Japanese cruiser Chikuma (1911)

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IJN Chikuma in 1912 during commissioning.jpg
Chikuma in 1912 during commissioning
Empire of Japan
Name: Chikuma
Namesake: Chikuma River
Ordered: 1907 Fiscal Year
Builder: Sasebo Naval Arsenal, Japan
Laid down: 1 April 1909
Launched: 1 April 1911
Completed: 17 May 1912
Struck: 1 April 1931
Fate: Sunk as a target ship, 1935
General characteristics
Class and type: Chikuma-class protected cruiser
Displacement: 5,040 long tons (5,121 t)
Length: 144.8 m (475 ft 1 in)
Beam: 14.2 m (46 ft 7 in)
Draught: 5.1 m (16 ft 9 in)
  • 2 shaft Curtiss turbine engines; 16 Kampon boilers
  • 22,500 hp (16,800 kW)
  • 1,128 tons coal, 300 tons oil
Speed: 26 knots (30 mph; 48 km/h)
Range: 10,000 nmi (19,000 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)

Chikuma (筑摩) was the lead ship in the Chikuma class of protected cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Chikuma had two sister ships, Hirado and the Yahagi. Chikuma was named for the Chikuma River in Nagano prefecture.


The Chikuma-class protected cruisers were built as part of the 1907 Naval Expansion Program, based on lessons learned during the Russo-Japanese War. Chikuma was laid down at Sasebo Naval Arsenal in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan on 1 April 1909, launched on 1 April 1911 and entered service on 17 May 1912.[1]


The basic design of the Chikuma-class cruisers was modeled after the Royal Navy Town class with some modifications and was also largely influenced by the design of the cruiser Tone[2] The silhouette of the Chikuma class was readily distinguishable due to its four tall smokestacks.

Chikuma had a hull with an overall length of 144.8 metres (475 ft) and width of 14.2 metres (47 ft), with a normal displacement of 5040 tons and draft of 5.1 metres (17 ft).

Chikuma was propelled by two Curtis steam turbine engines (produced by Kawasaki, with a total capacity of 22,500 shp (16,800 kW), which drove two screws. The engine had 16 Kampon boilers. These newly developed engines gave the ship an incredible (for the time) 26.87-knot (49.76 km/h; 30.92 mph) speed in trials,[3] but problems with material strength in the gears of the new engines created a maintenance nightmare, and Chikuma could seldom live up to her potential. The ship was armed with eight 15 cm/45 41st Year Type guns, one each fore and aft, and three mounted in sponsons on each side of the hull. Ships of the Chikuma-class were unusual in having the same weapons for its side armament as for its main battery. These guns were supplemented by four QF 12-pounder 12 cwt naval guns and two 7.7 mm Lewis Guns. In addition, she carried three torpedo launchers with 457 mm (18 in) torpedoes. After 1919, two 8 cm/40 3rd Year Type naval gun were added for anti-aircraft defense abeam of the fourth funnel, replacing three of the 12-pounders.[3]

Service record[edit]

Chikuma participated in World War I, as part of Japan's contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. She was in the Japanese squadron which gave chase to the German East Asia Squadron led by Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee in 1914.[3] The Imperial Japanese Navy also dispatched the cruisers Ibuki, Chikuma and Nisshin to the Indian Ocean to deal with the threat posed to shipping by the German cruiser Emden.

From December 1914 to January 1915, Chikuma and Yahagi were assigned to patrols off the coast of northern Queensland, Australia and on 26 March 1917, the British Admiralty further requested the deployment of Chikuma and Hirado to Australia and New Zealand to protect shipping against German commerce raiding operations.

After World War I, Chikuma was assigned to patrols of the China coast from 1921-1924. After 1924, she was deemed too obsolete to be of any further combat use, and was primarily used as a moored training ship at Yokosuka Naval District after having been officially transferred to the reserves.

Chikuma was officially stricken from the navy list on 1 April 1931. Her hulk was designated Hai Kan No.3 and expended as a target in 1935.


  1. ^ Nishida, Ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy
  2. ^ Jentsura, Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy; page 104-105
  3. ^ a b c Conway, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1905–1922, page 237


  • 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.
  • Gardner, Robert (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921. Conway Marine Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X.
  • 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.
  • Tucker, Spencer C (2005). Encyclopedia Of World War I: A Political, Social, And Military History. ABC-Clio Inc. ISBN 1-85109-420-2.

External links[edit]