Why did the Japanese sacrifice the Yamato?

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by artifactsofmars, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. artifactsofmars

    artifactsofmars New Member

    In April of 1945, the Japanese were facing the invasion of Okinawa and decided on one of the greatest Kamikazi attacks of the war. No it was not aircraft in this case the battleship Yamato. She was sent out in a desperate sacrifice. To me it was an incomprehensible strategy. Our torpedo planes torpedoed the unlucky ship mostly on the port side to get her to sink. Supposedly her main gun turret(s) were bigger than an American destroyer, and they fell off when she capsized.
    At the link is the Wiki on this. The Japanese actually sacrificed a number of ships but the Yamato was the biggest, fiercest battle wagon at the time. So why do you think the Japanese did this?
  2. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    Maybe by that point they realized that the Yamato represented an obsolete type of naval warfare and would rather have something accomplished by her during the war and there wasn't much opportunity left for her to have an impact. I don't know that you could say they intentionally "sacrificed" the ship, but the Japanese certainly did employ tactics that would seem strange at best to western military strategists.
  3. themanikin

    themanikin New Member

    i think the japanese were still in a kind of denial at americas naval power at that point. the yamato was one of many mistakes that cost far to much in my opinion.
  4. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    You also forgot one important fact, Yamato were carrying enough fuel for one-way trip. The port gave them almost all of their fuel and it was still not enough. They were really out of fuel and out of basically everything. Bulk of their troops were still in China, but they couldn't even transport them anywhere. They were desperate. They threw everything they have left at the American forces, and Yamato was one of the few things they had left.

    They could have not launched this operation, but they were too proud to just let Okinawa fall. They had to do something and it was their desperate attempt.

    Sure Battleship's role was replaced by aircraft carriers in WWII, but look at on the American's side, they prepared 8~9 battleships to against Yamato in case the airstrike fail. They also have battleships. It is just that none of the ships can be useful without air cover.

    One thing I don't understand though, if the Japanese could launched 150 planes to attack the U.S. fleet near Okinawa, why didn't they send these planes to provide air cover for the Yamato fleet.
  5. pilot2fly

    pilot2fly Member

    Around that time, the Japanese were starting to learn that the war was lost. Even before the atomic bombs dropped, we had turned the tide of war. They were also very short on fuel. I doubt they could sustain the Yamato for a long period of time.
  6. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    From what I read, the order was for Yamato to get only enough fuel for one way trip, but the commander at the port gave them all the available fuel against order, although it was still not enough to make it back to the port. Keep in mind that the fleet had a dozen other ships, including some destroyers and cruisers, not just Yamato.

    One thing I do not understand is that, Japan still had a few thousand Zeros available at the time, rather than sending them all to Kamikaze, why not provide some air cover for Yamato... It just didn't make sense. Especially after Yamato was already discovered. Did they not believe a battleship that size can be sunk by planes before reaching the battlefield?
  7. pilot2fly

    pilot2fly Member

    They started doing Kamikaze attacks when they got desperate. They couldn't win the war in the air. Even though Zero's could out turn Corsair's, Corsair's knew how to deal with it. They figured that hitting an enemy ship at high speed would do more damage than a bomb.

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