Japanese destroyer Amagiri


Japanese destroyer Amagiri

The "Amagiri" (天霧 "Misty Rain") was one of 20 Fubuki class destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. She was laid down at the Ishikawajima dockyard at Tokyo, Japan on 28 November 1928, launched 27 February 1930, and commissioned 10 November 1930. She is most famous for ramming the "PT-109" commanded by future President John F. Kennedy.

The "Amagiri" took part in combat training in the early 1930s. In 1934 she was slightly damaged in a storm along with several other Imperial Japanese Navy ships in the Korea Strait. This destroyer took part in the Second Sino-Japanese War in the late 1930s and was assigned to the 20th Destroyer Division. She took part in the successful Japanese landing at Songkhla, Thailand in December 1941. In January 1942, she engaged two British destroyers off the coast of Malaya and sank HMS "Thanet". In February 1942, the "Amagiri" supported Japanese landings in Java. In April 1942, the "Amagiri" was assigned to the Southern Group of the Supporting Force in Operation C which was a major raid on allied shipping along the east coast of India. On 6 April 1942, the "Amagiri", along with the cruisers "Mikuma" and "Mogami" sank three allied merchant ships along the Indian coast. Later in the spring of 1942, she was assigned to Admiral Yamamoto's main body at the Battle of Midway. In August 1942, the ship was transferred to the Solomon Islands area to oppose the American landings on Guadalcanal. She was very active during the Battle of Guadalcanal and the Central Solomons Campaign and participated in the Battle of Kula Gulf.

John F. Kennedy and the PT-109

:"See main article Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109"

On 2 August 1943 the ship was used as a fast transport. She was returning on a night reinforcement run as part of the Tokyo Express to Vila when she rammed and sank the future U.S. President John F. Kennedy's "PT-109" torpedo boat. Many believe that the ship was not even aware of the "PT-109", which was difficult to see because of its small size and lack of lights. However, Robert J. Donovan in his book "PT 109: John F. Kennedy in WWII", after interviewing many of the crew, concludes that it was not an accident, and he talked to the man at the wheel who was ordered to steer for a collision course. "Amagiri" also engaged other PT boats in the Blackett Strait south of Kolombangara.Lt. Cmdr. Kouhei Hanami who commanded the Amagiri at that time, attended President Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.

Popular culture

This incident would be publicized in a book, movie and even a hit song as "the Jap destroyer in the night, cut the 109 in two", making it probably the only Japanese ship to ever hit the top ten of the American top 40 charts.

Late missions

On the night of 24-25 November 1943, the "Amagiri" was on a reinforcement mission to Bougainville when she became involved in the Battle of Cape St. George. The ship escaped the pursuing American destroyers led by Captain Arleigh Burke. On 23 April 1944, while cruising near Borneo, the "Amagiri" struck a Naval mine and sank.

Commanding officers

References

* Robert J. Donovan, "PT 109: John F. Kennedy in WWII" (1961) ISBN 0-07-137643-7. Donovan interviewed much of the original crew in Japan.
* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/amagir_t.htm Long Lancers: IJN "Amagiri": Tabular Record of Movement]
* [http://navalhistory.flixco.info/G/105008x9/8330/a0.htm "Amagiri" in Naval History of World Wars]
* [http://www.lemaire.happyhost.org/ship/+navires3/3638.html#300052 LemaireSoft's "Amagiri", N°49]
* Duane T. Hove, "American Warriors: Five Presidents in the Pacific Theater of World War II" (2003) ISBN 1-57249-307-0


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