Akizuki Class, Japanese Destroyers

Photograph of Akizuki, Japanese destroyer

Wikimedia Commons

Schematic of Akizuki, Japanese destroyer

ONI 41-42



2701 tons standard displacement


440'2" by 38'1" by 13'7"
134.16m by 11.61m by 4.14m

Maximum speed      

33 knots




4x2 3.9"/65 AA guns
2x2 25mm/60 machine guns
1x4 Long Lance torpedo tubes (4 reloads)
6 depth charge throwers (72 depth charges)
2-shaft Kampon geared turbines (52,000 shp)
3 Kampon boilers


1097 tons fuel oil


8300 miles at 18 knots
Sensors Niizuki was the first Japanese destroyer equipped with radar when she was commissioned, likely Type 21 and 22
Modifications Additional 25mm machine guns began to be shipped in 1943, and some units had a total of 6x3, 30x1 25mm machine guns by the time the war ended.

The Akizukis (transliterated Akitsukis by some authors) were completed between 1942 and 1945. A total of 54 were ordered, starting with six in 1939, ten in 1941, and 38 in 1942, but the straining Japanese economy was unable to complete more than twelve before the end of the war, and the 1942 and last four 1941 units were cancelled.

The Akizukis were very modern ships, designed specifically as escort vessels, with a much better antiaircraft battery than most Japanese ships: eight 3.9”/65 AA guns, the most effective antiaircraft gun shipped by the Imperial Navy during the war, in dual mounts with separate fore and aft directors. The light antiaircraft battery (two twin 25mm guns) had an unusually good director, the Type 94. A single bank of torpedoes (with four torpedo reloads) and depth charges were added later in the design process to give them more general capability than a pure antiaircraft vessel.

They were nearly as large as the Yubari light cruiser class, with remarkable range and toughness, but they were somewhat limited in speed compared with other destroyers. Nevertheless, they were probably the finest Japanese destroyer design.

Completed after war broke out, the ships were known to Allied intelligence as the Terutzuki class. Armament was estimated as 4x2 5" guns and three torpedo tubes, not wildly off the mark.

Units in the Pacific:


completed 1942-6-11 (Maizuru Sunk by aircraft 1944-10-25 during the Battle of Cape Engano


completed 1942-8-31 (Nagasaki) Torpedoed 1942-12-12 by PT-37 and PT-40 off Guadalcanal


completed 1942-12-20 (Nagasaki)     


completed 1942-12-29 (Maizuru) Sunk by gunfire 1944-10-25 during the Battle of Cape Engano
Niizuki completed 1943-3-31 (Nagasaki) Sunk by gunfire 1943-7-6 at Kula Gulf
Wakatsuki completed 1943-5-31 (Nagasaki) Sunk by aircraft 1944-11-11 off Ormoc


completed 1944-3-31 (Nagasaki) Torpedoed 1944-11-25 by Cavalla 220 miles ENE of Singapore


completed 1944-5-25 (Maizuru)


completed 1944-12-26 (Maizuru)


completed 1944-12-28 (Sasebo)
Yoizuki completed 1945-1-31 (Tokyo)


completed 1945-4/8 (Sasebo)

Photo Gallery

Akizuki-class destroyer seen bow on


Overhead view of Akizuki class destroyer

U.S. Navy

Akizuki-class destroyer turret


Akizuki-class destroyer radar sets


Akizuki blowing up

U.S. Navy

ONI recognition page for"Terutzuki" (Akizuki)  class destroyer

U.S. Navy

References (accessed 2007-3-29)

Evans and Peattie (1997)

Whitley (1988)

Worth (2001)

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