Shigure (1935)

Shigure, c.July, 1939. Probably Imperial Japanese Navy photo.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Shigure was the second of ten Shiratsuyu-class destroyers. Laid down in 1933, Shigure commissioned in 1936. Shigure earned a reputation as a lucky ship, surviving hits and battles where the Japanese took heavy losses. Shigure covered the invasion of the Philippines, and later fought in the Battle of the Java Sea. In May, 1942, Shigure was deployed in the Battle of the Coral Sea, and covered the Aleutians operation in June. Covering minor landings in August-September, Shigure began Tokyo Express runs in October, completing eight by November. Part of the distant cover for the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, and spent the next year covering troop movements. In late 1943, Shigure repeatedly clashed with US cruiser and destroyer groups, notably the Battles of Vella Gulf (where she alone survived, with a dud torpedo hit to her rudder), Vella Lavella, and Empress Augsta Bay. Shigure's escort missions continued in early 1944, despite taking a direct hit in an American air raid on Truk. She was damaged in a skirmish with US cruisers and destroyers in early June, but was in good enough condition to escort carriers during the Battle of the Philippine Sea later that month. In October, she was part of the advance group of the Southern Force for the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and was the only ship to survive the massacre, despite losing her radio, compass and steering. Despite her damaged condition, she is likely the cause of demise for the submarine USS Growler on 8 November, as Shigure was limping back to Japan for repair. Shigure's luck finally ran out 25 January, 1945, when the submarine USS Blackfin torpedoed her in the Gulf of Siam, but, even so, she sank slowly enough that only thirty-seven of her crew were lost.

Bonus Photos

Shigure and her sister Samidare bombarding Bougainville on 6 October, 1943. Imperial Japanese Navy photo.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Shigure was commanded by Captain Tameichi Hara for most of her time in the Solomons. Hara was himself a lucky individual, being the only pre-War Japanese destroyer captain to survive World War II.