Battleship Yamato

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Drawing of IJN Superbattleship Yamato

The Yamato was a Japanese super battleship that served in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during World War II. Along with its sister ship, the Musashi, they were the largest battleships ever built.

Super battleship[change | change source]

Yamato was built at Kure, Japan.[1] She entered service on 16 December 1941.[2] It was one of five planned super battleships although only two were built: Yamato and Musashi.[3] The allies had no clue Japan had built these monsters until they were first spotted.

Yamato was huge, even by the standards of todays warships and displaced 62, 315 tons.[3] Yamato had nine 18-inch guns which were the largest in the world at the time. She was 263 metres (863 ft) long.[4] Yamato's armor was 460 millimetres (18 in) thick.[4] Her guns were her most feared weapons. They fired shells that weighed 3,200 pounds each (the size of a compact car!).[4] They had a range of 44 kilometres (27 mi).[4] Yamato was designed to fight and destroy US battleships. But it never faced one in battle.[2]

1941 – 1945[change | change source]

In the 1920s and 1930s the battleship was the ultimate power in naval warfare. But the Japanese, by their attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 proved aircraft carriers were now the most powerful weapon. This meant battleships were already out of date. When the war started, Yamato was the flagship of the Combined Fleet commander Isoroku Yamamoto.[1] It spent much of 1942 defending Japanese shipping out of Truk. Torpedoed by a US submarine in 1943 it was under repair until 1944.[1] Because attack from the air was now the main threat, Yamato was fitted with additional anti-aircraft guns.[5] In June 1944 Yamato took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. In October Yamato was in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. During the battle she fired her guns at US escort carriers thinking they were full sized carriers.[1] She was attacked by several US destroyers and received some damage.[1] Returning to Japan in November she was again fitted with more anti-aircraft guns. By then Japan no longer had the resources to keep Yamato operating. In 1945, Yamato left for Okinawa as part of the suicidal Operation Ten-Go.[1] It was an effort to attack US ships supporting the Battle of Okinawa. But, off the coast of Kagoshima, it was sunk by U.S. aircraft on 7 April.[3]

After The War[change | change source]

After the war, the Yamato became a fascinating subject in Japan and elsewhere.[1] In 1985 her wreckage was located under 340 metres (1,120 ft) of water.[6] It lies on the seabed broken into two sections.[6] The name Yamato lives on in the anime series Space Battleship Yamato.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Yamato (Battleship, 1941-1945)". The United States Navy / Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Janusz Skulski, The Battleship Yamato (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1988), p. 8
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Stephen Bull, Encyclopedia of Military Technology and Innovation (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004), p. 291
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Mitsuru Yoshida, Requiem for Battleship Yamato (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1985), p. xv
  5. Mark E. Stille, The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War (Osprey Publishing Co, 2014), pp. 137–138
  6. 6.0 6.1 AP (4 August 1985). "Remains of Sunken Japanese Battleship Yamato Discovered". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 11 November 2014.

Other websites[change | change source]