anchor chain


Line drawing of Kashino

Displacement 13,400 tons
Armament 1 x 3  18" (fixed)
Some AA
Speed 14
VTS Rating   (2)   2   2

This tanker-like vessel was specifically built to carry the massive 18" gun turrets of the Yamato-class battleships from the manufacturers to the shipyards. She had two large holds capable of housing the giant turrets, and an innovative double hull. When she was done carrying the turrets for the Yamato and Musashi, and the further Yamato-class battleships were cancelled, she reverted to an ammunition transport and was sunk by the U S submarine Growler in 1942.

In "Grand Fleet", however, she was very busy transporting the 18" and 20" turrets of the many large battleships in the IJN inventory. With the delivery of the Yokozuna's four turrets completed, a new rôle was envisioned for the ship. To enhance the landing capability of her amphibious forces, the IJN wanted auxilliary bombardment ships rather than precious battleships to carry out naval artillery functions. The Kashino was converted into such a ship by lowering an unused triple 18" turret (left over from the CV Shinano's conversion) and bracing it into the forward cargo hold. The turret couldn't traverse but the gun carriages could elevate the barrels. Special anchors would be set out on the sides of the ship, and cable winches could pull the ship towards one anchor or another for aiming the guns by aiming the entire ship. The heavily armored faceplate and gun room housings weren't necessary (and the precious armor was needed on other ships) so a splinter shield of similar shape replaced the armor. A special bow was built to break away and be hauled up, on rails, over the turret to allow the fixed guns to fire forward, and special blast shields would prevent damage to the prow.

In the Fall of 1943, more than a year after the Japanese had successfully invaded and held Midway Island, the IJN got wind of a small counter-invasion that was secretly being planned by the US Marines and Army Rangers. The vast majority of US and IJN forces were engaged in battle much farther South, and the USN hoped to sneak in this invasion while the Japanese were distracted. Midway-based airpower was beefed up, but the only major naval units not fighting elsewhere were the Kashino and battleship Nagato. Both were rushed towards Midway to help stop the upcoming invasion. IJN reconnaisance spotted the battleships California and Alabama with some peculiar-looking ships (Landing Ship Docks). Kashino and Nagato were in position to engage that night, and large-caliber shells thundered through the darkness. The two American battleships concentrated on Nagato and sank her after a short engagement, thinking that the "accompanying tanker" was of no military consequence, but after seeing giant gun flashes coming out of her, they turned on Kashino with a vengeance. Aiming by steering, the Kashino put multiple hits in California and left her in sinking condition. The battle was too one-sided, however, and shortly Kashino took hits in her unarmoured hull that, double bottom or not, couldn't stop the flooding. The Second Battle of Midway was an unmitigated disaster for Japan, as the Marines and Rangers stormed the island and regained control of the direct route from Hawaii to Japan.

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