IJN Kanto (BC-1941)


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The Yamato, Musashi, and Shinano were using up tremendous amounts of resources for only three ships. The Ise and Hyuga had reached the end of their useful lives as battleships but could still be useful as support vessels to the other older and slower capital ships. They were to be converted to Battle Carriers (CVB) which would free up eight twin 14" mountings that could be used to build two new battlecruisers that would act as flagships to the fast carrier squadrons.

Laid down in 1937, the priority for the ships was only medium compared to that of the Yamato class. Both ships took a full five years to complete. They had barely finished their working up trials when they were allocated to the fast carrier squadrons under Admiral Nagumo who flew his flag in the Kanto.

First Japanese ships to be fitted with the superb dual purpose 100mm twin mountings, ten were fitted. The 25mm AA weapons grew in numbers from a paltry 20 when completed to 48/72 by the time they had both been sunk in 1942 and 1944.

Pearl Harbour and both the Kanto and Kansai are with their divisions. Kanto is in overall charge, flying the flag of Admiral Nagumo. Kansai has a Rear Admiral aboard and is with the Shokaku and Zuikaku as division flagship. Both ships stay in their positions through the various battles in late 1941 and early 1942. At the Battle of the Coral Sea the Kansai's tenure comes to an end when the Shokaku and Zuikaku received damage and were recalled to Japan for repair. The Kansai then being transferred to Admiral Abe's cruiser squadrons trying to retake Guadalcanal. The Kanto continued to fly Admiral Nagumo's flag even through the disaster of Midway and beyond.

The Kansai met its end at the hands of Admiral Halsey's carriers after receiving damage in fighting against Admiral Lee's battleships on the night of the 14th November 1942. Torpedo and bomb hits left a smoking wreck that sank, going down by the bow.

The Kanto survived as Nagumo's flagship right through to The Battle of Cape Engano, 25/10/1944. As the decoy force the Kanto, Zuikaku, and other light carriers and cruisers were used as bait to draw Admiral Halsey away from the Phillipines' Islands beach heads. This worked but at the cost of all the last effective carriers and the Kanto a light cruiser and several destroyers.

Displacement 30,000 tons std, 39,250 tons full load
Length 750 ft
Breadth 90 ft
Draught 29 ft
Machinery 4 shaft Steam turbines, 150,000shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 10,500 miles at 18 knots
Armour 10" side, 5" deck, 10" turrets.
Armament 8 x 14" (4x2)

20 x 3.9" (10x2)

34 x 25mm (4x3, 6x2, 10x1)
Aircraft 2
Torpedoes 12 x 24" (4x3)
Complement 1240
Notes IJN Kanto (1941) Sunk Battle of Cape Engano 1944

IJN Kansai (1941) Sunk Battle of Guadalcanal 1942

100mm/3.9" Dual Purpose AA mounting.


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