|Ship Class||Ise-class Battleship|
|Builder||Mitsubishi Shipyard, Nagasaki, Japan|
|Laid Down||16 May 1915|
|Launched||27 Jan 1917|
|Commissioned||30 Apr 1918|
|Sunk||28 Jul 1945|
|Displacement||35800 tons standard; 40169 tons full|
|Machinery||Eight Kampon oil-fired boilers, geared turbines|
|Power Output||80640 SHP|
|Range||9,500nm at 16 knots|
|Armament||4x2x356mm guns, 31x3x25mm AA guns, 11x1x25mm AA guns, 6x30x127mm rockets|
|Armor||12in main belt, 13.75in conning tower, 12in turret face, 8in barbettes, 2in deck, 4.7in between machinery spaces and magazines|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Hyuga was named for the Hyuga Province in Kyushu, Japan. She was initially built as a conventional battleship; among her long list of skippers were later high ranking naval officers such as Soemu Toyoda, Matome Ugaki, and Shoji Nishimura. In the mid-1930s, she was drydocked for modernization, replacing her mixed-fired boilers with eight oil-fired boilers and turbines, increasing her speed to just over 25 knots; she also received anti-torpedo bulges and had her six submerged torpedo tubes removed. Her anti-aircraft armament was also improved during the 1935-1937 reconstruction.
At the start of the Pacific War in Dec 1941, Hyuga set sail with the Pearl Harbor operation, but only as an escorting battleship and did not see action. In May 1942, her No. 5 turret exploded in an accident, killing 51 men. While she underwent repairs, she received the experimental Type 21 air search radar. Her No. 5 turret was never replaced; instead, the turret was removed and in its place four triple 25-mm anti-aircraft guns were installed. On 29 May, she sailed with the fleet that attacked Midway, but did not see action in the subsequent namesake battle.
In 1943, it was decided that both Ise-class battleships were to be converted into carriers in order to each provide about a planned 50 dive bombers to the carrier force, which was seriously weakened after the loss at the Battle of Midway. Because of the pressing need, the plan was changed to convert them into hybrid battleship-carriers instead, which would take less time to complete. Hyuga's conversion took place at Sasebo Navy Yard, Japan between May and Nov 1943.
Hyuga had her two aft turrets (No. 5 and No. 6) removed, along with the barbettes, roller paths, ring supports, etc. The openings were covered with 150-millimeter-thick armor recovered from the removed turrets, and then covered with 25-millimeter-thick mild steel plating; the remainder of the turret armor was used to reinforce the protection of the auxiliary steering room. All of her original secondary armament, consisted of 16 140-millimeter casemate guns, were removed. She had additional high-angle guns installed for additional anti-aircraft protection, and the magazines that previously housed ammunition for the secondary guns were now storing shells for the additional HA guns. She also received additional 25-millimeter machine gun mountings, also for anti-aircraft purposes. She received a 70-meter-long flight deck, with the widest part at 29 meters and narrowest (at the stern) at 13 meters, mounted 6 meters above the upper deck. The catapults were Kure Type No. 2 Model 5 large trainable catapults, capable for aircraft weighing up to 4,600 kilograms. The enclosed hangar, created partially from existing battleship superstructure, was 40 meters deep. The hydraulic lift was located at the after end of the hangar, powered by a generator. Since the flight deck was meant for launching only, recovering aircraft was done via a 4-ton crane (two cranes were originally planned but installation was not carried out). The location of the aviation fuel tanks, totaling 111 cubic meters in capacity, was placed far away from the ship's machinery, which was a major advantage when compared to the typical Japanese aircraft carrier. Because the items added were lighter than the two turrets removed, a 200-millimeter layer of concrete was added to the flight deck for additional weight for stability. Finally, she also received two Type 22 surface search radars.
The deck was designed to be able to carry 11 aircraft, the catapult 2, and hangar 9, making the maximum aircraft capacity of Hyuga 22.
During the conversion, Hyuga was upgraded with an enhanced firefighting system in which both carbon dioxide and foam types were included. The foam type was from lessons-learned after the Battle of Midway, where carbon dioxide alone could not deal with raging fires aboard Japanese fleet carriers.
Chiaki Matsuda, who commanded Hyuga between Feb and Dec 1942 and then commanded Carrier Division 4 in which Hyuga was a member of between May 1944 and Feb 1945, commented that the idea of having hybrid battleship-carriers were theoretically ideal, but in actuality Japan lacked sufficient trained pilots to man the full carriers, so Hyuga and the similarly-converted hybrid Ise were never fully used in their new roles.
Although Hyuga's conversion was completed in 1943, lack of aircraft kept her out of action until Aug 1944, when she joined Carrier Division 4. While she was waiting for her air group, in May 1944 she received further upgrades to her anti-aircraft weaponry and radar systems (upgraded her Type 22 surface search radars and added two Type 13 air search radars). In Sep 1944, she received six racks of 30-tube 127-mm anti-aircraft rockets, installed in sponsons at the aft of the flight deck.
Initial planning of the Japanese counterattack against the American advance at the Philippine Islands, or what resulted in the Leyte Gulf campaign, called for Hyuga to host the aircraft of Air Group 634. In mid Oct, however, the air group was decimated at Taiwan, thus Hyuga was given the role of a decoy tasked with luring away American carrier forces from the Leyte area, resulting in her participation in the Battle off Cape Engaño under the command of Rear Admiral Kusagawa Kiyoshi. She suffered some minor damage from near misses during that battle.
Hyuga returned to Japan on 29 Oct. During the repair effort, her catapults were removed as there were little aircraft to be used anyway, and by doing so her turrets amidships gained greater fields of fire. In Nov, she was dispatched to Singapore, and on 1 Jan 1945 she departed Lingga near Singapore with her sister ship Ise, together carrying 5,000 drums of oil, 1,150 oil field personnel, and other raw materials (rubber, tin, zinc, and mercury); they reached Kure, Japan safely on 20 Feb after being chased by a total of 23 Allied submarines. With the general lack of fuel, however, Hyuga was relegated to the role of a floating anti-aircraft gun platform near Nasake Jima south of Kure. She was painted olive green with various dark spots for camouflage. On 19 Mar 1945, she was attacked by American carrier aircraft and was hit by one bomb. Between 24 and 28 Jul 1945, she was attacked again, this time hit by 10 bombs as 50 aircraft swarmed her; Rear Admiral Kiyoshi was killed in action on 24 Jul. On 28 Jul, amidst another attack that would sink her sister ship Ise, Hyuga's crew ran her aground to prevent sinking.
After the war, Hyuga was raised between 2 Jul 1946 and 4 Jul 1947 and broken up for scrap by the Kure Drydock of Harima Zosen Yard.
Sources: Imperial Japanese Navy Battleships 1941-45, Interrogations of Japanese Officials, Warship 2009, Wikipedia.
Battleship Hyuga Interactive Map
Hyuga Operational Timeline
|30 Apr 1918||Hyuga was commissioned into service.|
» Ariga, Kosaku
» Matsuda, Chiaki
» Nishimura, Shoji
» Toyoda, Soemu
» Ugaki, Matome
» Dutch East Indies Campaign, Java
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Mariana Islands Campaign and the Great Turkey Shoot
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
» Preparations for Invasion of Japan
» Imperial Japanese Navy Battleships 1941-45
» Warship 2009
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George Patton, 31 May 1944