Kaba-class destroyer

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Japanese destroyer Kaba Taisho 12.jpg
Kaba departing Ryojun, 1925
Class overview
Name: Kaba class
Operators:  Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Urakaze class
Succeeded by: Isokaze class
Subclasses: Arabe class (French Navy)
In commission: 1915–1932
Completed: 10
Retired: 10
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
  • 655 long tons (666 t) normal,
  • 810 long tons (820 t) full load
  • 79.2 m (260 ft) pp,
  • 83.6 m (274 ft) overall
Beam: 7.3 m (24 ft)
Draught: 2.3 m (7.5 ft)
Propulsion: 3-shaft reciprocating, 2 heavy oil-fired + 2 oil/coal-fired boilers 9,500 ihp (7,100 kW)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Range: 1,200 nautical miles (2,200 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)
Complement: 94

The Kaba-class destroyers (樺型駆逐艦, Kabagata kuchikukan) were a class of ten destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy.[1] Each was named after a variety of tree.


At the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial Japanese Navy had a total of two modern destroyers capable of overseas deployment: the Sakura class Sakura and Tachibana. It was clear that this force would not enable Japan to fulfill its obligations under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, so the Japanese government pushed through an Emergency Naval Expansion Budget in fiscal 1914 to allow for the construction of ten new destroyers. As speed was of the essence, the orders were given to both government and civilian shipyards (as was the case with the construction of the Russo-Japanese War vintage Kamikaze-class).[2]

Twelve more vessels were built by the same shipyards in Japan per an order from the French Navy, where they were designated the Tribal class (or Arabe class) [3] named Algérien, Annamite, Arabe, Bambara, Hova, Kabyle, Marocain, Sakalave, Sénégalais, Somali, Tonkinois, and Touareg. The Arabe class were the most advanced destroyers in the French inventory in World War I. [4]


The ten Kaba-class vessels were built simultaneously at eight different shipyards around Japan. As there was no time to design a new vessel, plans for the previous Sakura-class destroyers were distributed to each shipyard, with the instructions that the power plant was to be a conventional coal-fired triple expansion steam engine, and not a steam turbine.

Armament was the same as that of the Sakura class, with one QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I - IV, mounted on the deck forward of the bridge, and four 3 inch 12 pounder guns, mounted one on either side and two towards the stern of the ship, with two torpedo launchers.

Operational history[edit]

Given the speed of construction and the fact that eight different shipyards were used, it is a tribute to the Japanese shipbuilders that all ten vessels produced were uniform in appearance and capabilities, and performed reliably in their overseas deployment to the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea in combat operations in World War I.[5] This deployment began with Rear Admiral Kozo Sato arrived in Malta in mid-April 1917, with the cruiser Akashi as his flagship and eight Kaba-class destroyers.[6][7] The Japanese fleet was nominally independent, but carried out operations under the direction of the Royal Navy command on Malta, primarily in escort operations for transport and troopship convoys and in anti-submarine warfare operations.[8] Sakaki was damaged by the Austro-Hungarian Navy U-boat U-27 on 11 June 1917 off of Crete with the loss of 68 of her 92 crewmen. She was salvaged and repaired.[9][10]

All ten vessels survived the war, and were retired on 1 April 1932.[11]

List of ships[edit]

Kanji Name Translation Builder Laid down Launched Completed Fate
Kaba Birch Tree Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan 1914-12-01 1915-02-06 1915-03-05 retired 1932-04-01
Kashiwa Oak Tree Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nagasaki, Japan 1914-11-03 1915-02-14 1915-04-04 retired 1932-04-01
Sakaki Sakaki Tree Sasebo Naval Arsenal, Japan 1914-12-01 1915-03-04 1915-03-31 retired 1932-04-01
Katsura Japanese Judas Tree Kure Naval Arsenal, Japan 1914-11-05 1915-02-15 1915-03-26 retired 1932-04-01
Sugi Japanese Cedar Osaka Iron Works, Japan 1914-11-24 1915-02-16 1915-04-07 retired 1932-04-01
Kaede Maple Tree Maizuru Naval Arsenal, Japan 1914-10-25 1915-02-20 1915-03-25 retired 1932-04-01
Ume Plum Tree Kawasaki Shipbuilding, Kobe, Japan 1914-11-10 1915-02-27 1915-03-31 retired 1932-04-01
Kiri Paulownia Tree Uraga Dock Company, Japan 1914-11-24 1915-02-28 1915-04-22 retired 1932-04-01
Kusunoki Camphor Tree Kawasaki Shipbuilding, Kobe, Japan 1914-11-10 1915-03-05 1915-03-31 retired 1932-04-01
Matsu Pine Tree Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nagasaki, Japan 1914-11-03 1915-03-05 1915-04-06 retired 1932-04-01



  1. ^ Globalsecurity.org, IJN Kaba class destroyers
  2. ^ Howarth, The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun
  3. ^ "Arabe French destroyer class". Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  4. ^ Tucker. The European Powers in the First World War. Page. 165
  5. ^ Jentsura, Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945
  6. ^ "Japanese Navy, IJN, World War 1". Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  7. ^ Halpern, Paul G (1994). A Naval History of World War I. Routledge. p. 393. ISBN 1-85728-498-4. 
  8. ^ Halpern, Paul G (1994). A Naval History of World War I. Routledge. p. 393. ISBN 1-85728-498-4. 
  9. ^ "Japanese Destroyers". Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  10. ^ "Japanese Navy, IJN, World War 1". Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  11. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy


  • Cocker, Maurice (1983). Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893-1981. Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1075-7. 
  • Evans, David (1979). Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US 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. 
  • Halpern, Paul G (1994). A Naval History of World War I. Routledge. ISBN 1-85728-498-4. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Tucker, Spencer (1996). The European Powers in the First World War. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8153-3351-X. 

External links[edit]