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IJN Asahi

Pre-Deadnought Battleship

The IJN Asahi was torpedoed by the USS Salmon in the South China Sea during World War 2.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 8/7/2017
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Year: 1900
Ships-in-Class: 4
Named Ships: IJN Asahi
Complement: 836
Length: 425 ft (129.54 m)
Width: 75 ft (22.86 m)
Height: 27 ft (8.23 m)
Displacement (Surface): 15,200 tons
Propulsion: 25 x Belleville (later 4 x Kampon) boilers with 1 x Reciprocating VTE steam enginedeveloping 15,000 horsepower to 2 x shafts.
Speed (Surface): 18 kts (21 mph)
Range: 9,004 nm (10,362 miles; 16,676 km)
Operators: Imperial Japan
The IJN Asahi was a pre-dreadnought battleship vessel in service with the Imperial Japanese Navy. She saw extensive combat in the war against Russia where she incurred some damage from a mine but survive through the conflict and interwar years and into World War 2. The Asahi was part of the initial push to bring naval supremacy to the nation of Japan so, when ordered, she had to be built in the United Kingdom as Japan had no shipyards capable of undertaking such construction.

The profile of the Asahi warship was characterized by her twin smoke stacks and her twin masts. Before the 1923 disarmament, she fielded her 4 x 12" main guns in two turrets, one facing forward and one aft. Her machinery originally consisted of a reciprocating VTE engine powered by no less than 25 Belleville-class boilers producing 15,000 shaft horsepower while spinning two propeller shafts. A top speed of 18 knots was reported and a surface range of over 10,000 miles could be attained. A crew of 836 operated the vessel.

Prior to her 1923 disarmament, armament of the Asahi centered around her 4 x 12" main guns, those these were augmented by a selection of other weapons that included 14 x 6" guns, 20 x 3 pounder and 12 x 2.5 pounder cannons. The Asahi could also field up to 5 x 457mm torpedoes for anti-ship duty and featured 2 x 3" anti-aircraft guns (the latter after a 1917 refit).

In the interwar years, Asahi was modified to serve as a submarine salvage ship. This required the removing of one of her smoke stacks and her 25 boilers were now just 4 Kapon brand types. She was fitted with a crane as well and served in a variety of naval experiments. By the time of the Second World War, the Asahi was called to action - now all but stripped of her original warship armament - and was relegated as submarine tender (she became a submarine tender beginning 1937). On May 25th, 1942, she was spotted and sunk by the United States Navy submarine USS Salmon in the South China Sea of the Pacific Theater. She was struck by two torpedoes and was lost a short time thereafter with 582 of her crew surviving.

The IJN Asahi was ordered in 1896 and laid down the following year. Construction was handled by the John Brown & Company in the United Kingdom while the design originated from one G.C. Macrow. The vessel was launched in 1899 and officially commissioned in 1900 upon reaching her homeland Japanese waters.


4 x 12" main guns
14 x 6" guns
20 x 3-pdr cannons
12 x 2.5-pdr cannons
5 x 457mm torpedoes
2 x 3" anti-aircraft guns (after 1917)

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