Fallen steel cherry blossom petal: the history and death of the battleship "Yamato"

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Fallen steel cherry blossom petal: the history and death of the battleship "Yamato"
Fallen steel cherry blossom petal: the history and death of the battleship "Yamato"
Fallen steel cherry blossom petal: the history and death of the battleship "Yamato"
Fallen steel cherry blossom petal: the history and death of the battleship "Yamato"

"Yamato" on trials

On the morning of April 7, 1945, at about 10 o'clock, the pilots of two PBM Mariner patrol flying boats noticed a Japanese squadron heading towards the island of Okinawa. In the center of it was a huge battleship, similar to the two that the Americans had already encountered during the battle in Leyte Gulf. From other significant targets, the cruiser was visible, the aircraft carrier was not visible - only the escort destroyers. This means that the intelligence data turned out to be correct. Initially, the detection of the enemy squadron on the evening of April 6 was reported by the submarines Tredfin and Hacklback patrolling in the area; in the morning, the ships were visually identified by the Corsairs of the air patrol from the aircraft carrier Essex, who reported their course. Now both "Mariners" only need to clarify who exactly is trying to interfere in the operation "Iceberg" - the landing on the island of Okinawa. The observation was interrupted by flakes of explosions of anti-aircraft shells, which became more and more. The Japanese squadron was seen to change course towards the patrolling visitors. Both scouts quietly took cover behind the clouds. After some time, Vice Admiral Seiichi Ito, who was in the conning tower of the huge battleship Yamato, received a report that an American aircraft carrier had been spotted east of Okinawa, that is, 250 miles from his squadron. The radio interception service recorded a lot of activity on the air - the scouts persistently transmitted data. The 58th aircraft carrier formation was preparing a hot meeting for its enemy.

Island Empire Super Answer

The Yamato-class battleships were late in arriving. By the time they joined the Imperial Navy, the role of the trump card in ocean battles was slowly but steadily shifting to aircraft carriers that had recently caused ironic grins. Created by colossal efforts, comparable only to the program of creating nuclear weapons or human space flight, of a small and not very rich state, they did not justify the hopes placed on them and did not help the fulfillment of the most daring ambitions. The path to the creation of super-battleships was long and thorny: how many projects, very carefully drawn on drawing boards, became just another roll of paper in the military archive!

Back in the early 20s. Japan, which believed that the old members of the Great Powers club kept her as nothing more than a servant at the table, at which the world pie was eating with gusto, decided to change its image. For this purpose, it was not enough to change from a traditional kimono to a respectable tailcoat - this already happened at the end of the 19th century after the memorable Meiji revolution. A demonstration of strength was needed, and the strength of the sea - after all, it was not for nothing that the Land of the Rising Sun was considered Pacific England. In 1920, the Japanese parliament adopted an impressive shipbuilding program "8 + 8", according to which the imperial fleet was to be replenished with eight new battleships and the same number of battle cruisers. The old-timers of the naval Olympus, the British, and the Americans who had recently moved there insolently, had a reason to worry. The execution, even in part, of these plans would greatly upset the balance and balance of power in the Pacific Basin. Another question is whether such a load would have been pulled by a not too "muscular" Japanese economy. Of course, such a scale and a more developed state would make you think hard about the correspondence of desires and possibilities. But we must not forget that the Japanese people, unlike the Western at that time in history, were very patient, hardworking and had very limited needs. Who knows, here they could have gone to extreme measures, up to the rationing system, but the ships (most of them) would still be completed. Gentlemen with the cold eyes of professional players also understood and took this into account, and therefore gave full swing to such a phenomenon as the International Washington Conference. The polite, short people in impeccable tailcoats were kindly made aware that the problems that the economy of their island state began to face could be somewhat aggravated. All this, of course, in a partnership, behind the scenes, to the melodic chime of ice cubes in glasses.

The islanders were not fools - they were experts in history, philosophy and poetry, keepers of traditions and family swords. They signed a treaty: Japan actually renounced its naval claims, in fact recognizing the supremacy of England and the United States. But courteous smiles and bows hid ideas and designs that were even colder than ice. "8 + 8" became history, only two ships from this program, "Nagato" and "Mutsu", were completed and entered service. Akagi and Kaga continued their lives as aircraft carriers. “So what,” argued at the naval headquarters. "We do not have the ability to outrun the white barbarians quantitatively - we will find the strength and ability to surpass them qualitatively." It should be noted that, in the minds of the then Japanese, the places of residence of various barbarians began somewhere outside their own territorial waters.


Main caliber

Long constructive and design research began. The first project of the future ship was formed by Rear Admiral Yuzuru Hiraga. The promising battleship was somewhat reminiscent of the first fruit of the Washington Agreement - the British "Nelson" - but much more advanced and armed with 410-mm guns. In subsequent projects of Hiragi, the displacement of his brainchild grew smoothly upward, leaving behind a limit of 35 thousand tons. The idea was further developed by another author, Captain 1st Rank Kikuo Fujimoto, who replaced Hiraga as the chief builder of the fleet. It was Fujimoto who sounded an impressive 460 mm about the caliber of the main artillery. Subsequent projects of this designer were striking in the concentration of weapons and the number of barrels of the main caliber. One of the options even provided for the placement of 12 aircraft on board. In the end, due to the overturning of the destroyer designed by Fujimoto, a shadow fell on the career of the main builder and part-time ideologist of future superlinkers. Not having survived the setbacks, on January 10, 1934, he died suddenly.

His work continued and was eventually embodied in metal by Rear Admiral of the Technical Service Keiji Fukuda. It was he who had the honor to lead the entire extensive complex of research work on future ships, whose dimensions will impress even on drawing boards. In the spring of 1934, the project was taken seriously - it was no longer a search for a concept or an idea, it was its cutting and polishing. Retired, but not losing weight and authority in military-technical circles, Hiraga influenced the relatively young Fukuda and the entire course of affairs. Gradually, the battleship lost all the exotic inherent in Fujimoto, and began to look more like a classic one. By 1937, the design idea, which went through 24 design options, tested on 50 scale models, was finally close to design. The creation of the ship was replete with many ideas, both good and bad. So, at a certain stage, the decision arose to equip the battleship with diesel engines because of their excellent efficiency. However, from a technical point of view, this turned out to be impracticable - the Japanese engines of such a system were even more raw and underdeveloped than the German ones. And after assessing the situation, we prudently returned to the turbines. Nevertheless, the design included, for example, the then newfangled bulbous nose. In the end, after numerous refinements and corrections, on July 20, 1936, the draft version, indexed "A-140-F5", was approved by the Naval Ministry.

Birth of giants

The construction of ships was not postponed indefinitely. On November 4, 1937, the first ship of the series, the future Yamato, was officially laid down at the Kure dry dock. The construction site had to be modernized literally on the move: the dock was deepened by a meter, and the lifting capacity of the overhead crane was increased to 100 tons. The second ship of the series, Musashi, was laid down at the Mitsubishi Corporation shipyard in Nagasaki on March 28, 1938. The construction of battleships of such enormous dimensions required a whole range of technical measures. Since the series was not limited to two units (the second pair was going to be laid in 1940), a sufficiently developed infrastructure was required for the maintenance and repair of ships of this displacement. In addition to the existing three dry docks (Kure, Nagasaki and Yokosuka), it was planned to build three more, capable of receiving 65 thousandth giants. A special transport ship "Kasino" was built to transport towers, barbets and main-caliber guns, and a powerful tug "Sukufu-Maru" was built for towing huge hulls.

Needless to say, unprecedented secrecy measures were taken during the construction of the ships. The photographs of all the workers in the shipyards were placed in special albums and were carefully collated upon entry and exit. The hulls of the Yamato and Musashi themselves were sheltered from prying eyes by sisal mats (coarse fiber from agave leaves used to make ropes) in huge quantities, which caused a shortage of this material throughout Japan, primarily among fishermen weaving from it networks.

On August 8, 1940, in a solemn, but without unnecessary pompous atmosphere, the Yamato was taken out of dry dock. Photo and filming of the building was not carried out. After the procedure, the ship was covered with camouflage nets, and its completion continued afloat. Such security measures have borne fruit: although the first rumors about new ships became known overseas already at the end of 1942, and the idea of the appearance appeared after the battle of Leyte, the Americans managed to obtain the exact characteristics of the super-battleships in full only after the end of the war. when the Yamato, Musashi and the converted aircraft carrier Shinano were sunk long ago. The commission signed an act on the admission of the Yamato to the fleet on December 16, 1941, but various finishing works were carried out on it for more than five months, and it was finally ready for combat only by May 27, 1942.

Together with his sister ship Musashi, he became the first in several nominations at once: the largest battleship, the largest warship and the largest ship ever built. The total displacement of this giant reached 72 thousand tons. The maximum length was 266 m, width - 38, 9, draft - 10, 4 m. The total capacity of four turbo-gear units with 12 boilers totaled 150 thousand hp. and allowed to have a maximum speed of 27 knots. The Yamato's armament consisted of nine 460-mm guns in three main-caliber turrets, twelve 155-mm auxiliary-caliber guns in four turrets, and twelve 127-mm anti-aircraft artillery barrels. The ship was protected by a main armor belt with a maximum thickness of 410 mm, the forehead of the towers was covered with 650-mm plates, and the conning tower was 500-mm. The battleship's crew consisted of 2,400 people.

The Yamato had many interesting design features. Its upper deck was not cluttered with ventilation shaft exits, a large number of boats and other equipment. All this had to be minimized to the limit due to the monstrous pressure of muzzle gases generated when firing from 18-inch guns. For example, all the fans protruded only slightly above the deck surface and were directed away from the towers. Instead of the imported teak commonly used as decking, a local resource, Japanese Hinoki pine, was used. Post-war testing by the Americans of samples of armor steel used on the Yamato revealed its greater fragility in relation to the American and British. The gradual deterioration of relations between the former "best allies", Japan and England, after the First World War, negatively affected Japanese technologies for the manufacture of ship armor. Throughout the war, the anti-aircraft armament of battleships was gradually increased by installing 25-mm Type 96 anti-aircraft guns, which were, in fact, an improved version of the French Hotchkiss system, which the Japanese acquired in the early 1930s. On the ship, these machines were located in one- and three-barreled versions. In 1941, they provided fairly good protection against air targets, but by the middle of the war they were outdated. In the summer of 1943, the Yamato was equipped with radar.

In the ranks

Formally entering service in December 1941, the superlinker went not to battle, but to the Inland Sea, spending time at anchor, retrofitting and artillery exercises. The imperial fleet swept a deadly hurricane across the expanses of the Pacific Ocean, sweeping the small forces of the allies from its most secluded corners with an iron broom. On May 27, 1942, the next commission, after a detailed inspection, considered the battleship to be fully combat-ready. At this time, the Japanese Navy was in full swing preparing to carry out such an unhappily ended attack on Midway Atoll. The commander of the United Fleet, Isoroku Yamamoto, was stationed on board the Yamato. The battleships in whose group this newest ship was also played the role of power insurance in case the Americans risked their then few battleships. The main forces of the 1st Fleet, in which the Yamato was located, moved at a distance of almost 300 miles from the strike aircraft carrier formation of Admiral Nagumo and the landing party. On the one hand, the battleships were relatively safe, on the other, the commander was actually two days' journey from his forward forces.

Even ahead of time, powerful Yamato radio stations intercepted a message from the enemy submarine Cuttlefish, in which it was reported about the increased activity of the Japanese. A little later, the headquarters of the 6th (Japanese) fleet from the Kwajalein atoll transmitted radio interception data, according to which two American formations were operating 170 miles north of Midway. Yamamoto planned to transmit this disturbing information to the aircraft carrier "Akagi", Nagumo's flagship, but one of his officers dissuaded the admiral, arguing that it could break the radio silence. The fact that the Americans have been reading Japanese ciphers for a long time, and no radio silence will affect the situation, in the conning tower of the Yamato, and nowhere else in the Imperial Navy. The battle for Midway resulted in the destruction of four aircraft carriers and the abandonment of the landing operation. At midnight on June 5, 1942, the Japanese battleships laid down on a reverse course without firing a single shot at the enemy.

After spending some time in Japan, on August 12, 1942, the Yamato, as part of a squadron of ships and under the flag of the commander, departed for the largest base of the Japanese fleet in the center of the Pacific Ocean - Truk Atoll. The Battle of Guadalcanal was beginning, and Yamamoto wanted to be close to the front line. Around the volcanic island of the Solomon Islands archipelago, sea and air battles were in full swing, which were fought with varying success. Both sides threw new ships, aircraft and troops on the scales of the war. The Japanese "saved" by using only the old battle cruisers "Hiei" and "Kirishima" of pre-retirement age. Having met in the night battle with the newest American "Washington" and "South Dakota", the veterans were badly damaged and subsequently sank.


"Yamato" and "Musashi" in the parking lot of Truk Atoll

The newest Yamato and the Musashi, which joined it at the beginning of 1943, remained calmly anchored inside the huge Truk Lagoon, far from the passions and gushing blood that erupted in the south. In May, the Yamato departed for Japan to carry out modernization and repairs. Having visited the Yokosuki dry dock twice in succession, in May and July, the battleship received a Type 21 radar. The number of 25-mm anti-aircraft guns was increased on it, and the power plant was prevented. Coming out of the dock, the battleship spent almost a month conducting planned combat training, after which she departed for her former base - Truk Atoll. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the Japanese command instructed the new ship to transport supplies and replenishment for the personnel of the "Japanese Singapore" base. The crew was very unhappy that the huge warship was constantly used not for business: either as a floating headquarters, or as an ordinary military transport. Arriving at Truk, "Yamato" again took a place at the anchorage. A couple of times he went to sea as part of a squadron in connection with possible attacks on the islands of Enewetok and Wake, but both times to no avail.

In December 1943, the battleship did not find a better use for escorting a convoy to Japan, although in the depths of the Japanese defense perimeter, the main threat so far came from an ever-increasing number of submarines. December 12 "Yamato" in the convoy left Truk. Having arrived safely in Yokosuka, after a while he took an infantry regiment on board and went back. According to the plan, the route of the battleship, which was actually used as a high-speed armored military transport, under the escort of two destroyers was supposed to run through Truk to the Admiralty Islands with a passing stop in Kavienga (New Ireland). However, it just so happened that on December 25, 1943 northeast of Truk, the squadron got on the radar screen of the Skate submarine patrolling in the area. Radio interception allowed the Americans to notify the submarine commander in advance of the approaching enemy ships. Walking for reinsurance with an anti-submarine zigzag and making another turn, the Yamato found itself in a convenient target position for the Americans. The Skate fired four torpedoes from the stern tubes. One of them hit the battleship on the starboard side near the aft tower of the main caliber. The explosion was so strong that the Japanese thought the ship had received two, rather than one, hits. Almost 3 thousand tons of water accumulated inside the building, the tower cellar was flooded. The damage was not fatal, but very painful. The Skate was attacked with depth charges, but to no avail. The Yamato returned to Truk, where it was hastily repaired, and departed for Japan for repairs.

After entering the dry dock, the battleship underwent not only repairs, but also another modernization: two 155-mm side turrets were replaced with six 127-mm guns. The number of 25-mm anti-aircraft guns has been increased again, new radars and equipment have been installed that fixes radio emission, which is a copy of the German Metox device. The whole complex of work was completed by March 18, 1944. After completing the planned exercises and taking on board troops and supplies, on April 22, 1944, the Yamato sailed to the Philippines. After unloading in Manila, the battleship soon joined other Japanese ships stationed in the inconspicuous Tavi-Tavi Bay in the Sulu Sea near Singapore. After a series of attacks on it, Truk was no longer a safe home base, and the Japanese fleet was dispersed to rear bases in relative proximity to oil fields, which made it easier to supply ships with fuel. Soon "Musashi" also arrived in Tavi-Tavi, who also worked fruitfully in the field of military transport.

Both ships finally managed to visit a full-fledged combat operation during the battle in the Philippine Sea in the 20th of June 1944. As part of the strike force (in addition to two super-battleships, it included the old Congo and Haruna, seven heavy cruisers and three light aircraft carriers with incomplete air groups) "Yamato" and "Musashi" "sailed 100 miles in front of the aircraft carriers of Admiral Ozawa, in fact playing the role of tasty bait for enemy carrier-based aircraft. But the Americans did not fall for this simple trick - their first priority was to sink the aircraft carriers. In this battle on June 19, 1944, the Yamato used its artillery for the first time in a combat situation, firing shrapnel shells at the returning Japanese fighters. Four Zeros were damaged. This participation in the operation was limited. The battered fleet went to Okinawa and then to Japan.

"Yamato" again increased anti-aircraft armament and, loading an infantry regiment on it, sent again to Okinawa. Having made another transport flight, the Yamato and Musashi left for the rear anchorage in Linga Bay near Singapore. There, both ships spent their time in intensive combat training and joint firing. The battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle of the Pacific Company, was approaching. The threat of the loss of the Philippines forced the Japanese command to bring practically all combat-ready ships to sea.

Battle of the Philippines

The plan for Operation Syo envisaged the covert approach of three squadrons, as possible, and one of them (the Ozawa aircraft carriers, the Hyuga and Ise battleships, etc.) played the role of a decoy duck and was supposed to divert the attention of the American carrier-based aircraft to itself. At this time, the 1st and 2nd sabotage units of Admirals Kurita and Nishimura would secretly force the San Bernardino and Surigao straits, attacking the transport fleet that had accumulated in Leyte Gulf. The Kurita unit, which included the Yamato and Musashi, was the strongest: only 5 battleships, 10 heavy, 2 light cruisers and 15 destroyers. The decks of the battleships were repainted black to reduce visibility during night breakthroughs.

On October 18, 1944, the squadron left its quiet parking lot and headed to Brunei, where it refueled to capacity. On October 22, the unit headed for the Philippines, from where the Yamato's brother, Musashi, will not return. Failures began to haunt the sabotage formation from the very beginning. On October 23, an American submarine sank Kurita's flagship, the heavy cruiser Atago, after which the latter had to transfer the flag to the Yamato. Soon the heavy cruiser Maya was lost from torpedoes from another boat.


The last shot of Musashi. Battleship sinks

On October 24, carrier-based aircraft took the Japanese seriously. Wave after wave of American torpedo bombers and dive bombers rolled over Kurita's compound. They were met by an avalanche of fire erupting from hundreds of barrels, which did not prevent, however, from achieving a number of hits. Most of all went to "Musashi", which received several torpedoes and bombs in its huge corps. Because of this, Kurita ordered the overall speed to be reduced to 22 knots. By the beginning of the second hour, the battleship was already badly damaged, floods were widening on it, the trail of leaking fuel oil trailed behind the ship, and the speed dropped to 8 knots. Under him, Kurita left two destroyers, unable to be distracted from the main combat mission. Seized by enemy aircraft, Musashi was dying slowly but surely. At 15:30 Kurita nevertheless turned back and approached the dying ship. The exact number of torpedo and bomb hits is still controversial, but it is safe to say that both battleships received more than a dozen. The trim to the bow had already reached a critical eight meters, the roll to the left side was 12 degrees. Water flooded the engine room, and soon the ship lost its speed. At 19 hours 15 minutes. the command was received to prepare to leave the ship, the flag was lowered, the portrait of the Emperor was evacuated. At 19.36, crippled, but fighting to the last "Musashi" set off on its last journey to the bottom of the ocean. From the crew, 1380 people were picked up by the destroyers. In the battle that took place, the Yamato was also damaged: at least five bombs hit it, it took about 3 thousand tons of water, but in general it retained its combat effectiveness, since the attention of American aviation was focused on the Musashi.

The next morning, the 460mm Yamato guns finally opened fire on American escort aircraft carriers and destroyers taken by surprise off Samar Island. The fact is that at this stage the Japanese plan began to work - the enemy threw part of the forces against Ozawa's aircraft carriers with half-empty hangars, and the old battleships covering the landing on Leyte Island safely destroyed the 2nd sabotage squadron of Nishimura during the night battle. Only escort aircraft carriers and destroyers remained near the transports. American pilots reported to their superiors that the Japanese ships were either sunk or damaged, and that they had turned back. In fact, assessing the situation and receiving a suggestion from the command, Kurita returned to his previous course and in the morning encountered a group of escort aircraft carriers (six units) along with three destroyers and four destroyers.

We must pay tribute to the crews of these ships - they did not get confused under enemy fire, but having developed the maximum speed, they began to raise the aircraft, on which everything that just came to hand was hung. The destroyers set up a smoke screen. For some reason, the beginning of the battle, which did not have full information about the enemy, was interpreted by the Japanese as a fight with a full-fledged aircraft carrier formation, which, as you know, does not go without line cover. This was one of the reasons for Kurita's caution. After a short battle, having sunk an escort aircraft carrier and two destroyers, the admiral ordered a retreat. He had no idea that the group of small ships was the only obstacle between his squadron and the crowd of defenseless transports. One way or another, the 1st sabotage group left, as it had come, through the San Bernardino Strait. The battle was outright lost, and the Japanese navy ceased to exist as an organized fighting force. Injured, the Yamato went to Japan to heal her wounds. In November 1944, he underwent the last modernization. The situation at the front worsened more and more - the Japanese islands were directly exposed to air raids.


Scheme "Yamato" at the beginning of 1945


Throughout the winter of 1944-1945. Yamato is changing sites and conducting exercises. What use to find a huge ship, the command had vague ideas. The Americans helped to make a decision by launching Operation Iceberg - landing on the island of Okinawa. At the end of March, the battleship received full ammunition and was refueled. There was a complete deficit of it, and therefore it was necessary to scrape along the bottom of the barrel. On April 3, the order of Admiral Toyeda was announced: as part of a special strike detachment (light cruiser Yakagi and eight destroyers) to move towards Okinawa at high speed, where to strike at transports and other enemy ships. It was not specified how this was to be done under conditions of complete enemy domination at sea and in the air. In fact, the squadron was a suicide bomber. The commander of the Special Strike Force, Vice Admiral Ito, objected to such an undertaking, believing that it was a waste of ships and resources. But the order was approved at the very top.

The battleship received 3,400 tons of fuel - everything that they could find, older sailors and sick people disembarked from it, the whole tree was dismantled - even chairs and tables. On the evening of April 5, the commander of the Yamato, Captain 1st Rank Kosaku Ariga, gathered the entire crew on deck and read out the order to march. The answer was a deafening "Banzai!" April 6 at 15.20. The special strike force left the Inland Sea accompanied by three escort ships, which soon turned back. Air cover was carried out by two seaplanes - this is all that the once mighty naval aviation could put up. The Americans already had information that the enemy was preparing a sortie to Okinawa. By this time (the evening of February 6), the Japanese ships were discovered by submarines. According to the testimony of the survivors, the mood on board the battleship was both solemn and doomed: the sailors prayed in the ship's Shinto temple, wrote farewell letters.

On the morning of April 7, the ships were recorded first by the deck "Helkets", and then by the flying boats "Mariner". It became clear that the final battle was impending. At 11 hours 7 minutes. onboard radar detected a large group of aircraft 60 miles from the ship. The combat alert had long been declared - the crew was at combat posts. At 11.15 the first group of "Helkets" appeared over the squadron and began to circle over it. The stroke was increased to 25 knots. Soon, the main forces of the attacking appeared for reconnaissance - a total of 227 American aircraft (most of them dive bombers and torpedo bombers) took part in the attack on the Japanese Special Force.


The explosion of the battleship "Yamato"

The first wave of 150 aircraft was spotted with the naked eye at 12.32, and at 12.34 the barrels of anti-aircraft guns spewed the first portion of steel and fire. Soon, the first hits of armor-piercing bombs occurred - deck superstructures were damaged and several 127-mm guns were destroyed. At 12.43 "Avengers" from the aircraft carrier "Hornet" were able to plant one torpedo on the port side. As soon as the first wave, having worked, withdrew, at 13 o'clock it was followed by another 50 aircraft, mainly dive bombers. The Japanese were not given respite. This time the attacks were carried out from different directions. The aircraft processed the deck and superstructures from machine guns, interfering with the aiming fire of anti-aircraft guns. New hits followed by bombs - the calculation was to weaken the ship's defenses. The third wave was not long in coming - it appeared at 13 hours 33 minutes. First three, and at 13 hours 44 minutes. two more torpedoes hit the Yamato on the port side. Two boiler rooms were flooded, the auxiliary rudder (the Yamato-class ships had two rudders) was jammed in the right-to-board position. Several thousand tons of water got inside, creating a roll of up to 7 degrees. Counter-flooding has managed to correct this so far. The battleship's speed dropped to 18 knots, and there was no longer a centralized fire control system.

At 13 hours 45 minutes. the last attack began, during which at least four more torpedoes and several bombs hit the ship. The Yamato's anti-aircraft fire began to wane. At 14 h. 5 min. from torpedo hits the light cruiser "Yahagi" sank. The Yamato's speed dropped to 12 knots, at 14:17. the next torpedo caused the flooding of all the remaining boiler rooms. The survivability service, which was dying, but did not abandon its posts, reported to the flaming bridge that it could no longer control the sinking of the ship. "Yamato" lost speed - the roll reached 16-17 degrees. The ship's position was hopeless. One after another, equipment nodes failed, communications did not work, the central part of the ship was engulfed in fire.

In the conning tower, keeping the samurai calm, sat Admiral Ito, who had not uttered a single word from the beginning of the battle, leaving the ship's commander Ariga to lead the battle. After hearing the report of the senior officer, Ariga informed the commander that he considered it necessary to leave the ship. Ito didn't mind. The crew began to concentrate on the deck and throw themselves overboard. The Yamato began to fall slowly on board. When the roll reached 80 degrees, an enormous explosion occurred - its reflection was seen even on American ships near Okinawa. The flame shot up 2 km. The main caliber cellars were detonated.

At 14 hours 23 minutes. the world's largest battleship ended its combat career. It killed 3,061 people, including Vice Admiral Ito and the battleship commander. 269 people were raised from the water. A light cruiser and four destroyers were sunk. The Americans lost 10 aircraft, which killed 12 people - such was the price for the sinking of an entire squadron of ships. The Yamato and Musashi were officially expelled from the fleet on August 12, 1945.


A still from the film "Yamato". The order is read out to the crew to proceed to Okinawa.

On August 1, 1985, the Paizis-3 deep-sea vehicle of an international research expedition discovered the remains of a battleship in the East China Sea at a depth of 450 meters. In the early 2000s. the Japanese shot a colorful and realistic, not alien to naturalism, feature film "Yamato", for which a 190-meter life-size model of the battleship's bow was specially made. After the end of filming, before dismantling, it was opened for some time to visitors. The Yamato is still the largest ship of the line ever built.

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