[LETTERS TO THE EDITORS]Of battleships and gunsI write in reference to the article “Creating a 21st-century defense” (May 10). Ha Young-sun observes that by the outbreak of the war with Czarist Russia in 1904, the Japanese Imperial Navy had “a total of 152 warships, including six world-class battleships and six armored cruisers. But its naval force did not have a single world-class battleship when the Sino-Japanese war broke out in 1894.”
In fact, the watershed event in battleship development was the building of the H.M.S. Dreadnought, completed by the British in 1906. It might be said the Japanese did not have a single world-class battleship in 1904, since the dozen battleships and armored cruisers that they had then had batteries that were comprised of a mixture of guns, 10-, 12- or 13-inch (25, 30 or 33 cm) in diameter. Most importantly, the Dreadnought class battleship mounted a main battery comprising guns which were uniform.
by Richard Thompson