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Japanese cruiser Tatsuta (1894)
IJN despatch vessel TATSUTA in 1908.jpg
Tatsuta in 1908 at Yokosuka
Career Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
Name: Tatsuta
Ordered: 1891 Fiscal Year
Builder: Armstrong Whitworth, UK
Laid down: 7 April 1893
Launched: 6 April 1894
Completed: 31 July 1894
Decommissioned: 1 April 1916
Reclassified: 9 December 1916
Struck: 26 March 1926
Fate: Scrapped 6 April 1926
General characteristics
Type: unprotected cruiser
Displacement: 650 long tons (660 t)
Length: 77.1 m (253.0 ft)
Beam: 8.38 m (27.5 ft)
Draft: 2.9 metres (9 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2-shaft reciprocating VTE, 5,069 ihp (3,780 kW), 200 tons coal
Speed: 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h)
Complement: 100

• 2 × QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I–IVs

• 4 × QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns
• 5 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tubes

Tatsuta (龍田?) was an unprotected cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The name Tatsuta comes from the Tatsuta River, near Nara. Tatsuta was used by the Imperial Japanese Navy primarily as an aviso (dispatch boat) used for scouting, reconnaissance and delivery of priority messages.


Tatsuta was ordered to Armstrong Whitworth in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, England as a large torpedo boat under the 1891 Fiscal Year budget as a replacement for the ill-fated Chishima.[1]


Tatsutahad a steel hull, and retained a full barque rigging with two masts for auxiliary sail propulsion in addition to her steam engine. Tatsuta was armed with two QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I–IVs guns, four QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns, five 2.5-Pds guns and five torpedoes, mounted on the deck.

Service record

Rushed through production due to the impeding First Sino-Japanese War, Tatsuta was en route to Japan when hostilities commenced, and she was impounded in the port of Aden on 28 August 1894 by British authorities, as the United Kingdom took an official position of neutrality in that conflict. She was not allowed to reach Japan until 19 March 1895, after the war was over.[2] On 21 March 1896, Tatsuta was re-classified as a dispatch vessel. In 1900, she was assigned to assist in escorting transports supporting Japanese naval landing forces which occupied the port city of Tianjin in northern China during the Boxer Rebellion, as part of the Japanese contribution to the Eight-Nation Alliance.[3] In 1902, she underwent overhaul at Kure Naval Arsenal, where she became the first vessel in the Japanese navy to have her locomotive-type cylindrical boilers were replaced with high pressure Niclausse boilers.[4]

During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, Tatsuta participated in the naval Battle of Port Arthur and subsequent blockade of that port. Despite her small size and obsolescence, she was also present at the Battle of the Yellow Sea and the final decisive Battle of Tsushima. During the war, she assisted in the rescue of crewmen from the Japanese battleships Yashima and Hatsuse when those ships had been sunk by Russian naval mines, and Admiral Nashiba Tokioki transferred his flag to Tatsuta after this disaster.[5] However, Tatsuta also ran ground outside of the entrance to Port Arthur, and had to be repaired at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal from 16 July – 31 August 1904.

On 28 August 1912, Tatsuta was re-classified as a 1st class gunboat. She was officially struck from the navy list as a combat vessel on 1 April 1916 and her armaments removed. However, she was retained by the navy for use as a utility vessel and was designated as a submarine tender on 9 December 1916 and renamed Nagaura Maru (長浦丸 ?). The name was shortened to Nagaura on 1 July 1920. She was retired after her second career again on 12 March 1926, and was sold for scrap on 6 April 1926.[6]


  • Chesneau, Roger (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905.. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 
  • 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 0870211927. 
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0689114028. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 087021893X. 
  • Nish, Ian (1986). The Origins of the Russo-Japanese War. Longman Group. ISBN 0582491142. 
  • Roberts, John (ed). (1983). 'Warships of the world from 1860 to 1905 - Volume 2: United States, Japan and Russia. Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Koblenz. ISBN 3763754032. 
  • Roksund, Arne (2007). The Jeune École: The Strategy of the Weak. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-15273-1. 
  • Schencking, J. Charles (2005). Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804749779. 
  • Warner, Peggy (2004). The Tide at Sunrise. Routledge Press. ISBN 0714682349. 

External links


  1. Schencking, Making Waves, p. 55.
  2. Brooke, Warships for Export
  3. Nish, The Origins of the Russo-Japanese War, p. 86.
  4. Evans, Kaigun, p. 182.
  5. Warner, The Tide at Sunrise, p. 282.
  6. Chesneau, p. 234.

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