Japanese battleship Okinoshima
The General Admiral Graf Apraksin , sometimes transliterated as Apraxin, was a member of the s of the Imperial Russian Navy
Imperial Russian Navy
The Imperial Russian Navy refers to the Tsarist fleets prior to the February Revolution.-First Romanovs:Under Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, construction of the first three-masted ship, actually built within Russia, was completed in 1636. It was built in Balakhna by Danish shipbuilders from Holstein...

. She was named after General Admiral Fyodor Matveyevich Apraksin
Fyodor Matveyevich Apraksin
Count Fyodor Matveyevich Apraksin was one of the first Russian admirals who governed Estonia and Karelia from 1712 to 1723, general admiral , presided over the Russian Admiralty since 1718 and commanded the Baltic Fleet since 1723.-Early shipbuilding activities:The Apraksin brothers were...

, the first commander of Russian Baltic Fleet
Baltic Fleet
The Twice Red Banner Baltic Fleet - is the Russian Navy's presence in the Baltic Sea. In previous historical periods, it has been part of the navy of Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union. The Fleet gained the 'Twice Red Banner' appellation during the Soviet period, indicating two awards of...

. She was one of eight Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n pre-dreadnought battleships captured by the Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

 during the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 of 1904-1905. She subsequently served in the Japanese Navy as the until removed from service in 1922.

She had only three guns (a single gun turret
Gun turret
A gun turret is a weapon mount that protects the crew or mechanism of a projectile-firing weapon and at the same time lets the weapon be aimed and fired in many directions.The turret is also a rotating weapon platform...

 aft, as shown in the photograph), instead of her sister ship
Sister ship
A sister ship is a ship of the same class as, or of virtually identical design to, another ship. Such vessels share a near-identical hull and superstructure layout, similar displacement, and roughly comparable features and equipment...

s, which were equipped with four guns.

Russian service

In November 1899, shortly after entering service with the Baltic Fleet, Graf Apraksin ran aground on Hogland Island in the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

. It was hoped that she could be salvaged, as a similar incident in 1897 had cost the Russian Navy another battleship, the Gangut
Russian battleship Gangut (1888)
Gangut was an Imperial Russian coast defense ship named after the Battle of Gangut. This ship was a scaled down version of the Imperator Aleksandr II class battleships-Design and construction:...

. The Apraksin's crew were ordered to remain aboard to maintain the ship as best they could when the Gulf froze over for the winter.

On the recommendation of radio pioneer A.S. Popov
Alexander Stepanovich Popov
Alexander Stepanovich Popov was a Russian physicist who was the first person to demonstrate the practical application of electromagnetic waves....

 the ship's crew established a radio station on the island to maintain communication with the fleet's headquarters at Kronstadt
Kronstadt , also spelled Kronshtadt, Cronstadt |crown]]" and Stadt for "city"); is a municipal town in Kronshtadtsky District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, Russia, located on Kotlin Island, west of Saint Petersburg proper near the head of the Gulf of Finland. Population: It is also...

 (via a station at Kymi
Kotka is a town and municipality of Finland. Its former name is Rochensalm.Kotka is located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland at the mouth of Kymi River and it is part of the Kymenlaakso region in southern Finland. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of of which is water....

) in January 1900, after several weeks' delay. Meanwhile Rear-Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky
Zinovy Rozhestvensky
Zinovy Petrovich Rozhestvensky was an admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy. He was in command of the Second Pacific Squadron in the Battle of Tsushima, during the Russo-Japanese War....

 was assigned to lead the salvage operations. The results of the grounding were such that attempting to tow Apraksin free would likely leave her irreparable and in danger of foundering, and instead Rozhestvensky employed a civilian mining corporation to remove the rocks holding Apraksin with small explosive charges. Assisting the salvage efforts was the icebreaker
An icebreaker is a special-purpose ship or boat designed to move and navigate through ice-covered waters. Although the term usually refers to ice-breaking ships, it may also refer to smaller vessels .For a ship to be considered an icebreaker, it requires three traits most...

Icebreaker Yermak
Yermak was a Russian and later Soviet icebreaker, the first polar icebreaker in the world, having a strengthened hull shaped to ride over and crush pack ice....

. Rozhestvensky initially had doubts as to the usefulness of Yermak, but she proved her value during the operation, which was successfully concluded in the first part of May. After Graf Apraksin was freed she was towed back to Kronstadt for the necessary repairs.

Later, the Apraksin and her two sister ships, the and the were reclassed as coastal defence ship
Coastal defence ship
Coastal defence ships were warships built for the purpose of coastal defence, mostly during the period from 1860 to 1920. They were small, often cruiser-sized warships that sacrificed speed and range for armour and armament...


The Russo-Japanese War

The three Ushakovs were rejected for inclusion in the Second Pacific Squadron assembled by Admiral Rozhestvensky to reinforce the existing Russian squadron based at Port Arthur
Lüshunkou is a district in the municipality of Dalian, Liaoning province, China. Also called Lüshun City or Lüshun Port, it was formerly known as both Port Arthur and Ryojun....

 after the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 as Rozhestvensky felt they were unsuitable for such an extreme blue-water operation. Nevertheless all three were selected to form part of Admiral Nebogatov
Nikolai Nebogatov
Nikolai Ivanovich Nebogatov was a Rear-Admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy, noted for his role in the final stages of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905.-Biography:...

's Third Pacific Squadron which was subsequently sent out to reinforce Rozhestvensky on his journey to the Far East after political agitation following his departure. The two Russian squadrons finally met and united at Cam Ranh Bay
Cam Ranh Bay
Cam Ranh Bay is a deep-water bay in Vietnam in the province of Khánh Hòa. It is located at an inlet of the South China Sea situated on the southeastern coast of Vietnam, between Phan Rang and Nha Trang, approximately 290 kilometers / 180 miles northeast of Hồ Chí Minh City / Saigon.Cam Ranh is...

 after a cruise that became known as the "Voyage of the Damned", and from there Rozhestvensky set course through the South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

 towards the Korea Strait
Korea Strait
The Korea Strait is a sea passage between South Korea and Japan, connecting the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan in the northwest Pacific Ocean...

, where they were discovered by the Japanese.

At the resulting Battle of Tsushima
Battle of Tsushima
The Battle of Tsushima , commonly known as the “Sea of Japan Naval Battle” in Japan and the “Battle of Tsushima Strait”, was the major naval battle fought between Russia and Japan during the Russo-Japanese War...

 (27-28 May 1905), the three ships survived the first phase of the engagement on the evening of 27 May largely due to the Japanese concentrating their efforts on Rozhestvensky's modern battleships (concentrated in the First and Second Divisions of the Russian squadron) and their subsequent almost-total destruction left the Russian fleet in tatters. Nebogatov's Third Division was largely able to keep itself together during the night, although the Apraksin's sister ship
Sister ship
A sister ship is a ship of the same class as, or of virtually identical design to, another ship. Such vessels share a near-identical hull and superstructure layout, similar displacement, and roughly comparable features and equipment...

  strayed from formation and sunk by Japanese torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...

es. The morning of 28 May found the Russian survivors surrounded by an apparently undamaged Japanese force, and Nebogatov surrendered. Thus Apraksin and were captured as prizes of war
Prize of war
A prize of war is a piece of military property seized by the victorious party after a war or battle, typically at sea. This term was used nearly exclusively in terms of a captured ship during the 18th and 19th centuries....


Japanese Service

Admiral Senyavin became the Mishima and General Admiral Graf Apraksin was commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as the 2nd class Coastal Defense Vessel Okinoshima. Okinoshima was named for the small island of Munakata
Munakata, Fukuoka
is a city located in Fukuoka Prefecture, in the north Chikuzen region of the prefecture.As of April 1, 2008, the city has an estimated population of 94,660 and the density of 791 persons per km 2...

, Fukuoka Prefecture
Fukuoka Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located on Kyūshū Island. The capital is the city of Fukuoka.- History :Fukuoka Prefecture includes the former provinces of Chikugo, Chikuzen, and Buzen....

, which is the site of a famous Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 shrine, and which is also geographically close to the location of the Battle of Tsushima.

Okinoshima was part of the Japanese Second Fleet
IJN 2nd Fleet
The was a fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy.-History:First established on 28 December 1903, the IJN 2nd Fleet was created by the Imperial General Headquarters as a mobile strike force of cruisers and destroyers to pursue the Imperial Russian Navy's Vladivostok-based cruiser squadron while the...

 at the outbreak of the First World War, participating in the Battle of Tsingtao
Battle of Tsingtao
The Siege of Tsingtao was the attack on the German-controlled port of Tsingtao in China during World War I by Imperial Japan and the United Kingdom....

 against the small number of German
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

 ships left behind by Admiral von Spee's East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...


On 1 April 1921, Okinoshima was re-classified as a submarine tender
Submarine tender
A submarine tender is a type of ship that supplies and supports submarines.Submarines are small compared to most oceangoing vessels, and generally do not have the ability to carry large amounts of food, fuel, torpedoes, and other supplies, nor to carry a full array of maintenance equipment and...

. Okinoshima was decommissioned on 1 April 1922 and was sold as scrap in 1924 to a private firm, which transformed her into a memorial ship
Museum ship
A museum ship, or sometimes memorial ship, is a ship that has been preserved and converted into a museum open to the public, for educational or memorial purposes...

 located at Tsuyazaki, Fukuoka
Tsuyazaki, Fukuoka
was a town located in Munakata District, Fukuoka, Japan.On January 24, 2005 Tsuyazaki was merged with the town of Fukuma, also from Munakata District, to form the new city of Fukutsu....

, commemorating the Japanese victory at the Battle of Tsushima. The memorial ship was severely damaged in storms in 1939, and scrapped shortly thereafter.

The battleship Okinoshima should not be confused with the Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 era minelayer
Minelaying is the act of deploying explosive mines. Historically this has been carried out by ships, submarines and aircraft. Additionally, since World War I the term minelayer refers specifically to a naval ship used for deploying naval mines...

 of the same name
Japanese minelayer Okinoshima
was a large minelayer of the Imperial Japanese Navy, which was in service during the early stages of World War II. She was named after the Okinoshima Island in the Sea of Japan and the earlier...


See also

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