Chinese cruiser Jingyuen (1886)
|Builder:||Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick, England|
|Laid down:||20 October 1885|
|Launched:||14 December 1886|
|Completed:||9 July 1886|
|Fate:||Sunk in combat, 7 February 1894|
|Displacement:||2,355 long tons (2,393 t)|
|Length:||72.085 m (236 ft 6.0 in)|
|Beam:||10.05 m (33 ft 0 in)|
|Draft:||4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)|
|Speed:||18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)|
|Capacity:||510 tons of coal|
|Complement:||260 officers and men|
|Armament:||3 × 210 mm (8.3 in) guns, 2 × 150 mm (5.9 in) guns, 8 × 57 mm (2.2 in) guns, 4 × 457 mm (18.0 in) torpedo tubes|
Jingyuen (Chinese: 靖遠; pinyin: Jingyuan; Wade–Giles: Ching-Yuen) was an armored cruiser in the late Qing Dynasty Beiyang Fleet. Its sister ship was the Zhiyuen. It should not be confused with the 1887 German-built ship of the same name, which also served in the Beiyang Fleet.
As part of his drive to create a modern navy following the Sino-French War, Viceroy Li Hongzhang turned to Armstrong Whitworth shipyards in Elswick, England, which had developed a new type of warship specifically for the export market called the protected cruiser.
Jingyuen was a typical “Elswick” protected cruiser design, with a steel housing, divided into waterproof compartments, a low forecastle, a single smokestack, and two masts. The prow was reinforced for ramming. The power plant was a triple expansion reciprocating steam engine with four cylindrical boilers, driving two screws.
However, the ship was more lightly armed that typical Elswick designs, with the main armament consisting of three breech-loading 8-inch (209 mm) Krupp cannon, two paired on a rotating platform in front of the ship, and one mounted on a rotating platform in the stern. Both mounts were protected by gun shields. The secondary armament consisted of two 6-inch (149 mm) Armstrong guns mounted on sponsons on either side of the deck. The ship also had eight 57-mm rapid-fire guns and six 37 mm Hotchkiss guns, as well as four torpedos.
Although the most modern vessels in the Beiyang Fleet at the time of the First Sino-Japanese War, Zhiyuen and Jingyuen suffered by comparison with similar Elswick designs in the Imperial Japanese Navy, such as the Izumi, which were more heavily armed.
Jingyuan was laid down on 20 October 1885, launched on 14 December 1886, completed on 9 July 1887.
On arrival in China in 1888, Zhiyuen and Jingyuen were both assigned to the Beiyang Fleet. In the summer of 1889, both vessels were part of the flotilla let by Admiral Ding Ruchang, calling on the Russian naval base of Vladivostok.
Both vessels were in the Battle of the Yalu River on 17 September 1894. Early in the battle, the captain of Zhiyuen moved aggressively against the Japanese command vessel Saikyō Maru, inflicting considerable damage on it, and coming under counterattack by the Japanese flying squadron led by Admiral Tsuboi Kōzō (Yoshino, Takachiho, Akitsushima, and Naniwa). Conversely, the captain of Jingyuen kept his distance from combat, and refused to engage the Japanese fleet. Jingyuen also came under attack from the Japanese flying squadron, taking at least three hits, which killed two crewmen and wounded 17 others, and which set some fires (which were soon extinguished). At the end of the battle, Jingyuen escaped with the other surviving Beiyang Fleet ships to Lushunkou and when that port was threatened during the Battle of Lushunkou, to Weihaiwei.
During the Battle of Weihaiwei, after the shore batteries had been captured by the Imperial Japanese Army, Jingyuen came under attack. After several direct hits, the cruiser exploded and sank in shallow water at her anchorage.
- Chesneau, Roger and Eugene M. Kolesnik (editors), All The World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, Conway Maritime Press, 1979 reprinted 2002, ISBN 0-85177-133-5
- Wright, Richard N. J. (2000). The Chinese Steam Navy 1862–1945. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 1-86176-144-9.