Hi all, A jump in the past today!
Heizei Class Unprotected Cruiser:
The second class of ships ordered in Germany after the establishment of Koko no Kaigun in 1876, the Heizei class was made up by three units, all built at Krupp Germania (Kiel), and they were the first all-steel hulled ships built for Koko. Loosely based on an enlarged Blitz-class, the Heizeis were 85,8m long overall, had a beam of 9,9m and a draft of 4,2. Displacement was 1.623T at standard load. The ships were powered by eight coal-fired boilers and two double-expansion engines, which in turn drove two three-bladed propellers for a top speed of 17,5knots. about 250T of stored coal granted ann endurance of 2.440 nautical miles at 9 knots. Weapon-wise, the ships were armed with two 105mm guns, fitted in shielded mounts, one on the forecastle and one on quarterdeck. Four 88mm cannons, those too shielded, were fitted two on each beam. Two 350mm underwater torpedo tubes completed the armament. No armor protection was given. Complement was 153 officers and men.
The first unit, Heizei, was delivered and commissioned into Koko no kaigun in 1885, serving as flgship until 1887 when her sister Kimmei was also delivered, serving herself as flagship for another two years. Upon delivery the two ship had been painted by the builders in the standard white and gold German paint-scheme intended for colonial ships.
The original coat did not last long in kokoan environment, so when the third unit, Yuryaku, was commissioned in late 1889 she was given a dark gray paint, soon applied to the other two sisters as well. Yuryaku was the only one of the three to never enjoy a stint as fleet flagship, since her commissioning coincided with that of the much more advanced Takakura class ships.
The three sister lived an uneventful life, often serving as flagships for the Gyoraitei squadrons -this despite the embarassing gap in speed with the G-4 class units- and left in home waters during the Russo-Japanese war. In 1905, despite starting to be obsolescent, all three were refitted. They were repainted in Kure-grey, landing the former 105 and 88mm guns, replacing them with 120 and 76mm pieces. Rigging was redone, the aft spotting top was removed and replaced with a second one on the foremast. searchlight and bridge eqipment was improved, and the ensing staff at the stern replaced with a taller one. aFew more smaller modifications were implemented.
After a few more years in service, Heizei and Kimmei were decommissioned in 1912 and 1913 respectively. Yuryaku was also removed from active service in 1914 and converted for training duties. The underwater torpedo tubes were removed,the ventilation system was improved and extra deckhouses were added on the main deck.
In this guise Yuryaku was kept in service until 1922. By that year, she was over 30 years old and clearly showing her age. She was finally decommissioned one last time in September of that year and scrapped shortly after.
Ships in class: (laid down-launched-commissioned - fate)
Heizei 1883-1884-1885 - Decommissioned 1912
Kimmei 1885-1886-1887 - Decommissioned 1913
Yuryaku 1887-1888-1889 - Training ship 1914, Decommissioned 1922