Number 13 class battleship

Number 13 class battleship
A side-view black-and white sketch by the Imperial Japanese Navy of a battleship in the Number 13 class
Number 13 class battleship design
Class overview
Operators: Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Kii-class battleship
Succeeded by: Yamato-class battleship
Planned: 4
Cancelled: 4
General characteristics
Type: Battleship
Displacement: 47,500t standard
Length: 900 ft (270 m)
Beam: 101 ft (31 m)
Draught: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Propulsion: 4 shaft geared turbines, 22 boilers, 150,000 shp
Speed: 30kt

8x 18in 45cal rifles

16x 5.5in 50cal
8x 4.7in AA
8x24in torpedo tube
Armour: 13in belt, 5in deck

The Number 13-class was a planned fast battleship design of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The class consisted of four ships and would have been built in the late 1920s. The ships never received any names, being known only as Number 13, Number 14, Number 15, and Number 16. These numbers refer to their being the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th dreadnought battleship designs to be built for the Japanese Navy. The 47,500 t (46,750-long-ton) class was to have been armed with eight 18 in (457.2 mm) guns and would bring Japan closer to its goal of an "Eight-eight fleet" (eight battleships and eight battlecruisers).[1] However, after the Washington Naval Conference and the signing of the Washington Treaty, work on the ships was suspended, and they were cancelled in November 1923.

The ships of the class, while retaining a speed of 30 knots, 3 knots faster than Nagato, had the 16-inch guns of the Kii class replaced with 18 inch guns, ones that would also be put to use on Yamato and Musashi.




Experiences in the Russo-Japanese War convinced naval war planners that more fast capital ships were needed, so on 4 April 1907, the Imperial Defence Council approved an "Eight-eight" policy. This plan originally called for a fleet of eight battleships and eight armored cruisers that would all be under ten years old (later changed to eight battlecruisers and reduced to eight years old). However, the advent of the dreadnought battleship crippled this plan at the beginning; given Japan's weak and underdeveloped economy and the enormous strain that had been put on it during the Russo-Japanese War (Japan emerged from the war victorious, but bankrupt),[2] the launch of HMS Dreadnought was a "disaster" for Japan.[3]

In 1907, Japan was halfway to the eight-eight, with two newly delivered battleships (the Katori class) in the fleet and two more (the Satsuma class) and four armored cruisers authorized or under construction. In addition, three more battleships and four armored cruisers had been authorized, though not funded. However, naval technology was changing; older battleships, including all of Japan's battleships in commission or under construction,[A 1] were quickly rendered obsolete with the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought (hence the terms dreadnought and pre-dreadnought), and armored cruisers were seemingly useless in the face of the new battlecruisers being laid down by Great Britain and Germany. The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) recognized this, and proposed in 1909 that two battlecruisers be ordered from British plans, with one to be built in Great Britain and one to be built at home. These two ships became the Kongō class.[3]

In 1910, there was still authorization for one battleship and four armored cruisers. This battleship, a more heavily armored version of the Kongo-class battlecruisers, became Japan's first super-dreadnought, Fusō. With these ships, Japan appeared to be getting closer to the eight-eight goal; however, these new ships represented a "new level of naval strength" for the IJN, and they made all previous Japanese capital ships obsolete. This meant that any naval planner aiming for an eight-eight fleet would have to call for seven more battleships and four more battlecruisers[3] at a time when Japan was trying to weather a worldwide economic depression.[2]

After proposals from the IJN in 1911 and 1912 for massive shipbuilding programs, the Cabinet compromised down to a "four-four" plan; under this, three new battleships and no new battlecruisers were authorized.[4] The Navy did not agree, and instead called for an "eight-four" fleet, while the Imperial Defence Council called for the original eight-eight. The Cabinet relented, and by July 1914, it was decided to aim first for an eight-four fleet, followed by the eight-eight fleet. The eight-four plan was presented to the Diet of Japan in 1915; it aimed to have the eight battleships and four battlecruisers by 1923 with the building of two Nagato-class and two Tosa-class battleships. The problem with this was that the old plan intended all of the ships of the eight-eight fleet to be under eight years old; by the time these new ships were completed, Fusō and the first two Kongo ships would be past their replacement age.[5]

The plan was approved in 1917, along with funding for two battlecruisers which became the Amagi class. In late 1917, the Navy proposed to expand the eight-four plan by adding two more battlecruisers; this was approved, and two more Amagi-class ships were ordered. However, having eight 16 in (406 mm) gun ships (four battleships and four battlecruisers) on order put an enormous financial strain on Japan, which was spending about a third of its national budget on the Navy. The massive size and scale of its building program was rapidly driving up the cost of naval construction and armament.[5]


The Number 13 class was supposed to be 900 ft (270 m) long, with a beam of 101 ft (31 m) anddraught of 32 ft (9.8 m). The class was supposed to be powered by four boilers that would generate 150,000 ship horsepower, which would move the ships at 30 knots an hour. The Number 13 class was supposed to be armored with a thirteen inch belt and a 5 inch deck. Other specifications still had not been finalized at the time of cancelling.


The Number 13 class battleships were to carry a primary armament of eight 460 mm (18.1 in)/45 caliber guns in dual turrets,[1] which were already on the British battlecruiser HMS Furious and were planned to be installed on the N3 class battleships, although the first commissioned battleship that was armed with 18-inch guns was the Japanese Yamato. The secondary battery of the Kii class, 16 single 140 mm (5.5 in)/50 caliber guns, were retained on the Number 13 class.[6] Along with the ship's anti-aircraft defenses, eight single 120 mm (4.7 in)/45 caliber Vickers antiaircraft guns, the secondary 5.5 inch guns were a common sight on Japanese ships of that era. The Number 13 class was also fitted with eight-610 mm (24.0 in) above water torpedo tubes, just like her preceding class.[7][8]


Although the design was cancelled on November 19, 1923 under the terms of the Washington Treaty before any ship was laid down, each of the four ships were already allocated to specific yards for their construction:[8]

Number 13: Yokosuka Navy Yard;

Number 14: Kure Navy Yard;

Number 15: Mitsubishi;

Number 16: Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

See also



  1. ^ While the Satsuma-class battleships were technically "semi-dreadnoughts" due to their heavy secondary battery, they were still made obsolete by Dreadnought.


  1. ^ a b Garzke, p. 43
  2. ^ a b Gardiner and Gray (1984), p. 222
  3. ^ a b c Gardiner and Gray (1984), p. 223
  4. ^ Gardiner and Gray (1984), pp. 222–223
  5. ^ a b Gardiner and Gray (1984), p. 224
  6. ^ "Japanese 5.5"/50 (14 cm) 3rd Year Type 14 cm/50 (5.5") 3rd Year Type". Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Kii class battleships". Hiroshi Nishida. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "World Battleships List: Japanese Dreadnoughts". Retrieved April 25, 2010. 


  • Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal, eds (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870219073. 
  • Garzke, William H.; Dulin, Robert O. (1985). Battleships: Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-101-3. OCLC 12613723. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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