Today it is difficult to find a person who knew anything about the Russian-Japanese war. True, some vaguely recall the blockade of Port Arthur, but this knowledge usually ends.
One of the symbols of that confrontation was (from the Japanese side) the battleship "Mikasa". The Japanese are still proud of this ship, now it plays the role of a floating museum.
At the time of construction, the squadron battleship of this type became the most powerful and heavily armed battleship of the Land of the Rising Sun, one of the largest ships of that period. He participated, being the flagship of Admiral Togo, in the war between Russia and Japan. Participated in the Port Arthur events, in the Tsushima Battle. During the First World, he guarded the coast of Japan. Now the battleship "Mikasa" is a museum located in the port of Yokosuka.
What was it created for?
In 1895, when Japan defeated the agrarian and backward China, which became quite a sudden event for the world community. Meanwhile, the Japanese still did not satisfy their own imperial ambitions, and our country played an important role in this. Under the pressure of the Russian Empire, they had to stop showing their rights to Manchuria, and they also had to make a gesture of "goodwill" by giving away the previously captured Luisun (Port Arthur). In many respects this was due to the fact that in Chifu was then a Russian squadron, which the Japanese did not want to contact.
At the same time, the Japanese government realized that they still have to fight with Russia, and the victory, given many factors of the hypothetical theater of operations, will depend on the success of the fleet's actions (as well as on its availability). In 1895, the Japanese adopted a shipbuilding program for a period of 10 years, providing for the construction of a large and modern combat fleet.
The ship was laid in Barrow at the Vickers shipyard (the future tank manufacturer). It happened on 24.01.1899. The future flagship of the Japanese fleet was launched on November 8, In the system it was introduced on 1.03.1902. By that time, all stages of state trials were fully completed. On the cost of the project there is no exact data, but historians assume that it amounted to at least a million pounds sterling, which at that time in the "dollar equivalent" was equal to four million.
Unlike this from other ships built during the period of 1895-1896, the battleship "Mikasa" became the classic representative of the shipbuilding school of Sir William Henry White.
The hull was assembled from the shipbuilding steel of the highest grade, the system of the frame frame set was transverse. The ship was built on a single-deck scheme, the fore-head of the frames was quite small, but at the same time the blockage in the midships and in the stern was markedly expressed. Inside the hull, special waterproof partitions were constructed, thanks to which the ship was divided into several small compartments. They gave extra stability to the ship when the torpedoes hit.
A special feature of the battleship was the double sides and double bottom. The increased layer of armor was raised to the level of the armored deck. The second distinctive feature of the ship was the nasal influx, which was supposed to serve as a battering ram. In addition, the battleship "Mikasa" (pictured in this material) had a pronounced saddle of the upper deck. The side keels were designed to stabilize the ship during pitching.
Technical specifications of the armored body
Partial displacement of the hull is more than 15 tons. The full displacement is 16 tons. The maximum length is 132 meters, between perpendiculars - 122 meters. The average width of the hull is 24 meters, the average draft is eight meters.
The battleship "Mikasa" was different from other ships built for Japan, in that it had a significantly smaller gap between the barbets of 305-mm guns. This led to compactness, but at the same time, this design solution made it impossible to mount 152-mm guns in separate casemates. That is why the designers had to solve a nontrivial task with placing three armored belts on the ship at once. The height of the main armored belt is about 2.5 m, and above the waterline it rises by about 70 cm.
In the vicinity of the midship, the thickness of the armor reached 229 mm, but in the underwater part it gradually decreased to 127 mm. At the edges of the citadel, the armor was also thinner, up to 178 mm, and near the armored traverses it did reach 102-127 mm. The stronghold of the citadel was best defended. Since there was a main armored pole, the designers had the opportunity to protect it with 152 mm armor.
Structurally, the third armored belt was particularly important, which extended up to the upper deck. Its main task was to protect the battery of six-inch guns. We have already said that some design solutions did not allow the installation of 152-mm guns in separate casemates, but this did not concern the four guns on the upper deck. They were protected by 152 mm armor from the outside and 51 mm from inside.
Other reservation areas
The best were the main-caliber barrels and the combat deck of the ship-356 mm of armor. The parts of the citadel adjoining the barabats were not so well armored - only 203 mm of steel. Since the traverses on the upper deck were adjacent to the units at a rational angle, the designers protected them with armored sheets only 152 mm thick. This was enough to withstand the bombardment and, at the same time, made it easier to construct the ship.
All gun mounts of the sides were covered with protective sheets 254 mm thick (forehead). The sides and roof were protected a little worse - 203 mm. The upper deck was booked with 25 mm sheets. The lower deck (inside the gun shell itself) had a thickness of 51 mm (and this was 76 mm on the bevels). Not bad was protected and the carapace deck, booking of which was 76 mm.
In general, the battleship "Mikasa", the model of which was developed by the best English engineers, was the first of Japanese ships, for the protection of which steel was used, which was manufactured using the Krupp method. Before that, Harvey's armor was used, the resistance of which was less by 16-20%. Incidentally, the total weight of armor on the "Mikasa" reached 4,091 tons (which is almost 30% of the total displacement of the ship).
Powerplant of the ship
In the design, a two-shaft scheme was used. "The heart" of the ship were three-cylinder steam installations produced by the company Vickers. The peculiarity of this mechanism was the use of the energy of the "triple expansion" of steam, due to which it was possible to save fuel and achieve maximum range at one gas station. The stroke of the piston was more than one meter!
The speed of rotation of the shafts in the cruising mode reached 125 rpm. For the production of steam, 25 Belleville boilers with a maximum vapor pressure of 21 kg / cm² were used. Like the engine room itself, their components were manufactured by Vickers.
The total surface of the boilers reached 3,500 m 2 , with the total size of the grate bars reaching 118.54 m 2 . The diameter of both chimneys exceeded four meters! The design capacity of each power plant was 16000 l / s, which made it possible to achieve a cruising speed of 18 knots. Of course, only under condition of not worn out machines and timely servicing of mechanisms. Special attention was paid to the propellers made of manganese bronze.
Will help to see how the battleship Mikasa was designed, the ship's drawings, which you will find on the pages of this article.
The coal reserves on the ship were stored in two huge bunkers, passing along the perimeter of both sides, parallel to the engine compartments. And their height was such that the tankers with coal a little towered above the main deck: it was done specially to ensure better security. As a rule, 700 tons of coal were loaded on board, its maximum reserve was 1.5 thousand tons.
At a speed of ten knots, the ship could cross 4,600 nautical miles, at a cruising speed (16 knots), the maximum distance was 1,900 nautical miles. During the state tests, the team was able to "ricochet" the ship to 16.5 thousand l / s at a record speed of 18.45 knots.
Other onboard equipment
Onboard there were three steam generators, which could produce a direct current of 80 V, their total power reached 144 kW. At that time, these were very good indicators.
On board, three armature anchors of Martin were also installed. In addition, six searchlights served to facilitate the tactical tracking of combat information. At the same time, two of them were located on marsas, and four more - on the stern and nasal bridges.
To ensure its flagship reliable communication, Japan (as in all previous cases) has signed a contract with the Italian company Marconi. The radio antenna was stretched between the focal point and the mainmast. The range of communication was enough for about 180 nautical miles.
To save the crew during the torpedo, 15 swimming-means of various sizes were provided.
Combat application, Port Arthur
8.02.1904 (according to a new style - January 26) the Mikasa battleship escorted to the Round Island, which is located in the immediate vicinity of Port Arthur. At five o'clock in the evening it was on the flagship masts that flags were posted, the contents of which read: "Go to the attack according to a pre-planned plan. Good luck". On the ninth of February, Mikasa (as part of a squadron of eight battleships) went directly to Port Arthur and entered into battle with the Russian fleet.
At 11 am the main caliber was opened, and our ships were at a distance of 46.5 cables from it. A few seconds later, the flagship supported the rest of the ships of the Japanese with fire, and soon Russian battleships and coastal batteries began to beat them.
As early as 11.16, a direct hit in the Mikasa with a 254 mm projectile was recorded. It caused damage to the grotto and destruction of the (partial) feeding bridge. Seven people were wounded. After a few minutes - again hit, and again suffered a mainmast. At least three times the war banner was torn by splinters, which was almost immediately hanged in place. At 11.45 Admiral Togo, commander of the battleship, orders the squadron to retreat.
At that time, the battleship "Mikasa", whose damage was not an immediate danger, could well continue the fight. Togo withdrew the ships because of the mark of shooting of the coastal battery, the shells of which, even with a single hit, could well send the ship to the bottom.
On that day, no significant success was achieved by either side of the battle. In the future, and "Mikasa" did not commit particularly significant acts, but his mine boats managed to severely damage several Russian battleships several times.
The battle lasted more than a day. During this time, the Japanese battleship "Mikasa" received about 40 hits (and this is only the most significant). Most of them accounted for 305-mm shells. The most unlucky was the third casemate 152-mm gun. In its roof hit a 305-mm Russian shell. As a result, about nine people died. The ship was very lucky that it did not detonate the ammunition.
Two hours later, a 152-mm projectile hit the same place (!). This time, two more sailors were killed, but the blast, as in the past case, by lucky chance was avoided. Other damage led to the emergence of several guns out of order, in a pair of places the armor plates of the hull began to diverge dangerously.
But far worse was the parking stop on September 11 at the base in Sasebo. And until now, there are no reasons why most of the airborne ammunition was detonated. The battleship "Mikasa" (photo of which is in the article) quickly went to the bottom. Saved its relatively small depth, but even in such conditions only the fourth attempt at recovery ended in success. At once 256 sailors were killed, 343 others were injured, later also deadly.
A huge hole in the board was sealed, and after 11 months the ship was again in service. However, for the final elimination of the consequences of the disaster it took another two years. During the First World War, the ship patrolled the coast of Japan, participated in the intervention, stood in the roadstead in the bay of Vladivostok.
Finally, the ship was excluded from the fleet in 1923. By the way, anyone who wishes can still look at the ship "Mikasa" (battleship). Where is this ship now? He is in Yokosuka.
By the way, the procedure of turning a battleship into a museum in itself delivered a lot of problems to engineers. First I had to dig a huge dry dock, fill it with water ... And then take the ship into it and drain it completely. The ship is still standing, dug in the waterline, as if completely ready for a new campaign.
His image is widely used in art. So, to offer you a battleship "Mikasa" of paper you can almost every gift shop. In addition, the ship can be seen in many computer games, its references are often found in the literature.
Instead of completing
So, how successful was the battleship Mikasa? His model is of English origin, but this native of the Misty Albion has proved to be wonderfully adapted to the Japanese conditions.
Incidentally, it was England, in fact, benefited from the construction of this ship. First, the country was given the opportunity to occupy workers in the shipyards. Secondly (which is important), almost all the "related products" like gunpowder, the Japanese also bought in the UK.
But more important was the practice: English experts thoroughly studied the successes of the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War, drew conclusions, made forecasts, decided how they better modernize their fleet. And this - without joining the battle!
So how good was the battleship "Mikasa"? The evaluation of the project is quite high. Experts note the good and even booking of the hull, good armament, excellent quality equipment of the ship. The quality of armored steel is especially appreciated: if not for its properties, then in 1905 the ship would certainly not have withstood forty direct hits.
In addition, the battleship "Mikasa" (the drawings confirm this) had impressive combat survivability. It was achieved due to the rational arrangement of watertight compartments.
And what were the project's shortcomings? There were also many of them. First, we have already pointed to the propensity of the ship to "bury", even with a low wave. Secondly, initially Japanese admirals wanted to get a ship with a cruising speed of up to 25 knots, but in reality the battleship could only accelerate to 18 knots.