Fubuki Class, Japanese Destroyers

IJN Amagiri,
                  a Fubuki-class destroyer

Naval Historical Center #NH 83011

Schematic of Fubuki-class

ONI 41-42



2090 tons standard displacement


388'6" by 34' by 10'6"
118.41m by 10.36m by 3.20m

Maximum speed      

34 knots




3x2 5"/50 dual-purpose guns
2x2 25mm/60 AA guns
3x3 24" Long Lance torpedo tubes; reloads for center bank only
2 depth charge throwers (18 depth charges)
2-shaft Kampon impulse geared turbine (50,000 shp)
4 Kampon RO boilers


475 tons fuel oil


5000 nautical miles (9300km) at 14 knots

1942-1943: Two more depth charge throwers added and depth charge loadout increased to 36. One dual 5" mount replaced by 1x2, 4x3 25mm guns and 4x1 13mm/76 AA guns

1944: Another 8x1 25mm guns and up to 6 13mm guns added. Type 13 radar began to be fitted towards the end of the war.

The Fubukis were completed in 1928-32, primarily in naval yards. They created a sensation with their numerous innovations, which included powerful enclosed twin gun armament, sophisticated directors, and enclosed bridges. The official history of the Japanese naval armament program even claimed that construction was briefly suspended in 1929 lest the other powers be provoked into constructing similar destroyers of their own. Less noticed was the Fubuki's 24” (61cm) torpedo armament, 3” (76mm) larger than the standard for other nations, which accounted for most of the increase in displacement over earlier classes. However, these were not originally the deadly Long Lance torpedoes, which were not shipped until much later. These features came at the cost of compromising stability and strength, with much of the superstructure built of aluminum alloy instead of steel.

The design was constrained by the naval disarmament treaties, under which Japan could build an aggregate 201,600 tons of destroyers. Navy planners estimated that 144 destroyers were needed, which meant their individual displacement should be about 1400 tons. It was possible to build an adequate destroyer on this displacement, but Japanese commitment to a qualitative superiority over the Western navies led to the final 1750 ton design. Since the total number of Japanese destroyers never approached 144, the large displacement did not become an issue. These "Special Type" destroyers were build over a five-year period, resulting in an unusual degree of inhomogeneity within the class.

After the Tomozuru Incident, in which a destroyer capsized in a typhoon, and the Fourth Fleet Incident, in which another typhoon damaged virtually every ship in the Fourth Fleet, the Japanese saw a need to strengthen their ship designs. The Fubukis accordingly were reconstructed in 1935-1937 by lowering their center of gravity, extensively riveting and rewelding the hulls, and replacing the original turrets with a lighter model with a maximum elevation of only 55 degrees. This eliminated what little antiaircraft capability the main battery had, increased the displacement to 2090 tons, and lowered their speed by a knot, but strengthened the ships enough that they became excellent combat units.

Units in the Pacific:


at Hashirajima

Sunk by aircraft 1941-11-13 at Cavite


with Singora Attack Force

Mined 1944-4-23 off Makassar


with Singora Attack Force

Sunk by aircraft 1942-8-28 near Guadalcanal


with Kota Baharu Attack Force

Crippled by gunfire and scuttled 1942-11-15 near Guadalcanal


with Main Body

Sunk by gunfire 1942-10-11 near Guadalcanal


with Main Body

Sunk by aircraft 1943-7-17 at Kahili
Isonami with Singora Attack Force Torpedoed 1943-4-9 near Wangiwangi Island by Tautog
Murakumo with Kota Baharu Attack Force Crippled by aircraft and scuttled 1942-10-12 near Guadalcanal
Oboro with Guam Invasion Force Sunk by aircraft 1942-10-17 off Kiska
Sagiri with Main Body Torpedoed 1941-12-24 near Kuching by K-XVI
Sazaname with Midway Neutralization Force Torpedoed 1944-1-14 near Yap by Albacore
Shikiname with Kota Baharu Attack Force Torpedoed 1944-9-12  in South China Sea by Growler
Shinonome       with Kota Baharu Attack Force Sunk by aircraft 1941-12-17 off Miri
Shirakumo with Kota Baharu Attack Force Torpedoed 1944-3-16 off Hokkaido by Tautog
Shirayuki with Main Body Sunk by aircraft 1943-3-3 in Bismarck Sea
Uranami with Kota Baharu Attack Force Sunk by aircraft 1944-10-26 off Iloilo
Ushio with Midway Neutralization Force     

Usugumo 1941-6-20 (Maizuru) Torpedoed 1944-7-5 in Kuriles by Skate
Yugiri with Singora Attack Force Sunk by gunfire 1943-11-25 in Solomons

Photo Gallery

Fubuki-class destroyer, forward view

Wikimedia Commons

Profile view of Fubuki-class destroyer

Wikimedia Commons

Aft view of Fubuki-class destroyer

Wikimedia Commons

ONI page on Fubuki class

ONI 41-42

ONI page on Fubuki class

ONI 41-42

ONI page on Fubuki class

ONI 41-42

References (accessed 2007-12-12)

Gogin (2010; accessed 2013-2-8)

Morison (1948)

Osborne (2005)

Whitley (1988)

Worth (2001)

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