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Fuso-class battleship, Fuso (1944)

History:
“Fuso”

Battleship “Fuso” – the battleship of the Japanese Navy laid down at the “Naval Shipyard” in Kura on March 11, 1912, launched on March 28, 1914, entered the fleet on November 8, 1915. She became the second battleship to bear this name, the first “Fuso” was one of the first ships of the Imperial Navy, and among the officers who received him in England was Н. Togo.

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The battleship “Fuso” before modernization

The new battleship Fuso was assigned to the Kure naval area, and in terms of the tactical organization of the fleet, it was assigned to the 1st battleship division of the First Fleet. Although Japan took part in the First World War at this time, the ship passed tests and combat training as in peacetime. The first long-distance voyage of the new battleship was a campaign in Chinese waters in April 1917. In the second half of this year, work was carried out on it to modernize the fire control system. After their completion, Fuso began a routine service.

In late February – early March 1918, “Fuso” made another trip to the Chinese coast with a call to the Portuguese colony of Macau. Until the end of the year, the battleship was engaged in combat training, both individually and as part of a formation. On December 1, 1918, he was taken to the reserve. The ship underwent a number of upgrades, including the installation of 5 80-mm anti-aircraft guns. The reserve stay ended on August 1, 1919. “Fuso” returned to the 1st battleship division – combat training began, both individually and as part of the formation. The monotonous camping life was diversified by trips to Chinese waters. The most striking event in the life of the ship in 1920 was the trip to the Chinese coast to “protect” Japanese interests.

In December 1921, the Fuso ship was put into reserve to carry out modernization work, the most important of which was an increase in the elevation angle of the main battery guns, the installation of new rangefinders with a base of 8 m instead of 4.5 m. At the beginning of 1923, Fuso was returned into the fleet. In September 1923, the battleship’s crew took part in rescue and recovery operations after the Great Tokyo Earthquake. The next year turned out to be calm, and there were no remarkable events in the life of the battleship, except for the change of commanders.
At the end of March 1925 “Fuso” leaves for Chinese waters for a month. In December, junior lieutenant Prince Takamatsu Nobu-hito, brother of Emperor Hirohito, was assigned to the battleship. He will not serve for long on the ship and will return to the battleship as a lieutenant in 1933. In the spring of 1926, another trip to Chinese waters took place. From December 1, 1926 to December 1, 1927, the battleship was in reserve. During this time, the anti-torpedo nets were removed on the ship, and an open command bridge was installed on the bow superstructure. In the spring of 1928, another big trip to Chinese waters took place, and from April 7 to 12, Fuso paid a visit to the British possession of Hong Kong. Upon his return – combat training and participation in large fleet maneuvers. On December 1, 1928, the ship was put into reserve for a short period.

At the beginning of 1930, the battleship Fuso was put into reserve for a major modernization. Work began on April 12 at the Naval Shipyard in Yokosuka. The main directions of modernization were the following: installation of underwater mine protection attachments, complete replacement of the main power plant. On May 15, Fuso was moved to an even “deeper” reserve – category 3 reserve and on September 26 transferred to the shipyard in Kure for the second stage of modernization, during which the depth of the newly installed mine protection and the length of the ship’s hull were increased, the shape of the bow superstructure was completely changed , installed new anti-aircraft weapons – twin 127-mm guns and 13.2-mm machine guns and a new fire control system. The hull was rearranged in order to accommodate new ammunition cellars.
On May 12, 1933, work on “Fuso” was completed, tests began, which were very successful, and then combat training. In August-November 1933, he went on a campaign to the Marshall Islands, at that time the mandate of Japan. Upon returning to the waters of the Metropolis, “Fuso” was enlisted in the 1st battleship division of the First Fleet, where he remained until September 1934. From September 1934 to March 1935, the ship is in reserve in connection with the second stage of modernization, during which the length and shape of the aft hull were increased. Upon completion of work “Fuso” passed tests and a short course of combat training. In late March and early April, a short trip to Chinese waters took place, from 4 to 7 August a trip to Amoy, and then a course of combat training. On December 1, 1936, the battleship was assigned to the Kure naval area and was used as a training ship. From February 26, 1937 to March 31, 1938, it was withdrawn to the reserve for a major modernization, during which they installed a new fire control system, new 25-mm anti-aircraft guns and reinforced the hull in the stern. Upon completion of work, tests and combat training, only on November 15, 1938, “Fuso” was enlisted in the 1st battleship division of the 1st fleet.
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Battleship “Fuso” under reconstraction at Kure Naval Yard. April 28, 1933

In March 1939, a campaign was held in Chinese waters, this time with the implementation of combat missions. On December 15, the ship is withdrawn to the reserve for the second stage of modernization, during which new aircraft weapons were installed, the number of 25-mm anti-aircraft guns was increased. On April 10, 1941, the ship returned to the fleet, having previously passed tests and a course of combat training. The battleship Fuso was assigned to the 2nd battleship division of the 1st Fleet.
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The battleship “Fuso” after second modernization
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The battleship “Fuso” on maneuvers in the area of the island of Honshu August 15-20, 1933

At this time, the Japanese imperial fleet was preparing for a big war – shooting and exercises of various levels were carried out continuously.

On December 7, 1941, the battleship met on the roadstead of one of the ports of the Metropolis. The next day, December 8, he, as part of a formation, goes to sea to the Bonin Islands and on December 13 arrives at the Hasirajima anchorage, in the vicinity of Hiroshima. Almost the entire initial period of the war, the battleship was there, from time to time going out into the inland Sea of Japan for maneuvers. From 21 to 25 February 1942, “Fuso” was at the factory wall in Kure, where work was carried out to replace the barrels of the main caliber guns, and a demagnetizer was installed. The battleship then returned to the Hasirijima raid.

April 18 American B-25 bombers launched from the Hornet aircraft carrier (CV 8). bombed Tokyo. “Fuso” in the squadron went to sea, trying to find the “impudent” Yankees, but was late – the American connection was already far away. On April 19, a reconnaissance aircraft from the battleship discovered the Soviet merchant ship “Angarstroy”, at the point with coordinates 30 ° 00, N / 135 ° 20, E, in the zone where commercial shipping was prohibited, so the order to stop and wait for the approach was dropped from the plane warships.

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Photo of the battleship “Fuso” during testing of counter flooding and drainage systems, Kure on April 20, 1941.

In August 1942, the question of rebuilding the Fuso-class ships into an aircraft carrier battleship was discussed. Of course, the Japanese decided on this not because of a good life, but trying to somehow make up for the losses incurred in the battle of Midway. Work on “Fuso” was supposed to begin in August 1943, but this plan was soon abandoned. From 3 to 5 September, the battleship passed the current docking in Kure. Until the beginning of November, the ship was on the roadstead of Hasirajima, at times going to sea for exercises. On November 15, 1942, she was handed over to the Etajima Naval Academy for use as a training ship. In December 1942, an exercise was held in the inland Sea of Japan, in which the battleships Yamato, Fuso, Yamashiro and the aircraft carrier Zuikaku took part.
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Battleship “Fuso” Date April 27, 1939. Place Sukumo Bay. Photographed by Shizuo Fukui from Mikuma

On January 15, 1943, the battleship was returned to the active fleet. The first half of the year “Fuso” spent in the waters of the Metropolis, not taking part in hostilities. On June 8, 1943, she was on the roadstead of Hasirajima, with the battleship Mutsu at the adjacent anchorage. Suddenly there was an explosion, and this battleship quickly sank. The Fuso boats saved 353 people. On all ships in the roadstead, a combat alert was broken and a search for enemy submarines began, which was soon stopped.

The battleship “Fuso” was used as a staff ship for rescue operations, and the “M” commission to investigate the circumstances of the sinking of “Mutsu” met in its salons. Only on June 25, the service entered its usual rut, the 2nd battleship division went to sea for tactical exercises and firing. In early July, the ship arrives in Kure for minor repairs and reinforcement of armament; a Type 21 surface target detection radar and 21 25-mm anti-aircraft machine guns (2 paired, 17 single) were installed on board. Later, their number was increased to 37. From 18 to 25 July, the ship is docking. The work was completed in early August. On August 15, all those rescued from the Mutsu were transferred to the battleship Nagato.
On August 16, Fuso, accompanied by two destroyers, went to sea and on August 17 arrived at Yashima (Shikoku Island), where a powerful formation of ships of the Imperial Navy was formed, which included the battleships Nagato and Yamato, the escort aircraft carrier Tayo. , heavy cruisers Atago and Takao and five destroyers. Soon they went to sea and headed for Truk, where they arrived on 23 August. After a short rest, combat training began. In early September, Japanese intelligence learned that the Americans were planning a raid on Tarawa and other atolls. In this regard, the main forces of the imperial fleet were transferred to the lagoon of the Enewetok Atoll. In order to avoid various surprises, the battleships Musashi, Fuso, Haruna and Kongo were abandoned on Truk atoll. On September 25, the main forces of the Imperial Navy, which had not entered the battle, returned to the lagoon.
Until February 1944, “Fuso” was in Truka Lagoon, occasionally going out to sea for exercises. Meanwhile, the military situation of the empire continued to deteriorate, Truk ceased to be a safe base, and it was decided to withdraw the main forces of the fleet from there. On February 1, 1944, the battleships Fuso and Nagato, three heavy cruisers and 6 destroyers left the raid. At 10 o’clock in the morning they were discovered by the American submarine Permit (SS-178), but was unable to launch the attack. On February 4, the squadron arrived at Pallau, but this base was not safe either.

On February 16, the unit goes to sea for transfer to the anchorage at Lynga Roads, in the vicinity of Singapore. The first four days of the crossing went smoothly. On February 20, the Japanese ships were discovered by the American submarine Puffer (SS-268), but she was unable to launch the attack either. On February 21, the fleet arrived at its destination. On February 25, 1944, the 2nd battleship division of the 1st fleet was disbanded, and on the same day the 2nd battleship division of the United Fleet was formed from the same ships. Until April “Fuso” was on the roadstead of Linga Roads, from time to time going to the exercises as part of Admiral Ozawa’s mobile fleet. From 13 to 25 April, she was docked at the former British Naval Base Solitere in Singapore.

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Battleship “Fuso”

On May 30, 1944, the Fuso ship, 2 heavy cruisers and 5 destroyers set out to sea, providing long-range cover for the convoy’s passage. On May 31, the battleship and its entourage were spotted by the American submarines Garhead (SS-254) and Ray (SS-170), but neither of them managed to take a position to attack. The first phase of the operation was completed with the arrival in Davao. The ships of the convoy were already there. On June 2, at 10:30 pm, the convoy sets out to sea, but in the morning of June 3, American B-24 Liberator aircraft discovered it. The American submarine “Rusher” (SS-269) discovered a heavy cruiser detached from the battleship. The Commander of the United Fleet, Admiral Toyoda, realizing that the element of surprise was lost, ordered an end to the operation. Fuso returns to Davao. During the transition, an order was received to demonstrate at Pallau, but it was soon canceled.

On October 4, the ships arrived without loss at Lynga Roads. Soon after the passage, Admiral Nasimura transferred the flag to the battleship Yamashiro. The anchorage was calm, ships occasionally went out for exercises. Meanwhile, the development of Operation SHO and GO, the decisive battle with the Americans, was coming to an end. Several options were developed, depending on the point of the American landing.

From 18 to 20 October, the battleship Fuso, as part of the fleet, moves to Brunei (Borneo island), where a full supply of fuel was taken on board. In early October, the Americans landed in the Philippines, which automatically put into effect a variant of the Japanese plan “SHO 1”. “Fuso”, “Yamashiro”, heavy cruiser “Mogami” and 4 destroyers go to sea. They were part of the “C” (“South”) compound. According to the plan, several formations of heavy artillery ships were to break through to the American bridgehead. A decoy aircraft carrier squadron was formed to divert attention.
On October 24, compound “C” was discovered by enemy aerial reconnaissance. At 09:18 the first American air raid began. It was attended by 26 aircraft from the aircraft carriers Enterprise (CV 6) and Franklin (CV 13). The “Fuso” was hit by one bomb, which went through the upper deck and exploded in the cockpit, ignited aviation gasoline in a nearby storage facility. Soon the fire reached a nearby plane, which burned out very quickly. The battleship broke down and reduced speed. By 10 o’clock the fire was extinguished, and he took his place in the warrant. Nasimura’s compound continued to march towards the Surigao Strait, although the Japanese commander knew nothing about what was happening with the main forces of Admiral Kurita. Nasimura knew nothing about the plans and deployment of the enemy fleet.

Rear Admiral JB Oldendorf commanded American forces in the Suragao Strait. The battleships of Admiral Kinkade’s 7th fleet awaited Nasimura’s arrival. Oldendorf has carefully set up his trap. He deployed 39 torpedo boats down the strait, creating the first defensive line between Bohol in the north and Kamguin in the south. Then formation “C” had to fight 28 destroyers located in line with the island of Dingat. The next defensive barrier was the line forces themselves, covered by heavy cruisers on the right and left. The battleships Mississippi, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessi, California, and Pansilvania were directly across the course of Nasimura.

In the evening, the ships of the “C” compound received a radiogram from Admiral Kurita that he would not be able to arrive at the rendezvous point in time, but this did not stop Nasimura, who continued to lead the compound entrusted to him to death. At about 22:00 the first contact with enemy torpedo boats occurred. On October 25, 1944, at 00:15 pm, the “C” formation entered the Surigao Strait. His build was as follows. The forward guard was the destroyer Michisio, followed by the destroyer Asagumo, followed by the battleships, in the wake of which the cruiser Mogami was going. The destroyers Yamagumo (right) and Shigure (left) were walking along the sides of the Mogami.
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The battleship “Fuso” and the cruiser Mogami under fire from American carrier-based aircraft, October 24, 1944

At 1:25 a.m., another attack by American torpedo boats was repulsed. At 2:45 pm, the operator of the destroyer McCowan’s radar station (DD 678) detected a target mark at a distance of 15 miles. At this time, the “C” compound was repelling the attack of the torpedo boats. This did not prevent the signalmen of the destroyer “Sigure” from detecting enemy ships.

At 3 am, American destroyers fired a torpedo salvo of 27 torpedoes. At 3 hours 9 minutes one or two torpedoes hit the battleship “Fuso”. An explosion or explosions thundered in the middle of the hull. The battleship went out of order and lay on the return course to the exit from the strait, sailing at a speed of 10 knots. Fires blazed on the ship. The destroyer Asagumo was another victim of this attack.

At 3:38 am (according to other sources, at 3:45 am), the fire reached the ammunition cellars of the C and D turrets, a strong explosion thundered, and the ship broke into two parts. At about 5 o’clock in the morning, the Americans began to “clean up” the strait. At 0529 hours from the flagship cruiser Louisville (CA 28) Rear Admiral Oldendorff discovered a large stationary ship engulfed in flames, it was the bow of the battleship. Fire was opened on it with 203-mm armor-piercing shells (a total of 18 shells were used up). The bow of the “Fuso” sank at 5 hours 35 minutes, the stern at about 7 am without any impact from the enemy side. There were no rescues from the battleship. The Americans did not carry out the rescue operation, picking up only those who were in the path of their ships. The Japanese sailors who reached the coast were killed by the Filipinos.

The battleship “Fuso” is unique in that it has two points of doom. The bow rests at a point with coordinates 10 ° 09, N / 125 ° 24, E, and the aft part at a point with coordinates 10 ° 08, N / 125 ° 25, E. The battleship’s “paper life” continued for some time. On November 15, 1944, the 2nd battleship division was disbanded. On August 31, 1945, the battleship Fuso was struck off the lists of the fleet.

Protection:

  • Main armor belt: 305 mm
  • Armor belt height: 3.8 meters
  • Armor traverse: 305 mm
  • Reservation in the area of the stems: 203-102 mm
  • Upper armor belt: 203 mm
  • Armor traverse of the upper armor belt: 127 mm
  • Mine artillery casemate: 152 mm
  • Main Armor Deck:

– Between traverses: 97 mm
– Outside the traverse: 51 mm

  • Upper deck above the citadel: 32-51 mm
  • Deck above casemate: 19 mm
  • Main turret armor:

– Front plate: 305 mm
– Side walls: 203 mm
– Roof: 114 mm

  • Armor of the main battery barbets: 203 mm
  • Reservation of the bow conning tower: 350 mm
  • Reservation of the aft conning tower: 152 mm
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Technical component:

  • Crew – 1900
  • Standard displacement: 34700 t
  • Full-load displacement: 39154 t
  • Max length: 212,8
  • Max width: 33,1
  • Average draft at trial state: 9,7 m
  • Main boiler: 24 pcs “Miyahara”
  • Main engine: 2 TA “Brown-Curtis”
  • Power: 75000
  • Speed: 24,75 knots
  • Aircraft: 3 seaplanes

Weapon:

  • 6х2 – 356 mm 45 caliber 41st Year Type 36 cm Gun
  • 14×1 152mm 15 cm/50 (6″) 41st Year Type
  • 4×2 –  127 mm 12.7 cm/40 (5″) Type 88
  • 8х3 –  25 mm 25 mm/60 (1″) Type 96 Model 1
  • 16х2 –  25 mm 25 mm/60 (1″) Type 96 Model 1
  • 40×1 –  25 mm 25 mm/60 (1″) Type 96 Model 1

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Weapon layout of the battleship Fuso 1944
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