The pride of the fleet is the minute of the turn
The diameter of the tactical circulation "Yamato" at a speed of 26 knots was 640 meters. Outstanding indicator. Even for a battleship.
Battleships were superior in maneuverability to ships of other classes. Yamato was considered the best. To turn at full speed, he had enough 600 meters of space in front of the heading (runout). And the diameter of the swivel "loop" was only 2,4 times the length of its body.
For comparison - "Littorio". It is customary for us to admire the creations of Genoese craftsmen for the carefully designed lines and good seaworthiness of Italian ships. But praise must be objective. The circulation diameter of the "Littorio" at full speed was 4 lengths of its body.
The situation with the French Richelieu was even worse. On the contrary, the "Americans" were distinguished by very good agility, with the exception of "South Dakota". Affected by the shape of their stern, powerful machines and the presence of two rudders installed in the propeller jets.
But no one managed to surpass Yamato.
Looking for competitors among cruisers and destroyers is doubly useless. The long-hull ships simply could not turn as sharply as the Yamato.
Agility depends on the ratio of dimensions and the shape of the contours. All other things being equal, the ship with the smallest elongation of the hull and the smallest draft (relative to its dimensions) will have the best agility.
The coefficient of overall completeness can tell a lot. A dimensionless parameter that gives an idea of the sharpness of the contours and the shape of the underwater part. The ratio of the displacement and volume of a parallelepiped, whose sides are set by the length, width and draft of the ship. The higher the value, the better the agility.
Among all types of ships, battleships possessed the best set of the listed indicators. Good agility partly compensated for the size of the mastodons. Even in absolute terms, the circulation diameter of the battleships was smaller than that of the destroyers. And for the latter, the distance of 700-800 meters corresponded to 7 body lengths.
Further, the steering gears entered the struggle.
The steering of the Yamato was not perfect. Both rudders were located in the center plane, one behind the other. On the one hand, this arrangement reduced the likelihood of a simultaneous failure (hello to "Bismarck"!). On the other hand, the rudders were not installed in the propeller jets, which reduced their efficiency. The area of the main and auxiliary rudders was 41 and 13 square meters. meters. Steering control of the same area was used on other battleships, significantly inferior in displacement to the Yamato.
The upper illustrations show a model of the battleship Yamato. At the bottom - the propeller-steering group of the LK "Missouri".
Undoubtedly, the "Japanese" had other ratios of transverse dimensions. But the difference in hull elongation was not as great as the achieved difference in displacement and maneuverability.
The reason for the great agility was hidden somewhere inside ...
Not like others
One of the mysteries of "Yamato" is related to his underestimation of the enemy. With numerous aerial photographs at their disposal, the Americans were never able to recognize that in front of them was the largest ship ever built.
263 meters in length did not indicate that the battleship had a total displacement of 72 tons.
The Italian Littorio with a displacement of 47 thousand tons had a hull length of 237 meters. The Richelieu, even smaller in displacement, was 247 meters. The German Bismarck was 250 meters. And the fast Iowa turned out to be seven meters longer than the Japanese heavyweight.
Perhaps it was the width of the case?
From a formal point of view, "Yamato" up to the present time remains the widest of the non-airborne warships. The midship width reached 38 meters. Great value, but ...
Other rivals were not far behind the record holder. The width of the Littorio and Richelieu hulls reached 33 meters. "Bismarck" with its 36 meters approached close to "Yamato".
Battleship ambitions of the United States immediately ran into the walls of the Panama Canal. Due to such an unfortunate circumstance, they could lengthen in the longitudinal direction, but never grew in width, frozen at around 33 meters.
Such were all ships of the line of the later period. There was nothing clearly outstanding or suspicious about the Yamato's appearance. Its dimensions fit into the standard range for battleships.
It's time to dive below the waterline. What did the underwater part of the Yamato look like?
In terms of the depth of the sediment, the Yamato was not at all like an iceberg. Even at the stage of registration of its tactical and technical assignment, requirements were put forward for basing and operations in the coastal waters of numerous Pacific islands. For this reason, Yamato-class battleships have always had a relatively shallow draft (10 meters). Such a draft had European battleships, significantly inferior in displacement to the heroes of the Pacific theater of operations.
Where does 72 thousand tons come from?
"Yamato" had a greater overall coefficient of completeness than all of its peers. Fuller contours than other battleships. In other words, the bottom of the Yamato in width corresponded to its upper deck, and this situation was observed over a considerable length of its hull.
The large completeness of the contours gave a phenomenal result. This is how 70 thousand tons of displacement, 400 mm booking and an 18-inch main caliber appeared.
Three ships maneuvered
Where did Yamato get the ability to prescribe circulations?
Everything is logical here. Relatively short for this displacement hull with shallow draft with less sharp contours than rivals, gives a comprehensive explanation of the reasons for the good agility of the Yamato.
What did good agility mean when repelling air attacks or when dodging forward-facing torpedoes of that time? Probably not worth explaining.
Despite the obvious advantages, it would be premature to give the Yamato the highest mark for agility.
The Japanese heavyweight could evade fired torpedoes more agile than others, but then its advantages became unclear. A sharp maneuver led to a loss of speed, and it took a lot of time for the Yamato to regain it.
12 boilers and 4 turbines (GTZA) provided propeller shaft power of 153 liters. from. A power plant with such parameters could be considered extremely powerful by the standards of European fleets. But this was not enough for the giant Yamato.
Don't think that the Japanese were really bad. Even such "slow-moving ships" as the contract "Nelsons" with a power plant of 45 thousand liters were successfully used in combat operations. with.
But история knew other examples as well. Fast American "battle ships" built to counter Japanese line forces.
Nobody knows how fast Iowa got. But the two echelons of the power plant (dual power plant of conventional aircraft) did not just take up space. The directives of that period have survived, from which it is clear that Iowa gained speed almost three times faster than its predecessors. Acceleration from 15 to 27 knots in seven minutes. A quarter of a million horsepower is a parameter worthy of a nuclear aircraft carrier.
With such dynamics and a tactical circulation diameter of 2,8 hull lengths, the 57000-ton Iowa snatched the champion title from the Yamato's hefty clutches.
The Japanese project, it should be noted, was pretty outdated by the last year of the war.
If we exclude from consideration the "Iowa" and the very advanced battleships that entered service after the end of the war, then at the time of its appearance, the Yamato, without a doubt, was the strongest type of battleship.
Let's do without prolonged applause. But facts are stubborn things. Size mattered.
How many wolf do not feed, and the elephant more
It didn't take much to unleash Yamato's full potential. Sunny tropical day and a distance of ten nautical miles. Conditions for decisive battle with linear fleet USA.
The Japanese prepared very carefully for this meeting. Gathered a full arsenal of the necessary tools. The firing range, the power of 460 mm ammunition, a large deceleration of the fuses. The Yamato ammunition even provided for a special type of "diving" projectile to destroy ships in a weakly protected underwater unit.
The return volleys were to crash against the thick armor of the citadel. The limiting version of the “all or nothing” scheme chosen for the Yamato provided the best protection against rare but “evil” hits from long distances.
Good agility would be useful here.
But nothing was useful.
The battles took place in a wide variety of situations. Battleships of the United States and Japan met three times in battle, but the conditions never matched a duel in daylight. Throughout most of the war, the range of use of battleships, in general, was not limited to fighting their own kind.
Can the Yamato designers be blamed for creating a highly specialized project?
Before making such a conclusion, look again at the figure of 72. To spend such weight on solving a single problem was beyond the power of even Japanese perfectionists.
Interestingly, with such reserves, the Japanese continued to save weight, fighting for every ton of hull mass. Even visually, the Yamato has a noticeable upper deck deflection in the area of the bow towers. And the same bend at the aft end. Such design refinements were made to reduce freeboard where possible. Another (purely Japanese technique) was hidden from prying eyes. The citadel's armor plates served as a load-bearing function and were included in the power set.
These measures only strengthened the already considerable combat capabilities.
And specialization in the "general battle" did not affect the other qualities of the Yamato.
There were enough reserves for everything
"Yamato" had not only the thickest booking, but also the shortest citadel among all ships of the line, occupying 54% of the length of its hull. The extremities (with the exception of the tiller compartments and sections of the upper deck) had no protection at all and could be pierced by any caliber.
At first glance - a crazy design. But what is obvious even to us was not a secret for the creators of Yamato. Why did they "frivolously" leave 46% of the hull unprotected?
First of all, because the Japanese project was not like any other battleship, with the exception of the Iowa. Hull "Yamato" had a "bottle" shape with a sharply tapering bow and scanty stern. In other words, the size and volume of the extremities was smaller than that of other battleships. And the main volumes of the corps were concentrated in the middle part, that is, under the protection of the walls of the citadel.
The Japanese made a calculation and obtained the following results: the unsinkability and stability of the Yamato can be ensured even if both ends are flooded.
The all-or-nothing scheme implied the absence of anything outside the citadel, on which combat effectiveness could critically depend. The gradual accumulation of damage with the loss of all posts and flooding of all compartments in the extremities would require a significant number of hits. With equal forces, it was considered unlikely to achieve such a result in battle. The Yamato could also fire back. And not cherry pits.
In practice, none of the warring parties considered firing landmines at the extremities as a combat technique, focusing on issues of breaking through the citadel.
Do not bore readers with a detailed description of the armor protection and its thickness. These numbers are present in any source. I will only note that the constructive defense of the Yamato included a couple of original elements that his peers had no idea about.
Air bombs and projectiles fired found it easier to penetrate the engine room, piercing the Yamato's main deck than through the mouth of its chimney. The chimneys were covered with a 380 mm thick perforated armor plate.
Another feature was the underwater armor belt for protection in case of close misses, when a diving "armor piercing" could hit the ship in the underwater part. The Japanese were the only ones who foresaw such a threat and developed protective measures against undershoots.
Resistance to underwater explosions
The underwater armor belt was part of the PTZ, but was not the basis for anti-torpedo protection. Battleships of the Yamato class possessed a full-fledged three-chamber PTZ 5 meters wide, in accordance with the highest standards adopted for the class of battleships. The hull of the battleships had a triple bottom throughout, with the exception of the engine and boiler rooms.
A fact from maritime history: the anti-torpedo protection has never ensured complete safety during underwater explosions near the side. As follows from the description of the damage, the compartments located near the place of impact were always damaged and filled with water. The task of PTZ was to minimize damage and prevent such egregious cases as the loss of the Barham aircraft.
The size of the ships themselves and their internal structure were of key importance in the case of torpedo hits. And the purpose of the measures for counter-flooding and drainage of the compartments was to straighten the resulting heel.
Theoretically, in order to sink a ship on an even keel, it is required to exhaust its displacement by 100%, that is, to "pour" tens of thousands of tons of water through the holes. With watertight compartments, this process can take forever. But if the roll gets out of control, the ship will die in a matter of minutes.
Battleships of the Yamato class had a double roll straightening system due to counter-flooding of compartments and fuel pumping. Its design capabilities allowed it to roll up to 14 degrees without affecting the ship's combat capability. The time standard is 5 minutes to take control of the roll and trim that arose when the first torpedo hit. 12 minutes were allotted to eliminate the consequences of the second hit.
The considerable width of the hull made it possible to place the engine and boiler rooms in four rows. The internal compartments of the MKO received reliable protection: 80 years ago there were no torpedoes with a proximity fuse, which were fired exactly under the keel.
In terms of the location of the MCO, only Iowa could compare with Yamato: its engine and boiler rooms were scattered along the hull, stretching as much as 100 meters. To deprive "Iowa" of the course, power supply and any ability to resist, it was necessary to "turn" almost half of the battleship.
The controversial decision of the Yamato project is the limited use of the electric drive. The Japanese feared cumbersome switchboards and short circuits, so they used auxiliary steam engines wherever possible. Reality showed that valves and steam lines were also vulnerable to shocks, and the stoppage of the boilers left the ship completely helpless.
On the other hand, only the complete destruction and flooding of the boiler rooms could stop the operation of all 12 boilers. When, probably, that's it. And the fury of the attacks to which the battleships have undergone in their last battle does not allow making accurate conclusions about the superiority or disadvantages of such a decision.
During the war years, battleships of the Allies and Axis countries were repeatedly exposed to mine and torpedo weapons... "Vittorio Veneto", "Maryland", "North Caroline", "Scharnhorst" and "Gneisenau", Japanese "Ise" ... As practice has shown, capital ships relatively easily tolerated the hits of 1–2 torpedoes.
"The consequences of strikes on ships built to the same security standards have had the same results."
The last fight between Yamato and Musashi gives no reason for comparisons. No other battleship has been shot like this. And no one could have survived with 10+ hits below the waterline.
One thing is certain: due to a larger displacement reserve and a more sophisticated design, the Yamato-class battleships could withstand more than all their peers.
The American pilots noted in their reports a noticeable decrease in the speed of the Musashi only after the sixth torpedo hit.
And the Shinano commander did not feel any threat after being hit by 4 torpedoes, continuing to steer the ship on the same course, without reducing speed. The denouement came six hours later. If the "Sinono" had been completed and had sealed bulkheads, it might have made it to the Kure naval base.
Those ships are long gone. But you can talk about their weapons next time.
And in conclusion, we recall the following words:
The best choice on a tight budget is Richelieu.
High-tech glamor - Vanguard and Iowa.
For a breakthrough at any cost - only Yamato!
High-tech glamor - Vanguard and Iowa.
For a breakthrough at any cost - only Yamato!