Stories and Battle Histories of the IJN's River Gunboats

10 August 2018

Discussion & Questions

(Gunboat IJN HOZU by Yuki Takeshi)

In the 1920ís, the Japanese Navy ordered a number of light tonnage vessels that operated as river gunboats. These vessels saw extensive service on the Yangtze River in China during the Sino-Japanese and Pacific Wars. Most were shallow draft with a low freeboard that made them susceptible to swamping in rough seas, but a few were built as ocean-going vessels. As such, the hard-pressed IJN drafted most of these into convoy escort duty.

Several river gunboats survived the war and were ceded to the Republic of China; in 1949 some ended up in Communist hands. This page will cover the activities of 14 Imperial Navy river gunboats.

Tabular Records of Movement (TROMs):
IJN River Gunboats
(Class types link to specification summaries)

Ataka Class

Ataka(posted 8/14/10)

Hashidate Class

Hashidate (posted 8/1/2016)
Uji(posted 8/28/2010)

Fushimi Class

Fushimi(revised 12/1/2016)
Sumida (revised 6/10/2011)


Seta(revised 12/1/2014)
Katata (revised 6/10/2011)
Hira(revised 9/1/2015)
Hozu (posted 9/1/2015)

Toba Class

Toba (posted 10/16/2010

Atami Class

Atami(posted 10/23/10)
Futami(posted 10/30/10)

Saga Class

Saga(posted 11/6/10)

Kotaka Class

Kotaka(revised 8/1/16

During the Pacific War, a number of former Allied, Axis and Neutral vessels that had been scuttled or otherwise acquired in various ports in the Far East were put into service by the Japanese. This page will cover the activities of eight such vessels that later saw service as Imperial Navy gunboats.

Tabular Records of Movement:
Ex-Foreign Vessels in IJN Service as River Gunboats

(Ex-Countries link to specifications summaries)

Ex-British Vessel

(revised 12/1/15)

Ex-American Vessels

((revised 12/1/2016))

(revised 8/10/18)

Ex-Italian Vessels

(revised 8/10/18)

(revised 1/17/15)

Ex-Dutch Vessels



NANYO (Ex-TEH HSING) (revised 1/17/15)

Ex-Portuguese Vessel

MAIKO (Ex-MACAU) (revised 8/1/16)

As with other small combatants, in some cases data for these vessels are incomplete and detailed data of their movements were not found. Readers with access to such missing data are requested to post the information and their sources on the Discussion and Questions board or at the IJN Ship Message Board.

Bibliography of Sources

About the Authors

Bob Hackett is a military historian and researcher. Retired from the United States Air Force and later from the aerospace industry, he resides in Florida.

Sander Kingsepp, a native of Estonia, is a free-lancing journalist, military historian and researcher. A talented linguist, Sander's translations of Japanese source materials have greatly enhanced these TROMs.

Peter Cundall is a maritime historian and researcher who specializes in merchant ships. He works in the marine industry and resides in Australia.

Questions to the authors concerning these TROMs should be posted on the Discussion and Questions board.