Japanese battleship Yashima

Coordinates: 38°34′N 121°40′E / 38.567°N 121.667°E / 38.567; 121.667
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Yashima before the Russo-Japanese War
Empire of Japan
Namesake"Many Islands", a name for Japan
Ordered1894 Naval Programme
Yard number625
Laid down6 December 1894
Launched28 February 1896
Completed9 September 1897
FateSank 15 May 1904 after striking two mines
General characteristics
Class and typeFuji-class pre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement12,230 long tons (12,430 t) (normal)
Length412 ft (125.6 m) (
Beam73 ft 6 in (22.4 m)
Draught26 ft 3 in (8 m) (
deep load
Installed power
Propulsion2 shafts, 2 triple-expansion steam engines
Speed18.25 knots (34 km/h; 21 mph)
Range4,000 nmi (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
  • Harvey armour
  • Belt: 14–18 in (356–457 mm)
  • Deck: 2.5 in (64 mm)
  • Gun turrets: 6 in (152 mm)

Yashima (八島, Yashima) was a

while under tow later that day. The Japanese were able to keep her loss a secret from the Russians for over a year.

Background and description

Right elevation and plan showing the internal layout of the ship

The two Fuji-class ships were the IJN's first battleships, ordered from Britain in response to two new German-built Chinese

forced draught and were designed to reach a top speed of 18.25 knots (34 km/h; 21 mph), though Yashima reached a top speed of 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph) from 14,075 ihp (10,496 kW) on her sea trials.[6] The sisters carried enough coal to allow them to steam for 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[7][Note 1]


QF 12-pounder (3 in (76 mm)) 12 cwt guns.[Note 3] This raised the number of crewmen to 652 and later to 741.[7]

Construction and career

Yashima under construction, about two months after her keel was laid down

Given a

Yokosuka, Japan, on 30 November. She was initially assigned to the Standing Fleet, the IJN's primary combat fleet, but was reduced to reserve on 20 November. The ship was reclassified as a first-class battleship on 21 March 1898 and reassigned to the Standing Fleet. Two years later, Yashima was again placed in reserve where she remained until reactivated on 28 December 1903 and assigned to the 1st Division of the 1st Fleet of the Combined Fleet.[16]

At the start of the Russo-Japanese War, Yashima, commanded by

Port Arthur. Tōgō had expected the preceding surprise night attack by his destroyers to be much more successful than it was, anticipating that the Russians would be badly disorganised and weakened, but they had recovered from their surprise and were ready for the attack of the battleships and cruisers. The Japanese ships were spotted by the protected cruiser Boyarin, which was patrolling offshore and alerted the Russian defences. Tōgō chose to attack the Russian coastal defences with his main armament and engage the ships with his secondary guns. Splitting his fire proved to be a poor decision as the Japanese eight-inch (203 mm) and six-inch guns inflicted little damage on the Russian ships, which concentrated all their fire on the Japanese ships with some effect. Although many ships on both sides were hit, Russian casualties numbered only 17, while the Japanese suffered 60 killed and wounded before Tōgō disengaged. Yashima was not hit during the battle.[17]

On 10 March, Yashima and her sister Fuji, under the command of

Rear-Admiral Nashiba Tokioki, blindly bombarded the harbour of Port Arthur from Pigeon Bay, on the south west side of the Liaodong Peninsula, at a range of 5.9 miles (9.5 km). They fired 154 twelve-inch shells,[18] but did little damage.[19] When they tried again on 22 March, they were attacked by newly emplaced coast-defence guns that had been transferred there by the new Russian commander, Vice-Admiral Stepan Makarov, and also from several Russian ships in Port Arthur using observers overlooking Pigeon Bay. The Japanese ships disengaged after Fuji was hit by a twelve-inch shell.[18]

Yashima participated in the action of 13 April when Tōgō successfully lured out a portion of the Pacific Squadron, including Makarov's flagship, the battleship Petropavlovsk. When Makarov spotted the five battleships of the 1st Division, he turned back for Port Arthur and Petropavlovsk struck a mine laid by the Japanese the previous night. The Russian battleship sank in less than two minutes after one of her magazines exploded and Makarov was one of the 677 killed. Emboldened by his success, Tōgō resumed long-range bombardment missions, which prompted the Russians to lay more minefields.[20]

A large brass and wood warship
A model of Yashima in the British National Maritime Museum

On 14 May, Nashiba put to sea with his flagship

list to starboard that gradually increased throughout the day.[16]

Yashima was towed away from the minefield, north towards the Japanese base in the Elliott Islands. She was still taking on water at an uncontrollable rate, and Sakamoto ordered the ship anchored around 17:00 near Encounter Rock to allow the crew to easily abandon ship. He assembled the crew, which sang the Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo, and then abandoned ship. Kasagi took Yashima in tow, but the battleship's list continued to increase, and she capsized about three hours later, after the cruiser was forced to cast off the tow,[23] roughly at co-ordinates 38°34′N 121°40′E / 38.567°N 121.667°E / 38.567; 121.667.[7] The Japanese were able to conceal her loss for more than a year as no Russians observed Yashima sink.[24] As part of the deception, the surviving crewmen were assigned to four auxiliary gunboats for the rest of the war that were tasked to guard Port Arthur and addressed their letters as if they were still aboard the battleship.[16]


  1. ^ Lengerer gives a coal storage figure of 1,110 long tons (1,130 t) that gave them a range of 7,000 nmi (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at 10 knots.[8]
  2. ^ Sources differ significantly on the exact outfit of light guns. Naval historians Roger Chesneau and Eugene Kolesnik and Hans Lengerer cite twenty 3- and four 2.5-pounders.[10][11] Jentschura, Jung & Mickel give a total of twenty-four 47 mm guns, without dividing them between the 3 and 2.5-pounders,[7] while Silverstone says that they had only twenty 47 mm guns, again without discriminating between the two types.[12]
  3. ^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 12 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.


  1. ^ a b Lengerer 2008, pp. 23, 27
  2. ^ Evans & Peattie, p. 60
  3. ^ Heald, p. 208
  4. ^ a b Brook 1999, p. 122
  5. ^ Lengerer 2009, p. 51
  6. ^ Lengerer 2008, p. 27
  7. ^ a b c d Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 16
  8. ^ Lengerer 2008, pp. 11, 23
  9. ^ Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 221
  10. ^ Lengerer 2008, p. 23
  11. ^ Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 220
  12. ^ Silverstone, p. 309
  13. ^ Jane, p. 400
  14. ^ a b Brook 1985, p. 268
  15. ^ Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 17
  16. ^ a b c d Lengerer 2008, p. 14
  17. ^ Forczyk, pp. 41–44
  18. ^ a b Forczyk, p. 44
  19. ^ Brook 1985, p. 269
  20. ^ Forczyk, pp. 45–46
  21. ^ Warner & Warner, p. 279
  22. ^ Forczyk, p. 46
  23. ^ Warner & Warner, pp. 279–282
  24. ^ Warner & Warner, pp. 283, 332


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