March 5, 2015

The Japanese Battleship Musashi

The Imperial Japanese battleship Musashi was one of two super battleships of the Yamota class displacing 70,000 tons. By comparison, the Iowa class battleships of the US Navy displaced 45,000 tons.

Each of Musashi's three 18" gun turrets weighed more than a destroyer. Shells fired from these guns had a range of 46,000 yards (26 miles) and weighed 3,200 lbs. US carrier-based dive bombers dropped 500 lb. bombs on top of these turrets but could not penetrate their armor.

The Musashi was a hard ship to sink, but US carrier aircraft did exactly that during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 24 OCT 1944. This was the largest naval battle of WWII, possibly one of the largest in history - almost 740 military ships were involved.
In all, Force A endures raids by 259 U.S. carrier aircraft during the day. MUSASHI sustains a total of 19 torpedo (10 port, 9 starboard) and 17 bomb hits, as well as 18 near misses.

MUSASHI capsizes to port and sinks by the bow in 4,430 feet of water in the Visayan Sea at 13-07N, 122-32E. Two underwater explosions are heard.

Destroyers KIYOSHIMO, ISOKAZE and HAMAKAZE rescue 1,376 survivors including XO Captain Kato, but 1,023 of her 2,399 man crew are lost including her skipper, Rear Admiral Inoguchi who is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously.

The Americans lose 18 planes shot down.
More here.

The wreck was recently discovered by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.


LL said...

I was reading about this elsewhere and while the discovery is exciting, I must admit a bit of jealousy at Allen's yacht, Octopus. Cool yacht.

sig94 said...

LL - not as big as the Musashi, but it'll do.

Doom said...

Wow. For all my history buffism regarding the War, I did not, or do not remember, know that their ships were that mongo. Bat's eyes!

Then again, I was filled with prejudice at that age. A carry over from WW II and Vietnam vets around me at the time, and generalizations, so may not have dug as deeply into the Japanese part of things. Monster ship with monster guns!