SHIMAKAZE Class Notes
by Allyn Nevitt
Displacement: 2,567 tons Dimensions: 415 (length) by 37 (beam) by 14 (draught) feet Machinery: 2-shaft geared turbines: 75,000 SHP; 40 knots Radius: 1,400 miles at 30 knots Armament: 6 x 5"/50 cal. DP guns (3 x 2); 4 x 25 mm. AA guns (2 x 2); 15 x 24" torpedo tubes (3 x 5); 2 depth charge throwers; 18 depth charges Complement: 267
The SHIMAKAZE (hull number 125, ordered under the 1939 Program) was planned and built as the experimental prototype of a new class of heavy fleet destroyer, designated "Type C." Sixteen other units were ordered but later cancelled due to more pressing wartime needs. Though never repeated, SHIMAKAZE was a successful design, combining large size (some 25 feet longer than YUGUMO), firepower (six 5" guns in new Type D turrets), and heavy torpedo armament (three quintuple sets of 24" tubes, the most powerful such broadside ever mounted on a Japanese destroyer) with a 40-knot top speed. The latter was thanks to new high-pressure, high-temperature boilers which developed nearly 80,000 shaft horsepower and would have propelled all future Japanese destroyer designs, had circumstances permitted their construction.
All experimental projects were set aside at the beginning of the war in favor of more urgent work, so SHIMAKAZE, though laid down in July of 1941, was not completed until the spring of 1943. The delays in her construction did, however, enable her to be fitted with the very latest equipment, and SHIMAKAZE was one of the first Imperial warships to mount radar when completed.
As none of her contemporaries could match her performance characteristics, SHIMAKAZE was never assigned to any individual destroyer division, but operated more or less independently within the squadron structure. If SHIMAKAZE's service as radar guide and screen flagship for the Kiska evacuation was the high point of her career, then her "non- participation" in the Battle off Samar (held back due to her being encumbered by MAYA survivors) was probably the low: her mighty torpedo batteries would never have had better targets. Her crew fought hard and died bravely with her under overwhelming air assault in Ormoc Bay. But overall, SHIMAKAZE seems to have enjoyed a very "ordinary" career for a warship of such extraordinary potential.