Japanese Navy Japan, 1924. Light Cruiser

A super-destroyer ?

This cruiser was not quite one. The projet genesis dated back to 1917 when the Admiralty was working on a small light cruiser of a new kind called Ayase. Captain Hiraga resumed the project in 1920, attempting to make the ship the best armed possible with the smallest displacement possible. The project ship managed to be 30% smaller indeed than the Kuma/Nagara, while keeping the same armament. It should have been the prototype of a series of new light cruisers. But this ship, which inaugurated a new longitudinal armor arrangement resumed thereafter, was more comparable to a “super-destroyer” such that were developed in 1937-42 (Mogador, Capitani, Atlanta, Taschkent…), whose engineers did not hide to have been inspired by the Yubari. This therefore ship remained unique in its class. The next light cruisers in line, the Mogami of 1938, were proper cruisers, and the Agano of 1942 was another generation of ship even larger.

2 views, author’s illustration of the Yubari in 1942

Although given on paper at 2890 tons empty, on trials and operations, the Yubari was closer to 3,560 tons, up to 4,400 in working order. The lack of space was reflected in a lack of power, and the 35.8 knots reached in tests fell in practice to 34 knots in 1941, then 32 knots in 1943. In 1924, the truncated funnel was raised, and in 1927 the torpedo tubes were protected by full shielding, “TT turrets” that makes Japanese ships easily recognizable.

In 1942, Yūbari’s AAA armament was considerably improved, going from two old 76 mm and two machine guns, to eight 25 mm mounts, then in 1943, twelve 25 mm mounts, in addition to 4 twin heavy HMG mounts. The Yūbari was sunk on April 27, 1944 by the submarine USS Buegill.

Displacement: 3 380 t. standard -4 400 t. fully loaded
Dimensions: 139 m x 12 m x 3,6 m
Propulsion: 3 propellers, 3 turbines, 8 boilers, 57 500 hp, 34 knots
Armour Top 58 mm
Armament: 6 x 150 mm (2×2, 2×1), 8 x 25 mm AA, 4 x 610 mm TTs (2×2), 2 x 12.7mm HMG, 34 mines.
Crew: 350

Sources/ Read more
Conway’s all the worlds fighting ships 1921-1946

Yubari 1923
Author’s illustration of the Yubari in 1925