Japanese battleship Hatsuse
Hatsuse at anchor
|Builder:||Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick|
|Laid down:||10 January 1898|
|Launched:||27 June 1899|
|Completed:||18 January 1901|
|Fate:||Sank 15 May 1904 after striking a mine|
|Class and type:||Shikishima-class pre-dreadnought battleship|
|Displacement:||14,850 long tons (15,090 t) (normal)|
|Length:||438 ft (133.5 m)|
|Beam:||76 ft 9 in (23.4 m)|
|Draught:||27 ft (8.2 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 shafts, 2 triple-expansion steam engines|
|Speed:||18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)|
|Range:||5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)|
|Complement:||849 (as flagship)|
Hatsuse (初瀬 Hatsuse) was a Shikishima-class pre-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy by the British firm of Armstrong Whitworth in the late 1890s. The ship participated in the early stages of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, including the Battle of Port Arthur on the second day of the war. She was involved in the subsequent operations until she struck two mines off Port Arthur in May 1904. The second mine detonated one of her magazines and Hatsuse sank almost immediately afterwards with the loss of over half her crew.
Hatsuse was 438 feet (133.5 m) long overall and had a beam of 76 feet 9 inches (23.4 m). She had a full-load draught of 27 feet (8.2 m) and normally displaced 14,850 long tons (15,090 t) and had a crew of 849 officers and enlisted men when serving as a flagship. The ship was powered by two Humphrys Tennant vertical triple-expansion steam engines using steam generated by 25 Belleville boilers. The engines were rated at 14,500 indicated horsepower (10,800 kW), using forced draught, and were designed to reach a top speed of around 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). Hatsuse, however, reached a top speed of 19.11 knots (35.39 km/h; 21.99 mph) from 16,117 indicated horsepower (12,018 kW) on her sea trials. She carried a maximum of 1,643 long tons (1,669 t) of coal which allowed her to steam for 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).
The ship's main battery consisted of four 12-inch (305 mm) guns mounted in two twin gun turrets, one forward and one aft. The secondary battery consisted of fourteen 6-inch (152 mm) quick-firing guns, mounted in casemates on the sides of the hull and in the superstructure. A number of smaller guns were carried for defence against torpedo boats. These included 20 QF 12-pounder 12 cwt[Note 1] guns, eight 47-millimetre (1.9 in) 3-pounder guns and ten 37-millimetre (1.5 in) 2.5-pounder Hotchkiss guns. She was also armed with four submerged 18-inch torpedo tubes. Hatsuse's waterline armour belt consisted of Harvey armour and was 4–9 inches (102–229 mm) thick. The armour of her gun turrets had a maximum thickness of 10 in (254 mm) and her deck ranged from 2.5 to 4 inches (64 to 102 mm) in thickness.
Construction and career
Hatsuse, named after the Hase-dera temple, which was famous for its maple trees, was ordered as part of the 10 Year Naval Expansion Programme and paid for from the £30,000,000 indemnity paid by China after losing the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895. The ship was laid down by Armstrong Whitworth at their Elswick shipyard on 10 January 1898. She was launched on 27 June 1899 and completed on 18 January 1901. Before sailing to Japan, she represented the Meiji Emperor at Queen Victoria's funeral.
At the start of the Russo-Japanese War, Hatsuse, commanded by Captain Yu Nakao, was assigned to the 1st Division of the 1st Fleet. She participated in the Battle of Port Arthur on 9 February 1904 when Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō led the 1st Fleet in an attack on the Russian ships of the Pacific Squadron anchored just outside Port Arthur. Tōgō had expected his surprise night attack on the Russians by his destroyers to be much more successful than it actually was and anticipated that they would be badly disorganized and weakened, but the Russians had recovered from their surprise and were ready for his attack. The Japanese ships were spotted by the cruiser Boyarin which was patrolling offshore and alerted the Russian defences. Tōgō chose to attack the Russian coastal defences with his main armament and engage the Russian ships with his secondary guns. Splitting his fire proved to be a bad idea as the Japanese 8-inch (203 mm) and six-inch guns inflicted little damage of significance on the Russian ships who concentrated all their fire on the Japanese ships with some effect. Although a large number of ships on both sides were hit, Russian casualties numbered only 17 while the Japanese suffered 60 killed and wounded before Tōgō disengaged. Hatsuse was hit twice during the battle, losing seven crewmen killed and seventeen wounded.
Hatsuse participated in the action of 13 April when Tōgō successfully lured out a portion of the Pacific Squadron, including Vice Admiral Stepan Makarov's flagship, the battleship Petropavlovsk. When Makarov spotted the five battleships of the 1st Division, he turned back for Port Arthur and Petropavlovsk struck a minefield laid by the Japanese the previous night. The Russian battleship sank in less than two minutes after one of her magazines exploded, Makarov one of the 677 killed. Emboldened by his success, Tōgō resumed long-range bombardment missions, which prompted the Russians to lay more minefields.
On 14 May 1904, Admiral Nashiba put to sea with the battleships Hatsuse (flag), Shikishima, and Yashima, the protected cruiser Kasagi, and the dispatch boat Tatsuta to relieve the Japanese blockading force off Port Arthur. On the following morning, the squadron encountered a minefield laid by the Russian minelayer Amur. Hatsuse struck one mine that disabled her steering at 10:50 a.m. and Yashima struck another when moving to assist Hatsuse. At 12:33 pm, Hatsuse drifted onto another mine that detonated one of her magazines, killing 496 of her crew, and sinking the ship at Coordinates: . Tatsuta and Kasagi managed to save the Admiral and Captain Nakao with 334 other officers and enlisted men. Yashima's flooding could not be controlled and she foundered about eight hours later, after her crew had abandoned ship.
- "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 20 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.
- Brook 1999, p. 125
- Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 17
- Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 221
- Jane, p. 399
- Brook 1985, p. 274
- Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 18
- Brook 1999, p. 127
- Forczyk, pp. 41–44
- Forczyk, pp. 45–46
- Warner & Warner, p. 279
- Brook 1999, p. 124
- Forczyk, p. 46
- Forczyk, pp. 46–47
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