AKATSUKI アカツキ and KAGERO カゲロ classes
It is worthy of note that in the 'Fubukis' the Japanese had destroyers of a specification superior to that of the British T class, yet a full decade earlier. This sudden leap in capability was bound to bring problems, as succeeding classes demonstrated. The four 'Akatsuki' class ships of 1931-3 kept the same arrangement on a slightly shorter hull but reduced the forward funnel to a thick pipe to save topweight, with lightweight masting and a reduction in depth charges. The Hibiki of this group was the first all-welded Japanese destroyer.
In the six 'Hatsuhara' class ships that followed, length was again cut, along with one 127-mm (5-in) gun and a set of torpedo tubes with reloads; installed power and speed were also reduced as designers wrestled with London Treaty restrictions. They were largely repeated with the 10 'Shiratsuyu' class ships, which again experienced a reduction in length, yet succeeded in increasing the torpedo armament to eight 610-mm (24-in) torpedoes with the usual set of reload weapons. The 10 'Asashio' class ships of 1937 were late enough to bypass lip service to treaties and returned to a size and armament almost identical with the 'Fubukis' of nearly a decade before. That this basic design was still relevant was underscored by recognizing it as the basis of the necessary expansion in destroyers on the lead-up to war. Thus 18 more destroyers, nearly identical, but proportionately beamier and known as the 'Kagero' class, were put into the water between 1938 and 1941.
Their main characteristics were little different from those of the 'Fubukis', with superimposed twin gunhouses aft and one forward, the latter separated from the blockhouse of a bridge by a distinctive gap, which allowed very wide arcs. Both sets of torpedo tubes could be reloaded rapidly from low stowages flanking the forward funnel and in the after deckhouse. A 20-ship repeat class, the 'Yugumo' class, followed in 1941-3.
The Japanese destroyer fleet was designed for surface action and had to be hastily modified for AA and ASW operations. The Natsushio was one of the very early losses when sunk by the veteran American submarine USS 537 during the operation to take Makassar. Two more, the Arashi and Hagikaze, were sunk by a total of five torpedo hits when the Tokyo Express' had the tables turned on it at Velia Lavella in August 1943. The other 'Kageros' were the Amatsukaze, Hamakaze, Hatsukaze, Hayashio, Isokaze, Kagero, Kuroshio, Maikaze, Nowake, Oyashio, Shiranuki, Tanikaze, Tokitsukaze, Urakaze and Yukikaze.
Specification 'Kagero' class (as built)
Displacement: 2,035 tons standard and 2,490 tons full load
Dimensions: length 118.45 m (388.6 ft);
beam 10.8 m (35.4 ft); draught 3.76 m (12.3 ft)
Propulsion: two sets of geared steam turbines delivering 38776 kW (52,000 shp) to two shafts
Speed: 35 kts
Endurance: 9250 km (5,748 miles) at15 kts
Armament: three twin 127-mm (5-in) and two twin 25-mm AA guns,
and two quadruple 610-mm (24-in) torpedo tube mountings