The Ting Yuen ("Eternal Peace") was laid down on March 31, 1881 and launched December 28, 1881. Her sea trials began May 2, 1883. Her near identical sister ship, the Chen Yuen ("Striking From Far Away") was laid down in March 1882 and launched November 28, 1882. Her sea trial began in March 1884. Both ships displaced 7,670 tons fully loaded. Each had four 12 in guns in two barbettes as their main armament. These guns had a light gun shield giving the appearance of a turret. Single 5.9 inch guns in turrets at the bow and stern were the ships' largest secondary armament. The ships were only protected by armor in the citadel style with 14 inches of compound armor protecting amidships. The secondary turrets fore and aft were protected by 3 inch armor.
Both battleships took center stage in the naval battles of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 with the Ting Yuen acting as Admiral Ting's flagship at the Battle of the Yalu in 1894. Though hit hundreds of times by Japanese shells during the battle, both ships remained afloat to fight off the Japanese. By the war's end, the Ting Yuen had been hit by a Japanese torpedo and beached as a total wreck. The Chen Yuen was surrendered to the Japanese who took her into their own navy. Don't let those Japanese woodblock prints fool you, these Chinese battleships were very good warships.
. Most of the information above on the Ting Yuen & Chen Yuen was taken from The Chinese Steam Navy 1862-1945 by Richard Wright. It is the best source of information on this period in the history of the Chinese navy. The book provides much more information on the specifications and operational histories of the Ting Yuen & Chen Yuen than I have provided here.
An excellent book on the Sino-Japanese War is The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 by S. C. M. Paine.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has an small collection of Japanese woodblock prints regarding the Sino-Japanese War which they have graciously shared online. Several of these represent naval themes and are well worth a look.
For an interesting web site related to the Japanese and Chinese Pre-Dreadnought fleets and their conflict in the Sino-Japanese War, see Aaron Hamilton's diagram of the 1894 Battle of the Yalu.
See also the Chinese Naval Historical Institute. This web site is in Chinese.
Queen Victoria's Navy - Steve Johnson's wonderful gallery of images of the Royal navy in the pre-dreadnought age.
The Loss of the Battleship Victoria - June 22, 1893. An excellent discussion of the loss of H.M.S. Victoria which was rammed by H.M.S. Camperdown during fleet maneuvers off Tripoli.
The Melik Society is restoring and preserving the Anglo-Sudanese river gunboat Melik and the paddle steamer Bordein.
A review of wargaming rules for "Simplified Naval Miniatures Rules for the Period 1890-1920". The review includes ordering information.
Historical Miniatures Wargaming Group of Kitsap County, Washington has some excellent pictures of Pre-Dreadnought Era miniatures used for wargaming.
Sovereign Seas Lite is a downloadable wargame for the early Pre-Dreadnought period.
Iron & Fire is a set of miniature wargame rules for the early Pre-Dreadnought period.
Also see the Naval Wargames Society whose members wargame in all naval periods, including the Pre-Dreadnought Era.
See also Ron Branson's Great White Fleet web site.
Ian MacFarlane has a website dedicated to the Great White Fleet's visit to Australia.
See also James Reckner's book Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet available from Amazon.com
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