Japanese battleship Yashima

Last updated

Colorized Yashima.jpg
Yashima during gunnery training in Kure, 22 February 1900
History
Naval Ensign of Japan.svg Japan
Name:Yashima
Namesake: Japan
Ordered: 1894 Naval Programme
Builder: Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick
Cost: ¥10,500,000
Yard number: 625
Laid down: 6 December 1894
Launched: 28 February 1896
Completed: 9 September 1897
Fate: Sank 15 May 1904 after striking two mines
General characteristics
Class and type: Fuji-class pre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement: 12,230 long tons (12,430  t) (normal)
Length: 412 ft (125.6 m) (o/a)
Beam: 73 ft 6 in (22.4 m)
Draught: 26 ft 3 in (8 m) (deep load)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2 triple-expansion steam engines
Speed: 18.25 knots (34 km/h; 21 mph)
Range: 4,000  nmi (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 650
Armament:
Armour:

Yashima (八島, Yashima) was a Fuji-class pre-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the 1890s. As Japan lacked the industrial capacity to construct such vessels, the ship was designed and built in the United Kingdom. She participated in the early stages of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, including the Battle of Port Arthur on the second day of the war. Yashima was involved in subsequent operations until she struck two mines off Port Arthur in May 1904. She did not sink immediately, but capsized while under tow later that day. The Japanese were able to keep her loss a secret from the Russians for over a year. As a result, the Russians were unable to take advantage of the ship's loss.

Contents

Background and description

Right elevation and plan showing the internal layout of the ship Yashima (ship, 1897) - Plan - Cassier's 1898-02.png
Right elevation and plan showing the internal layout of the ship

The two Fuji-class ships were the IJN's first battleships, ordered from Britain in response to two new German-built Chinese ironclad warships. [1] At this time, Japan lacked the technology and capability to construct its own battleships and they had to be built abroad. [2] The ships were designed by Philip Watts [3] as smaller versions of the British Royal Sovereign class, although they were slightly faster and had a better type of armour. [1] The ships were 412 feet (125.6 m) long overall and had a beam of 73 feet 6 inches (22.4 m) and a draught of 26 feet 3 inches (8 m) at deep load. They normally displaced 12,230 long ton s (12,430  t ) and had a crew of 650 officers and ratings. [4] Unlike her sister ship Fuji, Yashima was fitted as an admiral's flagship. [5] The ship was powered by two vertical triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one shaft, using steam generated by ten cylindrical boilers. The engines were rated at 13,500 indicated horsepower (10,100  kW ) using forced draught and were designed to reach a top speed of 18.25 knots (34 km/h; 21 mph), though Yashima reached a top speed of 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph) from 14,075 ihp (10,496 kW) on her sea trials. [6] The sisters carried enough coal to allow them to steam for 4,000 nautical mile s (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). [7] [Note 1]

The main battery of the Fuji-class ships consisted of four 12-inch (305 mm) guns mounted in two twin-gun turrets, one each fore and aft of the superstructure. Their secondary armament consisted of ten quick-firing (QF) 6-inch (152 mm) guns, four mounted in casemates on the sides of the hull and six mounted on the upper deck, protected by gun shields. [9] Smaller guns were carried for defence against torpedo boats. These included fourteen QF 3-pounder (47-millimetre (1.9 in)) guns and ten 2.5-pounder Hotchkiss guns of the same calibre, all of which were in single mounts. [Note 2] The ships were also armed with five 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes, one above water in the bow and a submerged pair on each broadside. The Fuji class had a waterline armour belt that consisted of Harvey armour 14–18 inches (356–457 mm) thick. Their gun turrets were protected by 6-inch armour plates and their decks were 2.5 inches (64 mm) thick. [4] In 1901, the ships exchanged 16 of their 47 mm guns for an equal number of QF 12-pounder (3 in (76 mm)) 12 cwt guns. [Note 3] This raised the number of crewmen to 652 and later to 741. [7]

Construction and career

Yashima under construction, about two months after her keel was laid down Yashima (ship, 1897) - After Two Months - Cassier's 1898-02.png
Yashima under construction, about two months after her keel was laid down

Given a classical name for Japan, [13] Yashima was ordered as part of the 1894 Naval Programme and the ship was laid down by Armstrong Whitworth at their Elswick shipyard on 6 December 1894 as yard number 625. The ship was launched on 28 February 1896 [14] and completed on 9 September 1897, [15] at a total cost of ¥10,500,000. [16] She conducted her sea trials during the following month. [14] Yashima departed the UK on 15 September and arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, on 30 November. She was initially assigned to the Standing Fleet, the IJN's primary combat fleet, but was reduced to reserve on 20 November. The ship was reclassified as a first-class battleship on 21 March 1898 and reassigned to the Standing Fleet. Two years later, Yashima was again placed in reserve where she remained until reactivated on 28 December 1903 and assigned to the 1st Division of the 1st Fleet of the Combined Fleet. [16]

At the start of the Russo-Japanese War, Yashima, commanded by Captain Hajime Sakamoto, participated in the Battle of Port Arthur on 9 February 1904 when Vice-Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō led his battleships and cruisers in an attack on the Russian ships of the Pacific Squadron anchored just outside Port Arthur. Tōgō had expected the preceding surprise night attack by his destroyers to be much more successful than it was, anticipating that the Russians would be badly disorganised and weakened, but they had recovered from their surprise and were ready for the attack of the battleships and cruisers. The Japanese ships were spotted by the protected cruiser Boyarin, which was patrolling offshore and alerted the Russian defences. Tōgō chose to attack the Russian coastal defences with his main armament and engage the ships with his secondary guns. Splitting his fire proved to be a poor decision as the Japanese eight-inch (203 mm) and six-inch guns inflicted little damage on the Russian ships, which concentrated all their fire on the Japanese ships with some effect. Although many ships on both sides were hit, Russian casualties numbered only 17, while the Japanese suffered 60 killed and wounded before Tōgō disengaged. Yashima was not hit during the battle. [17]

Yashima Yashima NH 58968.jpg
Yashima

On 10 March, Yashima and her sister Fuji, under the command of Rear-Admiral Nashiba Tokioki, blindly bombarded the harbour of Port Arthur from Pigeon Bay, on the south west side of the Liaodong Peninsula, at a range of 5.9 miles (9.5 km). They fired 154 twelve-inch shells, [18] but did little damage. [19] When they tried again on 22 March, they were attacked by Russian coast-defence guns that had been transferred there by the new Russian commander, Vice-Admiral Stepan Makarov, and also from several Russian ships in Port Arthur using observers overlooking Pigeon Bay. The Japanese ships disengaged after Fuji was hit by a twelve-inch shell. [18]

Yashima participated in the action of 13 April when Tōgō successfully lured out a portion of the Pacific Squadron, including Makarov's flagship, the battleship Petropavlovsk. When Makarov spotted the five battleships of the 1st Division, he turned back for Port Arthur and Petropavlovsk struck a mine laid by the Japanese the previous night. The Russian battleship sank in less than two minutes after one of her magazines exploded and Makarov was one of the 677 killed. Emboldened by his success, Tōgō resumed long-range bombardment missions, which prompted the Russians to lay more minefields. [20]

A model of Yashima in the British National Maritime Museum Battleship Yashima.jpg
A model of Yashima in the British National Maritime Museum

On 14 May, Nashiba put to sea with his flagship Hatsuse and two other battleships, Shikishima, and Yashima, the protected cruiser Kasagi, and the dispatch boat Tatsuta to relieve the Japanese blockading force off Port Arthur. [21] On the following morning, the squadron encountered a minefield laid by the Russian minelayer Amur. Hatsuse struck one mine that disabled her steering [22] around 11:10 and Yashima struck two others when moving to assist Hatsuse. One blew a hole in her starboard aft boiler room and the other detonated on the starboard forward side of her hull, near the underwater torpedo room. After the second detonation the ship had a 9° list to starboard that gradually increased throughout the day. [16]

Yashima was towed away from the minefield, north towards the Japanese base in the Elliott Islands. She was still taking on water at an uncontrollable rate, and Sakamoto ordered the ship anchored around 17:00 near Encounter Rock to allow the crew to easily abandon ship. He assembled the crew, which sang the Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo , and then abandoned ship. Kasagi took Yashima in tow, but the battleship's list continued to increase, and she capsized about three hours later, after the cruiser was forced to cast off the tow, [23] roughly at co-ordinates 38°34′N121°40′E / 38.567°N 121.667°E / 38.567; 121.667 Coordinates: 38°34′N121°40′E / 38.567°N 121.667°E / 38.567; 121.667 . [7] The Japanese were able to conceal her loss for more than a year as no Russians observed Yashima sink. [24] As part of the deception, for the rest of the war the surviving crewmen were assigned to four auxiliary gunboats that were tasked to guard Port Arthur and addressed their letters as if they were still aboard the battleship. [16]

Notes

  1. Lengerer gives a coal storage figure of 1,110 long tons (1,130 t) that gave them a range of 7,000 nmi (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at 10 knots. [8]
  2. Sources differ significantly on the exact outfit of light guns. Naval historians Roger Chesneau and Eugene Kolesnik and Hans Lengerer cite twenty 3- and four 2.5-pounders. [10] [11] Jentschura, Jung & Mickel give a total of twenty-four 47 mm guns, without dividing them between the 3 and 2.5-pounders, [7] while Silverstone says that they had only twenty 47 mm guns, again without discriminating between the two types. [12]
  3. "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 12 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 Lengerer 2008, pp. 23, 27
  2. Evans & Peattie, p. 60
  3. Heald, p. 208
  4. 1 2 Brook 1999, p. 122
  5. Lengerer 2009, p. 51
  6. Lengerer 2008, p. 27
  7. 1 2 3 4 Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 16
  8. Lengerer 2008, pp. 11, 23
  9. Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 221
  10. Lengerer 2008, p. 23
  11. Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 220
  12. Silverstone, p. 309
  13. Jane, p. 400
  14. 1 2 Brook 1985, p. 268
  15. Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 17
  16. 1 2 3 4 Lengerer 2008, p. 14
  17. Forczyk, pp. 41–44
  18. 1 2 Forczyk, p. 44
  19. Brook 1985, p. 269
  20. Forczyk, pp. 45–46
  21. Warner & Warner, p. 279
  22. Forczyk, p. 46
  23. Warner & Warner, pp. 279–282
  24. Warner & Warner, pp. 283, 332

Related Research Articles

Battle of Port Arthur 1904 naval battle of the Russo-Japanese War

The Battle of Port Arthur of 8–9 February 1904 marked the commencement of the Russo-Japanese War. It began with a surprise night attack by a squadron of Japanese destroyers on the neutral Russian fleet anchored at Port Arthur, Manchuria, and continued with an engagement the following morning; further skirmishing off Port Arthur would continue until May 1904. The attack ended inconclusively, though the war resulted in a decisive Japanese victory.

Japanese battleship <i>Mikasa</i> Japanese pre-dreadnought battleship

Mikasa (三笠) is a pre-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the late 1890s. Named after Mount Mikasa in Nara, Japan, the ship served as the flagship of Vice Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō throughout the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, including the Battle of Port Arthur on the second day of the war and the Battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima. Days after the end of the war, Mikasa's magazine accidentally exploded and sank the ship. She was salvaged and her repairs took over two years to complete. Afterwards, the ship served as a coast-defence ship during World War I and supported Japanese forces during the Siberian Intervention in the Russian Civil War.

Japanese cruiser <i>Nisshin</i> Kasuga-class cruiser

Nisshin (日進), also transliterated as Nissin, was a Kasuga-class armored cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy, built in the first decade of the 20th century by Gio. Ansaldo & C., Sestri Ponente, Italy, where the type was known as the Giuseppe Garibaldi class. The ship was originally ordered by the Argentine Navy during the Argentine–Chilean naval arms race, but the lessening of tensions with Chile and financial pressures caused the Argentinians to sell her before delivery. At this time tensions between the Empire of Japan and the Russian Empire were rising, and the ship was offered to both sides before she was purchased by the Japanese.

Japanese battleship <i>Fuji</i> ship

Fuji (富士) was the lead ship of the Fuji class of pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy by the British firm of Thames Iron Works in the late 1890s. The ship participated in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, including the Battle of Port Arthur on the second day of the war with her sister Yashima. Fuji fought in the Battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima and was lightly damaged in the latter action. The ship was reclassified as a coastal defence ship in 1910 and served as a training ship for the rest of her career. She was hulked in 1922 and finally broken up for scrap in 1948.

Japanese battleship <i>Hatsuse</i> Japanese Shikishima-class battleship

Hatsuse was a Shikishima-class pre-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the late 1890s. As Japan lacked the industrial capacity to build such warships, the ship was designed and built in the United Kingdom. She participated in the early stages of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, including the Battle of Port Arthur on the second day of the war, as the flagship of the 1st Division. Hatsuse was involved in the subsequent operations until she struck two mines off Port Arthur in May 1904. The second mine detonated one of her magazines and Hatsuse sank almost immediately afterwards with the loss of over half her crew.

Japanese cruiser <i>Asama</i> Asama-class cruiser

Asama (浅間) was the lead ship of her class of armored cruisers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the late 1890s. As Japan lacked the industrial capacity to build such warships herself, the ship was built in Britain. She served in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 during which she participated in the Battle of Chemulpo Bay and the Battle of the Yellow Sea without damage, although her luck did not hold out during the Battle of Tsushima. Early in World War I, Asama unsuccessfully searched for German commerce raiders until she was severely damaged when she ran aground off the Mexican coast in early 1915. Repairs took over two years to complete and she was mainly used as a training ship for the rest of her career. The ship made a total of 12 training cruises before she was crippled after running aground again in 1935. Asama then became a stationary training ship until she was broken up in 1946–1947.

Japanese cruiser <i>Kasuga</i> Kasuga-class cruiser

Kasuga was the name ship of the Kasuga-class armored cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy, built in the first decade of the 20th century by Gio. Ansaldo & C., Sestri Ponente, Italy, where the type was known as the Giuseppe Garibaldi class. The ship was originally ordered by the Argentine Navy during the Argentine–Chilean naval arms race, but the lessening of tensions with Chile and financial pressures caused the Argentinians to sell her before delivery. At this time tensions between the Empire of Japan and the Russian Empire were rising, and the ship was offered to both sides before she was purchased by the Japanese.

Japanese battleship <i>Shikishima</i> pre-dreadnought battleship

Shikishima (敷島) was the lead ship of her class of two pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy by British shipyards in the late 1890s. During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, the ship fought in the Battles of Port Arthur, the Yellow Sea and Tsushima and was lightly damaged in the latter action, although shells prematurely exploded in her main guns in the latter two engagements. Shikishima remained in home waters during World War I. She was reclassified as a coastal defence ship in 1921 and served as a training ship for the rest of her career. The ship was disarmed and hulked in 1923 and finally broken up for scrap in 1948.

Russian battleship <i>Pobeda</i> Peresvet-class battleship

Pobeda was the last of the three Peresvet-class pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy at the end of the nineteenth century. The ship was assigned to the Pacific Squadron upon completion and based at Port Arthur from 1903. During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, she participated in the battles of Port Arthur and the Yellow Sea. Having escaped serious damage in these engagements, Pobeda was sunk by gunfire during the Siege of Port Arthur, and then salvaged by the Japanese and placed into service under the name Suwo (周防).

Japanese battleship <i>Asahi</i> pre-dreadnought battleship

Asahi was a pre-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the late 1890s. As Japan lacked the industrial capacity to build such warships itself, the ship was designed and built in the United Kingdom. Shortly after her arrival in Japan, she became flagship of the Standing Fleet, the IJN's primary combat fleet. She participated in every major naval battle of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 and was lightly damaged during the Battle of the Yellow Sea and the Battle of Tsushima. Asahi saw no combat during World War I, although the ship participated in the Siberian Intervention in 1918.

<i>Peresvet</i>-class battleship pre-dreadnought battleship class

The Peresvet class was a group of three pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy around the end of the 19th century. Peresvet and Pobeda were transferred to the Pacific Squadron upon completion and based at Port Arthur from 1901 and 1903, respectively. All three ships were lost by the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05; Peresvet and Pobeda participated in the Battles of Port Arthur and the Yellow Sea and were sunk during the Siege of Port Arthur. Oslyabya, the third ship, sailed to the Far East with the Second Pacific Squadron to relieve the Russian forces blockaded in Port Arthur and was sunk at the Battle of Tsushima with the loss of over half her crew.

Japanese cruiser <i>Yakumo</i> armored cruiser built for the Imperial Japanese Navy

Yakumo was an armored cruiser built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the late 1890s. As Japan lacked the industrial capacity to build such warships herself, the ship was built in Germany. She participated in most of the naval battles of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, and was lightly damaged during the Battle of the Yellow Sea and the Battle of Tsushima. Yakumo saw no combat during World War I and began the first of many training cruises in 1917, although she was not officially reclassified as a training ship until 1931. Her last training cruise was in 1939, but the ship continued to conduct training in home waters throughout the Pacific War. Yakumo became a repatriation transport after the war and was broken up in 1946–47.

Russian battleship <i>Poltava</i> (1894) Petropavlovsk-class battleship

The Russian battleship Poltava was one of three Petropavlovsk-class pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the 1890s. The ship was transferred to the Pacific Squadron shortly after completion and based at Port Arthur from 1901. During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, she participated in the Battle of Port Arthur and was heavily damaged during the Battle of the Yellow Sea. She was sunk by Japanese artillery during the subsequent Siege of Port Arthur in December 1904, but was raised by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) after the war and renamed Tango (丹後).

Russian battleship <i>Oryol</i> Russian battleship

Oryol was a Borodino-class battleship built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. The ship was completed after the start of the Russo-Japanese War in February 1904 and was assigned to the Second Pacific Squadron sent to the Far East six months later to break the Japanese blockade of Port Arthur. The Japanese captured the port while the squadron was in transit and their destination was changed to Vladivostok. Oryol was badly damaged during the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905 and surrendered to the Japanese who put her into service under the name of Iwami.

Russian battleship <i>Peresvet</i>

Peresvet was the lead ship of the three Peresvet-class pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy at the end of the nineteenth century. The ship was transferred to the Pacific Squadron upon completion and based at Port Arthur from 1903. During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, she participated in the Battle of Port Arthur and was seriously damaged during the Battle of the Yellow Sea and again in the Siege of Port Arthur. The ship was scuttled before the Russians surrendered, then salvaged by the Japanese and placed into service with the name Sagami (相模).

<i>Asama</i>-class cruiser class of early Japanese armored cruisers

The Asama-class cruisers were a pair of armored cruisers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the late 1890s. As Japan lacked the industrial capacity to build such warships herself, the ships were built in Britain. They were part of the "Six-Six Fleet" expansion program that began after the defeat of China during the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95. Between them, the sister ships participated in all four main naval battles of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05—the Battle of Port Arthur, the Battle off Ulsan, the Battle of the Yellow Sea, and the Battle of Tsushima—but played a much more minor role in World War I. Asama ran aground while searching for German commerce raiders in early 1915 and was under repair for the next two years. Tokiwa participated in the Battle of Tsingtao and also searched for commerce raiders. Both ships made training cruises during the war and continued to do so after the war.

Russian cruiser <i>Bayan</i> (1900) lead ship of the Bayan-class cruisers

The cruiser Bayan was the name ship of the four Bayan-class armoured cruisers built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. The ship had to be built in France because there was no available capacity in Russia. Bayan was assigned to the First Pacific Squadron after completion and based at Port Arthur from the end of 1903. She suffered minor damage during the Battle of Port Arthur at the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 and supported destroyers as they patrolled outside the harbour. After bombarding Japanese positions in July 1904, the ship struck a mine and was out of action for the next several months. Bayan was sunk during the Siege of Port Arthur and was then salvaged by the Japanese after the war.

<i>Fuji</i>-class battleship ship class

The Fuji class was a two-ship class of pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the mid-1890s. They were the first battleships in the IJN, and were constructed in the UK as Japan lacked the industrial facilities needed to build them. Their design was based on the battleships being built for the Royal Navy at that time.

<i>Shikishima</i>-class battleship battleship class

The Shikishima class was a two-ship class of pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the late 1890s. As Japan lacked the industrial capacity to build such warships herself, they were designed and built in the UK. The ships participated in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, including the Battle of Port Arthur on the second day of the war. Hatsuse sank after striking two mines off Port Arthur in May 1904. Shikishima fought in the Battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima and was lightly damaged in the latter action, although shells prematurely exploded in the barrels of her main guns in each battle. The ship was reclassified as a coast defence ship in 1921 and served as a training ship for the rest of her career. She was disarmed and hulked in 1923 and finally broken up for scrap in 1948.

References