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The End of the Japanese Fleet, 1945

The last operation of the Japanese Naval Command, writes Albert Vulliez, was a deliberate act of suicide. It was received by the people with a ‘sombre bitterness’. Translated by Patrick Turnbull.

 U.S. aircraft, such as this Curtiss SB2C-3 Helldiver, begin their attacks on Yamato (center left). A Japanese destroyer is in the center right of the picture.In early April, 1945, encouraged by the serious damage inflicted on the American Okinawa invasion fleet by Kamikaze bombers, the Japanese Naval Command came to the decision to launch operation TEN-GO. It was the sort of decision few but the Japanese would have made, for it meant that, in a last desperate attempt to restore the situation, the only remaining vessels of their Home Fleet, the giant battleship Yamato, the heavy cruiser Yahagi, and eight destroyers, were being sent to almost certain destruction.

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