Japanese Battleship Mikasa

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Japanese Battleship Mikasa


battleship mikasa

Impressive view of the main turret with 2 × 2 – 12 in (305 mm) guns

Several photogalleries of the visit to the Mikasa Museum-ship:


sphere Visit to the Memorial Ship Battleship Mikasa (Photo Gallery) (1st Part)

sphere Visit to the Memorial Ship Battleship Mikasa (Photo Gallery) (2nd Part)

sphere Visit to the Memorial Ship Battleship Mikasa (videos)



sphere The Japanese battleship Mikasa, in Japanese language written as (三笠) which refers to the Mount Mikasa in Nara prefecture, is the most famous pre-dreadnought battleship in the naval history of Japan and possibly the rest of world, although there are of course many famous battleship and vessels that played an important role in the history of nations. The Mikasa battleship was built as a request for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). At that time, by the late 1980s, it was constructed using new concepts and technologies so it was unique in her class. The career of the Mikasa battleship was impressive and became the flagship of Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō, which played a capital role in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905. The Mikasa Battleship participated in all the main battle during the conflict including the Battle of Port Arthur, the Battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima. Nowdays, the Mikasa condition is very good since it has been restored and became a museum ship which is located at Mikasa Park in Yokosuka. I personally visited the museum and I have to say that I enjoyed the visit very much and I can recommend it for those of you that enjoy history and naval subjects. I reviewed the visit to the museum ship Mikasa below in this page. The restored battleship Mikasa is the last remaining vessel in good condition which can illustrate the concept of pre-dreadnought battleship across the world.


Although it may be surprising by some readers because it was a famous Japanese vessel, the battleship Mikasa was built by Vickers, a British company, at their Barrow-in-Furness shipyard on 24 January 1899. After ten months she was launched and finally complete on 1 March 1902. The first trip of the ship was to Devonport. Soon later, started the trip for Yokohama. The travel started on 13 March 1902, and the commander of that journey was Captain Hayasaki.

Mikasa battleship

Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō on the bridge of the Battleship Mikasa. Left to right: messenger Yamazaki Genki, navigator Second Lieutenant Edahara Yurikazu, staff Major Iida Hisatsune and others


sphere The Battleship Mikasa actively joined operations for the Imperial Navy and was assigned to the 1st Division of the 1st Fleet when the Russo-Japanese war started in on 8 February, 1904. Led by the Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō, one day later of staring the hostilities, the 1st Fleet in an attack on the Russian ships of the Pacific Squadron anchored just outside Port Arthur. Tōgō’s plan was to achieve surprise during the night attack using hid destroyers. However, the attack was less successful than expected. Some Russian patrol ships detected the Japanese vessels. This situation forced the Japanese forces to fight a two-front battle against coastal defences and Russian ships, which was not good for the Japanese side. both sides suffered casualties and hits. Russian casualties numbered 17 while the Japanese suffered 60 killed and wounded. During this battle, the battleship Mikasa was hit by two ten-inch shells during the engagement and seven of her crewmen were injured.


The Russian Battleship Suvorov

The Russian Battleship Suvorov


On 10 August, the battle of the yellow sea took place. During that battle, the Mikasa led a column of Japanese vessels. Because of her leadership, the Mikasa was selected as primary target by the Russian forces. As a consequence of it, the Mikasa was hit several times (20 times!), and the aft 12-inch gun turret was damaged together with 125 crew members dead and wounded. Mikasa’s fire was directed to the battleships Poltava and Tsesarevich, which were also hit but both ships were only lightly damaged.

One of the few books dedicated to the Battleship Mikasa. The book represents a comprehensive English language history of the Japanese battleship Miksa, which is the only remaining pre-dreadnought battleship in the world, conserved in a naval museum that can be visited, Yokosuka, Japan.



On 27 May 1905, it took place the most decisive battle for the Japanese Naval history: The battle of Tsushima. During this battle, the Mikasa again the leader of the the 1st Fleet. The enemy brought reinforcements from the Baltic Fleet. Quickly the Mikasa concentrated her fire at the battleship Knyaz Suvorov, whic was the Russian flagship. Few minutes later, the battleship Asahi and the armoured cruiser Azuma also concentrated fire at the same target for more than an hour. This intense fire initiated a serious fire aboard the Russian ship, and more importantly, the fleet commander, Vice Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky was also badly wounded. Progressively, she fell out of formation. Mikasa was also targeted by Russian ships and was hit by six 12-inch and 19 six-inch shells. Because these hits were not so important, Togo admiral continued forward with his brave plan to cross the T of the Russian squadrons. This plan was successful and the first time that was implemented in a naval battle with the pre-drenoughts ships. Later, Mikasa fired on the battleship Borodino supported by Fuji battleship, which was decisive to cause the sinking of the Russian ship. Mikasa battleship registered several impacts (40 impacts including 10 twelve-inch and 22 six-inch shells but any of them was critical or serious) and accidents aboard: a 12-inch shell detonated prematurely in the barrel of the right gun. In the same barrel, another 12-inch shell had exploded two hours earlier, and one six-inch gun was disabled by a Russian six-inch shell. In total, Mikasa battleship fired 124 twelve-inch shells, this is a huge number and more than any other ship, with the exception of Asahi‍ battleship who did it in 142 occasions. The Japanese fleet had 110 men killed in the battle.

sphere The war ended after the Treaty of Porstmouth, signed by both sides. It was an impressive victory because it was the first time that an Asian nation could win a naval war against an European Power such as Russia. Moreover, it was thought that naval warfare was very advanced technological so it was not expected that Japanese Navy, which had less experience of historical tradition, could have mastered so well the usage of the vessels and their advanced weapons for that era. But not all were good news for the Japanese. What the Russian fleet did not achieve in battle was achieved by the misfortune. When being at her moorings in Sasebo, and after an accidental fire, the magazine ignited and exploded on the night of 11-12 September 1905. This accident killed 251 crewmen. Because of the historical importance of the ship. efforts were made to refloat her which was done on 7 August 1906. All the repairs were done at Sasebo Naval Arsenal. During these works, the IJN decided to upgrade the weapons so new and more powerful guns were added: 45-calibre 12-inch and six-inch guns. Mikasa was called back again to service on 24 August 1908. However, it did not play any decisive role anymore and did not participate in combat again. For example, during the World War I, she only served on coastal-defence duties. Later, she participated in the Japanese intervention in Siberia, that occurred during the Russian Civil War in 1921. Her classification of ship was revised later and on 1 September 1921 she was qualified as a first class coastal defence ship. After two years, and because of the pressure of the Washington Naval Treaty, which limited the number of tons in the IJN, the ship was decommissioned on 23 September 1923. The liberated tons would be likely used to construct new ships to more efficient distribution of limited displacement. Because of the treaty rules it was scheduled for destruction. However, the Japanese government interceded so that, as a special case, the Mikasa could be preserved as a memorial ship. Soon later, on 12 November 1926, Mikasa was exhibited for the first time and public could visit it in Yokosuka. For this event, the Crown Prince, Prince Hirohito and Tōgō attended the ceremony. Mikasa stayed at the same place during the entire second world war. After the Japanese surrendered, the funding were limited and the ship was abandoned and not efforts were done to restored the damage. However, once the situation was known, a public campaign led by the Japan Times and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz could get enough funding and the ship was restored and reopen to public visits in 1961. Interestingly, the seamen of the USS Nimitz helped to repaint the Mikasa on 5 august 2009, which show the respect of the US Navy to the history of Mikasa and the IJN/JMSDF.

sphere Back Russo-Japanese War



▽Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)


sphere The organization of the JMSDF



sphere The Regional District Forces



sphere Helicopter Destroyers DDH



sphere Guided Missile destroyers DDG



sphere Destroyers DD



sphere Tank Landing Ships LST



sphere Submarines SS



sphere Support and Auxiliary ships



sphere The aviation of the JMSDF



sphere Naval landing forces of the JMSDF



sphere Future projects of the JMSDF



sphere The strategy of the JMSDF



sphere News & manoeuvres


▽ Simulations & Wargames

▽ World War II: European Theater


sphere Unconditional Surrender



sphere The Supreme commander


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