SHIPS-IN-CLASS (19): IJN Kagero; IJN Shiranui; IJN Kuroshio; IJN Oyashio; IJN Hayashio; IJN Natsushio; IJN Hatsukaze; IJN Yukikaze; IJN Amatsukaze; IJN Tokitsukaze; IJN Urakaze; IJN Isokaze; IJN Hamakaze; IJN Tanikaze; IJN Nowaki; IJN Arashi; IJN Hagikaze; IJN Maikaze; IJN Akigumo
OPERATORS: Imperial Japan
PROPULSION: 2 x Steam turbines developing 52,000 horsepower to 2 x shafts.
Detailing the development and operational history of the IJN Isokaze Destroyer Warship.
Entry last updated on 11/1/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
As an island nation, it behooved Japanese warplanners to embark upon a massive naval-building campaign in the run up to World War 2. Ordered in 1937, Isokaze was one of the nineteen-strong destroyers of the Kagero-class serving the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Her keel waslaid down on November 25th, 1938 and she was officially launched on June 19th, 1939. Commissioned on November 30th, 1940, Isokaze managed a wartime service career up to the end of the fighting in 1945 - though she was heavily damaged before being scuttled during the IJN Yamato's suicide mission against the Americans at Okinawa on April 7th, 1945.
As completed, the vessel displaced 2,530 tons (short) and was given a length of 388.8 feet, a beam of 35.4 feet, and a draught of 12.5 feet. Her machinery included two steam turbines developing 52,000 horsepower and driving two shafts. This made the Isokaze a fast warship, capable of 35 knot speeds in ideal conditions - a key quality for destroyer types. Her full complement numbered 239 officers and sailors and her profile included a turret over the forecastle, a bridge superstructure just aft of the turret, an in line pair of smoke funnels near amidships, and additional turrets fitted towards the stern. A long and slender vessel, Isokaze held a rather low profile which helped her blend in well along the horizon.
At the heart of every destroyer was its armament suite. However, destroyers also required speed to be wholly effective which limited the caliber of arms fitted. Her main battery was still rather formidable, made up of 6 x 5" (127mm) guns which allowed lethal broadsides as well as attack angles from over the bow and the stern (lethality here to a lesser degree). She was defensed by 28 x 25mm anti-aircraft cannons while extreme-close-in work was handled through 4 x 13mm heavy machine guns. Like other surface fighting warships of the period, Isokaze was also outfitted with torpedo tubes, these being 8 x 24" (610mm) installations, a larger type compared to the typical 21"/533mm tubes found on other vessels of the war. Isokaze could also take on a convoy protection / submarine hunter role by carrying 36 depth charges into battle.
Put to sea without sonar or radar held the Isokaze and her class at a clear disadvantage against the British and the American warships operating in the Pacific Theater. Regardless, the class found a good level of success through their perfect combination of speed and firepower. Their hulls were well-designed for the rigors of rough seas travel and range proved impressive, allowing her to keep up with far-reaching patrols against marauding enemy submarines.
Isokaze managed a wartime career from its early days until its final few months. On April of 1945, she was part of the escorting flotilla assigned to protect IJN Yamato on its suicidal run towards Okinawa. Spotted by the Americans, the group was attacked by air elements of Task Force 58 with Isokaze receiving irreparable damage. The vessel was scuttled and her participation in the grand war forever ended. Yamato herself never reached her designation either, sunk on the same day by American aircraft.
In a telling statistic of the Allied ferocity and operating prowess in the Pacific Theater, all but one of the nineteen Kagero-class ships survived the war. The only surviving vessel became IJN Yukikaze which then went on to serve the nation of Taiwan until decommissioned in 1966.