Yongfeng-class coastal defense ship

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History
Republic of China
Name: Yongfeng
Ordered: 4
Builder:
Laid down: 1910
Launched: 1912
Completed: 1918
Acquired: 1918
Commissioned: 1918
Decommissioned: 1959
Out of service: 1959
Fate: See main text
Status: See main text
History
Flag of China (1912–1928).svgZhili Clique
Fate: Defected to ROCN
History
Japan
Name: Asuka
Acquired: 1945
Struck: 1945
Fate: Sunk on May 7, 1945
History
Flag of the Republic of China-Nanjing (Peace, Anti-Communism, National Construction).svgReorganized National Government of the Republic of China (RNGROC)
Name: Haixing (海兴)
Acquired: May 22, 1940
Fate: Captured by ROCN after World War II
History
People's Republic of China
Name: Yan'an
Namesake: Yan'an
Acquired: 1950
Struck: scrapped in 1970s
Fate: retired in 1970
General characteristics
Type: Gunboat
Displacement: 780 long tons (790 t)
Length: 214 ft (65 m)
Beam: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Draught: 10 ft (3.0 m)
Propulsion: 1,350 hp (1,010 kW) from 2 coal-burning steam turbines
Speed: 14 knots (16 mph; 26 km/h)
Complement: 121 sailors + 21 officers
Armament:

The Yongfeng-class coastal defense ships were a class of four Chinese coastal defense ships built by Japan and China respectively, each building a pair. Due to their small size, these ships are also frequently referred as gunboats.

Ordered by the government of the Qing dynasty in 1910 under the deal signed between the Qing navy minister Zaixun, his deputy admiral Sa Zhenbing and the Japanese, the first two ships Yongfeng (永丰) and Yongxiang (永翔) were built by Japan, and the second pair Yongjian (永健) and Yongji (永绩) were built by Jiangnan Shipyard in China with technical help from Japan. All four ships differed slightly from one another.

Yongfeng[edit]

Yongfeng is the first ship of this class and one of the most famous Chinese warships, not only because it was a participant of many historical events in China, but also the name it was subsequently changed to: Zhongshan. Originally stationed in Yuezhou (in modern Hunan) after it was commissioned, the ship was one of the ships led by Admiral Cheng Biguang that sailed to Guangzhou on July 22, 1917 to Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s side in the Constitutional Protection Movement. The ship was ordered to be renamed as Zhongshan after Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s death on March 30, 1925, with formal renaming ceremony held on April 13 of the same year. A year later, the ship became the center of the Zhongshan Warship Incident.

After being sunk by a Japanese aerial attack on October 24, 1938 during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the ship was finally salvaged nearly six decades later in 1997, and restoration of the ship formally began on November 12, 1999. After the completion of restoration, the ship became a museum ship at Jiangxia District,[1] approximately 25 km southwest of downtown Wuchang.

Specification:[2]

  • Builder: Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard
  • Launched: 1912
  • Completed: 1913
  • Commissioned: March 15, 1913
  • Hull: Steel hull with wooden superstructure
  • Length (ft): 214
  • Beam (ft): 29
  • Depth (ft): 15.3
  • Draft (ft): 10
  • Displacement (t): 780
  • Engine: 2 steam engines @ 1350 hp
  • Propulsion: 2 shafts
  • Speed (kt): 14
  • Crew: 140
    • Officers: 19
    • Enlisted: 121
  • Main armament: * Main armament: Krupp 1 x 4.1”/40 gun, 1 x 3”/50 gun, 4 x 47 mm/40 guns
  • Secondary armament: 2 x 37/27 mm Maxim guns, 1 x 40 mm gun, 2 x 7.9 mm machine guns
  • Call sign: XNF
  • Cost: 340,000 Japanese yen

Yongxiang[edit]

Yongxiang, the sister ship of Yongfeng, has a much less glamorous history than the first ship Yongfeng. After being commissioned on the same day as its sister ship, Yongxiang was stationed at Nanjing. Originally manned by crew loyal to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the crew defected to the Beiyang government in December 1923 with the ship, along with other defected ships. All defected ships including Yongxiang participated in the Second Zhili–Fengtian War in October of the following year, and subsequently defected to the Fengtian clique.

On December 12, 1937, six ships including Yongxiang were sunk by ROCN to block passage of harbors when Chinese retreated from advancing Japanese invasion forces during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War. Japanese occupation force in China subsequently raised Yongxiang and turned it over to the Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China in 1942 as a training ship, and renamed it as Haixiang (海祥). After the end of the war, the ship was returned to ROCN and its name was changed back to the original name. Yongxiang was finally retired from ROCN in 1959.

Specification:[2]

  • Builder: Kawasaki Kobe Shipyard
  • Launched: 1912
  • Completed: 1913
  • Commissioned: March 15, 1913
  • Hull: steel with 1” armor
  • Length (ft): 205
  • Beam (ft): 29.5
  • Draft (ft): 10
  • Displacement (t): 844
  • Engine: 2 steam engines @ 1350 hp
  • Propulsion: 2 shafts
  • Speed (kt): 13.5
  • Crew: 139
    • Officers: 19
    • Enlisted: 120
  • Main armament: Krupp 1 x 4.1”/40 gun, 1 x 3”/50 gun, 4 x 47 mm/40 guns
  • Secondary armament: 2 x 37/27 mm Maxim guns, 1 x 40 mm gun, 2 x 7.9 mm machine guns
  • Call sign: XNG
  • Cost: 340,000 Japanese yen

Yongjian[edit]

Asuka at 1942

Yongjian is the first Yongfeng-class coastal defense ship built by China itself. Construction began in 1911, the same year as its sister ship Yongji. Owing to the Xinhai Revolution, construction was delayed and Yongjian was completed in 1917. The most distinct visual difference between the Chinese-built and Japanese-built ships is that the former has an additional stern deck house, and consequently the stern gun of the former is one level higher than that of the latter.

In the Warlord Era, both Yongjian and its sister ship Yongji were originally part of the fleet of the Zhili clique, but subsequently defected to the Kuomintang government in Nanjing. On August 25, 1937, Yongjian was sunk by a Japanese aerial attack in Jiangnan Shipyard, but the Japanese occupation force raised the ship and rearmed it with Japanese guns to enter Japanese service on October 15, 1938, renamed Asuka (飛鳥). Asuka first served as a torpedo-boat mothership but eventually, in 1940, served as a liaison ship until it was sunk by American aerial attack on May 7, 1945 in the Huangpu River.

Specification:[3]

  • Builder: Jiangnan Shipyard
  • Laid down: 1911
  • Completed: 1918
  • Hull: Steel
  • Length (ft): 205
  • Beam (ft): 29.6
  • Draft (ft): 12.5
  • Displacement (t): 860
  • Engine: 2 coal-burning steam engines @ 1350 hp
  • Speed (kt): 13
  • Crew: 140
    • Officers: 19
    • Enlisted: 121
  • Main armament: * Main armament: Armstrong 1 x 4"/50 gun, 1 x 3”/50 gun, 4 x 47 mm/40 guns
  • Secondary armament: 2 x 37/27 mm Maxim guns, 1 x 40 mm gun, 2 x 7.9 mm machine guns
  • Call sign: XNY
  • Cost: 506,000 taels of silver

Yongji[edit]

Yongji is the 2nd ship of Yongfeng-class coastal defense ship built by China itself. Construction begun in 1911, the same year as its sister ship Yongjian, but due to the Xinhai Revolution, construction was delayed and not until seven years later in 1918 was Yongji finally completed. In the Warlord Era, both Yongjian and its sister ship Yongji were originally part of the fleet of the Zhili clique, but subsequently defected to the Kuomintang government in Nanjing. During the 2nd Sino-Japanese War, Yongji was severely damaged by Japanese aerial attack on October 11, 1938 and was beached in Hubei. Japanese invasion force captured the beached Yongji and repaired it at Jiangnan Shipyard, and on May 22, 1940, turned it over to the Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China as a training ship, and renamed it as Haixing (海兴). After the end of the war, the ship was returned to ROCN and the name was changed back to the original name. The ship was damaged by the Chinese communist force at the end of the Chinese Civil War on April 23, 1949. The communists repaired the ship and renamed it as Yan'an, and it served in the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) until its final retirement in 1970.

Specification:[3]

  • Builder: Jiangnan Shipyard
  • Laid down: 1911
  • Completed: 1918
  • Hull: Iron
  • Length (ft): 205
  • Beam (ft): 29.6
  • Draft (ft): 11.5
  • Displacement (t): 860
  • Engine: 2 coal burning steam engine @ 1350 hp
  • Speed (kt): 13
  • Crew: 140
    • Officers: 19
    • Enlisted: 121
  • Main armament: Armstrong 1 x 4"/50 gun, 1 x 3”/50 gun, 4 x 47 mm/40 guns
  • Secondary armament: 2 x 37/27 mm Maxim guns, 1 x 40 mm gun, 2 x 7.9 mm machine guns
  • Call sign: XNO
  • Cost: 492,000 taels of silver

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Zhongshan Warship settled in Wuhan museum". Retrieved May 28, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Yongfeng & Yongxiang". Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Yongjian & Yongji". Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2015.