Sunday, 22 July 2018

Badly damaged ... but still useful: Hibiki and Amatskaze

Hibiki was one of the twenty-four Fubuki-class destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the mid 1930s.

She had a very active career up until August 1944, when she was torpedoed by the submarine USS Hake whilst escorting a convoy from Takao to Manila. The damage was extensive, and her bow was blown off as far back as her first turret. She was given a temporary bow ...

... and taken back to Yokosuka where a new bow was fitted to her. Hibiki then returned to service and was still afloat when the war ended. After a period during which she acted as a disarmed repatriation vessel, she was handed over to the Soviet Navy. She was subsequently re-named twice (first she was re-named Verniy and later Dekabrist), re-armed, and eventually ended up as a barracks ship. It is thought that she was expended as a target at some time during the 1970s

Amatsukaze was one of the nineteen Kagero-class destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy during the late 1930s.

Like the Hibiki, the Amatsukaze had an active career until she was torpedoed in January 1944 whilst on convoy duty in the South China Sea. She was hit by a torpedo fired by the US submarine USS Redfin, as a result of which the forward section of her hull as far back as her aft boiler room was blown off. The aft section of the ship remained afloat and was towed to Saigon for temporary repairs before going to Singapore for a more extensive reconstruction.

The reconstruction the Amatsukaze underwent was drastic, and involved the fitting of a V-shaped bow that resulted in the ship being much shorter than it had been. A new bridge was added where the former forward torpedo tubes had originally been sited, and her anti-aircraft armament was enhanced.

She was re-classified as an escort, and it was whilst performing that duty that she was attacked and sunk by US aircraft on 6th April 1945.


  1. Replies
    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      The Imperial Japanese Navy had plans to use the shortened vessel as the prototype for a new class of escorts, but the plans came to nothing.

      All the best,