Imperial Japanese Navy Deployment, 1914

Contribued by Doug Thompson (, with his own comments interspersed throughout.
"Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906-1921"

Notes and disclaimers: This gives warships only. Where they are based, what unit they are in and whether they were reserve units or not - or if they were even called up from reserve - is not listed.

Note to wargamers, particularly American teenagers: many Japanese ships listed here have the same names as their more famous WW2 equivalents. For instance, you'll find a Chikuma, a Chitose, a Kagero and others here. So be careful that the Japanese ships you use are not treaty cruisers, aircraft carriers or destroyers armed with Long Lance torpedoes.

Ships scrapped or sunk by accident before the war are not included. There's my explanation if a ship is missing and her sister ships are present. Also, some ships sank but were salvaged. Those are included here.

Original names of ships captured ships from the Russo-Japanese war are indicated. These ships often had their armament changed.

Battlecruisers: Kongo, Hiei (Hiei was commissioned Aug. 4, 1914, so the crew must be green.)

Predreadnoughts: Settsu, Kawachi
Satsuma, Aki
Kashima, Katori

Iwami (ex Orel)
Hizen (ex Retvisen)
Sagami (ex Peresvet)
Suwo (ex Pobieda)
Tango (ex Poltava)

Coast Defence Ships: Fuji (an old battleship)
Mishima (ex Seniavin)
Okinoshima (ex Apraksin)
Iki (ex Imperator Nikolai I)

Armoured Cruisers: Tshukaba, Ikoma (The Japanese classified these as and the Ibukis as "battle cruisers," but they lacked an all big-gun armament.)
Ibuki, Kurama
Aso (ex Bayan)
Kasuga, Nisshin
Asama, Tokiwa, Idzumo, Iwate

Light Cruisers: Chikuma, Yahagi, Hirado

Flotilla Leaders: Otowa
Tsushima, Niitaki
Kasagi (training ship), Chitose
Suma, Akashi (training ship)
Itshukushima, Itashidate (both training ships)

Destroyers: Sakura, Tachibana
Umikaze, Yamakaze
Asakaze, Kamikaze, Hatsushio, Yayoi, Kisaragi, Shiratsuyu, Shirayuki,
Natsukase, Harukaze, Shigure, Hayate, Oite, Yunagi, Yugure, Yudachi, Mikazuki,
Nowaki, Ushio, Nenohi, Hibiki, Shirotaye, Hatsuharu, Wakaba, Hatsuyuki, Uzuki,
Minazuki, Nagatsuki, Kikuzuki, Unanami, Isonami, Ayanami

Asagiri, Murasame, Ariake, Arare, Fubuki
Shirakumo, Asashio
Murakumo, Kagero, Shiranai, Usugamo, Yugiri
Akebono, Ikazuchi, Inazuma, Oboro
Satsuki (ex Biedevoi)

Submarines: No. 1 through No. 5 (Holland type: made in U.S., sections assembled in Japan)
No.6 and No. 7 (Improved Hollands built in Japan)
No. 8 and No. 9 (British "C" class design)
No. 10 through No. 12 (Improved "C" class)
No. 13 (further improved "C" class)

(Gunboats on Chinese rivers not included)

Minelayers: (These can also function as mineweepers)
Natsushima, Sokuten, Takachiho

Keith Allen ( has supplied the following supplemental information:

Lacroix and Wells's monumental "Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War" gives detailed information on Japanese fleet organization and other matters back at least to the turn of the century, the title notwithstanding. Below is the basic structure of the Japanese navy under the reorganization of 10 July 1914; they do not tell which ships were in each formation, so I'm not sure whether this will be helpful. Under the previous organization all battleships as well as many cruisers were in the First Fleet; cruisers and coast-defense ships comprised the Second and Third Fleets; destroyers were in divisions of four ships attached to naval stations and sometimes to the fleets. The 1914 reorganization created two apparently equal First and Second Fleets, and for the first time established destroyer squadrons, each including four divisions of four destroyers each, with a cruiser as flagship. The term "sentai" can be translated as division or squadron.

First Fleet: Sentai 1: 8 battleships
Sentai 3: 4 cruisers
Desron 1: 1 cruiser and 4 desdivs (i.e. 16 destroyers, total)
Desron 3: 1 cruiser and 4 desdivs

Second Fleet: Sentai 2: 8 battleships
Sentai 4: 4 cruisers
Desron 2: 1 cruiser and 4 desdivs
Desron 4 1 cruiser and 2 submarine divisions

Third Fleet Eight old units

There is no information on basing. I imagine that even then Kure was the main base.

Antony Preston's "Battleships of World War I" (published in the U.S. by Stackpole, 1972; I think it was originally published in the UK) includes introductory sections for each fleet with some interesting material on sometimes-neglected subjects like organization, dockyards, and the like. He gives the following disposition for Japanese heavy ships at the outbreak of war. It does not at all match the fleet breakdowns given by Lacroix and Wells; I imagine Lacroix and Wells are giving the administrative organization, while Preston is giving the ad hoc tactical disposition.

China Station, 1st Standing Squadron (Tsingtao force?): SETTSU (flag), SATSUMA, IWAMI, SUWO, KONGO, TSUKUBA

Yokosuka: KAWACHI, KATORI, SAGAMI, ASAHI (training ship), IKI (attached to naval barracks), KURAMA

Kure: AKI, FUJI (training ship), TANGO (attached to barracks), IKOMA, IBUKI

Sasebo: SHIKISHIMA, HIZEN, OKINOSHIMA (attached to barracks)

Maizuru: MIKASA, KASHIMA, MISHIMA (attached to barracks)

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Last Updated: 17 April, 1999.