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Yamato Class Battleships
Model featured: IJN Yamato
- circa World War II -
All the large and medium gun turrets rotate
Yamato, lead ship of a class of two 70,000 ton battleships, was built in complete secrecy at Kure, Japan. She and her sister Musashi were by far the largest battleships ever built, even exceeding in size and gun caliber (though not in weight or beam) the US Navy's abortive Montana class. Their nine 18" main guns, which fired 3200lb armor piercing shells that could be hurled more than 25 miles at 40 second intervals, were the largest guns ever to go to sea. The muzzle blast was known to knock people senseless and blow away their clothes if they stood too close when they were fired.
The armor plating of the two ships was also unsurpassed. Design work on the Yamato Class Battleship started in 1934 and - in 1937 - the designs were approved and the Yamato was ordered for construction. The ship was launched on August 1940 and commissioned in December 1941 - just a week after the start of the Pacific war. Secrecy of her construction had been so guarded that the Allies never knew the true caliber of her main guns until after the end of the war.
Yamato served as flagship for Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-In-Chief of the Japanese Imperial Navy's Combined Fleet. Admiral Yamamoto attacked Midway in the Pacific in June of 1942 and met with failure as history recorded and had to make for port. However, the status of the Yamato still stood firm as the main capital ship of the Imperial Japanese Navy and as a force to be reckoned with in any sea battle.
In August 1942 the Yamato went to Truk Atoll in the Solomon Islands and from there to Guadalcanal to support the fighting. Arriving too late, she returned back to Truk. In 1943 - after the death of Yamamoto (who was shot down by an American P-38 while flying from Rabaul to Bougainville for an inspection) - it was decided to bring the Yamato home. At her base in Kure she had a lot of repair work carried out and was re-fitted with extra anti-aircraft guns. In mid 1943 she again sailed back to the Solomon Islands where she was fairly inactive around Truk. In December 1943, while entering Truk Lagoon, she was torpedoed by USS Skate (SS-305) and so returned to Japan for repairs that lasted until April 1944, during which time her anti-aircraft battery was still considerably more increased.
In April 1944 the Yamato sailed to Singapore and, when the US Army landed in New Guinea towards the end of May, she was chosen to attack the Americans. But the decision was made too late... so instead she was sent to guard the Japanese-occupied Philippines as the American invasion of Saipan became imminent. Yamato then took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June and the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October. During these engagements her role was not decisive; but the Japanese lost three aircraft carriers and most of their land based fighters. During the latter action she was attacked several times by US Navy aircraft and fired her big guns in an engagement with US ships off the island of Samar. She received only light damage during the battle and retuned home in November.
Fitted with still more anti-aircraft machine guns, Yamato was based in Japan during the winter of 1944-45. Attacked by US Navy carrier planes in March 1945 during raids on the Japanese home islands, she was again only lightly damaged.
The following month, Yamato was assigned to take part in the Ten-Go Operation, a combined air and sea effort to destroy American naval forces supporting the invasion of Okinawa. Due to fuel shortages, the suicidal operation was intended to be one way only.
On April 7th, 1945 - while still some 200 miles north of Okinawa - Yamato was attacked mercilessly by a massive force of US carrier planes.
Yamato was first hit by bombs; then she started to receive torpedo hits as US submarines closed in. Eight torpedoes hit her port side and two hit her starboard side. Each torpedo hit caused massive damage to her steel amour plates which let tons of water flood in through the buckled steel. Two hours later, due to the damage and the amount of water she was taking in, she lost her maneuverability and then - as she was listing at 20 degrees to port - she was hit in the exposed lower hull by two more torpedoes. As she started to capsize with flames erupting out of her decks, her main ammunition magazine exploded, sending a huge plumb of smoke thousands of feet high. 75% of the crew perished in this explosion. She sank seconds later. In a two hour battle, she had taken 12 torpedoes and suffered ten direct hits from 500 lb bombs. Only 269 of the 3000 crew were saved.
After the war, the great battleship became an object of intense fascination in Japan, as well as in foreign countries. A Japanese diving expedition found the Yamato's wreck in the 1970's and reported that the ship was in two pieces with the bow overturned and the aft section of the ship sitting with a list to port. Examined again in 1985 and, more precisely, in 1999, Yamato lies in some 1000 feet of water.
Hand crafted from Philippine mahogany: Yamato Class battleships IJN Yamato and IJN Musashi.
Built to custom order, each ship model is researched in the initial construction phase to match ship's configuration with your chosen circa.
These fully assembled desk-top display models of the authentic fighting ships are museum quality replicas world prized as collectables or gifts.
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