Japanese battleship Fusō


Japanese battleship Fusō

"Fusō" (Japanese: 扶桑, an old name for Japan), was a battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the lead ship of the "Fusō"-class. She was laid down by the Kure Kaigun Koshō on 11 March 1912, launched on 28 March 1914 and completed on 18 November 1915. Her 14 inch (356 mm) main gun turrets were placed in an unorthodox 2-1-1-2 style (with her sister ship "Yamashiro" having her third turret reversed when compared to "Fusō") and with a funnel separating the middle turret placement. This placement was not entirely successful as the armored section was needlessly lengthened and the middle guns had trouble targeting. However, "Fusō's" relatively fine hull form allowed her to obtain a speed of 23 knots (43 km/h) as completed.

Ship history

"Fusō" took part in no major action during World War I, as the majority of the Japanese Navy was engaged in escort duties and various other work which did not require the use of the battle line. Between the wars, "Fusō" and "Yamashiro" received major modifications, in common with all of the Japanese battleships in service. "Fusō" was lengthened by an additional 25 feet (7.6 m), the twin funnels trunked together, the original 24 mixed-firing boilers replaced by six new oil-fired Kampon boilers and the ships' control tops dramatically added to produce the characteristic "pagoda" foremast which typified Japanese ships of the period. Armour protection was both increased in quantity and improved in quality on both ships, especially over the machinery spaces and below the waterline, a response to British capital ships' experiences against torpedoes (for example, HMS "Marlborough" was almost sunk by a single German torpedo just after the Battle of Jutland). The improvements included heavier armour belting over the midships machinery spaces, made possible by the opening out of these areas when the original boilers were replaced, and the addition of an anti-torpedo bulge. The "Fusō" class ships were capable of 25.4 knots by the time these modifications were completed, a testament to the vastly improved efficiency of boilers in the 1930s.

Despite these modifications, the IJN considered that the "Fusō" class ships were inadequately protected and too slow to be of any great use, and thus "Fusō" and "Yamashiro" were both kept in the Inland Sea as a strategic reserve force (which, as it turned out, was unnecessary) at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack and for some time afterwards, mainly being employed on training duties.

World War II service

However, "Fusō" was called to action before too long. She pursued but did not catch the American carrier force that had launched the Doolittle Raid on 18 April 1942, sortied as a screen for the Aleutian Force during the battle of Midway in May 1942, rescued 353 survivors of "Mutsu" when that ship exploded at Hashirajima on 8 June 1943, and took part in the reinforcements of Truk in August 1943 and Biak in June 1944.

inking

In October 1944, commanded by Rear Admiral Ban Masami, "Fusō" was part of Admiral Shoji Nishimura's Southern Force at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In the battle of Surigao Strait on 25 October 1944 at 03:09 she was hit by one or two torpedoes fired by the American destroyer "Melvin" and set on fire. She withdrew from the action but at 03:45 the magazines of C or Q turrets (or possibly both) exploded and she broke into two sections. The bow section was sunk by gunfire from the cruiser "Louisville" while the stern section sank off Kanihaan Island. Survivors in the water refused rescue so there were few, if any, of her 1,400 crew saved. She was removed from the Navy List on 31 August 1945. "Yamashiro", having seen her crippled sister withdraw, elected to press on and steamed straight towards the American battle-line, which (having thereby "crossed her T") then pounded "Yamashiro" to ruin in less than thirty minutes. "Yamashiro"'s shelled wreck drifted for some time, and was eventually sunk by torpedoes from a US destroyer, with few survivors. Later investigations concluded that the USS "Melvin" was the destroyer responsible.

Commanding Officers

Capt. Kozo Sato - 8 November 1915 - 13 December 1915

Capt. Yaichi Mukai - 13 December 1915 - 1 December 1916

Capt. Toyokazu Yamaoka - 1 December 1916 - 1 December 1917

Capt. Shigetoshi Takeuchi - 1 December 1917 - 1 December 1918

Capt. Tarokazu Ikuno - 1 December 1918 - 1 April 1919

Capt. Kanta Shimauchi - 1 April 1919 - 20 November 1919

Capt. Koshiro Otani - 20 November 1919 - 20 November 1920

Capt. Shokichi Oishi - 20 November 1920 - 1 December 1921

Capt. Norikazu Kanna - 1 December 1921 - 1 December 1922

Capt. Otohiko Kagara - 1 December 1922 - 1 December 1923

Capt. Nobunari Shiraishi - 1 December 1923 - 18 July 1924

Capt. Mitsumasa Yonai - 18 July 1924 - 10 November 1924

Capt. Sankichi Takahashi - 10 November 1924 - 1 December 1925

Capt. Eijiro Hamano - 1 December 1925 - 1 November 1926

Capt. Masao Sugiura - 1 November 1926 - 20 August 1927

Capt. Hisao Ichimura - 20 August 1927 - 10 December 1928

Capt. Muge Ikeda - 10 December 1928 - 30 November 1929

Capt. Tadashi Kurata - 30 November 1929 - 1 December 1930

Capt. Teijiro Sugisaka - 1 December 1930 - 1 December 1931

Capt. Shinichiro Machida - 1 December 1931 - 1 December 1932

Capt. Sadaaki Araki - 1 December 1932 - 15 November 1934

Capt. Seiichi Iwamura - 15 November 1934 - 15 November 1935

Capt. Jinichi Kusaka - 15 November 1935 - 1 December 1936

Capt. Tsunemitsu Yoshida - 1 December 1936 - 26 January 1937

Capt. Takeo Takasaki - 26 January 1937 - 1 December 1937

Capt. Hiroaki Abe - 1 December 1937 - 25 April 1938

Capt. Ruitaro Fujita - 25 April 1938 - 15 November 1938

Capt. Fukuji Kishi - 15 November 1938 - 1 November 1939

Capt. Tsutomu Sato - 1 November 1939 - 15 October 1940

Capt. Chimaki Kono - 15 October 1940 - 15 September 1941

Capt. Mitsuo Kinoshita - 15 September 1941 - 5 December 1942

Capt. Keizo Komura - 5 December 1942 - 1 June 1943

Capt. / RADM Nobumichi Tsuruoka - 1 June 1943 - 23 February 1944 (Promoted to Rear Admiral on 1 November 1943.)

Capt. / RADM / VADM* Masami Ban - 23 February 1944 - 25 October 1944 (KIA; promoted to Rear Admiral on 15 October 1944; posthumous promotion to Vice Admiral.)

External links

* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/Fuso.html Tabular record of movement] from combinedfleet.com
* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/atully06.htm Article] that attempts to decipher the fates of Fuso and Yamashiro


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