fighting ships of the world



SUMA protected cruisers (1896-1899)

Akashi 1899

Name No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
須磨 <Suma>   Yokosuka K K 8/1892 9/3/1895 12/1896 stricken 1923
明石 <Akashi>   Yokosuka K K 8/1894 18/12/1897 3/1899 stricken 1923


Displacement normal, t

Suma: 2657

Akashi: 2756

Displacement full, t


Length, m

Suma: 93.5 pp

Akashi: 90.0 pp 93.3 wl

Breadth, m

Suma: 12.2

Akashi: 12.7

Draught, m

Suma: 4.63

Akashi: 4.80

No of shafts



Suma: VTE, 8 locomotive boilers

Akashi: VTE, 9 cylindrical boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

coal 600

Endurance, nm(kts) 12000(10)

Armour, mm

Harvey steel - deck: 25, slopes: 51, shields: 114


2 x 1 - 152/40 Armstrong Z, 6 x 1 - 120/40 Armstrong T, 10 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 4 x 1 - 47/30 21/2pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 2 - 381 TT (beam)



Ship project history: These were the first cruisers to be built entirely to Japanese designs and with Japanese materials, except for the guns which were imported from Britain. The design and disposition of the armament were similar in many ways to the Akitsushima and dimensions were practically the same. Machinery, however, was VTE, instead of the HTE of the Akitsushima. Power developed at forced draught was almost the same as in the Akitsushima, giving an extra knot at maximum speed. The boilers, on the other hand, were not so efficient, comprising eight locomotive boilers in the Suma and nine single-ended in the Akashi.

The Suma was found to lack stability when completed and proved to be a very wet ship. The Akashi was still on the stocks when these faults came to light and so she was altered and completed with greater freeboard amidships, making her flush-decked, and she lacked fighting tops to her masts.

Ship protection: 25mm deck had 51mm slopes, guns were protected by 114mm shields. CT had 114mm sides.

Modernizations: 1908, Suma: boilers were replaced by 4 Miyabara

1912, Akashi: boilers were replaced by 9 Niclausse

Naval service: In 1922 they were disarmed and next year written off. Suma served as a hulk and has been handed over on demolition in 1928. Akashi was used as a target and was sunk by air torpedoes in August, 1930.




Ivan Gogin, 2008-14