The Japanese Battleship Fleet in WWII
By John Dudek @ The Wargamer
The Japanese Navy began WWII in the Pacific with 12 battleships in its inventory or still in the final stages of completion. All but two of these capital ships had joined the fleet before, during, or immediately following WWI. Japan’s final two battleships IJN’s Yamato and Musashi were laid down in the late 1930′s. The twin sister ships were the largest, heaviest armed capital ships ever designed and built by any power until the emergence of the modern, post-war era US aircraft carriers in the 1950′s. Five of these enormous Japanese battleships were called for, of which two would be built to original specifications with the third ship being converted into a giant armored aircraft carrier. All of Japan’s older battleships were modernized or improved throughout the interwar years and later, during the war, to increase both their speed and to improve their survivability in battle. At the end of World War II, only one of the 12 Japanese battleships, the IJN. Nagato, survived the years of fierce fighting. Its fate was to be destroyed as a target in post-war atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.