The size of the Musashi battleship by length was 263 meters (682 ft 10 in). Together with the Yamato, they were the biggest naval ships in service during World War II. They were in fact, the biggest battleships ever made.
The Musashi’s displacement was 68,200 tons (the maximum was 72,800 tons). The waterline length was 256 meters (839 ft 11 in). The beam measured 38.9 m (about 126 ft 7 in). The draft was 11 m or 36 ft 1 in.
The propulsion consisted of a dozen Kampon boilers at 150,000 shp (110 MW). The top speed was 27.46 knots or 50.86 km/h. The range of the ship was 7,200 nautical miles (or nearly 13,334 km). The complement of the Musashi was 2,399.
The size of the Musashi battleship necessitated a lot of armor. The armor on the turrets was 650 mm. On the side it was 410 mm (16.1 in) and on the outer deck it was 226.5 mm (9.06 in). For the middle deck it was 200 mm (8 in). Like the Yamato, it carried 7 aircraft.
The main guns of the Musashi were the 18 inch 45 Type 94 naval guns. Nine were assembled on the ship. Each one was 69.3 ft (21.13 m) long and weighed in at 147 tons (equal to 162.4 short tons). This gun was similar to the one at the Yamato.
In addition the Musashi had a dozen 6.1 inch guns set on four turrets. Another set of 5 inch guns were deployed along the sides. Furthermore, the size of the Musashi battleship allowed for the inclusion of two dozen 1” anti aircraft guns.
The size of the Musashi battleship made reconfiguring weapons easy. It was re-equipped in 1944 to prepare for battle in the Pacific. Put in place were half a dozen 6” guns, 23 5” inch guns and 132 1” guns. These were set up in various pars of the craft.
The Musashi in Combat
On August 1942, Arima Kaoru was designated captain of the ship. During September, the ship was fitted with various weapons, including a dozen 127 mm guns, thirty six 25 mm guns assorted ammunition and radar.
On February 1943, the ship became part of the Japanese Combined Fleet, led by Admiral Yanamoto. In May, the ship was relocated to the north Pacific to battle American forces.
In 1944, the Musashi was repaired and new weapons were added. Although the size of the Musashi battleship made it formidable, the Americans were able to counterattack. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Japan lost over 400 planes and two carriers.
Sinking of the Musashi
In October 1944, the Japanese learned the Americans were planning to launch an attack in Leyte. But as the ship and its escorts arrived, they came under fire from the Americans. After leaving Brunei, two of the Japanese cruisers were sunk by American torpedoes.
On October 24, 1944 at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Musashi and the entire fleet came under heavy bombardment. The US fighter planes had discovered a weakness in the Musashi, as it had little armor close to the bow.
On that very day at 19:36 hours, the Musashi sank. 1,023 crew members were killed.