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HIJMS Yamato at sea for trials, October 1941

The Yamato underway.

The Japanese battleship Yamato was the lead ship of the Yamato class battleship and was the largest battleship to be built in history. It is named after the Yamato Province in Japan.


The Yamato was laid down on November 4th of 1937 and later launched on the 8th of August 1940. His Imperial Japanese Majesty's ship Yamato was commissioned on December 16, 1941; just eleven days after the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

It was intended that the Yamato would be followed by two sister ships. However, only the Musashi was completed as a battleship, as the Shinano was completed as an aircraft carrier, to serve as a replacement for the carriers lost at the Battle of Midway.[1]

Battleship Yamato under air attack April 1945

Yamato under air attack during Operation Ten-Go.

When the Yamato entered service, it was quickly made the flagship of the Japanese Combined Fleet, under the command of Isoroku Yamamoto, and was present at (but did not directly participate in) the Battle of Midway.[2] On December 25, 1943, Yamato was torpedoed by USS Skate, which took here out of action for repairs until April 1944.[3] During this period her anti-aircraft capability was considerably increased. In June 1944, she participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, though contributing little beyond mistakenly firing on friendly vessels. Yamato saw more success during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October, during which she helped to sink the escort carrier Gambier Bay and several destroyers, while receiving only light damage herself.[2] In 1945, she participated in Operation Ten-Go, a suicidal effort to stop the Allied invasion of Okinawa, for which she was given sufficient fuel for a one-way trip.[4] A force of over 380 US aircraft struck on April 7 while she was still 200 miles from the island,[3] delivering thirteen torpedo hits, eight bomb hits, and numerous near misses, causing her to capsize and sink at 14:23.[2]



Yamato was fitted with armour plating of varying thickness, measuring between eight and twenty-two inches.[5]


Source: Weapons of World War II by Alexander Lüdeke - Pages 290-291.[2]

  • Displacement: 69,646 tons
  • Length: 864 ft 6 in
  • Beam: 127 ft 5 in
  • Draft: 35 ft 5 in
  • Maximum armor: 16.1 in (sides), 9.8 in (deck)
  • Engines: Twelve Kanpon boilers driving four steam turbines with four propellers
  • Maximum speed: 28 knots
  • Range: 7,500 nm at 16 knots
  • Crew: 3,332
  • Armament: 9 18.1 in cannons in three triple-mounted turrets, 6 6.1 in cannons, 24 5 in DP cannons, 150 1 in AA cannons, 4 0.5 in machine guns, 7 aircraft.


  1. Yamato class battleship
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Lüdeke, Alexander. Weapons of World War II. Parragon Books (2007), Page 290-291.
  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. Clarkson, Jeremy. I Know You Got Soul. Penguin Books. 2005. ISBN 0 141 02292 2 Page 217
  5. Clarkson, Jeremy. Page 216

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