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Yamato was the lead ship of the Yamato class of Imperial Japanese Navy World War II battleships. She and her sister ship, Musashi, were the heaviest battleships ever constructed, displacing 72,800 tonnes at full load and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 inch) 45 Caliber Type 94 main guns, which were the largest guns ever mounted on a warship. Neither ship survived the war.
Named after the ancient Japanese Yamato Province, Yamato was designed to counter the numerically superior battleship fleet of the United States, Japan's main rival in the Pacific. She was laid down in 1937 and formally commissioned a week after the Pearl Harbor attack in late 1941. Throughout 1942, she served as the flagship of the Japanese Combined Fleet, and in June 1942 Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto directed the fleet from her bridge during the Battle of Midway, a disastrous defeat for Japan. Musashi took over as the Combined Fleet flagship in early 1943, and Yamato spent the rest of the year, and much of 1944, moving between the major Japanese naval bases of Truk and Kure in response to American threats. Although present at the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944, she played no part in the battle.
The only time Yamato fired her main guns at enemy surface targets was in October 1944, when she was sent to engage American forces invading the Philippines during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. On the verge of success, the Japanese force turned back, believing they were engaging an entire US carrier fleet rather than the light escort carrier group that was all that stood between the battleship and the vulnerable troop transports.
During 1944, the balance of naval power in the Pacific decisively turned against Japan, and by early 1945, its fleet was much depleted and badly hobbled by critical fuel shortages in the home islands. In a desperate attempt to slow the Allied advance, Yamato was dispatched on a one-way mission to Okinawa in April 1945, with orders to beach herself and fight until destroyed protecting the island. The task force was spotted south of Kyushu by US submarines and aircraft, and on 7 April 1945 she was sunk by American carrier-based bombers and torpedo bombers with the loss of most of her crew. Name: Yamato Ordered: March 1937 Builder: Kure Naval Arsenal Laid down: 4 November 1937 Launched: 8 August 1940 Commissioned: 16 December 1941 Struck: 31 August 1945 Fate: Sunk, 7 April 1945 General characteristics (as built) Class and type: Yamato-class battleship Displacement: 65,027 t (64,000 long tons) 71,659 t (70,527 long tons) (full load) Length: 256 m (839 ft 11 in) (waterline) 263 m (862 ft 10 in) (overall) Beam: 38.9 m (127 ft 7 in) Draft: 11 m (36 ft 1 in) Installed power: 12 Kampon boilers 150,000 shp (110,000 kiloW) Propulsion: 4 shafts; 4 steam turbines Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph) Range: 7,200 nmi (13,300 km; 8,300 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) Complement: 2,5002,800 Armament: (1941) 9 46 cm Type 94 guns (3x3) 12 15.5 cm 3rd Year Type guns (4x3) 12 127 mm Type 89 (6x2) 24 25 mm Type 96 AA guns (8x3) 4 13.2 mm Type 93 (2x2) (1945) 9 46 cm Type 94 guns (3x3) 6 15.5 cm 3rd Year Type guns (2x3) 24 127 mm Type 89 (12x2) 162 25 mm Type 96 AA guns 4 13.2 mm Type 93 (2x2) Armor: Waterline belt: 410 mm (16 in) Deck: 200226.5 mm (7.98.9 in) Gun turrets: 650 mm (25.6 in) (face) Barbettes: Conning tower: Bulkheads: Aircraft carried: 7 Nakajima E8N or Nakajima E4N Aviation facilities: 2 cat