“Yamato was simply built to stand up to and utterly outclass any conceivable American or British opponent by sheer weight of gunfire and elephant-like armor. As such, hers is a sort of ‘brute force’ approach to protection. Her armor layout isn’t the most efficient, but she has a lot of armor, so it doesn’t really matter.”
– Jon Parshall, historian and author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
This April, we expect to take delivery of the first of several redeveloped warships from Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand. As such, we thought it made sense to preface their release with a little history of each warship and their relative importance in naval history. To kick things off, we look at the Imperial Japanese Navy’s super battleship Yamato.
The Forces of Valor rendition of the famed warship portrays her during Operation Ten-Go, a fateful and last ditch effort by the IJN to thwart the US landings at the island of Okinawa towards the end of the war. Operation Ten-Go was a Japanese naval operation plan that consisted of four likely scenarios. Its first scenario, Operation Heaven One (or Ten-ichi-gō天一号) became the last major Japanese naval operation in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The resulting engagement is also known as the Battle of the East China Sea.
In April 1945, the Japanese battleship Yamato (the heaviest battleship in the world), along with nine other Japanese warships, embarked from Japan on a deliberate suicide attack upon Allied forces engaged in the Battle of Okinawa. The Japanese force was attacked, stopped, and almost destroyed by United States carrier-borne aircraft before reaching Okinawa. Yamato and five other Japanese warships were sunk.
The battle demonstrated U.S. air supremacy in the Pacific theater by this stage in the war and the vulnerability of surface ships without air cover to aerial attack. The battle also exhibited Japan’s willingness to sacrifice entire ships, even the pride of its fleet, in desperate kamikaze attacks aimed at slowing the Allied advance on the Japanese home islands. This extremism reportedly contributed to the US decision to employ nuclear weapons against the Japanese.