IJN Sutsuk, later Patrol Boat N0. 34 was a Momi Class destroyer built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the early 1920’s. Originally one of the fastest ships of their period, they were top heavy at high speed, and could only be used as second class destroyers or torpedo boats. Although nearly obsolete at the start of the war, the Imperial Japanese Navy decided their speed would be useful in reinforcing their forces at Guadalcanal. Several of the vessels were converted to carry Daihatsu landing craft on the stern.
During the war Sutsuki participated as part of the famed “Tokyo Express” to relieve Japanese forces engaged in the battle for Guadalcanal. During this period she was heavily damaged in collision with another destroyer while laying protective smoke around their aircraft carrier line. While losing 80ft of her bow, her able skipper backed his vessel out of the war zone, running astern halfway to Chuuk, before a tug arrived to tow her in and receive temporary plating repairs to facilitate her running back to Japan in convoy to receive a new section. However while awaiting a convoy, she was pressed into temporary service patrolling Chuuk’s outer perimeters for US subs and re-supplying outer reef island garrisons via her Daihatsu landing crafts. She was to later continue in that capacity and renamed as Patrol No. 34.
During Ops Hailstone, several US planes reported damage from brisk anti-aircraft fire when passing over the Fefan /Tonoas Channel and was verified to be arising from the anchored Sutsuki, near Tonoas’s west shores.
A bevy of US aircraft joined to remove the menace and she went down very quickly under their intense attack, as reported later by a Wing Commander of USS Bunker Hill’s torpedo squadron while diving from Thorfinn.
IJN SUTSUKI, later PATROL No.34, details:
- Displacement: 935 tons
- Length: 280 feet
- Beam: 26 feet
- Engine: 2 turbines, 2 shafts
- Max Speed: 35 kts.
- Mission: Transport. Crew: 110.