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IJN Fuso Class Battleship

The Fuso class was a larger and more powerful version of the Kongo class battlecruisers. Two advanced versions of the class were planned, but the final design differed so markedly from Fuso's that they became the Ise class. Composed of two ships, the Fuso and the Yamashiro, the former was laid down at the Kure Naval Yard on 11 March 1912 and the latter at the Yokosuka Naval Yard on 20 November 1913. Both ships were outfitted with six twin 14in turrets and as a result, were built with a greater length to provide the necessary space for such an armament. The ships were designed with offensive capability in mind and as a result suffered from weak armor.

Throughout their lives, the Fuso and the Yamashiro underwent periodic modifications and modernizations. By 1923, foremast platforms were added, as well as changes to the funnel caps to lessen smoke hindrance. Yamashiro in the same time period was equipped with a large spotlight and an experimental platform above her No. 2 turret to allow aircraft to fly off her deck.

The Fuso class were the first ships in the Japanese Imperial Navy to be rebuilt to accomindate oil-burning boilers, which allowed for a minimal increase in speed and independence from coal. In the same reconstruction period in the early part of the 1930's, both ships were outfitted with tower foremasts and the Fuso's 14in gun was modified to elevate an additional 13 degrees allowing for a farther range of 5,000 meters.

The overall modification period in the 1930's lasted five years and also involved the lengthening of the aft hull, as well as the addition of more armor. Prior to the Battle of Midway, it had been taken into consideration that the Fuso class be converted into hybrid carrier-battleship. This plan was dropped after the devestating defeat at Midway.

The Fuso and the Yamashiro saw little action in the war and were sunk together at the Battle of Surigao Strait, part of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf, on 25 October 1944.


The Japanese Navy battleship "Fuso" was laid down at the "Naval shipyard" in Kure March 11, 1912, launched on March 28, 1914, joined the fleet November 8, 1915. It was the second battleship bearing the name, the first "Fuso" was one of the first ships of the Imperial Navy, and among the number of officers who took it to England, was Togo.

New Battleship "Fuso" was assigned to the Naval district of Kure, and on the tactical organization of the Navy joined the 1st Division of battleships of the First Fleet. Although Japan at that time was involved in the Great War, the ship passed the tests and the course of combat training in peacetime. First Deepwater new battleship was the voyage in Chinese waters in April 1917. In the second half of this year it carried out works on modernization of the fire control system. Upon completion, routine service began for "Fuso".

In late February - early March, 1918 "Fuso" made another trip to the Chinese coast with stops in the Portuguese colony of Macao. Until the end of teh year, the battleship was engaged in combat training, both individually and as part of the connection. On December 1, 1918 it was taken into the reserve. The ship was made a number of upgrades, including the installation of five 80-mm anti-aircraft guns. The ship stayed in reserve until August 1, 1919. "Fuso" back in the 1 division of battleships - the beginning of military training, both individually and as part of the connection. The variety in the monotonous camp life made trips to Chinese waters. The most outstanding event in the life of the ship in 1920 was the trip to the Chinese coast to "protect" the interests of Japan.

In December 1921 the ship "Fuso" was brought to the reserve, to carry out modernization works, the most important of which were an increase in the angle of elevation of guns of the main fire, the installation of new rangefinders with a base of 8 meters instead of 4.5 meters. In early 1923, "Fuso" returned the fleet. In September 1923, the crew of the battleship participated in the rescue and reconstruction work after the Great Tokyo Earthquake. Next year was calm and there were no notable events in the life of the battleship, except for the change of commanders.

At the end of March 1925 "Fuso" went to Chinese waters for a month. Between 1922 and 1925, Prince Takamatsu Nobu-hito, brother of Emperor Hirohito attended the Imperial Naval Academy. Upon completion of the academy, he was given a rank of sub-lieutenant and served aboard battleship Fuso. He served on the ship only a short time, and though he came back on board the battleship a lieutenant in 1933.

In the spring of 1926 was the next campaign in Chinese waters. On December 1, 1926 to December 1, 1927 the battleship was in reserve. During this time, the ship removed torpedo nets on the bow superstructure installed outdoor commanding the bridge. In the spring of 1928 was another big voyage in Chinese waters, and from 7 to 12 April, "Fuso" paid a visit to the British possession Hong Kong. On return, there were combat training and participation in large fleet maneuvers. December 1, 1928 the ship was put in reserve in the short term.

In early 1930 the battleship "Fuso" was displayed in the reserve for a major upgrade. Work began on April 12 at the "Naval shipyard" in Yokosuka. The main directions of modernization were the following: underwater mine protection, a complete replacement of the main power plant. May 15, "Fuso" brought in and 26 September were transferred to the shipyard in Kure for the second phase of modernization, during which the increased depth of newly mounted mine protection and the length of the hull, completely changed the shape of the bow superstructure, installed a new anti-aircraft weapons - twin 127-mm gun and 13.2 mm machine guns, and a new fire control system. The housing made rebuild in order to accommodate the new ammunition magazines.

May 12, 1933 the work on the "Fuso" was completed, and so began trials that were highly successful, and then teh ship went on to combat training. In August and November 1933, the ship went to the Marshall Islands, then a Japanese Mandate possession. Upon returning to home waters, "Fuso" joined the 1st Division of battleships of the First Fleet, where the ship remained until September 1934.

Between September 1934 and March 1935 the ship was in the reserve in connection with the second stage of modernization, during which increased the length and changed the shape of the stern of the hull. Upon completion, "Fuso" was tested and had a short course of training. At the end of March and beginning of April, on a short voyage took place in the Chinese waters, from 4 to 7 August hike to Amoyu and then undergoing combat training. December 1, 1936 the battleship was assigned to the Naval district of Kure and was used as a training ship.

February 26, 1937 to March 31, 1938 the ship was taken to the reserve for a large modernization, during which a new fire control system, the new 25-mm anti-aircraft machine guns and reinforced body aft were installed. Upon completion, testing and combat training courses were completed on November 15, 1938 "Fuso" joined in the 1st Division of battleships of the 1st Fleet. In March 1939, a campaign took place in Chinese waters, this time to the performance of combat missions. December 15 the ship was put in reserve for the second phase of modernization, during which were installed new aircraft armament, and increased the number of 25-mm anti-aircraft machine guns. On April 10, 1941 the ship returned to the fleet, after passing the tests and course of combat training. Battleship "Fuso" joined the 2 Division of battleships of the 1st Fleet.

At this time, the Japanese Imperial Navy was preparing for a major war - shooting and different level exercises were carried out continuously. On December 7, 1941 the battleship was on the roads of one of the Metropolitan ports. The next day, December 8, it went to sea to the islands of Bonin and 13 December arrived at anchorage in the vicinity of Hiroshima. Virtually all of the initial period of war, the battleship was there, sometimes going out into the interior of the Sea of Japan on maneuvers. From 21 to 25 February 1942, "Fuso" was at a factory wall in Kure, where there were carried out works on the replacement gun barrels of the main fire, and set the demagnetizing device. Then, the battleship returned to Hiroshima.

On April 18 American B-25 bombers were launched from the aircraft carrier "Hornet" (CV 8) and bombed Tokyo. Fuso and the squadron went to sea, trying to find the "brazen" Yankees, but it was too late - the Americans were already far away. April 19 reconnaissance aircraft from the battleship discovered Soviet merchant ship "Angarstroy", at coordinates 3000N / 13520E, in the area where it was forbidden to commercial shipping, so the plane was cleared orders to stop and wait approach warships.

Japanese ships continued to search and April 22 returned to base. On 5 May the 2nd Division battleships went out to sea. During the next salvo in the #5 turret was a "prolonged" shot, the fire started. In order to avoid the catastrophe it flooded all magazines. "Fuso" escorted the damaged counterpart to Kure and then went to the place of permanent deployment. From 19 to 23 May, the battleship took part in large joint maneuvers of the 1st and 3rd Fleet - Imperial Navy finished preparing for a major operation in the area of Midway and the Aleutian Islands. On May 29 the 2nd Division battleships went out to sea, forming the basis of the cover of the landing on the Aleutian Islands. This squadron was powerful enough: it included 4 battleships, 2 light cruisers and tankers. The operation ended in disaster at Midway, Japan lost four aircraft carriers and a heavy cruiser, and most importantly - almost all superbly trained marine pilots.

The landing on the Aleutian Islands was postponed, and all connections are withdrawn at the base. June 14 fleet arrived in Yokosuka 22 June went on a raid, and on June 24 reached the port of destination. Battleship "Fuso", like all the other ships of the compound was in full readiness to put to sea. On July 14 reorganization of the Japanese fleet was made. "Fuso" was still a part of the 2nd Division of battleships, battleships in this connection were also included "Nagato" and "Mutsu". From now on, the 1st Division battleships included only ships of the "Yamato" class. The 2nd Division battleships continued to be in readiness to put to sea.

In August 1942, there began a discussion of the issue of restructuring of ships such as "Fuso" in the battleship-carrier. The Japanese were trying to somehow make up for the losses suffered in the Battle of Midway. The Ise-class ships were selected for the conversion because Hyuga had suffered an explosion in Turret No. 5 in early May that virtually destroyed the turret and their Turret No. 6 could not elevate to the full +43 degrees deemed necessary for the long-range engagement anticipated by the IJN. The Fusos were scheduled to follow once the first two were completed. Work on the "Fuso" were to begin in August 1943, but soon the Navy abandoned this plan.

From 3 to 5 September, the battleship was docked at Kure. Prior to the beginning of November the ship was in the roads Hasiradzimy, sometimes go to sea for exercises. November 15, 1942 he was transferred to the Naval Academy in etajima for use as a training ship. In December 1942, in the inland Sea of ??Japan, there was an execise which was attended by the battleships "Yamato", "Fuso", "Yamashiro" aircraft carrier "Zuikaku". On January 15, 1943 the battleship returned to the composition of the active fleet. In the first half of the year "Fuso" held in the waters of the Metropolitan, without taking part in the hostilities. On June 8, 1943 there was an air raid, when the battleship was on a nearby anchorage with "Mutsu". Suddenly there was an explosion, and the battleship sank quickly. Boats from "Fuso" rescued 353 people. On all the ships that were on the roads, there was an alarm and they started a search for enemy submarines, which soon stopped. On August 16, "Fuso", accompanied by two destroyers, came out into the sea and 17 August arrives in Yashima (about. Shikoku), there was formed a powerful naval forces of the imperial fleet, which included the battleships "Nagato" and "Yamato", the escort carrier "Tayo" heavy cruiser "Atago" and "Takao" and five destroyers. Soon they put to sea and headed for Truk, arriving 23 August. After a short break they began combat training. In early September, the Japanese intelligence learned that the Americans were planning a raid on Tarawa and other atolls. In this regard, the main forces of the Imperial Navy were transferred to Eniwetok atoll lagoon. On the atoll of Truk were left, in order to avoid various surprises, battleships, "Musashi", "Fuso", "Haruna" and "Kongo".

On October 5-6, the US aircraft carrier force attacked Wake Island and the targets in Marshall Islands. Japanese radio intelligence intercept analyzed data and concluded that there soon would be another raid. the necessary measures have been taken. Out to sea came the main force of the Imperial Fleet, including the battleship "Fuso". Next to it were 5 battleships, four aircraft carriers, 6 heavy and 3 light cruisers, and numerous escort destroyers. The ships were in constant anticipation of battle. For a time they cruised west of Wake Island, but nothing was found and 25 October they returned to base.

Until February 1944 "Fuso" was in Truk Lagoon, occasionally going out to sea for exercises. Meanwhile, the military situation of the empire continued to deteriorate, Truk had ceased to be a safe base, and it was decided to withdraw the main forces of the fleet there. February 1, 1944 with a raid gone battleships "Fuso", "Nagato", three heavy cruisers and six destroyers. At 10 o'clock in the morning they found the American submarine "Permit" (SS-178), but the attack failed. On February 4th squadron arrived in Pallau, but the base was not safe.

On February 25, 1944 the 2nd Division of battleships of the 1st Fleet was disbanded, and on the same day from the same ships formed the 2nd Division of the United Fleet of battleships. The command of the Imperial Navy planned to use the main gauge of battleships "Fuso" and "Yamashiro" to bombard American positions on the island of Saipan. This was likely to become the last battleships deployment, but the heavy artillery ships were saved for a decisive battle, so the plan was not implemented.

In late July - early August, the last modernization work on board the ship was carried out. It installed two radars viewing surface situation "Type 22". Significantly strengthened anti-aircraft weapons - established 73 25-mm anti-aircraft machine (triple-8, 16 twin, 17 single-barrel). Now armed with "Fuso" was 110 25 mm machine guns and 10 13.2 mm machine guns. All work is completed on 14 August.

On September 11, the next reorganization of the Imperial Navy was held. Under the new schedule, "Fuso" and "Yamashiro" became part of the 2nd Fleet under Vice-Admiral Kurita, while they remained in the 2nd Division of battleships. September 23, 1944 on the "Fuso" raised the flag of Vice-Admiral Nasimura. On the same day, both the battleships put to sea, accompanied by four destroyers. The jump was Linnga Rhodes.

Meanwhile the Navy was finalizing operation "SHO and GO" - a decisive battle with the Americans. It developed several options, depending on the terms of the American landing. In early October, the Americans landed in the Philippines, which automatically put into action the plan of the Japanese version of "Sho 1". "Fuso", "Yamashiro" heavy cruiser "Mogami" and 4 destroyers went to sea. They were part of the connection "C" ( "South"). According to the plan, the American bridgehead had to break a few compounds of heavy artillery ships.

October 24 compound "C" was discovered by enemy air reconnaissance. At 9 h 18 min began the first American air raid. It was attended by 26 aircraft from aircraft carriers "Enterprise" (CV 6) and "Franklin" (CV 13). The "Fuso" got one bomb, which has passed through the upper deck and exploded in the cockpit, ignited aviation fuel at a nearby store. Soon the fire reached a nearby aircraft, which quickly burned out. Battleship is out of order and reduced speed. By 10 hours, the fire was extinguished, and the ship took his place in the order. Connection Nasimura continued to go to the Surigao Strait, although the Japanese commander did not know anything about what's going on with the main forces of Admiral Kurita. Nasimura did not know anything about the plans and location of enemy fleet.

American forces in the Suragao Strait were commanded by Rear Admiral John. B. Oldendorf. Nasimura expected the arrival of battleships of the 7th Fleet under Admiral Kincaid. Oldendorf had placed a trap carefully. He located 39 torpedo boats down the strait, creating the first line of defense between the islands of Bohol in the north and the south Kamguin. Then connection "C" had to come to grips with 28 destroyers, in-line with the island Dingat. Another defensive barrier themselves were linear forces, covered by the right and left with heavy cruisers. Directly across Nasimura stood the old battleships "Mississippi", "Maryland", "West Virginia", "Tennessee", "California", "Pennsylvania".

About 22 hours there was a first contact with the enemy torpedo boats. October 25, 1944 at 00 h 15 min connection "C" included in the Surigao Strait. In 3 hours of the night US destroyers carried out a torpedo salvo of 27 torpedoes. In 3 hours, 9 minutes, one or two torpedoes hit the battleship "Fuso". The explosion or explosions thundered in the middle of the hull. Battleship was out of order, and went in the opposite direction to the exit of the Strait, at a speed of 10 knots. On the ship, there were blazing fires. Another victim of the attack was the destroyer "Asagumo."

In the 3 hours 38 minutes (according to other sources, in 3 h 45 min) the fire reached the ammunition magazines of main turrets "C" and "the D", and there thundered a loud explosion - the ship broke in into two parts. Around 5 am, Americans began to "clean-up" of the Strait. At 5 h 29 min flagship cruiser "Louisville" (CA 28) Rear Admiral Oldendorfa discovered in flames a large stationary ship that was part of the bow of the battleship. "Louisville" fired 203-mm armor-piercing projectiles (of 18 spent shells). The bow of the "Fuso" sank in 5 hours 35 minutes, after part of about 7 o'clock in the morning without any influence from the enemy side. The Americans did not carry out a rescue operation, choosing only those who got in the way of their ships. Japanese sailors who reached the shore were killed by Filipinos.

Battleship "Fuso" is unique in that it has two points of death. The bow of the rest at the point with coordinates 10 09, N / 125 24 E and aft at coordinates 10 08, N / 125 25 E. Some time went on "Paper Life" battleship. November 15, 1944 the 2nd Division of battleships was disbanded. August 31, 1945 the battleship "Fuso" was struck from the Navy list.




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