Kongos in Company

by Mitch on March 17, 2013 0 Comments


On the night of 20th November 1944, at 0301hrs, the Kongo was struck by two torpedoes fired from the USS Sealion, with the escort destroyer Urakaze being hit by a third and sunk. Though damaged and listing, the Kongō was still able to make way and continued with the group until the extent of the damage forced her to slowly fall out from the formation. Permission was sought and granted for the Kongō to make for the nearby port of Keelung, on the northern tip of Taiwan some 65 nautical miles to the southeast, and the Kongo departed the main group at 0440hrs along with a small destroyer escort.

Within fifteen minutes of detaching herself from the main force, the Kongōo found herself listing at 45 degrees and flooding uncontrollably. At 0518, the vessel was dead in the water and the order was given to abandon ship once it was ...

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Nippon’s first dreadnought

by Mitch on July 31, 2012 0 Comments

The oldest battleships deployed by Japan during World War II were Nippon’s first dreadnought class, the four impressive Kongos (Kongo, Hiei, Haruna, and Kirishima). These were the only warships ever to have begun their service lives as battle cruisers and to be later rebuilt into battleships. They were slightly faster than contemporary RN battle cruisers, yet their protection was almost on a battleship level. Although the designs were British, Kongo was the last Japanese battleship to be actually built abroad (design and construction by Vickers of Great Britain). In a foresighted move, similar to that of the U.S. Navy with the Iowas, all four units were modernized, beginning in the mid-1930s, to increase speed specifically to serve as escorts for Japan’s projected aircraft carrier task force in the event of war. They emerged from this modernization as true battleships. (Hiei, declared in violation under the terms of ...

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BB Satsuma redux

by Mitch on July 11, 2012 0 Comments

Satsuma was a semi-dreadnought type battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, designed and built in Japan by the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal. The name Satsuma comes from Satsuma Province, now a part of Kagoshima prefecture. Some naval historians regard the battleship Aki as her sister ship, although Aki differed considerably with her turbine-powered engine and sleek silhouette.


Funding for Satsuma was approved as part of the 1904 Emergency Budget for the Russo-Japanese War, and she was the first battleship to be designed and built domestically in Japan. The basis of the design was essentially a modified version of the Royal Navy's Lord Nelson class battleship and many parts were sourced from the United Kingdom.


Satsuma was the first ship in the world to be designed and laid down as an all-big-gun battleship, although gun shortages caused HMS Dreadnought to be the first one to be completed. She was also the ...

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Kongo Class

by Mitch on June 7, 2012 0 Comments

Japanese battlecruiser/fast battleship class, built 1912-15. In January 1911 the Imperial Japanese Navy signed a contract with the British firm Vickers, under which a 27 500- ton battlecruiser was to be built at Barrow, and material was to be exported to Japan for a further three sisters. Kongo was launched on May 18, 1912, and completed in August 1913. Her sister Hiei was launched at Yokosuka dockyard on November 21, 1912, followed by Kirishima on December 1, 1913, at Mitsubishi, Nagasaki and Haruna 13 days later at Kawasaki, Kobe.


The design was similar to the contemporary British 'Improved Lion' Class, HMS Tiger, but there is no evidence for the often-repeated claim that Kongo was such an improvement that Tiger had to be hastily redesigned to incorporate her features. The reverse is more likely to be true, in that Vickers' chief designer, Sir George Thurston, was in touch with the ...

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Japanese battleship Fusō

by Mitch on June 5, 2012 0 Comments

The Japanese battleship Fusō, was a part of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the lead ship of the Fuso--class. She was laid down by the Kure Kaigun Kosho- on 11 March 1912, launched on 28 March 1914 and completed on 18 November 1915. Her 356 mm (14 in) main gun turrets were placed in an unorthodox 2-1-1-2 style (with her sister ship Yamashiro having her third turret reversed when compared to Fusō) and with a funnel separating the middle turret placement. This arrangement was not entirely successful as the armoured section was needlessly lengthened and the middle guns had trouble targeting. However, Fusō's relatively fine hull form allowed her to reach a speed of 22 kn (41 km/h; 25 mph).


Fusō did not take part in any major action during World War I, as the majority of the Japanese Navy was engaged in escort duties and various other work ...

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Colours of Yamato

by Mitch on April 29, 2012 0 Comments

None of the major signatories of the Washington Treaty were completely satisfied. Japan was outraged at being assigned an inferior ratio to the British and the Americans and considered this provision as just another racial insult. The counterarguments—that the British and Americans had far-ranging maritime responsibilities compared to the Japanese—failed to mollify Tokyo.

The London Naval Agreement of 1936 was drawn up in the absence of Japan and Italy, the former because its demands for parity with the other two major naval powers was rebuffed, the latter feeling insulted by sanctions imposed by the League of Nations in the wake of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. This treaty, between the isolationist-minded United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union (whose few old battleships were in a dismal state), kept the Washington Treaty’s 35,000-ton limit; eliminated the restriction on the number of battleships per nation; stipulated that ...

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Imperial Japanese Battleships: Outline, 1897-1945

by Mitch on March 3, 2012 0 Comments

Sprinkled throughout this introductory guide you will find little black battleship icons, miniatures of the silhouettes above. Each of these is a button linking to an in-depth page on the individual ship profiled. Click the battleship icon to bring up detailed specs and schematic drawings of the vessels, together with additional photos and an historic outline on each ship or class of ships.

In the period in question, the first big buildup of the Japanese Navy to first-rate status, the Japanese Admiralty purchased all of its major warships from its mentor and political partner, Great Britain. In a bid to neutralize the Russian steam-roller then tearing up the turf Japan had been coveting, Britain armed Japan by sea, a relationship formalized in the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902 -- Britain's first-ever overseas alliance. This close treaty relationship inflated the IJN's prestige at home and enhanced its political clout. The navy ...

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Battleship HIJMS Ise

by Mitch on January 27, 2012 0 Comments

The Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship Ise 1915 - 1945

Music: Battlestations Pacific - Underwater Theme

Design A-150 battleship

by Mitch on January 2, 2012 0 Comments



Type 150 Battleship [below] a Yamato.

Class overview
Name: Design A-150
Operators: Empire of Japan Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Yamato class
Planned: 2
Completed: 0
Cancelled: 2
General characteristics
Type: Battleship
Displacement: Approximately 70,000 long tons (78,000 ST; 71,000 t)
Length: 263.0 m (863 ft) (est.)
Beam: 38.9 m (128 ft) (est.)
Propulsion: Unknown
Armament: 6 × 510 mm (20.1 in)/45 caliber guns (2×3)
"Many" 100 mm (3.9 in)/65 caliber guns
Armor: Possibly a 460 mm (18 in) side belt; nothing more is given in sources

Design A-150, also known as the Super Yamato class,[A 1] was a Japanese plan for a class of battleships. Begun in 1938–39, the design was mostly complete by 1941. However, so that a demand for other types of warships could be met, all work on Design A-150 was halted and no keels were laid. Authors ...

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BB Yamato's Superstructure I

by Mitch on August 28, 2011 0 Comments

On 11 February 1943, Yamato was replaced by her sister ship Musashi as flagship of the Combined Fleet. Dubbed "Hotel Yamato" by the Japanese cruiser and destroyer crews stationed in the South Pacific,[26] the battleship spent only a single day away from Truk between her arrival in August 1942 and her departure on 8 May 1943. On that day, she set sail for Yokosuka and from there for Kure, arriving on 14 May. She spent nine days in drydock for inspection and general repairs, and after sailing to Japan's western Inland Sea was again drydocked in late July for significant refitting and upgrades. These included improvements to her secondary turret armour and rudder controls, and the removal of her 155 mm wing turrets in favour of greater anti-aircraft protection in the form of 25 mm guns and two surface search radar systems. On 16 August, Yamato began her ...

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