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T3, R3, Prng 148: Izumo Class (Japan) vs Iowa (USA)

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  • T3, R3, Prng 148: Izumo Class (Japan) vs Iowa (USA)

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    135: Izumo Class

    The Izumo class was a pair of armored cruisers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the late 1890s. As Japan lacked the industrial capacity to build such warships herself, the vessels were built in Britain. They were part of the 1896 "Six-Six Fleet" expansion program which had originally called for four armored cruisers and four battleships. Further consideration of the Russian ship-building program led the Japanese to conclude that they needed more warships than originally allowed for. Budgetary limitations prevented bridging the estimated shortfall entirely with battleships so the IJN decided to increase the order for more affordable armored cruisers from four ships to six.

    Unlike most of their contemporaries, which were designed for commerce raiding or to defend colonies and trade routes, the Izumo class was intended as fleet scouts and to be employed in the battle line. They were designed by Sir Philip Watts, who substituted lighter Belleville boilers for earlier types, using the weight saved to increase the thickness of the protective deck and improve the hull structure. The 24 boilers required an extra funnel, which was the easiest way to distinguish between the Izumo class and the preceding two funneled Asama class.

    The Izumos were 132.28m (434ft) long overall and 121.92m (400ft) between perpendiculars. They had a beam of 20.94m (68ft 8in) and an average draft of 7.21 to 7.26m (23ft 8in to 23ft 10in). Displacement was 9,423 to 9,503 metric tons (9,274 to 9,353 long tons) at normal load and 10,235 to 10,305 metric tons (10,073 to 10,142 long tons) at deep load. Metacentric height was 0.73 to 0.88 meters (2ft 5in to 2ft 11in).

    The main armament was 4 x 45-caliber 8in (203mm) guns in twin-gun turrets fore and aft of the superstructure. Each turret accommodated 65 shells. The guns were manually loaded, with a rate of fire of about 1.2 rounds per minute. They fired 250lb (113.5kg) armor-piercing projectiles at a muzzle velocity of 2,500 feet per second (760 m/s) to a range of 20,000 yards (18,000 m). Secondary armament consisted of 14 quick-firing (QF), 40-cal, 6in (152mm) guns. All but four were mounted in armored casemates on the main and upper decks, their mounts on the latter protected by gun shields. Their 100lb (45.4kg) AP shells were fired at a muzzle velocity of 2,300 fps (700 m/s). The ships were also equipped with 12 40-cal QF 12pdr 12cwt guns and 8 QF 2.5pdr guns as close-range defense against torpedo boats. The former gun fired 3in (76mm), 12.5lb (5.7kg) projectiles at a muzzle velocity of 2,359fps (719m/s).

    The Izumo class ships were equipped with four submerged 18in (457mm) torpedo tubes, two on each broadside. The Type 30 torpedo had a 100kg (220lb) warhead and three range/speed settings: 870 yards (800m) at 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph); 1,100 yards (1,000m) at 23.6 knots (43.7 km/h; 27.2 mph) or 3,300 yards (3,000m) at 14.2 knots (26.3 km/h; 16.3 mph).

    All of the "Six-Six Fleet" cruisers used the same armor scheme with some minor differences, one of which was that the four later ships all used Krupp cemented armor. The thickness of the full-length waterline belt varied from 7in (178mm) amidships to 3.5in (89mm) at bow and stern. The thickest part covered the middle of the ship for a length of 275ft 2in (83.87m). It had a height of 7ft (2.13m), of which 4ft 4in to 4ft 7in (1.33 to 1.39m) was normally underwater. The upper strake was 5in (127mm) and extended from the upper edge of the waterline belt to the main deck. It extended 167ft 11in to 174ft 11in (51.18 to 53.31m) from forward to rear barbette. An oblique 5in armored bulkhead closed off the ends of the central armored citadel.

    The barbettes, gun turrets and casemate fronts were all 6in thick while casemate sides and rear had 51mm (2in) of armor. The deck was 63mm (2.5in) thick and the armor protecting the conning tower was 356mm (14in) in thickness. The ships had 30 watertight compartments in their double bottom and an additional 136 or 137 between the bottom and the upper deck.

    The ships used two 4-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, each driving a single shaft. Steam was provided by 24 Belleville boilers and the engines were rated at a total of 14,500 indicated horsepower (10,800 kW). The sisters had a designed speed of 20.75 knots (38.43 km/h; 23.88 mph) and both exceeded it by at least 1 knot during their sea trials. They carried up to 1,527 long tons (1,551t) of coal and could steam for 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).

    The two ships participated in three of the four main naval battles of the Russo-Japanese War 1904–05: The Battle of Port Arthur, the Battle off Ulsan and the Battle of Tsushima. Both ships sustained some damage in at least one of these engagements but performed well. Indeed, this was to be the hallmark for Japanese success throughout the Russo-Japanese war. (Check out some of the links below, if you’d like some further reading.) Izumo and Iwate continued to render good service to their country up to and well beyond World War 1. In their later years they were used mostly for training but were occasionally called to action. Near the end of WW2, one sank and the other capsized following an American air attack on Kure in July 1945. Though not directly hit, the shockwaves from near misses caused extensive flooding in both ships. Iwate sank in shallow water and Izumo capsized three days later. Both ships were removed from the navy list on 20 November and their wrecks were raised and scrapped in 1946–47.

    General characteristics

    Displacement – 9,423 – 9,503t (9,274 – 9,353 long tons)
    Length (overall) – 132.28m (434ft)
    Beam – 20.94m (68ft 8in)
    Draft – 7.21 – 7.26m (23ft 8in – 23ft 10in)
    Power – 2 vertical triple-expansion steam engines, 2 shafts, 24 boilers
    Armament – (primary) 2 x twin 45-cal 8in (203mm) guns; (secondary) 14 x QF 40-cal 6in
    Complement – 672 officers and men,_by_manufacturer#Belleville_b oiler

    Izumo drawings


    Iwate at Plymouth, c 1901


    Izumo at Shanghai, 1932


    158: Iowa 1897

    On 19 July 1892, the United States Congress authorized a 9,000 long tons (9,100t) warship; specifically to be a "seagoing coastline battleship" to fulfill the Navy's desire for a ship that could operate effectively in open waters. The preceding Indiana class, authorized by Congress as "coast defense battleships", had problems with endurance and speed. The new ship, named Iowa was launched on 28 March 1896, sponsored by Mary Lord Drake, the daughter of Francis M. Drake, Governor of Iowa. Drake commissioned the vessel on 16 June 1897, with Captain William T. Sampson in command. She was America’s first seagoing battleship and the first ship commissioned in honor of the state of Iowa.

    Iowa had a unique design and did not belong to a specific class, but she represented an upgrade from the Indiana class. She had a larger margin of freeboard and a longer hull and forecastle, which resulted in greater stability. The increased deck height – 25ft 6in (7.8m) – made her guns less exposed to seawater, reducing the risk of malfunctions due to wet conditions. She was armed with four 12in (305mm) guns in twin turrets fore and aft, supplemented by eight 8in (203mm) guns in four twin turrets and two above-board 14in (356mm) torpedo tubes.

    There was extensive testing of new armor plating. At one point, Iowa was fired on to assess the strength of the steel shell. Like Indiana, Iowa was made using "Harveyized steel". Her main armor belt was 186ft (56.7m) long and 7ft 6in (2.3m) wide, with transverse bulkheads 12in (300mm) thick, reinforced by coal bunkers 10ft (3m) thick. Above the main belt running up to the main deck was a short armored strake 4in (100mm) thick. By utilizing the Harvey process, Iowa's armor was thinner but stronger than the nickel-steel armor used in the Indianas.

    Compared to British warships, Iowa had excellent speed – 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph) – but was 3,500 long tons (3,600t) lighter. She was known as "Battleship No. 4" during her lifespan and redesignated BB-4 after the hull classification symbol system became standard in 1921.

    After shakedown off the Atlantic coast, Iowa was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and was sent to the Caribbean to participate in the naval campaign of the Spanish–American War, where she saw very substantial action. Under command of Captain Robley D. "Fighting Bob" Evans. She participated in the Bombardment of San Juan, Puerto Rico on 12 May and the Blockade of Santiago de Cuba on 28 May, 1898. She joined many other American warships blockading Cuba, including the battleships Massachusetts, Texas, and Oregon; the cruisers New York, Marblehead, New Orleans, and Brooklyn; the gunboat Dolphin; the auxiliary cruisers Harvard, Suwanee, and Resolute; the armed yachts Vixen and Mayflower; the torpedo boat Porter and the auxiliary coal supply ship Saint Paul.

    The Commander in Chief of the North Atlantic Station, Rear Admiral Sampson, insisted the blockade be tight: “The escape of the Spanish vessels at this juncture would be a serious blow to our prestige, and to a speedy end to the war", he wrote.
    On Sunday morning, 3 July 1898, six Spanish warships steamed out of Santiago harbor in a southwesterly direction. Iowa was first to sight “black ships”; Spanish cruisers approaching. She telegraphed other American ships at 09:30 and fired the first shot in the Battle of Santiago. Along with Indiana, Texas, Oregon and Brooklyn she chased the Spanish cruisers.

    The two fleets engaged in a brief but intense battle off the shore of Cuba. There was speculation that two Spanish torpedo destroyers posed a serious risk. However, in a 20-minute battle with the cruisers Infanta Maria Teresa and Almirante Oquendo, Iowa's extremely effective fire set both ships ablaze and drove them on the beach, according to several reports. Fire from both fleets was continuous, fast and furious. The two Spanish torpedo boats took on Gloucester, which prevailed against both in a tense fight. A dangerous fire in Iowa's lower decks broke out during the battle; possibly caused by enemy gunfire which threatened lethal explosions, but fast and brave work by Fireman Robert Penn extinguished the blaze, possibly sparing the ship. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

    US warships pursued fleeing Spanish vessels. Iowa and Gloucester sank the destroyer Pluton and damaged fellow destroyer Furor to the point where the Spanish warship ran aground. Colon was beached also. The wrecks burned fiercely. Iowa then pursued the Spanish flagship - the cruiser Vizcaya - and ran her aground. Spanish sailors on the beaches were being threatened by Cuban irregulars, but Captain Evans sent a boat ashore to warn them and protected the captured sailors.

    When Vizcaya exploded and beached at Playa de Aserraderos, Iowa lowered boats to rescue Spanish crewmen from shark-infested waters. Iowa received Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera and the officers and crews of Vizcaya, Furor, and Pluton. Vizcaya's Captain Don Antonio Eulate was "soaked in oil and wearing a sooty, bloodstained bandage about the head." The captured captain tried to offer his sword as a gesture of surrender, but it was returned to him by Captain Evans. Almost immediately after the Spanish captain cried "Adios, Vizcaya!", the flaming ship's magazine exploded and dramatically finished her destruction.

    Iowa continued to render useful service for at least two decades after these events. However, she became obsolete quickly in the first quarter of the 20th century. Her final service was to be used for target practice, when she was sunk on 23 March 1923 in Panama Bay by a salvo of 14-inch shells.

    General characteristics

    Displacement – 11,346 long tons (11,528t)
    Length – 360ft (110m) w/l; 362ft 6in (110.49m) p/p
    Beam – 72ft 3in (22.02m)
    Draft – 28ft (8.5m) max
    Power – 2 x vertical triple expansion reciprocating engines; 2 screws
    Armament – 4 x 12in (300mm)/35 cal; 8 x 8in (200mm)/35 cal; 6 x 4in (100mm)/40 cal; 20 x 6pdr; 4 x 1pdr + 2 x 14in (356mm) torpedo tubes
    Complement – 683 officers and men

    Iowa drawings

    Iowa (BB-4) drawing.jpg

    Iowa in New York harbor, 1898

    Iowa in NY harbor 1898.jpg

    Iowa crewmen pose for a photo, also 1898

    Iowa BB-4 Crewmen pose 1898.jpg

    Izumo class or Iowa?
    Both begin with "I" but only one can make Round 4!

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?
    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).

    135: Izumo Class (Japan)
    158: Iowa 1897 (USA)
    Last edited by panther3485; 10 Nov 19, 21:55.
    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

  • #2
    Iowa: closing in on modern design. Butt ugly, though.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?


    • #3
      IOWA class had a massively larger bore main gun thus able to stand off and achieve better results than the Japanese 8" main battery.
      ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th


      • #4
        Agreed on both counts. Iowa for me.
        "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)


        • #5
          I went Iowa! There is a small town East of Lake Charles named for some settlers from Iowa!

          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


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