[The Challenger: Asia Edition] Mikasa

[The Challenger: Asia Edition]  Mikasa

WARGAMING ASIA PRESENTS GET INSIDE THE BATTLESHIP RICHARD “THE CHALLENGER” CUTLAND Hello and welcome to Tokyo. Today, we are going to be looking in more detail into the legendary pre-dreadnought battleship Mikasa. Now, Mikasa was commissioned into service on the first of March 1902 and decommissioned in 1923. The name itself Mikasa is after one of Japan’s legendary, very symbolic and mystical mountains. Throughout today, we are going to be joined by a very special guest, Wargaming Asia’s military advisor, Phalanx. Hello everyone. Today the famous Challenger and I will be covering the Battleship Mikasa, which is now called the Memorial Ship Mikasa. THE BATTLESHIP MIKASA The Mikasa was 432 feet in length with a displacement of 15,179 tonnes when fully laden. Now unfortunately, the engines have long since been removed. However, in its day, it had the ability to do 18 knots. The Mikasa is the fourth Shikishima-class battleship to be produced. Shikishima-class battleships include: The Shikishima itself, the Asahi, the Hatsuse, and the Mikasa we see here. The Mikasa here used a different type of armour than the other three. The three previous ships used a material called Harvey nickel–steel for their armour, while the Mikasa was the only one to use Krupp armour, a more durable, superior material. Due to this fact, the Mikasa is often described as Japan’s strongest battleship, as it features remarkable craftsmanship both inside and out. THE WIRELESS ROOM Here we find the wireless room. Now the ship was equipped with a Type 36 wireless system, which had a range of approximately 80 nautical miles. And was far superior to anything the Russian fleet had at that time. Just to orientate you, we are now at the stern of the ship and just to my right, you could see the first of what is two massive 12 inch gun turrets. Now, the Mikasa was involved in two major conflicts – the first being the battle of the Yellow Sea 1904, off the coast of China. And the second being the battle of Tsushima in 1905. And throughout the ship, you can find evidence of these conflicts. As unbelievable as this sounds, the stairs I’m coming down here, and most of the Mikasa’s original stair structures were lost. Because of that, we don’t see any battle scars on them from the naval battles back then. But take a look at this. A part of the rear bridge here shows damage from the Battle of Tsushima. See how it was patched up? During the Battle of Tsushima, 118 soldiers died on the Battleship Mikasa. But this is one of the few remaining evidences from that fierce battle. 3 INCH GUNS Now the Mikasa was originally equipped with twenty of these 3 inch guns with a rate of fire of 15 rounds per minute and a maximum range of 10 kilometers. They have the ability to fire armour piercing and high explosive ammunition, making them quite a potent weapon. THE COMMAND POSTS On pre-dreadnought battleships such as the Mikasa, chief gunners stationed at each gun had the duty of tracking down each target, and then firing one at a time. But in the time of the Mikasa, basically during the Russo‐Japanese War, the distance of artillery fire had increased, and those types of gunning methods were no longer effective. Because of that, all nations were in search of new firing methods, and in England back then, a method was devised in which a centrally-positioned chief gunner would calculate the movements of enemy ships, determine the targets, and fire at all of them simultaneously. That particular method was brought to Japan during the Russo‐Japanese War, and introduced to Admiral Togo, who then decided the Combined Fleet would implement it, and tried it for the first time in the Battle of Tsushima. To see the results of implementing this new battle tactic, just look at how the Battle of Tsushima went. These battleships that were designed based on old attack methods, but then had new tactics implemented, achieved crushing victories as a result. This significantly shocked the world, and was really the driving force for England to produce a new type of battleship known as the dreadnaught. Directly underneath the bridge, we find the steering room. Now we’ve just left the steering room, which is directly above us and beneath it, we find another set of steering controls– an exact duplicate of those above us but this time protected by 35 centimeters of steel plate. Directly behind the steering room, we find the chart room. The maps, charts, signal flags, sextants, logs, barometers and all the other equipment and books necessary for navigation were kept in this room. The chief navigator and the officer of the deck drew the navigation courses, calculated the ship’s position and also maintain the log books and signal record books. The Mikasa was the most distinguished of all battleships in the Russo‐Japanese War. In fact, it went through three crises in its lifetime. The first was right after the Russo‐Japanese War. The Mikasa was stationed in Sasebo Port, and an accidental explosion grounded her. The next one happened in 1921, while moving just off shore of Vladivostok, and was stuck there for awhile. Then in 1923, while it lied at anchor here in Yokosuka, the Great Kanto Earthquake occurred, and its hull was struck against the dock. Water started seeping in through the damaged section, and the Mikasa was grounded. The Imperial Diet back then wanted to leave the Mikasa as a decommissioned warship at that point, but through citizen-driven preservation efforts, donation money was collected, and it was decided that the Mikasa would be preserved as a memorial warship. Today the ship we’re looking at right now has been preserved as the Memorial Ship Mikasa. 6 INCH GUNS The Mikasa was equipped with fourteen of these 6 inch guns. The rate of fire was 6 rounds per minute and had a maximum range of 9 kilometers. The gun crew consisted of ten men and a gun captain. MAIN ARMAMENT You may recall earlier on when we saw the first of these huge 12 inch gun turrets. The first one being on the stern and the second one now being on the bow of the ship. The crew were incredibly well protected by German designed Krupp armoured steel plates. With a rate of fire of 1 round per minute and a range of 14 kilometers, they were extremely accurate guns. The accuracy was mainly due to the English designed Barr and Stroud of Glasgow rangefinder. But, not only that, of course, the crew were very well motivated and extremely professional. The Mikasa was built in a Vickers shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness and based on the Royal Navy’s Majestic-class design. Delivered to Japan in 1902, at a cost of 8.8 million yen. Now, why did Japan not build it themselves? Well, they simply neither had the heavy building facilities or the technology available at that time. LIVING QUARTERS As we walk through the Admiral Saloon, you can see it’s incredibly palazzo. However, the story was not the same for the remaining 836 crew who were in quite cramped conditions. Back when World War II had ended, the Soviet Union strongly demanded that the Battleship Mikasa be decommissioned. But regardless of that demand from the Soviets, the Mikasa was already all but decommissioned, and was in terrible shape. And when efforts on how to restore the Mikasa were being considered, the Chilean Government came to its aid. Chile once had a battleship called the Almirante Latorre, and parts from that battleship were used to restore the Mikasa. The Almirante Latorre was originally an English battleship named the HMS Canada, and served in the Battle of Jutland just off the Jutland coast. So basically, the Battleship Mikasa we’re looking at today, is a fushion of souls from two English battleships. When she was commissioned in 1902, the Mikasa was one of the most advanced battleships of that time. Now, she is a museum, opening to the general public and stands as the last remaining pre-dreadnought battleship in the world. To cover the Battleship Mikasa today, with the Challenger here from England, was a great honor for me. WARGAMING.NET LET’S BATTLE

8 comments on “[The Challenger: Asia Edition] Mikasa

  1. 2:00 the ship was capable of 80 knots (in the subtitle) I believe this should be 18 knots, which sounds similar.

  2. Correction for the Subtitles please.. I doubt the Mikasa could do 80 knots. The correct number for the translation should be 18 knots…

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