Japanese cruiser Akitsushima

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Akitsushima
Akitsushima in a 1905 postcard
History
Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Akitsushima
Ordered: 1889 Fiscal Year
Builder: Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan
Laid down: March 1890
Launched: 6 July 1892
Completed: 31 March 1894
Reclassified: Training ship, 30 April 1921
Fate: Scrapped 10 January 1927
General characteristics
Type: Protected cruiser
Displacement: 3,100 long tons (3,150 t)
Length: 91.7 m (300 ft 10 in) w/l
Beam: 13.14 m (43 ft 1 in)
Draft: 5.32 m (17 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: Horizontal triple expansion steam engines, 2 shafts, 6 boilers, 8,400 hp (6,300 kW), 800 tons coal
Speed: 19 knots (22 mph; 35 km/h)
Complement: 330
Armament: list error: <br /> list (help)
• 4 × 152 mm (6 in) rapid-fire guns
• 6 × 120 mm (4.7 in) rapid-fire guns
• 4 × 47 mm (2 in) rapid-fire guns
• 4 × 360 mm (14 in) torpedo tubes
Armor: list error: <br /> list (help)
Deck: 75 mm (3 in)
Gun shield: 115 mm (5 in)

Akitsushima (秋津洲) was a 2nd class protected cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy, designed and built by the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal in Japan. The name Akitsushima comes from an ancient name for Japan, as used in the ancient chronicle Kojiki. It should not be confused with the later Pacific War era seaplane tender of the same name.

Background

The Akitsushima was the sole cruiser for the Japanese navy planned under the 1889 fiscal year budget. Originally intended as a domestically-built fourth vessel in the Matsushima-class of cruisers under the Jeune École philosophy promoted by Louis-Émile Bertin, opposition by the pro-British faction within the navy, and growing concerns on the effectiveness and operational utility of the Matsushima-class, led to a new design with multiple guns rather than a single, huge Canet gun. Bertin was outraged by the new design and threatened to return to France.

The armaments of the Akitsushima were initially based on the Chiyoda, but the navy felt that this was too light, and demanded the inclusion of an additional four 152 mm, rapid firing Armstrong cannons, twin mounted fore and aft. The rapid rate of fire of these guns gave the Akitsushima a large advantage over the more heavily armed Matsushima-class.

Service Life

After the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War, Kamimura Hikonojo was assigned command of the new cruiser Akitsushima and won distinction at the Battle of the Yellow Sea on 17 September 1894.

Akitsushima was among the Japanese fleet units that took part in the invasion of Taiwan in 1895, and saw action on 13 October 1895 at the bombardment of the Chinese coastal forts at Takow (Kaohsiung).

During the Spanish-American War, the Akitsushima (which was then based at Makung in the Pescadores Islands, was sent to Manila in the Philippines to safeguard Japanese interests and citizens.

On 21 March 1898, the Akitsushima was re-designated as a 3rd class protected cruiser. It was called upon for escort duties for Japanese troops and supplies during the Boxer Rebellion.

Considered underpowered, poorly armored, and outgunned by the time of the Russo-Japanese War, the Akitsushima was largely assigned to rear line duties. It was based in the Tsushima islands, and patrolled the sea lanes between Tsushima and Port Arthur. It was in the Japanese 3rd Fleet during the Battle of Tsushima.

The Akitsushima was re-classified as a Second Class Coastal Defense Vessel on 28 August 1912, and despite its antiquated equipment and age was called upon again during World War I, to serve in the 2nd Fleet during the Battle of Tsingtao against the Imperial German Navy. During the remainder of the war, it patrolled the sea lanes between Borneo, Singapore, Manila, and Saigon against German raiders, as part of Japan’s contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.

After the war, it was re-designated a training ship on 30 April 1921. The Akitsushima was scrapped on 10 January 1927.

Gallery

See also

Media related to Protected cruiser Akitsushima at Wikimedia Commons

References

  • Evans, David. Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press (1979). ISBN 0870211927
  • Howarth, Stephen. The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum; (1983) ISBN 0689114028
  • 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 087021893X
  • Schencking, J. Charles. Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press (2005). ISBN 0804749779