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Flagship1

The great battle

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Lets assume sometime in 1943-44, the allies build a task force to hunt down Yamato, without actually fully knowing Yamato's capabilities. They assume 3 modern battleships is enough to guarantee victory. This task force is led by HMS King George V, USS Massachusetts, and Richelieu. This task force is able to intercept Yamato, each side has cruiser escorts, but they all keep range to avoid direct fire from big guns, and would only approach if the other sides cruisers approach. They do not. Who do you think wins this battle, main parameters are crew quality of each ship, and specifications of the ships them selves. 

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The side that brought the aircraft carrier(s) you forgot to mention.

Edited by Maddau
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Whoever gets the first major hit the damages a critical system.

Though considering things, I'm going to lean to the Allied group (as impossible as that fleet is) As three BBs vs 1 BB, the 3 BBs have the advantage of only one ship to aim at vs Yamato having three.

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13 hours ago, Maddau said:

The side that brought the aircraft carrier(s) you forgot to mention.

It was never going to be fair, especially 1943 when the Essex-class start entering service. 

Essex herself enters in December 1942.

Yorktown 2: Electric Boogaloo commissions in April 1943.

Bunker Hill in May.

 

All 4 South Dakota-class BBs entered service in 1942.

Iowa is commissioned in February 1943, sister ship New Jersey in May.

There's still the two North Carolina-class already in service.

 

And of course, let's pile on Enterprise, Saratoga for more carrier goodness.  But Enterprise was damaged for a while getting repaired, which led to a fun little tidbit!  The US anticipated another 1943 Carrier clash with the two Shokaku-class CVs, the United States asked for an additional Fleet Carrier from the UK and the British obliged, sending HMS Victorious from the Home Fleet to briefly serve with the USN in the Pacific in 1943.

https://www.armouredcarriers.com/uss-robin-hms-victorious

HMS Victorious served as "USS Robin" with USN CV Saratoga, BB Washington, etc., looking for a fight.

 

Add that in 1943, Fleet Carriers of the IJN Zuikaku and Shokaku didn't have aircrew to operate off their flight decks because their pilots were transferred off the Carriers after a 1942 engagement where Shokaku was damaged and sent back to Japan for repairs.  Their pilots were sent to Rabaul and many died during the long, bloody Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands campaign that began in 1942.  When Shokaku was repaired and joined her sister Zuikaku in early-mid 1943, the IJN didn't have air groups for them...

 

And of course, ignoring the now far larger USN Cruiser and Destroyer forces in 1943 while the IJN's own DDs were being lost left and right at Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands, with no sign of replacements.

 

It has to be said that later in 1943, the US Navy stopped fighting with little detachments as had happened earlier at Guadalcanal and the Solomons.  Once the USN was done with Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands, and the large base of Rabaul was isolated, it amassed its forces in significant numbers.  In November 1943 when it was time to to attack the Gilbert Islands, this was what the US Navy brought:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Islands_naval_order_of_battle

gmBuFQv.jpg

 

This would have been a slaughter in favor of the Allies if Yamato or any of her friends decided to come out and play.  And this was only 1943.  The USN wasn't as strong as it would be later.

 

For the invasion of Saipan in mid-1944, the USN had a mighty naval presence.  The Battle of the Philippine Sea was fought for denying Japanese relief of Saipan.

http://combinedfleet.com/battles/Battle_of_the_Philippine_Sea

The Order of Battle.

And it would only get even worse as the USN got even stronger in 1945.  The powerful British Pacific Fleet would also join the US in the Pacific in 1945.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway
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13 hours ago, Maddau said:

The side that brought the aircraft carrier(s) you forgot to mention.

Well, the CVs have a tendency to target each other instead of targeting the Battleships.

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20 minutes ago, Sventex said:

Well, the CVs have a tendency to target each other instead of targeting the Battleships.

The problem is when the OP wants this engagement to happen in 1943, there were no Fleet CVs of the IJN available to tangle with the US Carriers.

Shokaku & Zuikaku returned to service, but their air groups were dead, depleted by 1943 fighting for Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands in 1942.  It was so bad that when HMS Victorious was loaned to the US for temporary service in the Pacific, when she worked alongside Washington, Saratoga LOOKING for a CV Duel in 1943, it never happened... Because the Shokaku-class didn't have any available air groups.

 

The IJN would not have enough air groups for their Fleet CVs until mid 1944, just in time for the Marianas Turkey Shoot.

 

And if one wants to push a Yamato clash to 1944, it would have been even worse than 1943.  The US was monstrously powerful in 1943 already, 1944 it was an even larger juggernaught.  1945 is just "LOL okay, that's enough with the ships already, okay?"

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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13 hours ago, Maddau said:

The side that brought the aircraft carrier(s) you forgot to mention.

Lets assume that by sheer fluke, both sides aircraft carriers are not available at the moment due to various reasons.

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17 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

Lets assume that by sheer fluke, both sides aircraft carriers are not available at the moment due to various reasons.

It would still be an overwhelming massacre in favor of the US Navy.  My first post in the thread shows the sheer might of the USN by 1943, the IJN no matter what was no longer capable of stopping that.  Nobody fights fair and the US Navy would bring overwhelming might.

 

Even better, US submarines will be spotting the IJN sortie from a long ways out, reporting it to higher echelons, and harass them before they get into battle.  USN submarines were deadly efficient in the Pacific.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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Three Allied battleships versus Yamato?  The Allies demolish Yamato in short order.  It's that simple.  In fact, except for the oldest and most decrepit Allied battleships in service, any three will do that.  Why?

First, the Yamato can only engage one of the three at a time.  That means the other two are free from return fire, don't have to maneuver much, and can easily get and maintain a good firing track on the Japanese ship.  They will hit Yamato repeatedly and quickly reduce the main battery to local control (eg., each turret firing off its own rangefinder information).  This means Yamato is quickly placed in a position that results in next to zero hits as every actual battle in WW 2 where the ship lost main fire control had that actually happen.

Next, it really doesn't matter if the shells incoming on Yamato are 14," 15," or 16"  All three sizes will cause serious damage to the ship whether they penetrate the main armor system or not.  One or two solid hits near the smoke stack and boiler air intakes is enough to reduce any battleship's  speed by more than half due to loss of draft pressure to the boilers.  That is, less air forced in and loss of the suction effect of the ship's funnel will greatly reduce the amount of heat produced and in turn, the amount of steam available.

The communications goes meaning it becomes impossible to control the ship.  Then there will be fire.  Japanese damage control in general is pretty crappy.  That's going to be a problem.  Then there's a real possibility of a secondary magazine detonation.  Not good.  The fact the Yamato stores ship's boats and aircraft in a hanger aft means a huge fire there if they are hit.  That's right above the steering gear.  Not good.

As was shown in actual combat several times in WW 2, a large caliber round hitting a battleship turret at or near the barbette to turret ring will jam the turret in place and no penetration is necessary.  One such hit on Yamato and she's down a third of her firepower.

Then there's flooding to consider.  There will be flooding.  Unlike almost every other modern battleship in existence, the Yamato uses a void system with no liquid loading.  That means flooding is a greater threat and will spread faster than on other battleships.  Japanese damage control doctrine was to use counterflooding to keep the ship on an even keel.  That just adds to the problem.  So, flooding will be a major and serious issue for the Yamato.

Yamato's 18" guns are not so much better than what she faces so they aren't going to overwhelm any of the ships opposing her.  It will be 9 tubes versus 24 to 36 tubes (27 for the OP variant) that probably fire half again to double as fast as Yamato's guns.  That means for every 9 rounds outbound there are 30 to 70 rounds (roughly 34 for the OP variant) inbound in multiple salvos.  That would indicate right from the start that Yamato gets roughly 3 to 6 shells for every one she fires.  Given equal probability of hitting, that means Yamato is quickly reduced to a floating wreck, just like Bismarck.  Worse, historical evidence shows that Yamato was a poor shooter, whether that's due to her crew's lack of practice or something inherent in the system doesn't matter.  That's what history shows.

So, bottom line:  Yamato is blown out of the water and all three Allied battleships sail for port and a victory celebration.

Edited by Murotsu

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45 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

So, bottom line:  Yamato is blown out of the water and all three Allied battleships sail for port and a victory celebration.

The post-battle news reel for the Allies would have been amazing and a hit for the crowd back home :Smile_teethhappy:

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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3 hours ago, Murotsu said:

First, the Yamato can only engage one of the three at a time.

Wait, why?  I number of engagements I've read about involved ships like Graf Spee dividing their firepower so that no enemy ships remains unmarked.  Yamato has 3 turrets and such could engage up to 3 ships at range.

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4 hours ago, Sventex said:

Wait, why?  I number of engagements I've read about involved ships like Graf Spee dividing their firepower so that no enemy ships remains unmarked.  Yamato has 3 turrets and such could engage up to 3 ships at range.

While technically true, the Yamato like any battleship of the period could only track one target using the main fire control system.  To split fire on three targets means each turret has to fire independently using its own rangefinder.  I suppose one turret could be tied to the main fire control system in such a situation while the other two fire in local control. 

In any case that means the probability of hitting anything goes to nearly zero as your salvo consists of just three shells and two out of three turrets are firing in local control... eg., not hitting anything.  

Graf Spee split her fire between the main battery and secondary 5.9" battery, not having each 28cm turret firing on a different target.  The Captain realized that the Exeter was the biggest danger and she got the 28cm main battery.  The Ajax got the secondary battery which was comparable to that ship's main battery (4 5.9" guns versus 8 6" guns).  That would work.  But with 3 BB versus 1 BB that doesn't work.

 

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N-squared law is king here - case five is exemplary here.

At least 9 times out of 10, a lone Yamato will lose in a fight against two modern battleships. The single ship is simply not powerful enough, or not sufficiently more powerful than any other modern battleship, to really have a solid chance of beating two at a time. 

So a 3v1 is an easy win for the Allies.

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5 hours ago, Phoenix_jz said:

N-squared law is king here - case five is exemplary here.

At least 9 times out of 10, a lone Yamato will lose in a fight against two modern battleships. The single ship is simply not powerful enough, or not sufficiently more powerful than any other modern battleship, to really have a solid chance of beating two at a time. 

So a 3v1 is an easy win for the Allies.

Wasn't the Yamato specifically designed to have superiority in battle over multiple American Battleships at once?

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5 minutes ago, Flagship1 said:

Wasn't the Yamato specifically designed to have superiority in battle over multiple American Battleships at once?

Yes, when she was constructed.
As time went on, that capability was degraded or offset by advances in USN ship capabilities and the improvements in Aircraft Carrier effectiveness and quantity.

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29 minutes ago, Flagship1 said:

Wasn't the Yamato specifically designed to have superiority in battle over multiple American Battleships at once?

Standard US Battleships only.

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When Japan did away with the naval treaties in the mid 1930s and began design work on what would be the Yamato-class, the US BBs in service at the time were the Standards.  Colorado-class was the epitome of interwar US BBs, and they were a product of WWI design, began construction in 1917 and the last entering service in the 1920s.  The United States Navy didn't get a new Battleship-class until the North Carolina-class, with NC beginning construction in 1937, the same year construction of Yamato began.  The late 1930s was where the last big crop of new BB construction happened, North Carolina, South Dakota, Yamato, Bismarck classes, etc.  The 1920s-30s was curbed by treaties, until said treaties were done away with.

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On 4/23/2020 at 5:16 AM, Flagship1 said:

Lets assume sometime in 1943-44, the allies build a task force to hunt down Yamato, without actually fully knowing Yamato's capabilities. They assume 3 modern battleships is enough to guarantee victory. This task force is led by HMS King George V, USS Massachusetts, and Richelieu. This task force is able to intercept Yamato, each side has cruiser escorts, but they all keep range to avoid direct fire from big guns, and would only approach if the other sides cruisers approach. They do not. Who do you think wins this battle, main parameters are crew quality of each ship, and specifications of the ships them selves. 

This is going to be a slaughter by the Allied forces. 

I'd give Massachusetts a decent chance by herself, but add 2 more modern Battleships (not BB's, only the US designated ships like that, BB, CV, DD, etc) and it's all over. 

Now....US Navy doctrine at that time was to open fire at very long range.  They could be accurate at that distance, especially against a target the size of Yamato.   Hit rate is lower, but it's kind of like the NBA's analytics and teams shooting so many 3 pointers today:  Yes, the FG% is lower, but you get 3 points instead of 2 and it adds up over the course of a game if you take enough of them.

Same concept with shooting 16" guns from 20 miles away:  Yes, your hit rate is lower, but plunging fire from 2700lb shells is going to be devastating.   You won't get as many hits, but you won't need as many, either.   It's not that you're seriously trying to blow up Yamato, Hood-style...although that is certainly a possibility, it's that you're going to reduce her fighting capability significantly, and then you close in and pound her to scrap.   

All that said: It's not as simple as looking at the armor ships carried and then at the gun penetration tables and saying "This ship can penetrate that ship a bit better so it will win".    
First off, those tables are estimates.   It never happens like the estimates think it will in real life.  Ask Hood.  Anyone who gamed that scenario would have the Brits winning 9 times out of 10.  But it happened on that one day. 

There are all sorts of structural components that get in the way of incoming shells, that alter their paths before they get to armor.  They don't just hit the armor and then whatever is vital behind it.   
Then you have to take into account the pitching and rolling of the ship.  This inclines/declines the angle of the armor and makes it harder/easier to penetrate.   And loads of other factors. 

Battleship shells are awesome....but the fact of the matter is, most Battleships can tank many, many shells of ANY caliber before sinking or being totally disabled.   They are big, strong and hard to hurt, no matter what they were actually designed to withstand.  

Take Kirishima at Guadalcanal, for example:  Originally a battlecruiser.  Modified into a light, fast Battleship.  Was NEVER intended to fact 16" shells, but she did.   And she was sunk by them....but it took 20 or more of them, and at close range.  That's pretty tough, IMO.   

So you have a lot of variables, but IMO Yamato isn't taking on 3 modern Battleships and winning, although the Allied ships will certainly have some damage to remember her by, no doubt. 

 

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On 4/25/2020 at 7:56 PM, Sventex said:

Standard US Battleships only.

I don't like Yamato's chances vs a couple of Colorados, late-war.  Especially if one of them is West Virginia.   They might be old, but 16" shells hurt anything. 

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9 hours ago, JuiceEFruit said:

I don't like Yamato's chances vs a couple of Colorados, late-war.  Especially if one of them is West Virginia.   They might be old, but 16" shells hurt anything. 

While supposedly a Yamato could engage multiple New Mexico classes, I'm not sure getting showered with 36 14" guns would work out as the Japanese planned it.  Maybe the idea was that the Yamato's top of the line optics would have a critical range advantage? 

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Also, let's not forget US submarines.  Wouldn't surprise me if they did something along the lines of what happened for Leyte Gulf.  USN submarines acted as pickets, spotting IJN movements, reporting them, and then attacking, sinking 2 of the 4 powerful Takao-class CAs, and damaging a third.  In Operation Ten-Go, Yamato's task force was spotted and reported by a US submarine in Japanese waters.

 

I know we're all focusing on the Battleships vs Battleship fight, but it also has to be stressed how strong the US screen of Destroyers and Cruisers will be.

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16 hours ago, JuiceEFruit said:

This is going to be a slaughter by the Allied forces. 

I'd give Massachusetts a decent chance by herself, but add 2 more modern Battleships (not BB's, only the US designated ships like that, BB, CV, DD, etc) and it's all over. 

Now....US Navy doctrine at that time was to open fire at very long range.  They could be accurate at that distance, especially against a target the size of Yamato.   Hit rate is lower, but it's kind of like the NBA's analytics and teams shooting so many 3 pointers today:  Yes, the FG% is lower, but you get 3 points instead of 2 and it adds up over the course of a game if you take enough of them.

Same concept with shooting 16" guns from 20 miles away:  Yes, your hit rate is lower, but plunging fire from 2700lb shells is going to be devastating.   You won't get as many hits, but you won't need as many, either.   It's not that you're seriously trying to blow up Yamato, Hood-style...although that is certainly a possibility, it's that you're going to reduce her fighting capability significantly, and then you close in and pound her to scrap.   

All that said: It's not as simple as looking at the armor ships carried and then at the gun penetration tables and saying "This ship can penetrate that ship a bit better so it will win".    
First off, those tables are estimates.   It never happens like the estimates think it will in real life.  Ask Hood.  Anyone who gamed that scenario would have the Brits winning 9 times out of 10.  But it happened on that one day. 

There are all sorts of structural components that get in the way of incoming shells, that alter their paths before they get to armor.  They don't just hit the armor and then whatever is vital behind it.   
Then you have to take into account the pitching and rolling of the ship.  This inclines/declines the angle of the armor and makes it harder/easier to penetrate.   And loads of other factors. 

Battleship shells are awesome....but the fact of the matter is, most Battleships can tank many, many shells of ANY caliber before sinking or being totally disabled.   They are big, strong and hard to hurt, no matter what they were actually designed to withstand.  

Take Kirishima at Guadalcanal, for example:  Originally a battlecruiser.  Modified into a light, fast Battleship.  Was NEVER intended to fact 16" shells, but she did.   And she was sunk by them....but it took 20 or more of them, and at close range.  That's pretty tough, IMO.   

So you have a lot of variables, but IMO Yamato isn't taking on 3 modern Battleships and winning, although the Allied ships will certainly have some damage to remember her by, no doubt. 

 

I'd imagine Yamato's deck is too thick for plunging fire to work. 8.9 inches in the thicker parts. Wouldn't the allies have to close in to point blank to even be able to do anything. I mean hell, the turret faces are 25.6 inches thick, and at an angle. I dont think either Massachusetts, King George nor Richelieu can penetrate those turrets (or the conning tower) even at point blank range. Even the belt, being 16 inches thick, at an angle, would prove hard to pierce.

What this means is they cant defeat Yamato by destroying her vitals, and would have to keep slugging away at her until fires and peripheral damage incapacitate the ship. Meanwhile, Yamato's 18 inch guns will have no trouble tearing through the armor of any of the 3 ships, especially at closer ranges.

Edited by Flagship1

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12 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

 I'd imagine Yamato's deck is too thick for plunging fire to work. 8.9 inches in the thicker parts. Wouldn't the allies have to close in to point blank to even be able to do anything. I mean hell, the turret faces are 25.6 inches thick, and at an angle. I dont think either Massachusetts, King George nor Richelieu can penetrate those turrets (or the conning tower) even at point blank range. Even the belt, being 16 inches thick, at an angle, would prove hard to pierce.

What this means is they cant defeat Yamato by destroying her vitals, and would have to keep slugging away at her until fires and peripheral damage incapacitate the ship. Meanwhile, Yamato's 18 inch guns will have no trouble tearing through the armor of any of the 3 ships, especially at closer ranges.

18 miles and up, not a problem.  9.2" of deck penetration at 18 miles, and it goes up from there.  Long range plunging fire, nothing ever put to sea can reject those shells.   In theory. 
As I've said, we don't know for sure in reality.  We know what those shells would do, but a ship at sea isn't a flat target all the time, so it could penetrate easier, might be a bit harder.  Depends on what the target ship's motion is like. 

The Yamato's belt is no problem at closer ranges.  16" 45's can penetrate +/- 30" of Japanese armor at Bismarck vs Hood-type ranges and closer.  Most all Battleships are deadly to each other at close range.  
But you still need that golden BB if you're talking catastrophic explosion.  Again, remember the Washington vs Kirishima.   20 or more 16" penetrations, but no magazine hits.  Kirishima was basically defenseless at that range against Washington.  You still need luck.   But lots of water was let in, and the crew couldn't stop it and that put Kirishima under. 

And you don't have to destroy her vitals.  You wreck the upper works.  Let lots of water in.  Slow her down.  Make the crew less efficient.   Maybe damage the FC.   All these things have a cumulative effect on a ship and its crew.  Reduces fighting efficiency. 

Accuracy, especially initially, is critical.  And in that, I'd take late-war US Battleships every time.   

Edited by JuiceEFruit

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2 hours ago, JuiceEFruit said:

18 miles and up, not a problem.  9.2" of deck penetration at 18 miles, and it goes up from there.  Long range plunging fire, nothing ever put to sea can reject those shells.   In theory. 
As I've said, we don't know for sure in reality.  We know what those shells would do, but a ship at sea isn't a flat target all the time, so it could penetrate easier, might be a bit harder.  Depends on what the target ship's motion is like. 

The Yamato's belt is no problem at closer ranges.  16" 45's can penetrate +/- 30" of Japanese armor at Bismarck vs Hood-type ranges and closer.  Most all Battleships are deadly to each other at close range.  
But you still need that golden BB if you're talking catastrophic explosion.  Again, remember the Washington vs Kirishima.   20 or more 16" penetrations, but no magazine hits.  Kirishima was basically defenseless at that range against Washington.  You still need luck.   But lots of water was let in, and the crew couldn't stop it and that put Kirishima under. 

And you don't have to destroy her vitals.  You wreck the upper works.  Let lots of water in.  Slow her down.  Make the crew less efficient.   Maybe damage the FC.   All these things have a cumulative effect on a ship and its crew.  Reduces fighting efficiency. 

Accuracy, especially initially, is critical.  And in that, I'd take late-war US Battleships every time.   

One thing to consider about the plunging fire bit, is plunging fire never comes straight down vertically, its always at an angle. Which means you aren't trying to penetrate a flat 8.9" deck, even an extremely shallow angle would still make the LoS through the armor 10"+.

Edited by Flagship1

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22 hours ago, Sventex said:

While supposedly a Yamato could engage multiple New Mexico classes, I'm not sure getting showered with 36 14" guns would work out as the Japanese planned it.  Maybe the idea was that the Yamato's top of the line optics would have a critical range advantage? 

Against US Battleships of the older & slower variety, such as Colorado or New Mexico or New York, the Yamato could use its' higher top-speed to maintain distance from US Battleships.  
Yamato could stay outside of US gun ranges while remaining inside Yamato's gun ranges.

US Battleships would have to use planning, timing and maneuver to take advantage of some sort of intelligence coup that allows US ships to catch Yamato in a trap and surround Yamato to give it no escape route.
Then, in theory, Yamato would have to fight its' way out of the engagement.

There are potential problems, though.  For example, Japanese could discover the movements of US ships via reconnaissance, and deduce what the US ships are attempting, and potentially act soon enough to prevent US forces from gaining positional advantage and then engage US ships in a 1 vs. 1 battle.

Edited by Wolfswetpaws

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