HISTORICAL INFORMATIONSYamato battleship was the lead ship of the Yamato class of Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War.
Named after the ancient Japanese Yamato Province, on the Kii peninsula, she was the first of four designed ships and was the heaviest, largest and most powerful battleship ever built, displacing about 72000 tons at full load and armed with nine 46 cm Type 94 main guns.
Yamato exceeded other country battleships not only by the displacement and the calibre of her guns, but also by the construction of her hull, armour protection, gunnery and optics. The superiority of her optic equipment gave her tremendous precision to her main gunfire.
She was an incredible achievement for the Japanese naval engineering and ship-building industry by any international standard.
Yamato was laid down in 1937 and commissioned a week after the Pearl Harbor attack, in late 1941. She served as the flagship of the Japanese Combined Fleet throughout 1942. In June 1942 Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto directed the fleet from Yamato during the Battle of Midway. But after the defeat and the loss of four aircraft-carriers he was forced to return to the Inland Sea.
Yamato was designed to counter the numerically superior battleship fleet of the United States of America, but she never in fact fought against them. The only time she fired her main guns against enemy surface targets was in October 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but it turned out to be just the US escort carriers and destroyers.
During 1944, the balance between naval powers in the Pacific turned against Japan. Soon its fleet was depleted by fuel lack. To slow down the Allied advance, in April 1945, Yamato was dispatched on a “kamikaze” mission to Okinawa. The orders were to fight to the death in a desperate attempt to protect Japan. On 7 April 1945 she was sunk by American carrier-based bombers and torpedo bombers. Most of her crew died.