Kawachi Japanese Navy Battleship

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Kawachi Japanese Battleship


Kawachi battleship 1905

A photography of the Kawachi Japanese Navy Battleship in 1911

The battleship Kawachi was a historical ship operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The battleship belonged to the Kawachi class Kawachi-gata senkan which was a two-ship class of dreadnought battleships constructed in the first decade of the 20th century. Among the historical operations they participated, it is worth mentioning the bombardment of German fortifications at Tsingtao during the Battle of Tsingtao in 1914. However, they did not participated in other combat in World War I. While Kawachi sank in 1918 after an explosion in her ammunition magazine with the loss of over 600 officers and crewmen, the Settsu was disarmed in 1922 and converted into a target ship two years later to meet the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty and served until she was sunk in 1945 by American carrier aircraft. The ship was refloated after the war and scrapped in 1946–47.

The battleship Kawachi was laid down at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on 1 April 1909. She was launched on 15 October 1910 This was considered an important ceremony which was attended by Emperor Meiji. The cost of the battleship was around 11 million yens.  When World War I began in August 1914, Kawachi was at Yokosuka Imperial Japanese naval base.

Together with her sister ship, Settsu, she bombarded German fortifications in October–November 1914 during the final stage of the Battle of Tsingtao. The ship was present in Yokosuka on 8 January 1915 when the victorious Second Squadron returned to Japan after the Battle of Tsingtao.She was assigned to the First Squadron from 1915–1917 and refitted that latter year.

Kawachi battleship historical fate


Kawachi rejoined the First Squadron after her refit commanded by Captain Yoshimoto Masaki and entered Tokuyama Bay on the evening of 11 July 1918. The following morning torpedo target practice was cancelled due to rough seas and the battleship remained at anchor for the rest of the day. That afternoon a loud explosion was heard at 15:51 in the vicinity of the starboard forward main-gun turret and large quantities of smoke erupted from the turret and between the first and second funnels. Two minutes later, she began to list to starboard and capsized at 15:55, only four minutes after the explosion. Over a thousand men were aboard Kawachi at the time of the explosion and over 600 were killed, with 433 survivors.

The Imperial Japanese Navy convened a commission to investigate the explosion and the outcome was that her magazine might have spontaneously ignited due to decomposition. Kawachis magazines had been inspected in January–February 1918, however, and no problems were discovered, which made that possibility less likely. The commission made recommendations on tighter control of production and handling of cordite that were successfully adopted by the navy. The Japanese Navy considered salvaging Kawachi, but ultimately decided that it would be too expensive and would delay the construction of one battlecruiser by over a year. Stricken from the navy list on 21 September 1918, the wreck was later partially dismantled although most of the hull was abandoned in place to serve as an artificial reef.


Kawachi Battleship technical specs:


Name: Kawachi
Namesake: Kawachi Province
Ordered: 22 June 1907
Builder: Yokosuka Naval Arsenal
Laid down: 1 April 1909
Launched: 15 October 1910
Commissioned: 31 March 1912
Struck: 21 September 1918
Fate: Sunk by magazine explosion, 12 July 1918
General characteristics
Class and type: Kawachi-class battleship
Displacement: 20,823 long tons (21,157 t) (normal)
Length: 526 ft (160.3 m)
Beam: 84 ft 3 in (25.7 m)
Draft: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Installed power:
  • 25,000 shp (19,000 kW)
  • 16 Miyabara water-tube boilers
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2 steam turbine sets
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)
Range: 2,700 nmi (5,000 km; 3,100 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 999–1100
  • 2 × twin 12-inch/50 guns
  • 4 × twin 12-inch/45 guns
  • 10 × single 6-inch guns
  • 8 × single 4.7 in (119 mm) guns
  • 12 × single 3 in (76 mm) guns
  • 5 × 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Waterline belt: 5–12 in (127–305 mm)
  • Deck: 1.2 in (30 mm)
  • Gun turrets: 11 in (279 mm)
  • Conning tower: 10 in (254 mm)
  • Barbettes: 11 in (279 mm)

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