Yang Wei protected cruiser

The Yang Wei was a protected cruiser built for China by Armstrongs, and that like her sister ship Chao Yung was sunk at the battle of the Yalu River in 1894.

The two ships were lightly built, thinly armoured cruisers, armed with two 10in breach loading Armstrong guns carried fore and aft and four 4.7in guns carried on the corners of the superstructure. They could make 16kts when new (see Chao Yung for more details).

The two ships sailed from the Tyne on 9 August 1881. Admiral Ting Ju-ch'ang joined them at Plymouth, and took command for the sea passage to China. They arrived in October and joined the northern fleet.

The two ships were part of the Peiyang squadron at the start of the Sino-French War of 1884-85. On 23 June 1884, before the fighting broke out, they had been present at a meeting between Viceroy Li Hung-chang and the French Rear Admiral Lespés. After this meeting most of the Chinese ships involved sailed away to the north. They didn't play any further part in the war with France, staying in the north to deal with a Japanese threat in Korea.

The Yang Wei was sunk at the battle of the Yalu River (17 September 1894). The Yang Wei was posted at the far right of the Chinese line, with her sister ship Chao Yung to her left. She was slow to get underway and her poor boilers meant that she lagged behind. At the start of the battle the Japanese headed for the Japanese right, and so the two weakly armoured sister ships came under heavy fire. Both were soon in difficulties. The Yang Wei was hit repeatedly by 4.7in shells. She ran aground on a reef a few miles to the south of Talu island, where she was sunk by a spar torpedo carried on a boat from the Chiyoda.  

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



5,000nm at 8kts

Armour – deck


 - turrets


 - CT







Two 10in BL guns
Four 4.7in guns
Two 2.75in
Two 30ft steam pinnaces armed with spar torpedoes.

Crew complement


Laid down

15 January 1880


29 January 1881


14 July 1881


17 September 1894

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (25 June 2013), Yang Wei protected cruiser , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_yang_wei.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy