Battleship Yamato
Battleships of World War 2 ( WW2 )

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The Yamato class battleships were battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) constructed and operated during World War II. Displacing 72,000 long tons (73,000 t) at full-load, the vessels of the class were the largest, heaviest, and most heavily-armed battleships ever constructed. The class carried the largest naval artillery ever fitted to a warship, 460-millimetre (18.1 in) naval guns, each of which was capable of firing 2,998-pound (1,360 kg) shells over 26 miles (42 km). Two battleships of the class (Yamato and Musashi) were completed, while a third—the Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano—was converted to an aircraft carrier during construction.
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World War 2


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Battleship Yamato WW2

Battleship Yamato was a Imperial Japanese Navy battleship. Yamato and Musashi were the largest battleships in the world, with 65,000 tons and armed with 460 mm main guns.

Design work for Yamato began in 1934. After modifications it was accepted in March 1937 for a 68,000 ton vessel. Battleship was built at a specially prepared dock at Kure naval shipyards from November 1937. Yamato was launched on August 8, 1940 and commissioned on December 16, 1941. There were intended to be four ships of this class, but the Shinano was converted to an aircraft carrier during construction (sunk 1944) and the un-named Warship Number 111 was scrapped in 1943 when around 30% complete. The proposed super Yamato class, with 508 mm guns, was abandoned.

Battleship Yamato was the flagship of Isoroku Yamamoto from February 1942. Replaced as flagship by the Musashi she spent much of 1943 in harbor at Truk. The anti-aircraft defences were greatly increased in 1943 at Kure but as she returned to Truk on December 25, 1943 she was badly damaged by a torpedo from USS Skate and was not fully repaired until April 1944. She returned to the conflict and joined the Japanese fleet in the Battle of the Philippine Sea (June) and the Battles of Leyte Gulf and Samar Gulf (October), during which she first fired her main guns. She returned home in November and her AA was again upgraded over the winter. Attacked in the Inland Sea on March 19, 1945 by carrier aircraft from Task Force 58 attacking Kure she suffered little damage.

Battleship Yamato's final mission was as part of operation "Ten-Go" following the invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945. She and her escorts were sent to attack the US fleet supporting the US troops landing on the west of the island. The Yamato was to beach herself between Hagushi and Yontan and fight as a shore battery until she was destroyed. Since this was from the start intended to be a suicide mission, the battleship was given only enough fuel for a one-way trip to Okinawa. On April 6 the Yamato, a cruiser and eight destroyers left port at Tokuyama, they were sighted on April 7 as they exited the Inland Sea southwards. The US Navy launched around 400 aircraft to intercept the taskforce and they engaged the ships from mid-afternoon. The navy assembled a force of six battleships and almost thirty escorts to intercept if the air-strikes did not succeed. The Yamato took up to twenty bomb or torpedo hits before, at about 1420 hrs, her magazines detonated. Battleship Yamato capsized to port and sank, still some 200 km from Okinawa. Around 2,475 of her crew were lost and 269 survived. Of her escorts four were sunk and five were disabled and forced to return to Japan. US losses were ten aircraft and twelve aircrew.

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The wreckage lies in around 300 m of water and has been surveyed in 1985 and in 1999.
For further reading, Yoshida Mitsuru (the only surviving bridge officer) wrote a detailed description of the ship's final voyage entitled Requiem for Battleship Yamato


Battleship Yamato Specifications

Displacement: 65,027 tonnes
Length: 256 m
Beam: 36 m
Draft: 11 m (maximum)
Crew: 2,750
Armament (1941): 9 of 460 mm guns in 3 triple turrets; 12 of 155 mm guns in 4 triple turrets; 12 of 12.7 mm guns in 6 twin turrets; 24 of 25 mm AA guns; 8 of 13 mm AA guns. By 1945 six of the 155 mm and all 13 mm guns had been removed and the AA defences had been boosted to 146 of 25 mm guns.
Power: 12 Kanpon boilers, driving 4 steam turbines, 150,000 shp (estimated)
Speed: 27 knots
Endurance: 11,500 km at 16 knots (a knot being about 1.1 mph or 1.8kph)
Armour: 600mm on front of turrets, 409 mm side armour, 198 mm armoured deck.


1945: Final operations and sinking

On 1 January 1945, Yamato, Haruna and Nagato were all transferred to the newly reactivated 1st Battleship Division; Yamato left drydock two days later. When the 1st Battleship Division was deactivated once again on 10 February, Yamato was reassigned to the 1st Carrier Division. On 19 March 1945 Yamato came under heavy attack when American carrier aircraft from Enterprise, Yorktown and Intrepid raided the major naval base of Kure where she was docked. Damage to the battleship, however, was light, due in part to the base being defended by elite veteran Japanese fighter instructors flying Kawanishi N1K "Shiden" or "George" fighters. Led by the man who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor, Minoru Genda, the appearance of these fighters, which were even or superior in performance to the F6F Hellcat, surprised the attackers, and several American planes were shot down. Heavy antiaircraft defensive fire and the heavy upper-deck armour plating on Yamato also prevented any significant damage to the vessel. On 29 March, Yamato took on a full stock of ammunition, in preparation for combat off Okinawa in Operation Ten-Go.

Operation Ten-Go was a deliberate suicide attack against American forces off Okinawa by Yamato and nine escorts, beginning on 6 April 1945. Embarking from Kure, Yamato was to beach herself near Okinawa, and act as an unsinkable gun-emplacement—bombarding American forces on Okinawa with her 18.1-inch heavy-guns. Yamato carried only enough fuel to reach Okinawa, as the fuel stocks available were insufficient to provide enough fuel to reach Okinawa and return. While navigating the Bungo Strait, Yamato and her escorts were spotted by the American submarines Threadfin and Hackleback, both of which notified Task Force 58 of Yamato's position.

At 12:32 on 7 April 1945, Yamato was attacked by a first wave of 280 aircraft from Task Force 58, taking three hits (two bombs, one torpedo). By 14:00, two of Yamato's escorts had been sunk. Shortly afterwards, a second strike of 100 aircraft attacked Yamato and her remaining escorts. At 14:23, having taken 10 torpedo and 7 bomb hits, Yamato's forward ammunition magazines detonated. The smoke from the explosion—over 4 miles (6.4 km) high—was seen 100 miles (160 km) away on Kyushu.[28] 2,498 of the 2,700 crew members on Yamato were lost, including Vice Admiral Seiichi Ito, the fleet commander.

Due to the threat of American submarines and aircraft carriers, both Yamato and Musashi spent the majority of their careers in naval bases at Brunei, Truk, and Kure, before participating in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, as part of Admiral Kurita's Centre Force. Musashi was sunk during the course of the battle by American carrier airplanes. Shinano was sunk ten days after her commissioning in November 1944 by the submarine USS Archer-Fish, while Yamato was sunk in April 1945 during Operation Ten-Go.
 
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Battleship Yamato WW2
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