Have warships ever sunk

Yamato - The greatest battleship of all time

They were the largest battleships ever built and the pride of the Japanese Navy: the “Yamato” and her sister ship “Musashi”. With their sinking, the days of the battleships finally came to an end.

No battleship in the world was as large and so heavily armed as the "Yamato" battleship, built in the strictest of secrecy and intended to secure the expansion of the Japanese empire in World War II.

With a length of 263 meters, a maximum water displacement of 72,809 tons, huge gun turrets and a crew of around 3,000 men, the "Yamato" and her sister ship "Musashi", both type ships of the so-called "Yamato class", should be superior to all competitors demonstrate the power of the Japanese empire.

The battleship was built between 1937 and 1941 at the naval shipyard in Kure, Hiroshima. Since the ship was built under the strictest of secrecy, there are hardly any usable recordings and detailed information on the attacking power of the colossus, and documents on the construction were destroyed after its demise.

The Yamato entered service on December 16, 1941 - around a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor. About a year later, her sister ship Musashi was also put into service.

The only weak point of the Yamato: The air defense

The two colossi, the largest battleships in the world, were once considered "unsinkable", but had a crucial weak point: the air defense. For this reason, they were rebuilt several times, but despite the armament they later had no chance against the aircraft carriers of the American army.

When the Musashi and the Yamato were sent to the Gulf of Leyte with other battleships in October 1944, the Musashi was hit by numerous air torpedoes and bombs and sank.

Over 1,000 crew members died in the attack by the US Army. Six months later, in April 1945, the Yamato was sent to Okinawa, where US troops were just beginning their invasion.

The Yamato, at that time the last operational battleship in Japan, was supposed to land in front of the island and bombard the American dropships. They never reached their destination, however, because the Americans discovered the colossus after one day of marching and continuously attacked the Yamato from the air. After a total of 19 heavy hits, it exploded and over 2,000 men died.

The end of the battleship era

The sinking of the two super battleships symbolized the superiority of aircraft carriers and bombers in the fight against the enemy.

The rapid end of the Musashi and the Yamato thus also marked the end of the times of monstrous battleships. From then on, these only played a subordinate role and were primarily used for transporting troops and fuel.

For more than 70 years the whereabouts of the Musashi remained unclear. In March 2015, after years of searching, the US billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, discovered the wreck of the Musashi at a depth of around 1000 meters off the Philippines. On a published photo of the ship's bow one could still see the chrysanthemum coat of arms of the Japanese Empire.

With the discovery of the wreck, decades of uncertainty about the whereabouts of over 1,000 marines ended for many people in Japan. The Yamato was located by Japanese scientists as early as 1985. It is located at a depth of about 300 meters in the East China Sea. A museum was dedicated to the Yamato in Kure, in which a 1:10 scale model can also be viewed.

The Yamato Myth

Since the two battleships were built in the strictest secrecy, there were already many myths about the Yamato and the Musashi, some of which still persist to this day.

Yamato, in particular, has become a legend about which there are many stories. Of course, the ship was also used in a manga and anime. In Space Battleship Yamato (Uchu Senkan Yamato) the ship is unceremoniously sent into space and fights there with great superiority against an enemy who is trying to exterminate humanity. In Germany, KSM Anime is releasing the remake of the original series.