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Fortuna_gunner

Reasons for the failure of Shimakaze?

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4 minutes ago, Fortuna_gunner said:

Trying find more data about the "must fast ship ever" and the reason why was "canned" 

"The IJN suffered one problem with their destroyers: small batches of different types, which made standardized spares and training (such as on powerplant) impossible. By contrast, the United States Navy's destroyer powerplant was standard across hundreds of ships.

A substantial number of Japanese destroyers were lost in 1942 in actions around the Solomon Islands. The urgent need for replacements necessitated design simplifications to improve construction speed and war experience prompted improvements to damage control and anti aircraft weaponry. The resultant Matsu-class destroyers were commissioned in 1944.

The class, of which Shimakaze was the prototype, was not ordered. She was sunk in the Philippines in November 1944." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_destroyers_of_World_War_II

From inference, I would say the lack of standardization in Japanese destroyers made the idea of ordering advanced experimental ships in a time when they were desperate for numbers unappealing.

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I wouldn't call Shimakaze a failure as she was a big improvement over the design of other Japanese Destroyers.  Wikipedia says she was supposed to get 16 others to follow in her class with 32 total.  It showed the IJN's interest but Japan couldn't afford to do so with pressing Pacific War needs and an industry that was already being stretched to its limits.  I think we have to look at Shimakaze's construction within the scope of what was going on.

Shimakaze was:

Laid down in August 1941, just months before the Pearl Harbor attack bringing the US into the war.

May 1942 Battle of Coral Sea - CVL Shoho was lost and a high loss of aircraft, pilots between CVs Shokaku & Zuikaku.

June 1942 Battle of Midway - 1 CA, 4 CVs lost, hundreds of aircraft destroyed.

Shimakaze is launched in July 1942.

Allies begin Guadalcanal Campaign in August 1942.

Commissioned in May 1943.

 

What likely happened was the disaster of Midway shifted IJN ship building priorities towards Carriers.  They were desperate enough to even convert 2 perfectly serviceable Battleships to be half a***d carrier hybrids, the Ise-class.  Shinano was hurriedly shifted from becoming a true Battleship of the Yamato-class and instead got a conversion to a Carrier during her construction.

That's how bad things were and likely why there were no follow ons for Shimakaze.

Even worse, Japan couldn't even begin to replace the losses in Destroyers they started to stack up on once the Guadalcanal Campaign began in August 1942.

There simply was no chance to build more of her.

 

Maybe there's more details I don't have access to such as from Japanese sources?  This is the only stuff I can find for reasons why Shimakaze was not followed up on.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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8 hours ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

Shimakaze was:

Laid down in August 1941, just months before the Pearl Harbor attack bringing the US into the war.

May 1942 Battle of Coral Sea - CVL Shoho was lost and a high loss of aircraft, pilots between CVs Shokaku & Zuikaku.

June 1942 Battle of Midway - 1 CA, 4 CVs lost, hundreds of aircraft destroyed.

Shimakaze is launched in July 1942.

Allies begin Guadalcanal Campaign in August 1942.

Commissioned in May 1943.

a case of coming in at the wrong time, not that she would have probably made that much of a difference after Midway, that was easily one of, if not the, biggest blow to the IJN in WW2 with 4 of their best CVs taken out within minutes of each other

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3 hours ago, tcbaker777 said:

a case of coming in at the wrong time, not that she would have probably made that much of a difference after Midway, that was easily one of, if not the, biggest blow to the IJN in WW2 with 4 of their best CVs taken out within minutes of each other

Things were so bad, that in 1943 the IJN had previous plans from 1942 to build 16 more Yugumo-class Destroyers.  All that got cancelled despite their Destroyer losses rising in 1942.

 

The one proper thing they did was build the Matsu-class, which are basically equivalents to Allied DDEs.  Weaker, slower, but cheap to produce compared to the Fleet Destroyers like Shimakaze, Kagero, Fubuki, Yugumo-classes, and intended to be convoy escorts.  They began to be laid down in 1943, Matsu would commission in 1944, but it was too late.  Japan did build a lot of them in a short time (for their capability):  17 Matsu-class and 18 Tachibana-class, which are derivative of the Matsu-class.

 

Ships like Matsu-class were what Japan needed because their convoys were getting massacred by submarines.  It used to be Japan would dedicate the faster, more capable Fleet Destroyers like Kagero-class DDs for convoy escort.

 

Meanwhile the USN was driven for the need to make DDEs early on in the war.  Cheap DDEs could do the job of convoy escorting and ASW while the bigger, more capable Fletchers, Bensons, etc. could be dedicated to frontline service.  The US would pump out hundreds upon hundreds of DDEs.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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Shimakaze had a large and complex power plant, which was comparable to a cruiser's or carrier's. That's an awfully expensive plant to be putting in a destroyer, especially when the IJN needed more of everything.

Shimakaze really didn't fail in a technical sense, and was pretty much the ideal IJN Destroyer for the night fighting they planned on doing. Only real problem was they only had one of them, and didn't have the yard capacity, or more importantly the ability to produce power plants at the rate they needed them.

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10 hours ago, SgtBeltfed said:

Shimakaze had a large and complex power plant, which was comparable to a cruiser's or carrier's. That's an awfully expensive plant to be putting in a destroyer, especially when the IJN needed more of everything.

Shimakaze really didn't fail in a technical sense, and was pretty much the ideal IJN Destroyer for the night fighting they planned on doing. Only real problem was they only had one of them, and didn't have the yard capacity, or more importantly the ability to produce power plants at the rate they needed them.

This is a nation that had such industrial limitations that they couldn't even provide enough tractors for their aircraft maintainers and handlers.  Nor could they even build construction equipment to do airfields in the middle of nowhere, and had to use INFANTRY BATTALIONS for such purposes.  Limited resources, limited means, something many things had to give way for higher priorities.

Spoiler

 

Japanese planners did have one good reason for skimping on airfield construction units. The normal bearing capacity of most soil was good enough to handle lightweight Japanese aircraft. But Japan lacked sufficient steel to turn out large quantities of steel planking while it concentrated on aircraft, warships and merchantmen, and it was short of shipping to transport it. This meant that Japan depended on manpower to construct airfields. The military used native laborers wherever it could, paid them poorly and fed them little or nothing. They worked more than 2,500 Javanese to death while building a field on Noemfoor Island.

The Japanese army had to use infantrymen to help build airfields. In December 1942, for example, the engineer regiment and three rifle battalions of the 5th Division were detailed to build airfields in the Solomons. “When we compare [our] clumsy result with what our enemy accomplished,” recalled Commander Chihaya, “building huge airfields in good numbers with inconceivable speed, we ceased to wonder why we were utterly beaten. Our enemy was superior in every respect.”

Food at Japanese airfields was bad. Barracks were jungle slums. There were no laundry facilities, and men washed themselves in rivers, or under water-filled cans. Disease felled pilots and left serviceable aircraft grounded. Physical exhaustion lowered pilot performance, so that lesser-skilled opponents sometimes shot down veteran but feverish Japanese pilots.

Manpower became critical with no tractors, and ground crews wore themselves out pushing aircraft around fields. They worked at night to avoid Allied air attacks, only to fall victim to the malaria mosquito, which was most active at night. Men worked seven days a week in wretched weather at exhausting and mind-numbing tasks. Ground crews became nervous and irritable from lack of sleep. It took longer and longer to accomplish a given assignment. Minor as well as major accidents increased.

Raw human muscle wrestled bombs, cannon shells and machine gun rounds onto aircraft. Mechanics pulled maintenance on baking hot fields in direct tropical sunlight, for there were no hangars. When flooded airstrips dried after rains, dust billowed up in the wake of each aircraft, choking cockpit interiors and eroding engines.

“The maintenance crews are exhausted, but they drag their weary bodies about the field, heaving and tugging to move the planes back into the jungle,” a navy pilot at Buin wrote in July 1943. “They pray for tractors such as the Americans have in abundance, but they know their dream of such “luxuries’ will not be fulfilled.”

https://www.historynet.com/japans-fatally-flawed-air-forces-in-world-war-ii-2.htm

 

Expeditionary Warfare, i.e. deploying forces abroad, stresses a nation's capabilities.  Most especially so when the infrastructure where such forces are campaigning at is utterly sh*t.  Machines greatly helped Allied efforts while campaigning in bumf--k middle of nowhere.  The Japanese didn't have that and their men suffered as they worked harder for fewer gains.  This degraded the performance of their forces overseas.


Going off topic: 

Spoiler

 

Having retired after 20 years in the USMC and done several deployments in varied levels of "civilization," climates, terrain made me respect military forces of ages past.  I remember driving around on a desert highway in the middle of Kuwait.  Seeing vast stretches of nothing.  I remembered that Roman Legions under Emperor Trajan got as far as the Persian Gulf, and the army had to organize means on maintaining the Legions so far away from home.  This was the furthest the Roman Empire ever got and her armies were deployed far and wide, needing support.

2560px-Europe-In-117AD.png

 

The Mongols would campaign and in less than 100 years took this much territory.

Mongol_Empire_map.gif

From the steppes of Asia and into densely populated China.  Going to the Middle East, modern Russia, and into Eastern Europe.  Vast distances were covered.  So far away from home.

 

The British Empire had men and ships deployed in far flung places around the world.  Never a moment of peace to push and preserve an Empire.  They had to develop a network to make such a thing possible, and for hundreds of years they did it.  British soldiers in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and of course, warfare in the frontiers as well as Continental Europe.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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4 hours ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

This is a nation that had such industrial limitations that they couldn't even provide enough tractors for their aircraft maintainers and handlers.  Nor could they even build construction equipment to do airfields in the middle of nowhere, and had to use INFANTRY BATTALIONS for such purposes.  Limited resources, limited means, something many things had to give way for higher priorities.

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Japanese planners did have one good reason for skimping on airfield construction units. The normal bearing capacity of most soil was good enough to handle lightweight Japanese aircraft. But Japan lacked sufficient steel to turn out large quantities of steel planking while it concentrated on aircraft, warships and merchantmen, and it was short of shipping to transport it. This meant that Japan depended on manpower to construct airfields. The military used native laborers wherever it could, paid them poorly and fed them little or nothing. They worked more than 2,500 Javanese to death while building a field on Noemfoor Island.

The Japanese army had to use infantrymen to help build airfields. In December 1942, for example, the engineer regiment and three rifle battalions of the 5th Division were detailed to build airfields in the Solomons. “When we compare [our] clumsy result with what our enemy accomplished,” recalled Commander Chihaya, “building huge airfields in good numbers with inconceivable speed, we ceased to wonder why we were utterly beaten. Our enemy was superior in every respect.”

Food at Japanese airfields was bad. Barracks were jungle slums. There were no laundry facilities, and men washed themselves in rivers, or under water-filled cans. Disease felled pilots and left serviceable aircraft grounded. Physical exhaustion lowered pilot performance, so that lesser-skilled opponents sometimes shot down veteran but feverish Japanese pilots.

Manpower became critical with no tractors, and ground crews wore themselves out pushing aircraft around fields. They worked at night to avoid Allied air attacks, only to fall victim to the malaria mosquito, which was most active at night. Men worked seven days a week in wretched weather at exhausting and mind-numbing tasks. Ground crews became nervous and irritable from lack of sleep. It took longer and longer to accomplish a given assignment. Minor as well as major accidents increased.

Raw human muscle wrestled bombs, cannon shells and machine gun rounds onto aircraft. Mechanics pulled maintenance on baking hot fields in direct tropical sunlight, for there were no hangars. When flooded airstrips dried after rains, dust billowed up in the wake of each aircraft, choking cockpit interiors and eroding engines.

“The maintenance crews are exhausted, but they drag their weary bodies about the field, heaving and tugging to move the planes back into the jungle,” a navy pilot at Buin wrote in July 1943. “They pray for tractors such as the Americans have in abundance, but they know their dream of such “luxuries’ will not be fulfilled.”

https://www.historynet.com/japans-fatally-flawed-air-forces-in-world-war-ii-2.htm

 

Expeditionary Warfare, i.e. deploying forces abroad, stresses a nation's capabilities.  Most especially so when the infrastructure where such forces are campaigning at is utterly sh*t.  Machines greatly helped Allied efforts while campaigning in bumf--k middle of nowhere.  The Japanese didn't have that and their men suffered as they worked harder for fewer gains.  This degraded the performance of their forces overseas.


Going off topic: 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Having retired after 20 years in the USMC and done several deployments in varied levels of "civilization," climates, terrain made me respect military forces of ages past.  I remember driving around on a desert highway in the middle of Kuwait.  Seeing vast stretches of nothing.  I remembered that Roman Legions under Emperor Trajan got as far as the Persian Gulf, and the army had to organize means on maintaining the Legions so far away from home.  This was the furthest the Roman Empire ever got and her armies were deployed far and wide, needing support.

2560px-Europe-In-117AD.png

 

The Mongols would campaign and in less than 100 years took this much territory.

Mongol_Empire_map.gif

From the steppes of Asia and into densely populated China.  Going to the Middle East, modern Russia, and into Eastern Europe.  Vast distances were covered.  So far away from home.

 

The British Empire had men and ships deployed in far flung places around the world.  Never a moment of peace to push and preserve an Empire.  They had to develop a network to make such a thing possible, and for hundreds of years they did it.  British soldiers in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and of course, warfare in the frontiers as well as Continental Europe.

From everything I've seen, massive amounts of manual labor was normal for battlefield construction everywhere except the United States. The US was the only country in WWII that turned out bulldozers at a rate higher than some countries turned out tanks.

Sealift is another problem, it's no easy task getting heavy equipment onto an island without a good port, unless of course you've got LST's, which didn't exist until 1942. It's a ship type that didn't serve in the Axis fleets at all, and the US built a thousand of them for it's own use, and for our allies.

Poor supporting equipment and logistics was not uniquely a Japanese problem in WWII. It was almost uniquely not a US problem, and any country that didn't have this problem by the end of the war had the US's hand in fixing it.

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On 9/26/2020 at 10:10 AM, HazeGrayUnderway said:

They were desperate enough to even convert 2 perfectly serviceable Battleships to be half a***d carrier hybrids, the Ise-class. 

Granted, the Ises had their issues already which was why they were converted instead of the rather unfavorable Fusou class.

Too shallow of an aft prevented the turret wells to be lowered to achieve the elevation increase for the aftmost pair of turrets so they had this awkward case that in theory only two thirds of the guns would be able to operate at maximum range.

On top of that during the war Hyuuga had an internal explosion in her fifth turret, which was subsequently removed for a few weeks which resulted in her rather unconventional appearance afterwards:

image0.jpg

So unless she'd get refitted anyway Hyuuga would not be as servicable of a BB anyway.

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@SgtBeltfed @SireneRacker

Thanks for the extra info and perspective.

Did not know Hyuga had such an incident.  I know of Mutsu's accident.  That must have really p*ssed off IJN leadership to see one of their two 16" armed Battleships go down like that.

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Shimakaze failed on a number of flaws in thinking and design historically.

The biggest reason was Shimkaze, like the large German "Narvik" destroyers, used a high pressure steam plant that was beyond the capacity of the IJN and Japanese shipbuilding industry to make and keep reliable in service.  While this plant proved capable of pushing the ship to just over 40 knots on trials, it was largely a meaningless gesture as the machinery was unreliable and could not be mass produced.

By sticking 15 ( 3 x 5) torpedo launchers on the ship, the Japanese hoped to build what would be a class of mini-cruiser destroyers.  It was too much ship individually for what it was intended to do.

The Shimakaze was still stuck with the same crappy 5" gun main battery as preceding classes.

If you want, the way to look at this one-off destroyer is that it's a result of Japanese social thinking.  They wanted to build a destroyer that was the "best" or better than anything the US or Britain would field against them.  The result was that better is the enemy of good enough and Japan couldn't build their super-destroyer other than a single ship.  Like the Yamato class it was too much ship for the purpose it was to fulfill.

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On 9/27/2020 at 5:26 AM, SgtBeltfed said:

From everything I've seen, massive amounts of manual labor was normal for battlefield construction everywhere except the United States. The US was the only country in WWII that turned out bulldozers at a rate higher than some countries turned out tanks.

On this item, I often note that a single SeeBee battalion or a US Army combat engineer battalion with an attached equipment company (making both almost identical in terms of equipment) had more machinery for construction than an entire corps' worth of engineers had in the German army.  That is, one battalion with about 1800 men versus somewhere around 8,000 to 10,000 men for the German army.  And, the US battalion could get more work done because of their machinery...

280.jpg

130226-F-ZZ999-010.JPG

This is an interesting one.  This is D+3 Omaha beach.  The US Army had an operating sand and gravel plant in place to make concrete and reinforce unpaved roads off the beach.

30245_lg.jpeg

Edited by Murotsu

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10 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

Shimakaze failed on a number of flaws in thinking and design historically.

The biggest reason was Shimkaze, like the large German "Narvik" destroyers, used a high pressure steam plant that was beyond the capacity of the IJN and Japanese shipbuilding industry to make and keep reliable in service.  While this plant proved capable of pushing the ship to just over 40 knots on trials, it was largely a meaningless gesture as the machinery was unreliable and could not be mass produced.

By sticking 15 ( 3 x 5) torpedo launchers on the ship, the Japanese hoped to build what would be a class of mini-cruiser destroyers.  It was too much ship individually for what it was intended to do.

The Shimakaze was still stuck with the same crappy 5" gun main battery as preceding classes.

If you want, the way to look at this one-off destroyer is that it's a result of Japanese social thinking.  They wanted to build a destroyer that was the "best" or better than anything the US or Britain would field against them.  The result was that better is the enemy of good enough and Japan couldn't build their super-destroyer other than a single ship.  Like the Yamato class it was too much ship for the purpose it was to fulfill.

The 15 torpedo tubes wasn't to create a mini-cruiser (though that was sort of the entire purpose of the special type destroyers anyway)

The goal was to produce an improved Kagero, without the drawbacks of the design. The guns were kept as they were adequate for the ships role as a destroyer. The IJN 5"/50 wasn't a bad gun, but it certainly wasn't up to the standards of a USN 5"/38.

Shimakaze didn't carry reloads, and the 15 tubes allowed her to carry almost the payload of a Kagero (8 in the tubes, with 8 reloads) without the somewhat dangerous prospect of reloading at sea.

Ideal practice for the IJN was to fire off their torpedoes early in an engagement, when possible reload so that they could fire off the reserve torps later in the battle, possibly to cover the retreat. Easier said that done even with purpose built equipment when dealing with 3 ton torpedoes on a rolling destroyer in the middle of a battle. Shimakaze fixes this in that she can simply shoot 7 or 8 torps early, and volley the rest later as required.

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2 hours ago, SgtBeltfed said:

The 15 torpedo tubes wasn't to create a mini-cruiser (though that was sort of the entire purpose of the special type destroyers anyway)

The goal was to produce an improved Kagero, without the drawbacks of the design. The guns were kept as they were adequate for the ships role as a destroyer. The IJN 5"/50 wasn't a bad gun, but it certainly wasn't up to the standards of a USN 5"/38.

Shimakaze didn't carry reloads, and the 15 tubes allowed her to carry almost the payload of a Kagero (8 in the tubes, with 8 reloads) without the somewhat dangerous prospect of reloading at sea.

Ideal practice for the IJN was to fire off their torpedoes early in an engagement, when possible reload so that they could fire off the reserve torps later in the battle, possibly to cover the retreat. Easier said that done even with purpose built equipment when dealing with 3 ton torpedoes on a rolling destroyer in the middle of a battle. Shimakaze fixes this in that she can simply shoot 7 or 8 torps early, and volley the rest later as required.

The idea was to create a mini-cruiser, sort of a destroyer leader, but more to create a super-destroyer that individually was superior to whatever the US came up with.  This is in the same vein as the Yamato class battleships.  It comes out of Japanese societal thinking where the individual who is "the best" will triumph over all opponents.  It is a form of the hero myth.  Germany suffered from some of this too.

There are any number of studies and analysis of the Japanese Type 98 oxygen propelled torpedo that show it was over-hyped in effectiveness.  The IJN got a case of "torpedo mania" in the late 30's that left them with an ineffective weapon by 1942.

The Japanese 5"/50 was a really crappy weapon.  It used bagged charges and a fixed loading position.  These weapons were rather pathetic compared to their Western (US) equivalents.  They had a low rate of fire, crummy fire control, and poor elevation and train rates that made them largely useless as AA guns.  Add in a really poor AA round, and you get a poor gun for air defense.

On the whole, the whole idea--in actual practice--that torpedoes were the weapon of decision was by 1943 proved completely wrong.

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30 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

It comes out of Japanese societal thinking where the individual who is "the best" will triumph over all opponents.  It is a form of the hero myth.  Germany suffered from some of this too.

It's a problem I think the United States has been suffering from for decades now too.

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11 hours ago, Sventex said:

It's a problem I think the United States has been suffering from for decades now too.

I think the US problem is one of the military having gotten in the "German" mindset.  That is, the US military today wants stuff that has every bell and whistle on it, pushes the envelope  on technology and that results in often premature and unusable systems that are far too complex and unreliable.

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