WELCOME TO THE INTERNET'S YAMATO & MUSASHI BATTLESHIP PHOTO ARCHIVE! (EST. 08/2008) MAJOR UPDATE - 08/2019 WITH DOZENS OF NEW HIGH RES PHOTOS!
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Archive photos are from the USA National Archives & the USN, & are in the Public Domain.
THE ROBERT LUNDGREN HISTORICAL RESOURCE Historian Anthony Tully, (co-author of "Shattered Sword - The Untold Story of The Battle of Midway"), Forum: 3 indispensable books for any Yamato enthusiast: Reconstruction of Yamato as she appeared during her Final Sortie in April 1945:
Historian Anthony Tully, (co-author of "Shattered Sword - The Untold Story of The Battle of Midway"), Forum:
3 indispensable books for any Yamato enthusiast:
Reconstruction of Yamato as she appeared during her Final Sortie in April 1945:
Yamato was listing and circling helplessly to port. Her list was so severe that the red-leaded starboard underbelly protruded well above the waterline. Hits here would tear the bottom out of her.
..Four planes spearheaded the attack in line abreast. The other two were close on their tails. They released at 800 feet, range 100 yards, unseen by the enemy.. Stetson saw at least four torpedo wakes streaking toward the unsuspecting battleship...One or two, maybe more, hit, smashing into the exposed underbelly below the armor belt."
pages 291-292, Russell Spurr, "A Glorious Way to Die"
"Enormous geysers rise on port and starboard sides amidships. I feel as if the deck has been swept out from under my feet. The navigation officer, with a sharp, inquisitorial tone in his voice: 'Captain, didn't you see that last torpedo?'…
Will this torpedo at last be the fatal wound? It delivers as hard a blow equivalent at least to the blast of several airborne torpedoes.
Has a submarine caught us off guard, approached, and zeroed in on us? Or, with our extreme list, with the armor plating along the hull now out of the water, have the torpedo bombers concentrated their torpedoes on the ship's exposed and vulnerable belly?
It has absolutely enormous power, this mysterious torpedo.
A fitting end, filled with mystery, for this giant ship. The needle of the inclinometer takes a marked leap."
Yoshida Mitsuru, "Requiem for Battleship Yamato"
A note about the number of bombs and torpedoes that hit the Yamato is in order here: The official US Navy report gives the number conservatively as 7 bombs and 12 torpedoes (in addition to hundreds of wing-fired rockets and hundreds of thousands of .50 cal strafing machine gun rounds that created slaughter on the decks of the ship.)
But this report was not based on all of the after-action reports from the carriers taking part in the operation.
Reports by Navy pilots, though bound to be exaggerated by instances of two pilots both reporting a single hit as their own, for example, indicate that the actual numbers of hits may have been 3 times higher than the numbers quoted in the report above.
Survivors of the Yamato indicate about 18 bomb hits and around 20 torpedo hits
In the story of this operation as written in the "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II", author Samuel Eliot Morison notes that at around 1400 hours:
"...came the fourth major attack wave. Aerial torpedoes blew more holes in the port side and at least 10 bombs exploded on the decks."
This is consistent with Yoshida's account of bombs literally raining down on the ship after her speed dropped in half and then as she lay almost still in the water near the end. The carnage that he so vividly describes is corroborated by the stories of the other survivors.
The cause for the explosion of Yamato's forward #2 main powder magazine after she capsized, blowing the ship in two, was most likely started by detonation of the 18" "beehive" AA shells that rolled and hit the bulkheads as the ship capsized. They were known to be more volatile that the high explosive and armor piercing 18" shells. (In fact, capsized Japanese battleships had an unnerving tendency to blow up during WW2, as pointed out by Lundgren in his book on Leyte Gulf.)
A CGI re-creation of the torpedoes from Lt. Stetson's flight delivering the death blow to Yamato.
This is a still from the CGI film "Yamato's Final Battle" which I have uploaded to Youtube. It is linked on the index page.