The Rise and Fall of the Yamato Class Battleships
Titans of the Rising Sun is a detailed study of Japan's Yamato class superbattleships which participated in World War II.
This publication details the evolution of Japanese battleship development culminating with the construction of the largest battleships in history. Included in this volume are the naval battles in which the ships of this class participated along with an analysis of the eventual obsolescence of the battleship in favor of the aircraft carrier.
In May of 1905, the Portsmouth Dockyard received authorization to begin construction of the HMS Dreadnought. With the keel laying taking place on October 2, 1905, the shipyard launched the hull on February 10 of the following year. Work progressed quickly with Dreadnought’s sea trials beginning on October 3, 1906. Much was made at the time about the construction of this ship taking only 366 days. This is somewhat misleading as some preliminary work had been done prior to the keel laying, while the gun turrets were originally consigned to the Lord Nelson and Agamemnon before being acquired for the Dreadnought.
With characteristics unheard of at the time, the resulting design envisioned the new battleship as being much larger than any other in existence on the world’s oceans. With a length of 862.9 feet and a massive beam of 127.6 feet, the proposed vessel had a displacement of 68,200 tons. To allow the warship to operate more easily in coastal waters and utilize existing naval facilities, designers incorporated a relatively shallow draft of 36 feet. The planned 18.1-inch guns were over two inches larger than those fitted on the latest American battleships, and were to be the largest ever fitted to any battleship in history. Unhindered by the necessity to pass through the Panama Canal, as were the battleships of the United States Navy, The extreme beam of the Yamato bestowed a very stable platform for its guns.
At 1520 on April 6, 1945, the battleship Yamato, with Rear Admiral Kosaku Ariga In recognition of the suicidal nature of the operation, this fleet of ships was designated the Surface Special Attack Force. Managing the operation from his headquarters aboard Yamato, Vice Admiral Seiichi Ito was in overall charge of the Ten-Go Task Force. Proceeding through the Inland Sea at 22 knots, the battle fleet made its way towards the Bungo Strait through which it would have to pass to enter the Philippine Sea.
With a lifelong interest in Great Lakes Shipping and military history, Raymond A. Bawal Jr. has written several books on these two subjects.
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