Shirakumo class destroyer

Shirakumo class destroyer

The nihongo|"Shirakumo"-class destroyers|白雲型駆逐艦|Shirakumogata kuchikukan was a class of two torpedo boat destroyers (TBDs) of the Imperial Japanese Navy. [ Jentsura, "Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945" ]


The "Shirakumo"-class destroyers were ordered under the 1900 fiscal budget as a follow-on to the earlier "Murakumo"-class. Both were ordered from the yard of John I. Thornycroft & Company in Chiswick, England. [Lyon, the First Destroyers, pp. 50] These were amongst the last destroyers purchased by Japan overseas; most subsequent destroyers in the Imperial Japanese Navy were either prizes of war, or were built in Japan. [ [ Nishidah's Materials of the IJN] ]


Substantially identical to the previous "Murakumo"-class, the "Shirakumo"-class was slightly larger in displacement with a slightly more powerful engine. The main difference externally between the vessels was in the design of their rudders. With the previous class, the rudder was semi-balanced, and had a portion exposed above the waterline. This made the vessel vulnerable to disablement by stray gunfire.

The design of the "Shirakumo"-class destroyers was similar to that of the two-stack torpedo boat destroyers produced by Thornycroft for the Royal Navy; (from 1913 these were grouped as the D class), also known as the “Thirty Knotters”. Both vessels had a flush deck design with a distinctive "turtleback" forecastle that was intended to clear water from the bow during high speed navigation, but was poorly designed for high waves or bad weather. The bridge and forward gun platform were barely raised above the bow, resulting in a wet conning position. More than half of the small hull was occupied by the boilers and the engine room. With fuel and weaponry, there was little space left for crew quarters.

All were powered by triple expansion steam engines for convert|7000|shp|abbr=on and had coal-fired water-tube boilers. Armament was one QF 12 pounder 12 cwt gun on a bandstand on the forecastle, five QF 6 pounder Hotchkiss (two sited abreast the conning tower, two sited between the funnels and one on the quarterdeck) and 2 single tubes for convert|18|in|mm|sing=on torpedoes. [Cocker, "Destroyers of the Royal Navy"]

Operational history

Both "Shirakumo"-class destroyers arrived in Japan in time to be used in combat service during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 and were assigned to the 4th Destroyer Squadron under Admiral Dewa Shigeto. Both played an especially distinguished role in the crucial Battle of Tsushima. [ Howarth, "The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun"]

On 1912-08-28, both vessels were re-classified as third-class destroyers and were removed from front line combat service. They were converted to auxiliary minesweepers on 1922-04-01, but were used for only a year until converted to unarmed utility vessels. [Nishida, "Imperial Japanese Navy" ]




*cite book
last = Evans
first = David
year = 1979
title = Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887–1941
publisher = US Naval Institute Press
location =
id = ISBN 0870211927

*cite book
last = Howarth
first = Stephen
year = 1983
title = The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895–1945
publisher = Atheneum
location =
id = ISBN 0689114028

*cite book
last = Jane
first = Fred T
year = 1904
title = The Imperial Japanese Navy
publisher = Thacker, Spink & Co
location =
id = ASIN: B00085LCZ4

*cite book
last = Jentsura
first = Hansgeorg
year = 1976
title = Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945
publisher = US Naval Institute Press
location =
id = ISBN 087021893X

*cite book
last = Lyon
first = David
year = 2006
title = The First Destroyers
publisher = Mercury Books
location =
id = ISBN 184560010X

*cite book
last = Cocker
first = Maurice
year = 1983
title = Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893–1981
publisher = Ian Allan
location =
id = ISBN 0-7110-1075-7

External links

*cite web
last = Nishida
first = Hiroshi
url =
title = Materials of IJN: Shirakumo class destroyer
work = Imperial Japanese Navy

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