Japanese cruiser Kasuga

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Armoured cruiser Kasuga
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Kasuga
Ordered: 1903 Fiscal Year
Builder: Ansaldo Yards, Italy
Laid down: 10 March 1902
Launched: 22 October 1902
Commissioned: 7 January 1904
Struck: 30 November 1945
Fate: Sunk, 18 July 1945
Later refloated and broken up for scrap
General characteristics
Class and type: Kasuga-class armored cruiser
Displacement: 7,698 long tons (7,822 t)
Length: 108.8 m (356 ft 11 in) w/l
111.73 m (366 ft 7 in) o/a
Beam: 18.9 m (62 ft 0 in)
Draft: 7.32 m (24 ft 0 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft Reciprocating Vertical Triple Expansion (VTE) Engines
13,500 shp (10,100 kW)
Speed: 20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement: 600
Armament: • 1 × 250 mm (9.8 in) gun (forward)
• 2 × 203 mm (8 in) guns (aft)
• 14 × 152 mm (6 in) rapid fire guns
• 10 × 80 mm (3 in) rapid fire guns
• 6 × 3-pounder rapid fire guns
• 2 × Maxim guns
• 4 × 457 mm (18 in) torpedo tubes
Armor: Belt: 70–150 mm (2.8–5.9 in)
Deck: 25–38 mm (0.98–1.5 in)
Barbette: 100–150 mm (3.9–5.9 in)
Casemate & Conning tower: 150 mm (5.9 in)

Kasuga (春日?) was the lead ship of the Kasuga-class armored cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy, designed and built by Ansaldo Yards, Genoa, Italy, where the type was known as the Giuseppe Garibaldi-class cruiser. It was named after a holy mountain in Nara prefecture.

Designed as a cross between a battleship and a cruiser, but with a very small displacement, the Kasuga-class ships had the ability to stand in the line of battle and the speed to avoid action with battleships. Its armor was only 6 inches (150 mm) thick but covered a far greater percentage of the hull than previous armored cruiser designs.

Kasuga had a sister ship, the Nisshin.


The Kasuga was the second to last of the Garibaldi-class armored cruisers to be built. Ordered by the Argentine Navy as the Mitre in the spring of 1902, it was renamed in the Bernardino Rivadavia immediately after launch. However, the prospects for war between Argentina and Chile diminished before the ship was completed, making it surplus. The Japanese quickly purchased it due to increasing tension with Russia.

Completed on 7 January 1904, the Kasuga was conveyed to Japan by Italian sailors using the voyage as a shakedown cruise. The captain of the ship for this maiden voyage was Suzuki Kantarō, future Prime Minister of Japan.

Service record

At the start of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, the Imperial Japanese Navy had six modern battleships. This was slightly fewer than the number of Imperial Russian Navy battleships at Port Arthur, but Japan had an edge in armored cruisers. The 10-inch (254 mm) gun of Kasuga had sufficient elevation to make it one of the longest-ranged guns in the fleet. On 15 May 1904, in a major disaster for the Imperial Japanese Navy, two Japanese battleships (Yashima and Hatsuse) were lost to Russian mines. On the same day, after shelling Port Arthur, the Kasuga collided with the protected cruiser Yoshino, which turned turtle and sank with the loss of 319 lives. The Kasuga herself was so badly damaged that she required a month's refit in a dockyard.

With a third of Japan's battleships thus depleted, the unprecedented decision was taken to use the new cruisers Nisshin and Kasuga in the line of battle together with the remaining four first line battleships Mikasa, Asahi, Shikishima and Fuji during Battle of the Yellow Sea (10 August 1904). Kasuga fired 33 ten-inch (254 mm) shells during the battle.

At the subsequent Battle of Tsushima on 26 May 1905, Kasuga was 5th in the Japanese line of battle. At 14:15, Kasuga opened fire on the Oslyabya, the lead ship in the second column of the Russian fleet at a range of 7,000 yards (6,400 m), followed by the Russian battleship Imperator Aleksander III, then the Borodino. During the course of the battle, Kasuga fired 50 ten-inch (254 mm) shells and 103 eight-inch (203 mm) shells, and was hit by one 12-inch (300 mm), one 6-inch (152 mm) and one unidentified shell, none of which affected her efficiency. During the battle, the Mikasa and the Kasuga, as the lead ships in the column, were more heavily damaged.

Shortly after the Battle of Tsushima, the Kasuga was assigned to the 3rd Fleet for the invasion and occupation of Sakhalin.

On 7 April 1906, while under the command of Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito in Tokyo Bay, the Kasuga’s main gun was accidentally discharged, sending a shell into the grounds of the Imperial Palace, creating considerable alarm.

From 1914, the Kasuga participated in World War I, as part of Japan's contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Initially it was assigned to patrol the sea lanes in southeast Asia, between Amoy and the Philippines, and the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to protect Allied shipping against German navy raids.

In 1917, its patrol area was shifted to between Saigon and the west coast of Australia, where it ran aground on 26 April 1917. On 11 January 1918, the Kasuga accidentally grounded again, this time on a sandbank in the Bangka strait, and had to be towed to Singapore for repairs.

In May 1920, the Kasuga voyaged to the United States for the centennial celebrations of Maine state, making numerous port calls along the way.

In August of 1920 the Kasuga visited the city of Cristobal in the Republic of Panama from August 22, 1920 to August 25, 1920, with an official reception for the crew and a sightseeing visit.

During the 1920s, Kasuga was partially disarmed in compliance with the Washington Naval Treaty, reclassified as a 1st class Coast Defense Ship on 1 September 1921. It was used to transport Japanese soldiers and supplies to Siberia in 1922 as part of Japan's Siberian Intervention, and then designated as a training ship. From 1929 to 1934 it was used to transport troops and supplies to Japan's possessions in the south Pacific.

Kasuga almost managed to survive the Pacific War, but was sunk at her mooring at Yokosuka on 18 July 1945 during an air raid by American forces. Its hulk was refloated after the war and broken up for scrap.



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