Musashi (1940)

Musashi, seen in January, 1943. Note that she still has her midships 155mm (6.1") turrets. Photo in the collections of the Yamato Museum.

Nation
Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down
1938
Launched
1940
Commissioned
1942
AD/BC
AD
History

Musashi was the second of the Yamato-class super battleships. Laid down in 1938, she was launched in 1940. She commissioned just before the start of the Solomons campaign in August, 1942, but her tertiary and AA guns weren't fitted until September, along with a Type 21 radar. Musashi joined the fleet in January, and became the new flagship the following month. Her first major mission came in April, when she transported the remains of Admiral Yamamoto home, after his aircraft was shot down. After an abortive attempt to counter the American landings in the Aleutians, Musashi entered refit in Kure, and was visited by the Emperor in June. She rejoined the fleet in August, once again serving as flagship, and mostly remained in Truk Lagoon until March, 1944, when she was hit by a torpedo. During repairs, two of her four 155mm (6.1") gun turrets were removed, and replaced with additional AA guns. She was with the fleet during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, but saw no combat. In October, 1944, she was assigned to the Center Force under Admiral Kurita to counter the American landings in the Philippines. Musashi came under heavy air attack on the 24th, and absorbed a tremendous amount of damage. Estimates vary between ten to twenty torpedo hits, and ten to seventeen bombs. Musashi slowly sank, despite her crew's best efforts. 1,376 of her 2,399 crew were rescued, though her captain opted to go down with her.

Bonus Photos

Looking aft from the bow, c.August, 1942. Imperial Japanese Navy photo, now public domain.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Musashi was discovered in March, 2015, by the RV Petrel. She suffered an explosion, severing the bow, which is upright, while the stern capsized. The wreck lies in 3,000 feet (910m) of water, and is being treated as an archaeological site by the Philippine government.