Japanese cruiser Tsushima

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Tsushima in 1901
Tsushima in 1901
Career Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Tsushima
Ordered: 1897 Fiscal Year
Builder: Kure Naval Arsenal, Japan
Laid down: 1 October 1901
Launched: 15 December 1902
Completed: 14 February 1904
Struck: 1936
Fate: Expended as a torpedo target, 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: Niitaka-class cruiser
Displacement: 3,366 long tons (3,420 t)
Length: 102 m (334 ft 8 in) w/l
Beam: 13.44 m (44 ft 1 in)
Draft: 4.92 m (16 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2-shaft VTE reciprocating engines; 16 boilers; 9,500 hp (7,100 kW); 600 tons coal
Speed: 20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)
Complement: 287-320
Armament: • 6 × 152 mm (6 in) rapid fire guns
• 10 × 10-pounder rapid fire guns
• 4 × 47 mm (2 in) machine guns
Armor: Deck: 76 mm (3 in)
Conning tower: 100 mm (4 in)

Tsushima (対馬?) was a Niitaka class protected cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was a sister ship to the Niitaka, and was named for the Tsushima island, the strategic island group between Japan and Korea.


The Niitaka-class cruisers were ordered by the Japanese navy under its 2nd Emergency Expansion Program, with a budget driven by the First Sino-Japanese War. It was intended for high speed reconnaissance. Tsushima was the first ship to be built by the new Kure Naval Arsenal, located at Kure, Hiroshima. Due to lack of experience by the builders, the Tsushima took an extraordinary long time to compete, despite its small size and relatively simple design.

Service life

Tsushima was commissioned too late to see much service during the Russo-Japanese War, but it was present as a component of the Japanese 2nd Fleet and fought in the Battle of Korsakov and at the crucial final Battle of Tsushima.

After the war, Tsushima was assigned patrol duties off of the China coast.

At the start of World War I, Tsushima was initially assigned to patrol of the sea lanes between Borneo and Timor as part of Japan's contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. However, it was re-assigned to the First Southern Expeditionary Squadron based in Fiji from December 1914 to protect British shipping around Australia and New Zealand from German attack. The First Southern Expeditionary Squadron also consisted of the battlecruiser Kurama, two destroyers, and later the cruisers Chikuma, Yahagi and Ikoma. Together with the Japanese-American Expeditionary Squadron (which also contained the cruisers Izumo and Asama, and the battleship Hizen, it engaged in the pursuit of the German Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee's German East Asia Squadron.

In February 1915, the Japanese Navy also helped suppress a mutiny by Indian sepoys in Singapore, sending 158 marines from the cruisers Otowa and Tsushima.

From mid-1915 to 1918, Tsushima and its sister ship Niitaka, were permanently based at the Cape of Good Hope, assist the Royal Navy in patrolling the sea lanes linking Europe to the east.

After the end of World War I, Tsushima was part of the Japanese fleet participating in the Siberian Intervention to help the White Russian forces against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War.

On 1 September 1921, Tsushima was re-designated as 2nd Class Coastal Defense Vessel. Tsushima was re-armed in 1922 to carry six 152 mm and eight 12-pounder guns, but later an extra l2-pounder anti-aircraft gun was added. Tsushima's primary patrol area was along the China coast.

Tsushima was partially disarmed in 1930, and struck from the Navy List in 1936. Re-designated as a training hulk Hai Kan No. 10 at Yokosuka until 1 April 1939, it was expended offshore Miura, Kanagawa as a torpedo target in 1944.



  • 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

ja:対馬 (防護巡洋艦) ru:Цусима (крейсер)