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  Mutsu
IJN
Nagato Class Battleship

725' 2" x 113' 6" x 31' 2"
42,850 Tons
8 x 16" main guns
20 x 5.5" guns
98 x 25mm AA
3 x aircraft
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Click For Enlargement
Tom Burchill 2004

Ship History
Built by Yokosuka Navy Yard at Yokosuka. Laid down June 1, 1918. Launched May 31, 1920. Commissioned October 24, 1921. Refitted between 1934 and 1936.

Wartime History
Participated in the Battle of Midway. On June 5, 1942

On June 8, 1943 Mutsu suffered an internal magazine explosion causing the battleship to sink into Hiroshima Bay off Hashirajima Island. The exact cause of the explosion was never determined, but was probably due to the detonation of a cordite charge. Of the crew of 1,471 a total of 1,121 were killed and only 350 survived. While sinking, the battleship capsized, weighed down by its enormous superstructure. The turrets, held in place remained attached to the ship.

Salvage
A failed salvage attempt happened in 1949. Salvage operations between 1970 - 1978 recovered items include part of the bow, the anchors, screws, rudder, main guns, the complete number 4 turret, and personal effects of the crew. Overseen by Yagi, a salvage diver who had served on the Hakki Maru. The crane used had a 1,500 ton lifting capability. The intact No. 4 turret had to be freed with explosive charges, then fell to the sea floor, and could be rigged for lifting. The turret weighed 900 tons and fired a 40cm shell.

Display
Relics from the Mutsu are displayed at several museums:
The Mutsu Memorial Museum is located at Tôwa Chô, with many artifacts are restored and displayed.
The complete No. 4 turret is displayed at Eta Jima. A 140mm gun turret is displayed at Yasukuni Jinja.
One of the main guns is displayed outdoors at the Tokyo Maritime Science Museum.

References
Japanese book on the Mutsu salvage, 1971
IJN Mutsu: Tabular Record of Movement
The Battleship Mutsu (accessed via WayBack Machine July 11, 2011)

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Last Updated
January 10, 2018

 

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