Japanese cruiser Izumo

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Japanese cruiser Izumo.jpg
Izumo in 1905
Career (Japan)
Name: Izumo
Ordered: 1897 Fiscal Year
Builder: Armstrong Whitworth, United Kingdom
Laid down: May 1898
Launched: 19 September 1898
Completed: 25 September 1900
Fate: Sunk by air attack, 24 July 1945
Raised and scrapped in 1947
General characteristics
Class and type: Izumo-class cruiser
Displacement: 9,750 long tons (9,906 t)
Length: 132.28 m (434 ft 0 in) w/l
Beam: 20.94 m (68 ft 8 in)
Draft: 7.37 m (24 ft 2 in)
Installed power: 14,500 shp (10,800 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × vertical triple expansion reciprocating engines
24 × Belleville boilers
2 × screws
1412 tons coal
Speed: 20.75 kn (23.88 mph; 38.43 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement: 648
Armament: •4 × 20.3 cm (8 in)/45 Type 41 guns

•14 × 15.2 cm (6 in)/40 guns
•12 × 12-pounder (76 mm) guns
•8 × 3-pounder (47 mm) Hotchkiss guns

•4 × 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes
Armor: Main belt: 88–175 mm (3.5–6.9 in)
Upper belt: 125 mm (4.9 in)
Deck: 67 mm (2.6 in)
Turret, casemate: 150 mm (5.9 in)
Conning tower: 356 mm (14 in)
Aircraft carried: 1 × Nakajima E4N floatplane (from 1934)
Not to be confused with Japanese destroyer Izumo.

Izumo (出雲?, sometimes spelled Idzumo[1]) was an armored cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Although very similar to the Asama-class cruisers, her differences are significant enough to classify her as the lead ship in the separate Izumo class, which also included her sister ship, Iwate. Izumo was named after Izumo Province, an ancient province of Japan (corresponding to present-day Shimane Prefecture).


Izumo was one of six armored cruisers ordered from overseas shipyards after the First Sino-Japanese War as part of the "Six-Six Program" (six battleships-six cruisers) intended to be the backbone of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Four of the cruisers in this project were built in Elswick, in the United Kingdom by Armstrong Whitworth, and Izumo was the first ship of the second pair ordered to Armstrong Whitworth.[2]


The basic design for all cruisers in the "Six-Six Program" was the same, although each shipyard was relatively free in details. The design for Izumo was based on that of the Asama-class cruiser, except that improvements in steam engine design allowed her triple expansion reciprocating engine to be built with 24 Belleville boilers instead of the 12 locomotive-style boilers in Asama. This resulted in a weight savings of over 300 tons. As with Asama, Izumo had a steel housing divided into 166 waterproof compartments, a low forecastle, and two masts. The prow was reinforced for ramming. However, her armor plating made use of the newly developed Krupp armor instead of the Harvey armor used by her predecessors.[3]

The main armament of Izumo were two separate 20.3 cm (8 in)/45 Type 41 naval guns in gun turrets in the bow and stern. The guns could rotate 150° to either side and could elevate to 30°, firing at a rate of two rounds per minute. Secondary armament consisted of fourteen Elswick 15.2 cm (6 in) quick-firing guns, with a firing rate of five to seven rounds per minute. Izumo was also equipped with twelve QF 12 pounder 12 cwt naval guns, seven QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns and five 457 mm (18 in) torpedo tubes.[3]

Izumo was laid down on 14 May 1898, launched on 19 September 1899 and handed over to the Japanese on 25 September 1900. Externally, the main difference Izumo and her predecessors Asama and Tokiwa was the use of three smokestacks instead of two.

Service record[edit]

Russo-Japanese War[edit]

Izumo served an important role in the Russo-Japanese War, where she served as the flagship of the IJN 2nd Fleet under Admiral Kamimura Hikonojō together with Iwate, Azuma, Asama, and Yakumo. After the initial attack against the Russian naval base at Port Arthur, Kamamura’s squadron (together with Yoshino and Kasagi bombarded Vladivostok.[4] However, with the failure of the Japanese to located and destroy the Russian cruiser squadron based at Vladivostok, and the subsequently successes of that squadron against Japanese shipping, Izumo was stationed in the Korea Strait, while other cruisers in the squadron combed the Sea of Japan from the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin to the Tsushima Strait. In the Battle off Ulsan on 14 August 1904, six Japanese cruisers defeated the Russian cruiser squadron, sinking Rurik, and severely damaging Rossia and Gromoboi. During the battle, Izumo was hit more than 20 times, and suffered from two crewmen killed. Most of the damage was caused by a direct hit to casemate No. 2, which put the gun out of action, and caused the ammunition to explode, killing the gun crew. Despite the damage, she remained on station until December, when she returned to Sasebo Naval Arsenal for repairs. During this time, the fighting tops were removed from her masts to improve stability, and her 47 mm (1.9 in) guns were upgraded to 76 mm (3 in). In early February, after escorting a convoy of transports to the Korean Peninsula, she intercepted a German steamer attempting to run the Japanese blockade to Vladivostok.

During the crucial Battle of Tsushima on 26 May 1905 Izumo continued to serve as Kamimura’s flagship, taking nine hits during the battle, with 34 crewmen killed. After the battle, she remained on station in the Korea Strait to secure transports, and to oversee the repatriation of the wounded. With the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the war, she accompanied Iwate (under Rear Admiral Shimamura Hayao) and Niitaka to the first meeting with the remnants of the Imperial Russian Navy under Rear Admiral Karl Jessen to oversee the practical implementation of the peace treaty terms.

On 20 September 1909, under command of Captain Takeshita Isamu, Izumo departed Sasebo for the United States to participate in the 140th anniversary celebrations of the founding of San Francisco. She made port calls in Hawaii, Monterrey, Santa Barbara, and San Diego on the way. From 25 December 1913, Izumo was working together with the German cruiser SMS Nürnberg based on the west coast of Mexico to safeguard the nationals and property of their respective nations during the Mexican Revolution. She remained stationed in Mexico until after the start of World War I.

World War I[edit]

In World War I, Izumo was used extensively for overseas patrol, as her relatively large size made her suitable for long-term overseas service. In November 1914, she accompanied Asama and Hizen to Hawaii to enforce the internment of the Imperial German Navy cruiser SMS Geier at Pearl Harbor as was required under international norms for neutrality. She then joined a Royal Navy battle group in the eastern Pacific Ocean led by the battlecruiser Australia and Newcastle in protection of the Panama Canal and patrolling against German cruisers and commerce raiders from Panama to Canada until the end of the year.

Izumo was dispatched to Malta, as a second special duty fleet flagship, directing the Japanese destroyer squadron which participated in convoy escort in the Mediterranean Sea as part of Japan's contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. In December 1918, Izumo accompanied the destroyers Hinoki and Yanagi from Malta to Scapa Flow to guard the interned German High Seas Fleet and to transfer seven captured German U-boats to Japan as prizes of war, returning to Malta (with the U-boats) in March 1919. Nisshin accompanied eight destroyers and U-boats to Japan, while Izumo made port calls at Naples, Genoa and Marseilles before returning to Japan with the remaining destroyers on 2 July 1919.

Interwar years[edit]

In the 1919 Naval Review, Emperor Taishō took the helm of Izumo briefly during fleet maneuvers. She was re-designated a 1st class coastal defense vessel on 1 September 1921. As part of the conditions of the Washington Naval Treaty, Izumo was partially disarmed and was reassigned to the Training Fleet. Her boilers were reduced to six Kampon-type boilers. This reduced her top speed to 16 knots,[3] which was sufficient for a training vessel, but which was not considered suitable for a front-line combat vessel. Based out of Yokosuka Naval District, Izumo made numerous long distance navigation training cruises to the Indian Ocean and to South America with cadets from the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy from 1921 to 1930.

In 1934, Izumo was equipped with a Nakajima E4N reconnaissance floatplane, which was launched by lowering from a crane on her aft deck to the ocean.

Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II[edit]

Designated as flagship of the IJN 3rd Fleet under Admiral Kiyoshi Hasegawa during the Japanese invasion of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Izumo was attacked during the Battle of Shanghai by a Chinese torpedo boat, which it sank. Izumo was also attacked on 14 August 1937 by Chinese Air Force aircraft led by Captain (later Major General) Claire Lee Chennault. During the attack, his floatplane was shot down.

Still in Shanghai after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at about 04:00 on 8 December 1941, Izumo captured the United States Navy river gunboat USS Wake, without a shot being fired. [5] She then sank the Royal Navy gunboat HMS Peterel (whose crew refused to surrender).[6] This was one of the first combat actions of the Pacific War following Pearl Harbor.

Despite her antiquated age, Izumo was retrofitted with anti-aircraft guns at Kure Naval Arsenal and re-classified as a 1st class cruiser on 1 July 1942. However, throughout the duration of the war, she was used as a training vessel, and never departed from the safe confines of the Seto Inland Sea. Izumo was sunk at dock in an American air attack on Kure (34°14′N 132°30′E / 34.233°N 132.500°E / 34.233; 132.500) on 24 July 1945. Its hulk was later raised and scrapped in 1947.



  1. ^ "Idzumo Class". Battleships-Cruisers.co.uk. 
  2. ^ Brooke, Warships for Export page 58-60
  3. ^ a b c Chesneau, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905, p. 225.
  4. ^ Warner, The Tide at Sunrise, p. 187.
  5. ^ Groom, W. 1942. pp. 111–113
  6. ^ Colledge, Ships of the Royal Navy.


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