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The Making and Sinking of the World's Biggest Battleship
By Yoshimura, Akira
Admiral lsoroku Yamamoto, the man who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor, said that the three great follies of the world were the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, and the battleship Musashi. Yamamoto understood that sheer size and firepower would not be decisive factors in the battle for naval supremacy in the Pacific.
The Musashi was massive-upright it would have approached the size of the Chrysler Building. Outfitted with eighteen-inch armor plating and nine eighteen-inch guns, the largest ever mounted on a warship, the Musashi was considered by its creators to be invincible and unsinkable. Yet during its two years of active duty with the Combined Fleet, it never fired a single shot against another ship. It was sunk, as Yamamoto had predicted, by torpedoes and bombs.
Akira Yoshimura's dramatic reconstruction of the birth of the Musashi portrays a nation preparing for total war. Under these extreme conditions, courage, genius, and integrity coexisted with brutality, folly, and paranoia. During the more than four years it took to build and outfit it, shipyard engineers and their Navy mentors were faced with seemingly insurmountable technical problems and plagued by natural calamities and the constant fear of espionage. The solutions they found to each successive crisis were sometimes brilliant, sometimes absurd. Battleship Musashi is a tribute to the men who achieved this engineering marvel and a testament to the excesses of bureaucratic militarism.