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Sventex

What if Yamato had beached at Okinawa...

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As some may already know, Operation Ten-Go had intended for the Yamato and her escorts were to fight their way to Okinawa and then beach themselves between Higashi and Yomitan and fight as shore batteries until they were destroyed.  So this brings up an interesting question, if they had succeeded in evading USN reconnaissance and beached themselves, who would the US have sent to knock out the Yamato?  Would the Task Force 58 of the 5th Fleet still engage with carrier planes?  Would her 6 Battleships move in and bombard the Yamato?  Would the Tenth Army get involved and engage the ship with tanks or storm the ship with Marines?  Would heavy strategic bombers be called in?  Share your thoughts.

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A beached ship you say? I see weeks of B-17's and 24's bombing the living daylights out of the Yamato. Honestly, I think the high command would send the Army Air Force in to silence the Yamato instead of risking ships and dive bombers; heck, I wouldn't be surprised the US coming up with their own version of the British Tall Boy bomb and doing to Yamato what the Brit's did to the Tirpitz. 

Edited by PcolaTy_1
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I dunno what planes or air branch would of destroyed her but a beached BB is THE perfect naval target....ya think? Like a beached whale. Kinda not moving you know. 

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A stationary target is easy pickings for many aircraft or other options. I would imagine heavy bombers hitting it hard.

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The primary objective of Ten-Go was the Kamikaze raids on the Aircraft Carriers.  At Okinawa, the carrier force was losing about one CV a day.

Ten-Go was a success.  The US CVs put forth a huge amount of resources to stop the Yamato.  Planes were damaged, crews were fatigued, and ordnance was depleted.

According to 'Destroyer Captain' by Hara, one officer in the briefing asked for a diversion.  The reply:  "You ARE the Diversion".

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The USMC had several composite batteries of these trucks with 4.5" rockets on Okinawa.  They could have just pummeled the ship with hundreds, or even thousands of rockets, not to mention artillery shelling it.

Rocket-launchers-okinawa.jpg

Artillery like these 155mm guns that have an armor piercing round available as they are capable of use as coast defense guns too.

41dad7515818f77d62a78239763d8752.jpg

Guess who wins that exchange...  The big stationary target that every gun firing on it knows exactly where it is, or the powerless battleship trying to fire 18" rounds against targets they have no idea where they're at, using manual loading because the engine rooms don't work when there's sand in all the seawater cooling intakes!

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Would it be possible for the marines to storm the ship and silence it by taking it over?

At the very least, it'd make a nice war prize and potential museum at the end, instead of being an underwater coral reef.

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59 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

The USMC had several composite batteries of these trucks with 4.5" rockets on Okinawa.  They could have just pummeled the ship with hundreds, or even thousands of rockets, not to mention artillery shelling it.

Rocket-launchers-okinawa.jpg

Artillery like these 155mm guns that have an armor piercing round available as they are capable of use as coast defense guns too.

41dad7515818f77d62a78239763d8752.jpg

Guess who wins that exchange...  The big stationary target that every gun firing on it knows exactly where it is, or the powerless battleship trying to fire 18" rounds against targets they have no idea where they're at, using manual loading because the engine rooms don't work when there's sand in all the seawater cooling intakes!

Absolutely no way the Yamato can "win" in any possible outcome of Operation Ten-Go.  But it makes an interesting speculation on how the USN would react to a beached Super-Battleship interfering with an invasion.  Would there be inter-service rivalry between the US Army, USN and USAF?  Easy to say what could take out the Yamato, harder to say who would get the shot at taking it out though.  Which branch of service had the most influence at Okinawa?

Edited by Sventex

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Well, first off, Curtis Lemay asks for a moment alone. Then after the brief but awkward interval of stifled grunts and moans, B-29s fly out and  rain incendiaries on the ship until it is reduced to a lump of charcoal.

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19 minutes ago, Avenge_December_7 said:

Would it be possible for the marines to storm the ship and silence it by taking it over?

At the very least, it'd make a nice war prize and potential museum at the end, instead of being an underwater coral reef.

There actually was a similar battle to what the OP is describing that occurred during the Battle for the Philippines with an artillery fort called Fort Drum; designed in a way to resemble a battleship and had 14" guns defending the mouth to the bay. Anyways, the Marines stormed the top and basically poured kerosene down every shaft leading into the fort and burned the Japanese out. It was reported that the fires burned so hot and for days the Marines were not able to set foot onto Fort Drum. I guess something similar may happen in a beached Yamato scenario, but unlikely as the ship is better divided than the fort was.  

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Just now, PcolaTy_1 said:

There actually was a similar battle to what the OP is describing that occurred during the Battle for the Philippines with an artillery fort called Fort Drum; designed in a way to resemble a battleship and had 14" guns defending the mouth to the bay. Anyways, the Marines stormed the top and basically poured kerosene down every shaft leading into the fort and burned the Japanese out. It was reported that the fires burned so hot and for days the Marines were not able to set foot onto Fort Drum. I guess something similar may happen in a beached Yamato scenario, but unlikely as the ship is better divided than the fort was.  

Well, so much for a Yamato museum, then.

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1 hour ago, Sventex said:

Absolutely no way the Yamato can "win" in any possible outcome of Operation Ten-Go.  But it makes an interesting speculation on how the USN would react to a beached Super-Battleship interfering with an invasion.  Would there be inter-service rivalry between the US Army, USN and USAF?  Easy to say what could take out the Yamato, harder to say who would get the shot at taking it out though.  Which branch of service had the most influence at Okinawa?

Well, this is like arguing which player on the football team will nail the nerd in a high school dodgeball game where the nerd is the last guy left and is facing the whole football team... :Smile_great:

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Even if the task force made it to Okinawa and beached themselves all that would of done was slightly delay the surrender of Okinawa the Yamato would of been destroyed and would of only really been able to engage ships not ground targets because the guns couldn't be depressed that low. All it would of served is an "honorable" end to the ship because it completed her mission and engaged the Pacific fleet. However in my opinion the Yamato should not have sailed as it was a suicide mission brought on by the people who asked why was the navy not doing much when other branches were fighting to the death. The Yamato would of not survived the war but the thousands of young men might of. The defeat of Japan was inevitable.

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47 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

Well, this is like arguing which player on the football team will nail the nerd in a high school dodgeball game where the nerd is the last guy left and is facing the whole football team... :Smile_great:

If the football players were armed with classic WWII weaponry, then let's see how they'd nail that nerd.

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14 hours ago, Avenge_December_7 said:

Would it be possible for the marines to storm the ship and silence it by taking it over?

At the very least, it'd make a nice war prize and potential museum at the end, instead of being an underwater coral reef.

 

11 hours ago, IJN_Yamato_BB17 said:

Even if the task force made it to Okinawa and beached themselves all that would of done was slightly delay the surrender of Okinawa the Yamato would of been destroyed and would of only really been able to engage ships not ground targets because the guns couldn't be depressed that low. All it would of served is an "honorable" end to the ship because it completed her mission and engaged the Pacific fleet. However in my opinion the Yamato should not have sailed as it was a suicide mission brought on by the people who asked why was the navy not doing much when other branches were fighting to the death. The Yamato would of not survived the war but the thousands of young men might of. The defeat of Japan was inevitable.

Another important consideration is fuel.

Operating the equipment on Yamato, such as the turrets, required power. While the main engines could provide it, the problem is they were already running low on fuel. They only had enough to go one way. They also have an issue in that by beaching the ship, you have covered over the intakes on the bottom of the ship with sand, and that sand will get sucked into the ships condensers, boilers and engines eventually clogging them up, shutting down the main plant. The result will be going to their emergency generators which would also only be able to run for a certain amount of time.

They could honestly just wait them out. Sure, they could send bombers in and basically level the un-armored superstructure, render the un-armored guns useless. But they wouldn't have to charge in to clear out the ship. With no power, the ship is simply a dark castle with limited supplies. About their only option at that point is to set off their magazine.

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The Yamato actually had enough fuel for a round trip (this is not widely known) but It wasn't believed she would of needed it. Kamikaze planes were loaded with fuel for a round trip so they could fly longer one way distances.

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Yamato would of been too valuable to destroy, she would of been seized as a war prize by a USMC force after silencing her main guns.

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It was impossible for Yamato to even beach herself as was planned.  Everyone on the Japanese side knew this.

 

She'd run the gauntlet of airstrikes.

There was a mighty task force of 3 South Dakota-class, 3 Iowa-class BBs sailing for her, including several Cruisers which had 2 Alaska-class, and an unholy amount of Destroyers.

And ******IF****** Yamato somehow gets past that, there is still the entire Allied Armada sitting off Okinawa, including a bunch of Carriers that were solely dedicated for ground support and were not diverted for the Yamato airstrikes that historically happened.

 

I mean... Come on!

 

Then there's all the Artillery that the Army & Marine Corps were packing on Okinawa itself.

 

It was impossible for Yamato to beach herself, and she wouldn't last a minute with the entire Allied Armada (hey, the Royal Navy "British Pacific Fleeet" were there, too) and ground based artillery would have absolutely massacred her.

 

It historically already was a naval massacre.  Even any "what if" scenario for Operation Ten-Go, short of Aliens coming out of the sky to vaporize the Allies, would still be a massacre of Yamato.

On 5/13/2018 at 7:37 PM, Avenge_December_7 said:

Would it be possible for the marines to storm the ship and silence it by taking it over?

At the very least, it'd make a nice war prize and potential museum at the end, instead of being an underwater coral reef.

What would happen, the Allied Navies, the artillery of the US Army and Marine Corps would pulverize Yamato.  Then a battalion of troops (Army and / or Marines) would be dispatched to secure the wreck and clean out anyone that was still alive.  Lot of explosives, lots of flamethrowers.  Once secured, it would make one helluva war prize and propaganda photo opportunity.

 

Imagine the Army and / or Marines planting the US flag on top of the beached wreck of Yamato after securing it.  Dear God!

Imagine this...

300px-WW2_Iwo_Jima_flag_raising.jpg

... Taking place on top of Yamato's wrecked, captured hulk.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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Yamato is worthless as a hulk, blasting her down to her keel makes her pointless scrap suitable for nothing more then a mobile breaker to come and finish the job. If she was allowed to beach, she'd be prepped with some light fire to clear the guntubs, wreathed in a smoke barrage and then cleared by Marines from bridge to keel, bulkhead by bulkhead until her crew was subdued or killed. Then she'd be lifted off the beaches and sailed back Stateside to become a war musuem.

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6 hours ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

What would happen, the Allied Navies, the artillery of the US Army and Marine Corps would pulverize Yamato.  Then a battalion of troops (Army and / or Marines) would be dispatched to secure the wreck and clean out anyone that was still alive.  Lot of explosives, lots of flamethrowers.  Once secured, it would make one helluva war prize and propaganda photo opportunity.

 

Imagine the Army and / or Marines planting the US flag on top of the beached wreck of Yamato after securing it.  Dear God!

Imagine this...

300px-WW2_Iwo_Jima_flag_raising.jpg

... Taking place on top of Yamato's wrecked, captured hulk.

I could easily imagine the Bismarck being towed back to Britain with a giant Union Jack draped over her had her crew not had the guts to scuttle her.  She'd easily make front page news and Hitler would be howling at Raeder and Goering that they'd have to sink it as soon as possible.

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As a secondary thought, if the USN by some way is able to capture Yamato intact, would they keep her as a war prize and press her into service post-war?  Or would she be mothballed or broken up for scrap instead?

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Tanks would have been horrifically out gunned and out Armored since belt armor would have bounced Sherman 75mm gun rounds and Yamato secondary guns would have shredded them in return. If it was the Germans and they managed to get some Jagtigers into good firing positions maybe, but still rather questionable, athould German Rail guns would have likely left a mark as would V2 Rickey’s had those managed to hit since their aim was rather poor and limited to city sized targets.

USN surface would have been interesting since had the surface ships engaged they might have taken some casualties with Yamato being armored and a stable gun platform if beached. Although might have been best option despite the risks since the naval BB guns  were heaviest artillery guns USN had available out in Okinawa area.

Large Fleet strategic heavy bombers would have been interesting although not sure if they could have been effective either since doubt they could get Tallboys out in the Pacific very easily, getting them  all the way out there might have taken weeks, and only a large bomber like Lancaster, B-17, or B-29 could have carried such bombs and even then I think they needed fairly close runway to target Reason I wounded about conventional air dropped ordnance at the time doing much is because of CV raids against the Tirpitz being deemed ineffective after few attempts. And it’s safe to assume Yamato could have taken an equal amount of punishment as Tirpitz if not more. Yamato only sank because all the torpedoes had hit on 1 side to get it to roll over and even then it was because Damage Control had been knocked out.

4th option would have been to get USN subs to to repeated Torp runs on the Yamato to maybe do enough underwater damage to cause some problems since main guns and the 2 large secondary turrets in the very least I am sure needed electrical power to run so perhaps if they could breach the boiler rooms eventually? I mean given the chance hundreds or even thousands of sub launched Torps would have had to do something. Reason I am suggesting subs is it would likely have been safest way to get into Torpedo range and against stationary target of they side if they shot broadside should have been able to fire from longer range depending on if Torps could travel that farther than normal 2km range some have sailed they liked to attack from. Although would depend on if there were reefs between Yamato and any good sub attack approaches which the Japanese planners might have taken into consideration to avoid the above Scenerio.

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8 minutes ago, Ace_04 said:

As a secondary thought, if the USN by some way is able to capture Yamato intact, would they keep her as a war prize and press her into service post-war?  Or would she be mothballed or broken up for scrap instead?

A ship that size? Yeah they would have wanted to take her home if possible to display to the nation as a war prize, although sadly would probably have then been taken to the Nuclear test Fleet. Although museum ship would have been wonderful. Scrapping her would have been a nightmare with armor plating that thick lol.

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5 hours ago, TornadoADV said:

Yamato is worthless as a hulk, blasting her down to her keel makes her pointless scrap suitable for nothing more then a mobile breaker to come and finish the job. If she was allowed to beach, she'd be prepped with some light fire to clear the guntubs, wreathed in a smoke barrage and then cleared by Marines from bridge to keel, bulkhead by bulkhead until her crew was subdued or killed. Then she'd be lifted off the beaches and sailed back Stateside to become a war musuem.

 

1 hour ago, Ace_04 said:

As a secondary thought, if the USN by some way is able to capture Yamato intact, would they keep her as a war prize and press her into service post-war?  Or would she be mothballed or broken up for scrap instead?

 

49 minutes ago, Admiral_Thrawn_1 said:

A ship that size? Yeah they would have wanted to take her home if possible to display to the nation as a war prize, although sadly would probably have then been taken to the Nuclear test Fleet. Although museum ship would have been wonderful. Scrapping her would have been a nightmare with armor plating that thick lol.

 

You'd need to learn how to sail the ship, that would require 'training' from the current crew. They may not be very helpful. Nagato and a Light Cruiser both had issues post-war just getting out to Bikini.

 

Post-war service? The US shrank the Navy. Every BB but one ended up in reserve. Only the Iowas ever returned to service (Korea, Vietnam, Cold War/Desert Storm). Yamato is simply too big for what was needed and as a foreign ship, she would have a parts issue and being incompatible with US forces and armament.

 

As for a Museum ship. Only one BB went directly to museum status post-war and that was USS Texas. Massachusetts, Alabama, and North Carolina all went as museums in 1960. Most of the war captured U-boats were scuttled. Only one, U-505, was saved and is on display in Chicago.

Even if Yamato was in the reserve fleet, you'd still have the cost of towing her wherever as well as the maintenance of the ship as a museum. Most of our Museum ships still sit in water. While a few have received hull work in a dry dock, many are in desperate need of repair but the organizations have to raise the money to fund it. Yamato would simply be a resource hog and would not be sustainable as a museum.  

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On ‎5‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 10:37 PM, Avenge_December_7 said:

Would it be possible for the marines to storm the ship and silence it by taking it over?

At the very least, it'd make a nice war prize and potential museum at the end, instead of being an underwater coral reef.

If they let the Yamato run out of ammunition..  then there would be less of a chance of a magazine explosion.

At that point......   Fix bayonettes!!!  

....

After the war, the US was so tired of war that everything was either scrapped or scuttled.

If the Yamato was refloated and pulled off the beach, it would likely be found glowing mildly at the bottom of Bikini Atoll, alongside Nagato.

On ‎5‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 10:46 PM, Sventex said:

Absolutely no way the Yamato can "win" in any possible outcome of Operation Ten-Go.  But it makes an interesting speculation on how the USN would react to a beached Super-Battleship interfering with an invasion.  Would there be inter-service rivalry between the US Army, USN and USAF?  Easy to say what could take out the Yamato, harder to say who would get the shot at taking it out though.  Which branch of service had the most influence at Okinawa?

At Okinawa, there was no Army at the initial Invasion.  They went ashore after the beaches were secure.  This phase was entirely a Navy affair...  so no Army

The USAF would have a great deal of difficulty since they were formed in 1947.  The Japanese defenders with the Yamato would have to hold out until then...  like they did on Pelelieu.

 

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