With the introduction of Yukikaze into the game soon, I see now as being the right time to enumerate Yukikaze's feats so people who are unaware of this destroyer can understand the reason for her being included as a premium (not just because weebs want a beaver girl (KC) or swing-riding catgirl (AL)).
Simply put, Yukikaze is arguably the luckiest ship in WW2. This comes from both RNG and her having a very well-trained roster of capable crew. If you have to choose to get timewarped back to WW2, and get rescued on board a ship mid-battle, Yukikaze is your top choice.
Yukikaze is a Kagerou-class DD. If you played IJN DD line, you should be very familiar with her armaments and whatnot. She was the 8th ship of her class, and launched on March 24, 1939. She hasn't sunken tons of enemies in a chaotic battle like Yuudachi did, or taken a heroic last stand where she got literally blown to scrap pieces like Nowaki did, but she has been involved in almost every major operation undertaken by IJN.
With that being said, it should go without saying that Yukikaze has lived a very eventful life. You might think that she would have met a very dramatic end, too – no, she actually lived through the war, became a vessel in the Republic of China Navy, and essentially passed away in retirement home (scrapped). Compared to other WW2 ships, not many can say they lived to tell the tale, let alone having such an accomplished resume.
Now, Yukikaze also has another side to this ridiculous luck that became a meme – she lives as if being the omen to her fleet, which "sucks" the luck out of other ships. Below lists out a series of Yukikaze's feats, and in many cases, you just can't help but to think what the heck is going on with this ship.
- After the pacific war broke out, Yukikaze was dispatched to the 3rd Fleet of IJN. After participating in a series of operations near Philippines, she was transferred to the 10th squadron of the 3rd Fleet, where she would escort the 5th IJN CV division (Shoukaku & Zuikaku) in the southern pacifics.
- Nov 12, 1942: In the 3rd Battle of Solomons (Naval Battle of Guadalcanal), Yukikaze provided escort to the BBs Hiei and Kirishima (Kongou-class). In this pyrrhic battle, the Japanese lost 1 BB, 1 cruiser, 2 DDs, with an additional 3 DDs injured. Among these, Hiei, which Yukikaze was assigned to for escort, got curbstomped and forced to retreat. The following day Hiei was then found by American planes (CV is balanced) and bombed, and forced to scuttle herself. Yukikaze did not suffer a single casualty this battle.
- In the following months, Yukikaze participated in a series of rescue operations near the Guadalcanal region. IJN suffered more losses in DDs during this time, but Yukikaze remained unscratched.
- Mar 1, 1943: Yukikaze was sent to the Bismarck Sea to escort friendly transport ships. Due to USN's constant bombing and harrassment, IJN suffered the loss of 4 DDs: Shirayuki, Asashio, Tokitsukaze, and Arashio. Oh, and also all 8 transport ships they were meant to escort. Not only did Yukikaze not lose a single man again, she also rescued a bunch of friendlies.
- July 12, 1943: Right before the Columbangara Night Battle, Yukikaze was equipped with a new radar, which helped her gain intel on USN forces at the start of the battle, attaining upper hand for the IJN. The IJN fleet, despite being fewer in numbers, damaged 3 USN cruisers and sunk 1 DD. However, the flagship Jintsuu charged (yolo'd) into enemy fire with a searchlight on to illuminate targets, and got focus-fired and sunk. All except 21 sailors perished. Yukikaze then safely escorted 1,200 IJA soldiers back to land.
- June 19, 1944: Battle of the Philippine Sea, IJN saw another series of losses: carriers Shoukaku, Taihou, and Hiyou were sunk along with 2 oilers and 600-something planes. The other 4 carriers Junyou, Ryuuhou, Chiyoda, and Zuikaku, BB Ise, and CA Maya, all suffered different degrees of injury as well. Due to an earlier incident on May 18, Yukikaze suffered a slight injury from grounding, and retreated to the second line to escort the supply ships. When the American bombers came for the 2 oilers, Yukikaze shone her search light right at the planes and somehow miraculously shot down 3 – this is however still useless as the oilers got sunk in the end still.
- Oct 20, 1944: The greatest naval battle in human history – Battle of Leyte Gulf errupted. IJN suffered more losses here, which I won't enumerate one by one (just know that Musashi sunk here). Yukikaze eventually became the ONLY ship in Admiral Kurita's fleet to remain unharmed. After the Battle of Samar Island, a couple of IJN cruisers lagged behind due to damages, and Yukikaze was ordered to turn back and conduct rescue. An interesting event happened here – Yukikaze was originally ordered to rescue members of CA Chikuma, but was changed to CA Suzuya at the last minute. Instead, another "luckster" ship – Nowaki (Kagerou-class also) was sent to Chikuma's aid. After rescuing Chikuma's members, Nowaki ran into the main force of Admiral Halsey's fleet, and literally got blown to pieces with no survivors. Yukikaze, en-route to Suzuya's rescue, received news that Suzuya had gone down due to an explosion, and turned back.
- Nov 21, 1944: While escorting Kongou, Yamato, and Nagato back to Japan, Yukikaze's fleet was attacked by the American submarine USS Sealion, who sunk Kongou and the DD Urakaze. Yukikaze remained safe and unharmed.
- Nov 29, 1944: By this point in time, Yukikaze's "infamy" as a luccsucc already became quite widespread within the IJN ranks. The only other ship to rival her in luck is Shiratsuyu-class' Shigure (Yuudachi's sister), who would eventually fall to USS Blackfin in 1945. The slogan became "Kure's Yukikaze, Sasebo's Shigure" and widespread (Kure and Sasebo are the two DDs' birthplaces). People were even beginning to take bets on which ship is going to outlive the other. However, IJN higher ranks didn't seem to care about this superstition. Yukikaze was assigned to escort the 3rd Yamato-class ship converted-carrier, Shinano, the legendary most unfortunate and shortlived carrier in history, in her test run. Yukikaze's curse activated yet again as USS Archerfish (SS) spotted the carrier, and launched 6 torps at her. Shinano was hit with 4, and due to the lack of training of her DCP crews, she sunk before any effort could save her. Yukikaze along with 2 other DDs would then do what she did best – pick up the fallen sailors and just head back home.
- In the following months, USN planes would conduct tactical bombings on several IJN ports and strategic holds. Yukikaze would fire tens of thousands of rounds of AA ammo, without being hit even once.
- Apr 7, 1945: The Kikumizu Operation, or Ten-Ichi-Go, final suicide run of Yamato was launched into action. Yukikaze was sent as her escort to help guide Yamato to Okinawa. Under rounds and rounds of intense bombing from USN planes, Yamato, along with her escorts Yahagi (Agano-class CL), DDs Isokaze (Kagerou-class), Hamakaze (Kagerou-class), Asashimo (Yuugumo-class), and Kasumi (Asashio-class) were sunk or scuttled after being severely damaged. Yukikaze was not directly hit by any of the dozens of aerial bombs thrown at her, and only suffered a slight casualty of 3 deaths and 15 wounded, which is quite light considering the situations of her allies. This operation marked the complete annihilation of what remains of the IJN Combined Fleet, with only 4 DDs to return to Sasebo alive. Upon returning, a dud rocket was found in Yukikaze's reserve, presumably dropped during a USN air raid during the operation. Had this rocket exploded, it would blow Yukikaze's hull apart right then and there, but it was a dud…
- July 30, 1945: After Ten-Ichi-Go, IJN was essentially dead and gone, with only a few vessels remaining to carry the name onward. In the following months, Yukikaze sustained bombing raids from a combined 15,000+ counts of USN planes in dozens of large-scale raids. During the July 30 one, Hatsushimo (Hatsuharu-class, another survivor of Ten-Ichi-Go), who was right next to Yukikaze, bumped into a mine and had to ground herself. Yukikaze was possibly hit with another dud rocket (accounts of IJN were quite unorganized during this period of time and this could have been the same dud rocket incident from Apr 7 above, as both accounts were too similar). However, the only casualty she suffered was just 1 death and several injuries.
- Aug 18, 1945: Following Japan's surrender, Yukikaze was sent to escort the Submarine Tender Chougei (Taigei-class) back to Maitsuru. During her return, she had accidentally triggered a mine, which did not detonate until Yukikaze had completely passed it – doing no harm to the destroyer.
- Upon the conclusion of WW2, only 3 DDs remain of the entire 82 DDs on IJN roster: Yukikaze, Ushio (Special/Fubuki-class), and Hibiki (Akatsuki-class, later transferred to the USSR as reparation and renamed to Verniy). Yukikaze clocked an impressive record (some say 124,800+ Nautical Miles?) of having participated in most of the important battles in the Pacific Theater, witnessing the deaths of all 3 Yamato-class ships, while never suffering one instance of heavy damage to herself. Throughout the entire war, Yukikaze's total casualties come down to less than 10 shipmen deaths and 2 MIA, with all 4 of her wartime captains living to tell her tale. She has earned nicknames from her upper rank as "The Miracle Ship" or "Undying Phoenix". However, other ships' crew hate her, because they believe Yukikaze is a bad omen who sucked the luck away from all her comrades. As for her often-cited rival Shigure from Sasebo, who met her end earlier in January, the Kure's Yukikaze has been announced as the final winner of a battle of survivability. Maybe it's because Yukikaze actually saved a shit ton of sailors from other ships, gaining a lot of good karma in the process. Meanwhile Shigure just bailed in the face of danger, such as when Nishimura fleet (feat. Fusou, Yamashiro, Mogami, etc.) met its end at the Surigao strait. Oh, by the way, Kure belongs in the Hiroshima prefecture, whereas Sasebo belongs in the Nagasaki prefecture.
- July 3, 1947: If you think Yukikaze's legend stops with WW2, you'd be wrong. This day, Yukikaze was transferred to Shanghai, given to China (then RoC) as a part of war reparations. The interesting thing to note is that the process of determining which ship goes to which country was a lottery, and Yukikaze arguably scored the jackpot with this draw – again. She was drawn by the Chinese representative. If she had been drawn by the American representative, she might have joined Nagato, Prinz Eugen, and Sakawa (Agano-class CL) to witness some AMAZING FIREWORKS at the Bikini Atoll. Yukikaze was officially transferred to the RoCN on July 6, and renamed to RoCN Tanyang, as a part of the Yang-class ships, May 1 the following year. At this point, you can say that Yukikaze's curse has been carried with her to China…
- Oct 10, 1948: The Battle of Tashan of the Jinzhou Campaign was set into motion – this was an important turning point in the Chinese civil war, as it would determine the fate of the Liao-Shen area of China and who it would fall to. The tiny and yet strategic location was scoffed at by Chiang Kai-shek: "We'll flatten it with shells", who sent Yukikaze (Tanyang) there with the then-largest surface ship in the RoCN, Chung King. You guys might know her by her other name, the HMS Aurora (Arethusa-class). Unknown to Chiang, the captain of Chung King, Hou Jingru, used to be a CCP member in his early years. It thus came to no one's surprise when Chung King defected and refused to support the RoC troops, contributing to the CCP side winning that battle – the 3rd major loss of Chiang's in the 2nd Civil War. This battle would be explained by many historians as one that costed Chiang the entire China. However, Chung King would be cursed by Yukikaze as soon after in a vengeful air raid by the RoC, where she was sunk (scuttled after heavy damage). CCP, extremely lacking in resources however, could not afford to lose such an important ship, and actually scavenged and fixed her. Chung King (now renamed to Tchoung King, same words just different romanization, but later would be renamed to Huang He in 1951) remained in PRCN service until mid-1950s.
- Following RoC's defeat in the 2nd Chinese Civil War, Tanyang went with the RoC to Taiwan, where she became the flagship of the RoCN, and fought in many battles against the PRCN. She remained in service until Dec 16, 1965, when she retired from active roster due to her aging hull. She became a training vessel in 1966, and, after grounding during a typhoon in 1969, sustained heavy damage to the bottom of her hull, and was ordered to scrapping in 1970. Just before she was officially scrapped in Nov 1971, the RoCN would be "scrapped" from the United Nations as the PRC officially replaces it. KEK
- After Tanyang/Yukikaze was struck, there were calls to return her to her home from Japan. However, due to the injury she had sustained in 1969, it was deemed impossible for her to travel such a distance again. Her rudder and anchor were returned to Japan in Dec 1971 – the following year, 1972, following the collapse of PM Tanaka Kakuei's administration, Japan's bubble bursted.
Thus officially concludes Yukikaze's legend. Some of her parts were preserved in Taiwan and in Japan (Etajima), and so it's still possible to pay tribute to the most RNG-rigged ship in modern history.
Now at this point, I'd just like to conclude by pointing out how underwhelming Yukikaze is in her current iteration in test. From the above points, one can easily tell that Yukikaze's survivability is her strongest feat, and should be her "flavor", if anything. While good guns and torps are desirable in this game, she ultimately isn't an Akizuki-class and her torps are going to be burdened with some IJN flavor, which could be a good thing or bad – depends on how you look at it. Nevertheless, from the last time I checked out her test parameters, a F3-equipped Kagerou with not even a speed boost option and just a standard IJN smoke is anything but loyal to her historical fame. While I understand that she's going to be a T8 premium, meaning it's impossible to make her a true OP ship, she definitely deserves more. The hype surrounding her is from both historical and fandom perspectives, and I hope that WG would do her justice.
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