Monday, July 5, 2010

Japanese cruiser Yūbari

Yūbari was a single light cruiser built between 1922 and 1923 for the Imperial Japanese Navy. She fought in World War II and was sunk by the US navy.
This ship represents the beginning of all 'modern' Japanese cruiser design. She was originally laid down as an experimental cruiser under the guidance of Yuzuru Hiraga, the most famous Japanese naval architect of his time. Yubari presented quite a radical appearance with her combined, swept-back main funnel and clipper bow. She served as a prototype for the forthcoming Furutaka, which incorporated many of Hiraga's ideas concerning weight reduction and cramming the maximum firepower into a given displacement.
The ship was completed 419 t (412 long tons) (13%) over the designed displacement, this resulted in an extra foot of draft and a loss of 1.5 kn (2.8 km/h; 1.7 mph) in designed speed. The ship was considered successful, however, and many of its features were used in subsequent Japanese warships.
The ship had a significant refit in early 1944 when the two single 140 mm (5.5 in) guns were removed, one 120 mm (4.7 in) AA gun (in the "A" position) and six twin and one triple 25 mm (0.98 in) AA guns were added together with a search radar and depth charges.
Yubari served in the Pacific during World War II where she was the flagship of the Japanese invasion force during the invasion of Wake Island. She led both invasion attempts on 11 and 23 December 1941 and was damaged by US Marine coastal guns during the first attempted landing. Yubari was sunk on 27 April 1944 off Palau by the US submarine Bluegill.

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