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    The Doomed Voyage of the Yamato: A Last Stand in Naval History

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    On April 7, 1945, the Japanese battleship Yamato, a pinnacle of naval engineering and the most heavily armed and armored battleship ever built, set out on its ultimate, doomed mission.

    The Yamato set sail as part of Operation Ten-ichi-go, a desperate bid by the Imperial Japanese Navy to disrupt the US invasion of Okinawa.

    Sailing without adequate fuel for a return trip and with only a modest escort fleet, Yamato’s orders were unambiguous: attack the overwhelming US forces and fight to the last man. It was a mission from which there was no expectation of return.

    The preemptive knowledge of her sortie, obtained by US codebreakers, sealed the Yamato’s fate. US intelligence was waiting for her; the American force had both the advantage of surprise and overwhelming air superiority.

    Under the leadership of Admiral Spruance and Vice Admiral Mitscher, the US Navy mobilized a staggering air assault that included almost 400 aircraft.

    Yamato’s end came swiftly, a testament to the changing nature of naval warfare where air power had become dominant. Despite her formidable armor and armaments, she was vulnerable from the air.

    On that April day, the skies filled with American fighters and bombers, which launched a relentless onslaught against the Japanese flotilla.

    The Yamato’s anti-aircraft guns fired furiously, but it was all in vain.

    The American aviators dropped 1,000-pound bombs and air-launched torpedoes, targeting the battleship’s thinner armor near her bow and stern and striking her port side to maximize flooding and the likelihood of capsizing.

    The battle was lopsided and tragic. After repeated bomb and torpedo hits, the Yamato listed heavily, her deck awash with seawater and flames.

    Her demise not only marked the sinking of a battleship but also the sinking of the very concept of battleships as the rulers of the sea.

    Related image you might interested

    Relevant articles:
    Yamato’s Final Voyage (non-Flash), PBS
    3: Death of Battleship Yamato, Navy (.mil), Apr 3, 2020
    Death of the Super Battleship Yamato and Musashi, Warfare History Network, Dec 9, 2020

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