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Japanese cruiser Iwate
Japanese cruiser Iwate.jpg
Iwate in 1905
Career Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
Name: Iwate
Ordered: 1897 Fiscal Year
Builder: Armstrong Whitworth, United Kingdom
Laid down: November 1898
Launched: 29 March 1900
Completed: 18 March 1901
Reclassified: 1st class cruiser as built
1st class Coast defence ship on 1 September 1921
Training Vessel on 30 May 1931
1st class cruiser on 1 July 1942
Fate: Sunk by air attack, 26 July 1945
Raised and scrapped, 1947
General characteristics
Class & type: Izumo-class cruiser
Displacement: 9,750 long tons (9,906 t)
Length: 132.28 m (434 ft 0 in) w/l
Beam: 20.94 m (68 ft 8 in)
Draught: 7.37 m (24 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft VTE
14,500 shp (10,800 kW)
1412 tons coal
Speed: 20.75 knots (23.88 mph; 38.43 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement: 648
Armament: • 4 × 20.3 cm/45 Type 41 naval guns
• 14 × QF 6 inch /40 naval guns
• 12 × QF 12 pounder 12 cwt naval guns
• 8 × QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss
• 4 × 457 mm (18.0 in) torpedo tubes
Armour: Main belt: 88–175 mm (3.5–6.9 in)
Upper belt: 125 mm (4.9 in)
Deck: 67 mm (2.6 in)
Turret, casemate: 150 mm (5.9 in)
Conning tower: 356 mm (14 in)

Iwate (磐手?) was an Izumo-class armored cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was named after Iwate prefecture in northern Japan, and it was a sister ship of the Izumo.


Iwate was one of six armored cruisers ordered from overseas shipyards after the First Sino-Japanese War as part of the "Six-Six Program" (six battleships and six cruisers) intended to be the backbone of the Imperial Japanese Navy). Four of the cruisers in this project were built in Elswick, in the United Kingdom by Armstrong Whitworth, and Iwate was the second ship of the second pair ordered to Armstrong Whitworth.[1]


The basic design for all cruisers in the "Six-Six Program" was the same, although each shipyard was relatively free in details. The design for Iwate was based on that of the Asama-class cruiser, except that improvements in steam engine design allowed her triple expansion reciprocating engine to be built with 24 Belleville boilers instead of the 12 locomotive-style boilers in Asama. This resulted in a weight savings of over 300 tons. As with Asama, Iwate had a steel hull divided into 166 waterproof compartments, a low forecastle, and two masts. The prow was reinforced for ramming. However, her armor plating made use of the newly developed Krupp armor instead of the Harvey armor used by her predecessors.[2]

The main armament of Iwate was two separate 20.3 cm/45 Type 41 naval guns in gun turrets in the bow and stern. The guns could rotate 150 degrees to either side and could elevate to 30 degrees, firing at a rate of two rounds per minute. Secondary armament consisted of fourteen Elswick QF 6 inch /40 naval gun quick-firing guns, with a firing rate of five to seven shots per minute. Izumo was also equipped with twelve QF 12 pounder 12 cwt naval guns, seven QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns and five 457 mm torpedo tubes.[2]

Iwate was laid down in November 1898, launched on 29 March 1900 and handed over to the Japanese on 18 March 1901. Externally, the main difference between Iwate and her predecessors Asama and Tokiwa was the use of three smokestacks instead of two.

Service record

Russo-Japanese War

Iwate served an important role in the Russo-Japanese War, and was commanded by Admiral Shimamura Hayao as flagship of the Second Battle Division of Imperial Navy's 2nd Fleet, together with Izumo, Azuma, Asama, and Yakumo. After the initial attack against the Russian naval base at Port Arthur, Kamamura’s squadron (together with Yoshino and Kasagi bombarded Vladivostok. However, with the failure of the Japanese to locate and destroy the Russian cruiser squadron based at Vladivostok, and the subsequently successes of that squadron against Japanese shipping, Iwate was assigned with other cruisers in the squadron to comb the Sea of Japan from the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin to the Tsushima Strait. In the Battle off Ulsan on 14 August 1904, six Japanese cruisers defeated the Russian cruiser squadron, sinking Rurik, and severely damaging Rossia and Gromoboi. Most of the 103 Japanese casualties during the battle were on Iwate, which had suffered from an explosion on her upper deck casemate, which spread to the one below it and the one to the aft of it.[3]

Iwate participated in the crucial Battle of Tsushima on 26 May 1905. The following day, Iwate and Yakumo played a major role in the sinking of Russian battleship Admiral Ushakov.[2] After the end of the war, she was briefly captained by Captain (later Admiral) Yamashita Gentaro.

World War I

In World War I, Iwate was the IJN 2nd Fleet, 4th Squadron flagship, dispatched at first to China during the Battle of Tsingtao against the Imperial German Navy, and then later to the Indian Ocean, where it was assigned to convoy escort duty in the Indian Ocean between Singapore and the Suez Canal and patrols against German commerce raiders as part of Japan's contribution to the Allied war effort under the Anglo-Japanese alliance.

Interwar period

Iwate was re-designated a 1st class coastal defense vessel on 1 September 1921. As part of the conditions of the Washington Naval Treaty, Iwate was partially disarmed, and she was assigned to the Training Fleet. Her boilers were also reduced to six Kampon-type boilers. This reduced her top speed to 16 knots,[2] which was sufficient for a training vessel, but which was not considered suitable for a front-line combat vessel. In November 1924, Iwate was part of the Japanese naval delegation sent to Brazil in honor of Brazil's 100th independence anniversary ceremonies. Based out of Yokosuka Naval District, Iwate made numerous long distance navigation training cruises to the Indian Ocean and to South America with cadets from the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy from 1925 to 1936, including a circumnavigation of the Pacific Ocean, and stop at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on 19–22 July 1927.

World War II

Iwate was assigned to the 12th Squadron of the 3rd Support Fleet from 1 February 1940. With the start of the Pacific War, despite her antiquated age, the Iwate was retrofitted with anti-aircraft guns at Kure Naval Arsenal and officially re-classified as a 1st class cruiser on 1 July 1942. However, Iwate remained within the confines of the Seto Inland Sea throughout the war assigned to training duties, and was not used in any combat operations.

Iwate was sunk in an American air attack on Kure (34°14′N 132°30′E / 34.233°N 132.5°E / 34.233; 132.5), 26 July 1945. Its hulk was later raised and scrapped in 1947.



  1. Brooke, Warships for Export page 58-60
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Chesneau, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905, p. 225. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Conway" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Conway" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Conway" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Westwood, Russia against Japan, p. 92.


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  • Evans, David C.; Peattie, Mark R. (1997). Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-192-7. 
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11402-8. 
  • Jane, Fred T. (1904). The Imperial Japanese Navy. Thacker, Spink & Co. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Roberts, John (ed). (1983). 'Warships of the world from 1860 to 1905 - Volume 2: United States, Japan and Russia. Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Koblenz. ISBN 3-7637-5403-2. 
  • Schencking, J. Charles (2005). Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4977-9. 
  • Westwood, J. N. (1986). Russia Against Japan, 1904-1905: A New Look at the Russo-Japanese War. State Univ of New York Pr. ISBN 0-88706-191-5. 

External links

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