Japanese battleship Aki
The Japanese battleship Aki
|Empire of Japan|
|Builder:||Kure Naval Arsenal, Japan|
|Laid down:||15 March 1906|
|Launched:||14 April 1907|
|Commissioned:||11 March 1911|
|Fate:||Sunk as target, 2 September 1924|
|Class and type:||Satsuma-class semi-dreadnought battleship|
|Displacement:||20,100 long tons (20,423 t)|
|Length:||492 ft (150.0 m)|
|Beam:||83 ft 7 in (25.5 m)|
|Draft:||27 ft 6 in (8.4 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 shafts, 2 steam turbine sets|
|Speed:||20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)|
|Range:||9,100 nmi (16,900 km; 10,500 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)|
Aki (安芸?) was a Satsuma-class semi-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the first decade of the 20th century. She was the second battleship built domestically in Japan and the first to use steam turbines for propulsation. The ship was named for Aki Province, now a part of Hiroshima Prefecture. The ship saw no combat during World War I. Aki was disarmed in 1922 and sunk as a target in 1924 in accordance with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
The Satsuma class was ordered in late 1904 under the 1904 War Naval Supplementary Program during the Russo-Japanese War. Unlike the previous Katori-class pre-dreadnought battleships, they were the first battleships ordered from Japanese shipyards. They were originally designed with a dozen 12-inch (305 mm) guns, but had to be redesigned because of a shortage of guns in Japan and to reduce costs.
Design and description
The ship had an overall length of 492 feet (150.0 m), a beam of 83 feet 7 inches (25.5 m), and a normal draft of 27 feet 6 inches (8.4 m). She displaced 20,100 long tons (20,400 t) at normal load. The crew consisted of 931 officers and enlisted men.
Aki was fitted with a pair of Curtiss steam turbine sets using steam from 15 Miyabara water-tube boilers. The turbines were rated at a total of 24,000 shaft horsepower (18,000 kW) for a design speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph). The ship reached a top speed of 20.25 knots (37.50 km/h; 23.30 mph) during her sea trials from 27,740 shp (20,690 kW). She carried enough coal and oil to give her a range of 9,100 nautical miles (16,900 km; 10,500 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). Unlike her half-sister, she had three funnels.
The ship was completed with four 45-caliber 12-inch 41st Year Type guns in two gun turrets, one each fore and aft of the superstructure. They fired 850-pound (386 kg) armor-piercing (AP) shells to a maximum range of 24,000 yd (22,000 m). The intermediate armament consisted of six twin-gun turrets equipped with 45-caliber Type 41 10-inch guns, three turrets on each side of the superstructure. Her heavy intermediate armament of guns larger than 9 inches (229 mm) is why the ship is considered to be a semi-dreadnought.
Aki's secondary armament consisted of eight 40-caliber 6-inch 41st Year Type guns, mounted in casemates in the sides of the hull. The ship was also equipped with eight quick-firing (QF) 40-caliber 12-pounder 12-cwt guns[Note 1] and four 28-caliber 12-pounder QF guns. In addition, the battleship was fitted with five submerged 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes, two on each broadside and one in the stern.
The waterline main belt of the Satsuma-class vessels consisted of Krupp cemented armor that had a maximum thickness of 9 inches (229 mm) amidships. It tapered to a thickness of 4 inches (102 mm) at the ends of the ship. A 6-inch (152 mm) strake of armor protected the casemates. The barbettes for the main guns were 7–9.5 inches (180–240 mm) thick. The armor of Aki's main gun turrets had a maximum thickness of 8 inches (203 mm). The deck armor was 2–3 inches (51–76 mm) thick and the conning tower was protected by six inches of armor.
Aki was laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal on 15 March 1906. She was launched on 15 April 1907, but construction was suspended for about five months after the decision was made on 26 November to install steam turbines on Aki and the armored cruiser Ibuki. Aki's turbines were already behind schedule and the suspension allowed the less valuable ship to be completed first, and changes made to its turbines after testing were also incorporated into Aki's turbines. Aki was finally completed on 11 March 1911 and her first captain was Tatsuo Matsumura.
When World War I began in August 1914, Aki was refitting at Kure Naval Arsenal. She was assigned to the 1st Battleship Squadron upon the completion of her refit and remained with it until she was transferred to the 2nd Battleship Squadron in 1918, seeing no combat during the war. From December 1915 to December 1916, she was commanded by Captain Kiyokazu Abo. The ship was disarmed at Yokosuka in 1922 to comply with the provisions of the Washington Naval Treaty, stricken from the navy list during 1923 and converted into a target ship. Aki was sunk by the battlecruiser Kongō and the battleship Hyūga on 2 September 1924 in Tokyo Bay. Two of her 10-inch gun turrets were installed as coastal artillery batteries on Jōgashima island to protect Tokyo Bay.
- "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 12 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.
- Silverstone, p. 325
- Itani, Lengerer & Rehm-Takahara, p. 53
- Evans & Peattie, p. 159
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 238
- Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 23
- Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, pp. 23–24
- Preston, p. 195
- Friedman, p. 272
- Itani, Lengerer & Rehm-Takahara, p. 67
- Itani, Lengerer & Rehm-Takahara, pp. 60 and footnote 19, p. 79
- "Japanese Squadron Visiting Training Ships". The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria). 14 June 1916. p. 9. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 24
- "Coastal Fortresses" (in Japanese). Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- "Survey of Japanese Seacoast Artillery". General Headquarters, United States Army Forces, Pacific. 1 February 1946. p. 92. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
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- Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7.
- Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-907-3.
- Itani, Jiro; Lengerer, Hans & Rehm-Takahara, Tomoko (1992). "Japan's Proto-Battlecruisers: The Tsukuba and Kurama Classes". In Gardiner, Robert. Warship 1992. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-603-5.
- Jentschura, Hansgeorg; Jung, Dieter & Mickel, Peter (1977). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 0-87021-893-X.
- Preston, Antony (1972). Battleships of World War I: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Battleships of All Nations 1914–1918. New York: Galahad Books. ISBN 0-88365-300-1.
- Silverstone, Paul H. (1984). Directory of the World's Capital Ships. New York: Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-88254-979-0.
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