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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Nagato class Battleships

Photos

IJN Mutsu in the late 1930s:
IJN Mutsu in the late 1930s
Imperial Japanese Navy Archives
IJN Nagato in Brunei, Borneo on October 21, 1944:
IJN Nagato in Brunei, Borneo on October 21, 1944
Kure Maritime City Historical Museum

Design

As part of the 8-8 Project (8 battleships 8 battlecruisers) the Nagato class was designed based on experience gained during the first years of World War I.

Armament

The Nagato class were the first ships in the world to carry 16" guns.

The 3rd Year Type 1914 16" guns could fire a 2,249 lb Type 91 AP shell for 17.5 miles / 42,000 yards.

There were 4 torpedo tubes on the upper deck near the front funnel.

Refit

In 1924 the Nagato class ships had their front funnel bent towards the rear and the foremast started to take the shape of the famous pagoda style used in many Japanese battleships.

Modernization

The IJN Nagato and IJN Mutsu were modernized during 1934 - 1936.

Additions included:

  • Added bulges
  • Catapult added behind the mainmast
  • Engines updated
  • Gun's elevation increased to 43°
  • New bridge / Pagoda style enlarged
  • One funnel removed
  • Searchlights placed around mainmast
  • Triple bottom
  • Twenty 25 mm guns added

The 3" guns, torpedo tubes, and two 5.5" guns were removed.

At first the aircraft used were Nakajima E8N1 "Dave," but were later replaced by the Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete."

Ships

IJN Nagato

  • Manufacturer: Kure Navy Yard
  • August 28, 1917: Laid down.
  • November 9, 1919: Launched.
  • November 25, 1920: Completed.
  • 1925: Heinkel catapult added to No. 2 turret.
  • August 25, 1933 - January 31, 1936, April 1934 - January 1936: Modernization at Kure Navy Yard.
  • August 1939: Flagship of Combined Fleet.
  • July 1941: Member of Battle Division 1, Flagship of Combined Fleet.
  • December 8 - 13, 1942: Covered return of Pearl Harbor Attack Fleet.
  • May 28 - June 5, 1942: Midway Operation.
  • May 29, 1942: Member of 1st Battleship Squadron, Main Body, 1st Fleet. Sailed from Hashira Jima.
  • June 14, 1942: Returned to Inland Sea.
  • July 14, 1942: Member of Battle Division 2, 2nd Fleet.
  • August 24, 1942: Battle of the Eastern Solomons.
  • June 15, 1943: Member of Battleship Force.
  • June 17 - 23, 1943: Sailed to Truk from Hashira Jiima.
  • October 17, 1943: Sailed to Eniwetok.
  • October 23, 1943: Sailed to southwest of Wake Island.
  • October 26, 1943: Returned to Truk.
  • December 25, 1943: Torpedoed near Truk by USS Skate.
  • February 1 - 4th, 1944: Sailed to Palau.
  • February 21st, 1944: Arrived at Lingga Roads encountering many submarines along way. Became flagship of 2nd Battle Squadron, 2nd Fleet.
  • March 30, 1944: Sailed to Singapore where went into dry dock for ten days. Returned to Lingga Roads.
  • May 5, 1944: Replaced as Flagship by IJN Yamato.
  • May 11 - 14, 1944: Sailed to Tawa Tawa.
  • June 19 - 20, 1944: Battle of Philippine Sea.
  • October 22 - 28, 1944: Battle of Leyte Gulf. Slightly damaged. Member of Force A, Northern Force.
  • January 1, 1945: Mainmast and funnel removed to help in camouflage at Yokosuka.
  • July 18, 1945: Bombed by TF38 and slightly damaged.

IJN Mutsu

  • Manufacturer: Yokosuka Navy Yard
  • June 1, 1918: Laid down.
  • May 31, 1920: Launched.
  • October 24, 1921: Completed.
  • September 1934 - September 1936, September 6, 1934 - September 30, 1936: Modernization at Yokosuka Navy Yard.
  • July 1941: Member of Battle Division 1.
  • November 1941: Member of 1st Battle Squadron, Main Force, 1st Fleet.
  • December 1941 - Spring 1942: Training duties.
  • May 28 - June 5, 1942: Midway Operation.
  • May 29, 1942: Member of 1st Battleship Squadron, Main Body, 1st Fleet. Sailed from Hashira Jima.
  • June 14, 1942: Returned to Japanese Islands.
  • July 14, 1942: Member of Battle Division 2, 2nd Fleet.
  • August 9, 1942: Member of Advance Force.
  • August 11 - 17, 1942: Sailed for Truk.
  • August 21, 1942: Member of Support Force, Fleet Train in supplying Guadalcanal. Second Battle of the Eastern Solomons.
  • August 24, 1942: Battle of the Eastern Solomons.
  • August 27, 1942: Attacked by aircraft with no damage.
  • September 2, 1942: Returned to Truk.
  • January 7 - 12, 1943: Sailed from Truk to Yokosuka. Went into dry dock for maintenace.
  • June 8, 1943: Sunk by accidental explosion in Hiroshima Bay. 1,222 men died. The cause is still unknown but many believe the magazine blew up.

Usage

Battle of Leyte Gulf

The IJN Nagato, IJN Musashi, and IJN Yamato sailed with Force A of the Northern Force commanded by Vice-Admiral Kurita on October 22, 1944. United States aircraft attacked and damaged Nagato's boiler room, disabled no. 4 turret, guns of the secondary battery, and her speed reduced 21 knots.

Eventually the force came upon TF77.4 of six escort carriers. Two escort carriers, two destroyers, and one destroyer escort were sunk. It is not clear if the Nagato made any hits.

After the battle the Japanese ships returned to Yokosuka Navy Yard for repairs.

Survived World War II

As one of the few Japanese ships to survive the war, the IJN Nagato was used in the a-bomb test at Bikini Atoll in July 1946.

 

Specifications

  Nagato class as built
Crew 1,333
Displacement 32,700 tons, 32,720 tons, 33,800 tons
Displacement - Loaded 38,500 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 708'
215.8 m, 215.83 m
Length - Water Line 669' 9", 700' 6"
204.07 m, 213.4 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 660' 4", 660' 9"
201.2 m
Beam 95'
28.96 m, 29 m
Draft / Height 29' 9", 30'
9 m, 9.08 m
Performance  
Speed 26.7 knots, 26.75 knots
Range at 16 knots 5,500 nautical miles
Armament 16" twin turrets: 4
16" L/45, 40.6 cm twin turrets: 4
5.5": 20
5.5" L/50, 14 cm: 20
Anti-Aircraft 3", 76 mm: 4
Torpedo Tubes - Above Waterline 21": 4
Torpedo Tubes - Below Waterline 21": 4, 8
Aircraft None
Armor  
Barbettes 12", 14"
Belt - Main - Aft 4"
Belt - Main - Amidships 12"
Belt - Main - Bow 4"
Control Tower 12", 14.5"
Deck 3.5", 7"
Turrets 14"
Turrets - Front 14"
Engines  
Boilers Kanpon: 20
Kanpon Type RO oil fired: 15
Kanpon Type RO mixed firing: 6
Shafts 4
Turbines Gihon
Kanpon
HP 80,000
Coal 1,575 tons, 1,600 tons
Oil 3,346 tons, 3,400 tons
  Nagato class after reconstruction
Crew 1,368
Displacement 39,120 tons, 39,130 tons
Displacement - Loaded 46,356 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 734', 738'
224.94 m, 225 m
Length - Water Line 725' 4", 725' 6"
221 m, 221.07 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 660' 3", 660' 9" 698' 9"
201.`7 m, 201.2 m
Beam 108' 1", 108' 2", 113' 6"
32.96 m, 34.6 m
Draft / Height 31', 31' 1", 31' 2"
9.49 m, 9.5 m
Performance  
Speed 25 knots
Range at 16 knots 8,650 nautical miles
Armament 16" twin turrets: 4
16" L/45, 40.6 cm twin turrets: 4
5.5": 18
5.5" L/50, 14 cm: 18
Anti-Aircraft 5" twin mounts: 4
5" L/40, 12.7 cm twin mounts: 4
25 mm: 20
25 mm twin mounts: 10
Aircraft 3
Armor  
Barbettes 11.8", 12"
Belt 11.8"
Belt - Main - Aft 4" - 8"
Belt - Main - Amidships 12" - 13"
Belt - Main - Bow 4" - 8"
Bulkheads  
Casements  
Control Tower 3.8" - 14.6", 12"
Deck 3.5"
Deck - Main 2.7"
Deck - Middle 5"
Turrets 14"
Turrets - Front  
Turrets - Side  
Engines  
Boilers 10
Kanpon: 10
Large Kanpon Type RO oil fired: 4
Small Kanpon Type RO oil fired: 6
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared
Kanpon
HP 82,000, 82,300
Oil 5,511 tons, 5,560 tons, 5,600 tons
  IJN Mutsu
Crew  
Displacement 39,050 tons
Displacement - Hybrid  
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 18 knots  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Aircraft  
Armor  
Barbettes  
Battery  
Belt - Main - Amidships  
Belt - Main - Fore and Aft  
Belt - Upper  
Control Tower  
Deck  
Turrets  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  IJN Nagato
Crew  
Displacement 39,130 tons
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 14 knots  
Armament 5.5": -2
Anti-Aircraft  
Anti-Aircraft - June 1944 25 mm: 30, 68, 98
25 mm triple mounts: 16
25 mm twin mounts: 10
Anti-Aircraft - October 1944 25 mm triple mounts: 16
25 mm twin mounts: 10
25 mm: 30
Anti-Aircraft - 1945 25 mm: 98
Aircraft  
Armor  
Belt - Main - Amidships  
Belt - Main - Fore and Aft  
Belt - Upper  
Control Tower  
Deck  
Deck - Over machinery  
Deck - Over magazines  
Turrets  
Turret - Top  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  

Sources:

  1. Japanese Warships of World War II, A. J. Watts, 1966
  2. The Imperial Japanese Navy, A. J. Watts and B. G. Gordon, 1971
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  4. Battleships of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site