Japanese cruiser Aso

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In 1911
In 1911
Career (Japan) 100x35px
Name: Aso
Builder: Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, France
Laid down: February 1899
Launched: 6 December 1900
Completed: April 1903
Acquired: as prize of war by Japan, January 1905
Commissioned: 22 August 1905
Struck: 1 April 1931
Fate: Sunk as a target ship, August 1932
General characteristics
Class and type: Bayan-class armored cruiser
Displacement: 7,726 long tons (7,850 t)
Length: 135.6 m (444 ft 11 in) w/l
Beam: 17.4 m (57 ft 1 in)
Draught: 6.7 m (22 ft 0 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft reciprocating
26 boilers
16,500 shp (12,300 kW)
1100 tons coal
Speed: 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement: 570
Armament: • 2 × 203 mm (8 in) guns
• 6 × 152 mm (6 in) guns
• 20 × 75 mm (3 in) guns
• 7 × 47 mm (2 in) guns
• 5 × 380 mm (15 in) torpedo tubes
Armour: Harvey armor
Belt: 100–200 mm (3.9–7.9 in)
Deck: 25–50 mm (0.98–2.0 in)
Turrets: 88–170 mm (3.5–6.7 in)
Casemate: 80 mm (3.1 in)

Aso (阿蘇?) was an armoured cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy, acquired as a prize of war during the Russo-Japanese War from the Imperial Russian Navy, where it was originally known as the Bayan. It was then renamed after Mount Aso, an active volcano on the island of Kyūshū.


The Bayan was built by the Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée in Toulon, France. It was the lead ship in the Bayan-class of three vessels, and was one of the most advanced warships in the Russian Far East Fleet. The Bayan played an active role in the early stages of the Russo-Japanese War, but was trapped by the Siege of Port Arthur and subsequently sunk by Japanese artillery.

At the end of the Russo-Japanese War, Port Arthur was in Japanese hands, and Japanese engineers raised the wreck of the Bayan and towed it to Maizuru, where it was repaired and commissioned it into the Imperial Japanese Navy as the 2nd class cruiser Aso on 22 August 1905. Its new name came from Mount Aso, a noted volcano in Kyūshū. It is a tribute to its excellent design that it was able to absorb seven hits on its deck (of which five penetrated) and five hits on the side of its hull from the Japanese 280 mm siege guns (more than any other battleship or cruiser in the Russian squadron), and still could be repaired and brought back into service.

Service record

After being placed into service on 30 November 1908, the Aso was assigned to patrol duty off of the China coast. The following year, together with the Soya, the Aso was assigned to a training cruise to North America by way of Hawaii, and in 1910, made a similar long distance navigational training voyage south, to Australia by way of the Philippines.

From 1911-1915, the Aso was based in Yokosuka, patrolling Japanese home waters. However, with the start of World War I, the Aso was assigned longer patrols further south, protecting commercial shipping against raids by the Imperial German Navy, as part of Japan's contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.

On 1 April 1920, the Aso was re-classified as a minelayer, with a total of 512 naval mines deployed on its upper and middle deck. From 28 August 1922 to 9 September 1922, the Aso was used for coastal patrol and to transport troops during the Siberian Intervention. At the time of the Great Kantō earthquake of September 1923, the Aso was used for disaster relief, and for transport of supplies and refugees.

The Aso was removed from the active list on 1 April 1931 and subsequently sunk as a target by the guns of the Myōkō, torpedoes from Japanese submarine I-89 and bombs from dive bombers sent from Yokosuka on 4 August 1932 offshore from Izu Ōshima island.



  • Evans, David. Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press (1979). ISBN 0870211927
  • Howarth, Stephen. The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum; (1983) ISBN 0689114028
  • Jane, Fred T. The Imperial Japanese Navy. Thacker, Spink & Co (1904) ASIN: B00085LCZ4
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Naval Institute Press (1976). ISBN 087021893X
  • Schencking, J. Charles. Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press (2005). ISBN 0804749779

fr:Bayan (croiseur) ja:阿蘇 (巡洋艦) ru:Баян (крейсер, 1900)