Japanese cruiser Yakumo

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Japanese cruiser Yakumo.jpg
Yakumo in 1905
Career Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
Name: Yakumo
Ordered: 1897 Fiscal Year
Builder: Stettiner Vulcan AG, Germany
Laid down: March 1898
Launched: 8 July 1899
Completed: 20 June 1900
Reclassified: 1st class cruiser as built
1st class Coast defence ship on 1 September 1921
Training Vessel on 1 June 1931
1st class cruiser on 1 July 1942
Struck: 1 October 1945
Fate: Scrapped, 1 April 1947
General characteristics
Type: Armored cruiser
Displacement: 9,646 long tons (9,801 t)
Length: 124.64 m (408 ft 11 in) w/l
Beam: 19.57 m (64 ft 2 in)
Draught: 7.24 m (23 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft vertical-triple-expansion steam engines; 24 boilers
15,500 ihp (11,600 kW)
1242 tons coal
Speed: 20.5 knots (23.6 mph; 38.0 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km) @ 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement: 648-700
Armament: • 4 × 20.3 cm/45 Type 41 naval guns
• 12 × QF 6 inch /40 naval guns
• 12 × QF 12 pounder 12 cwt naval guns
• 8 × QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns
• 5 × 457 mm (18.0 in) torpedo tubes
Armour: Main belt: 88–170 mm (3.5–6.7 in)
Upper belt: 125 mm (4.9 in)
Deck: 62 mm (2.4 in)
Barbette, Turret: 150 mm (5.9 in)
Casemate: 50–150 mm (2.0–5.9 in)
Conning tower: 75–300 mm (3.0–11.8 in)

Yakumo (八雲?) was an armored cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy, designed and built by the Stettiner Vulcan AG shipyards in Stettin, Germany. Yakumo was named from a stanza of the waka poem by Susanoo in the Japanese mythology.[1][2] Her name is also sometimes transliterated as Yagumo.

Background[edit]

Yakumo was one of six armored cruisers ordered for construction by 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. Almost all of the orders were placed with shipyards in the United Kingdom, but for diplomatic reasons and for the purpose of technical comparison, Yakumo was ordered from Germany and her near-sister ship, the Azuma was ordered from France.[3] Yakumo was the only cruiser in the Imperial Japanese Navy built by Germany, but was armed with British guns, to keep its ammunition compatible with other ships in the fleet.[4] Yakumo was laid down n March 1898, launched on 8 July 1899 and entered service on 20 June 1900.

Design[edit]

Although the basic design for all six cruisers in this program was essentially the same (utilizing Armstrong-type 8-inch (203 mm) guns and with desired speed of 20-21 knots), each shipyard had considerable freedom to modify the details of the design. In the case of the Yakumo, the German shipbuilder, Stettiner Vulcan AG shipyards used a relatively standard flush-deck hull with high freeboard with 247 watertight compartments, and gun turrets front and back. Her silhouette was similar to that of Azuma, except her three smokestacks were evenly spaced. Yakumo used 24 Belleville boilers, which were considered very advanced for its day.[3]

Armor[edit]

Yakumo used the same scheme of belt armor as Azuma with some minor differences. The main armor on the waterline stretched the entire length of the ship, with a height of 2.15 metres (7.1 ft), of which 1.55 metres (5.1 ft) was normally underwater. Thickness varied from 178 millimetres (7.0 in) amidships to 89 millimetres (3.5 in) at the bow and stern. Deck thickness was 51 millimetres (2.0 in).[3]

Armament[edit]

The main armament for Yakumo was a pair of twin-mounted 20.3 cm/45 Type 41 naval guns of a new design in fore and aft gun turrets. The turrets were electrically actuated, and were capable of 150 degree rotation left and right, and the guns could be elevated to 30 degrees, giving the guns a range of 18,000 meters. Yakumo could carry 80 rounds per gun. The secondary side-mounted QF 6 inch /40 naval guns mounted in casemates had a range of 9,140 meters, and could fire at the rate of five shells per minute (up to seven per minute for a very skilled gun crew). Yakumo could carry 120 rounds per gun. Yakumo was also equipped with 12 QF 12 pounder 12 cwt naval gun and eight QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns, primarily as defense against torpedoes. Yakumo also had five 457 mm (18.0 in) torpedo tubes and was equipped with a ram.

Service record[edit]

Russo-Japanese War[edit]

Immediately after the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, Yagumo participated in the unsuccessful raid on the Imperial Russian Navy’s anchorage at Port Arthur on 9 February 1904. During the skirmish, she took superficial damage.[5] She participated in the early stages of the Battle of Port Arthur in February, but was reassigned with Admiral Kamimura Hikonojō to the task for hunting down the Russian cruiser squadron based out of Vladivostok from March. On 6 March, she participated in the shore bombardment of Vladivostok. From March through July she was reassigned to the forces of Admiral Dewa Shigetō in the blockade of Port Arthur.

On 10 August 1904, she took part in the Battle of the Yellow Sea as flagship of the Japanese 3rd Squadron, damaging the Russian battleship Poltava and suffering 22 crewmen killed. Admiral Dewa transferred his flag to Kasagi and reassigned Yagumo to the last column of his formation, where she encountered the Russian cruisers Askold and Novik. However, the Russian cruisers escaped to neutral ports from the battle despite being pursued by Yakumo and Asama.

From 25 January to 1 March 1905, Yakumo was assigned to patrols in the northern Sea of Japan. She underwent refit in early 1905, during which her 47-mm cannons were upgraded to four additional QF 6 inch /40 naval guns, and the platforms on her masts were removed to improve her stability.

In the final crucial Battle of Tsushima of 27 May 1905, Yakumo was assigned to the 2nd Squadron of the Japanese formation, suffering seven hits which caused minor damage and killed three crewmen. The following day, Yakumo and Iwate played a major role in the sinking of Russian battleship Admiral Ushakov.[3] Afterwards, Yakumo served as the flagship of the IJN 3rd Fleet in the operation to capture Sakhalin from Russia.

World War I[edit]

In World War I, Yakumo was at the Battle of Tsingtao, and later participated in the pursuit of the German East Asia Squadron under German Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee and the German raider Emden. However, due to her age and obsolescence, her role was limited in further combat operations. In October 1918, Kichisaburo Nomura was appointed captain of Yakumo for two months, only one of which he spent on board the vessel. The posting was a political appointment to quality Nomura for flag rank.[6]

Interwar years[edit]

On 1 September 1921, Yakumo was re-designated as a Coastal Defense Vessel and used primarily for training duties in long distance oceanic navigation and officer training for cadets in the Imperial Japanese Navy Academy. In this capacity, she participated in over 14 voyages in the 1920s and 1930s to Europe, North America and South America and the South Pacific, including a circumnavigation of the globe from August 1921 to April 1922, together with Izumo.

In 1927, Yakumo was overhauled, with her Belleville boilers replaced by Yarrow boilers, formerly from the battleship Haruna, which reduced her power to 7000 shp and speed to 16 knots.[3] Under the terms of the 1930 London Naval Treaty, she was re-designated as a training vessel and removed from combat status.

In 1930, together with Izumo, Yakumo visited Tsingtao and Shanghai in China. In 1931, she made anorther long distance navigational training voyage, visiting Hong Kong, the Suez Canal, Naples, and Marseilles before returning to Sasebo. In 1933 "Yakumo" and "Iwate" called the Mexican port of Acapulco and continued to Panama. In 1936, while on a training voyage between Saipan and Truk, on its way to North America, Yakumo suffered an accidental explosion in her front magazine, killing four sailors and flooding her front food locker. Repairs were made underway, and Yakumo completed her mission, returning home after a cruise of 23,272 nautical miles (43,100 km).

World War II[edit]

After the start of the Pacific War, although hopelessly obsolete, Yakumo was re-armed at Kure Naval Arsenal on 1 July 1942, anti-aircraft guns were added, and she was reinstated to the active list, again as a 1st class cruiser. However, Yakumo remained within the confines of the Seto Inland Sea throughout the war assigned to training duties, and was not used in any combat operations. In 1945, her main battery was removed for use on shore as an anti-aircraft battery. She was officially decommissions and removed from the navy list on 1 October 1945.

After the end of World War II, Yakumo was briefly used as a repatriation transport to return troops and civilians to the home islands from Japan's former overseas possessions, primarily from Taiwan and mainland China. On its final departure from China with Japanese evacuees, troops from the Chinese government stripped Yakumo bare of all its furnishings, including the German-made wooden furniture in the captain's cabin (some sources, however, stated that these furnishings were removed as Yakumo was being scrapped and installed into Atada, ex-ROCN light cruiser Yat-Sen that was at that time about to revert to her former identity and be returned to China, by the Japanese themselves).

Sent to the breakers on 20 July 1946, Yakumo was scrapped on 1 April 1947 at the Maizuru shipyard of Hitachi Shipbuilding & Engineering. Her main anchor is preserved at that location.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  • Chesneau, Roger (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 
  • Evans, David C.; Peattie, Mark R. (1997). Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-192-7. 
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11402-8. 
  • Jane, Fred T. (1904). The Imperial Japanese Navy. Thacker, Spink & Co. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Roberts, John (ed). (1983). 'Warships of the world from 1860 to 1905 - Volume 2: United States, Japan and Russia. Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Koblenz. ISBN 3-7637-5403-2. 
  • Schencking, J. Charles (2005). Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4977-9. 
  • Daiji Katagiri, Ship Name Chronicles of the Imperial Japanese Navy Combined Fleet (聯合艦隊軍艦銘銘伝, Rengōkantai Gunkan Meimeiden?), Kōjinsha (Japan), June 1988, ISBN 4-7698-0386-9
  • Masahide Asai, Ship name examination of the Japanese Navy (日本海軍 艦船名考, Nihon Kaigun Kansenmeikou?), Tōkyō Suikōsha (fringe organization of the Ministry of the Navy), December 1928

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Masahide Asai (1923), p. 98. 八雲立つ 出雲八重垣 妻籠みに 八重垣作る その八重垣を, (Yakumo-Tatsu Izumo-Yaegaki Tsumagomini Yaegaki-Tsukuru Sono-Yaegaki-wo?). Also, Yakumo is another name of the Cloud iridescence (瑞雲 or 彩雲, Zuiun or Saiun?).
  2. ^ Daiji Katagiri (1988), p. 219
  3. ^ a b c d e Chesneau, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905, p. 224.
  4. ^ Evans, Kaigun, p. 62.
  5. ^ Warner, Peggy (2004). Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05. Routledge. p. 200. ISBN 0-7146-8234-9. 
  6. ^ Mauch, Peter (2011). Sailor Diplomat: Nomura Kichisaburo and the Japanese-American War. Harvard University Asia Center. p. 59. ISBN 0-674-05599-3.