@Updated - January 11, 2012 - Allyn Nevitt
@Enhanced - Anthony Tully with Allyn Nevitt - September 2014
Name Translation: "Autumn Moon"
11 June 1942:
Completed at Maizuru. Ship's captain: Commander Koga Yasuji  (prev. C.O. YAMAGUMO). Proceeds next day to Kure.
Departed Kure, with OBORO escorting ZUIKAKU to Northern Area in expectation of U.S. counterattack in the Aleutians.
Arrived at Ominato. Departed same day with OBORO.
1800: Arrived with OBORO at Yokosuka, Tokyo Bay.
29 June-18 July 1942:
Escorted liner KAMAKURA MARU (17,526 tons) from Yokosuka to Makassar (6-10 July) and back.
13 August 1942:
Departed escorting ammunition ship NARUTO MARU (7,149 tons) from Yokosuka for Rabaul via Kavieng.
Arrived at Kavieng. While there responded to distress call from two marus under attack by U.S. submarine (S-41). Depth-charged with unknown results then headed back to port.
Departed Kavieng; arrived at Rabaul same day.
Air-raid on Rabaul, no damage received. Departed to join Nagumo task force.
Attacked at sea by enemy aircraft. Repulsed with gunfire.
24 August: Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Joined escort of Admiral Nagumo's Striking Force.
5 September 1942:
Arrived with Carrier Strike Force at Truk. Hereafter carrying out anti-submarine patrols and training.
Depart Truk with fleet.
Refueled using the astern method from auxiliary tanker KOKUYO MARU (10,026 tons).
Submarine alert, dropped six depth-charges. Results unknown.
Returned to Truk.
Escorted fleet patrolling out of Truk north of the Solomons.
Steamed from Truk to Shortlands.
- 1037 Bombed by a group of B-17s while in Empress Augusta Bay. No damage received, and one plane claimed shot down. Expended 108 3.9" shells. (Classic vertical photographs were taken by the B-17s, alerting the Allies to the existence of the new type destroyer.)
3 October 1942:
0358: Bombed by aircraft at Shortlands anchorage. No damage and attacker believed shot down. Later that afternoon sails out of Shortlands to meet and assist NISSHIN (then engaged in transport run to Tassafaronga) against U.S. aircraft for her return trip.
Before dawn met NISSHIN and her escorts NOWAKI and MAIKAZE homeward-bound. Just after doing so, enemy planes attacked. Repulsed by gunfire. One recon "Jake" brings down a B-17 by ramming it; the bold Japanese two-man crew is picked up by AKIZUKI. All ships then returned to the Shortlands.
0400: Shortlands anchorage raided by twenty-two bombers and six fighters (from USS HORNET CV-8). Six aircraft attacked AKIZKUI, but are repulsed.
Escorted NISSHIN on troop transport run to Guadalcanal, aborted after four hours due to weather; on same date, assigned to Desdiv 61 (AKIZUKI, TERUZUKI), Desron 10, Third Fleet.
Escorted NISSHIN on troop transport run to Guadalcanal. Attacked twice by enemy aircraft, but are vigorously defended by Japanese fighters. Though the defenders suffered losses, two enemy planes are shot down and no damage is received by the ships.
On return leg again attacked by enemy planes. No damage received and AKIZUKI claimed one shot down, having expended twenty-one 3.9" shells.
0800: Departed Shortlands in two echelon transport operation. With NATSUGUMO escorted NISSHIN and CHITOSE carrying artillery while another echelon of ASAGUMO, AYANAMI, SHIRAYUKI and MURAKUMO carry troops to Guadalcanal.
2300: Arrived off Tassafaronga.
12 October - Battle of Cape Esperance:
The covering force of Japanese heavy cruisers are engaged by an American surface force. Nonetheless, under cover of the battle the NISSHIN's group including AKIZUKI complete their transport mission. However, after unloading and group headed back to the Shortlands, ASAGUMO and NATSUGUMO is detached to reinforce Crudiv 6 while SHIRAYUKI and MURAKUMO go to assist crusier FURUTAKA which is sinking after the surface battle.(As a result, NATSUGUMO and MURAKUMO are lost to air attack that day.)
1400: Returned to Shortlands. Became flagship of Comdesron 4 (Rear Admiral Takama Tamotsu )
1700: Departed the Shortlands with Desdiv 27 (less YUGURE) with "High-Speed Convoy" of auxiliary transports SASAGO MARU (7,189 tons) and SAKITO MARU (9,245 tons). Proceed to rendezvous with a transport group coming down from Rabaul.(It had left at 1850 12 October)
0440: AKIZUKI contingent meets the Rabaul contingent led by Desdiv 2 (SAMIDARE, MURASAME, HARUSAME, and YUDACHI) escorting auxiliary transports AZUMASAN MARU (7,622 tons), NANKAI MARU (8,416 tons), KYUSHU MARU (8,666 tons) and SADO MARU (9,246 tons.) The plan is to make a high speed run to deliver units of 2nd Division to Guadalcanal.
- 1355 An estimated 28-30 aircraft attacked. AKIZUKI claimed one shot down.
- 1603 An estimated 33 carrier-bombers attacked. One possibly shot down. Transports suffer some strafing damage in the days attacks, but all ships able to proceed.
- 2200 Force arrived off Tassafaronga and begin landing cargo.
Unloading proceeded as fast as possible through the night but at dawn enemy planes attacked in waves through the day as expected. By noon SASAGO MARU and AZUMASAN MARU were sunk by bomb hits, while KYUSHU MARU was set afire and had to be beached.
1350: AKIZUKI ordered the transports to temporarily withdraw. However, this becomes a full retirement when it is learned that BatDiv 3 (KONGO, HARUNA) will be bombarding the enemy Henderson airfield that night. AKIZUKI had fired 633 3.9" shells and claimed two aircraft shot down (one of them shared with others) and one probably shot down. No damage received. Despite the losses the mission had been a success as all troops, tanks, and guns were successfully landed.
0700: AKIZUKI and the other destroyers returned safely to Shortlands with SAKITO MARU, NANKAI MARU, and SADO MARU.
0400: Departed Shortlands. Led cover force of SENDAI, YURA, and TATSUTA of a fourteen destroyer troop transport run to Guadalcanal.
0400: The separated groups re-assembled and headed back for the Shortlands. Southwest of Choiseul Island force is attacked by USS GRAMPUS (SS-207). YURA is hit in port bow by a dud torpedo.
1048: Returned to the Shortlands.
At Shortlands. Bombed by a single B-17. Repulsed with gunfire. No damage.
At Shortlands. Bombed by two B-17s. claimed one shot down, having fired 23 main battery rounds.
Departed Shortlands; returned same day.
1530: Departed Shortlands with HARUSAME, YUDACHI, MURSAME, and SAMIDARE screening YURA on bombardment mission to assist the Japanese Army in an attempted recapture of Henderson Field.
Led gunfire support mission to Guadalcanal (Hyakutake offensive), aborted.
- 1055 Enemy planes damaged YURA and AKIZUKI with bombs. A five plane attack scored a direct hit port amidships with a small bomb, and two near-misses off AKIZUKI's starboard side aft. The near-misses are more damaging and flooded the after engine room. The starboard screw stopped. Speed was cut to 23 knots, and eleven of her crew killed with 22 injured.
- 1300 Four dive-bombers attacked, but no damage received by any ships.
- 1500 A dozen planes attacked, setting YURA afire with two hits. Then six B-17s scored a third hit. Rear Admiral Takama orders the cruiser abandoned and scuttled. At the same time Takama transfers his flag from AKIZUKI to MURASAME; giving AKIZUKI and his new flagship the task of taking aboard all of the cruiser's crew.
Alongside repair ship HAKKAI MARU (5,114 tons) at Rabaul. (On 28 October there was an air-raid, but no damage received.)
Air-raid Rabaul. Repulsed without damage, then departed for Truk.
1 November 1942:
Arrived at Truk.
1400: Departed. Escorted SHOKAKU and CHIKUMA with NOWAKI, MAIKAZE, and ARASHI from Truk to Japan.
Arrived at Yokosuka.
Entered drydock for repairs.
Repairs completed. Undocked having also received additional 25 mm. AA guns.
High speed trials run in Tokyo Bay.
31 December 1942-4 January 1943:
With HATSUKAZE and TOKITSUKAZE, escorted ZUIKAKU from Yokosuka to Truk.
6 January 1943:
At Truk. Became flagship of Comdesron 10 (Rear Admiral Kimura Susumu) then next day steamed from Truk via Rabaul (9-10 January) to the Shortlands.
Arrived at the Shortland Islands.
Led cover force with TOKITSUKAZE, ARASHI, and KUROSHIO guarding a five-destroyer transport unit to Guadalcanal. After arriving at Guadalcanal attacked by enemy PT boats but the transport destroyers successfully land their cargo.
Fifteen dive-bombers attacked. ARASHI suffers rudder damage that makes her unnavigable; while TANIKAZE and URAKAZE of the transport section are damaged. MAIKAZE takes ARASHI in tow while AKIZUKI circles defensively. By 2030 all had arrived back at the Shortlands.
1630: Out of Shortlands with minelayer HATSUTAKA in response to distress call to assist army transport MYOHO MARU (4,122 tons) torpedoed two hours prior.
- 2130 Sighted surfaced enemy submarine stalking; turned and made flank speed to ram. At 2153 torpedoed by USS NAUTILUS (SS-168). Two torpedoes hit the starboard side, one under the bridge and the other forward under No.2 turret, but the second was a dud. The first hit tore an eight-meter diameter hole in the side. No.1 boiler and starboard engine room flooded, keel severely strained, but able to steam at 20 knots; 14 dead and 63 injured, the latter including Admiral Kimura. Six 3.9" and 401 rounds of 25 mm. fired at submarine. The loss of integrity was considerable, for flooding extended fore-and-aft from frames 6 to 90 well beyond the torpedo hole and she is left well down at the bow. AKIZUKI had to resort to emergency steering to proceed. (1)
1430: Arrived with HATSUTAKA at Buin for emergency patching and shoring up of the keel. The wounded Rear Admiral Kimura is replaced by Rear Admiral Koyanagi.
Departed Shortlands for Truk.
2 February-11 March 1943:
Arrived Truk from the Shortlands, then alongside repair ship AKASHI.
Escorted transport TOKYO MARU (6,486 tons) from Truk to Saipan.
Departed Saipan for the homeland. However, 40 miles outside of harbor the bow sagged forward of frame 75. Fearing the bow was about to break off stopped engines. Towed back to Saipan on 15 March by auxiliary gunboat SHOEI MARU (3,580 tons) and beached.
Emergency repairs by salvage ship MATSUNOURI MARU: bridge and forward turrets removed to lighten ship and replaced with a temporary "wave-cutter" bow with up-angle installed forward of the stack. A temporary bridge is constructed behind the mainmast. Saipan lacked the facilities to do any repairs and this allowed sailing back to Japan.
24 June-2 July 1943:
Towed by auxiliary minelayer SHINKO MARU guarded by SAZANAMI and the also-damaged UZUKI from Saipan to Nagasaki, then docked for repairs. On 30 June while still at sea removed from Desdiv 61 and designated a "2nd Class Reserve Ship" while under repair in Japan.
Arrived at Nagasaki while SAZANAMI goes to Sasebo.
Commander Koga (to X.O. MYOKO) relieved of command. Soon after, returned to drydock.
12 August 1943:
Left drydock; but returns next day.
1 September 1943:
Returns to drydock. Repairs continuing.
8 October 1943:
Commander Ogata Tomoe  (prev. C.O. ARARE, ComSCDiv 56, X.O. KISO) appointed ship's captain.
Entered drydock. Full repairs accomplished by attaching the bow of incomplete sister-ship SHIMOTSUKI (launched past April) to replace the missing section. This delays the latter's completion, but allows AKIZUKI to return to duty far sooner than would have been the case.
Left drydock. Repairs completed.
1700: Arrived at Sasebo from Nagasaki; reassigned to Desdiv 61.
7 November 1943:
Arrived at Kure.
Sailed to Hashirajima. Henceforth training in Inland Sea local area.
Departed Iwakuni with TANIKAZE escorting CHITOSE toward Truk.
1135: Rendezvoused at sea with SHIMAKAZE and TAMANAMI escorting SHOKAKU down from Tokyo Bay.
1 December 1943:
Formation arrived at Truk.
Supply transport run from Truk to Kwajalein (11 December) and back.
30 December 1943:
1500: Departed Truk with YAMAGUMO escorting NOSHIRO and OYODO on troop transport run from Truk to Kavieng.
1 January 1944:
- 0445: Arrived at Kavieng and began unloading.
- 0830: Radar warning of in-bound air raid. Ships suspend unloading and departed.
- 0855: Attacked by about 100 carrier planes. AKIZUKI opens fire at 10,000 meters. Seventeen planes attacked AKIZUKI but are driven off with no damage sustained. NOSHIRO is hit by bomb and OYODO and YAMAGUMO suffer some near-miss and strafing damage.
- 0925 Attack over. AKIZUKI had fired 190 3.9" and 1,260 25mm. rounds.
1050: Detached with OYODO en-route to Truk to assist crippled transport KIYOZUMI MARU (The 8,613 ton ship had been torpedoed by USS BALAO at 2150 1 January.)
0703: Arrived on the scene. OYODO takes aboard wounded. The transport is still afloat so NAKA and TANIKAZE arrive to tow.(They got the transport safely to Truk 8 January)
1722: AKIZUKI and OYODO relieved of screen duty; departed the scene.
Returned to Truk. Henceforth engaged in training operations.
At sea towing targets for Crudiv 4. Returned to Truk same day.
At sea towing targets for Batdiv 1. Returned to Truk same day.
1-3 February 1944:
Combined Fleet begins the evacuation of major units from Truk. AKIZUKI with the four destroyers of Desdiv 17 (HAMAKAZE, URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE) escorted FUSO, NAGATO, KUMANO, SUZUYA, and TONE from Truk to Palau. There is a submarine scare en-route (2120 hours 3 February) and depth charged, but results unknown.
Convoyed NAGATO, FUSO, TONE, SUZUYA, and KUMANO with Desdiv 17 onward from Palau to Lingga.
3 March 1944:
At sea conducting AA exercises with SHOKAKU.
Throughout this month conducting training and maintenance back and forth in the Lingga-Singapore area.
2 May 1944:
Depart Lingga roads for large exercise with Desron 10 and Crudiv 7. Carries out target-towing duty.
Depart Lingga with WAKATSUKI for training.
Departed Lingga Roads with WAKATSUKI; arrived Bangelap Channel. Returned.
0430: Departed Lingga Roads with WAKATSUKI. Rendezvoused with Mobile Fleet. Escorted fleet from Lingga to Tawitawi.
Arrived at Tawitawi. Designated No.1 Patrol ship in charge of anti-submarine cordon.
Relieved as No.1 Patrol ship by WAKATSUKI. Returned to Tawitawi.
Departed Tawitawi with YAHAGI to meet TAIHO. All returned to the anchorage the same day.
Escorted tanker convoy out of Tawitawi; then returned.
Departed anchorage and carried out anti-submarine patrol, then returned.
Departed Tawitawi with WAKATSUKI for patrol, returned later that day.
Departed Tawitawi with SHOKAKU for extended training exercises.
2 June 1944:
1215 Returned to Tawitawi with SHOKAKU.
Departed Tawitawi with HATSUZUKI for anti-submarine sweep.
1800: Returned with HATSUZUKI to Tawitawi.
Relieved NOWAKI as No.1 Patrol ship so the former can depart on the "Kon" Operation.
Noon: Begin provisioning and preparations for sortie.
0600: Departed Tawitawi escorting Mobile to oppose expected enemy landings in the Mariana Islands.
1643: Arrived at Guimaras Island.
0800: Departed Guimaras Island with the Mobile Fleet to counter invasion of Saipan. Escorted CarDiv 1 of the Mobile Fleet.
19-21 June 1944: Battle of the Philippine Sea
Escorted Admiral Ozawa's Force A. Assigned to screen of Cardiv 1. Composition: (TAIHO,SHOKAKU,ZUIKAKU) with HAGURO, HATSUZUKI, WAKATSUKI, and AKIZUKI.
- 0810 TAIHO hit by torpedo from submarine USS ALBACORE (SS-218) but cleared area at 26 knots. AKIZUKI, with HATSUZUKI, and WAKATSUKI depth-charged submarine. Then rejoined force.
- 1401 SHOKAKU sank after being torpedoed by submarine (USS CAVALLA SS-244). Engaged in rescue work under supervision of YAHAGI.
- 1432 Huge internal explosion aboard TAIHO; she sank two hours later. AKIZUKI joined the rescue work. Among the rescued by AKIZUKI is the carrier's commanding officer, Kikuchi Tomozo.
- 1730-1900 Defended ZUIKAKU from air-attack.
0600: Joined Desron 10.
1809: Escorted Batdiv 3 (KONGO, HARUNA).
1540: Arrived with other ships at Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa.
1110: Departed Okinawa for the homeland.
2230: Arrived at Hashirajima.
0500: Left Hashirajima, arrived at Kure two hours later. Carried out repairs, maintenance work, and intensive training.
Upkeep and training in Japan. (2)
0300: Desdiv 61 ordered to proceed to Iwakuni naval anchorage.
1040: Departed Kure.
1040: AKIZUKI arrived at Iwakuni.
1412: By order of Vice-Admiral Ozawa Desdiv 61 (HATSUZUKI, WAKATSUKI, AKIZUKI, SUZUTSUKI) detached from Second Striking Force (2-YB) and assigned to Ozawa's Main Force.
Commander Ogata promoted to Captain.
Cruised to Tokuyama; proceeded next day to Yashima.
0845: Departed Yashima. Assigned to Mobile Fleet Decoy Force.
1730: Departed Bungo Strait with Desdiv 61 for Leyte Operation with Mobile Fleet.
1452: As part of "Advance Force" all four ships of Desdiv 61 detached from Mobile Fleet screening HYUGA and ISE on a push south. Attempted to attract enemy attention and lure them north.
2241: Reversed course to rejoin the carrier fleet.
25 October 1944: Battle of Leyte Gulf
Escorted Group 1 of Admiral Ozawa's Northern Force in Battle off Cape Engano. Composition: ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, screened by ISE, OYODO, AKIZUKI, and WAKATSUKI. Group 2 with CHIYODA and CHITOSE follows astern.
- 0630 AKIZUKI detected submarine and turned starboard toward it. Maneuvered to suppress.
- 0700 Rejoined Mobile Fleet.
- 0820 First wave of enemy carrier planes attacked. At 0842 during an attack on Zuiho planes set AKIZUKI afire amidships. Went dead in the water and was left behind by the first section.
- 0850 White smoke billowed forth, suddenly turning to black followed by a tremendous flash and fireball. It seems likely that either a torpedo had struck starboard amidships as claimed by TF 38 or a bomb penetrated to the forward engine room and then detonated the torpedo tubes above. But a direct bomb hit on the tubes is also possible. AKIZUKI jackknifed abaft the stack and began settling into the water. The forward part heeled over to port, the aft part to starboard. Abandon Ship was ordered. (3)
- Sunk: 0856 AKIZUKI sank, the buckled sections settled together below the water. Destroyer MAKI then leading Group 2 steamed immediately to the rescue. Commander Ogata and 150 officers and men are saved before another air attack forced MAKI to abandon the rescue. During the battle MAKI is subsequently struck by bombs which killed four AKIZUKI men and 31 of the destroyer's crew. Lost in action ultimately were 183 officers and men (most among the engineers), less one the Americans rescued later. Sinking was ENE of Cape Engano (20-29 N, 126-30 E). [I]
Postscript: On 29 October at reduced speed under SUGI's protection MAKI arrived at Amami Oshima. There the AKIZUKI survivors are transferred to battleship ISE. The force returned to Kure the next day.
10 December 1944:
Removed from Navy List.
[I] Most sources credit the hit to aircraft of TF 38, but some give credit to submarine USS HALIBUT (SS-232).
For an article discussing these questions and the sinking, see:
The sinking of AKIZUKI.
Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Anthony Tully and Bill Somerville for contributing from their works to this TROM.