Monday, September 05, 2011

Classic Battleships!

The Nagato-class battleships (長門型戦艦 Nagato-gata senkan?) were two battleships (Nagato and Mutsu) of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The name Nagato (Japanese: 長門) comes from the Nagato province. They were the first battleships to be built entirely in Japan. They were the first battleships in the world to mount 16 inch (410 mm) guns and were considered as the Japanese navy equivalents of the British Navy’s 'Queen Elizabeth' class battleships. At the time of their completion in 1920-21, their armament, armor, and speed made them the most powerful capital ships in the world.

The ships were extensively modified in the 1920s and 1930s after the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 limited the battleship tonnage of the Japanese (and other) navies and allowed no new construction for several years. As a result of the treaty, they were the last battleships built by Japan until the Yamato class battleships of the late 1930s.

It was not until 1937 that the US Navy became aware that their actual speed was considerably higher than the 23 knots they had previously assumed, which resulted in a redesign of the 'South Dakota' battleship class to provide them with a higher speed.[1]
The ship in the photo isnt actually identified, although it is believed to be Mutsu. Both ships of the Nagato class were given massive reconstructions between 1934 and 1936, emerging as immensely powerful and impressive capital ships.This unusual and rare photo gives some idea of how extensive the rebuild actually was, because as you can see , the entire upperworks , superstructure and main battery was removed down to main deck level! the two ships had differing wartime careers, Nagato survived the war and met her fate in the Bikini A-bomb test in 1946, while Mutsu was destroyed by explosion in Hiroshima bay in1943, with the loss of over 1200 of her crew. The explosion was attributed to sabotage by a disaffected crewman who had been (so he claimed) wrongly charged with theft. That became academic as he was among the 1200 or so killed in the explosion which tore the ship in two.

No comments: