The Fumizuki is a Japanese destroyer of the Mutsuki class. She was built in 1925, and launched in Feb 1926 at Osaka. At the time of her sinking she was getting on for eighteen years old, and was already considered obsolete, even though she could reach speeds in excess of 35 knots.
The Fumizuki belonged to the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla and was part of 3 Blockade and Transport Fleet based at Formosa, now called Taiwan. All members of this group saw extensive service in the Solomon Islands between 1942-43, and most of the Flotilla ended up sunk there. The Fumizuki also formed part of the famous ‘Tokyo Express’ which tried to relieve the Japanese forces at Guadacanal. By the end of the war none of this class of destroyer survived.
On the 4th of January 1944 the Fumizuki was attacked by planes from American aircraft carriers operating in the Stephens Straits, but managed to escape only to be severely damaged three weeks later by B52 bombers. She finally arrived in Truk six days later to undergo extensive repairs. When the raid on Truk started, she was moored helplessly near a repair ship with both her turbines and boilers partially dismantled. In between the lulls in the bombing the crew managed to get one of the turbines working, got up steam, and on one propeller slowly eased her way out to open water.
The next day the Fumizuki was extensively bombed, but they all missed. One however dropped very close to her port side, and because it had a delayed action fuse, it exploded underwater, blew a great hole in the hull, and her one engine was put out of action. The crew worked feverishly to patch up the hole in the hull, but in the end the ship developed such a list to port that they had to give up. The Captain put out an anchor to stop the boat stranding on the reefs, but it was all too late. The boat continued to list heavily, and the Captain ordered every one to abandon ship. A few hours later the Fumizuki slipped beneath the waves.
She now lies on the bottom with a fifteen-degree list to port, with her starboard anchor lying on the sand with its thick chain leading up to a windlass on the bow. The wreck is in quite good condition, except for the bridge, which sort of fell off and now lies upside down on the sand. Also at the bow is a 3 or 4-inch gun with an open turret, which is quite nicely covered in soft coral, and a bit further back are the remains of some torpedo launchers. Where the two funnels were, is another gun like the one on the bows, which is also encrusted in coral. The whole wreck is very compact and there are lots to see. Plenty of portholes and all the usual paraphernalia of gas masks, ammunition and china that I never get tired of rummaging through. I did not have long on this wreck as our next one was the enormous Shinkoko Maru, and I needed to save some time. That was a shame, because although the Fumizuki is not a spectacular wreck, it certainly is interesting.