Japanese gunboat Saga

Japanese gunboat SAGA in 1915.jpg
Japanese gunboat Saga in 1915
Japanese Navy Ensign
BuilderSasebo Naval Arsenal, Japan
Laid down7 January 1912
Launched27 September 1912
Completed8 November 1912
Commissioned18 November 1912
Out of serviceSunk 22 January 1945
Stricken20 March 1945
General characteristics
TypeRiver gunboat
Displacement780 long tons (793 t) normal
Length64 metres (210 ft)
Beam8.99 metres (29.5 ft)
Draught2.31 metres (7.6 ft).
Propulsion3-shaft reciprocating VTE engines; 2 boilers; 1,600 hp (1,200 kW)
Speed15 knots (17 mph; 28 km/h)

Saga (嵯峨) was a river gunboat of the Imperial Japanese Navy, that operated on the Yangtze River and in coastal waters of China during the 1930s, and during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II.


Saga was constructed due to dissatisfaction by the Imperial Japanese Navy with the gunboat Uji, which was underarmed, and lacked the suitable accommodations to serve as a gunboat flagship. The Japanese Navy also wanted a vessel which could serve for both coastal patrol duties as well as on inland waterways. Saga was laid down at Sasebo Naval Arsenal on 7 January 1912, launched on 27 September 1912 and entered service on 18 November 1912.[1]


The basic design of Saga was modeled after her British built predecessors, but with much larger dimensions and much more powerful engines. Saga had a hull with an overall length of 64 metres (210 ft) and width of 8.99 metres (29.5 ft), with a normal displacement of 780 tons and draft of 2.31 metres (7.6 ft). She was propelled by two reciprocating engines with two Kampon boilers driving three shafts, producing 1600 hp and a top speed of 15 knots.[2] The ship was initially armed with one 12 cm/45 10th Year Type naval gun guns, three 76 mm (3.0 in)/ 40 cal. guns and six 6.6mm machine guns.[2]

Service record

During the World War I, Saga accompanied the main Japanese fleet to Shandong Province, China at the Siege of Tsingtao (25 September-16 November 1914) against the forces of Imperial Germany as part of Japanese’ contribution to the Allied cause under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Subsequently, she was transferred to the Japanese Second Fleet and assigned to patrols in the South China Sea.[3]

In September 1924, Saga was reassigned to the Japanese First Fleet. Commander Chūichi Nagumo served as captain from 20 March 1926 to 15 October 1926. She was reassigned to the Japanese Third Fleet from June 1931, joining the 11th Sentai in October 1937 after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the start of hostilities in the Second Sino-Japanese War. From 15 December 1938 to 20 October 1939, she was captained by Commander Tamotsu Oishi. From November 1939, she was assigned to the Second China Expeditionary Fleet in southern China.[3] At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saga was based at Guangdong and was assigned to the Japanese invasion force for the Battle of Hong Kong, where she was based afterwards. She was sunk by a sea mine on 26 September 1944 off Hong Kong, and later refloated and towed back to Hong Kong for repairs. On 22 January 1945, while still in dock for repairs, she was destroyed during an air raid, probably by USAAF 14th Air Force Consolidated B-24 Liberators. She was struck from the navy list on 20 March 1945.[3]


  • Konstam, Angus (2012). Yangtze River Gunboats 1900-49. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781849084086.
  • Gardner, Robert (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921. Conway Marine Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.

External links


  1. ^ Nishida, Ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy
  2. ^ a b Conway, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1905–1922, page 249
  3. ^ a b c Parshall, Jonathan. "Hokan!". www.combinedfleet.com.

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