Akikaze (1920)

Akikaze leaving the port of Yokosuka, c.1923. Imperial Japanese Navy photo, now public domain.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Akikaze, or Autumn Wind, was a Minekaze-class destroyer laid down in 1920. After commissioning on 16 September, 1921, Akikaze was assigned to Destroyer Division 4, Torpedo Squadron 1, out of Yokosuka. She conducted patrols off China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, but was considered obsolete by the start of World War II. Akikaze spent most of her time running escort and air-sea rescue missions in the Philippines and Solomons. On 18 March, 1943, Akikaze's crew summarily executed a group of sixty-two people, mostly German missionaries, that were being transported to internment at Rabaul. The adults were shot first, but three infants in the group were thrown overboard alive. Akizuki was sent home for a refit the next month, and returned to the Solomons, resuming patrol duty until damaged in an air raid in August, forcing her back to Japan again. Back South in November, Akikaze added supply transport missions to her roster of tasks until February, 1944. She spent the rest of her career running escort missions until 3 November, 1944, when, while escorting the carrier Jun'yō, Akikaze dashed between the carrier and a spread of torpedoes fired by the submarine USS Pintado. Akikaze saved the carrier at the cost of herself and the entire crew.