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Asama in 1900
Asama in 1900
Class overview
Builders: Armstrong Whitworth, United Kingdom
Operators:  Imperial Japanese Navy
Succeeded by: Izumo-class cruiser
Built: 1897–1899
In commission: 1899–1945
Completed: 2
General characteristics
Type: Cruiser
Displacement: 9,700 long tons (9,856 t)
Length: 124.36 m (408 ft 0 in)
Beam: 20.45 m (67 ft 1 in)
Draught: 7.43 m (24 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft VTE
18,000 shp (13,000 kW)
Speed: 21.5 knots (24.7 mph; 39.8 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement: 726
Armament:

• 4 × 203 mm (8 in) guns
• 14 × 152 mm (6 in) rapid fire guns
• 12 × 12-pounder rapid fire guns
• 7 × 2.5-pounder rapid fire guns

• 5 × 360 mm (14 in) torpedo tubes
Armour: Main belt: 88–180 mm (3.5–7.1 in)
Upper belt: 125 mm (4.9 in)
Barbette, turret, casemate: 150 mm (5.9 in)
Conning tower: 75–360 mm (3.0–14.2 in)

The two Asama class cruisers (浅間型装甲巡洋艦 Asama-gata Sōkōjunyōkan ?) were armored cruisers operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy. They participated in numerous actions during the Russo-Japanese War and in World War I.

They would be followed by the very similar Izumo-class cruisers.

Contents

Background

The Asama class armored cruisers were the first pair of six cruisers ordered from overseas shipyards after the First Sino-Japanese War as part of the "Six-Six Program" (six battleships-six cruisers) intended to form the backbone of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Construction of the Asama-class ships began as a private venture by the British shipbuilder Armstrong Whitworth of Elswick, for projected export business, and it was fortuitous for the company that the Japanese navy had a specification which required only slight modifications to the initial design. At the time of their completion, the Asama-class cruisers were considered the fastest; most heavily armed and most heavily armored cruisers in the world; however, extremely fast development of technology, weaponry and armor in this field of ship design meant that that the supremacy of this design was short.

Design

As depicted in Brassey's Naval Annual 1902
8 inch gun turret layout

The hull of the Asama class cruiser was a typical flush deck with high freeboard to improve seaworthiness. The design still came with a ram attached to the bow. The 45-caliber 203 mm main guns were mounted in twin gun turrets fore and aft. Each could fire a 113-kilogram (250 lb) shell at the rate of two per minute over a range of 18,000 metres (20,000 yd). The turrets were capable of 150 degree rotation left and right, and the guns could be elevated to 30 degrees. The secondary side-mounted 40-caliber, 152 mm rapid fire guns had a range of 10,000 yards (9,100 m), and could fire at the rate of five shells per minute (up to seven per minute for a very skilled gun crew).

Propulsion was by two vertical triple expansion steam engines, two shafts, with 12 boilers, yielding a speed of 21.5 knots and a range of 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) based on a 1,409 ton load of coal.

Ships in class

Two Asama class cruisers were purchased from Armstrong Whitworth. They proved to have the longest operational life of any vessels in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Both were scrapped after the end of World War II.

Asama

Ordered in 1897, launched 22 March 1898, and completed 18 March 1899, the Asama participated in the Boxer Rebellion, Russo-Japanese War and World War I. It later served as a training ship, and stripped of its weaponry, as a floating barracks. It survived World War II, and was scrapped in 1947.

The Japanese cruiser Tokiwa in 1905
Tokiwa

Ordered in 1897, launched 6 July 1898, and completed 18 May 1899, the Tokiwa participated in the Russo-Japanese War and World War I. It later served as a training ship, and was then converted into a minelayer and subsequently saw service in the Pacific War. Beached after being damaged by an air attack on 9 August 1945, it was scrapped in 1947.

See also

References

  • Evans, David. Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press (1979). ISBN 0870211927
  • Howarth, Stephen. The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum; (1983) ISBN 0689114028
  • Jane, Fred T. The Imperial Japanese Navy. Thacker, Spink & Co (1904) ASIN: B00085LCZ4
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Naval Institute Press (1976). ISBN 087021893X
  • Schencking, J. Charles. Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press (2005). ISBN 0804749779
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