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Fuso Class, Japanese Battleships


Yamashiro, Fuso, and Haruna at anchor

Naval Historical Center #NH 90773


Specifications:


Tonnage

34,700 tons standard displacement

Dimensions

698' by 100'6" by 31'9"
212.75m by 30.63m by 9.68m

Maximum speed     

24.7 knots

Complement

1396

Aircraft

1 catapult
3 seaplanes

Armament

6x2 14"/45 guns
14x1 6"/50 guns
4x2 5"/50 dual-purpose guns
8x2 25mm/60 AA guns

Protection

12,199 tons:
12" (305mm) VC belt tapering to 4" (102mm)
12" (305mm) bulkheads tapering to 4" (102mm)
8" (203mm) ship end belts tapering to 4" (102mm)
2.625" (67mm) NVNC on 1.25" (32mm) nickel steel armor deck
2" (51mm) ship end armor deck
3" (76mm) armor deck over steering compartment
8" (203mm) upper belt
5" (127mm) upper bulkheads
6" (152mm) casemate
0.6875"+0.6875" (17mm+17mm) HT weather deck
12"/8"/4.5" (305mm/203mm/114m) turret face/side/roof
12" (305mm) barbette
14" (356mm) conning tower
Machinery
4-shaft Kampon geared turbines (75,000 shp)
6 Kampon boilers

Bunkerage

5100 tons fuel oil

Range

8000 nautical miles (15,000km) at 14 knots
Modifications 1941-12: 4 25mm guns were added

1943-8: Fuso adds 8x3, 6x2 25mm guns, 10x1 13mm guns, and Type 13 and Type 22 radar (two sets each). Yamashiro removes one twin 25mm gun and adds 8x3, 7x1 25mm guns, 24x1 13mm guns, and Type 21 and Type 22 radar (two sets each.)

1944-10: Fuso adds 22x1 25mm guns. Yamashiro removes 14x1 13mm guns and adds 8x2, 10x2 25mm guns and 3x2 13mm guns.


The Fusos were completed in 1915 and 1917 as superdreadnoughts, Fuso at the Kure naval yard and Yamashiro at the Yokosuka naval yard. The first major warships constructed entirely with Japanese materials and weapons, they were ordered in response to the British Orion class, whose 13.5" (343mm) guns reduced 12" (305mm) gun dreadnoughts to second class status.

The ships drew on the lessons of the Kongo class battle cruisers, alongside which the new battleships were expected to fight, but the designers deliberately chose lower-power machinery  to make room for a heavier main armament. Protection was an improved version of that used for the Kawachii class dreadnoughts. When commissioned, they were the largest and most heavily armed battleships in the world, with a broadside that remained the heaviest in the world until the completion of the Nagatos.

Both units were modernized in 1935, acquiring better deck armor and antiaircraft armament and much more powerful machinery. Torpedo blisters were also added.

The Fusos were still capable units at the outbreak of war, though less well protected than their American counterparts. Their 6” (152mm) secondary armament was useless against aircraft, and their pagoda superstructures made them about the ugliest battleships on the face of the planet, at least to Western eyes.


Units in the Pacific:

Fuso

Hashirajima       Sunk by gunfire and torpedoes 1944-10-25 at Surigao Strait

Yamashiro     

Hashirajima Sunk by gunfire and torpedoes 1944-10-25 at Surigao Strait

References

CombinedFleet.com (accessed 2007-12-5)

Evans and Peattie (1997)

Gogin (2010; accessed 2012-12-22)

Jentschura, Jung, and Mickel (1977)
Whitley (1998)

Worth (2001)


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