Yamato to Okinawa Essentially a Suicide Mission

The Japanese defenders of Okinawa were not quite alone. On the 6th April the Japanese decided to make one more attempt to support them. Intended to be a knockout blow they assembled over 300 planes for an assault on the US Fleet of over 1000 ships assembled off Okinawa. Their targets were the aircraft carriers and battleships – but the main casualties were amongst the destroyers forming a protective picket on the edge of the fleet.
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. 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.
At the same time another suicide mission was launched, Operation Ten Go. The battleship Yamato, at 72,800 tonnes with nine 46 cm (18.1 inch) main guns, was (with her sister ship Musashi, sunk in October 1944) the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleship ever constructed. She was now given sufficient fuel to reach Okinawa with orders to cause as much havoc as possible.
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