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Yubari Class Light Cruiser

Yubari on commissioning - July 1923. Note how low in the water she is due to the overweight - the trunked funnel was raised in 1924
Yubari on commissioning - July 1923. Note how low in the water she is due to the overweight - the trunked funnel was raised in 1924
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Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Yubari Sasebo Dky 5 Jun 22 5 Mar 23 31 Jul 23 Lost 28 Apr 1944

Displacement: 2,890 tons/2,936 tonnes (standard); 3,587 tons/3,644 tonnes (full load).
Length: 455ft 8in/138.9m (oa); 435ft/132.59m (pp); 447ft 10in/136.5m (wi).
Beam: 39ft 6in/12.04m; Draught: 11ft 9in/3.58m (mean).
Machinery: 3-shaft Gihon geared turbines; 8 Kampon boilers.
Performance: 57,900shp=351/2kts Bunkerage: 100 tons coa1+830 tons oil fuel.
Range: 5,500nm at 10kts.
Protection: 1.5in main belt; lin deck; lin gunhouses.
Guns: six 5.5in (2x2, 2xl); one 3.1in; two 13mm MGs.
Mines: 34.
Torpedoes: four 24in (2x2).
Aircraft: nil.
Complement: 328.

Design

This ship was essentially an experimental design, intended to demonstrate the feasibility of shipping a heavy armament in a small hull. It had originally been proposed under the 1917 (8-4) programme, tentatively named Ayase, together with eight 5,500-ton cruisers, but was not proceeded with at that time. Approval to construct such a vessel was finally given in October 1920. Construction was to be in accordance with the design principles of the 7,500-ton cruisers proposed in that year, with armour forming part of the ship's integral strength. This was illustrated by the fact that the hull structure of Yubari accounted for 31.3 per cent of the displacement, compared with 38.3 per cent in the 5,500-ton type, without loss of hull strength.

The main side armour, l.5in thick, was a continuation of the double bottom inner plating, extending to the upper deck and inclined inwards from bottom to top by 10°. The outer skin plating was .75in thick, and between the two were reserve oil fuel tanks. Inboard of the main belt the deck was 1in. The protected area included the machinery spaces and extended forward to cover the transmitting station. The side belt covered 58.5m or 42 per cent of the ship's length, and protection comprised 10.3 per cent of the standard displacement (4.1 per cent in the 5,500-tonners).

The main machinery was based upon the power plant of the Minekaze destroyers, a three-shaft geared turbine layout, developing 57,900shp for a maximum speed of 35.5kts. The boilers, of which two were still mixed-firing (in the forward boiler room), were disposed in three separate spaces. Their operating temperatures and pressures were marginally different to those of the 5,500-ton cruisers. The centre boiler room was the largest space, with four boilers installed. All boilers had their uptakes trunked to a single large funnel, although the original plans had twin funnels. The turbines were installed in two engine rooms, both aft of the boiler rooms.

The main armament remained the 5.5in 3 Nendo Shiki model, but only six were shipped, in two single and two twin mountings, the latter superfiring on the former. The single guns were in hand-worked shielded mountings, while the twins were in power-operated enclosed gunhouses. Elevation was 30°, and rate of fire was 6 to 10rpm, depending on the rate of supply. One 3in HA was fitted amidships, and two 13.2mm MGs completed the gunnery outfit. She was also fitted with a pair of twin torpedo tubes disposed amidships in destroyer fashion, for 24in torpedoes. Finally, 34 mines could be carried.

Yubari actually turned out some 420 tons over designed displacement, and only attained 34.8kts on trials.

Modifications

The funnel was raised by 2m in 1924 to reduce the problem of smoke and fume interference on the bridge, and in 1927 the tubes were fitted with larger shields. By 1943, full load displacement had risen to 4,448 tons and the armament had been altered to four 5.5in, the single guns being replaced by triple 25mm mountings and the light AA now comprising twelve 25mm (4 x 3) and eight 13.2mm.

Service

At the outbreak of war in the Pacific this ship was serving as leader of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla in the South Seas Force, with which she took part in the first attack on Wake Island in December. This was repulsed with the loss of two destroyers, but a second attack on 22/23 December was successful. In March 1942 she was in support of the landings at Lae in the Huon Gulf, New Guinea, where she was damaged by aircraft from Yorktown and Enterprise on 10 March. By July 1942 she was based at Truk with the 29th Destroyer Division, operating with the 4th Fleet. After the US landings on Guadalcanal on 7 August, Yubari took part in the defence of the island and, on 9 August, was present at the Batle of Savo Island, when the Allied cruisers Canberra, Quincy, Astoria and Vincennes were sunk. At the end of August she led a force to shell and occupy the islands of Nauru and Ocean islands. In 1943 she fought in the Solomon slands campaign and was slightly damaged during a raid on Rabaul by US carrier aircraft from TG50.3. Finally, on 27 April 1944, Yubari was torpedoed and sunk by the US submarine Bluegill off Palau, when the Japanese fleet had been forced to withdraw to those islands after Truk had become untenable.

Yubari, 1924. 19N9957
Yubari, 1924. 19N9957
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