70184 - Destroyer IJN Murakumo, 1/700, 1899


In the First Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese navy came to understand the combat effectiveness of small, fast torpedo equipped warships over larger, slower ships equipped with slow-loading and often inaccurate naval artillery. The Murakumo-class vessels were the second class of destroyers procured by the Imperial Japanese Navy, but were purchased almost simultaneously with the Ikazuchi class. Four ships were ordered under the 1896 fiscal year budget, and an additional two under the 1897 budget. All were ordered from John I. Thornycroft & Company in Chiswick, England.

All six Murakumo-class destroyers arrived in Japan in time to be used during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. All were present at the Battle of the Yellow Sea and the final crucial Battle of Tsushima.

The Murakumo-class vessels reclassified as third-class destroyers on 28 August 1912, and were removed from front-line combat service. Shinonome was lost during a typhoon off of Taiwan on 23 July 1913.

The five surviving vessels were again used in combat with the start of World War I, during the Battle of Tsingtao and in the operations to seize German colonial possessions in the South Pacific.

After the war, Murakumo and Yūgiri were demilitarized, and used as depot ships in 1919–20, and then as auxiliary minesweepers in 1920. ShiranuiKagerō and Usugumo were similarly modified in 1923, but all vessels were retired from service and struck from the Navy List by the end of 1925.

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