DESTROYER ACTIONS OF THE PACIFIC WAR
Part of the greater Battle of the Bismarck Sea, Theatre/Scenario
by Peter French
The loss of I.J.N. Shirayuki (Fubuki class), Asashio (nameship of class), Arashio (Asashio class) and Tokitsukaze (Kagero class), 3rd.March 1943. Vitiaz Strait, Eastern New Guinea..
Australian/British troops occupying southern side of New Guinea, Japanese forces occupying Northern side, across the Owen Stanley Range. A stalemate situation existing since early 1942.
A large Japanese reinforcement troop convoy from Rabaul heading west by south for
Lae and consisting of eight large transports, carrying around 6,000 Japanese troops,
escorted by a powerful destroyer force of eight Fubuki, Asashio and Kagero class
destroyers was sighted by a B-
This disconcerting news, reported back to Allied HQ in Port Moresby could only mean
Reaction from the allies in Australia was swift, on the 2nd.March, early in the morning
this convoy was attacked by seven B-
One transport down, it's troops rescued by the destroyers and put aboard the remainder
. . . a golden opportunity missed here by the allies as a second wave of B-
By the morning of the 3rd. March this convoy was within range of allied single and
twin engined fighter-
Shirayuki was first to go, going down very quickly after two probable hits, followed
by the other three during the course of the day. The bombs delivered this way, very
The transports were even easier to hit being much higher out of the water -
However, whilst the allies could congratulate themselves on a job well done nobody
thought, it seems, about the beached transports . . . most of the equipment, ammunition,
food, light artillery pieces were salvaged by the indomitable Japanese -
Worryingly though, the I.J.N. had lost another four of it's precious fine destroyers.
Not to scale
Above: the destroyer Shirayuki in 1931 and right, her modern namesake.