Musashi and Akagi in a fleet wargame-manuver
Commishioned just after Peral Harbor, and designed God knows how long before, these two are, without dispute, the greatest ships ever commishioned by any navy. I mean look at these stats:
Displacement63,000 tons standard; 68,010 tons trial; 71,659 tons full load
Dimensions: 862.5 x 121 x 34 feet
Prop: Steam turbines, 12 boilers, 4 shafts, 150,000 hp, 27 knots
Arm: 3 triple
18.1/45, 4 triple 6.1/60, 6 dual 5/40, 24 25 mm AA,
4 13.2 mm AA
inch belt, 7.9-9.1 inch deck, 2-21.5 inch barbettes,
25.6 inch turrets, 19.7 inch CT
While even the battleship admrials wanted to cancel Musashi and Shinano, they were probably wise to go ahead with the construction, if only to provide targets other than the carriers for the Americans. Anyway, the sheer number of American planes pretty much doomed these ships from the beginning. While they could've really caused some damage at Leyte, again conservative Japanese commanders were unwilling to gamble, and the attack failed.
Musashi was the first to go after taking upwards of 40 torpedos and bombs. Shinano, the oddball of the group was sunk only a few days after being completed, by an American sub in the Inland Sea.
Yamato survived long enough to be the largest Kamikaze, and to participate in the only sea-based sucicide mission. Sailing from Kyushu on April 6, 1945 on what was to be the last operation of the Imperial navy. Taking the last reserves of the fleet's oil, food and fuel reserves, the armada was ordered to beach itself at Okinawa and fight until eliminated. Unfortunatley, the fleet was forced to sail with no air cover, and the next day, Yamato, along with her light cruiser escort Yahagi and 4 destroyers were sunk by US carrier aricraft on the way to their target.
In the end, the Yamatos provided little to the fleet (other than being a sweet claim to bragging rights), serving their carreers as headquarters ships, far from the actual battles. To this day, no battleship has and as far as anyone can tell will ever, exceed the size of these monsters.
of the origional Yamato plans