Japanese battleship Kawachi

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Coordinates: 34°00′N131°36′E / 34.00°N 131.60°E / 34.00; 131.60

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Contents

Kawachi.jpg
Kawachi in 1911
History
Naval ensign of the Empire of Japan.svg Japan
Name:Kawachi
Namesake: Kawachi Province
Ordered: 22 June 1907
Builder: Yokosuka Naval Arsenal
Laid down: 1 April 1909
Launched: 15 October 1910
Commissioned: 31 March 1912
Struck: 21 September 1918
Fate: Sunk by magazine explosion, 12 July 1918
General characteristics
Class and type: Kawachi-class battleship
Displacement: 20,823 long tons (21,157 t) (normal)
Length: 526 ft (160.3 m)
Beam: 84 ft 3 in (25.7 m)
Draft: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2 steam turbine sets
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)
Range: 2,700  nmi (5,000 km; 3,100 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 999–1100
Armament:
Armor:

Kawachi(河内) was the lead ship of the two-ship Kawachi-class dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the first decade of the 20th century. Following the Japanese ship-naming conventions, Kawachi was named after Kawachi Province, [1] now a part of Osaka prefecture. During World War I she bombarded German fortifications at Tsingtao during the Battle of Tsingtao in 1914, but saw no other combat. She sank in 1918 after an explosion in her ammunition magazine with the loss of over 600 officers and crewmen.

Lead ship first built of a series or class of ships

The lead ship, name ship, or class leader is the first of a series or class of ships all constructed according to the same general design. The term is applicable to military ships and larger civilian craft.

<i>Kawachi</i>-class battleship

The Kawachi class was a two-ship class of dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the first decade of the 20th century. Both ships bombarded German fortifications at Tsingtao during the Battle of Tsingtao in 1914, but saw no other combat in World War I. Kawachi sank in 1918 after an explosion in her ammunition magazine with the loss of over 600 officers and crewmen. Settsu was disarmed in 1922 and converted into a target ship two years later to meet the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty and served until she was sunk in 1945 by American carrier aircraft. The ship was refloated after the war and scrapped in 1946–1947.

Imperial Japanese Navy Naval branch of the Empire of Japan

The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 until 1945, when it was dissolved following Japan's surrender in World War II. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was formed after the dissolution of the IJN.

Background

Right elevation and plan of the Kawachi-class battleships from Brassey's Naval Annual 1915 Kawachi-classDrawing.jpg
Right elevation and plan of the Kawachi-class battleships from Brassey's Naval Annual 1915

The Kawachi class was ordered on 22 June 1907 under the 1907 Warship Supplement Program after the Russo-Japanese War as Japan's first dreadnoughts, [2] although their construction was delayed by a severe depression. [3] Their design was based on the Aki with a uniform 12-inch (305 mm) main-gun armament, although cost considerations prevented all the guns from having the same barrel length. [4]

Russo-Japanese War war between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan

The Russo-Japanese War was fought during 1904-1905 between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over rival imperial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea. The major theatres of operations were the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden in Southern Manchuria and the seas around Korea, Japan and the Yellow Sea.

Depression (economics) sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies

In economics, a depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a recession, which is a slowdown in economic activity over the course of a normal business cycle.

Japanese battleship <i>Aki</i> Satsuma-class battleship

Aki (安芸) was a Satsuma-class semi-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the first decade of the 20th century. She was the second battleship built domestically in Japan and the first to use steam turbines for propulsion. The ship was named for Aki Province, now a part of Hiroshima Prefecture. The ship saw no combat during World War I. Aki was disarmed in 1922 and sunk as a target in 1924 in accordance with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.

Design and description

The ship had an overall length of 526 feet (160.3 m), a beam of 84 feet 3 inches (25.7 m), and a normal draft of 27 feet (8.2 m). She displaced 20,823 long ton s (21,157 t) at normal load. Her crew ranged from 999 to 1100 officers and enlisted men. Kawachi was fitted with a pair of license-built Curtis steam turbine sets, each set driving one propeller, using steam from 16 Miyabara water-tube boilers. The turbines were rated at a total of 25,000 shaft horsepower (19,000 kW) for a design speed of 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph). She carried enough coal and fuel oil to give her a range of 2,700 nautical mile s (5,000 km; 3,100 mi) at a speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). [5]

Length overall maximum length of a vessels hull measured parallel to the waterline

Length overall is the maximum length of a vessel's hull measured parallel to the waterline. This length is important while docking the ship. It is the most commonly used way of expressing the size of a ship, and is also used for calculating the cost of a marina berth.

Beam (nautical) width of a ship at its widest point measured at its nominal waterline

The beam of a ship is its width at the widest point as measured at the ship's nominal waterline. The beam is a bearing projected at right-angles from the fore and aft line, outwards from the widest part of ship. Beam may also be used to define the maximum width of a ship's hull, or maximum width including superstructure overhangs.

Draft (hull) the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel)

The draft or draught of a ship's hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel), with the thickness of the hull included; in the case of not being included the draft outline would be obtained. Draft determines the minimum depth of water a ship or boat can safely navigate. The draft can also be used to determine the weight of the cargo on board by calculating the total displacement of water and then using Archimedes' principle. A table made by the shipyard shows the water displacement for each draft. The density of the water and the content of the ship's bunkers has to be taken into account. The closely related term "trim" is defined as the difference between the forward and aft drafts.

Kawachi's main armament consisted of four 50-caliber 12-inch 41st Year Type guns in two twin-gun turrets, one each fore and aft of the superstructure, and eight 45-caliber 12-inch 41st Year Type guns mounted in four twin-gun turrets, two on each side of the superstructure. [5] Kawachi's secondary armament was ten 45-caliber 6-inch/45 41st Year Type guns, mounted in casemates in the sides of the hull, and eight 40-caliber quick-firing (QF) 4.7-inch 41st Year Type guns. [3] The ship was also equipped with a dozen 40-caliber 3-inch 4th Year Type guns [5] and four others were used as saluting guns. [6] In addition, the battleship was fitted with five submerged 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes, two on each broadside and one in the stern. [7]

Caliber (artillery) unit of length used in measuring bore length of a gun

In artillery, caliber or calibre is the internal diameter of a gun barrel, or by extension a relative measure of the length.

Gun turret protective weapon mount or firing position

A gun turret is a location from which weapons can be fired that affords protection, visibility, and some cone of fire. A modern gun turret is generally a weapon mount that houses the crew or mechanism of a projectile-firing weapon and at the same time lets the weapon be aimed and fired in some degree of azimuth and elevation.

Superstructure upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline; structure above the deck of a ship

A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied to various kinds of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, or ships having the degree of freedom zero. The word "superstructure" is a combination of the Latin prefix, super with the Latin stem word, structure.

The waterline main belt of the ship had a maximum thickness of 12 inches amidships. It tapered to a thickness of 5 inches (127 mm) at the ends of the ship. [3] A 6-inch (152 mm) strake of armor protected the casemates. The barbettes for the main guns were 9–11 inches (229–279 mm) thick. The armor of Kawachi's main gun turrets had a maximum thickness of 11 inches. The deck armor was 1.1 inches (29 mm) thick and the conning tower was protected by 6 to 10 inches of armor. [8]

Waterline special marking that indicates the draft of the ship and the legal limit to which a ship may be loaded for specific water types and temperatures in order to safely maintain buoyancy, particularly with regard to the hazard of waves that may arise

The waterline is the line where the hull of a ship meets the surface of the water. Specifically, it is also the name of a special marking, also known as an international load line, Plimsoll line and water line, that indicates the draft of the ship and the legal limit to which a ship may be loaded for specific water types and temperatures in order to safely maintain buoyancy, particularly with regard to the hazard of waves that may arise. Varying water temperatures will affect a ship's draft; because warm water is less dense than cold water, providing less buoyancy. In the same way, fresh water is less dense than salinated or seawater with the same lessening effect upon buoyancy.

Strake

A strake is a course of the planking or plating of the hull of a vessel. In a wooden construction it is a strip of planking running longitudinally along the vessel's bottom and sides. In a metal ship it is a course of plating.

Deck (ship) part of a ship or boat

A deck is a permanent covering over a compartment or a hull of a ship. On a boat or ship, the primary or upper deck is the horizontal structure that forms the "roof" of the hull, strengthening it and serving as the primary working surface. Vessels often have more than one level both within the hull and in the superstructure above the primary deck, similar to the floors of a multi-storey building, that are also referred to as decks, as are certain compartments and decks built over specific areas of the superstructure. Decks for some purposes have specific names.

Construction and career

A postcard of Kawachi at anchor Japanese battleship Kawachi in early postcard.jpg
A postcard of Kawachi at anchor

Kawachi was laid down at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on 1 April 1909. She was launched on 15 October 1910 [3] in a ceremony attended by Emperor Meiji and completed on 31 March 1912 at a cost of ¥11,130,000. [2] On 3 October 1912, the ship was present when the battleship Mikasa had a fire that was started by a sailor in the forward magazine. It was flooded before the fire could get out of control and Kawachi sent over fire-fighting teams to assist Mikasa's crew in case they were needed. [9] When World War I began in August 1914, Kawachi was at Yokosuka. [7]

Together with her sister ship, Settsu, she bombarded German fortifications in October–November 1914 during the final stage of the Battle of Tsingtao. [10] The ship was present in Yokosuka on 8 January 1915 when the victorious Second Squadron returned to Japan after the Battle of Tsingtao. [11] She was assigned to the First Squadron from 1915 to 1917 and refitted that latter year. [7]

Kawachi rejoined the First Squadron after her refit commanded by Captain Yoshimoto Masaki and entered Tokuyama Bay on the evening of 11 July 1918. The following morning torpedo target practice was cancelled due to rough seas and the battleship remained at anchor for the rest of the day. That afternoon a loud explosion was heard at 15:51 in the vicinity of the starboard forward main-gun turret and large quantities of smoke erupted from the turret and between the first and second funnels. Two minutes later, she began to list to starboard and capsized at 15:55, only four minutes after the explosion. [12] Over a thousand men were aboard Kawachi at the time of the explosion and over 600 were killed, with 433 survivors. [12] [Note 1]

The Imperial Japanese Navy convened a commission to investigate the explosion the day after the incident with Vice Admiral Murakami Kakuichi as chairman. The commission first suspected arson, but no plausible suspect could be found and it reported that the cordite in her magazine might have spontaneously ignited due to decomposition. Kawachi's magazines had been inspected in January–February 1918, however, and no problems were discovered, which made that possibility less likely. The commission made recommendations on tighter control of production and handling of cordite that were successfully adopted by the navy. The Japanese Navy considered salvaging Kawachi, but ultimately decided that it would be too expensive and would delay the construction of one battlecruiser by over a year. Stricken from the navy list on 21 September 1918, the wreck was later partially dismantled although most of the hull was abandoned in place to serve as an artificial reef. [14]

See also

Notes

  1. Sources differ widely on the exact number of men killed. Gardiner and Gray and Jentschura, Jung and Mickel agree on 700, [3] [5] but Lengerer says 600 [12] and Kingsepp gives 618 killed from a crew of 960. [13]

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References

  1. Silverstone, p. 333
  2. 1 2 Lengerer, p. 74
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Gardiner & Gray, p. 239
  4. Lengerer, p. 73
  5. 1 2 3 4 Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 24
  6. Lengerer, p. 80
  7. 1 2 3 Preston, p. 196
  8. Lengerer, pp. 76, 81
  9. Kingsepp 2008, pp. 37–38
  10. Hackett & Kingsepp
  11. "Return of Japanese Squadron". The Queensland Times . Ipswich, Queensland. 12 January 1915. p. 3. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  12. 1 2 3 Lengerer, p. 83
  13. Kingsepp 2007, p. 99
  14. Lengerer, pp. 83–84

Bibliography