Every time the Squadron flyer arrives I entertain this fantasy about
building all the Kriegsmarine ships and portraying them as a combined
fleet. Unfortunately they aren't all in the same scales and I sure
don't have the money or time to build them anyway. At least I tickle my
mind with the possibility.
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
I have sizable, if not complete, French and Italian WW2 fleets which
include some "what ifs" such as "Gascoigne" and "Aquila". They're
even complete and painted!!! The downside is they are 1:3000 scale
and one-piece metal castings intended for wargaming (and have seen
some tabletop action)... However, I also have some plastic IJN in the
same scale which did come in component form, albeit damn few bits. It
was a single box I found in Liverpool many years ago, and contained a
mix of BB,CV, CA, CL and DD. It appeared there were about four boxes
in the series containing most of the IJNs major units for WW2. Also
in 1:3000 I have both fleets for Tsushima in 1905 (less one Japanese
Protected Cruiser squadron, but the collection includes some vessels
from the conflict not present at the battle) although there is only a
representative Destroyer/TB force and it entailed some scratchbuilding
(but the stuff which wasn't available at the time has mostly appeared
since). However, given these were collected many years ago, the
castings are quite crude, as are those of some British and French
vessels I aquired in case of intervention on behalf of their
respective allies. In the unpainted pile there is some WW1 stuff as
at one point I fancied gaming the Imperial German BC force vs. "The
Wobbly Eight" Pre-Dreadnought force in the Channel.
But if you were to win the lottery and went looking for multi-part
white metal kits in 1:1200/1:1250 scale I'd be surprised If there were
many major WW1 or WW2 fleets where you couldn't build a comprehensive
And when you get bored with that, you can start on the entire IJN
fleet with shore facilities..... *********
An easy start would be with the immediate post-war IJN fleet..... a huge
blue board to represent the sea!
How many IJN ships actually survived the war?
I grew up in Japan in the 60s, actually a lot. It was safer to keep
them tied up at the pier than to sail them. Well that's one way to do
it....there are some interesting photos in some of the 'what if we
invaded type' books, or some of the 'captured combatants'. Almost
looks as sorry as some of the ex Soviet fleets.
Probably would have been better if the IJN sat home, let the IJA run
loose, then when all the idiots were killed off, sue for peace.
As Frank notes, a lot of the smaller stuff survived, and additionally
many of the major units =93sunk=94 in the last months of the war hit the
bottom in shallow water in harbours (many weren=92t even fully
submerged) and the salvage/scrapping went on for years. The
battleship =93Mutsu=94 wasn=92t even scrapped until the 1970s (the front
part, anyhow, I think there=92s still a bit of stern down there=85) and
one of her twin 16 inch turrets was preserved at Etajima, it=92s so
freakin=92 big you can see it on Google earth=85 It=92s probably the
biggest bit of an Axis major naval unit still accessible, but KM
Gneisenau=92s aft triple 11-inch is on top of a hill somewhere in
Mutsu=92s sister, =93Nagato=94 managed to make most of the way to her final
resting place (Bikini Atoll) under her own power, but was in a pitiful
state and taking in water from battle damage that had had been patched
but not properly repaired. Even so, it took two nukes to sink her.
She was accompanied by the light cruiser =93Sakawa=94 (which accidentally
took the full force of Test =93Able=94 =96 the intended target was the
=93Nevada=94 =96 and succumbed to it) which had previously been used
repatriating Japanese military personnel to their homeland from
wherever they had been upsetting people. Also used for this task were
the light cruiser =93Kashima=94 and the aircraft carriers =93Hosho=94 and
=93Katsuragi=94, so these at least were afloat at the end of the war,
albeit not in a fit state to fight =96 there were no aircrews for the
carriers. There were quite a few surviving destroyers also used in
repatriation work, I don=92t have time to check them all, but I do know
the last survivor of the =93Kagero=94 class, the =93Yukikaze=94 was involve=
before being handed over to the Chinese, whom she served for more than
two decades, being broken up in 1970 after going ashore in a storm.
Probably the oldest vessel involved in this task was the ancient
Armoured Cruiser =93Yakumo=94 (launched in Germany in 1899) =96 forty years
before she had been part of the battle line a Tsushima. What is
remarkable is that with only a couple of months of WW2 still to go,
all bar a couple (or three =96 I=92m not sure whether the =93Mikasa=94 was
already in the concrete berth she still occupies today) of the (4) Pre-
Dreadnought Battleships and (8) Armoured Cruisers that formed the
first two divisions of the Japanese Fleet at Tsushima in 1905 were
still afloat and performing some kind of function. The exceptions
were the old BB =93Asahi=94, torpedoed by a US submarine in 1942 while
acting as a Submarine support vessel, and the Armoured Cruiser
=93Nisshin=94, expended as a target in 1936. Even after TF38 made its
Grand Tour of Japanese harbours in June and July sinking anything
vaguely ship =96 shaped, the Pre Dreadnoughts =93Fuji=94 and =93Shikishima=
(and also the =93Suo=94 formerly the Russian =93Pobieda=94 which had been
captured at Port Arthur in 1905) and the Armoured Cruiser =93Asama=94 were
still afloat. Mostly they were simply Accommodation Hulks, but don=92t
laugh, the USN were using vessels of a similar vintage for the same
purpose, while the RN were still using wooden leftovers from the wars
As Frank notes, a lot of the smaller stuff survived, and additionally
many of the major units ?sunk? in the last months of the war hit the
bottom in shallow water in harbours (many weren?t even fully
submerged) and the salvage/scrapping went on for years.
while the RN were still using wooden leftovers from the wars
Wow! Thanks for the detail. That last comment reminded me of a visit to the
National Maritime Museum in London last year. They have the stern gallery of
HMS Implacable hanging on one wall. She was launched by the French in 1800,
captured by the RN in 1805 and used for vaired roles including a training
school until 1949. In that year she was declared too expensive to maintain
and sunk off the south coast. Just a little investment and she'd have been a
money making museum to this day....
Actually, there was a fairly substantial fleet left at the end of the
war, albeit not one at all battle-worthy.
The U.S. Naval Institute - in 1991 - published a translation/reprint
of a compilation of Japanese ships left at the end of the war - first
produced in 1947 by Shizuo Fukui. It has a great many line drawings
One chart shows that - both in Japan and elsewhere - there were 6
carriers (all damaged), 4 battleships (all damaged, 11 cruisers (8
damaged), 42 destroyers (12 damaged), and 58 submarines (4 damaged)
Another chart shows that, in 1947, the U.S., Great Britain, China,
and the Soviet Union divided among themselves 26 destroyers, 67
destroyer escorts, 11 minelayers, 14 minesweepers, 5 subchasers, 1
torpedo boat, 8 transports, and 3 supply vessels.
Many of the above had been used in repatriation duties, but it's
interesting to note that the U.S. used 100 LST's - manned by Japanese
sailors - to augment that repatriation effort.
The book is probably still available through USNI if one wants a good
end-of-war look at the Japanese fleet.
I grew up in Japan (yeah, the gods shined on me, jeez was that luck or
what...), when you drove into the main gate at Yokosuka NB, there was
a huge white chain there. Ok, some anchor chain from somebody. Turns
out if you read the book on the USS Oregon, it was sold to Japan as
scrap, and the Japanese decided to save the anchor chain on that
honorable ship. One of those, jeez we want to save this but nobody
Also going into Yokosuka if you drove, there were 7 tunnels to get
there. During the war, civilians were kept out of the first tunnel,
that ensured security of the base. At the 7th tunnel, you saw the
Uraga docks (Sp??) with a huge crane, then you got to the base.
Anyway, the Uraga docks closed early 2003 or something. Family owned
and like a lot of businesses, finally went under. Lots of history
All this is on the internet, lots of interesting links to google. But
what I want to go back for, among a ton of other reasons is the models
of the Yamato in 1/10 scale that was used for a movie. Besides the
Mikasa which you could see from the Yokosuka NEX, there was a window
in the dining room of the cafeteria, they upgraded it in the late 60s
for steaks and stuff. You could see it right there. Was a heck of a
drive to get around to get to it though. Out the front gate and all
over. But that Yamato model sounds really interesting to go see.