Yu Yuen

The Yu Yuen was a fully rigged steam frigate that was one of the largest warships built in China before the 1930s, but that was sunk by the French early in 1885.

The Yu Yuen was built at the Kiangnan dockyard, and was the sister ship of the Hai-an. The Hai-an was launched in 1872 and the Yu Yuen in 1873.

The two ships were three-masted fully rigged steam frigates, carrying their two main guns on the upper deck and their remaining guns on the broadside. They were both considered to be rather unseaworthy and quickly began to decay. 

The Yu Yuen wasn't manned at first. When she did enter service it was as a guardship and storeship, based at Woosung. She had a very short combat career. In 1884 the French inflicted heavy losses on the Chinese fleet at Foochow and Formosa. A task force was created from the Nanyang fleet. This included three newer faster cruisers, a small sloop and the rearmed Yu-yuen. The squadron left Shanghai in December 1884. After a brief clash with the French in mid-February the faster cruisers escaped. The Yu-yuen managed to reach an anchorage at Shei-Poo (or Shipu), but on the night of 14-15 February 1885 she was sunk by two spar torpedo boats from the French cruiser Bayard.



Top Speed






Armament as built

Two 9in MLR guns
Twenty four 70pdr guns

Armament when sunk

Two 8.2in guns
Eight 5.9in guns
Twelve 4.7in Krupp guns

Crew complement



23 December 1873


15 February 1885

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 June 2013), Yu Yuen , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_yu_yuen.html

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