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					                                     Japanese Battleships
Geographically Japan has much in common with Great Britain, a strategically located island kingdom
with good harbors. Japan has a long naval tradition and was involved in conflicts with China and Korea
for centuries. By the beginning of the 17th century, Japan had retreated into a policy of isolationism.
This was manifested in the execution of shipwrecked sailors who had the misfortune to come ashore
there. Europe and The United States were concerned about this behavior, and in 1850 a US expedition
lead by Commodore Matthew Perry forced Japan to sign treaties to ensure the proper treatment of
shipwrecked sailors from the US. The treaties were forced upon the Japanese under threat of naval
bombardment. Japan learned quickly from this and developed modern forces to defend itself, and later
used them to emulate the Western colonialists and establish an empire of its own.




            Kotetsu in Washington Navy Yard before acquisition in 1865, (CSS Stonewall)

The Imperial Japanese Navy got its start in 1860 with wooden ships and one of its first ironclads was

1                                   Japanese Battleships                               Jay Amundson
the former CSS Stonewall, a French built ironclad ram that never made it to the Confederacy. This ship
was laid down as the CSS Sphinx, due to Union interference, she was sold to Denmark as Stærkodder.
When Denmark was unprepared to accept delivery , the Confederacy bought the ship and sailed her
towards America, but the war ended, and she was taken by the victorious Union navy. Named Kotetsu
by the IJN, this ship was acquired by Japan in 1868 and put into service in 1869, she served in several
battles and decommissioned in 1888. Though Kotetsu was only 1358 tons, they considered her to be a
battleship in Japan.




                                             The Fuso 1878

The first new ironclad designed specifically for the Japanese, Fuso, was ordered from Britain in 1875
and commissioned in 1878. Fuso was a scaled down version of the HMS Iron Duke (1871). While Fuso
weighed only 3717 tons and carried 9.2” guns, her 230mm armor and 13 knot speed didn't really fit the
description of an armored cruiser, she was considered to be a small central battery ironclad. She was
reclassified as a second class coastal defense ship in 1905 before finally being broken up in 1910.




                                     The Fuso after rebuild (1898)

The Sino-Japanese war of 1894 established Japan as a modern naval power and though she didn't have
battleships she managed a stunning victory over the poorly lead Chinese who did. They were very
aware of the naked feeling their forces felt in the face of the Chinese battleships and vowed never to go
into battle without battleships again. Curiously, the rest of the world took different lessons and quick
firing guns and armored cruisers like the Japanese had used to defeat the Chinese battleships were
adopted elsewhere. The secondary and tertiary batteries of the predreadnoughts also grew in response
to contemporary analysis of the battle. The stunning Japanese defeat of the Russian fleet at Tsushima in
1905, where they first fielded their own battleships in combat, cemented their standing in world affairs

2                                    Japanese Battleships                               Jay Amundson
as a naval power. The victory at Tsushima, won with big guns, was also seen as validation of the
concept of the all big gun ship, and the British Admiralty used this to help secure funding for HMS
Dreadnought herself. In the context of the steel battleship story the Japanese had a modest start but
quickly emerged as a major player, influencing battleship design before she even flew her flag on one.
Unique among the major battleship builders, her first battleship fleets were built abroad, and she never
exported battleships (except for the war prize Nagato, taken by the USN after WWII).

The armored cruisers of the Japanese fleet in the Yalu Sea were victorious, but later accounts by the
Japanese Admirals revealed how naked the IJN felt against the Chinese battleships, the battle was won
by superior seamanship, leadership. tactics. and preparation, and not by the hardware. The French
Canet turrets on the Japanese ships proved relatively ineffective, while the smaller quick firing guns
actually decided the engagement.




                The Chinyen, captured from China – Japan's first operation battleship

The first true Japanese battleship in service was captured from the Chinese in the Sino-Japanese war,
the 7800 ton Chen yuan (1884) was built in a German yard for China and mounted four 12”/25 RBL
guns in two turrets amidships, she had armor up to 14” thick. Both the armor and the guns were from
Krupp, and were technically superior to anything in the Japanese fleet at the time of her capture, she
was a small predreadnought. .She was taken by the Japanese in 1895 at Weihai after the defeat of the
Beijing Fleet. After refit she was commissioned Chinyen and served at the battle of Tsushima, she was
broken up before WWI.




3                                    Japanese Battleships                               Jay Amundson
                                The Fuji, first of Japan's new battleships

The modern battleship era of the Japanese navy was heavily influenced by British battleship technology
and most of their early warships were built in Britain. Though some of their earlier steel warships were
French, employing troublesome Canet turrets, and the captured Chen yuan provided a current example
of German technology, British technology was selected for future acquisitions, having evaluated French
and Germans designs and finding them inferior. Japan had ordered two modern battleships from Britain
in 1894, the Fuji Class, the first of these was delivered in 1897. Japan would eventually purchase eight
predreadnoughts, and one dreadnought battlecruiser from Britain, four of these soon to be
predreadnoughts saw service at the Battle of Tsushima. The Fuji was supplemented at Tsushima by the
Shikishima, and the two newer one off Asaki and Misaka ships. All these predreadnoughts were
conventional four 12” gun (2x2) types. The Japanese had lost two ships, one from each of the two ship
Fuji and Shikishima classes, to mines in 1904.

A naval treaty with Britain in 1902 gave the Japanese considerable help with battleships built
specifically for their navy, and the main Japanese battle line at Tsushima was composed entirely of
British built battleships. The British alliance also helped Japan in other ways, enforcing the treaty
which forbade belligerents from using the straits of Dardanelles and bottling up the Russian Black Sea
fleet. The bizarre Russian attack on the British fishing fleet off the West Coast of Africa added to the
Russian dilemma – with a British fleet hot on their heels and ready to do what the Japanese finally did
to the Tzar's fleet at Tsushima.

By the time of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904, the Japanese fleet, based on modern British built
battleship's was well trained and ready for battle. After the dramatic victory over the Tzarist forces, the
Japanese fleet was supplemented by eight captured Russian battleships, these were rebuilt to Japanese
standards, frequently with new guns and machinery. The last two British predreadnought battleships,
the Katori class, were ordered as replacements for ships lost in that conflict.




4                                     Japanese Battleships                                 Jay Amundson
        Ikoma, sister ship to Tsukuba, a 12” gun armored cruiser, reclassified as a battlecruiser

In 1907 the Japanese first decided on an 8:8 plan for their fleet, initially this was to consist of eight
battleships and eight powerful armored cruisers all less than 10 years old. Several armored cruisers
were later reclassified as battlecruisers and the age requirement for front line battleships was reduced to
eight years old. Four armored cruisers (the Tsukuba and Ibuki classes of two ships each) were
reclassified as battlecruisers in 1912, though at 20 knots on RTE engines they didn't possess the
turbines or speed of true battlecruisers. The Japanese bid to build the first all big gun ship, Satsuma,
failed to complete before the British Dreadnought and ended up with 10” guns in place of the designed
12” weapons, making her the world's most powerful “semi-dreadnought” variant of the
predreadnought, Satsuma's sister Aki, was the first turbine powered Japanese battleship. The only
Japanese dreadnoughts, the two ships of the Kawachi class (1912), had a mix of 12”/45 and 12”/50
guns in a hexagonal layout similar to German dreadnoughts, they never saw combat. Kawachi was lost
in a magazine explosion in 1918, and her sister Settsu was broken up in compliance with the
Washington treaty. The Japanese followed these problematic dreadnoughts with the successful Japanese
built Fuso class (1915) of super dreadnoughts, armed with 14” guns which went on to serve in two
world wars. These were supplemented by the improved Fuso - Ise class (1916), with two of each type
completed. All four were lost in WWII.




5                                     Japanese Battleships                                Jay Amundson
                             Kongo under way shortly after commissioning

The battlecruiser IJN Kongo (1913) which was built in England, so impressed the Royal Navy that they
delayed the completion of HMS Tiger to incorporate some of Kongo's features. Kongo was also the last
Japanese capital ship to be built abroad, she was used as a template for her three sister ships which
were built in Japan, along with the previous predreadnought and dreadnought classes of two ships each.
Japan's shipbuilding efforts were impacted by having only three battleship shipyards and the number of
ships produced in Japan sounds relatively small compared to the other battleship nations, but it only
built two predreadnoughts, and these were intended as dreadnoughts, but the Japanese were unable to
get enough 12” guns and they were completed with 10” wing turret guns. The Japanese battleships
were similar to British designs of WWI but typically had larger guns, the Japanese were an early
adopter of 14” guns, and only two Japanese dreadnoughts carried 12” guns. The Yamato class was
unique, but still had some recognizable British design features. Since nearly all the ships built in Japan
were built as or converted to fast battleships, their qualitative output made their navy all the more
formidable.

Japan went into WWI on the side of Britain, and though the Japanese fleet saw little combat, they were
awarded the prize of most of the German Pacific island possessions above the equator, providing the
IJN with a needed network of bases in the central Pacific. With sixteen predreadnoughts, three old slow
“battlecruisers”, two dreadnoughts, four modern battlecruisers and four super dreadnoughts at the end
of WWI, with eight more ships building. Japan had become the world's third major naval power.
Several war prize battleships were awarded, two from Germany and one from Turkey, but all were
scrapped (they never reached Japan, and were disposed of by proxy) and never served in the IJN.

Following WWI, the Japanese commissioned the Nagato fast battleship class (1920), the first
dreadnought battleships with modern 16” guns and the fastest. The Tosa class battleships and Amagi
class battlecruisers that were building would have had ten 16” guns, but were never completed. These
powerful ships upset the balance of power in the Pacific and fueled a brief post WWI battleship arms
race, which lead to and ended with the Washington treaties. The treaties were resented by the Japanese


6                                    Japanese Battleships                                Jay Amundson
who were allocated a 300,000 limit on battleships while the US and UK received a 500,000 ton limit.
These limits were justified by the argument that each of the other nations were tasked with two oceans
to defend, the reality of the situation was that Japan would probably face a combined fleet of US and
British ships in a major naval war, possibly augmented by French ships (the new Soviet Union was not
considered as a naval power). In compliance with the treaties, Japan converted two of her capital ships
that were building to aircraft carriers, many older ships and four new ships under construction were
scrapped. The great Kanto earthquake of 1923 contributed to the scrapping process, destroying the
battlecruiser Amagi, which was to be converted to a carrier and damaging a number of other ships
under construction. The Tosa class battleship Kaga was selected as a replacement for Amagi, and was
subsequently converted to a heavy carrier, the Amagi classified battlecruiser Akagi was similarly
converted. A few older ships were demilitarized and converted to support ships. The treaties left Japan
with ten fast battleships, the including the four battlecruisers that were upgraded to battleships. The
older Fuso and Ise class super dreadnoughts were upgraded to oil-fired fast battleships as well. The
Japanese were the first to withdraw from the Naval arms agreements, and built their last battleships, the
18.1” gun, 72,800 ton Yamato class (1941), in great secrecy. A class of even larger super Yamato's with
six 20.1” guns was planned. The Japanese intention was to build ships that were individually superior
to all others, to help offset the likely numerical superiority of a combined US and British fleet. Japan
never built any treaty compliant battleships during the treaty period, they also broke the treaties the
massive upgrades of their older ships. The demands of the war for aircraft carriers and the setback at
The Battle of Midway ended battleship construction in Japan, the third ship of the Yamato class was
completed as a carrier and no more battleships were completed after Musashi (1942).

By WWII Japan was a first rate naval power and had the distinction of building the worlds largest
battleships; the Yamato and Musashi. Her naval forces in the Pacific were superior to all the allied
forces in the region combined by 1941. Her powerful battle line was designed to fight a decisive battle
with the USN and overwhelm them with fire power and innovative tactics including massed torpedo
attacks. Due in part to the successful Pearl Harbor attack, this massed battleship engagement never
came about, though it could have at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, aircraft carriers ultimately prevailed over
battleships in every major engagement in the Pacific. Two surface actions involving battleships were
fought, and the USN prevailed in each case, though the Japanese acquitted themselves well in the
Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942, they were simply overwhelmed in the Battle of Surigao
Strait in 1944. The final surface action involving battleships occurred about an hour later, the Battle off
Samar, this was a humiliating defeat for the Japanese, when their powerful battle line was turned back
with heavy damage and substantial loses by the light ASW units of Taffy 3. Poor intelligence and the
mistaken conclusion that they had encountered the USN main battle fleet lead the Japanese to withdraw
from what could have been a shattering victory over the American landing forces. Much of the
dramatic success of the IJN in the first year of WWII followed from racist attitudes about the inferiority
of the Japanese, which was not borne out by previous experiences in the Russian Japanese War. The
Japanese were excellent sailors and they designed and built powerful ships, but ultimately they over
extended themselves and paid a terrible price.




7                                     Japanese Battleships                                Jay Amundson
               Nagato after Crossroads Test Able , by Arthur Beamont (US Navy Image)

The Second World War eventually lead to the virtual annihilation of the IJN, only one battleship
survived, the heavily damaged Nagato, which was ceded to the US as a war prize. Nagato was
expended in the US Operation Crossroads atomic bomb test in 1946, she was so badly damaged by US
bombing that she need to have emergency repairs en route to her destruction. This left only one
Japanese predreadnought, the British built Misaka – Admiral Togo's flagship at Tsushima, still above
water. Admiral Chester Nimitz played an important role in her preservation as a museum ship, over
ruling the Soviet demands to scrap her. She is still serving in this role today, embedded in concrete at
Yokosuka.




                                The Misaka museum at Yokosuka Japan



8                                    Japanese Battleships                               Jay Amundson
                  The conclusion from a WWII USN Manual on the Japanese

    An ancient Japanese proverb says: "The life blood of Japan is the water of the sea." There is
    much truth in this statement. In ancient times the sea served as a mighty line of defense,
    protecting the homeland against foreign invasion. During the years of seclusion, however,
    Japan turned back from the sea while other nations mastered its dangers. The result is
    implicit in the statement of a Shogun to the Mikado: "We are surrounded by the sea, and
    therefore vulnerable at every point." The sea brought life, but it also brought Perry and the
    British.

    Japan's fortunes in relation to Asiatic powers have always varied directly with her control
    over adjacent waters. Dreams of conquest have from earliest times been a part of her life.
    From the Empress Jingo through Hideyoshi down to the present time the desire of this
    island people to expand, to control, to be mighty beyond their size has run like a constant
    design through the pattern of their history. Yi-sun and his "turtleback" taught them that
    conquest was impossible with an army alone. A Navy, powerful enough to control Eastern
    waters, must be basic to all overseas ventures, just as it must be basic to homeland defense.
    Perry provided stimulus, and after his visit the Japanese, with great single-mindedness,
    built just such a Navy.

    Few Americans had knowledge or understanding enough to realize the implications of
    Japan's new position in the Orient at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Shortly after
    the Battle of Manila Bay, however, Admiral George Dewey made some extraordinarily
    prescient remarks on the subject. He said:

    "I look forward some 40 to 50 years and see a Japanese naval squadron entering this harbor,
    as I have just done, and demanding the surrender of Manila and the Philippines, with the
    plan of making these islands a part of the great Pacific Japanese empire of the future.

    "I will not live to witness what you will see if you live your ordinary life. That will be the
    conquest of China by Japan and when that is done conquest of all island possessions from
    north to south off the Pacific coast of the Far East."

    In return for her services in WWI, the League of Nations granted to the Mikado a mandate
    over the Marshall, the Carolines, and the Marianas Islands (less Guam). Here was the
    source of those "unsinkable aircraft carriers" of WWII: Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan, Truk,
    Peleliu, and so many others. Measured in terms of American blood lost on these islands,
    Japan was paid a heavy price for her services in World War I.

    Except from: The Development of Japanese Sea Power: "Know your Enemy" CinCPac
    - CinCPOA Bulletin 93-45




9                                   Japanese Battleships                                 Jay Amundson
                        The battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy




                               Fuji plan view from Brassey's Naval Annual

Fuji Class:The first battleships built for the Japanese Navy, the Fuji Class was modeled after the
British Royal Sovereign class with improvements. The two ships were designed by Sir William White
and built in British yards (Fuji: Thames Iron Works, Yashima:Armstrong-Whitworth at Newcastle on
Tyne). They well built ships, drawing on experience with the Royal Sovereign class ships that preceded
them. Still their lack of underwater protection beyond compartmentalization was highlighted by the
loss of Yashima to a Russian mine near Port Arthur (this weakness was not unique to these ships, and
was shared by all the predreadnoughts).

Name             Fuji                                                              Ships in Class   2
Displacement     12,533 tons                                                       Laid down        08/01/1894
Type             predreadnought                                                    Launched         03/31/1896
Speed            18.25 knots                                                       Commissioned 08/27/1897
Dimensions       374'x73'x26.5'                                                    Range            7,000 nm @ 10
                                                                                                    knots
Armament         4 x 12”40 (2x2). 14 x 6”/40 (in casements), 20 x3”/50 (pedestal   End of Life      1922
                 mounts), 12 x 3 Pdr (12x1), 5x 18” Torpedo tubes
Armor            Harvey: 18“ belt, 14” turrets, 4” casement, 2.5” deck, 14” CT     Complement       726
Machinery        Two VTE, 14 boilers, 2 screws                                     Horsepower       13,500


Fuji: Served on as a demilitarized barracks ship and development center after her disarmament under
the terms of the Washington treaty and was finally scrapped in 1948.

Yashima:Laid down 12/28/1894, Launched 2/28/1896, Commissioned 9/9/1897 she was lost along
with the battleship Hatsuse, striking two Russian mines on 5/15/1905 while en route to relieve the


10                                      Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
blockade of Port Arthur during the Russian Japanese War, sinking in deep water near Korea with nearly
200 men while being towed back to Japan for repair. Her loss was kept secret until after the war.




                               Shikishima plan view from Jane's Fighting Ships

Shikishima Class:: These ships were modified British Majestics, designed by Sir Philip Watts Their
most obvious difference were the three inline funnels, as compared to the Majestic class with two side
by side stacks. They were both built in British yards (Shikishima:Thames Iron Works,
.Hatsuse:Armstrong-Whitworth at Newcastle on Tyne). Both served in the Russian Japanese war.

Name              Shikishima                                                        Ships in Class   2
Displacement      15,453 tons                                                       Laid down        03/29/1897
Type              predreadnought                                                    Launched         11/01/1898
Speed             18 knots                                                          Commissioned 01/26/1900
Dimensions        415'x77'x27'                                                      Range            7.000 nm @ 10
                                                                                                     knots
Armament          4 x 12”40 (2x2). 14 x 6”/40 (in casements), 20 x3”/50 (pedestal   End of Life      1923
                  mounts), 12 x 3 Pdr (12x1), 5x 18” Torpedo tubes
Armor             Harvey: 4”- 9“ belt, 10” turrets & casement, 14.1” barbette, 4”   Complement       836
                  deck, 14” CT
Machinery         2 VTE, 25 Belleville boilers, 2 screws                            Horsepower       14,500

Shikishima: Took ten hits at the Battle of Tsushima and suffered a pair of accidental magazine
explosions on 7/24/1916 and 8/16/1917. De-rated to coastal defense ship in 1919, Served as a
demilitarized barracks and training hulk after her disarmament in 1923 under the terms of the
Washington treaty and was finally scrapped in 1948.

Hatsuse: Laid down Yard number 680, 1/10/1898, Launched 6/27/1899, Commissioned 1/18/1901 she

11                                        Japanese Battleships                                       Jay Amundson
was lost along with the battleship Yashima, striking two Russian mines on 5/15/1905 while serving as
flagship to Admiral Nashiba en route to relieve the blockade of Port Arthur during the Russian Japanese
War, sinking quickly after hitting the second one while being taken under tow. The Captain and
Admiral were saved along with 21 other officers and 313 men but 38 officers and 458 men were lost.




                                                   Asaki




                                            Asaki line drawing

Asaki: The Asaki was a modified British Majestic, designed by Sir Philip Watts, mechanically similar
to the Shikishima class, but with further improvements and a different profile, most notably two stacks,
some authors consider her to be the third ship of this class due to their common Majestic class origins.
Laid down at John Brown in Clydebank. Her watertight subdivision was upgraded to 288 separate
compartments, which enabled her to survive a mine on 10/24/1904 at the battle of the Yellow Sea and
return to service in time for the Battle of Tsushima, taking nine major caliber hits and remaining in
action. During the battle, she hosted British Captain W. C. Pakenham who documented the battle for
the RN from an exposed deck chair on her quarterdeck, confirming the superior tactics and
performance of the Japanese forces. She had the honor of serving as escort to the US Great White Fleet
as it cruised through Japanese waters in 1908. By 1914 she had been relegated to training duties and
trained gunners for newer dreadnought ships. After being refitted with Japanese 12”45 guns in 1917,
her final service as a battleship was in the- Siberian intervention of Aug. 1918. The Asaki had an
interesting career after her Washington Treaty demilitarization in 1923, serving in a wide variety of
roles. With her armor and guns removed. her displacement dropped to 11,200 tons and her speed was
reduced to 12 knots. After a grounding on May 1925, she was refitted in 1926-1927 with four Kampon
oil fired boilers, a large crane and a single stack, dramatically altering her profile and converting her to
a submarine recovery vessel. She was subsequently converted to an aviation ship in 1928 with a
compressed air catapult, and later a powder catapult operating an E2N1 seaplane. She was used as an

12                                     Japanese Battleships                                 Jay Amundson
amphibious assault ship in 1937 in the 2nd Sino-Japanese war, and then converted to a submarine tender
later in 1937. Next she served as a barracks ship and then a repair ship, being converted to a decoy
battleship with wooden guns in 1940 and patrolling off Shanghai. Her final duty was as a troop
transport and repair ship. She was sunk on 5/25/1942 by the submarine USS Salmon off Cape Paderas
in French Indochina, only 14 men were lost.

Name             Asaki                                                             Ships in Class   1
Displacement     15,200 tons                                                       Laid down        08/01/1897
Type             predreadnought                                                    Launched         03/13/1899
Speed            18.25 knots                                                       Commissioned 04/28/1900
Dimensions       425'x75'x27'                                                      Range            9000 nm @ 19
                                                                                                    knots
Armament         4 x 12”40 (2x2). 14 x 6”/40 (in casements), 20 x3”/50 (pedestal   End of Life      1923
                 mounts), 12 x 3 Pdr (12x1), 5x 18” Torpedo tubes
Armor            Harvey: 4”- 9“ belt, 10” turrets & casement, 14.1” barbette, 4”   Complement       836
                 deck, 14” CT
Machinery        2 VTE, 25 boilers, 2 screws                                       Horsepower       15,000




                                Misaka plan view from Jane's Fighting Ships

Misaka: The Mikasa was another derivative of the British Majestic class, but was considerably more
powerful than either the Majestic or her predecessors the Asaki ad the Shikishima class. She carried
Krupp armor (of the same thickness as the Harvey armor on the Majestic), two extra 6”: guns, and had
one knot greater speed. There were many similarities to the previous Majestic type Shikishima class
(the Asaki was considered to be a member of this Shikishima class by ,many observers). This gave the
Japanese a relatively uniform battle line (presaging the later USN standard classes), with their most

13                                       Japanese Battleships                                       Jay Amundson
powerful ship used as the flagship. The stronger armor of Mikasa proved very effective in the Russian
Japanese war and resisted fifty direct hits from heavy Russian guns without being disabled. The Misaka
was one of the most successful examples of the predreadnought type, and she is the only ship of this
type still in existence – serving as a museum to this day at Yokosuka Japan. The Battle of Tsushima
revolutionized battleship construction, and lead to the abandonment of plans to construct further
examples of this class, future emphasis was on big guns and the Japanese followed the British example
with incremental moves towards the dreadnought type.

Name              Mikasa                                                          Ships in Class   1
Displacement      15,140 tons                                                     Laid down        01/24/1899
Type              predreadnought                                                  Launched         11/08/1900
Speed             18.25 knots                                                     Commissioned 03/01/1902
Dimensions        432'x76'x27'                                                    Range            7000 nm @ 10
                                                                                                   knots
20 x Armament     4x 12”/40 (2z3) updated to 12”45 in 1908, 14 z 6”/40 QF, 20 x   End of Life      09/201923
                  3”/40 12 cwt QF guns
Armor             Krupp, 4”- 9“ belt, 8” - 10” turrets, 14” barbette, 3” deck     Complement       860
Machinery         2 VTE, 25 boilers, 2 screws                                     Horsepower       15,000




                                Katori plan view from Brassey's Naval Annual

Katori Class: Ordered as emergency replacements for the two ships lost to mines early in the Russian
Japanese War, Their construction was given high priority but she was finished too late for the Russian

14                                        Japanese Battleships                                     Jay Amundson
Japanese War, These were to be the last British built Japanese battleships. With the basic hull form and
armor layout based on the successful Misaka, there were significant improvements involving armament
and propulsion allowing a substantial improvement in range. The Katori class was similar to the British
King Edward VII class, ships that would come to be called semi-dreadnoughts. The big change was the
incorporation of 10” intermediate batteries mounted in single turrets at the corners of the superstructure
(the Japanese ships used bigger 10” guns in place of the British 9.2” weapons). These were the last
Japanese battleships with the dangerous and useless ram bow. These powerful ships were
overshadowed by the introduction of the HMS Dreadnought and came to be referred to as semi-
dreadnoughts due to being completed to a predreadnought design after HMS Dreadnought had been
commissioned, they served quiet careers, never seeing combat. The two ships served in the escort fleet
for the USN Great White Fleet in 1908.and saw limited service in WWI, participating in the Siberian
Intervention in 1918-1919 as landing ships. Both were broken up in 1924 under the conditions of the
Washington Treaty, with many of their guns used in coastal fortifications.

Name              Katori                                                            Ships in Class   2
Displacement      15,950 tons                                                       Laid down        4/27/1904
Type              Predreadnought (semi-dreadnought)                                 Launched         7/4/1905
Speed             18.5 knots                                                        Commissioned 5/20/1906
Dimensions        420.6'x78'x27'                                                    Range            10,000 nm @
                                                                                                     10 knots
Armament          4 x 12”45 (2x2), 4 x 10”/45 (4x1), 12 x 6”/40 QF, 4 x 3”/40 QF, 2 End of Life      9/20/1923
                  x 3”28 QF, 5 x 18” Torpedo Tubes
Armor             Krupp, 9” Belt, 12” barbettes, 9” turrets, 7” secondary turrets, 2” - Complement   864
                  3” deck, 9” conning tower
Machinery         2 VTE, 20 boilers, 2 screws                                       Horsepower       16,000


Katori: Laid down by Vickers at Barrow in Furness Britain. Carried Prince Hirohito on a six month
tour of Europe in 1922, the first trip abroad for a Japanese crown prince.

Kashima: Laid down by Armstrong Whitworth at Elswick on 2/29/1904, launched 3/22/1905,
commissioned 5/23/1906. Suffered from a 10” turret explosion on 9/17/1907. Escorted Katori while
carrying Prince Hirohito on a six month tour of Europe in 1922.




15                                       Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
                               The Katori in port with boats along side




                           Satsuma plan view from Brassey's Naval Annual

Satsuma: Ordered in 1904, Satsuma was to be the first Japanese built all big gun ship (later called


16                                    Japanese Battleships                               Jay Amundson
dreadnought) and actually predated the dreadnought in design, but difficulty in obtaining enough 12”
guns for her waist turrets lead to her completion with a 10” intermediate battery. This lead to her being
called a semi-dreadnought upon completion (the term didn't exist when she was laid down). She was a
ground breaking ship for the Japanese, and for the world as well, but she went largely unnoticed by
most observers a the time due to the publicity enjoyed by the HMS Dreadnought and the racial
supremacist attitudes in the west. Laid down at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, her design was similar to the
British Lord Nelson class. Her service career was quiet and unremarkable.

Name              Satsuma                                                           Ships in Class   1
Displacement      19,700 tons                                                       Laid down        5/15/1905
Type              Predreadnought (semi-dreadnought)                                 Launched         11/15/1906
Speed             18.25 knots                                                       Commissioned 3/23/1910
Dimensions        482'x83.6'x 27.5'                                                 Range
Armament          4 x 12”45 (2x2), 12 x 10”/45 (6x2), 12 x 4,7”/45 QF, 4 x 3”/50    End of Life      7/9/1924, sunk
                  QF, 8 x47mm/45 QF, 5 x 18” Torpedo Tubes                                           as target
Armor             Krupp, 9” Belt, 12” barbettes, 9” turrets, 7” secondary turrets, 2” - Complement   887
                  3” deck, 9” conning tower
Machinery         2 VTE, 20 boilers, 2 screws                                       Horsepower       17,300




                                Aki plan view from Brassey's Naval Annual

17                                       Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
Aki: A near sister to Satsuma, but with a different profile, three stacks, 6” secondary weapons, and
turbine engines, she was effectively another class, with a number of defects of the Satsuma corrected.
The first Japanese turbine powered ship, using engines from John Brown in England, she was 10'
longer than Satsuma, and carried thinner armor. Laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal, she was damaged in
a grounding in 1914, and finally stripped of reusable equipment and expended as a target under the
terms of the Washington Treaty. The sink exercise (9/27/1923) was witnessed by Crown Prince
Hirohito, with Nagato and Mutsu doing the honors near Tokyo Bay. Her heavy guns were used to
fortify the coastal defenses around Tokyo Bay.

Name             Aki                                                                    Ships in Class    1
Displacement     21,800 tons                                                            Laid down         3/15/1906
Type             predreadnought                                                         Launched          4/14/1907
Speed            20.5 knots                                                             Commissioned      3/11/1911
Dimensions       492'x83.6'x 27.5'                                                      Range
Armament         4 x 12”45 (2x2), 12 x 10”/45 (6x2), 8 x 6”/40 QF, 3 x 3”/40 QF, 3 End of Life            9/7/1923
                 x 3”28 QF, 5 x 18” Torpedo Tubes
Armor            Krupp, 9” Belt, 9” barbettes, 8” turrets, 7” secondary turrets, 2” -   Complement        931
                 3” deck, 6” conning tower
Machinery        2 direct drive turbines, 15 boilers, 2 screws                          Horsepower        24,000




18                                        Japanese Battleships                                           Jay Amundson
                              Kawachi plan view from Brassey's Naval Annual

Kawachi Class: The first and only class of 12” gun dreadnoughts built by Japan, she followed a
German armament plan, with her turrets arranged in a hexagonal layout. Ordered in 1907, these were
the first ships of the 8:8 plan which called for eight new battleships and eight new battlecruisers for the
IJN, all to be less than ten years old (later changed to eight years). A shortage of funding for 12”/45
guns lead to the wing turrets using older 12”/40 guns, and later the charges for the longer guns were
reduced in an effort to provide more uniform ballistics to this mixed armament. Unlike the early British
dreadnoughts, they carried a very heavy secondary battery, similar to the Aki. This class had the
distinction of using Japanese built turbines, achieving a milestone making Japanese shipbuilding more
independent of foreign suppliers.

Name               Kawachi                                                             Ships in Class   2
Displacement       20,800 tons                                                         Laid down        4/1/1909
Type               dreadnaught                                                         Launched         10/15/1910
Speed              20 knots                                                            Commissioned 3/31/1912
Dimensions         527'x84'x27.5'                                                      Range
Armament           4x 12”45 (2x2), 8 x 12”/40 (4x2), 10 x 6”/40, 8 x 4,7”/45 QF, 12 x End of Life       7/12/1918
                   3”/40 QF, 4 3”/25 QF, 5 x 18” Torpedo Tubes
Armor              Krupp: 4” - 12” belt, 7” - 9” barbettes, 11” turrets, 1” deck, 6”   Complement       999
                   conning tower
Machinery          2 direct drive turbines, 16 boilers, 2 screws                       Horsepower       25,000
Kawachi: Laid down at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal. Participated in the Battle of Tsingtao (10/17/1914),
seizing the German held port in the early days of WWI. Destroyed in an accidental magazine explosion
at Tokuyama Bay on 7/12/1918, with the loss of 621 officers and men out of her complement of 1059.




        The main deck of the Kawachi, note the hammocks used as splinter protection on the bridge

Settsu: Laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal on 1/18/1909, launched on 3/30/1911, and commissioned on


19                                          Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
7/1/1912. She featured a clipper bow, compared to the strait bow on her sister the Kawachi. She
survived the treaty as a radio controlled target ship with her guns removed, and her armor strengthened
to accept hits from 8” guns. She was sunk by US naval aircraft on 7/24/1945,being raised and scrapped
in 1947.




                                            A plan view of the Kongo

Kongo Class: The Kongo was the last Japanese ship built by Britain, with her three sisters built in
Japanese yards, she was also the first class of Japanese battlecruisers (there were two classes of 12” gun
armored cruisers which were reclassified as battlecruisers but they were not true battlecruisers as they
had VTE propulsion, they were lightly protected predreadnoughts). Kongo was designed by George
Thurston and based on the HMS Lion, Vickers design 472C, Japanese specification B-46. The Vickers
built Kongo turned out so well that the RN delayed the completion of the HMS Tiger to incorporate
some of her features. The first ship of the class was built at Barrow in Furness and the plans and
patterns were transferred to Japan where the last three ships were laid down. They were one of the few
classes to avoid the scrapping and target exercises resulting from the Washington Treaties, and
underwent extensive reconstruction in 1931, emerging as a fast battleship, practically new ships. Their
reconstructions were technically in violation of the treaty, but official specifications showed them as
compliant ( a common practice among the Axis countries). They saw some service in WWI, but were
not engaged in any significant fighting, their WWII service was extensive and they proved to be
workhorses for the IJN, all were lost in combat.

Name              Kongo                                                              Ships in Class   4
Displacement      27,000 tons                                                        Laid down        1/27/1911
Type              battlecruiser                                                      Launched         5/8/1912
Speed             27 Knots                                                           Commissioned 8/16/1913
Dimensions        704'x95'x32'                                                       Range
Armament          8x 14”/45 (4x2), 16 x 6”/50 in casements, 8 x 3”/40 (8x1), eight   End of Life      Sept 1929,
                  21” torpedo tubes                                                                   reconstructed
Armor             Krupp 3” - 8” belt, 9” turrets, 10” barbettes, 1.6” – 2.5”decks, 10” Complement     1360
                  conning tower
Machinery         4 direct drive turbines, 36 Yarrow coal fired boilers, 4 screws    Horsepower       82,000


20                                        Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
After conversion to fast battleship
Name              Kongo                                                              Ships in Class     4
Displacement      36,600 tons                                                        Start Rebuild      Sept 1929
Type              Fast battleship                                                    Re-Launched        3/31/1931
Speed             30 knots                                                           Re-Commissioned 1932
Dimensions        738'x95'x32'                                                       Range              8,000 nm @
                                                                                                        14 knots
Armament          8x 14”/45 (4x2), 8 x 6”/50 in casements,. 8 x 5”/40 DP guns        End of Life        11/21/1944
                  (4x2), 100 x 25mm/60 AA guns (single and triple), 8 x
                  13.2mm/62 MG
Armor             Krupp 3” - 8” belt, 9” turrets, 11” barbettes, 1.6” – 4.7”decks,   Complement         1437
                  10” conning tower
Machinery         4 geared turbines, 8 boilers, 4 screws                             Horsepower         136,000


Kongo:Refitted by Yokosuka Naval Arsenal 9/1929 to 3/1931 (oil conversion), 2nd refit also at
Yokosuka 6/1935 to 1/1937 (AA upgrades). Between her upgrades she served as the flagship of the
Japanese Combined Fleet from 1933 to 1934. Serving extensively in many campaigns in WWII, her
final action was at the Battle of Samar in Leyte Gulf where she sunk two USN destroyers and damaged
an escort carrier. She lead a charmed life right up to the end and was never significantly damaged by
enemy action (one of her ranger finders was hit and damaged by strafing Wildcats at Leyte Gulf) until
her sinking by a US submarine. She suffered magazine explosion after being torpedoed and sunk by the
USS Sealion II on 11/21/1944 near Formosa with a loss of about 1250 men. The Kongo was the only
Japanese battleship to be sunk by a submarine, and the last battleship ever to be sunk in this way.

Hiei: Laid down at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal 11/4/1911, launched 11/21/1912, commissioned at Sasebo
8/4/1914. Placed in reserve in 1920, reconstructed 1924 – 1927 and demilitarized to comply with the
Washington Treaty. Refitted as an Imperial Service ship in 1933, served as the Imperial yacht until
1937 when Japan withdrew from the treaties. Was refitted to a fast battleship from 1937 – 1940 and
was heavily utilized in the first years of WWII. Damaged in the 1st Battle of Guadalcanal by cruiser and
destroyer gunfire and further damaged by USN aircraft the next day. Scuttled by Japanese destroyer
torpedoes off Savo Island om 11/13/1942.

Kirishima:Laid down at Mitsubishi Naval Shipyard at Nagasaki on 3/17/1912, launched 12/1/1913,
transferred to Sasebo for fitting out and commissioned on 4/19/1915. First reconstruction at Yokosuka
Naval Arsenal 3/1927 – 3/1930, 2nd refit at Sasebo 6/1934 – 6/1936. Damaged USS South Dakota at the
Battle of Savo Island but was surprised by USS Washington and sunk on 11/15/1942.

Haruna:Laid down at Kawasaki Naval Shipyard at Kobe on 3/16/1912, launched 12/14/1913,
commissioned on 4/19/1915. First reconstruction was at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal from 3/1924 to
9/1934, the 2nd was art Kure Naval Arsenal from 8/1933 to 9/1934. In her final configuration her
secondary armament consisted of 8 x 6”/50 (8x1), 12 x 5”/40 (6x2) and 118 x 25mm/60 (triple and
single mounts). She was bombed and sunk by USN aircraft on 7/28/1945 and salvaged and scrapped in
1946.



21                                        Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
                                                A plan view of Fuso

Fuso Class: The first Japanese super dreadnoughts, among the most powerful ships in the world when
laid down. They were long fine hulled ships with an inefficient armor layout, the Yamashiro was built
as a modified design to partially correct this flaw, but was less than successful in this regard. The Fuso
class were the oldest battleships retained after the Washington Treaties and were extensively modified
in 1930 - 1933 converting from coal to oil firing and greatly increasing SHP. A second refit to upgrade
AA guns was done in 1935. The ships were also lengthened during these refits and given the
characteristic “Pagoda” superstructures. Antiaircraft batteries were substantially upgraded throughout
the WWII period, which was common to all Japanese battleships. A planned WWII conversion to
hybrid carriers was canceled. Due to their deficiencies, the ships were held in reserve and used
primarily for training until later in the war, when they were thrown into combat and promptly lost.

Name              Fuso                                                              Ships in Class   2
Displacement      35,900 tons                                                       Laid down        3/11/1912
Type              Super dreadnaught                                                 Launched         3/28/1912
Speed             1915: 23 knots, WWII: 25 knots                                    Commissioned 11/18/1915
Dimensions        1915: 665'x 94' x 28.5',                                          Range            8,000 nm @ 14
                  1933: 673'x101'x32'                                                                knots
Armament          1915: 12 x 14”/45 (6x2), 16 x 6”/50 (16x1), 12 x 3”/40 (12x1), 4 End of Life       10/25/1944
                  6.5mm MG, 6 x 18” torpedo tubes (submerged)
                  WWII: 8 x 5”/40 DP (4x2). 37 x 25mm/60 (single and triple), 10 x
                  13.2mm MG (2x5) – torpedoes removed
Armor             Krupp: 4” - 12” belt, 1,25” - 3” deck, 12” turrets, 9” barbettes, 12” Complement   1400
                  conning tower
                  1930's: 14” turrets, 10” barbettes, 3.8” - 7” deck,
Machinery         1915: 4 direct drive, 24 coal boilers w/ oil sprayers, 4 screws   Horsepower       1915: 40,000
                  1930's: 4 geared turbines, 6 oil boilers, 4 screws                                 1930's 75,000


22                                           Japanese Battleships                                    Jay Amundson
Fuso: Laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal, underwent the first major reconstruction of the treaty era, was
retained in home waters for most off WWII, sunk by destroyer torpedoes at the Battle of Surigao Strait
on 10/25/1944

Yamashiro: Laid down at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on 11/20/1913, launched 11/3/1915, commissioned
3/17/1917. Her third turret was reversed when compared to her sister, Fuso to improve armor layout.
Sunk with all hands by battleship gunfire and torpedoes at the Battle of Surigao Strait 10/25/1944.




                                             Ise deck plan




                                        Ise in her original form




                                  The Ise hybrid carrier conversion

Ise Class: These two ships were originally conceived as sisters of the Fuso class, but the design
changes were significant enough to warrant a new class. Basically an improved Fuso type, with a
rearrangement of turrets and machinery to improve armor distribution. The Ise class with built with the


23                                    Japanese Battleships                              Jay Amundson
newer 5.5” secondary guns and 21” torpedo tubes, and included antiaircraft guns. Extensively
reconstructed in the 1930's they emerged as very different ships. By WWII they were showing their age
and served primarily in training duties until their conversion to hybrid carriers. Following the loss of
the carriers at the Battle of Midway, the two ships were converted to hybrid aircraft carrier battleships
in 1943, they were selected because they were faster than the Fusos but the lack of aircraft and pilots
negated the benefits of these changes and only a few planes were embarked. Both of the ships were
used as decoys at the Battle of Cape Engano in 1944 where they were heavily damaged. Later they
were both sunk by aircraft in the Inland Sea. They saw the least action of all the WWII IJN battleships

Name              Ise                                                                Ships in Class   2
Displacement      36,500 tons                                                        Laid down        5/10/1915
                  1930's: 39,335 tons
Type              Super dreadnaught                                                  Launched         11/22/1916
Speed             23 knots, 1930's 25.3 knots                                        Commissioned 11/12/1917
Dimensions        1917: 675'x94'x29'                                                 Range
                  1930's 708'x104'x30'
                  1944: 720.5'x104'x29.5'
Armament          1917: 12 x 14”/45 (6x2), 20 x 5.5”/50 (20x1), 4 x 3”/40 (4x1), 6 x End of Life      7/28/1945
                  21” torpedo tubes (submerged)
                  1930's:12 x 14”/45 (6x2), 16 x 5.5”/50 (16x1), 8 x 5”/40 DP (4x2).
                  57 x 25mm/60 (single and triple), 7 x 7.7mm MG (7x1) – torpedo
                  tubes removed
                  1944: 8 x 14”/45 (4x2), 16 x 5.5”/50 (16x1), 8 x 5”/40 DP (4x2).
                  104 x 25mm/60, 6 x 30 tube 4.7” rocket launchers, up to 22
                  aircraft (though she never carried this many)
Armor             Krupp: 4” - 12” belt, 1,25” - 3” deck, 12” turrets, 9” barbettes, 12” Complement    1463
                  conning tower
                  1930's: 14” turrets, 10” barbettes, 3.8” - 7” deck,
Machinery         1917: 4 direct drive turbines, 24 coal boilers w/oil sprayers, 4   Horsepower       45,000
                  screws                                                                              1930's: 82000
                  1930's: 4 geared turbines, 8 oil boilers, 4 screws




                                                 The Ise on trials

Ise: Laid down by Kawasaki at Kobe. Completed too late for WWI, the Ise participated in the Siberian
Intervention in 1919 and hosted the British Prince of Wales and Lord Mountbatten in April 1922. She
was refitted in 1928 – 1929 receiving the “Pagoda” type superstructure and flying off platforms. Three
more refits in 1930- 1933 converted her to catapult aviation, AA weapons (including eight 5”/40 single


24                                          Japanese Battleships                                      Jay Amundson
mounts) and searchlights. A though refit in 1935 – 1937 converted her to oil boilers- improving her
speed, trunked her funnels together, added 25mm/60 AA weapons and bulged and lengthened her hull ,
main and secondary battery elevation was increased to 43 deg and 30 deg respectively. She participated
in the Pearl Harbor raid, and unsuccessfully chased the carriers from the Doolittle raid. Following the
accidental flooding of engine room #2 in May 1942, she was repaired and fitted with the first radar set
on an IJN battleship. Following the Midway disaster she was converted to a hybrid carrier, with
additional protection added to her steering area and flight deck, some in the form of concrete. AA
armament was also substantially increased, with the single 5”40 mounts converted to twin mounts and
25mm/60 augmented to 57 tubes. Her 230' flight deck did not permit recovery of conventional aircraft,
while officially completed 10/23/1943, the hybrid carriers were not operational until Aug 1944, and a
final AA update was performed in May 1944 which increased 25mm/60 to 104 tubes and added six 28
tube 4/7” rocket launchers and newer radars. The ships were used in the decoy Norther Force under
Admiral Ise in Oct 1944, successfully drawing off Halsey's main force and sustaining moderate damage
(the conventional carriers were lost). Following this mission they were modified to allow gun support
operations and used in Operation Kita off Singapore transporting supplies to Japan, Ise was damaged
by a mine in this operation. From Feb 1945 they were in home waters serving a s floating AA batteries
where Ise was sunk by carrier aircraft with 16 bombs on 7/28/1945 in shallow water. She was scrapped
in 1947 without being raised




                                 “This was Hyuga” by Standish Backus

Hyuga: Laid down by Mitsubishi on 5/6/1915, launched 1/27/1917, commissioned 4/30/1918. Hyuga
received the same refits and modifications as her sister Ise, and participated in the same activities and
operations. This included removing her two aft turrets and replacing them with a230' flight deck
protected by 8”of concrete in 1943. She was run aground on 7/27/1945 following USN carrier aircraft
attacks to prevent her sinking, and scrapped beginning in 1946.




25                                     Japanese Battleships                                Jay Amundson
                             An ONI recognition diagram for the Nagato

Nagato Class: These two ships caused great concern among the western powers by being the first
battleships to be deployed with 16” guns, the Royal Navy was particularly shocked as the biggest guns
planned for any British battleship at the time were 15”. They were based on the Ise class as well as the
Kongo design and the British QE class, with many improvements including bigger guns, and better
protection. The turret design was derived from the British 15” twin gun type on the QE, but with
upgrades to protection and flash tightness. A unique fore mast design with seven legs was employed to
make that portion of the ship more damage resistant. The gun, speed and armor combination of the
Nagato class was truly remarkable for the time, and with her 1930's refits they were among the most
formidable battleships in existence. They were the most powerful ships in the world when completed,
and the most powerful ships in the IJN until the Yamatos were completed twenty years later. They had
no peers until the USS North Carolina was commissioned in 1941; the USS Colorado and HMS Nelson
were almost 5 knots slower, and even the mighty Bismark couldn't out gun her and would have been
vulnerable to her guns. The technically advanced French Richelieu and Italian Littorio had the same
gun deficiency and crews who were notoriously unprepared to fight. They influenced many foreign
designs, including the RN KGV and the USN fast battleships. They were the only IJN battleships the
USN didn't sink, the Mutsu succumbed to an accident with her magazines and the Nagato actually
survived the war to become a war prize. She even survived an air dropped atom bomb detonation. If
Japan had built several more of these fine ships using the technology of the 1930's, instead of the
ungainly Yamatos, their battleship fleet might have served her more effectively, and she might have had
a few more carriers to replace some of her losses.




26                                    Japanese Battleships                               Jay Amundson
                                   The forward 16.1”/45 guns of Nagato

Name             Nagato                                                               Ships in Class   2
Displacement     42,753 tons                                                          Laid down        8/28/1917
Type             Fast Battleship                                                      Launched         11/9/1919
Speed            26.5 knots                                                           Commissioned 11/15/1920
Dimensions       1920: 700'x90'x31                                                    Range            5500 nm @ 16
                 1930's: 738'x108'x31''                                                                knots
Armament         8 × 16.1”/45 (4x2), 20× 5.5”/50 (20x1), 8 × 4.7”/45 (8x1), 8 ×     End of Life        7/25/1945
                 21”torpedo tubes
                 1930's: 8 x 5”/40 DP (4x2). 98 x 25mm/60 (single and triple), 10 x
                 13.2mm MG (2x5) – torpedoes removed
Armor            Krupp: 4”-12” belt @ 15 deg, 14” turrets. 3”-12” barbettes, 1.7” -   Complement       1368
                 3” deck, 14.6” conning tower
                 1933: increased to 5” -7”deck, 20” turret, 22” barbettes, 14” belt
Machinery        1920: 4 geared turbines, 21 coal boilers w/oil sprayers, 4 screws    Horsepower       82,000
                 1930's: 4 geared turbines, 10 oil boilers, 4 screws


Nagato: Laid down at the Kure Naval Arsenal, Nagato participated in most of the major Japanese naval
operations, though she had little success again the enemy. She was the only IJN battleship to survive
WWII afloat, though she was heavily damaged by USN aircraft. She was ceded to the US as a war
prize and expended in the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests in 1946. Even the atomic bombs
couldn't sink her, the USN was embarrassed and demolition charges were used to hole her, it still took
her five days to sink after all these efforts.




27                                        Japanese Battleships                                         Jay Amundson
                                The Mutsu in her original configuration

Mutsu: Laid down at the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on 6/1/1918, launched 5/31/1920, commissioned
10/24/1921. Mutsu participated in most of the IJN fleet actions thru Midway, and sunk after a magazine
explosion in the Inland Sea on 6/8/1943 while conducting training exercises with a loss of 1,121 lives
and only 353 men survived. The Japanese investigation blamed human intervention as the cause, but
volatile propellent or the new type 3 Sanshikidan “beehive” AA shells were most likely the cause.
Admiral Shigetaro immediately order the removal of the type 3 shell from all IJN ships following the
accident. In 1944, 580 tons of oil from her fuel tanks was salvaged, in Operation Bamboo, to help feed
a fuel starved Japan. Considerable salvage has been conducted since the sinking and many of her parts
are displayed in various museums and monuments in Japan. The number four turret was removed and
restored and is emplaced at the Etajima naval training center, There is a Mutsu Memorial museum in
Towa Cho Japan and pre atomic age steel from the ship is still being used in nuclear experiments.




               A line drawing of the Tosa as she would have appeared after completion

Tosa Class: A post Jutland design, superficially similar to the Nagato class, but with many
improvements, which an included inclined belt, thick decks and internal torpedo protection The Tosa
class battleships were part of the Japanese 8:8 policy of matching the most likely opponent in strength
and were the first of four classes of similar battleships (including the Amagi, Kii and Project 13
classes). Careful analysis of the damaged ships from the Battle of Jutland lead to significant changed to
armor layout which was applied to these ships. The Japanese after WWI had identified the USN as their
most like adversary and determined that 16 powerful warships would provide parity with the USN in
the Pacific. The ten 16” gun Tosa class were to be qualitatively superior to the eight 16” gun Colorado
class battleships. The powerful 24” “Long Lance” torpedoes were carried for the first time on a
battleship. The Washington treaty lead to the use of the nearly completed Tosa as a target, and the
conversion of the Kaga to an aircraft carrier. Had they been completed they would have been the most
powerful battleships in existence before the Yamato class (depending on whether the subsequent classes


28                                    Japanese Battleships                               Jay Amundson
were built). The carrier Kaga was lost at Midway.

Name             Tosa (Laid down, not completed)                                 Ships in Class   2
Displacement     44,200 tons (full load)                                         Laid down        7/191920
Type             Fast battleship                                                 Launched         11/17/1921
Speed            26.5 knots                                                      Commissioned na
Dimensions       760'x100'x31'                                                   Range            5,000 nm @ 16
                                                                                                  knots
Armament         10 × 16.1”/45 (5x2), 20× 5.5”/50 (20x1), 4 × 3”/40 (4x1), 8 ×   End of Life      2/9/1925
                 24”torpedo tubes
Armor            Krupp: 11" Belt @ 15 deg, 9”-12”turrets and barbettes, 4" Decks, Complement      1333
                 3” torpedo bulkhead tied to 1.5” splinter deck, 14" Conning Tower
Machinery        4 turbines, 12 boilers, 4 screws                                Horsepower       91,000




                                   The incomplete Tosa under tow in 1922

Tosa: Laid down at Mitsubishi, never completed due to Washington Treaty, canceled when nearly
complete during fitting out on 2/2/1922, about four months before scheduled completion. Stricken on
4/1/1924, modified and used for weapons experiments, sunk as a target on 2/9/1925 in the Bungo
Straits.

Kaga: Laid down at Kawasaki on 7/19/1920, launched 11/17/1921, the incomplete hull was used as a
replacement for the Amagi, which was wrecked in an earthquake, and converted to a fast carrier. The
conversion began in 1923 and involved new machinery for higher speed, ten 8” guns and heavy cruiser
type armor protection. Kaga was commissioned on 3/21/1928 and participated in the Pearl Harbor
attack on 12/7/1941 and sunk at the Battle of Midway on 6/4/1942.




29                                         Japanese Battleships                                   Jay Amundson
                          The Kii as she would have appeared after completion

Kii Class: The second post Jutland design, following Tosa, with greater speed and some detail
improvements. These would have been part of the 8:8 plan to provide superiority over the USN in the
Pacific. They were canceled before being laid down, due to the Washington Treaty (it is questionable
whether Japan could have afforded them at the time).

Name              Kii (canceled)                                                   Ships in Class   4
Displacement      42,600 tons                                                      Laid down        na
Type              Fast Battleship                                                  Launched         na
Speed             30 knots                                                         Commissioned na
Dimensions        820'x101'x31.5'                                                  Range            7500 nm @ 16
                                                                                                    knots
Armament          10 × 16.1”/45 (5x2), 16× 5.5”/50(16x1), 4 × 4.7”/45 (4x1), 8 ×   End of Life      na
                  24”torpedo tubes
Armor             Krupp: 11" Belt @ 15 deg, 9”-12”turrets and barbettes, 4" Decks, Complement       1500
                  3” torpedo bulkhead tied to 1.5” splinter deck,14" Conning Tower
Machinery         4 turbines, 19 boilers, 4 screws                                 Horsepower       131,200


Kii: Was to be built at Kure Naval Arsenal, canceled 4/14/1924.

Owari: Was to be built at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, canceled 4/14/1924.

Saruga: Was to be built at Kawasaki, canceled 11/19/1923.

Omi: Was to be built at Mitsubishi, canceled 11/19/1923.




                             Amagi as she would have appeared after completion

Amagi Class: A faster version of the Tosa class, classified by the Japanese as a battlecruiser, but

30                                        Japanese Battleships                                      Jay Amundson
similar to HMS Hood in belt protection, with nearly twice the deck protection. They would be
considered fast battleships by most observers.

Name             Amagi (canceled)                                               Ships in Class   4
Displacement     52,000 tons                                                    Laid down        12/6/1920
Type             battlecruiser                                                  Launched         na
Speed            30 knots                                                       Commissioned na
Dimensions       826'x101'x31'                                                  Range            8000 nm @ 14
                                                                                                 knots
Armament         10 × 16”/45 (4x2), 16× 5.5”/50(20x1), 8 × 4.7”/45 (8x1), 8 ×   End of Life      9/1/1923
                 24”torpedo tubes
Armor            Krupp: 10" Belt @ 15 deg, 9”-12”turrets and barbettes, 3.9"    Complement       1600
                 Decks, 14" Conning Tower
Machinery        4 turbines, 19 boilers, 4 screws                               Horsepower       131,200


Amagi Laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal on 12/6/1920, conversion to an aircraft carrier was planned
under the terms of the Washington Treaty destroyed in the Great Kanto earthquake in Sept 1923.

Akagi Laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal on 12/6/1920, launched 4/22/1925, conversion to an aircraft
carrier was started on 11/19/1923, under the terms of the Washington Treaty. Lost at the Battle of
Midway, 6/5/1942.

Atago: Laid down at Kawasaki 11/22/1921, canceled 7/31/1922, stricken on 4/14/1924, scrapped in
1924 in compliance with the Washington Treaty.

Takao: Originally named Ashitaka. Laid down at Mitsubishi 12/19/1921, canceled 7/31/1922, stricken
on 4/14/1924, scrapped in 1924 in compliance with the Washington Treaty.




                                    Type 13 as she might have appeared

Type 13 Class: Post Jutland designs by Admiral Hirago, proposed in 1921, similar to the Kii class but
larger, with bigger guns and stronger protection. These were proposed ships, which never received
names, and were not started, they were canceled on 11/19/1922. The final ships of the revised
battleship/battlecruiser 8:8 plan, they probably would have started another arms race had they been
built. They would have been the first ships to carry 18” guns (though the planned British N3 class
would have had similar weapons). These 18” guns were a 1920 design and were slightly smaller but
still heavier than those used on the Yamato class.



31                                       Japanese Battleships                                    Jay Amundson
Name              Project 13, planned, never started                               Ships in Class   4
Displacement      47,500 tons                                                      Laid down        na
Type              Fast battleship                                                  Launched         na
Speed             30 knots                                                         Commissioned na
Dimensions        900'x101'x30'                                                    Range            7500 nm @ 16
                                                                                                    knots
Armament          8 x 18”/45 (4x2), 16 x 5.5”/50, 4 x 4.7”/45, 34 x 25mm/60, 8 x   End of Life      na
                  24” torpedo tubes
Armor             Krupp: 13” belt @ 15 deg , 14” turrets, 11” barbettes, 5” deck, 14” Complement    ~1600
                  conning tower
Machinery         4 turbines, 22 coal boilers w/oil sprayers, 4 shafts             Horsepower       150,000


Hull 13: Was to be built at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal.

Hull 14: Was to be built at Kure Naval Arsenal.

Hull 15: Was to be built at Mitsubishi.

Hull 16: Was to be built at Kawasaki.




32                                         Japanese Battleships                                     Jay Amundson
1930 treaty designs: In 1930, as the first Washington Treaty builder's holiday came to an end, a pair of
35,000 ton treaty battleship designs were drawn up by two prominent Japanese naval architects;
Admiral Hirago, and Admiral Fujimoto. They were to be replacements for the Kongo and Fuso class
battleships which were approaching the 20 year old retirement age in the treaty terms. It appears that
the Japanese had no intention of using 14” guns, and both types were to have carried 16.1”/45 guns
derived from the Nagato type. These guns would probably had designations which indicated they were
treaty compliant 14” guns, like the “16” guns of the Yamato class. They were true treaty battleships,
with compromises to save weight including modest speed and armor, and very cramped crew
accommodations, even by Japanese standards, which were already uncomfortably tight on the pre
treaty Japanese designs. Both had a single tall compact tower superstructure, one mast and one stack.

Hirago Design: A more traditional looking ship, mounting half the secondary guns casements
amidships, this design had an S-shaped funnel like the forward stack the Nagato after her 1930's. refits.
Provisions for 2 catapults were made on top of the 3 gun turrets. The 3 gun turrets were super firing
due to the hull width constraints in meeting treaty weight restrictions. Hirago's design was the only one
with torpedo tubes.

Name              Hirago Treaty design 1930, planned, never started               Ships in Class   1
Displacement      39,200 tons                                                     Laid down        na
Type              Fast battleship                                                 Launched         na
Speed26           26.5 knots                                                      Commissioned na
Dimensions        761'x105'x29.5'                                                 Range            ~5000 nm @ 16
                                                                                                   knots
Armament          10 x 16.1”/45 (2x2, 2x3), 16 x 6”/50 (4x2, 8x1)), 8 x 4.7”/45   End of Life      na
                  (8x1), 2 x 24” torpedo tubes
Armor             Krupp: 11” belt @ 15 deg , 5” deck                              Complement       ~1000
Machinery         4 turbines, 10 oil boilers, 4 shafts                            Horsepower       80,000


Fujimoto Design: This version earned favor with the Admiralty, though it was the most cramped
design. It was unusual in its mounting of the secondary turrets fore and aft of the main battery, but had
the same turret layout that was later used on the Yamato class, a search light platform surrounded the
stack, and a small aft tower carried the main mast. A single catapult was mounted on the aft turret.

Name              Fujimoto Treaty design 1930, planned, never started             Ships in Class   1
Displacement      39,250 tons                                                     Laid down        na
Type              Fast battleship                                                 Launched         na
Speed             26 knots                                                        Commissioned na
Dimensions        777'x105'x28.5                                                  Range            ~5000 nm @ 16
                                                                                                   knots
Armament          9 x 16.1”/45 (3x3), 12 x 6”/50 (6x2), 8 x 4.7”/45 (8x1)         End of Life      na
Armor             Krupp: 11” belt @ 15 deg , 5” deck                              Complement       ~1000
Machinery         4 turbines, oil boilers, 4 shafts                               Horsepower       73,000




33                                          Japanese Battleships                                   Jay Amundson
                            The Yamato in 1945, with her upgraded AA suite

Yamato Class: The Yamatos were the ultimate battleships, no other battleships ever built were bigger
or carried heavier guns and armor. They were built in great secrecy and their existence was never
officially acknowledged by the IJN, the design records and plans were destroyed after the war by the
Japanese in a futile attempt to conceal their treaty violating proportions. The ships required substantial
infrastructure development including transport ships t move the guns, special building slips, and
security arrangements. A massive sisal rope curtain was built to hide the ships during construction,
creating a shortage of rope for civilian use in the home islands. Initial plans for diesel engines were
tested on a number of transport ships but proved unreliable, leading to great concerns about burying
them under a eight inch armored deck. The designs were first revised to a hybrid diesel and turbine
configuration and then to a very conservative 265 psi steam turbine set up, with good reliability, but
poor economy. This lack of economy, combined with critical shortages of oil later in the war, largely
due to the very successful American anti-shipping submarine campaign, lead to under utilization of
these very expensive ships. The weight of armor was impressive, with a single turret weighing more
than a typical destroyer. Following testing on the Tosa hull, the Japanese designed special 3200# AP
shells intended to travel underwater and strike enemy battleships below the armored belt. The heavy
protection lead to some design decisions like longitudinal bulkheads in the engineering spaces and
heavy traverse beams which caused catastrophic problems when the flaws in the system were
uncovered by torpedo damage. The 2nd ship, Musashi, was built to a modified design with even greater
protection. A third ship, Shinano, was converted to an aircraft carrier during construction, she would
have been another incremental improvement over the Musashi had she been completed as a battleship.
One more ship was started but canceled before it was completed, another incremental improvement
with DP batteries of twenty 3.9” guns. The final ship was never ordered, had all five been completed
the Japanese would have had the most powerful battleship fleet in the world. Expected to be more
powerful than any two enemy battleships, only the Iowa class came close to being able to fight them on
even ground (due to much greater speed, superb ammunition and superior fire control), even then the
Iowa class could not withstand the impact of their guns, and could have been penetrated at most battle
ranges with disastrous effects. Still the Iowas (with their super heavy projectiles) were able to penetrate
them as well, and were more like to score hits. This ultimate battle was never fought, and they never
faced an enemy battleship, both ships were sunk by huge swarms of enemy aircraft. Yamato only
engaged with enemy surface ships once at the Battle of Samar in Leyte Gulf, with limited success.

34                                     Japanese Battleships                                Jay Amundson
(Musashi was lost before this engagement, never having fought a surface battle). The ships are now
legendary, and Japan has built a dedicated museum featuring a huge1:10 scale model.
Name              Yamato                                                             Ships in Class   5, 4 started,
                                                                                                      3 completed,
                                                                                                      2 battleships,
                                                                                                      1 carrier,
                                                                                                      2 canceled
Displacement      72,000 tons                                                        Laid down        11/4/1937
Type              Fast battleship                                                    Launched         7/8/1940
Speed             27 knots                                                           Commissioned 12/16/1941
Dimensions        863'x128'x34'                                                      Range            7200 nm @ 16
                                                                                                      knots
Armament          9 x18.1”/45 (3x3),12 x 6.1'/55 (4x3), 12 x 5”/40 (6x2), 24 x       End of Life      04/07/1945, sunk
                  25mm/60 (8x3), 4x13.2mm/62 (2x2) refit in 1944 deleted two                          by aircraft en
                  triple 6.1 turrets amidships and added six twin 5”/40 mounts for                    route to Okinawa
                  a total of 24 (12x2)and increased 25mm/60 count to 162 guns
Armor             16” belt @ 20 deg, 26” turret face, 21.5” barbettes, 8”-9” deck,   Complement       2767
                  14” bulkheads, 19.7” conning tower
Machinery         4 geared turbines, 12 Kampon boilers, 4 screws                     Horsepower       150,000


Yamato Laid down at the Kure Naval Arsenal. Her final design work was completed by Rear Admiral
Fukuda Kejii in 1937. Following her commissioning, she exercised and worked up until 5/27/1942
when she was declared ready for operations by Admiral Yamamoto and joined the 1st Battleship
Division as flagship of the Japanese Combined Fleet. Participating in the Battle of Midway, she did not
see combat, and was torpedoed by USS Skate on 12/25/1943 with extensive damage, revealing a defect
in her torpedo protection system. A riveted joint subject to shearing as the force of impact was taken by
the rivets. While she was the most heavily protected warship ever built, several flaws in her design
effectively negated the advantages of her heavy belt and underwater armor. A refit at Kure in 1944
following the torpedo attack attempted to correct these defects, but these were later shown to be less
than satisfactory. Her secondary battery was extensively modified during this refit, removing her waist
6.1”/55 turrets and adding six more twin 5”/40 DP mounts and 25mm/60 mounts. Originally designed
to use diesel cruising engines, a conservative low pressure steam turbine system was used when the
planned diesels proved to be too unreliable. Due to her inefficient propulsion system she spent much of
her career in port due to lack of fuel and reluctance to risk her in combat. Following the refit, she was
deployed to the Philippine Sea in June 1944 escorting a Japanese carrier division, where she was stuck
by two AP bombs and one near miss, causing further damage. After repairs she sortied to Leyte Gulf on
10/19/1944 as part of the Center Force under Admiral Kurita, her sister ship Musashi was lost en route
and Yamato fought in a one sided battle on 10/25/1944 with a USN ASW group called Taffy 3, she
participated in the sinking of several USN escorts and the escort carrier USS Gambier Bay. Yamato
suffered light damage from 3 near miss bombs and strafing. The US forces fought so boldly that Kurita
was convinced he had engaged the main fleet, and withdrew with heavy losses. Returning to the home
islands she was the last remaining operational battleship in the IJN, and served as flagship. Following
repairs and a refit which increased her 25mm/60 battery to 168 guns, she was sent on a suicide mission
called Operation Ten Go to Okinawa on 4/6/1945 to try and stem the American invasion of that island
with the intention of beaching herself to operate as an artillery platform, and embark most of her sailors
as marines. The USN became aware of the mission through surveillance and prepared to engage the


35                                        Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
Yamato with six battleships, but ultimately the decision was taken to sink her with aircraft. While en
route to this mission she was attacked by ~391 USN carrier aircraft. and her slaughter ensued. Hit by
about thirteen aerial torpedoes, eight direct hit heavy bombs, numerous rockets and many near miss
bombs delivered by at least seven waves of aircraft over a two hour period, Her upper works and
antiaircraft batteries were decimated, and her speed was cut dramatically, her steering was wrecked,
heavy flooding ensued and a severe list developed as the many hits added up, several torpedo strikes
were made through holes blasted by previous hits. Her pumps failed and were unable to control the
flooding or even flood her magazines when their temperatures rose to critical levels, finally Yamato
rolled over, exploded and sank on 4/7/1945 with a loss of 3055 men. Her wreck was discovered under
1100 feet of water 180 miles Southeast of Kyushu upside down and broken in half, mangled by the
explosions, its identity was confirmed by videos reviewed by one of her designers Shigeru Makino.

Musashi Laid down at the Mitsubishi Naval Dockyard at Nagasaki on 3/29/1938. launched 11/1/1940,
commissioned 8/5/1942. She was in incremental improvement over the Yamato with corrections to
several issues and extra armor in a number of key locations. In a 1944 refit, she was to receive 6 extra
twin 5”40 DP guns in place of her midships 6.1” triple turrets, but these were not available and were
replaced by triple 25mm/60 mounts, bringing the total to 130 of these weapons. She was sunk by five
massive waves of USN carrier aircraft on 10/24/1944 in the Sibuyan Sea while en route to the Battle of
Leyte Gulf with the loss of 1023 men. She was hit by 19 torpedoes, 17 heavy bombs and 15 near miss
bombs and took several hours to sink, a testament to her rugged construction.

Shinano: Laid down at the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on 5/4/1940, launched 10/5/1944, commissioned
11/19/1944. Work had been temporarily suspended on the project in mid 1941 to prepare for the
upcoming war. Following the disaster at Midway, a decision was made to convert the Shinano to an
aircraft carrier, this conversion commenced in June 1942 when the ship had been completed up to the
armored deck. The carrier conversion was quite unconventional in itself, it was to be a maintenance
carrier with massive protection and AA armament, consisting of 16 5”/40 (8x2), 125 x 25mm/60, and
336 x 4.7” rockets (12 x 28), her armor was reduced but the armored deck and main battery barbettes
were retained, the later to be used as weapons elevators, a 4” flight deck was added to resist 1000#
bombs, her own aircraft complement was small for a ship of this size (47 aircraft, in her air wing
though 120 could be carried). Following a B-29 reconnaissance flyover in 1944 the ship was hastily
commissioned and she was to be moved to Kure for final fitting out with a green crew, despite the
protests of her CO. Her water tight compartmentalization was not completed, as most of the doors had
not been installed and four of her boilers were not operational. Problems with four of the other boilers
and a burned out shaft bearing reduced her speed further and she was unable to launch aircraft. She was
struck by four torpedoes fired by the submarine USS Archerfish on 11/28/1944, and sunk the next day
due to ineffective damage control, incomplete DC systems and design flaws (which included massive
H beams breaking loose and punching holes in internal bulkheads), with the loss of about 1400 men,
including civilian workers. She was the largest ship ever sunk by a submarine. At 72,000 tons she was
not surpassed in size until the USS Forrestal ten years later.

Hull 111: Laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal in August 1940, work continued until Dec 1941. The most
dramatic improvement were the use of the superb 3.9”/65 twin DP batteries, which were to be carried
in ten twin mounts amidships and corrections to the defective torpedo protection system. She would
have retained two triple center line 6/1”55 turrets of her predecessors, but the waist turrets were to have
been eliminated in this design. An improved 40mm/60 twin heavy AA machine gun was to have been
used in place of many of the ineffective triple 25mm/60 batteries, and would have done much to correct


36                                     Japanese Battleships                                Jay Amundson
the deficiencies of previous Japanese warships in this department. The construction of these massive
vessels ultimately proved to be a failure and effectively prevented the construction of smaller and more
practical battleships and much needed carriers. Canceled before completion and scrapped when 30%
complete in 1942, her materials were used on carrier production.

Hull 797: Canceled never laid down.

A-150 Class: The A-150 were to be the ultimate battleships, though they were never built, planning
started in 1938, they reached the detailed design stage by 1941 and were seriously considered (in
contrast to the German H44 which was a Hitler fantasy). An initial study for a nine 20”/45 gun ship
determined that displacements of over 90,000 tons were to be expected. This was too big for the
Japanese infrastructure and a more practical six gun ship emerged which would have been able to use
the facilities which served the Yamato class. They would have been similar to the Yamato in
appearance, aiding in recognition, but were a new design, expected to be built at the Kure Naval
Arsenal. All the improvements found in the subsequent ships of the Yamato class would have been
incorporated, and the defective armor joints and framing would have been addressed. The ships would
have been finished around 1944 when all these lessons had been learned, if they could have survived
the construction period with the strategic and tactical air bombardment Japan was undergoing by this
time. The dozen 3.9”/65 twin DP mounts would have given them a significant AA advantage over the
Yamato, and they could have had a new Japanese version of the 40mm Bofors and a naval AA variant
of the 30mm aircraft cannon developed from German designs. Propulsion probably would have
employed a modern high pressure steam plant, providing much greater power and economy. They
would have been the hardest ships to sink ever built, but experience shows that any ship can be sunk.
The cost of these vessels and the need for aircraft carriers following the Battle of Midway lead to the
cancellation of the design work, and no orders were placed. All plans and specifications were destroyed
at the end of WWII. It is questionable whether the rate of fire (just under one round per minute from
each tube was projected) from six of these monstrous guns, each firing a 4400# AP projectile, would
have been effective in surface combat. Any ship being hit by one of these behemoths would have been
in serious trouble, but a hit would have been quite difficult to achieve. The Japanese did not face any
hardened shore targets at this point in the war which could justify these guns, but they would have had
a substantial psychological effect on enemy forces to say the least. Data is speculative.

Name              A-150 (planned, canceled)                                            Ships in Class   2
Displacement      80,000 tons                                                          Laid down        na
Type              Fast battleship                                                      Launched         na
Speed             30 knots                                                             Commissioned na
Dimensions        880'x128'x36'                                                        Range            9000 nm @ 16
                                                                                                        knots
Armament          6x20.1”/45 (2x3), 6 x 6.1”/55 (3x2),24 x 3.9”/65 DP (12x2), 80 x     End of Life      na
                  40mm/60 (40 x 2), 20 x 30mm/40 (20 x1),8 x 4.7” multi barrel
                  rocket launchers (8 x 28)
Armor             Krupp: 17” belt, @ 20 deg , 27” turrets, 23” barbettes, 9.5” deck,   Complement       ~3000
                  23” conning tower
Machinery         4 geared turbines,12 oil boilers, 4 screws                           Horsepower       220,000




37                                        Japanese Battleships                                          Jay Amundson
Hull 798: Canceled never laid down.
Hull 799: Canceled never laid down.




                                      A Naval Review in the 1930's




                         The IJN Steaming into Battle at Leyte Gulf, 1944

38                                    Japanese Battleships                  Jay Amundson
                                Captured foreign battleships in IJN Service

The Japanese captured a substantial number of battleships (nine) and placed them in service in the
Imperial Japanese Navy. Many of these received costly refits, and Japanese weapons, making them
suitable for their new owners, The very first Japanese battleship was acquired from the Chinese in the
Sino-Japanese war of 1894 and served her new masters for many years. By far the greatest and most
unusual acquisition was the result of the Russian Japanese War of 1904-1905, where no less than eight
battleships were added to the Japanese fleet, swelling their numbers substantially. Some ships
surrendered, while others were sunk in their harbors and raised by their new masters. Since the
condition when captured and refits given to these captured ships was unique in each case, each ship
will be considered as a single ship class, even though a few ships may have belonged to the same class
when built by their original owners.

Chinyen: The first Japanese battleship, the German built Chen Yuan Was taken from her Chinese
owners in the Sino Japanese War. A compact but powerful ship, she was relatively new at the time of
her acquisition. She was rebuilt by the Japanese and served in the Russian Japanese war.

Name             Chinyen                                                           Ships in Class   1
Displacement     7800 tons                                                         Laid down        3/1/1882
Type             predreadnought                                                    Launched         11/28/1882
Speed            15.5 knots                                                        Commissioned 1897
Dimensions       324'x59'x20'                                                      Range            4,500 nm @ 10
                                                                                                    knots
Armament         4 x 12”/30 (2x2), 2 x 5.9”/35 (2x1), 6 x 1 Pdr, 3 x 15” torpedo   End of Life      Scrapped 1914
                 tubes
Armor            Krupp: 14” belt, 12” turrets and barbettes,                       Complement       363
Machinery        2 VTE, 2 coal boilers, 2 screws                                   Horsepower       7,500




                                           Iki At Yokosuka in 1906


39                                       Japanese Battleships                                       Jay Amundson
Iki: The Russian Imperator Nikolai I was a smaller sister to the Imperator Aleksandr II built for the
Baltic fleet. She was the flagship of Admiral Nebogatov and surrendered to the Japanese following the
Battle of Tsushima on 5/28/1905. Deemed too old for front line service, she was used as a gunnery
training ship until 1910, and then as a coast defense ship. She was expended as a target in 1915.

Name               Iki (Imperator Nikolai I)                                       Ships in Class   1
Displacement       9748 tons                                                       Laid down        8/4/1886
Type               predreadnought                                                  Launched         6/1/1889
Speed              14 knots                                                        Commissioned 6/6/1905
Dimensions         346.5'x67'x24'                                                  Range            2630 nm @ 10
                                                                                                    knots

Armament           2 x 12”/30 (1x2), 4 x 9”/35 (4x1), 8 x 6”/35(6x1), 10 x 3 Pdr   End of Life      10/3/1915
                   revolvers, 8 x 1 Pdr revolvers, 6 x 15” torpedo tubes
Armor              Compound Armor: 6”-14” Belt, 10” turret, 2.5” deck, 6”          Complement       616
                   bulkheads and conning tower
Machinery          2 VTE, 12 coal boilers, 2 screws                                Horsepower       7842




             A Japanese postcard showing Poltava/Tango resting on the bottom of Port Arthur

Tango: The former Russian Poltava, a member of the three ship Petropavlovsk class, the other two
were lost in the Russian Japanese war. Poltava fought in the Battle of the Yellow Sea, but was damaged
in the siege of Port Arthur and scuttled by her Russian crew. She was commissioned first and then
salvaged by her Japanese crew in Oct 1905, repaired and placed in service. Reclassified as a coastal
defense ship on 8/28/1912 and then returned to Russia in 1916, since they were then Japanese allies in
WWI. She was renamed Chesma by the Russians and severely damaged and captured in 1918 by the
British in the Russian Civil War, finally being scrapped in 1923.




40                                         Japanese Battleships                                     Jay Amundson
Name              Tango (Poltava)                                                    Ships in Class   1
Displacement      11,400 tons                                                        Laid down        5/1/1892
Type              predreadnought                                                     Launched         11/6/1894
Speed             18 knots                                                           Commissioned 8/22/1905
Dimensions        367'x69'x26'                                                       Range            10,000 nm @
                                                                                                      10 knots
Armament          4 x 12”/35 (2x2), 10 x 6'/35 (4x2, 2 x1), 16 x 3”/40 (16x1), 4 x   End of Life      Returned to
                  18” torpedo tubes                                                                   Russia 4/4/1916
Armor             Harvey: 4”-9” belt, 6”-10” turrets, 2.3” deck, 5” casements and    Complement       668
                  gun mounts, 4”-6” conning tower
Machinery         3 VTE, 30 coal boilers, 3 screws                                   Horsepower       14,500




                 A plan view of Peresviet/Sagami from Brassey's Naval Annual of 1902

Sagami: Originally the Russian Peresviet, name ship of a three ship class built by Baltic Works in St
Petersburg. Peresviet fought in the Battle of the Yellow Sea, and was sunk in the siege of Port Arthur in
Aug 1904. She was salvaged by her new owners in Oct 1905, repaired and placed in service.
Reclassified as a coastal defense ship on 8/28/1912 and then returned to Russia in 1916, since they
were then Japanese allies in WWI. She reverted to her former name under the Russians and was sunk
by a German U-boat mine near Port Said Egypt on 1/4/1917




41                                        Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
Name              Sagami (Peresviet)                                                Ships in Class   1
Displacement      13,500 tons                                                       Laid down        11/21/1895
Type              predreadnought                                                    Launched         5/19/1898
Speed             18 knots                                                          Commissioned 8/22/1905
Dimensions        424'x72'x27'                                                      Range            10,000 nm @
                                                                                                     10 knots
Armament          4 x 10”/45 (2x2),11 x 6”/45 (11 x1), 16 x 3”/40 (16x1), 4 x 18”   End of Life      Returned to
                  torpedo tubes                                                                      Russia 4/4/1916
Armor             Krupp & Harvey: 4”-9” belt, 6”-10” turrets, 2.3” deck, 5”         Complement       783
                  casements and gun mounts, 4”-6” conning tower
Machinery         3 VTE, 30 coal boilers, 3 screws                                  Horsepower       15,000




                                                  Suwo in 1908

Suwo: Originally the Russian Pobieda, the final ship of the Peresviet, class built by the Baltic Works in
St Petersburg. Pobieda fought in the Battle of the Yellow Sea receiving 11 hits, and was sunk by heavy
siege guns at Port Arthur on 12/7/1904. She was salvaged by the Japanese in Oct 1905, rebuilt
extensively and commissioned in Oct 1908. being reclassified as a coastal defense ship. She saw
service in WWI, participating in the Battle of Tsingtao, and then as the flagship of the Kiaochow
blockade, later she was a training ship from 1917 to 1922. She was demilitarized at Kure under the
terms of the Washington Treaty in 1922, and capsized on 7/13/1922 during this process, she was
righted and the armor , guns and machinery were taken off, but the work was then stopped and she was
used as a storage hulk until after WWII, and was finally scrapped in 1946.


42                                       Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
Name             Suwo (Pobieda)                                                       Ships in Class   1
Displacement     13,717 tons                                                          Laid down        8/1/1898
Type             predreadnought                                                       Launched         5/24/1900
Speed            16 knots                                                             Commissioned Oct 1908
Dimensions       424'x71.5'x27'                                                       Range            6,000 nm @ 10
                                                                                                       knots
Armament         4 x 10”/45 (2x2),11 x 6'/45 (11 x1), 16 x 3”/40 (16x1), 21 x 3 Pdr   End of Life      7/13/1922
                 (21x1), 8 x 1.5 Pdr (8x1), 2 x 18” torpedo tubes
Armor            Krupp & Harvey: 4”-9” belt, 6”-10” turrets, 2.75” deck, 5”           Complement       732
                 casements and gun mounts, 10” conning tower
Machinery        2 VTE, 32 coal boilers, 2 screws                                     Horsepower       14,500



Hizen:Originally the American built, Russian Retvizan,which was torpedoed at Port Arthur, then
fought in the Battle of the Yellow Sea, finally returning to Port Arthur only to be sunk by Japanese
siege artillery. Following her capture on 1/2/1905, she was raised and repaired, which included
replacement of her boilers and light guns, and removal of the fighting tops. She served in WWI, and
was stationed in Hawaii to guard against German raiders. She was expended as a target under the terms
of the Washington Treaty.

Name             Hizen (Retvizan)                                                     Ships in Class   1
Displacement     12,500 tons                                                          Laid down        07/29/1899
Type             predreadnought                                                       Launched         10/23/1900
Speed            18 knots                                                             Commissioned Nov 1908
Dimensions       382'3”x 72'2” x 25'7”                                                Range            4900 nm @ 10
                                                                                                       knots
Armament         4 x 12”/30 (2x2) 12 x 6”/40 (12x1), 12 x 3”/40 (20x1), 6 x 15”       End of Life      1/2/1905
                 underwater torpedo tubes,                                                             captured, sunk
                                                                                                       as target 1924
Armor            Krupp: 9” Belt, 10” turrets, 5”-6” casements, 2”-3” Deck,            Complement       750
                 armor was 25.3% of her weight
Machinery        2 vertical triple expansion, 24 boilers, 3 stacks, 2 screws          Horsepower       17,111




43                                        Japanese Battleships                                         Jay Amundson
                                        The Iwami (ex Russian Oryol)

Iwami: Surrendering after the Battle of Tsushima, the Oryol was the newest of the Russian battleships
captured by the IJN. Built by Galerniy Island Shipyard at St. Petersburg as the 3rd of the six Borodino
class battleships, themselves patterned after the French built Tesesarevich, these are considered to be
among the worst battleships ever built by some analysts. The top heavy Oryol was extensively rebuilt
by her new owners, replacing the machinery, guns, and reducing the top hamper.

Name              Iwami (Oryol)                                                      Ships in Class   1
Displacement      15,546 tons                                                        Laid down        6/2/1900
Type              predreadnought                                                     Launched         7/19/1902
Speed             18 knots                                                           Commissioned 12/12/1905
Dimensions        397'x76'x26'                                                       Range            8,500 nm @ 10
                                                                                                      knots
Armament          4 x 12”/45 (2x2), 6 x 7.9” (6x1), 16 x 3”/40 (16x1), 20 x 3 Pdr    End of Life      7/10/1924, sunk
                  (20x1), 8 x 1 Pdr MG, 2 x 18” torpedo tubes                                         as target
Armor             Krupp: 4”-9” belt, 6”-11” turrets, 1.6”-2.8” deck, 5” casements,   Complement       806
                  3”-8” conning tower
Machinery         2 VTE, 20 coal boilers, 2 screws                                   Horsepower       15,800




44                                        Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
                              Admiral Senyavin in 1901, later to be Mishima

Captured at the Battle of Tsushima, the Russian coastal defense ship Admiral Senyavin, sister to the
Admiral Apraxin, was pressed into service soon after and served the Japanese in WWI, participating in
the Battle of Tsingtao. She was demilitarized under the terms of the Washington Treaty and used an ice
breaker and submarine depot ship. She was sunk as a target in Sept. 1936.

Name              Mishima (Admiral Senyavin)                                         Ships in Class    1
Displacement      4339 tons                                                          Laid down         8/2/1892
Type              coastal defense ship                                               Launched          8/22/1894
Speed             16 knots                                                           Commissioned 6/6/1905
Dimensions        278.5'x52'x18'                                                     Range             3,000 nm @ 10
                                                                                                       knots
Armament          4 x 10”/45 (2x2), 4 x 4.7”/40, 12 x 1 Pdr, 4 x 18” torpedo tubes   End of Life       4/1/1922
Armor             Krupp: 10” belt, 8” turrets, 3” deck                               Complement        406
Machinery         2 VTE, 4 boilers, 2 screws                                         Horsepower        5,250


Okinoshima: Captured at the Battle of Tsushima, the Russian coastal defense ship Admiral Apraxin ,
sister to the Admiral Senyavin, was pressed into service soon after and served the Japanese in WWI,
participating in the Battle of Tsingtao. She was demilitarized under the terms of the Washington Treaty
and used a memorial ship until she was damaged in a storm. She was scrapped in 1939.

Name              Okinoshima ( Admiral Apraxin)                                      Ships in Class   1
Displacement      4270 tons                                                          Laid down        10/24/1894
Type              coastal defense ship                                               Launched         5/12/1896
Speed             15 knots                                                           Commissioned 6/6/1905
Dimensions        264.5'x52'x17'                                                     Range            3,000 nm @ 10
                                                                                                      knots
Armament          4 x 10”/45 (2x2), 4 x 4.7”/40, 12 x 1 Pdr, 4 x 18” torpedo tubes   End of Life      4/1/1922
Armor             Krupp: 10” belt, 8” turrets, 3” deck                               Complement       406
Machinery         2 VTE, 4 boilers, 2 screws                                         Horsepower       6,000




45                                        Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
                                    Predreadnought Battlecruisers




                                          A postcard showing Tsubuka

Tsubuka Class:Originally built as armored cruisers in the original 8:8 plan for eight armored cruisers
and eight battleships all less than 10 years old, they were reclassified as battlecruisers on 8/28/1912.
They were to be replacements for the Fuji class, and counter the strong US armored cruiser presence in
the Pacific. The term battlecruiser was political rather than descriptive, as they had VTE engines and
were no faster than battleships, and considerably slower than European battlecruisers or even armored
cruisers. These were really powerful but slow armored cruisers. They served as escorts for the ANZAC
convoys through the Indian Ocean in WWI.

Name              Tsukuba                                                            Ships in Class   2
Displacement      15,400 tons                                                        Laid down        1/4/1905
Type              battlecruiser (armored cruiser)                                    Launched         12/26/1905
Speed             20 knots                                                           Commissioned 1/14/1907
Dimensions        450'x75'x26'                                                       Range            5,000nm @ 14
                                                                                                      knots
Armament          4 x 12”/45 (2x2), 8 x 8”/45 (4x1, 2x2), 14 x 4.7”/45 (14x1), 4 x   End of Life      1/14/1917
                  3”/40 (4x1), 3 x 18” torpedo tubes
Armor             Krupp: 4” - 7” belt, 5” - 7”turrets and barbettes, 3” deck, 8”     Complement       879
                  conning tower
Machinery         2 VTE, 20 coal boilers, 2 screws                                   Horsepower       20,500


Tsubuka: Ordered FY 1904, Laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal. She suffered a magazine explosion on
1/14/1917, was raised and sold for scrap on 9/20/1923.

Ikoma: Ordered FY 1904, Laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal on 3/15/1905. launched 4/09/1906,
commissioned 3/24/1908. Sold for scrap on 9/20/1923 under the terms of the Washington Treaty

46                                        Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
                                                    Ibuki in port

Ibuki Class:Originally built as armored cruisers in the original 8:8 plan for eight armored cruisers and
battleships all less than 10 years old, they were reclassified as battlecruisers on 8/28/1912.They were
improved Tsubuka class ships to be built with turbine engines (problems with the engines lead to the
Kurama being completed with VTE engines), their speed was still on par with battleships rather
battlecruisers, and their armor was not up to battleship standards, they were a unique type of ship, the
predreadnought battlecruiser. They escorted the Great White Fleet, participated in the Battle of
Tsingtao, and escorted ANZAC troop convoys in the Indian Ocean.

Name              Ibuki                                                              Ships in Class   2
Displacement      15,595 tons                                                        Laid down        5/27/1907
Type              battlecruiser (armored cruiser)                                    Launched         10/21/1907
Speed             21.5 knots                                                         Commissioned 11/17/1907
Dimensions        485'x75'x26'                                                       Range            5,000nm @ 14
                                                                                                      knots
Armament          4 x 12”/45 (2x2), 8 x 8”/45 (4x1, 2x2), 14 x 4.7”/45 (14x1), 4 x   End of Life      9/20/1923
                  3”/40 (4x1), 3 x 18” torpedo tubes
Armor             Krupp: 4” - 7” belt, 5” - 7”turrets and barbettes, 3” deck, 8”     Complement       844
                  conning tower
Machinery         2 turbines, 20 coal boilers, 2 screws                              Horsepower       24,000


Ibuki: Ordered FY 1904, Laid down at Kure Naval Arsenal. Sold for scrap on 9/20/1923 under the
terms of the Washington Treaty

Kurama: Ordered FY 1904, Laid down at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on 8/23/1905. launched
10/21/1907, commissioned 2/28/1911. Unlike Ibuki, she had VTE engines and only made 20.5 knots on
22,500 SHP. Sold for scrap on 9/20/1923 under the terms of the Washington Treaty

47                                        Japanese Battleships                                        Jay Amundson
                                          Proposed Battlecruisers

Project 64-65 Large Cruisers: These were projected super A type heavy cruiser (battlecruiser) design
studies. B-64 was drawn up in 1939, and the 1942 B65 version was prompted by the USN Alaska class
that the IJN learned about in 1941 and followed the principle that Japanese ships should be
qualitatively superior to their foreign counterparts. Curiously, the Alaska class was built to counter the
B64 design, which the US believed was being built. Their profile would have been very similar to the
Yamato, with centerline super firing twin 3.9”/65 turrets where the Yamato had triple 6.1”/55 guns, the
other six twin 3.9” mounts in place of the twin 5”/40's of Yamato (another account shows a different
profile with all secondary guns along the superstructure). They would have been hull numbers 795 and
796, but were never ordered. Detailed specifications were destroyed by the Japanese at the end of
WWII.

Project 64: The original B64 proposal.

Name              Project 64                                                       Ships in Class   1
Displacement      34,800 tons                                                      Laid down        na
Type              battlecruiser (large cruiser)                                    Launched         na
Speed             33 knots                                                         Commissioned na
Dimensions        802'x89'x29'                                                     Range            7000 nm @ 16
                                                                                                    knots
Armament          9 x 12.2”/45 (3x3), 16 x 3.9”/65, 12 x 25mm/60 (4x3), 4 13.2mm   End of Life      na
                  MG (2x2), 8 x 24” torpedo tubes
Armor             Krupp 7.5” belt @ 20 deg, 5” deck                                Complement       ~1100
Machinery         4 geared turbines, 6 oil boilers, 4 screws                       Horsepower       160,000



Project 65: An up gunned B64, with torpedo tubes deleted in weight compensation

Name              Project 65                                                       Ships in Class   1
Displacement      34,800 tons                                                      Laid down        na
Type              battlecruiser (large cruiser)                                    Launched         na
Speed             33 knots                                                         Commissioned na
Dimensions        802'x89'x29'                                                     Range            7000 nm @ 16
                                                                                                    knots
Armament          9 x 14.2”/45 (3x3), 16 x 3.9”/65, 12 x 25mm/60 (4x3), 4 13.2mm   End of Life      na
                  MG (2x2)
Armor             Krupp 7.5” belt @ 20 deg, 5” deck                                Complement       ~1000
Machinery         4 geared turbines, 6 oil boilers, 4 screws                       Horsepower       160,000




48                                         Japanese Battleships                                     Jay Amundson
                             Commissioned Japanese Armored Ships

Name                  Year Year std         Speed Max Main guns         2nd guns     notes
                      Comm EOSL displ.      (knots) armor

     1.   Kotetsu     1869    1888   1358   10.5   4.8”   300 Pdr (1)   70 Pdr (2)   French Built for CSA
     2.   Fuso        1878    1908   3717   13     9”     9”/20 (4)     6.7”/25 (4) British Built
     3.   Chinyen     1897    1914   7800   15.5   14”    12”/30 (2x2) 5.9”/35       German Built, captured
                                                                       (2x1)         from China
     4.   Iki         1905    1915   9748   14     14”    12”/30 (1x2) 9”/35         Russian Built, captured
                                                                       (4x1)
     5.   Tango       1905    1916   11400 18      10”    12”/35 (2x2) 6”/35 (4x2, Russian Built, captured
                                                                       2x1)
     6.   Sagami      1905    1916   13500 18      10”    10”/45 (2x2) 6”/45         Russian Built, captured
                                                                       (11x1)
     7.   Suwo        1908    1922   13717 16      10”    10”/45 (2x2) 6”/45         Russian Built, captured
                                                                       (11x1)
     8.   Hizen       1908    1923   12500 18      10”    12”/30 (2x2) 6”/40         US Built, captured from
                                                                       (12x1)        Russia
     9.   Iwami       1905    1923   15546 18      11”    12”/40 (2x2) 7.9” (6x1)    Russian Built, captured
     10. Mishima      1905    1922   4339   16     10”    10”/45 (2x2) 4.7”/40       Russian Built, captured
                                                                       (4x1)
     11. Okinoshima   1905    1922   4270   15     10”    10”/45 (2x2) 4.7”/40       Russian Built, captured
                                                                       (4x1)
     12. Tsukuba      1907    1917   15400 20      8”     12”/45 (2x2) 8”/45 (2x2,
                                                                       4x1)
     13. Ikoma        1908    1923   15400 20      8”     12”/45 (2x2) 8”/45 (2x2,
                                                                       4x1)
     14. Ibuki        1907    1923   15595 21.5    7”     12”/45 (2x2) 8”/45 (2x2,
                                                                       4x1)
     15. Kurama       1907    1923   15595 21.5    7”     12”/45 (2x2) 8”/45 (2x2,
                                                                       4x1)
     16. Fuji         1897    1922   12533 18.25   18”    12”/40 (2x2) 6”/40         British Built
                                                                       (14x1)
     17. Yashima      1898    1904   12533 18.25   18”    12”/40 (2x2) 6”/40         British Built
                                                                       (14x1)
     18. Shikishima   1900    1922   15453 18      14”    12”/40 (2x2) 6”/40         British Built
                                                                       (14x1)
     19. Hatsuse      1901    1904   15453 18      14”    12”/40 (2x2) 6”/40         British Built
                                                                       (14x1)
     20. Asaki        1900    1922   15200 18.25   14”    12”/40 (2x2) 6”/40         British Built
                                                                       (14x1)
     21. Misaka       1902    1923   15140 18.25   14”    12”/40 (2x2) 6”/40         British Built
                                                                       (14x1)




49                                    Japanese Battleships                                    Jay Amundson
Name                 Year Year std       Speed Max Main guns         2nd guns   notes
                     Comm EOSL displ.    (knots) armor

     22. Katori      1906   1924   15950 18.5    12”    12”/45 (2x2) 10”/45     British Built
                                                                     (4x1)
     23. Kashima     1906   1924   16400 18.5    12”    12”/45 (2x2) 10”/45     British Built
                                                                     (4x1)
     24. Satsuma     1910   1924   19400 18.25   9.4”   12”/45 (2x2) 10”/45
                                                                     (6x2)
     25. Aki         1912   1924   19800 20      9.4”   12”/45 (2x2) 10”/45     Turbine powered
                                                                     (6x2)
     26. Kawanishi   1912   1918   20800 18.5    12”    12”/50 (2x2) 6”/45
                                                        12”/45 (4x2) (10x1)
     27. Settsu      1912   1924   21787 18.5    12”    12”/50 (2x2) 6”/45
                                                        12”/45 (4x2) (10x1)
     28. Kongo       1913   1944   27000 27      10”    14”/45 (4x2) 6”/50      British Built
                                                                     (16x1)
     29. Hiei        1914   1942   27000 27      10”    14”/45 (4x2) 6”/50
                                                                     (16x1)
     30. Kirishima   1915   1942   27000 27      10”    14”/45 (4x2) 6”/50
                                                                     (16x1)
     31. Haruna      1915   1945   27000 27      10”    14”/45 (4x2) 6”/50
                                                                     (16x1)
     32. Fuso        1915   1944   29800 23      14”    14”/45 (6x2) 6”/50
                                                                     (14x1)
     33. Yamashiro   1917   1944   29800 23      14”    14”/45 (6x2) 6”/50
                                                                     (14x1)
     34. Ise         1916   1945   30470 23      12”    14”/45 (6x2) 5.5”/50
                                                                     (16x1)
     35. Hyuga       1918   1945   30470 23      12”    14”/45 (6x2) 5.5”/50
                                                                     (16x1)
     36. Nagato      1920   1945   32720 27      12”    16.1”/45     5.5”/50
                                                        (4x2)        (16x1)
     37. Mutsu       1921   1943   32720 27      12”    16.1”/45     5.5”/50
                                                        (4x2)        (16x1)
     38. Yamato      1941   1945   71111 27      26”    18.1”/45     6.1”/60
                                                        (3x3)        (4x3)
     39. Musashi     1942   1944   69300 27      26”    18.1”/45     6.1”/60
                                                        (3x3)        (4x3)




50                                  Japanese Battleships                                 Jay Amundson

				
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