Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chinese Cruisers

The Ning Hai class were a pair of light cruisers in the Chinese fleet before World War II. Ning Hai ("Peaceful Seas"), the lead ship of the class, was laid down in Japan while the follow-on, Ping Hai ("Amicable Seas"), was laid down in China and completed with Japanese assistance to a slightly modified design that included the deletion of seaplane facilities (Ning Hai has a small hanger for two seaplanes).
While Ning Hai was quickly commissioned, tensions between China and Japan plagued the efforts to complete the Ping Hai. Both served as flagships of the Republic of China Navy, with Ping Hai taking over the role from its older sister ship since April 1937. The ROCN had an ambitious plan to procure a larger and more-powerful command cruiser and then to re-assign the two vessels as scouts/flagships of submarine flotillas, but the outbreak of war with Japan put an end to all related efforts (including the acquisition of submarines).
Ning Hai and Ping Hai were sunk in defense of the Kiangyin Fortress, Yangtze River, near Nanking by Japanese aircraft (of which the two ships shot down four) on September 23, 1937, but then re-floated by the Japanese. Originally they were to be transferred to the puppet government of Wang Jing-Wei, but the Japanese then had a change of heart and outfitted them first as barracks hulks and ultimately as 2nd class light cruisers Ioshima (Ning Hai) and Yasoshima (Ping Hai) in 1944.
Both Isoshima and Yasoshima were sunk by late 1944.

Source (text): Wiki (EN)

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