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  Musashi 武蔵
IJN
Yamato Class Battleship

68,200 Tons
863' x 127.8' x 36'
9 × 460mm (18.1") (3×3)
6 × 155mm (6.1" ) (2×3)
12 × 127mm (5") (6×2)
130 × 25mm AA
(32×3, 34×1)
4 × 13mm (2×2)
7 aircraft
2 catapults

Click For Enlargement
IJN May 23, 1943

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IJN c1944

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USN October 24, 1944
Construction
Built by Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard at Nagasaki. Laid down on March 29, 1938 as unnamed "Battleship No. 2". Construction began under strict security, including the erection of large screens to hide the construction from the U.S. consulate across the bay. Before to construction, Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard Number 2 slipway at Nagasaki was expanded with two floating cranes 150 and 350 metric tons capacity to facilitate the construction of a new class of battleship.

On May 20, 1938 at night, two Martin 139WC bombers in Chinese markings manned by Chinese air crews took from Hankow Airfield on a mission over Nagasaki to drop leaflets and reportedly took photographs. Over Nagasaki, the Chinese claimed to photograph this battleship while it was under construction. In recent years, the Chinese claim these bombers took a photo of Musashi. In fact, this is in implausible and untrue. No copy of the photo has ever been located in archives or published. In fact, if any photograph was taken it was unlikely to show any detail because the photograph was taken at night.

Launched November 1, 1940 from No. 2 slipway. As soon as she is in the water, the Kasuga Maru was towed alongside the battleship to block her silhouette from any foreign observers. Commissioned August 5, 1942. Named Musashi 武蔵 after the ancient Japanese Musashi Province, second and final ship of the Yamato Class Battleship, the largest and most heavily armed and armored class of battleships ever constructed. Her sister ship and first built was Yamato.

Wartime History
Musashi was fitted out over eighteen months, to accommodate changes requested by the Japanese Navy. On August 10, 1942 arrives at Hashirajima for additional testing including full speed trials and maneuvering in the Iyo Nada, mooring and aircraft launch drills.

During September 1942 her fitting out was completed at Kure. Twelve additional 25mm anti-aircraft guns (4x3) and a Type 21 radar, strengthening armor on the 15.5cm turrets, and the installation of extra communications gear.

On September 28, 1942 returns to Hashirajima for trails. Between October 1942 until November 1942 conducts training exercises and gunnery practice in the Western Inland Sea. December 1942 participates in air training exercises with Zuikaku in the Western Inland Sea.

On January 18, 1943 Musashi departs Kure and bound for Truk arriving four days later. On February 11, 1943 Admiral Yamamoto designated Musashi as his flagship.

On April 3, 1943 Yamamoto departed aboard an H8K Emily to Rabaul to command Operation I-GO. After the operation, on April 18, 1943 he was a passenger aboard G4M1 Betty 2656 shot down by P-38 Lightnings during the "Yamamoto Mission". On April 23, 1943 his cremated ashes were flown to Eten Airfield (Takeshima) and secretly transferred aboard Musashi and placed in the Admiral's sea cabin.

On April 25, 1943 Admiral Koga arrives aboard an H8K Emily from Yokosuka for an inspection tour. It is not made public until May that Koga is actually taking command of the Combined Fleet to replace Yamamoto.

On May 17, 1943 departs Truk bound for Yokosuka. On May 22, anchors at Kisarazu Bight off Kisarazu. That evening, a Buddhist ceremony is held aboard. On May 23, 1943 Yamamoto's ashes were transfered aboard Yugumo and taken ashore.

The task force was spotted by USS Trigger (SS-237) but unable to attack. Afterwards, this force planned to sortie for a counterattack against the Aleutian Islands but the mission is aborted.

On June 23, 1943 returns to Yokosuka for overhaul and over painting. The next day Emperor Hirohito and other officials makes a top secret inspection aboard the Musashi. On June 25, 1943 departs Yokosuka bound for Kure arriving two days later.

On July 1, 1943 enters dry dock at Kure for overhaul and four 22 Model 4 radars are installed on the bridge to provide limited fire control. On July 8, 1943 leaves dry dock for trials then returns to Hashirajima on the evening of July 14. On July 30 to Kure via Nagahama Bight then arrives at Yokosuka on July 31, 1943 then departs for Truk arriving on August 5, 1943.

On October 19, 1943 arrives at Brown Island at Eniwetok then sorties to 250 miles south of Wake Island but fails to contact the U. S. Navy (USN) then returns to Truk a week later. On December 7, 1943 captain Asakura Bunji takes command.

On February 4, 1944 during the early morning Musashi is spotted by two PB4Y-1 Liberators from VMD-254 on a photographic reconnaissance mission over Truk and unsuccessfully opens fire on the bombers and launches her F1M2 Pete to intercept but it fails to reach the bombers before they withdraw.

On February 10, 1944 departs Truk with Admiral Mineichi Koga aboard along (the last IJN battleship to depart Truk)

By February 10, 1944 Musashi with Admiral Mineichi Koga aboard was the last IJN battleship to depart Truk bound for Yokosuka with Oyodo, Hatsuharu, Michishio, Shiratsuyu and Tamanami.

On Feburary 15, 1944 during the evening arrives at Yokosuka and immediately begins loading cargo, ammunition and forty trucks are stowed on the aft deck with fuel drums amidship and crated ammunition and aerial bombs and torpedoes on the foredeck for the 751 Kokutai (751 Air Group). On February 22, 1944 embarks roughly 500 Navy personnel including the 87th AA Defense Unit and a battalion of Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) at 10:00am departs with Michishio and Shiratsuyu bound for Palau.

On February 24, 1944 en route, the group encounters a typhoon and most of the deck cargo of munitions is lost and the battleship has to reduce speed from 18 to 6 knots to allow her escorts to keep up. On February 29, 1944 arrives at Palau and remains for a month.

On March 29, 1944 departs Palau after dark. At 5:44pm USS Tunny (SS-282) fires a torpedo that impacted at frame No. 12 to frames No. 40 and damaged the central shafts. Afterwards. temporary repairs were made before returning to Japan.

On April 3, 1944 arrives at Kure and a week later enters dry dock No. 4 for repairs to the hull and modifications to her anti-aircraft armament is expanded to include 130 x 25mm anti-aircraft guns. Also, a Type 13 radar and a new Type 22 radar-directed fire-control sets are fitted. Depth-charge rails are also installed on the fantail. Searchlights No 7 and No. 8 removed for shore based use at Sasebo. The battleship leaves dry dock on April 22 and supplies loaded aboard.

On May 10, departs Saeki arriving at Nakagusuku Bay off Okinawa May 12 then to Tawi Tawi arriving on May 16. Together with Yamato, participate in joint gunnery drills at ranges of almost 22 miles. On June 10, departs Tawi Tawi for Operation KON bound for Batjan Batjan on Halmahera but the operation is postponed. Instead, on June 13, 1944 departs to respond to the US attacks in the Marianas.

Battle of the Philippine Sea
On June 19, 1944, participates in the Battle of the Philippine Sea then returns to Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa on June 22 then onward to Hashirajima on June 24. Departs Kure on July 9 traveling via Okinawa to Lingga near Singapore arriving on July 17.

During September 1944 painted with dark camouflage. On October 18, 1944 black deck camouflage was applied and departs Lingga for Brunei Bay arriving on October 20.

On October 20, 1944 in the morning escored by A6M5 Zeros from 381 Kokutai led by Lt(jg) Nagakari Yoshiyuki at noon arrives at Brunei Bay and refuels Tone, Chokai, Suzuya and several destroyers. Afterwards, Rear Admiral Inoguchi orders gray paint with darker tone applied to the hull and turret sides as camoflage. On October 21, 1944 painting efforts continuing until the day and after noon refuels Hakko Maru.

Operation Sho-1-Go (Victory) - Battle of Leyte Gulf
On October 22, 1944 at 8:00am departs Brunei Bay as part of Operation Sho-1-Go (Victory) as part of the "Central Force" First Mobile Striking Force under the command of Vice-Admiral Takeo Kurita proceeds to the northeast bound for the Philippines and will engage in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

The "Cenrtal Force" includes five battleships from BatDiv1: Musashi Yamato, Nagato, Kongō, and Haruna plus CruDivs 4 and CruDivs 5 ten heavy cruisers: Atago, Maya, Takao, Chōkai, Myōkō, Haguro, Kumano, Suzuya, Tone and Chikuma, plus two light cruisers: Noshiro and Yahagi: and DesRon 2 fifteen destroyer.

During the night of October 22, 1944 the force passed Palawan Island and a U. S. submarine screen. On October 23, 1944 crosses the Mindoro Strait and Tablas Strait and by October 24, 1944 entered the Sibuyan Sea.

Battle of the Sibuyan Sea
On October 24, 1944 the force was crossing the the Sibyuan Sea until at 8:10am Musashi and her escorts were spotted by a search aircraft from USS Intrepid (CV-11). Efforts to jam their radio were unsuccessful and the force was reported beginning the Battle of the Sibyuan Sea.

At 10:25am eight SB2C Helldivers from USS Intrepid attack Musashi and score four near misses around the bow that cause minor leaks below the waterline. A single 500 lb bomb hit turret no. 1 but it failed to penetrate the armor on the roof.

At 10:29am attacked by three TBF Avengers that make a torpedo attacks. One torpedo hits starboard amidships and causes a 5.5°  list to starboard and 3,000 tons of sea water flood into the battleship. Afterwards, counter flooding reduces the list to only 1° to starboard. The torpedo hit also jams the main armament director,.

At 12:03pm more enemy planes attack, Helldivers score two bomb hits and five near-misses. A dud penetrates two upper decks, demolishes the crew's head and exits above the waterline. A second bomb strikes port side ahead of 127mm anti-aircraft gun no. 4 penetrates two upper decks and explodes in the middle deck inside crew space no. 10. Fragments rupture a steam pipe in engine room no. 2 located directly below. This engine room and the adjacent boiler room No. 10 fill quickly with superheated steam and are abandoned. This damage results in the loss of the port inboard shaft reducing her speed to 22 knots. During this attack, two SB2C Helldivers were shot down.

In total, Musashi was hit by at least nineteen torpedoes and seventeen bombs. The battleship managed to withstand this massive damage to a degree probably unsurpassed by any other contemporary warship. In total, eighteen U. S. Navy (USN) carrier aircraft were shot down during the attacks.

Sinking History
At 7:53pm roughly four hours after the last attack, Musashi capsized and sank into the Visayan Sea at roughly Lat 13°  7N, Long 122° 32E. Aboard, 1,023 of her crew of 2,399 went down with the battleship. As Musashi sank, at least two large underwater explosions were heard.

Rescue
Afterwards, destroyers Kiyoshimo, Isokaze and Hamakaze rescue 1,376 crew members before ceasing rescue efforts by October 25, 1944 at 2:15am.

Fates of the Crew
Roughly 200 survivors are transported to Manila, Corregidor and then return to Japan aboard Junyo and Yamato. 620 other survivors join Navy personnel defending Cavite Naval Base, Fort Drum, Clark Field, Caraballo Mountains and the Cabaruan Hills on Luzon. Others join the 31st Naval Base Force (SNLF) defending Manila. During early 1945, most of her former crew perish fighting as ground forces on Luzon and Manila.

Shipwreck
During March 2015, Paul Allen used MV Octopus using an autonomous ROV to locate the shipwreck of Musashi at a depth of 3,000 feet / 910m.

References
IJN Battleship Musashi: Tabular Record of Movement

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Last Updated
October 24, 2019

 

Map
Lat 13
Long 123

SCUBA3,000' / 910m

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