HoI4 Imperial Japanese Navy 1936 OOB Destroyer Guide
When you start playing Hearts of Iron 4 with a major power like Japan, you may feel intimidated by the number of ships and how to classify them, how to decide which ones should give priority, which ones are obsolete and so no. There is a way to answer these questions and it is simply understand the ships, their historical background and characteristics. This exercise does not only helps you to improve your skill as player but also allows you a deeper immersion on the historical conflict, enjoying much more your strategic and tactical operations.
Now we focus on the IJN Destroyer units. Usually, the player may enjoy carriers and battleships. However, a good destroyer fleet screen is essential to succeed and to enjoy more your game as it may look more realistic.
Here we show the composition of the destroyer unis of the Imperial Japanese Navy in Hearts of Iron 4 (BlackIce) when the game opens at January 1936. When you see the list, it seems quite complex, and you may never heard before about these classes, or which one is modern and which one is already obsolete. There is a small hint with the naming since it uses letters to indicate modern versions. However, there are some exceptions.
The IJN destroyers can be classified into two categories: 1st class destroyers and 2nd class destroyers. The 2nd class consisted in nearly obsolete vessels.
Momo Class DD I is a 2nd class destroyer series and named as trees. Four units were constructed and were commissioned from 28 February 1916 – 10 October 1944. The Momo-class destroyers were completed in time to serve in the very final stages of World War I. As the Japanese 15th Destroyer Flotilla under the cruiser Izumo, they were based at Malta from August 1917. Kashi was transferred to the Manchukuo Imperial Navy on 1 May 1937 and was renamed Hai Wei. However, on 6 June 1942, Hai Wei was transferred back to the Imperial Japanese Navy, and reclassified as the auxiliary escort Kari. The ship fought in World War II, and was sunk by United States Navy aircraft from TF38 off of Okinawa on 10 October 1944.
The remaining three vessels were retired on 1 April 1940 and broken up, except for Yanagi, which was retained as a training hulk until scrapped in 1947.
Momi Class DD Ia (1919-1922) is a second class destroyer series with 21 units constructed and named as plants. Due to their shallow draft, the Momi-class destroyers proved to be excellent for operation in coastal waters, and were used along the coast of China to support amphibious landings during the Second Sino-Japanese War. A number of the Momi-class vessels were lost or disposed during the interwar period. Momi herself was turned over to trials in 1932, while Warabi was run down by the cruiser Jintsu on 27 August 1927 off Maizuru, Kyoto. Kaya and Nashi were scrapped in 1939. Also in 1939, Aoi, Fuji, Hagi, Hishi, Kiku, Satsuki, Tade, Tsuta and Yomogi were removed from front line combat service and converted into patrol vessels.
In 1940, Ashi, Kaki, Nine, Sumire, and Take were disarmed, and re-rated as training ships.
The surviving Momi-class destroyers (Tsuga, Hasu and Kuri) had their amidships 4.7-inch (120 mm) gun replaced by two triple Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Guns from 1942–1943.
Wakatake class DD Ic (1922-1923) is second class destroyer with 8 destroyer constructed. The small displacement and shallow draft of the Wakatake class limited their utility as fleet escorts. As with the Momi class, in the 1920s and 1930s, they were mainly used in Chinese coastal waters. On 15 September 1932, Sarawabi capsized due to poor stability and sank north of Keelung near Taiwan. In April 1940 Yūgao was re-rated as Patrol Boat No. 46, with considerably reduced armament.
Six of the eight Wakatake-class destroyers still operating as destroyers on the eve of the Pacific War, equally divided between the 13th and 32nd Destroyer Divisions. They spent the war’s early months screening maritime traffic in the Tsushima Straits and later assigned to it to provide protection for convoys against Allied submarine activity.
Minekaze Class DD Ib (1919-1922) was a class of fifteen 1st-class destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Obsolete by the beginning of the Pacific War, the Minekaze-class ships were relegated to mostly secondary roles, serving throughout the war as patrol vessels, high speed transports, target control vessels, and as kaiten (suicide torpedo) carriers.
Kamikaze-class DD Id (1922-1925) were a class of nine destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Some research considers the Nokaze, Kamikaze and Mutsuki classes to be extensions of the Minekaze-class destroyers, and the Kamikaze class is sometimes referred to as the “Kiyokaze class” to distinguish it from the earlier World War I-era destroyer class of the same name. Obsolete by the beginning of the Pacific War, the Kamikazes were relegated to mostly secondary roles.
Mutsuki-class DD Ie (1925-1927) was a 1st -class destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy and twelve units were constructed. Along with the Minekaze and Kamikaze classes, the Mutsuki-class ships formed the backbone of Japanese destroyer formations throughout the twenties and thirties. The Minekaze and Kamikaze classes were withdrawn from front line service and reassigned to secondary duties towards the end of the 1930s, but the Mutsukis were retained as first line destroyers due to their range and their more powerful torpedo armament
Fubuki-class DD If (1927-1931) were a class of twenty-four destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Fubuki class has been described as the world’s first modern destroyer. The Fubuki class set a new standard not only for Japanese vessels, but for destroyers around the world.
After the end of World War I, the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff issued requirements for a destroyer with a maximum speed of 39 knots (72 km/h; 45 mph), range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph), and armed with large numbers of the recently developed Type 8 torpedoes. These destroyers were intended to operate with the new series of fast and powerful new cruisers.
Note that in HoI4 the Akatsuki-class, a variant of Fubuki-class, is considered independently of the Fubuki-class. Therefore, if we have into account that Miyuki was sunk in a collision in 1934 and Akatsuki-class was composed of four units, it makes 19 units are shown in initial setup for HoI4.
Akatsuki-class Ig (1931-1932) was a variant of the Fubuki-class and four units were built from 1931 to 1933. These vessels had larger boilers and a narrower fore funnel. Improvements included a unique splinter-proof torpedo launcher-turret, which allowed the torpedo launcher tubes to be reloaded in action.
Hatsukaru-class Ih (1932-1934) was a 1st-class destroyer series of the Imperial Japanese Navy and four units were constructed. In compliance with the 1930 London Naval Treaty, the Hatsuharu-class vessels were significantly smaller than the previous Fubuki and Akatsuki-class destroyers. However, Japanese naval designers attempted to stretch contemporary destroyer design to the limit and beyond by equipping the new class with an armament only slightly weaker than that carried by the earlier classes, despite its smaller hull and displacement.