Shikishima Class Battleship - Design and Description

Design and Description

Combat experience in the First Sino-Japanese War convinced the Imperial Japanese Navy of weaknesses in the Jeune Ecole naval philosophy, and Japan embarked on a program to modernize and expand its fleet. As with the earlier Fuji-class battleships, Japan lacked the technology and capability to construct its own battleships, and turned again to the United Kingdom. They were ordered as part of the Ten Year Naval Expansion Programme and paid for from the £30,000,000 indemnity paid by China after losing the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895.

The design of the Shikishima class was a modified and improved version of the Majestic-class battleships of the Royal Navy. They had the same armament and similar machinery as the Fuji class which was intended to allow them to work together as a homogenous group. The Shikishima-class ships had an overall length of 412 feet (125.6 m), a beam of 75.5–76.75 feet (23.0–23.4 m), and a normal draught of 26.25–26.5 feet (8.0–8.1 m). They displaced 14,850–15,000 long tons (15,090–15,000 t) at normal load. The hull had a double bottom and was subdivided into 261 watertight compartments. The crew numbered about 741 officers and enlisted men, although this increased to 849 when serving as a flagship.

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