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IJN Haruna Battlecruiser / Battleship / Fast Battleship (1915)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/27/2015

The IJN Haruna managed as a battlecruiser during World War 1 and survived most of World War 2 as a battleship and fast battleship.

Haruna served the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) throughout World War 1 (1914-1918) and World War 2 (1939-1945). She was designed with the assistance of the British and formed the forth ship of the four-strong Kongo-class battlecruiser group. These vessels were commissioned from 1913 to 1915 and managed healthily long service careers spanning from 1913 until 1945. By the end of their time at sea, all but one of the class survived war and this sole example was scrapped after being sunk at her moorings during World War 2. As battlecruisers, theses ships were to serve in the capital ship role and carried large caliber main batteries. Unlike battleships, however, armor protection was sacrificed for speed.

Haruna was ordered in 1911 and Kawasaki Shipyards was commissioned for her construction. Her keel was laid down on March 16th, 1912 and she was launched on December 14th, 1913. The vessel's official commissioning came on April 19th, 1915. Haruna held a displacement value of 36,600 tons (long) and measured 728.3 feet long with a beam of 101.7 feet and a draught of 31.9 feet. Her propulsion machinery constituted 36 Yarrow boilers helping to develop 64,000 horsepower to four shafts underneath the stern. Maximum speed in ideal conditions reached 26 knots. Her profile was consistent with the period, the superstructures amassed around midships and bookended by two main masts with several smoke funnels being featured. A very pointed bow ensured speeds could be maintained in relatively calm seas and onboard space allowed for a crew of 1,360 to be carried. Armor protection included 230mm at the turrets, 200mm at the belt and up to 70mm along the deck.

Armament was a key consideration for the class and the main gun arrangement was made up of 8 x 14" guns in four twin-gunned turrets, two fitted forward and two fitted aft. This marked the first class in the world to feature this large caliber armament as a uniformed main battery. 16 x 6" guns were also fitted and these across sixteen single-gunned turrets set about midships. 8 x 76mm guns were installed as a final line of firepower. The original armament suite was rounded out by the inclusion of 8 x 530mm (21") submerged torpedo tubes - a common trait of pre-World War 1 warships.

Following successful conclusion of her trials period, Haruna was made a part of the Third Battleship Division (Second Fleet) and began service in the East China Sea for her part in World War 1 (1914-1918). Following the war, during September of 1920, an accident at one of the No.1 turret guns killed seven and caused damage to the installation. A faulty fuse on one of the charge bags was blamed for the explosion. She entered reserve status as the world wide military followed all nations with the conclusion of World War 1. The Kongo-class of the IJN was one of the few notable ship groups to survive the naval purge that was seen after the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty. This treaty served to limit naval arms production and help stave off another global conflict precipitated by a major arms race.

Because of the limitations imparted on the IJN by the Treaty, no new capital ships were ordered and built for a time and this forced the service to modernize and modify existing vessels through greater firepower, armor and capabilities. Haruna was selected for such work in mid-1926 and construction took the better part of two years in which her armor was upgraded (notably exceeding the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty) and internal spaces improved. Torpedo bulges were added along her sides to improve her survivability amidst the growing threat of submarine use around the globe. Her design also accepted three reconnaissance floatplanes. The boiler arrangement was changed to a more modern and efficient design which resulted in the loss of her forward funnel and a resizing of her existing funnel structure. The new machinery increased ocean-going speeds to 30 knots. Because of the changes instituted, Haruna was now reclassified as a battleship. She joined the Forth Battleship Division in 1928 and entered reserve status in 1930.

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Specifications for the
IJN Haruna
Battlecruiser / Battleship / Fast Battleship

Country of Origin: Imperial Japan
Initial Year of Service: 1915
Operators: Imperial Japan

Crew: 1,360

Length: 728.3 ft (221.99 m)
Beam: 101.7 ft (31.00 m)
Draught: 31.9 ft (9.72 m)
Displacement: 37,200 tons

Machinery: Boilers feeding Brown-Curtis turbines and developing 64,000 horsepower to 4 x shafts.

Surface Speed: 30 kts (35 mph)
Range: 11,500 miles (18,507 km)

As Built:
8 x (4x2) 14"/45 caliber (356mm) main guns
16 x (16x1) 6" (152mm) guns
8 x (8x1) 3" (76mm) main guns
8 x 21" (530mm) torpedo tubes

1945 Refit:
8 x (4x2) 14" (356mm) main guns
16 x (16x1) 6" (152mm) guns
8 x (4x2) 5" (127mm) guns
122 x 25mm Type 96 anti-aircraft guns

Air Arm: 2 OR 3 x Reconnaissance Floatplane Aircraft

Ship Class: Kongo-class
Number-in-Class: 4
Ships-in-Class: IJN Kongo; IJN Hiei; IJN Haruna; IJN Kirishima