Name Translation: "First Breeze of the Season"
Initial Command Structure:
Ship's captain: Commander Takahashi Kameshiro  (prev. C.O. AKEBONO). Assigned to Desdiv 16 (YUKIKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE), Desron 2, Second Fleet.
26 November-1 December 1941:
Steamed with Desron 2 from Terashima Strait to Palau.
Escorted RYUJO out of Palau, supporting Southern Philippine attack forces.
With Davao invasion force.
11 January 1942:
With Menado invasion force.
With Kendari invasion force.
With Ambon invasion force.
With Timor invasion force.
With Eastern Java invasion force.
27-28 February: Battle of the Java Sea
Took part in torpedo attack on Allied fleet.
Antisubmarine operations in the Java Sea.
31 March-3 April:
With Christmas Island invasion force, then to Makassar.
25 April-3 May:
Steamed from Makassar to Kure, then docked for maintenance.
Steamed with Desron 2 from Kure to Saipan.
3-6 June: Battle of Midway
Escorted Midway troop convoy.
Desdiv 16 reassigned to Desron 10, Third Fleet.
Departed Kure, escorting fleet towards Truk.
24 August: Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Escorted Admiral Nagumo's Striking Force.
Escorted fleet patrolling out of Truk north of the Solomons.
26 October: Battle of Santa Cruz
Escorted Admiral Nagumo's Striking Force, then escorted damaged SHOKAKU and ZUIHO into Truk on 28 October.
Escorted ZUIKAKU from Truk to Kure, then training in the Inland Sea.
Commander Takahashi (to Comdesdiv 6, later Comdesdiv 4) relieved by Commander Watanabe Yasumasa  (prev. C.O. ARASHI).
31 December 1942-4 January 1943:
With TOKITSUKAZE and AKIZUKI, escorted ZUIKAKU from Yokosuka to Truk.
Steamed from Truk to the Shortlands.
Supply-drum transport run to Guadalcanal (cover). Assisted in sinking PT-43 and PT-112. Heavy damage: struck by torpedo (possibly launched by PT-112) in port side; best speed 18 knots.
30 January-2 February:
Steamed from Shortlands to Truk, then emergency repairs.
Escorted KASHIMA from Truk to Kure, then docked for repairs.
Commander Watanabe (to Comdesdiv 1) relieved by Commander Ashida Buichi  (prev. C.O. AMAGIRI).
With AMATSUKAZE, escorted YAMATO from Kure to Truk as part of larger fleet deployment.
Escorted fleet from Truk to Eniwetok and back in response to U.S. carrier raids in the Central Pacific.
Out of Truk to assist torpedoed tanker KAZAHAYA.
Escorted fleet from Truk to Eniwetok and back in anticipation of further U.S. carrier raids.
30 October-1 November:
Aircrew transport run from Truk to Rabaul.
2 November: Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
Attack mission to Bougainville; engaged U.S. cruiser-destroyer group. Sunk: after losing bow in collision with MYOKO in Empress Augusta Bay (06-01 S, 153-58 E)[Ed.-1], was finished off by gunfire of five U.S. destroyers, with loss of Commander Ashida and entire crew.[Ed.-2]
3 January 1944:
Removed from Navy List.
(2) Editor's Note II - The light cruiser Sendai also went down in a similar time frame (sank 0530 JST) , but every indication and fix places her final position well to the east, so there seems little question that the Hatsukaze was the target sunk. It might also be mentioned that Sendai went dead in the water 10 minutes after being hit, and does not fit the profile of the target underway and engaged at 0310 JST. On casualties, Paul Dull in his Battle History page 290 reports of Hatsukaze the puzzling remark "however, all but nine of her men had been rescued." Wikipedia Japan entry for her lists Skipper and 164 lost. Yet neither of these figures has been possible to trace source or verify to date. USS Charles Ausburne turned back briefly to look for survivors, but found none. - (Tully)