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  Nagato 長門
IJN
Nagato-class battleship

32,720 tons (standard)
708' x 95' 3" x 29' 9"
Armament
4 x Twin 41cm guns
18 x 14cm guns
4 x twin 127mm DP guns
98 x 25mm AA guns
1 x catapult
3 x seaplanes

Ship History
Built by Kure Naval Arsenal at Kure. Laid down August 28, 1917 as the lead ship of the Nagato-class. Launched November 9, 1919. Completed November 15, 1920. Commissioned November 25, 1920 into the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Nagato named after Nagato Prefecture in Japan. Assigned to the 1st Battleship Division (BatDiv1) and became the flagship of Rear Admiral Sōjirō Tochinai. On February 13, 1921 inspected by  Crown Prince Hirohito. On February 18, 1922 hosted French Marshal Joseph Joffre. On April 12, 1922 hosted Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, and his aide-de-camp Lieutenant Louis Mountbatten.

PARTIAL HISTORY

On December 21, 1941 anchor at Hashirajima in Hiroshima Bay and newly completed Yamato anchored along side.

PARTIAL HISTORY

Operation Sho-1-Go (Victory) - Battle of Leyte Gulf
Assigned to the "Central 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.

PARTIAL HISTORY

On February 10, 1945 BatDiv 1 is again deactivated and Nagato is reassigned to the Yokosuka Naval District as a coastal defense vessel anchored at at Yokosuka Naval Base at Yokosuka. The crew remains aboard but lacks enough fuel to sortie and a smaller boiler is used to provide power to the galley and for heating but her anti-aircraft guns are only partially operative. On April 20, 1945 due to a lack of fuel, reassigned as a reserve ship. On April 27, 1945 assigned to Rear Admiral Otsuka Miki.

On June 1, 1945 assigned to the Special Guard Fleet with Ise, Hyuga and Haruna. Most of her secondary armament is removed and moved ashore with her anti-aircraft guns, range finders and searchlights are installed atop nearby Mount Urayama to defend the Yokosuka area with her secondary guns installed on land to defend the Yokosuka pier while her main guns point towards the mouth of Sagami Bay. Stripped of most armament, Nagato is heavily camoflaged with scaffolding with potted pine trees and cryptomerias placed her her upper decks with the crew reduced to only 1,000.

On July 18, 1945 at 3:40pm carrier aircraft from Task Force 58 (TF-58) including roughly 100 SB2C Helldivers from USS Essex (CV-9), USS Randolph (CV-15) and USS Shangri-La (CV-38) bomb Nagato. At 3:52 a bomb hits the bridge and demolishes the wheelhouse and kills XO Captain Higuchi Teiji and eleven other officers. Another bomb hits the shelter deck aft of the mainmast on the port side and explodes against the base of the no. 3 turret killing 25 sailors and destroys four AA gun mounts. Afterwards, F6F Hellcat fighter-bombers from USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) attack causing damage including a Tiny Tim rocket that hit the faintail and exits the starboard side as a dud. During the air raid, her anti-aircraft guns emplaced ashore fire on the attacking planes. Afterwards, all remaining anti-aircraft guns are removed and placed ashore.

On July 24, 1945 Captain Sugino Shuichi assumes command but is at Port Arthur, in Manchukuo (Manchuria). Four days later, Rear Admiral Ikeuchi Masamichi assumes temporary command in his absence. On August 15, 1945 at noon, the remaining crew is assembled on deck to hear the radio broadcast by Emperor Hirohito that ended hostilities.

On August 20, 1945 Captain Sugino arrives and moves Nagato to no. 1 bouy in Yokosuka Harbor. On August 30, 1945 U. S. Navy (USN) party from Task Force 31 (TF-31) boards Nagato to symbolically capture the battleship. On September 15, 1945 removed from the Navy list.

During March 1946, Nagato is placed under the command of U. S. Navy (USN) Captain W. J. Whipple with an U. S. Navy plus 180 sailors to augment the Japanese crew. In the first two weeks, Nagato makes three test runs in Tokyo Bay to test the boilers and propultion ahead of a voyage to Bikini Atoll to become a target ship for the "Operation Crossroads" atomic tests.

On March 18, 1946 departed Yokosuka bound for Eniwetok but during the voyage, the hull leaked and pumps aboard could not keep up with flooding and was only capabile of a speed of 10 knots from her two propeller shafts and due to unrepaired damage. On March 28, 1945 Sakawa broke down and Nagato attempted to take her under tow but her boilers malfunctioned and she ran out of fuel in bad weather. On March 30, 1946 Nagato developed a 7 degree list to port by the time tugs from Eniwetok arrived and took her under tow at a speed of only 1 knot. On April 4, 1946 arrived at Eniwetok and was repaired and during May 1946 departed at a speed of 13 knots to Bikini Atoll.

Operation Crossroads
During "Operation Crossroads" at Bikini Atoll, Nagato was designated "ship #7" and used as a target. On July 1, 1946 during Test Able, Nagato was 1,500m from the ground zero with her stern facting the explosion, minimizing exposure and sustained only light damage. Afterwards, a skeleton crew boarded Nagato to assess damage and sucessfully operated one of her boilers for 36 hours.

On July 25, 1946 during Test Baker, Nagato was 870 meters from ground zero of the underwater explosion and survived the resulting tsunami wave without apparent damage aside from a slight starboard list of 2 degrees. Afterwards, Nagato was dangerously radioactive and no crew could board the battleship. Over the next five days, her list began to increase.

Sinking History

During the night of July 29, 1946 to July 30, 1946 Nagato capsized and sank into Bikini Atoll. She settled upside down on the seafloor at a depth of 160'. The superstructure broke away but the base is supporting the hull. Today, the shipwreck is SCUBA divable with her four propellers visible.

References
Combined Fleet: IJN Battleship Nagato: Tabular Record of Movement

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Last Updated
December 9, 2020

 

SCUBA
160' / 48.7m
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