Japanese destroyer Ayanami (1929)


Japanese destroyer Ayanami (1929)

The "Ayanami" (綾波) was a Type II Fubuki class destroyer in the Imperial Japanese Navy that saw service during World War II. She was laid down at Fujinagata shipyard on January 20, 1928 under the temporary designation Destroyer N°45. However later that year, she inherited the name of her predecessor on August 1 before her launch on October 5 1929. "Ayanami" was the namesake for the Type II model. As such, she was the first in her class to sport a modified Model 'B' 5" gun turret which could elevate to 75° as opposed to the original 40°. Sunk during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, her wreck remains off the southeast coast of Savo Island in Ironbottom Sound.

World War II

During World War II, the "Ayanami" was captained by Commander Sakuma Eiji and assigned to Destroyer Division 19, Squadron 3 of the first fleet.

*On December 19 1941, the "Ayanami" assisted her sister ships the "Uranami" and the "Yugiri" in the sinking of the Dutch submarine "O-20".

*On March 23 1942, "Ayanami" provided close cover for the Invasion of the Andaman Islands.

*On June 4 and June 5 1942, the "Ayanami" participated in the Battle of Midway by escorting Admiral Yamamoto's Main Body.

Guadalcanal

The "Ayanami"'s final mission, on November 14 and November 15 1942, was that of the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. There, she was attached to a scouting force under the command of Rear Admiral Shintarō Hashimoto in the light cruiser "Sendai". When American Admiral Willis A. Lee's Task Force 64 was spotted near Savo Island, Hashimoto took his ships clockwise around the island, but sent "Ayanami" alone in the opposite direction sweeping for enemy vessels. When Lee's ships were located, the order to attack was given, and as such, "Ayanami" became one of three prongs in the initial attack (Along with Hashimoto's group, and another group led by Rear Admiral Susumu Kimura in the light cruiser "Nagara").

The Ayanami was first sighted by the American destroyer "Walke", but the light cruiser "Nagara" was located soon after and the four destroyers' attentions shifted to it. Fire from "Ayanami", "Nagara", and the "Uranami" would sink two of the four destroyers (the "Preston" and the "Walke"), mortally wound the "Benham" (which would be scuttled after the battle), and severely damage the "Gwin", causing heavy American losses in the first phase of the battle. Ayanami would also cause minor damage to the Battleship "South Dakota".

Battleship "Washington" then sighted "Ayanami" and shelled her. The destroyer sustained critical damage and 40 of her crew were killed. Thirty surviving crewmen including Commander Sakuma escaped in a boat to Guadalcanal, and the remainder evacuated to the "Uranami".

Later in the night, "Uranami" scuttled the abandoned "Ayanami" with a single torpedo, and she sank soon after 2 a.m. Her wreck remains at the bottom of Ironbottom Sound.

The Shipwreck

In late July 1992, famed marine archeologist Robert Ballard led an expedition to Ironbottom Sound and found among thirteen newly discovered shipwrecks, the remains of the "Ayanami". The site was located southeast of Savo Island at coord|9|10|S|159|52|E|type:landmark_region:SB|display=inline,title at a depth of approximately 700 meters. The hull and keel of the ship appear to have been broken by a starboard torpedo blast just behind the bridge. As such, the ship came to rest in two pieces. The stern remains upright, and the bow has twisted and is lying on its starboard side.

Commanding Officers

The "Ayanami" in pop culture

* The character Rei Ayanami in the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion is named after this ship.

See also

See Japanese destroyer "Ayanami" for other ships of this name.

References

* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/ayanam_t.htm Long Lancers: IJN "Ayanami": Tabular Record of Movement]
* [http://navalhistory.flixco.info/H/104988x53053/8330/a0.htm "Ayanami" in Naval History of World Wars]
* [http://www.lemaire.happyhost.org/ship/+navires3/3638.html#300118 LemaireSoft's "Ayanami" N°45]
* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/atully08.htm Located/Surveyed Shipwrecks of the Imperial Japanese Navy]
* [http://www.warshipsww2.eu/shipsplus.php?language=E&period=&id=61141 Warships of World War II: Ayanami]


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