Ex-Chinese Light Cruisers in IJN Service as Coast Defense Vessels

(Chinese Ning Hai-class light cruiser in 1932)


In the early 1930's, the Nationist Chinese Government of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek contracted with the Japanese to design and build two small light cruisers. The resulting ships, all though small, lightly armored and not suitable for the high seas, nevertheless were well armed and had shallow drafts that made them ideal for duties on the Yangstze River. After the Sino-Japanese War began in July 1937, the cruisers were sent downstream from Shanghai to blockade the Yangstze near Nanking, but both were sunk by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Salvaged by the Japanese, they were taken to Japan where they languished until late 1943. By that time, losses of merchant shipping to American submarines caused the IJN to reorder its priorities. The Naval General Staff decided to reconstruct the ex-Chinese vessels for use as coast defense vessels. The two reclassified kaibokan escorted a few small convoys, but in the Fall of 1944, both were quickly dispatched by American submarines and aircraft.



Vessel Builder Dimensions Displacement Machinery Speed Armament Crew
Isojima
(Ex-Ning Hai)
Harima SB, Aioi 360' x 39' x 13' 2526-tons standard 3-shafts, geared turbines, 10,500 s.h.p 23 knots 6 x 140mm (5.5-inch), 6 x 76.2mm (3-inch), 10 MGs, 4533mm
(21-inch) TT, DCs
2 x floatplanes, no catapult
340
Yasojima
(Ex-Ping Hai)
Kiangnan Dock & Engineering Works, Shanghai 350' x 39' x 13' 2448-tons standard 2-shafts, geared turbines, 7,000 s.h.p 22 knots 6 x 140mm (5.5-inch), 6 x 40mm Bofors AA, 10 MGs, 4533mm (21-inch) TT, DCs
no floatplanes
340