Daigo class protected cruiser:
Shortly after ordering the Yozei class, Koko no Kaigun also submitted a request for another protected cruisers to German shipyards. This unique unit had to be larger and faster, and act as squadron or fleet flagship. Designers at the Krupp Germania Shipyard, Kiel, attempted to satisfy all requirements by designing a ship 124,8m long, 15,6m abeam and with a 6,8m draft. All for a total displacement of 6.318T standard. To fulfill the speed requirements, a large powerplant was needed: nine cylindrical double-tube boiler powered three vertical 3-cylinder triple-expansion engines that drove three four bladed propellers -a first for the fleet-, resulting in a top speed of 21,5knots (a figure that was even exceeded on trials at nearly 22 knots). Range was 3.240 nautical miles at 12knots. Armament consisted of four 150mm guns, eight 105mm and eight 88mm ones. All but four of the 88mm fitted in hull casemates. In addition, four 37mm revolving cannons were fitted on the fighting tops. four 450mm torpedo tubes were also carried,, two on each broadside, one above and one below the waterline, with twelve torpedoes carried in total. Deck armor was 50mm thick, which increased to 70mm on its sloped section, in addition 50mm-thick plates protected the conning tower. Complement was 430 officers and men.
Laid down in 1893, launched in 1895 and delivered and commissioned in 1896, the cruiser -named Daigo- was the largest ship in the fleet, and would remain so for almost a decade until the armoured cruiser Nintoku entrered service in 1905. She would remain the fastest cruiser in the fleet until 1912, when both the battlecruiser Aramata fist and protected Cruiser Shinjima would surpass its performance. On the downside, it suffered from poor pitch and roll performance and had some manouverability issues at low speeds.
Daigo would serve as Koko no Kaigun flagship for seven consecutive years before entering the yards to be refitted in 1903. During the works the cruiser was rearmed, landing the entire armament in excange of four 152mm, eight 120mm and eight 76mm guns. The frour 37mm cannons and the two above-water torpedo tubes were also removed. The bridge was given an enclosed pilothouse and slightly expanded. The whole ship repainted. Back in service in 1904, Daigo served again as fleet flagship for another year, taking part in the russo-Japanese war. At first, together with the four ships of the Yozei class, she patrolled the Soya Strait between Hokkaido and Sakhalin (Karafuto) in order to keep the Russian Pacific fleet movements in check. Eventually, all ships rushed south in the attempt of intercepting the fleeing Russian ships after the battle of Tsushima. Late in the evening, on May 28th 1905, the fleeing cruiser Izumrud was spotted and chase was given. Before the Russian ship slipped out of range thanks to her superior speed (24 knots, too much even for Daigo's powerful engines) Daigo (together with Temmu and Yozei) opened fire briefly. No hits were scored, but this alone made her (along with the other two cruisers) the first Kokoan ship to fire its guns in anger at an enemy target.
Refitted again before the start of WWI with the addition of extra bridge dckhouses and spotting platforms on the foremast, Daigo was becoming obsolete nonetheless. She was left on partol near Koko home islands during the conflict.
The old cruiser soilered on unti 1925, when it was decommissioned and eventually sunk as target in 1927 by the Battleships Yagumo, Inaba and the Battlecruiser Amagi.
Ships in class: (laid down-launched-commissioned - fate)
Daigo 1893-1895-1896 - Decommissioned 1925