Japanese World War 1 Mediterranean Flotilla

Japanese Mediterranean Flotillas from World War 1 - circa 1917 Thomo’s been painting again. More 1/6000th scale vessels for John in the US. Just finished (with pictures coming up soon) are the Russian Baltic and Black Sea Fleets. I also did the Japanese Mediterranean vessels. Japan sent 12 destroyers and two cruisers to support the Entente in World War 1 ((pictured here – although I am still having trouble finding an effective way to photograph 1/6000th scale vessels that shows the vessels clearly but that does not show exactly how approximate my painting is 😦 )). Japan also crewed another 2 destroyers obtained from the British, although they did turn down the requests from Britain to purchase the Kongo and take it into British service.

The first Japanese vessels sent were vessels from the Kaba-class. Figurehead/Hallmark do a pack of 6 Kaba class destroyers and package two of them to make the Japanese flotillas. They do not include either of the Japanese Cruisers in there however. The cruisers act as the flotilla leaders. Richard at Magister Militum was very helpful however and obtained from Noble Minis in the US the Japanese cruiser packs for me so I could add the missing ships in (mind you, I now have a number of spare Japanese cruisers – looking at the Pacific Ocean involvement of Japan to see how to best use those).

There was some confusion in my mind when I was researching the cruisers and my initial readings lead me to think there was a difference between sources with regards to the cruisers sent to the Mediterranean. Initially the Akashi was sent along with the 10th and the 11th destroyer flotillas as she was the leader for those flotillas. Those flotillas consisted of the Kaede, Kashiwa, Katsura, Kusunoki, Matsu, Sakaki, Sugi and the Ume. These vessels arrived at Malta in mid 1917. The Sakaki was damaged on 11 June 1917 when torpedoed by the Austrian submarine U-27. Whilst her bows were blown off and she suffered heavy casualties the ship was salvaged and repaired.

When the 15th destroyer flotilla was sent as a reinforcement to Malta, another cruiser accompanied them to replace the Akashi. Now, some references noted that the cruiser Idzumo came with the 15th flotilla whilst Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships, 1906-1921 notes that the Nisshin was sent. Now, after finishing the painting, I believe that the Nisshin was sent to replace the Akashi as the leader of the 10th and 11th flotillas whilst the Idzumo was sent as the leader of the 15th flotilla. Pictured above is the Idzumo and the Akashi – I still need to paint the Nisshin (the Akashi is the smaller vessel).

The 15th destroyer flotilla consisted of 4 Momo-class vessels, in this case, Hinoki, Kashi, Momo and  Yanagi. Whilst these vessels were different class to the first two destroyer flotillas, the Momo and Kaba class vessels look similar enough to be indistinguishable at 1/6000th scale. The Momo class was about 117t heavier and a little more heavily armed.

The British destroyers taken over by the Japanese in June 1917 (and not modelled here) were the Minstrel and Nemesis from the Acorn-class vessels. In Japanese service they were named Sendan and Kanran. They were returned to Britain at the end of the war.

There are links below to a Word document and a PDF which contains the labels I made for these vessels.

Japanese Flotilla Labels – Word Format

Japanese Flotilla Labels – PDF Format

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