Aoba-class cruiser

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Nh97727.jpg
Aoba soon after completion
Class overview
Name: Aoba
Operators: Naval Ensign of Japan.svg Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Furutaka class
Succeeded by: Myōkō class
In commission: 20 Sep 1927 - 28 July 1945
Completed: 2
Lost: 2
General characteristics (as per Whitley[1])
Type: Heavy cruiser
Displacement:

7,100 tons standard;

8,900 tons full load
Length: 607 ft (185 m) (overall)
Beam: 52 ft (16 m)
Draught: 19 ft (5.8 m)
Propulsion:

4-shaft Parsons geared turbines
12 Kampon boilers

102,000 shp (76,000 kW)
Speed: 34 knots (63 km/h)
Range: 6,00nm at 14 kn (26 km/h)
Complement: 625
Armament:

(initial)
6 × 20 cm (7.9 in)/50-cal Mark I guns (3×2)
4 × 12 cm (4.7 in)/45-cal (4×1)
12 × 61 cm (24 in) torpedo tubes (6×2) (final)
6 × 8 in (203 mm)/50-cal Mark II guns (3×2)
4 × 12 cm (4.7 in)/45-cal (4×1)
8 × 25 mm (4×2) machine guns

8 × 61 cm (24 in) Type 93 torpedo tubes (2×4)
Armor:

[2]

Aircraft carried: (initial) 1, (final) 2
Aviation facilities: 1 catapult

The Aoba-class cruisers (青葉型巡洋艦 Aoba-gata jun'yōkan?) were a class of two Japanese heavy cruisers which saw service during World War II.

WW-2 recognition drawing of Aoba class cruisers

Design[edit]

The Furutaka class of heavy cruisers (also called “A class” cruisers in the I.J.N.) was originally planned to include Aoba and her sister ship Kinugasa. The two ships were laid down in early 1924 with that intent.

In 1924 the IJN Naval General Staff pressured the acting head of the Basic Design Section, Fujimoto Kikuo, to use the newly designed twin 20 cm (7.9 in) gun turrets on the Furutaka class ships. Fujimoto agreed to modify the Aoba and Kinugasa, but it was already too late to retrofit Furutaka and Kako, which had been laid down in late 1922.[3] The two ships were subsequently renamed as a separate class.

The modifications were significant. The 6×1 20 cm semi-turrets, 1 through 6, were replaced by 3 twin turrets, two fore and one aft. The main superstructure was also modified to accommodate the different fire control requirements of the twin turrets.[4] Other design modifications included using 12 cm (4.7 in)/45-cal HA guns rather than the 7.62 cm (3 in) guns. The airplane takeoff platform, part of which mounted atop the number 4 semi-turret, was replaced with a catapult fitted just fore of the number 3 twin turret. The superstructure aft of the funnels was extensively modified due to the new catapult.[5] The catapults weren't ready before the ships were commissioned. Kinugasa had an compressed-air unit mounted in March 1928, while Aoba had a gunpowder-propelled model mounted in March 1929.[6]

Aoba and Kinugasa were otherwise built on the same hull as Furutaka and Kako, with identical machinery and armor.[7]

As built the Aoba was more than 900 tons heavier than its design weight, with negative effects on the performance of the ships similar to that of the Furutaka-class overweight condition.[8]

Modernization[edit]

In 1930, the Naval General Staff, concerned by the limitations on the size of their navy by the London Naval Treaty won approval for an extensive modernization program of the “A class” cruisers. To offset the numerical superiority the U.S. Navy enjoyed, the planned upgrades included the latest weapons, protection, fire control systems, and communication equipment.[9]

In the spring of 1930 the two ships had their manually-operated 12 cm anti-aircraft guns replaced with improved electro-hydraulically operated units. Kinugasa was refitted with a gunpowder-propelled catapult a year later.[10]

Extensive modernization of the ships began in late 1938, lasting until they were recommissioned two years later, as follows:[11]

The 20 cm (7.9 in) main battery was replaced by 8 in (203 mm)/50-cal Mark II guns. Although turrets and gun mounts were unchanged, the powder and shell hoists were modified for the larger shells and to prevent flarebacks in the turrets from traveling to the magazines. Light anti-aircraft defenses were improved by 4 twin sets of 25 mm machine guns and 2 twin 13 mm machine guns. The 6 pairs (3 per side) of fixed torpedo tubes mounted on the middle deck were replaced with 2 quadruple mounts using the powerful Type 93 torpedo, located on the upper deck, one on each side of the catapult.

The bridge structure was rebuilt almost identically to the Furutaka-class modifications to accommodate the latest rangefinders and fire control equipment for the main battery, antiaircraft and torpedoes.

Of the twelve original boilers, two smaller ones were mixed-fuel capable. They were replaced by with oil-fired units. Their coal bunkers were replaced with fuel-oil tanks.

The above modifications added 576 tons to the ships. To prevent the draft from increasing even more, and to improve stability, bulges were added, simultaneously enhancing antitorpedo protection. As a result, the ships' beam was increased to 17.56 m (57.6 ft).

Ships in class[edit]

Name Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
Aoba Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard 4 Feb 1924 25 Sep 1926 20 Sep 1927 Sunk 28 Jul 1945, Bombing of Kure
Kinugasa Kōbe-Kawasaki Shipbuilding Yard 23 Jan 1924 24 Oct 1926 30 Sep 1927 Sunk 14 Nov 1942, Naval Battle of Guadalcanal


See also[edit]

Media related to Aoba class cruiser at Wikimedia Commons

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitley, Cruisers of WWII, pp. 104 & 109
  2. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p.58-59
  3. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p.52
  4. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p.68-70
  5. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p.52-54
  6. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p.68
  7. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p.800-806
  8. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, p.58
  9. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, pp. 219
  10. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, pp. 75
  11. ^ Lacroix, Japanese Cruisers, pp. 258-260

Books[edit]

  • Whitley, M J (1995). Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-225-1. 
  • Lacroix, Eric; Linton Wells (1997). Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-311-3. 

External links[edit]