Nagato Class, Japanese Battleships

Photograph of Nagato

National Archives #80-G-374671

Schematic of Nagato

ONI 222


Tonnage 39,130 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 734' by 108'1" by 31'6"
223.7m by 32.9m by 9.6m
Maximum speed       25 knots
Complement 1368
Aircraft 1 catapult
3 seaplanes
Armament 4x2 16"/45 guns
18x1 5.5"/50 guns
4x2 5"/40 dual-purpose guns
10x2 25mm AA guns
Protection 13,600 tons:
12" (305mm) belt tapering to 3" (76mm)
13" (330mm) forward bulkhead tapering to 10" (254mm)
10" (254mm) after bulkhead
2" (57mm) forecastle deck
1"+1"+0.75" (25mm+25mm+19mm) protective deck
5" (127mm) flat plus 1"+1"+1" (25mm+25mm+25mm) slopes lower armored deck
10" (203mm) upper belt
10" (203mm) upper bulkheads
6" (152mm) lower casemate
1" (25mm) upper casemate
18"/5"/11"/7.5" (457mm/127mm/279mm/191mm) turret front/roof/side/rear
18" (457mm) barbette
14"/4" (356mm/102mm) conning tower sides/roof
21'3" (6.5m) torpedo system with 3" (76mm) holding bulkhead tapering to 2" (51mm)
4-shaft Kampon geared turbine (82,300 shp)
10 Kampon  boilers
Bunkerage 5560 tons fuel oil
Range 8650 nautical miles (16,020 km) at 16 knots

1943-6: Type 21 radar installed, along with two more 25mm guns.

1944-7: Two 5.5" guns and one twin 25mm gun replaced with 16x3,28x1 25mm guns. Installed Type 13 and Type 22 radar (two sets each).

1944-11: Removed four 5.5" guns. Addes 2x2 5"/40 and 9x3 20mm guns.

1945-6: Removed remaining 5.5" guns. Added 6x2 5"/40 guns.

The Nagatos were completed in 1920-1921 as the first ships of the 8-8 program (eight battleships, eight battle cruisers). They were the first battleships in the world to carry 16” (406mm) guns and were very fast by 1920 standards, exceeding the speed of the British Queen Elizabeths. The Japanese managed to conceal their top speed for twenty years, until U.S. Navy cryptanalysts intercepted communications revealing their performance.

Extensively modernized in the 1930s, with new machinery, torpedo bulges, improved antiaircraft, and some additional horizontal protection, they were the most modern Japanese battleships in service at the start of the Pacific War (Yamato was not commissioned until mid-December 1941) and were very capable units.

Mutsu was destroyed by a magazine explosion while anchored off Hiroshima. The ship was loading experimental 16" (406mm) antiaircraft shells and these may have been responsible for the explosion.

Nagato was the heaviest unit of the Japanese Navy to survive the war in navigable condition. Seized by the Americans under the terms of the surrender, she was expended as a target ship during Operation CROSSROADS, the nuclear weapons effects tests at Bikini in July 1946.

Units in the Pacific:





Destroyed 1943-6-8 at Hashirajima by a magazine explosion

Photo Gallery

Bow view of Nagato class battleship


Side view of Nagato class battleship


Overhead view of Nagato class battleship


View of Nagato class battleship from straight ahead


Close up of forward turrets and superstruture of Nagato class battleship

Close up of rear turrets and superstruture of Nagato class battleship

ONI 41-42 diagram of Nagato class

U.S. Navy


Gogin (2010; accessed 2013-2-7)

Jentschura, Jung, and Mickel (1977)

Whitley (1998)

Worth (2001)

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