ROCN Xian Ning

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Hey guys today I’ll be suggesting the ROCN Xian ning (also spelled as Hsien Ning)


After the establishment of the Republic of China the need for new warships arose as much of the warships in China were leftovers from the Qing dynasty or outdated river gunboats. Unable to purchase new weaponry and warships due to embargo’s imposed on China in 1919 and 1923 respectively, the Nanjing government decided to build their own warships. Yang Shuzhuang, the commander in chief of the navy, set forth a plan to build these new warships and rung in the “Golden age” of Nanjing government shipbuilding. He appointed Ye Zaifu, the chief engineer of the jiangnan ship building institute, to head the shipbuilding program.

Xian Ning was the first of the new ships to be built and it’s design was based on lessons learned from building river gunboats for the US Yangtze River patrol. She was named after Xian Ning city in Hubei province as Hubei funded the ship’s development. In 1927 design and construction started and on August 18, 1928 she was launched. Her launch was a special occasion as at this time the nationalists had just won their war against the warlords in the Northern Expedition and the feelings of peace and hope was in the air. In 1929, after undergoing her trials, she officially became a warship of the Chinese navy.

Initially she was armed with a forwards 4.7 inch gun and 3 inch rear gun. The 57mm “hotchkiss” naval gun was also installed on the front flight bridge of the cab and on each side of the top deck of the first floor under the cab. There was also a vickers ping pong (Pom Pom) gun behind the stern radio room

When the embargo was lifted in 1929 Chinese delegates went to Japan to buy naval weaponry. They obtained new 120mm 3rd year naval guns and 8 cm/40 3rd Year Type naval gun (76mm actual). These guns were subsequently installed on the Xianning. The front 4.7 inch gun was replaced with the 120mm gun 3rd year gun and the 57mm hotchkiss was replaced with the 76mm 3rd year gun. The 2 57mm guns on the first floor top deck remained. Later the 76mm 3rd year gun was replaced with a 20mm anti air gun.

A short time after her launch conflict broke out once more and the short era of peace ended. She participated in the Chiang Kai-Gui war in 1929 which was the result of disagreements within the nationalist government on how to downsize the army during peacetime. Subsequently in 1930 she assisted with the suppression of the Chinese Red army in Hunan and sporadically fought them up to 1932.

During the start of the second sino Japanese war she was spared from the initial brunt of the Japanese attack as she was in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River unlike her sisters Ning hai and ping hai who were at the mouth of the river near Shanghai. She survived till the end of 1937 but in mid 1938 she came under attack by several Japanese warplanes after a mine laying mission for the defense of Wuhan. 2 of the 7 attacking planes were shot down in the ensuing battle. No bombs hit but due to her weak protection shrapnel penetrated the ship and caused flooding. She also caught fire and it spread throughout the medical cabin, coal bunker, and captains room. She docked at the town of Wu Xue for leak plugging and firefighting. Her injured crew went to a nearby hospital and crew from her sister ship “Changning” came to help. A few hours after the initial attack, 16 Japanese warplanes showed up over Wu Xue to bomb Xian Ning. Already weak and flooded from the previous attack, a direct hit from a bomb sank her without much trouble. Two thirds of her crew were killed or injured during the battle. This marked the end of the Republic of China’s first domestically produced warship.

Additional images:

Christening of Xianning by her “godmother” Gu Zhuyun, the wife of Xiong ShiHui commander of the fifth division.

Guests at the launching ceremony

Launch of Xian Ning into the Huang Pu river

The main gun of the “Xianning” photographed during flight test is an Armstrong (QF 4.7 inch) without a shield, and the gun position in front of the cab on the flybridge has not been installed.

Xian Ning During her sea trials equipped with her original weaponry

Xian Ning with improved weaponry. The Japanese 120mm gun and 76mm gun can be seen

In Game

In game the Xian Ning would be a good low-mid tier gunboat for coastal as she has powerful armament but weak protection.


Displacement: 418 tons

Total length of hull: 54.86 m (180 ft)

Width: 7.31 m (24 ft)

Cabin depth: 3.35 m (11 ft)

Bow drought: 1.82 m (6 ft)

Stern: 2.01 m ( 6.6 ft)

Propulsion: 2 x Thornycroft water pipe boilers and 2 x 3 cylinder three-flatbed vertical steam engines (2,500 HP)

Propellers: 2 x 4 leaf copper propellers

Normal speed: 12 knots

Top speed: 16 knots

Initial armament

1 x QF 4.7 inch naval gun

1 x 3 inch naval gun

3 x 57mm Hotchkiss naval guns

1 x Vickers Pom Pom

Improved weaponry

1 x 120mm 3rd year naval gun

1 x 3 inch naval gun

1 x 76 mm naval/anti air gun or 1-2 x 20mm anti air gun

2 x 57mm Hotchkiss guns

Note: According to the book source this is a mix of the original line drawing and what it actually looked like. Unfortunately only some of it is clipped off in the version of the book I found.



作者 (author): 陈悦 著