Hǎiróng Class Protected Cruiser "Hai Yung"

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Hǎiróng Class Protected Cruiser’s

Hai Yung



Following the significant losses incurred during the initial Sino-Japanese conflict, and a decade after the setbacks in the Sino-French war, the Chinese Navy found itself in need of reinforcement. Facing conflicting interests with Britain and France, China turned to Germany once more to procure additional warships. Specifically, two sets of cruisers were commissioned: the Hai Chi and Hai Yung (Known to the Chinese as Hǎiróng) class. These protected cruisers were designated for the undermanned Northern fleet. Concurrently, smaller 2nd class protected cruisers were also ordered alongside two larger vessels of the Hai Chi class at the shipyards of Stettin.

The shipyard had a lengthy history with China, characterized by mutual trust. Among the notable orders were the first German battleships ever exported, the Dingyuan class ironclads (1881). Launched in 1897-98, the Hai Yung class cruisers were completed in 1898. (Hai Yung and Hai Chou in 1897, Hai Chen in 1998) These cruisers played a role during the 1905 revolution, changed ownership, survived wars, and continued to serve in subsequent conflicts. By the 1930s, they became outdated and were retired, yet they were never officially decommissioned. Instead, in August 1937, they were deliberately sunk to create a blockade in the Yangtze River.

1911 Revolution

During the outbreak of the Revolution of 1911, the Navy, which was predominantly loyalist, swiftly mobilized to confront the Revolutionary Army. On October 26th, the three cruisers bombarded the Revolutionary Army’s positions, resulting in significant casualties and the subsequent withdrawal of a unit. The following day, Hai Yung, Hai Bian, and Hai Che targeted the flank of the revolutionary army, compelling their troops to retreat. Around 06:30 on October 27th, the cruisers, in conjunction with the Yangtze River Fleet, launched an assault on the Wuhan Revolutionary Army’s positions. However, their accuracy was poor, and one of the ships was struck by the revolutionary field artillery in return. After 20 minutes, the Navy withdrew from the area and at 15:20, they fired upon the identified artillery positions on the hillside of Wuchang. Subsequently, the cruisers departed Wuhan for Shanghai. Shortly after their departure, they replaced the dragon flag of the Qing Dynasty with a white flag, and on the 13th at noon, they entered Jinjiang. Eventually, the Revolutionary Army seized control of the ships.

On the 19th, they commenced shelling Qing positions from Qingshan and the surrounding area of Liujiamiao. At 15:00, Hai Yung approached the Yangtze River, and due to a mistaken identity, the Qing army failed to engage her, mistaking the revolutionary flag for a British flag. Exploiting this advantage, the cruiser proceeded down the river and engaged the Qing army at close range. Hai Yung found herself a mere 500 meters away from the Qing gun positions and sustained several hits. The commander of the cruiser was killed, and three officers were injured. The funnel of the cruiser was riddled with shrapnel, and the hull bore two impact holes.

On October 22nd, under the orders of Governor Li Yuanhong of the Hubei Army, Hai Yung and Hai Chen launched an attack on Qing positions along the Chenjiaji River in Wuhan. Their objective was to provide cover for the Revolutionary Army’s third division as they made a dangerous crossing of the river. However, the Qing Artillery near Sandaoqiao fought back fiercely, using 100 mm artillery pieces and other larger caliber weapons. The cruisers sustained multiple hits, resulting in the death of 10 crew members. The Hai Yung suffered damage to its starboard rear mast and funnel, while the Hai Chen’s torpedo room was completely destroyed.

In retaliation, the cruisers’ fire claimed the lives of approximately 400 Qing Soldiers. As planned, the following day, the cruisers provided protection for the Revolutionary Army’s crossing, forcing the Qing army to retreat. However, on the 24th, the Qing army launched a counterattack, inflicting heavy casualties and capturing Qingshan. On the 25th, the Revolutionary Army, supported by the cruisers, landed in Yangluo. Unfortunately, they failed to establish a bridgehead and were compelled to withdraw to the other side of the river. As the water level of the Yangtze River dropped on December 7th, both cruisers retreated to Jiujiang. Eventually, on the 18th, negotiations compelled the ships to return to Shanghai for resupply and maintenance.

Technical Data


Crew - 244

Displacement - 2,680t Standard, 2,900t~ Fully Loaded

Dimensions - 99.97 m x 12.42 m x 5.79 m

Propulsion - 2 Shaft VTE, 8 Cylinder Boilers, 7500ihp, 200/580t of coal

Max Speed - 19.5 knots (36 k/ph)

Armor - up to 2.75-2’ inch armor mid deck, 1’ inch armor on end decks, gun shields 2’ inch, Conning Tower was armored with 1.5 inch, and Citadel had 1 inch of armor all around. (all Steel)


3 x 150mm Krupp 15 cm SK L/40 Cannons

8 x 105mm 10.5 cm SK L/40 Cannons (Arranged in the waist)

12 x 37mm QF Hotchkiss Cannons (?)

3 x 380mm Torpedo Tubes ( One on the bow, submerged, 2 mid ship, 1 on both sides)

(?) Only one Source Lists







(Book) Conway’s all the world’s fighting ships, 1860-1905 (Page 397)

Chinese cruiser Hai Yung - Wikipedia