Ni Keikaku).


The Asashio 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]

Yamagumo, built at the Fujinagata Shipyards was laid down on November 4, 1936, launched on July 24, 1937 and commissioned on January 15, 1938.[4]

Operational history[]

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Yamagumo, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Yasuji Koga, was flagship of the 3rd Special Attack Force in the invasion of the Philippines, covering landings at Camiguin Island and Lingayen. However, on December 31, she suffered severe damage after striking a Japanese naval mine. She was towed to Hong Kong for repairs in early February, and then limped to Yokosuka Naval Arsenal by April 7. She remained under repair until May 15, 1942 but remained based at Yokosuka through the end of August 1943. She made one escort mission to Saipan at the end of December 1942. In February 1943, while attempting to escort Tatsuta Maru to Truk, she was unable to prevent the former luxury liner from being torpedoed by USS Tarpon (SS-175) with the loss of 1400 lives just east-southeast of Mikurajima.

On September 15, 1943 Yamagumo was assigned to the IJN 3rd Fleet, and escorted a convoy from Shanghai to Rabaul, returning to Shanghai on October 18. She duplicated the mission in November, after which she was assigned to escort the submarine tender Chōgei and Kashima from Truk to Kure. On November 19, 1943, she sank USS Sculpin (SS-191) with depth charges. The 42 survivors were rescued and taken as POWs, then was transferred to the escort carrier Chūyō, until she was sunk by USS Sailfish (SS-192), in which 20 out of 21 went down with the ship. Only 1 was rescued and returned to Japan along with the other 21 survivors aboard Unyō to serve as POWs until the end of the war.

Subsequently, she was assigned to escort the tanker Nippon Maru in the Marshall Islands area. In December, she returned to Japan with Kongō and Chōgei, returning to Truk in the company of Yamato at the end of the year.

On January 1, 1944 she suffered light damage when strafed during a Tokyo Express troop transport mission to Kavieng. She was escort for the tanked Kokuyo Maru in January, and made three additional troop transport runs in the Solomon Islands area in February. On February 23, she returned to Yokosuka together with the transport Asaka Maru. While at Yokosuka, she was overhauled, and one of her main gun turrets was replaced by two triple Type 96 AA guns.

In early April, she escorted Zuihō to Guam, and back to Kure. In May, she escorted Jun'yō, Hiyō and Ryūhō to Tawitawi, and Yamato and Musashi to Biak. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea of June 10–20, 1944, she was part of Admiral Takatsugu Jōjima’s “Force B”, but did not see combat.

During the Battle of Leyte Gulf of October 22–25, 1944 she was part of Admiral Shōji Nishimura’s “Southern Force”. In the Battle of Surigao Strait, she was hit by torpedoes fired by USS McDermut (DD-677), and exploded, sinking with all hands at position 10°25′N 125°23′E / 10.417°N 125.383°E / 10.417; 125.383 .[5] She was removed from the navy list on January 10, 1945.


  • 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. 
  • 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 346, 942
  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. Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 

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