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IJN Battleship YAMATO
January 28, 2007 4:22 PM   Subscribe

IJN Battleship YAMATO (from 2005 Toei film). NHK IJN feature 1,2,3,4,5,6. Glorious Imperial Japanese Navy, Modern mashup, JSDF fanvid pt 1 & 2. JMSDF Fleet Review rehearsal. JSDF Marching Festival 2006: Opening Ceremony, USAJ Band (sad), 7th Fleet Band (gack), III MEF Band (nice!), J NDA Honor Guard. PLA schools everyone.
posted by Heywood Mogroot (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great post -- I'll save them to watch later at work!
posted by armage at 4:40 PM on January 28, 2007


Of course, the Yamato's sinking wasn't the end of the story. Her second career as a starship was, if anything, more important than her career in Japan's surface navy.

(It never ceases to amaze me that the theme song of Uchuu Senkan Yamato has not yet been adopted as the national anthem of Japan. Maybe this year!)
posted by The Tensor at 5:04 PM on January 28, 2007


IJN? NHK? JSDF? USAJ? MEF? NDA? PLA?

WTF?
posted by wfrgms at 5:32 PM on January 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Considering she spent most of the war swinging at anchor, she was an impressive warship but ultimately a waste of steel.
posted by pax digita at 6:08 PM on January 28, 2007


but ultimately a waste of steel.

Not to mention the lives of the Japanese sailors sent on a stupid suicide mission.
posted by frogan at 6:42 PM on January 28, 2007


IJN == Imperial Japanese Navy
JSDF == Japanese Self Defense Forces (i.e. Japan's military)
PLA == People's Liberation Army (i.e. China's military)
NHK == Nippon Housou Kyoukai (a television network)
MEF == Marine Expeditionary Force
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:11 PM on January 28, 2007


Holy fascist fetishes! Ain't nothing noteworthy about tons of scrap metal. What a terrible waste...

And I'm wondering if you need a compiler or something to understand that entire post.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:36 PM on January 28, 2007


Damn, that PLA march was straight out of Triumph of the Will. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but the part with the PLA chick-squad was kinda sexy.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:12 PM on January 28, 2007


Pax Digita, it's true that Yamato and Musashi didn't really do anything that really justified the expense of building them, and the third hull of that class, Shinano, was converted into an aircraft carrier.

But it's not true that Yamato "spent most of the war swinging at anchor". Late in the war the Japanese Navy (what there was left of it) didn't sortie much because of petroleum shortage (due to American submarine blockade), but in 1942 and 1943 and the early part of 1944 they were at sea quite a lot. Yamato was at Midway, at the battle of the Philippine Sea, and at Leyte Gulf.

Shinano was really the hard luck case of the three; she was torpedoed by USS Archer-Fish just hours after she went to sea for the first time, and sank a few hours after that, taking something like a thousand of her crew down with her.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:12 PM on January 28, 2007


Interesting post Heywood Mogroot. No battleship in the Second World War accounted for much. The Prince of Wales, the Bismark, the Deutschland, the Arizona et al, were little more than fast sinking, juicy targets for aircraft.
posted by three blind mice at 9:14 PM on January 28, 2007


No battleship in the Second World War accounted for much

Halsey detached the 2 new BBs from his carrier group and threw them into the decisive Second Battle of Guadalcanal.

This prevented the Japanese bombardment force from putting the hurt on Henderson Field, and enabled the fliers from there to sweep the slot of enemy transports at a critical time.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:31 PM on January 28, 2007


In fact, there were more battleship-vs.-battleship battles in WWII than there were carrier-vs.-carrier battles.

One of the most impressive and decisive cases of battleships fighting one another was the Second Battle of Guadalcanal, as mentioned. Another and much larger one was the Battle of Surigao Strait, in which 6 American battleships plus smaller ships were involved in heavy combat. In that battle the Japanese lost two battleships and several cruisers and destroyers, mostly to American gunfire. (Three Japanese cruisers in that task force were sunk by American submarines.)

Battleships accounted well for themselves at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Admiral Spruance placed his battleships between his carriers and the expected location of the Japanese carriers, in hopes that incoming flights of aircraft would decide to attack them instead of continuing on to look for the much-more-vulnerable CVs. And that's what happened. His battleships were tough and armored and carried plenty of anti-aircraft guns, and between that and fighter cover from the CVs in the rear, the Japanese planes got massacred without sinking a single American ship.

I don't think than any student of naval warfare in WWII would agree that the battleships were a waste. There's no doubt that they were less critical than aircraft carriers, but they had their job to do and they did it well, and there were plenty of cases where they made a huge difference.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:06 PM on January 28, 2007


more battleship-vs.-battleship battles in WWII than there were carrier-vs.-carrier battles

? not sure about that . . . at any rate outside of the toe-to-toe Guadalcanal slugouts the various carrier battles were very strategically decisive compared to the other capital ship surface engagements.

The IJN forces were a day late and a dollar short at Leyte; they didn't have the surface staying power to significantly hinder the American campaign to re-take the archipelago, and the 40-odd US transports still left there wouldn't have been [strategically] missed even if they had been sunk.

Part of their logistical problem was that their fuel supply was in the south and their armaments were in the north, with increasing US SS prowling between.

Yeah, the Battle Line was a pretty damn good innovation, though more as a decoy than a means of force projection or sea control. Given the tortuous maneuvering of warships under air attack, putting the big guys in a separate battle group makes the most sense.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:51 PM on January 28, 2007


That factoid about there having been more bvb battles than cvc battles comes from a book by Jim Dunnigan, and he listed all of them. But I don't have that book any more so I can't give you the list.

What you have to realize is how many bvb battles there were in Europe during WWII. Counting Hood as a battleship, there's two bvb battles associated with the sinking of the Bismarck. There was also USS Massachusetts taking out the Vichy battleship Jean Bart. There were several surface naval battles in the Med between the Royal Navy and the Italian Navy. It turns out there were quite a large number of cases where battleships fired on each other in WWII, and since neither Germany nor Italy had any carriers, there were no cvc battles in the European theater.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:50 AM on January 29, 2007


ah right. _Dirty Secrets of WW2_ no doubt.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:56 AM on January 29, 2007


Such a beautiful ship. It took me 5 torps to sink it when I found it in my Gato.

I miss Silent Service II.
posted by id at 2:58 AM on January 29, 2007


Counting Hood as a battleship, there's two bvb battles associated with the sinking of the Bismarck.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but the Bismark was disabled by a torpedo launched by a bi-plane (a British Swordfish) which made it easy picking.

I have always thought it ironic that navies on both sides insisted on deploying battleships after the Japanese so convincingly demonstrated the superior power of the aircraft carrier at Pearl Harbor.

Despite some tactical achievements, the WW2 battleship was simply another case of navies building ships to fight the last war. (As the U.S. continues to invest in carrier battle groups that will quickly and easily be neutralised by any enemy in possession of missiles like the Sunburst.)
posted by three blind mice at 4:30 AM on January 29, 2007


Not to mention the lives of the Japanese sailors sent on a stupid suicide mission.

Really! In fact, you could argue that for the Japanese Navy the entire war was pretty much a stupid suicide mission. If only they'd listened to Yamamoto Isoroku...stupid Army pukes, forgetting they were an island nation, after all...

SCDB, I'd forgotten that Yamato was technically part of the Midway operation -- but in the so-called Main Body, not part of the carrier-centered Striking Group, so basically she didn't get to do anything but burn a lot of oil out at sea. Everything else you cite was 1944-45 except for 1943, when, according to Wikipedia,

From 29 August 1942 to 8 May 1943, she spent all of her time at Truk, being underway for only one day during this entire time. In May 1943, she returned to Kure, where the two wing 15.5 cm turrets were removed and replaced by 25 mm machine guns, and Type-22 surface search radars were added. She returned to Truk on 25 December 1943. On the way there, she was damaged by a torpedo from the submarine USS Skate, and was not fully repaired until April 1944.

(If you know of other operational history for Yamato during the period, your added knowledge could help to improve that article.)

So -- OK, let's try "most of the war swinging at anchor interspersed with yard periods, a futile cruise, and eating a torp." -- Better?

And finally, there was no "submarine blockade" as such -- SUBPAC was waging unrestricted theater-wide submarine warfare against Japanese merchant shipping and the IJN, not maintaining a blockade or a maritime-exclusion zone.

FWIW, I completely agree with you about the usefulness of BBs -- I seem to recall Mitscher saying something about being glad to have fast battleships around as AA platforms to help protect the CVs.
posted by pax digita at 5:22 AM on January 29, 2007


I think 2:33 into this answers the question of why the Battleship mentality survived.

Who would think that a biplane with a lightweight torpedo could disable one of these bad boys?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:54 AM on January 29, 2007


I know this is inappropriate, but whenever I hear of the Yamato, I can't help but think of Star Blazers and the Argo, knowing that in the Japanese original version of the cartoon, that's what she was.
posted by kmartino at 10:19 AM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


The IDF looks really cool running around in all the equipment that US taxpayers paid to research and develop.
posted by Megafly at 10:51 AM on January 29, 2007


Set the way-back machine for 1939, Mr. Peabody...

Heywood Mogroot, I think on sci.military.naval once we had a big argument over whether modern naval antiair systems, optimized to deal with air-to-surface missiles like the Exocet or Sandbox, could cope with a "Stringbag" Fairey Swordfish -- with an effective approach speed of around 70 knots; the cited figure of 139 mph sounds like a dive at war emergency power to me -- coming in close and dropping a torp.

Consensus was, the backup infrared and visible optical aiming systems for Goalkeeper or Phalanx CWIS could probably be induced to cope -- after all, ships already have to watch out for helicopter-borne systems like Penguin and Hellfire -- but only if the threat were already somewhat anticipated and then were evaluated and countered in time. Thinking about the vaunted AEGIS combat system, if the computer that works with the SPY-1 radar didn't "speed gate" slow enough to register the Swordfish as an aircraft, or it was lost in the return clutter of other nearby ships or land masses, the lookouts might not see it in haze soon enough. Some of us speculated that the thing to do is, in a busy/congested/crowded/cluttered sea-traffic area with a strong potentiality for airborne hostiles, you want a couple teams of MANPAD-equipped bluejackets out on the weather decks as backup -- and hope their missiles can lock on the exhaust from a pretty modest radial engine.

In a crowded seaway, it's just barely possible that a really sneaky, ballsy pilot could thread his way, at mast-high altitude into range, drop the "fish," and return to base course before the AA-alley guys in CIC could detect, evaluate, and react to the threat -- it's remotely possible that the putative elderly torpedo bomber, skimming the wavetops, might get far enough away (and maybe in among other surface traffic) to evade return fire while a panicked bridge crew is dealing with a rapidly closing torpedo. So...hey, some third-world vintage naval-air enthusiast with a Stringbag, a live torp, and a death wish...a warm, hazy night in the Straits of Malacca...a n Arleigh Burke thinking mainly about pirates with speedboats, not mast-high antique aircraft...

Once the torp's in the water and inbound, there are some things you can still do, but if you're not on the ball and already at GQ (battle stations), you have basically seconds to notice where the hell the torp's in the water, get your head out of your @$$, and manuver to miss it, assuming it's a straight-runner with no homing capability -- so if you missed the plane to start with, the first warning you'd get is when one of the sonar girls (hmmm, some of 'em are actual girls nowadays) started screaming, "Transient, transient, high-speed screws bearing [whatever]!"

Pretty incredible, I know, but so's a small boat full of Semtex and two guys who don't mind dying...and once you get past the World-War-II-nostalgia aspect of it and get some people rethinking how to reverse-engineer an air-droppable ASW torp to act like the ones the B5Ns were dropping on Battleship Row one December morning, and find a small, manuverable aircraft that'll carry the weight a respectable distance, it's not quite such a Tom Clancy scenario anymore.
posted by pax digita at 11:43 AM on January 29, 2007


NHK = Nihon Hikkikomori Kyokai for you paranoids out there.
posted by owenkun at 12:16 PM on January 29, 2007


And they left out the three most important initials: EDF (Earth Defense Force).

The only way I knew about the WWII battleship Yamato was from the animated series Starblazers (known in Japan as Space Battleship Yamato). I still can remember the first time I watched that series, and how it immediately rendered Star Trek and Star Wars as irrelavent in my nine year old mind, and later helped me learn to appreciate future science fiction series like Babylon 5 and the new Battlestar Galactica.

Glad to see that The Tensor remembered the greatest starship to ever grace the skies!
posted by jasonbondshow at 12:52 PM on January 29, 2007


One of the many problems with "Space Battleship Yamato" is that the actual Yamato broke up before it sank. One of the bombs that hit it started a fire that eventually set off one of Yamato's magazines.

Anyone care for a more recent appearance of Yamato in anime? The ninth episode of Kamichu!, IMHO the best episode in the series, is about it.

Eventually they show us the wreck of Yamato on the bottom, and it's evident they based their art on photographs taken by the folks who found the wreck a few years ago.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:12 PM on January 29, 2007


As the U.S. continues to invest in carrier battle groups that will quickly and easily be neutralised by any enemy in possession of missiles like the Sunburst.

Riiight... and all those CIWS and SAM systems are there just for show. And those attack submarines attached to every CVBG will just slink away silently instead of pummeling the perpetrator with Tomahawks.
posted by azazello at 8:54 AM on January 30, 2007


Riiight... and all those CIWS and SAM systems are there just for show.

Don't forget the onboard aircraft themselves. And the Aegis destroyers. Clearly for show, too.
posted by frogan at 9:23 AM on January 31, 2007


Don't forget the onboard aircraft themselves. And the Aegis destroyers. Clearly for show, too.

Well, presumably a Shipwreck type missile (which is superior to Sunburn, which tbm is referring to as Sunburst) would come in too fast to be countered by anything other than automated systems. Which CIWS, and presumably some air defense missiles equipped now, are.
posted by azazello at 2:26 PM on January 31, 2007


Well, presumably a Shipwreck type missile ... would come in too fast to be countered by anything other than automated systems.

You're missing the point. Something has to get in close enough to fire the missile in the first place. Meaning it got past the AWACs, the Hawkeyes, the CAP, the SAMs, the destroyers, the ASW frigates and their helos, the Los Angeles-class fast attack subs ... and THEN fired its missile. Do that, and then we can talk about CIWS. ;-)

The original complaint was that a carrier battle group is an enormously expensive toy in the arsenal, when anti-ship missiles are cheap and effective. And what azazello and I are saying is ... carrier battle groups are enormously expensive because they're incredibly effective in more ways than just shooting down said missiles.
posted by frogan at 7:56 PM on January 31, 2007


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