© 2000-2020 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
13 December 1941:
BatDiv 2 returns to Hashirajima anchorage to maintain standby alert and conduct training in the Inland Sea.
7 February 1942:
Proceeding from American radio traffic analysis, the IJN Owada Communications Unit predicts an impending US carrier sortie from Pearl Harbor. Vice Admiral Takasu organizes a task force for an intercept in the Bonins area, including battleships ISE, HYUGA, FUSO and YAMASHIRO, light carriers HOSHO and ZUIHO, light cruisers OI and KITAKAMI and two destroyers. Additional support is to be provided by carrier ZUIKAKU and six destroyers.
10 February 1942:
The pending sortie of Takasu Force is cancelled.
26 February-3 March 1942:
Dry-docked at Kure Navy Yard for hull bottom cleaning.
5 March 1942:
A picket boat of the 26th Sentai, Fifth Fleet, reports sighting 13 planes heading for Tokyo. The Navy General Staff immediately puts BatDiv 2, involved in training in Inland Sea, on standby alert.
12 March 1942:
Following an erroneous decrypt of Allied radio traffic, BatDiv 2, escorted by DesDiv 27 and other DD units, departs Hashirajima in an attempt to intercept the US carriers in the area N of Wake.
15 March 1942:
After a fruitless search BatDiv 2 is recalled.
16 March 1942:
BatDiv 2 returns to Ise Bay.
20 March 1942:
BatDiv 2 departs Ise Bay for Hashirajima anchorage.
21 March 1942:
YAMASHIRO returns to Hashirajima anchorage to continue joint gunnery and navigating exercises with BatDiv 1.
18 April 1942: The First Bombing of Japan:
Halsey's Task Force 16.2's USS HORNET (CV-8), VINCENNES (CA-44), NASHVILLE (CL-43), oiler CIMARRON (AO-22) and destroyers GWIN (DD-433), MEREDITH (DD-434), GRAYSON (DD-435) and MONSSEN (DD-436) and TF 16.1's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), NORTHAMPTON (CA-26), oiler SABINE (AO-25) and destroyers BALCH (DD-363), BENHAM (DD-397), ELLET (DD-398) and FANNING (DD-385) approach to within 668 nautical miles of Japan.
Led by Lt Col (later General/Medal of Honor) James H. Doolittle, 16 Army North American B-25 "Mitchell" twin-engine bombers of the 17th Bomb Group takeoff from Captain (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's carrier HORNET and strike targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe.Departs Hashirajima with Vice Admiral Takasu's BatDiv 2 and ten destroyers in pursuit of Halsey's ships. 19 April 1942:
20 April 1942:
BatDiv 2 is recalled to Hashirajima.
22 April 1942:
BatDiv 2 returns to Hashirajima.
5 May 1942:
BatDiv 2 departs Hashirajima for gunnery practice in the Iyo Nada with BatDiv 1's MUTSU and NAGATO. HYUGA's No. 5 turret gun blows up and her aft magazines are flooded. FUSO escorts HYUGA to Kure. YAMASHIRO and ISE return to Hashirajima.
19 May 1942:
BatDiv 2 departs Hashirajima with the First and the Third Fleets for maneuvers at sea.
23 May 1942:
Returns to Hashirajima.
29 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
At 0600 BatDiv 2 sorties with the Main Body together with the light carrier HOSHO, battleships YAMATO, NAGATO, MUTSU, ISE, HYUGA and the light cruiser SENDAI.
4 June 1942:
BatDiv 2, CruDiv 9, TOA and SAN CLEMENTE MARUs and their escorts are detached from the Main Body to support the Northern Force.
6 June 1942:
After Operation "MI" is cancelled, BatDiv 2 is diverted north to support operations in the Aleutians.
17 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
22 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Hashirajima.
24 June 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima. Resumes standby alert.
14 July 1942:
Hashirajima. Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi assumes command of the reorganized First Fleet.
To partially compensate for the loss of carrier strength at Midway, the Navy Aircraft Department begins plans to convert the FUSO-class battleships to hybrid battleship/carriers. Work is to begin in June 1943, but these plans are later cancelled.
29 August-4 September 1942:
Dry-docked at Kure Navy Yard for maintenance. Probably at that time two Mitsubishi F1M2 Type 0 "Pete" floatplanes are embarked and a single-circuit degaussing coil is fitted.
1 September 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Owada Noboru (44)(former CO of KATORI) is appointed the CO.
28 October 1942:
Participates in gunnery trials in Suo Nada Sea with MUSASHI, NAGATO, ISE, HYUGA and FUSO.
YAMASHIRO conducts aircrew training exercises in the western Inland Sea with carrier ZUIKAKU and battleships MUSASHI, NAGATO and FUSO.
1 February 1943:
Departs Hashirajima for Yokosuka to serve as a target ship for the IJN land-based bomber units.
3 February 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
1 March 1943:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Hayakawa Mikio (44)(former CO of CHOKAI) is appointed the CO.
8 April-19 May 1943:
Kisarazu Bight, Tokyo Bay. Acts as the target ship for the Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bombers, then returns to Yokosuka.
11 June 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in company of HAGIKAZE to tow the aircraft carrier HIYO, torpedoed by USS TRIGGER (SS-237) off Miyake Jima on 10 June. Soon after the departure YAMASHIRO is recalled since the light cruiser ISUZU has already rendezvoused with the crippled carrier.
26 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Kure.
28 August 1943:
Arrives at Kure Navy Yard where a Type 21 air and surface search radar is installed, then returns to Hashirajima to serve as the Naval Gunnery School training vessel.
7 September 1943:
Departs Hashirajima for gunnery exercises with Naval Gunnery School cadets and senior instructors. Returns to the Muroto Bight the same night.
8 September 1943:
Departs Muroto to continue gunnery exercises; returns to Tokuyama Bay that night, probably to refuel.
9 September 1943:
Departs Tokuyama to participate in Type 21 radar set tests.
10 September 1943:
Returns to Hashirajima.
15 September 1943:
Proceeds to Etajima in company of ISE to embark the midshipmen of Etajima Naval Academy's 72nd Class. Makes several training cruises between Hashirajima and Yashima anchorages thereafter.
8-12 October 1943:
Dry-docked at Kure Navy Yard for maintenance.
15 October 1943:
YAMASHIRO and the newly converted battleship/carrier ISE depart Saeki for Truk on the "TEI" No. 3 troop transport mission with Rear Admiral Kimura Susumu's (flagship TATSUTA) task group including DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI, SUZUNAMI and HAYANAMI. YAMASHIRO carries 804 men and 1,270 cubic meters of material including 180 14-in Type 3 AA rounds. ISE carries 1,278 men and 1,510 cubic meters of material. TATSUTA carries 105 men and 118 cubic meters of material and DesDiv 32's destroyers carry 243 men and 100 cubic meters of material.
20 October 1943:
The task group arrives at Truk. The anchorage is largely empty, Admiral Koga having sortied with the fleet to Brown Atoll, Eniwetok three days earlier to intercept an enemy task force thought to be closing on Wake Island. YAMASHIRO, ISE and TATSUTA debark troops and remain at Truk as guardships during the fleet's absence.
26 October 1943:
The fleet returns to Truk.
31 October 1943:
At 0800, BatDiv 2's YAMASHIRO and ISE depart Truk with CarDiv 2's JUNYO, escort carrier UNYO, CruDiv 8's TONE, CruDiv 18's TATSUTA, DesDiv 7's AKEBONO, DesDiv 17's TANIKAZE and DesDiv 24's SUZUKAZE and UMIKAZE.
4 November 1943:
Escort carrier UNYO and DesDiv 7's AKEBONO are detached for Yokosuka.
5 November 1943:
Minelayers NUWAJIMA and YURIJIMA and auxiliary minesweepers TAMA, OI MARUs conduct an advance sweep of the Bungo Suido ahead of YAMASHIRO and ISE transiting the seaway heading north.
At 0539, Galantin fires six Mk.14 bow torpedoes at carrier JUNYO, range 1,200 yards, depth set at 10 ft. At 0540, a torpedo hits JUNYO in the stern, but the other five miss. HALIBUT circles hard to port.
At 0543, Galantin fires two stern torpedoes at the carrier. During the action, a dud torpedo hits YAMASHIRO, steaming abaft JUNYO. At 0558, Galantin tries to fire another torpedo at JUNYO but it malfunctions and "runs hot" in the tube. JUNYO, with her rudder disabled, is towed safely through the Bungo Suido by both battleships.
6 November 1943:
YAMASHIRO, ISE and CruDiv 18's TATSUTA arrive at Tokuyama Naval Fuel Depot to refuel.
7 November 1943:
Refuelling is completed. YAMASHIRO, ISE and TATSUTA depart Tokuyama and arrive at Hashirajima. Resumes second-line standby alert and training duties while based at Hashirajima.
29 December 1943:
Departs Hashirajima for Yokosuka.
31 December 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka to embark the graduates of the 3rd Student Reserve Course.
25 February 1944:
BatDiv 2 is disbanded. YAMASHIRO and FUSO are reassigned directly to Combined Fleet. By 1 March their floatplanes are landed. YAMASHIRO is reassigned as a training ship in the Yokosuka Naval District. Conducts battle exercises in Kisarazu Bight thereafter.
12-24 May 1944:
Dry-docked in drydock No. 5 at Yokosuka Navy Yard. Type 22 Mod. 4 surface search/fire control radars are fitted to the battle bridge wings. The air defense station is extended.
29 May 1944:
Departs Yokosuka to serve as radar target vessel in naval exercises. Returns to Yokosuka that day.
June 1944: Aftermath of the Battle of the Philippine Sea:
Tokyo: The headquarters staff of the Combined Fleet, appalled at the debacle of Operation "A-Go", submits a plan to the CinC, Admiral Toyoda Soemu (former CO of HYUGA). It calls for FUSO and YAMASHIRO to be fitted with additional AA guns and Daihatsu landing barges and used for a counterlanding on Saipan. Admiral Toyoda rejects the proposal as a suicide mission doomed to failure.
20 July-10 August 1944:
Dry-docked at Yokosuka Navy Yard. Two Type 13 air search radars are fitted and Type 0 hydrophones installed. A total of sixty-six 25-mm AA guns (8 triple, 9 twin, 24 single mounts) and ten 13.2 mm Type 93 machine guns (all singles) are also installed. The final AA suite is ninety-two 25-mm AA guns (8 triple, 17 twin, 34 single mounts) and sixteen 13.2-mm machine guns (3 twin, ten single portable mounts). The plan also calls for the replacement of five lifeboats with six Daihatsu landing craft, but it is unclear if this was carried out.
1 August 1944:
Temporarily reassigned to Vice Admiral Shima Kiyohide's Second Striking Unit with FUSO, ISE and HYUGA.
12 August 1944:
Departs Yokosuka for in company of DesDiv 21's WAKABA and HATSUHARU to escort the escort carrier UNYO to Hashirajima.
13 August 1944:
Arrives at Hashirajima. Participates in battle exercises thereafter.
10 September 1944:
Designated the flagship of the newly-activated BatDiv 2, Second Fleet under Vice Admiral Nishimura Shoji (39).
17 September 1944:
BatDiv 2's YAMASHIRO and FUSO depart Ujina, carrying 2,131 men of the IJA 25th Independent Mixed Regiment consisting of three infantry battalions, one regimental gun company, one anti-tank gun company and one engineer company. Arrives at Kure later that day to await the arrival of DesDiv 17 from Lingga.
20 September 1944:
At 1042 (JST), ComBatDiv 2 Vice Admiral Nishimura transmits BatDiv 2 Secret radio message No. 201700: "BatDiv 2 and DesDiv 17 joint action schedule: on 23 September departure from western Inland Sea, estimated arrival at Brunei 29 September, estimated arrival at Shonan (Singapore) 2 October, estimated arrival at Lingga 3 October." On that day, two Mitsubishi F1M2 floatplanes are assigned to YAMASHIRO.
23 September 1944:
BatDiv 2 departs Kure, rendezvouses with DesDiv 17 off Agenosho Bay, Yashiro Island, then departs for Lingga. Many of the troops are billeted on the battleships' decks.
24 September 1944:
Nansei Shoto (Ryukyu Islands). At 0716, LtCdr Clyde B. Stevens' USS PLAICE (SS-390) sights two FUSO-class battleships emerging from the mist at 29-30N, 129-15E. They are advancing in a column screened by four destroyers; one on each bow of the leader and one on each beam of the second battleship. The screens are stationed about 3,000 yds off the track. The targets are zigzagging, using straight legs. PLAICE also spots a Mitsubishi F1M2 floatplane providing close air screen. Stevens begins his approach.
At 0742, Stevens estimates the target's length as 600 ft and sets his torpedo spread with a 120 per cent coverage from aft forward. He has a 30-degree angle on the bow of a battleship. Stevens fires his six bow tubes at 29-27N, 129-46E. He then checks the positions of the destroyer screen, and swings his periscope back to the target. In low power, the battleship now fills three-fourths of his 'scope! Stevens takes PLAICE deep to avoid a collision. At 0745, PLAICE's crew hears five explosions, but in reality all torpedoes miss.
26 September 1944:
Luzon Strait, Philippines. Cdr Frank Acker's USS POMFRET (SS-391), whose torpedoes missed FUSO in July, is on his second war patrol. At 1240, while submerged, Acker spots BatDiv 2 at 20-44N, 118-13E, but is unable to attack due to the speed of the battleships. Not seeing any air cover, Acker surfaces and goes to flank speed to close the battleships. At 1434, POMFRET's lookouts spot BatDiv 2 at a range of about 20 miles. The battleships are making about 20 knots and zigzagging on a base course of 211 degrees. Acker continues tracking BatDiv 2, but at 1620 the OOD spots a periscope at 330 degrees relative at 500 yds. POMFRET crash-dives, breaking off the pursuit.
27 September 1944:
South China Sea, off Luzon, Philippines. At 0532, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Reuben T. Whitaker's USS FLASHER (SS-249) spots BatDiv 2 at about 15-40N, 117-18E. Whitaker attempts an "end around" at flank speed, but the submarine is unable to close the range for an attack.
29 September 1944:
BatDiv 2 arrives at Labuan Island, Borneo, near Brunei, disembarks IJA troops and departs. That same day, arrives at Brunei Bay, Borneo. Remains overnight.
30 September 1944:
Departs Brunei for Singapore.
2 October 1944:
At 1400, arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.
4 October 1944:
BatDiv 2 and DesDiv 17 arrive at Lingga.
5 October 1944:
Vice Admiral Nishimura pays a visit to YAMATO.
18 October 1944:
Steams with the fleet from Lingga to Brunei Bay, Borneo.
18-20 October 1944:
Arrives at Brunei.
21 October 1944:
Brunei Bay. Refuels YAMAGUMO. At 2053 Vice Admiral Nishimura, participating in the staff conference aboard ATAGO, receives his operations orders. His Force "C" (Third Section) comprising BatDiv 2's YAMASHIRO (F), FUSO, CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, DesDiv 4's MICHISHIO, DesDiv 10's YAMAGUMO, ASAGUMO and DesDiv 27's SHIGURE will advance through Sulu Sea to arrive at the western entrance of the Mindanao Sea by sunset on October 24. Operating in support of Kurita's Main Force, Force "C" will pass through Surigao Strait and attacking Tacloban anchorage at 0430 on X-day (25 October), 1.5 hours before the arrival of Kurita's unit.
22 October 1944: Operation "SHO-1-GO"
(Victory 1) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
In the morning, the skippers of the vessels of Force "C" are briefed aboard YAMASHIRO by BatDiv 2 staff officer Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Ando Norihide (51). At 1530, YAMASHIRO sorties from Brunei as the flagship of Vice Admiral Nishimura's Force "C".
24 October 1944:
Sulu Sea. Around 0945, 28 aircraft from Task Group 38.4's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and FRANKLIN (CV-13) attack Force "C". YAMASHIRO, leading the formation, is attacked by ENTERPRISE's SB2C-3 "Helldivers" belonging to the 1st division of VB-20, led by Cdr Robert E. Riera, and VF-20 F6F-3 "Hellcat" fighters. She receives a near miss off starboard quarter, rupturing the anti-torpedo bulge over a wide area and causing a temporary 5-degree list, soon corrected by counterflooding. One of the radars (probably Type 21) is disabled by strafing attacks. A total of 20 sailors are KIA.
Following the attack YAMASHIRO's F1M2 floatplanes are launched to land on Cebu Island and return after sundown to intercept the enemy torpedo boats. At 1105 Nishimura transmits a situation report to Kurita.
At 1235, Nishimura - now aware that Kurita will not make it to Leyte Gulf at the prescribed time - orders to reduce the speed of his force to 14 kts.
At 1830, in position 08-56N, 123-37E, Vice Admiral Nishimura detaches MOGAMI and the three destroyers to conduct an offensive sweep ahead. YAMASHIRO, FUSO and SHIGURE make a turn to NE and advance at 18 kts.Surigao Strait. Captain Jesse G. Coward's picket DesRon 54 lays in wait to launch a "hammer and anvil" torpedo attack. DesRon 54's western section is Cdr Carter B. Jennings' USS McDERMUT (DD-677) and Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles K. Bergin's MONSSEN (DD-798). The eastern section is Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Barry K. Atkins' MELVIN (DD-680), Cdr Reid P. Fiala's REMEY (DD-688)(F) and Cdr (later Rear Admiral) William R. Cox's McGOWAN (DD-678). Cdr (later Captain) Selman S. Bowling's thirty-nine strong Attack Force is arrayed along Surigao Strait in sections of three boats each. At 2236, Section 1's Ensign Peter R. Gadd's PT-131, stationed S of Agio Point, Bohol Island, picks up two radar contacts to the NE. PT-130, PT-131 and PT-152 head toward the contacts at 24 kts. At 2250, lookouts aboard LtCdr Nishino Shigeru's destroyer SHIGURE spot the oncoming PT-boats and the destroyer illuminates them with starshells, opening fire. By 2254, Captain Coward's DesRon 54's western section makes radar contact with Nishimura's Force. At 2258, YAMASHIRO's 6-in secondary guns open fire on the attacking PT-boats, well-illuminated by SHIGURE. Lt Joseph A. Eddins' PT-152 is hit and set afire. A 6-in shell from YAMASHIRO damages Lt(jg) Ian D. Malcom's PT-130, but does not explode.
25 October 1944: The
Battle of the Surigao Strait:
After 0100 MOGAMI and her escorts rejoin Nishimura's force off the southern tip of Limasawa Island. In a "friendly fire" incident FUSO targets MOGAMI with her secondary battery from a distance of 3,000 meters, killing three sailors. Force "C" assumes Night-search Disposition No. 2 with MICHISHIO and ASAGUMO deployed in the van, followed by YAMASHIRO 4,000 meters astern, FUSO 1,000 m astern of YAMASHIRO and MOGAMI 1,000 meters astern of FUSO. YAMAGUMO guards the right flank of the formation with SHIGURE proceeding on the opposite side. As a result of incessant attacks some DDs fail to take up their prescribed stations until 0200.
At about 0309, two of MELVIN's torpedoes hit FUSO's starboard side. She immediately slows down and develops a list to starboard. As MOGAMI moves swiftly ahead to take up station behind YAMASHIRO, FUSO's damage is not observed from Nishimura's flagship.
From 0310-0311, McDERMUT and MONSSEN each launch their torpedoes. At 0320, on the American right flank, Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kenmore M. McManes' DesRon 24 launches 15 torpedoes. One of YAMASHIRO's F1M2 floatplanes, now cruising overhead, illuminates the attackers with parachute flares. YAMASHIRO switches on her searchlights and opens fire with the secondary guns.
At 0320, YAMAGUMO is hit portside, blows up and sinks. At 0322, another torpedo, probably launched MONSSEN, hits YAMASHIRO's port quarter and starts a minor fire on the quarterdeck. YAMASHIRO's skipper Rear Admiral Shinoda orders to flood the magazines of the turrets Nos. 5 and 6's, thereby disabling four of his 14-in main guns.
Another of McDERMUT's torpedoes hits and cripples destroyer MICHISHIO that later sinks. Still another of McDERMUT's torpedoes hits destroyer ASAGUMO. She sinks in the morning.
At 0330, Vice Admiral Nishimura transmits a situation report, according to which two of his DDs have been crippled by torpedoes and "YAMASHIRO has been hit by a torpedo, but her battle integrity is not impaired."
Around 0331, YAMASHIRO receives a torpedo hit to port side amidships from Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Howard G. Corey's USS KILLEN (DD-593), set at a depth of 22 ft to inflict maximum damage. As a result of flooding YAMASHIRO's speed falls off to a mere 5 kts and she develops a list. 
At 0337 YAMASHIRO, now making 18 kts, assumes course 340 (T). She is accompanied by MOGAMI and SHIGURE. After 0441 they are attacked by DesRon 24 Attack Group 1.2 destroyers BACHE (DD-470), HUTCHINS (DD-476) and DALY (DD-519). YAMASHIRO targets the attackers with her secondary guns; according to one survivor's account she receives some hits. Nishimura orders to reduce the speed to 12 kts.
At 0351, the American cruiser screen's USS PORTLAND (CA-33), MINNEAPOLIS (CA-36), COLUMBIA (CL-56), DENVER (CL-58), LOUISVILLE (CA-28)(FF), PHOENIX (CL-46)(F), BOISE (CL-47) and Australian SHROPSHIRE open fire. Between 0353-0359, arrayed behind the flanking cruisers, Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Jesse B. Oldendorf's Battle Line, old battleships USS WEST VIRGINIA (BB-48), CALIFORNIA (BB-33) and TENNESSEE (BB-43) also open fire. MARYLAND (BB-46), PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38) and MISSISSIPPI's (BB-41) are forced to withhold fire because their obsolete Mk.3 fire control radars cannot track the target. At 0356, Captain (later Rear Admiral) Herman J. Redfield Jr's USS MISSISSIPPI joins WEST VIRGINIA and CALIFORNIA and opens fire, probably targeting MOGAMI, not YAMASHIRO.
YAMASHIRO is hit near the forebridge by USS WEST VIRGINIA's opening salvo and her topside is hit repeatedly by 6- and 8-in cruiser shells. By 0356 she is observed to "burn brightly" around the forebridge, amidships and aft, but still manages to return fire from her fore turrets, maintaining the speed of 12 kts.
At 0356, YAMASHIRO targets Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Russell S. Berkey's flagship USS PHOENIX, but her 14-in shells fall short of the target. At the same time, YAMASHIRO's secondary batteries open fire at the American destroyers engaging MOGAMI and destroyer ASAGUMO.
At 0401, YAMASHIRO's fore turrets target Royal Navy Captain Charles A. Nichols' HMAS STROPSHIRE. The first Japanese shells fall short, but soon begin to get the range on the Australian heavy cruiser. At 0402, STROPSHIRE commences rapid return fire.
After 0403, YAMASHIRO is again attacked by DesRon 24's destroyers HUTCHINS and DALY. She targets them with her secondary battery and the accurate fire forces the destroyers to withdraw. At 0404 a violent explosion is observed aboard YAMASHIRO (possibly the No. 3 turret blowing up).
Between 0403 and 0405, DesRon 56's USS NEWCOMB (DD-586), RICHARD P. LEARY (DD-664) and ALBERT W. GRANT (DD-649), on a parallel course to the right of the Japanese formation, launch thirteen Mk.15 torpedoes at a range of 6,300 yds.
Beginning at 0407, Cdr (later Captain) Terrel A. Nisewaner's GRANT takes seven hits from YAMASHIRO's starboard 6-in guns and eleven hits by American 6-in shells from Captain (later Rear Admiral) Thomas G. W. Settle's USS PORTLAND and Captain (later Rear Admiral) Albert M. Bledsoe's USS DENVER. At about the same time, YAMASHIRO is hit in her starboard engine room by a torpedo launched either by GRANT or DesRon 56's Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Joshua W. Cooper's USS BENNION (DD-662).
At 0409, Rear Admiral Oldendorf orders cease fire because American shells are hitting his own destroyers. YAMASHIRO takes advantage of the lull in fire, turns south and increases her speed to 14 knots. At 0411, two torpedoes launched by Cdr (later Captain) Lawrence B. Cook's NEWCOMB catch YAMASHIRO and explode on her starboard beam. The battleship goes dead in the water and develops a rapidly increasing list to port. Once the list reaches 45 degrees, Rear Admiral Shinoda orders to abandon ship.
Surigao Strait. At 0419, the blazing YAMASHIRO capsizes and sinks by the stern at 10-22N, 125-21E. About 1,636 officers and men are lost. Vice Admiral Nishimura and Rear Admiral Shinoda decide to go down with the ship.
Three survivors are picked up by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Miles H. Hubbard's destroyer USS CLAXTON (DD-571), but about 150 other sailors in the water refuse to be saved. One of the three survivors, an English-speaking warrant officer, confirms that YAMASHIRO has been sunk. Ultimately, only ten survivors - two officers and eight petty officers and men - live to return to Japan.
15 November 1944:
BatDiv 2, Combined Fleet, is deactivated.
31 August 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.
The John Bennett Deep Ocean Research International Company locates a wreck identified as YAMASHIRO near her recorded sinking position in the Surigao Strait at a depth of about 600 ft. The wreck appears to be largely intact.
25 November 2017:
Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and his team of researchers aboard R/V PETREL locate YAMASHIRO more than 650 ft (200 meters) below the surface of the Surigao Strait. She lies upside down, with the tip of the bow twisted back over the rest of the wreck. Allen and his team have found all five of the former IJN ships sunk in the Surigao Strait - battleships YAMASHIRO, FUSO and destroyers YAMAGUMO, MICHISHIO and ASAGUMO. The wrecks are in poor condition. They were damaged severely during the battle, the sinking and 73 years in relatively shallow water has contributed significantly to their degradation. The environment they rest in is consuming them and has provided a flourishing artificial reef abundant with marine life. Additional survey images, photos and videos of exploration and discovery work, according to Allen, are forthcoming.
|(Sonar scan © Navigea Ltd./R/V Petrel).|
- Bob Hackett.