by: Gremlin56 [ ]
Kagero’s 3D book on the Japanese destroyer Akizuki is the second book I received from Poland a couple of weeks ago for review. The book is of the usual Kagero high standard and comprises of a six page history and technical summary of the Akizuki, fifty-one pages of magnificent 3D renderings and two fold out black and white line drawings showing the full hull configuration of the ship and details of superstructure, main turrets and the torpedo launcher.
The 3D illustrations and visualisations are by Mariusz Motyka, translations by Piotr Kolasa and the text by Lukasz Stach. ISBN number: 978-83-62878-69-7.
The hauntingly named “Autumn moon”, the Akizuki, was the lead vessel of a long range destroyer class built with the huge distances of the Pacific Ocean in mind. The Kagero book gives a short description of Japanese naming convention for warships which in itself is a small gem of information. The ships of this class were fast, heavily armed and combined these features with very reasonable electronics. The hull was long and sleek to combine speed with the space needed for the necessary fuel tanks, ( top speed 33 knots and a cruising range of 8300 nautical miles at 18 knots). The Akizuki was armed with four rather chunky looking twin 100mm dual purpose turrets. The 100mm Type 98 L/65 cannon was a superb weapon with the only drawback being a short barrel life. The secondary armament was made up of the ubiquitous Japanese 25mm AA gun, four at the beginning of the Akizuki’s service life with the number being upped to several dozen towards the end of the war.
The Akizuki carried a single quad tube torpedo launcher for the 610mm torpedo plus a quick reload system for four more torpedoes. For her anti-submarine role the Akizuki carried two depth charge throwers and 54 type 95 depth charges, (the number of depth charges being increased to 72 later in the war).
The Akizuki was launched in July 1941 and went into service in June 1942. The Akizuki had a very distinguished service career, taking part in long range escort missions and being part of the Japanese fleet at Guadalcanal. The Akizuki was heavily damaged by US aircraft in October 1942. After repairs in Japan the Akizuki went back into action in December 1942. In January 1943 the Akizuki was hit by a torpedo from the USS Nautilus. The damage turned out be very serious and put the destroyer out of operations until October of 1943. After taking part in actions near Truk and also participating in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The Akizuki returned to Japanese waters and remained there until October 1944. The Akizuki was sunk on October 25th 1944 while taking part in the Battle of Cape Engano. The ship exploded while fighting off a US aircraft strike. The torpedo that caused the explosion either came from a US torpedo bomber or from the USS Halibut, conflicting reports making it hard to define who actually fired the deadly shot. The torpedo hit triggered a simultaneous explosion of the torpedoes on board the Autumn moon sinking the ship and killing 183 of her crew. 143 survivors were picked up by Japanese ships later that day. Of the twelve Autumn moon class destroyers only six survived the war, four of which saw service with the Soviet and Chinese navies, (this could possibly explain the similarity of Soviet post war twin barrel gun turret design to the Akizuki’s gun turrets). The United States and British navies each kept one Akizuki class warship.
Another excellent addition to the Kagero collection. Beautifully rendered, well thought out and researched it is a welcome reference for anyone interested in Japanese WW II destroyer design.
Black and white photo of the Akizuki courtesy Japanese navy.
Click here for additional images for this review.