|Ship Class||Mutsuki-class Destroyer|
|Builder||Sasebo Naval Arsenal|
|Launched||1 Mar 1926|
|Sunk||24 Aug 1942|
|Displacement||1315 tons standard|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseMutsuki, name ship of a class of twelve 1315-ton first-class destroyers, was built at Sasebo, Japan. Completed as (Destroyer) Number 19 in March 1926, she was renamed Mutsuki in 1928. Prior to World War II, she took part in the arduous exercises that helped prepare the Japanese Navy for war and was also present during combat operations in China. On 11 December 1942, a few days after Japan began the Pacific War, Mutsuki participated in the initial attempt to capture Wake Island, an effort repulsed with heavy casualties by U.S. Marine Corps gunners and aviators. In May 1942, she was part of the Port Moresby Invasion Group during the Battle of the Coral Sea.
ww2dbaseOn 24 August 1942, as the Japanese made their first major attempt to recapture Guadalcanal, Mutsuki briefly bombarded U.S. Marine Corps' positions at Henderson Field. The next day, she went alongside the disabled transport Kinryu Maru to rescue that ship's crew and troops. While so immobilized, a formation of U.S. B-17 bombers appeared. Aware of the poor accuracy of high-level bombing, the destroyer's captain elected to continue his rescue efforts. However, in a rare event, the bombers scored well and Mutsuki was sunk. Her captain, hauled from the water with his ship's other surviving crewmen, is said to have remarked "even the B-17s could make a hit once in a while!".
ww2dbaseSource: Naval Historical Center
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945