Japanese destroyer Yamagumo (1937)

Yamagumo (山雲, Mountain Cloud)[1] was the sixth of ten Asashio-class destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the mid-1930s under the Circle Two Supplementary Naval Expansion Program (Maru Ni Keikaku).

Yamagumo underway on 15 September 1939.
Empire of Japan
Name: Yamagumo
Ordered: 1934 Maru-2 Program
Builder: Fujinagata Shipyards
Laid down: 4 November 1936
Launched: 24 July 1937
Commissioned: 15 January 1938
Stricken: 10 January 1945
Fate: Sunk in action, 25 October 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: Asashio-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,370 long tons (2,408 t)
  • 111 m (364 ft) pp
  • 115 m (377 ft 4 in)waterline
  • 118.3 m (388 ft 1 in) OA
Beam: 10.3 m (33 ft 10 in)
Draft: 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2-shaft geared turbine, 3 boilers, 50,000 shp (37,285 kW)
Speed: 35 knots (40 mph; 65 km/h)
  • 5,700 nmi (10,600 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
  • 960 nmi (1,780 km) at 34 kn (63 km/h)
Complement: 200


The Asashio-class destroyers were larger and more capable that the preceding Shiratsuyu-class, as Japanese naval architects were no longer constrained by the provisions of the London Naval Treaty. These light cruiser-sized vessels were designed to take advantage of Japan’s lead in torpedo technology, and to accompany the Japanese main striking force and in both day and night attacks against the United States Navy as it advanced across the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese naval strategic projections.[2] Despite being one of the most powerful classes of destroyers in the world at the time of their completion, none survived the Pacific War.[3]

Yamagumo, built at the Fujinagata Shipyards was laid down on 4 November 1936, launched on 24 July 1937 and commissioned on 15 January 1938.[4]

Operational historyEdit

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Yamagumo, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Yasuji Koga, was flagship of the 3rd Special Attack Force in the invasion of the Philippines, covering landings at Camiguin Island and Lingayen. However, on 31 December, she suffered severe damage after striking a Japanese naval mine. She was towed to Hong Kong for repairs in early February, and then limped to Yokosuka Naval Arsenal by 7 April. She remained under repair until 15 May 1942 but remained based at Yokosuka through the end of August 1942. She made one escort mission to Saipan at the end of December 1942. In February 1943, while attempting to escort Tatsuta Maru to Truk, she was unable to prevent the former luxury liner from being torpedoed by the submarine USS Tarpon with the loss of 1,400 lives just east-southeast of Mikurajima.

On 15 September 1943 Yamagumo was assigned to the IJN 3rd Fleet, and escorted a convoy from Shanghai to Rabaul, returning to Shanghai on 18 October. She duplicated the mission in November, after which she was assigned to escort the submarine tender Chōgei and cruiser Kashima from Truk to Kure. On 19 November 1943, she sank the submarine USS Sculpin with depth charges. The 42 survivors were rescued and taken as prisoners-of-war (POWs), then were transferred to the escort carrier Chūyō, until she was sunk by the submarine USS Sailfish, in which 20 out of 21 went down with the ship. Only 1 was rescued and returned to Japan along with the other 21 survivors aboard Unyō to serve as POWs until the end of the war.

Subsequently, she was assigned to escort the tanker Nippon Maru in the Marshall Islands area. In December, she returned to Japan with Kongō and Chōgei, returning to Truk in the company of the battleship Yamato at the end of the year.

On 1 January 1944 she suffered light damage when strafed during a Tokyo Express troop transport mission to Kavieng. She was escort for the tanker Kokuyo Maru in January, and made three additional troop transport runs in the Solomon Islands area in February. On 23 February, she returned to Yokosuka together with the transport Asaka Maru. While at Yokosuka, she was overhauled, and one of her main gun turrets was replaced by two triple Type 96 AA guns.

In early April, she escorted the aircraft carrier Zuihō to Guam, and back to Kure. In May, she escorted the carriers Jun'yō, Hiyō and Ryūhō to Tawitawi, and the battleships Yamato and Musashi to Biak. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea of 10–20 June 1944, she was part of Admiral Takatsugu Jōjima’s “Force B”, but did not see combat.

During the Battle of Leyte Gulf of 22–25 October 1944 she was part of Admiral Shōji Nishimura’s “Southern Force”. In the Battle of Surigao Strait, she was hit by torpedoes fired by the destroyer USS McDermut, and exploded, sinking at position 10°25′N 125°23′E / 10.417°N 125.383°E / 10.417; 125.383Coordinates: 10°25′N 125°23′E / 10.417°N 125.383°E / 10.417; 125.383.[5] There were only two survivors.[6] She was removed from the navy list on 10 January 1945.


Yamagumo's wreck was discovered along with sister Michishio on 27 November 2017 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's research ship RV Petrel. Both wrecks are 1 mile (1.6 km) apart in 380 ft (117 m) of water. Both wrecks were heavily encrusted with marine growth, which combined with their close proximity, made it impossible to distinguish the two ships.[7]


  1. ^ Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. page 346, 942
  2. ^ Peattie & Evans, Kaigun .
  3. ^ Globalsecurity.org, IJN Asashio class destroyers
  4. ^ Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Asashio class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
  5. ^ Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X.
  6. ^ IJN Yamagumo: Tabular Record of Movement.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-08-15. Retrieved 2018-10-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


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