Ting Yuen armoured turret ship

The Ting Yuen ('Eternal Peace) was one of two battleships built for China by the Vulcan yard at Stettin, and fought in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95.

The Chinese ordered the Ting Yuen and her sister ship Chen Yuen after the Japanese had ordered three ironclads from Britain. Britain was unwilling to sell large warships to China at this stage, and so the Chinese turned to the German Vulcan Yard. This yard had just built the Sachsen, the first German capital ships built without full masts and a central citadel ironclad. The Sachsen was armed with six 260mm/ 10in guns, two mounted in a barbette in front of the four funnels and the other four at the corners of a square barbette behind the funnels.

The Ting Yuen and Chen Yuen inherited the central citadel layout of the Sachsen, with most of the armour concentrated in a 144 long protected area that covered the magazines, boiler room and engine room spaces. They were armed with two 12in Krupp breach loading guns carried in twin-barbettes. On both ships the starboard barbette was mounted just ahead of the port barbette. Both were covered with 1in thick shields that made the barbettes look more like turrets. Two 5.9in guns were carried, one at the bow and one at the stern, carried in armoured turrets. A number of Hotchkiss quick firing guns were also carried, but sources disagree on the exact numbers. A similar arrangement of main guns was used on HMS Inflexible of 1876.

Both ships were powered by eight boilers which fed two horizontal three-cylinder compound engines.

The Ting Yuen was laid down in March 1881, launched on 28 December 1881 and was ready for trials by May 1883. This came during a military clash between France and China, and delivery of the two battleships (and the cruiser Tsi Yuen) was delayed. During this period the German Navy carried out gunnery trails with the Ting Yuen which suggested that the big guns were too powerful for the ship to handle. Gunnery tests held on the Chen Yuen in April 1884 were more successful.

Ting Yuen, along with Chen Yuan and Tsi Yuen, were finally allowed to set sail for China on 3 July 1885. They arrived at Taku in late October and joined the northern Peiyang Fleet. Ting Yuen served as the flagship of the fleet and over its commanding officer, Admiral Ting.

Both battleships were heavily engaged at the naval battle of the Yalu River (17 September 1894), where they formed the centre of the Chinese line. The battle began badly on the Ting Yuen, which was the flagship of Admiral Ting. The admiral was wounded by blast from his own guns in the first salvo of the battle and was unable to take any further part in the action. Her signalling mast was shot off early in the battle, so the Admiral's second in command had little impact on the fighting. One of the two battleships did score one 12in hit on the Japanese flagship Matsushima, inflicting heavy casualties, and their armoured citadel kept out the Japanese shells. Of the surviving Chinese ships the Ting Yuen suffered the highest losses, with 14 dead and 25 wounded, although she had been hit around 200 times.

The Chinese fleet spent a month at Port Arthur undergoing repairs, and then moved to Wei-Hei-Wei. The Ting Yuen took part in one last fleet sortie in early November, but after that the Chinese fleet stayed in port. When the Japanese attacked the outlying eastern forts defending Wei-Hei-Wei on 30 January 1895 the Ting Yuen took part in the unsuccessful attempts to defend them.

On the night of 4-5 February 1895, early in the Japanese siege of Wei-Hei-Wei, a force of torpedo boats got past the Chinese boom. TB-23 scored one hit on the stern of the Ting Yuen. Her watertight doors leaked, and although she was got underway it quickly became that she was close to sinking. The battleship was beached at the eastern end of Liu Kung Island and was soon abandoned. On 12 February the siege came to an end when the Chinese surrendered.

By 19 February, when the British Admiral Fremantle visited Wei-Hei-Wei, the Ting Yuen's back had been broken. The exact cause of this damage is unclear, but contemporary photos show her with damage in the forward boiler-room, and she may have been blown up by the Chinese on 9 February.

Alternative names

Dingyuan (Pinyin)

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



4,500nm at 10kts

Armour – belt


 - deck


 - barbettes


 - shields


 - casemates


 - CT







Four 12in/25 Krupp BL guns in two turrets
Two 5.9in/35 Krupp BL guns
Six 37mm guns
Three 14in torpedo tubes

Crew complement


Laid down

31 March 1881


28 December 1881


Sunk 6 February 1895

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 May 2013), Ting Yuen armoured turret ship , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_ting_yuen.html

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