IJN Shikishima Class Battleships
The Shikishima class battleships were part of an overall program to modernize the Japanese Navy. Their design by the G.C. Macrow firm was based on the HMS Majestic, which included a new improved armor that allowed for an extension of the main armor belt and the addition of a thinner belt. This was achieved by integrating a sloping deck over the main armor belt and doubling the protection. In terms of weaponry and machinery, the Shikishima class ships were nearly identical to the Fuji class battleships. This enabled the two classes to operate effectively as a single unit.
The battleships were laid down in 1897 and 1898 and completed over approximately three years. The Hatsuse participated in the naval funeral procession for Queen Victoria prior to leaving for Japan. Both ships, the Shikishima and the Hatsuse participated in blockade and bombardment of Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War. The Shikishima went on to fight in the Battle of the Yellow Sea and the Battle of Tsushima. She later was disarmed in accordance to the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, but remained a training ship afterwards. She was finally scrapped in 1947.
The Hatsuse did not survive the Russo-Japanese War. While participating in the blockade of Port Arthur, she hit a mine and survived, albeit damaged. However, while being towed away for repair, she struck a second mine, and exploded on 15 May 1904.
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