Tom Freeman painting
by Steve Wiper of Classic Warships
reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Yamato and the Musashi were the largest battleships ever built. They also carried the largest guns of any warship ever built and were designed to out gun any ship then afloat. But the era of the big gun ship was over and air power was now king. This book documents those mighty ships in a series of photo's, plans, and drawings. Many of which I have never seen before. On the cover is a painting by the famous naval artist Tom Freeman. 
The Yamato class were so big that even their secondary armament was superior to other ships. They were originally built with twelve 6" guns in four turrets to supplement the nine 18" main guns in three triple turrets. This was later changed to provide a more defense against aircraft. These changes are well covered in a number of great photo's showing the two ships from their builders trials to their end at the hands of American air power. As with the other books the photos are of the highes quality. click to
enlarge images
There are many pictures taken of the Yamato and Musashi in action including Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, off Samar, the Philippine Sea, and the last sortie of the Yamato. The latter covers the her sinking and the damage inflicted in great detail. Some of the photo's such as the example on the right are labeled to note the ships in view, a nice touch for us untrained spotters.
A full color plan and profile of the Yamato in 1941 is featured as the centerfold. Note the lack of anti aircraft guns on the ship. This is in stark contrast to the later photo's as the two amidships 6" gun turrets were traded in for more anti aircraft protection. There are also other drawings showing hull sections, a plan view of the Musashi, and the float planes that were carried.
The two super battleships are among the most well known ships ever built, yet there is little information about them, this book will help remedy that problem. These ships have been reproduced in just about every scale in the modeling world. Some of them are nice kits, but none is totally accurate so the detail photo's in this book will go a long way towards producing a better model. But you don't have to be a model ship builder to appreciate this book. It is a great reference for anyone interested in naval sea power and history.

A third Yamato class battleship was planned but was changed to aircraft carrier Shinano when the lessons of Pearl Harbor became apparent. Her history and short career are also covered.


A great book for anyone interested in these famous Japanese Warships. This book is 64 pages  with 70 black & white and one colorized photograph, and 8 sets of technical illustrations. A history and  record of movement for the ship, and general statistics throughout the years in a  8-1/4" x 11" soft book format. With a retail price of $13.95 US this book is an excellent value and a great addition to your Warship reference library.

Warship Pictorial #25 - IJN Yamato Class Battleships  ISBN #0-9745687-4-0 


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