Russian cruiser Bayan (1900)

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Bayan1903Kronstadt.jpg
Bayan
Career (Russian Empire)
Name: Bayan
Namesake: Boyan
Builder: Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, France
Laid down: 1899
Launched: May 1900
Commissioned: December 1902
Fate: Prize of war to Japan, 1905
Career (Japan)
Name: Aso
Acquired: January 1905
Commissioned: 22 August 1905
Struck: 1 April 1931
Fate: Sunk as a target ship, August 1932
General characteristics
Class & type: Bayan-class armored cruiser
Displacement: 7,800 long tons (7,925 t)
Length: 449 ft (137 m)
Beam: 57 ft 6 in (17.53 m)
Draught: 22 ft (6.7 m)
Propulsion: 2 shaft vertical triple expansion steam engines
26 Belleville boilers
16,500 shp (12,300 kW)
Speed: 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h)
Range: 3,900 nmi (7,200 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement: 573
Armament: • 2 × 8 in (200 mm) guns
• 8 × 6 in (150 mm) guns
• 20 × 75 mm (3 in) guns
• 2 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tubes
Armour: Harvey armor
Belt: 200 mm (7.9 in)
Turrets: 150 mm (5.9 in)
Deck: 30 mm (1.2 in)
Barbette: 170 mm (6.7 in)
Casemate: 60 mm (2.4 in)

The cruiser Bayan (Russian: Баян) was the lead ship in the Bayan-class of armored cruisers in the Imperial Russian Navy. It was built in Toulon, France by the Compagnie des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée à La Seyne. Its name means "bard" or "storyteller" in Russian.

The Bayan was scuttled during the Russo-Japanese War, and then raised by the Japanese and commissioned as the Aso. She was eventually sunk as a target off Izu Ōshima in 1932.

Operational history[edit]

The Bayan, one of the most modern ships in the Imperial Russian Navy, was assigned to serve in the Port Arthur squadron of the Russian Pacific Fleet, partly in response to the acquisition of the Asama-class armored cruisers by the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was not however meant as a direct counterpart of heavier Japanese armoured cruisers, but rather as a scout, better armed and armoured, than protected cruisers.[1]

At the outbreak of hostilities between Japan and Russia, the Bayan was not hit during an opening Japanese torpedo attack on 8 February 1904. It took part in a battle of Port Arthur on a following day 9 February, when it was the first ship to attack the oncoming Japanese ships. It suffered superficial damage from 9 hits and numerous splinters, 6 crewmen were killed and 35 injured.[2] It fired 28 rounds 203 mm, 100 – 152 mm and 160 – 75 mm, with unknown results.[2] It was consequently trapped in the harbor along with the rest of the Russian fleet during the subsequent Siege of Port Arthur.

The damage to the Bayan was repaired in several days and subsequently the cruiser patrolled off Port Arthur and took part in several fleet actions. Together with the cruiser Novik, it undertook a sortie on 11 March 1904, to support Russian destroyer Steregushchiy under attack by the Japanese destroyers, but it was sunk before help arrived.[3]

For the next month Bayan was involved in a number of sorties by the First Pacific Squadron, including Admiral Makarov's ill-fated final sortie of 13 April 1904. The Bayan sailed alone to help the destroyer Strashnii, attacked by the Japanese destroyers, but it managed only to save 5 sailors, under a fire from six Japanese cruisers.[4] In a following Russian fleet action, the Bayan was only two kilometers from Port Arthur when the Admiral's flagship Petropavlovsk struck a mine and sank. The Bayan assisted with rescue of the survivors, which did not include the Admiral.

The Bayan participated in additional sorties on 23 June 1904 and 24 July 1904. While returning from this last sortie and flying the flag of Rear Admiral Nikolai Reitsenstein, Bayan struck a mine but made it back to Port Arthur. She was still under repair on 10 August 1904 when the Port Arthur squadron under Rear Admiral Wilgelm Vitgeft attempted to run the Japanese blockade for Vladivostok and engaged the Japanese fleet in the Battle of the Yellow Sea.

After the death of Admiral Vitgelf, Robert Wiren (1856-1917), the captain of the Bayan, was appointed commander of the Port Arthur Squadron. However, despite Wiren's admirable combat record, he showed no inclination to leave port to engage the Japanese, using the excuse that he needed to preserve his ships to reinforce the Russian Baltic Fleet, already on its way to relieve the siege. His excuse may have had some validity, had he not backed it up by removing almost all of the guns from his remaining ships up to 6-inch caliber to reinforce the shore batteries, and re-assigning most of his sailors to land duty as infantry.

The Japanese Army continued to tighten the stranglehold on Port Arthur. By November 1904 the Japanese had positioned eighteen 11-inch (280 mm) siege mortars (12,242 yard range, 480 lb (220 kg) shells), into place to bombard the Russian ships in the port. By December, all of the warships of the First Pacific Squadron that had not already been sunk were scuttled by their crews to prevent capture, by exploding six to eight torpedo warheads around the hull of each surviving ship. Bayan took more hits from the Japanese guns (12) than any battleship or cruiser in the squadron. She suffered seven hits on the deck, of which five penetrated and five hits on the side of the hull.

Japanese service as the Aso[edit]

After the end of the war, the wreck of the Bayan was raised and towed to Maizuru, Japan, as a prize of war. It was repaired and commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as the 2nd class cruiser Aso on 22 August 1905.

Its new name came from Mount Aso, a noted volcano in Kyūshū. It is a tribute to its excellent design that it was able to absorb seven hits on its deck (of which five penetrated) and five hits on the side of its hull from the Japanese 280 mm siege guns (more than any other battleship or cruiser in the Russian squadron), and still could be repaired and brought back into service.

After being placed into service on 30 November 1908, the Aso was assigned to patrol duty off the coast of China. The following year, together with the Soya, the Aso was assigned to a training cruise to North America by way of Hawaii, and in 1910, made a similar long distance navigational training voyage south, to Australia by way of the Philippines.

From 1911-1915, the Aso was based in Yokosuka, patrolling Japanese home waters. However, with the start of World War I, the Aso was assigned longer patrols further south, protecting commercial shipping against raids by the Imperial German Navy, as part of Japan's contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.

On 1 April 1920, the Aso was re-classified as a minelayer, with a total of 512 naval mines deployed on its upper and middle deck. From 28 August 1922 to 9 September 1922, the Aso was used for coastal patrol and to transport troops during the Siberian Intervention. At the time of the Great Kantō earthquake of September 1923, the Aso was used for disaster relief, and for transport of supplies and refugees.

The Aso was removed from the active list on 1 April 1931 and subsequently sunk as a target by the guns of the Myōkō, torpedoes from Japanese submarine I-89 and bombs from dive bombers sent from Yokosuka on 4 August 1932 offshore from Izu Ōshima island.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vinogradov, Fedechkin (2011) p.4
  2. ^ a b Vinogradov, Fedechkin (2011) pp.60-65
  3. ^ Vinogradov, Fedechkin (2011) p.68
  4. ^ Vinogradov, Fedechkin (2011) pp.71-73
  • Evans, David. Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press (1979). ISBN 0-87021-192-7
  • Howarth, Stephen. The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum; (1983) ISBN 0-689-11402-8
  • 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 0-87021-893-X
  • Schencking, J. Charles. Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press (2005). ISBN 0-8047-4977-9
  • Vinogradov, Sergey; Fedechkin, Aleksey (2011) (in Russian). Bronenosnyi kreyser "Bayan" i yego potomki. Od Port-Artura do Moonzunda. [Armoured cruiser "Bayan" and her offspring. From Port Artur to Moonsund.]. Moscow: Yauza / EKSMO. ISBN 978-5-699-51559-2.

External links[edit]