Japanese cruiser Izumi
|Builder:||Armstrong Whitworth, United Kingdom|
|Laid down:||5 April 1881|
|Launched:||6 June 1883|
|Completed:||15 July 1884|
|Commissioned:||16 October 1884|
|Fate:||Sold to Japan, 15 November 1894|
|Empire of Japan|
|Ordered:||1894 Fiscal Year|
|Out of service:||1907|
|Struck:||1 April 1912|
|Displacement:||2,930 long tons (2,977 t)|
|Length:||82.29 m (270 ft) w/l|
|Beam:||12.8 m (42 ft)|
|Draught:||5.64 m (18 ft 6 in)|
|Speed:||18.25 knots (21.0 mph; 33.8 km/h)|
Izumi (和泉?) was a protected cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy, designed and built by the Newcastle upon Tyne-based Armstrong Whitworth shipyards at Elswick in the United Kingdom for the Chilean Navy. Its first name was Esmeralda before it was sold to Japan in 1894. Its Japanese name is also sometimes (archaically) transliterated as Idzumi, and refers to ancient Izumi Province, now part of Osaka-fu. During its time in service it participated in the Panama crisis of 1885 asserting Chilean interests, the 1891 Chilean Civil War, the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion and the Russo-Japanese War.
Esmeralda was developed as a custom-design by naval architect George Wightwick Rendel of Armstrong Whitworth for the Chilean Navy, and followed through by his successor William Henry White. Assigned shipyard number 429, the cruiser was laid down on 5 April 1881 and launched on 6 June 1883, and completed on 15 July 1884. During speed trials, the new vessel attained 18.29 knots (33.87 km/h; 21.05 mph), which made it the fastest cruiser of the world at the time. This created a sensation among professionals and in the news, and led the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) to visit the ship of 22 August 1884. Esmeralda served in the Chilean Navy for approximately ten years, until 1894. She was then sold to Japan as part of Japan's Emergency Fleet Replenishment Programme during the First Sino-Japanese War, and was commissioned into service with the Imperial Japanese Navy on 15 November 1894 as Izumi.
Considered the world's first true protected cruiser, this ground-breaking ship was the prototype design for a family of cruisers used by numerous navies around the world, commonly known as "Elswick cruisers".
With an overall length of 82.2 metres (270 ft) and width of 12.8 metres (42 ft), Esmeralda had a normal displacement of 2,950 tons and a draught of 5.6 metres (18 ft). The distinguishing feature of her design was that her forecastle, poop deck and the wooden board decks were replaced with armoured decks, which was a novelty for a ship of such small size. The armor extended from bow to stern, and descended at the sides to 5 feet (1.5 m) below her waterline, with a thickness of 1 inch (2.5 cm) over her critical systems and ammunition magazines. Coal bunkers were positioned to give additional protection, and her main guns were also protected with armor.
The ship was propelled by two horizontal double expansion steam engines manufactured by R & W Hawthorn, with four locomotive boilers with a rated power of 6,083 hp (4,536 kW). Esmeralda's main armament consisted of two BL 10 inch gun Mk I – IV L/30 Armstrong guns mounted on rotating bases, one on the bow and the other on the stern. Secondary armament consisted of six BL 6 inch gun Mk II – VI L/40 Armstrong guns spaced evenly in the amidships positions. In addition, Esmeralda had two QF 6 pounder Hotchkiss and five 37 mm (1 in) QF 2 pounder naval guns, and one Gardner gun. As was standard on all warships of the time, her bow was reinforced with a naval ram. The project also provided for a single torpedo to be housed in the stern, but his was never implemented.
Following her acquisition by Japan, three 356 mm (14.0 in) Whitehead torpedo tubes were mounted on her deck. These were upgraded to 457 mm (18.0 in) torpedo tubes in 1901-02, at which time main battery and was replaced with smaller Elswick BL 6-inch Mk VII naval guns, and her secondary battery with six QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I–IV.
Soon after entry into service with the Chilean Navy, Esmeralda was sent to Panama to protect the Chilean interests during an uprising against Colombia. With Esmeralda Chile occupied Panama City in response to the United States occupation of Colón on the Caribbean side of the Isthmus of Panama. The captain of Esmeralda was ordered to prevent an annexation of Panama by the United States by any means.(p51)
During the 1891 Chilean Civil War she was used by the forces of the Congressional Junta. In January, she accompanied battleship Blanco Encalada, with Congressional leader Jorge Montt to Valparaiso, and continued north to Tarapaca to organize resistance against the government. In February, she bombarded shore installations at Iquique, which had remained loyal to President José Manuel Balmaceda. In August, she played an important role in the Battle of Concon in which her artillery helped lead to the collapse of the remaining forces loyal to the President.
After the end of the conflict, in March 1894, the Chilean government approached Armstrong Whitworth about the upgrading the cruiser with new boilers, upgraded weapons, and several minor modifications based on experience in combat. However, the plans were not implemented, as the Chilean government was approached by the Empire of Japan, which wanted to purchase the ship due to its ongoing conflict with the Empire of China. The Chilean government was willing to sell, but did not want to appear to be violating its official neutrality in the First Sino-Japanese War, so the transaction was brokered by having Ecuador first purchase Esmeralda and then resell her to Japan, with the hand-over taking place in the Galápagos Islands. Her Ecuadorean flag was not lowered until she reached Japan.
Esmeralda was commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as Izumi on 8 January 1895. By the time of her arrival at Yokosuka Naval District in Japan on 5 February 1895, the main naval battles of the First Sino-Japanese War had already taken place, and she was placed into service patrolling the sea lanes around the Korean Peninsula and northern China.
After the war, Izumi was reclassified as a 3rd class protected cruiser on 31 March 1898. In 1901-1902 her 10-inch guns replaced with BL 6-inch Mk VII naval guns, and her 6-in guns were replaced with six QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I–IV. During this overhaul, her boilers were also replaced with Niclausse water-tube boilers.
Izumi helped support Japanese forces landing in China during the Boxer Rebellion by escorting troops and supplies to northern China, including the treaty port of Tianjin, as part of the Japanese contribution to the Eight-Nation Alliance.
Izumi served again during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, but for the most part she was assigned to rear-line duties guarding transport convoys and patrolling the sea lanes between Japan and Korea, due largely to her inadequate armour. During the crucial Battle of Tsushima, Izumi was with the IJN 3rd Fleet and was one of the first ships to make visual contact with the Russian fleet. Although she briefly exchanged gunfire with the Russian cruiser Vladimir Monomakh during the battle, she did not play a major role.
Assigned to various auxiliary tasks after the end of the Russo-Japanese War, Izumi was removed from the active service in 1907 and stricken from the navy list on 1 April 1912. Her figurehead Imperial crest is preserved in the museum at the memorial battleship Mikasa.
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