Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Japanese battleship Nagato
|Japanese battleship Nagato after the BAKER blast. Arthur Beaumont, Watercolor, 1946.|
|Laid down:||August 28, 1917|
|Launched:||November 9, 1919|
|Commissioned:||November 15, 1920|
|Fate:||Sunk during the second Operation Crossroads Bikini nuclear test|
|Struck:||15 September 1945|
|Length:||725 ft 2 in (221.03 m)|
|Beam:||113 ft 6 in (34.59 m)|
|Draught:||31 ft 2 in (9.50 m)|
|Propulsion:||Geared turbines, 4 shafts, 80000 hp (60 MW)|
|Speed:||27 knots (50 km/h)|
|Range:||5,500 nautical miles at 16 knots (10,200 km at 30 km/h)|
|Armament:||Eight 16 inch (410 mm) guns|
Twenty (later eighteen) 5.5 inch (140 mm) guns
Eight 5 inch (100 mm) anti-aircraft guns
Up to 98 25 mm AA guns
Nagato (Japanese: 長門, named after Nagato province) was a battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the lead ship of her class . She was the first battleship to mount 16 inch (410 mm) guns, and she was the flagship of Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the war she saw action only once, during the battle of Leyte Gulf, due to the Japanese Navy's strategy of keeping major units in reserve for a decisive battle.
Nagato was laid down at the Kure Naval Arsenal on August 28, 1917, launched on November 9, 1919, and completed on November 15, 1920. She underwent a major refit in 1936, removing her coal-burning boilers and upgrading her armour and anti-aircraft guns.
At the outbreak of World War II, Nagato, under the command of Captain Yano Hideo, and her sister ship Mutsu formed Battle Division 1. Nagato was the flagship of the Combined Fleet, flying the flag of Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku. On 2 December 1941 Nagato sent the signal Niitakayama nobore 1208 ("Climb Mount Niitaka on 12/08") that committed the Carrier Strike Force to the attack on Pearl Harbor and Japan to the Pacific War.
In October 1944 she took part in Operation Shō-1, an attack on the Allied landings on Leyte. On 24 October 1944 in the battle of the Sibuyan Sea Nagato was attacked by several waves of American dive-bombers. At 14:16 she was hit by two bombs dropped by planes from Franklin and Cabot. The first bomb disabled a number of guns and damaged the air intake to the No. 1 boiler room, stopping one shaft for 25 minutes until the air intake was cleared. The second bomb hit the canteen and forward radio room, killing 52 and wounding 106. On 25 October the Central Force passed the San Bernardino Strait and headed for Leyte Gulf. In the battle off Samar, Nagato engaged the escort carrier and destroyers of the US Task Group 77.4.3. At 06:01 she opened fire on St. Lo, the first time she fired her guns at an enemy ship, but missed. At 06:54 the destroyer Heermann fired a spread of torpedoes at Haruna; the torpedoes missed Haruna and headed for Yamato and Nagato on parallel courses. The two battleships were forced to turn away from the action to the north for 10 miles (16 km) until the torpedoes ran out of fuel. After returning to the action, Nagato continued to engage the American carriers, firing 45 16 inch (410 mm) shells and 92 5.5 inch (140 mm) shells.
At 09:10 Admiral Takeo Kurita ordered the fleet to break off the engagement and head north. At 10:20 he ordered the fleet south again, but as the fleet came under increasingly severe air attack he ordered a retreat again at 12:36. At 12:43 Nagato was hit on her bow by two bombs but the damage was not severe.
As it retreated on 26 October the Japanese fleet came under continuous air attack. Nagato was attacked by dive-bombers from Hornet and hit by four bombs, suffering 38 killed and 105 wounded. In the course of the day she fired 99 16 inch (410 mm) shells and 653 5.5 inch (140 mm) shells.
On 25 November 1944 Nagato arrived at Yokosuka, Japan for repairs. Lack of fuel and materials meant that she could not be brought back into service, and in February 1945 she was reassigned as a coastal defence ship. In June 1945 her secondary and anti-aircraft armament were moved ashore. On 18 July 1945 she was attacked at Yokusuka by torpedo bombers from Essex, Randolph, Shangri-La and Belleau Wood and hit by three bombs, one hitting the bridge and killing her commanding officer, Rear Admiral Otsuka Miki .
In March 1946 she was taken to Bikini Atoll for Operation Crossroads, a series of atomic bomb tests. On this, her last voyage, she was commanded by Captain W. J. Whipple with a United States Navy crew of about 180 men. She was in such poor repair that on the way she had to be towed to Eniwetok Atoll for emergency repairs.
In the first test (ABLE, an airburst) on 1 July 1946 she was 1,640 yards from ground zero and was not severely damaged. In the second test (BAKER, an underwater explosion) on 24 July 1946 she was severely damaged, and capsized and sank five days later.
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