|Ship Class||Kagero-class Destroyer|
|Builder||Fujinagata, Osaka, Japan|
|Launched||1 Nov 1940|
|Commissioned||25 Apr 1941|
|Sunk||9 Jun 1944|
|Displacement||1300 tons standard; 2490 tons full|
|Machinery||Parsons geared turbines, 2 shafts, 4 Kampon boilers|
|Bunkerage||oil 380 tons|
|Power Output||52000 SHP|
|Range||4,000nm at 15 knots|
|Armament||3x2x5in dual purpose guns, 2x2x24mm anti-aircraft guns, 2x4x24in torpedo tubes, 16 depth charges|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Destroyer Tanikaze was commissioned in 1941 with Commander Motoi Katsumi in command. As a part of Destroyer Division 17 of Destroyer Squadron 1, First Fleet, she set sail from the Kurile Islands in late Nov 1941 and escorted Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's Pearl Harbor strike force. Between 21 and 23 Dec, she escorted Hiryu and Soryu while their aircraft struck Wake Island. On 29 Dec, she returned to Kure, Japan for a brief rest. Between 8 and 14 Jan 1942, she escorted the carrier force to Truk in the Caroline Islands, then on 20 Jan she escorted the carrier force to Rabaul for the 23 Jan landings in the Bismarck Archipelago, returning to Truk on 27 Jan. Between 1 and 8 Feb, she escorted the carrier force in the Central Pacific region, then made a port call to Palau Islands. On 19 Feb, she escorted the carrier force as the aircraft struck Port Darwin in Australia. On 5 Mar, she escorted carriers as the aircraft struck Tjilatjap, Java. On 7 Mar, she escorted battleships Kongo and Haruna while they bombarded Christmas Island. In early Apr 1942, she escorted Nagumo's carriers while the task force raided British ships and bases in the Indian Ocean. Between 27 Apr and May, she docked in Kure for repairs; it was in that period that twenty-year-old Masashi Shibata came aboard Tanikaze in May 1942. The young signalman recalled the crew as tight-knight, "like a family".
During the Battle of Midway, Tanikaze acted once again as escort to carriers. Around noon on 5 Jun she was the lone ship ordered to the disabled Hiryu to rescue survivors, with torpedoes ready to sink the ship when appropriate. Failing to locate the disabled carrier by about 1700, Katsumi was about to turn the ship around toward the Main Force when American aircraft appeared on the horizon. The American aircraft first passed it as an unworthy target, but on the return trip, not having found any major targets, they decided to attack the lone destroyer, which the Americans identified as a cruiser. The 32 American dive bombers dove in sequence while Tanikaze's anti-aircraft batteries fired relentlessly. About 5 of the 500-lb bombs from the dive bombers made near misses and none made a direct hit. "Huge columns of waters, higher than our masthead, surrounded the Tanikaze," recalled Shibata, who spent most of the attacked halfway hanging out of the bridge window to act as an observer, yelling to the captain the direction of each American diving attack. Although no direct hits were made, the intense explosions from near misses caused an explosion in the after turret, killing six. After surviving the intense attack, Commander Katsumi offered all the men cider and dry bread. "I will never forget how tasty that bread was", recalled Shibata.
Upon repairs in Kure, Japan, Tanikaze sailed as a part of the Third Fleet at Truk in Aug 1942 where she escorted several troop convoys to Rabaul and Guadalcanal. On 26 Oct, she participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, at the end of which she escorted the damaged heavy cruiser Chikuma back to Truk. Between 2 and 7 Nov, she escorted Zuiho and Kumano from Truk to Japan, and docked for repairs at Kure. Between 22 Nov and 4 Dec, she escorted Kumano on a troop transport mission from Kure to Rabaul. In Dec 1942 and Jan 1943, she made several supply drum transport runs to Guadalcanal and troop transport runs to New Georgia, New Guinea, and Guadalcanal. On 14 Jan, on a run to Guadalcanal, she was attacked by American aircraft, which killed Commander Katsumi. On 25 Jan, Commander Kiyoshi Tomura took command. In late Jan and early Feb, she assisted in evacuating Guadalcanal. On 25 Apr, Commander Shinichirou Maeda relieved Commander Katsumi. Between 28 Apr and 1 May, she escorted a transport from Truk to Iwo Jima, then patrolled between Iwo Jima and Saipan in the Mariana Islands until May. In May and Jun, she escorted ships in the Central Pacific. On 5 Jul 1943, she participated in the Battle of Kula Gulf, in which her torpedoes contributed to the sinking of the American light cruiser USS Helena. Upon completing several escort missions for the carrier Junyo, Commander Maeda was relieved by Lieutenant Commander Shunsaku Ikeda on 8 Nov. She spent of the rest of the year by escorted carrier Shokaku and Yamato, on two separate trips, from Yokosuka, Japan to Truk.
Tanikaze spent the earlier months of 1944 by escorting several transport convoys to Palau Islands, Lingga Islands, Philippine Islands, and Mariana Islands. Between 29 Apr and 19 May, she escorted a convoy from Saipan, Mariana Islands to Tawitawi, Philippine Islands. Departing Tawitawi on 9 Jun, she was torpedoed by American submarine USS Harder in the Sibutu Passage, 90 miles southwest of Basilan. 114 of her crew were killed. The 126 survivors, including Lieutenant Commander Ikeda (though he later died of wounds received) were rescued by destroyer Urakaze.
Sources: Midway Dauntless Victory, Nihon Kaigun.
Tanikaze Operational Timeline
|25 Apr 1941||Tanikaze was commissioned into service.|
» Attack on Pearl Harbor
» Battle of Wake Island
» Attack on Darwin
» Raids into the Indian Ocean
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
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