Given the recent naval-arm race that seems to be spreading around the bucket, I've chosen to present you this WIP to let you know that, for every warship armed with six, eight, nine or ten main guns "built" by other nations, Japan will gladly reply...
.. with twelve
Fuso as built (November 1915)
Fuso as of 1919:
All main gun turrets recieved canvas bags and training guns, five 80cm (3-inch) AA guns were added, two on th forward deckhouse, two in the platform abreast the funnel and the last on the port side, abaft the aft superstructure (and thus not visible). Searchlights on the fore superstructure were rearranged, including the relocation of two 110cm ones previously fitted on the funnel platforms.
The upper bridge platform was partially engloces and given a glass greenhouse, four lookout post were added on the aft tripo legs and two signaling platforms abreast the lower bridge.
Finally, a new platform was added above the mains earchlight platform to houe two extra 60cm signalling searchlights.
Fuso as of 1925:
Between 1923 and 1925 IJN Fuso underwent her first major modernization. The turrets had their 4,5m rangefinders replaced with 8m ones, the forward funnel was capped and the 100cm searchlights replaced with a newer model.
Both the fore and aft superstructure underwent large scale modification, the most striking ones occuring to the forward tripod mast which was filled with new platforms, drastically changing the appearance of the ship.
Fuso as of 1933:
Between April 1930 and august 1933 Fuso was placed in reserve for her main modernization which took place at the Yokosuka Naval Yard before continuing at Kure from september 1932. The appearance of the ship was completely changed, with the stern being (for now) the only area of the ship which was left untouched.
The works consisted in:
-Additions of anti-torpedo bulges.
-Replacement of the main engine turbines and boilers with the removal of the forward funnel.
-Removal of the capstan for the second starboard anchor (the anchor itself was retained as an auxiliary one).
-Increasing the elevation of the main guns to 43°
-Switching the rest position of main gun turret n°3, now pointing forward.
-Increasing the elevation of the casemate guns to 30°
-Fitting of four twin 5-inch (127mm) AA guns.
-Fitting of four quadruple 13mm machine guns.
-Addition of the searchlights platform abreast the main funnel, which was heightened.
-Complete rebuild of the fore and aft superstructures.
-Fitting of a Type2 model4 catapult on top of turret N°3
-Embarking three Nakajima E4N reconnaissance floatplanes.
-Change to the boat complement and stowage fit.
Fuso as of 1935:
Between september 1934 and march 1935 IJN Fuso entered the drydock once again for the second phase of her main modernization, which took place at Kure. Modifications were as follows:
-Lenghtening of the hull by 7.62 meters (25 feet), to reach a total lenght of 212.75 (698 feet and 8 inches).
-Hightening and widening of the anti-torpedo bulges.
-Fitting of new ventilation cowls on the sides of n°2 and N°5 main gun barbettes.
-Replacement of the 6m main gun rangefinder on top of the pagoda with an 8m one.
-Small modifications to some of the pagoda platforms and RDF equipment.
-Replacement of the earlier 2.8 and 3.5m rangefinders fitted above the conning tower and on the aft superstructure with newer models.
-Lowering of the fore searchlight platform abreast the funnel to improve aircraft-handling operations.
-Replacement of the forward starboard pipe outlet on the funnel.
-Improvement of the director setup on top of the aft superstructure.
-Changes to the boat stowing fit.
Fuso as of 1938:
Between February 1937 and March 1938, again at Kure, Fuso underwent the first phase of her second modernization. Changes were:
-Removal of the second starboard anchor.
-Removal of the foremost casemate mounts.
-Fitting of a 10m rangefinder in place of the 8m one on top of the pagoda tower.
-Modifications of the RDF equipment with the fitting of a new platform on the pagoda.
-Replacement of the two quadruple 13mm machine guns fitted on the forward superstructure with four twin 25mm machine guns. Changes included the fitting of new larger platforms to hold them.
-Removal of the searchlight platform from the pagoda tower.
-Removal of the auxiliary 3.5m rangefinders on the forward superstructure, replaced by machine gun directors.
-Replacement of the two quadruple 13mm machine gun directors fitted abreast the funnel with four twin 25mm ones. changes included the fititng of new platforms.
-Fitting of new machine gun directors on both sides of the funnel.
-Partial replacement of the "Su-Shiki" searchlights with "92-shiki" ones (3 "Su-Shiki" fitted on the port-side of the funnel, 1 "Su-Shiki" and 2 "92-Shiki" on the starboard side).
-Shortening of the aft mast and fitting of a periscope on top of the aft main gun director
-Upgrade of the airwing from three Nakajima E4N to three Nakajima E8N.
-Landing of the 17m motor pinnaces.
Fuso as 1941:
Between december 1940 and april 1941 Fuso returned once again to the drydocks for the second phase of her second modernization and another long series of modifications was implemented:
-Removal of two lookout posts from the pagoda tower.
-Complete replacement of the searchlights with newer "92-Shiki" models.
-Relocation of all aircraft facilities from turret 3 to the stern.
-Removal of the derrick from the back fo the pagoda.
-Reinforcement of the searchlight platforms and fitting of a gangway to link them together.
-Fitting of a 12m ensign staff at the stern.
-Addition of navigation ligts on the aft mast spars.
-Addition of the anti-aircraft command platform on top of the pagoda tower.
-Fitting of a new main gun director.
-Modifications (yes, again) to the RDF equipment.
of the pagoda tower superstructure by a deck.
Fuso as of 1944:
During the course of WWII Fuso was left in the Inland Sea for training duties and refitted three times: in february 1942, july 1943 and august 1944. during those refits, a degaussing cable was fitted and the airwing updated to three Mitsubishi F1M2, followed by the installation of the Type 21 air search radar, the Type 22 surface-search and type 13 air-search radars, the last fitted in a pair unique to Fuso out of all the IJN battleships: abreast the funnel. The last upgrade was that regarding the light anti.aircraft armament, which was argumented in two phases to reach a final configuration of 8 triple, 16 twin and 39 single 25mm machine guns mounts, for a total of 95 barrels, further argumented by 10 single 13mm ones.
In this feat IJN Fuso departed with Vice-Admiral Nishimura Southern Force for operation Sho-Go, bieng ultimately lost with all hands (or with only 10 survivors out of her 1.630-men complement, depending on sources) in the Battle of Surigao Strait.
Yamashiro as of 1917:
As a sister ship of Fuso, she could have not been more different. Already in 1917, when commissioned, she sported a different forward superstructure, with larger deckhouses, improved conning tower (more similar to that of the Ise class) and the foremast shifted towards the funnel.
Yamashiro as of 1922:
In the early 20's Yamashiro recieved an experimental flying off platorm above turret 2 to test take offs using Gloster Sparrowhawk biplanes built and provided by the United Kingdom. Minor modifications to the bridge were made by expanding existing platorms and adding a set of new ones housing signaling searchlights.
Yamashiro as of 1935:
Between december 18th 1930 and march 30th 1935, Yamashiro was refitted at the Yokosuka Naval Yard. She was re-boilered, re-engined, bulged and lenghtened (Fuso did the former two upgrades in 1930-33, the bulging in two phases and the llenghtening only in 1934-35), a catapult for aircrafts was fitted at the stern, with a foldable crane for aircraft handling operations (On fuso this happened only in 1941, before the catapult was located on top of turret three). The fore and aft superstructures were rebuilt into huge pagoda towers (whose appearance was very different when compared to those of Fuso), the forward funnel removed and a searchlinght platform added abreast the aft, and now only, funnel. An auxiliary searchlight platform was located on the fore superstructure, above the navigation bridge. The maximum elevation of both the 14 and 6-inch guns improved, the capstan for the second starboard anchor was removed, but the anchor itself retained as anauxiliary one. Quadruple 13mm machine guns were carried as the light anti-aircraft armament, as a complement to the four twin-5inch guns fitted on the superstructure. Three Nakajima E4N acted as reconnaissance floatplanes.
A striking difference was the rest position of turret 3, wich was left facing aft, while on Fuso it was reversed.
From november 15th 1935, Yamashiro became the Combined Fleet Flagship.
Yamashiro as of 1941:
Between june 27th 1937 and march 31st 1938, Yamashiro underwent a further modernization, being replaced by Mutsu on december 1st 1937 as the flagship.
During the refit the secon starboard anchor was removed altogheter, the foremost 6-inch casemate guns were landed, twin 25mm machine guns replaced the quadruple 13mm ones, modifications were made to the forward superstructure, with the deletion of the auxiliary searchlight platform and the addition of new platforms. A machine gun director was fitted abreast the funnel, and the searchlight platform were rearranged. Finally, three Nakajima E8N replaced the older E4N and one of the 17m motor pinaces was landed.
Yamashiro as of 1944:
In 1944, after the battle of the Philippine Sea, Yamashiro entered the yards for her last refit. In her final guise she sported a Type 21 air search radar on top of the pagoda tower, two Type 22 surface search radars on both sides of it and two type 13 air search radar on the aft superstructure. Her pagoda tower had been lowered by a deck to create the space for an anti-aircraft command post and the main gun director had been replaced. Final AA suite was composed of 8 triple, 17 twin and 34 single 25mm machine guns for a total of 92 barrels. Those were further argumented by 3 twin and 10 single 13mm machine guns.
flying the ensing of Vice-Admiral Shoji Nishimura, Yamashiro led the Southern Force for operation Sho-Go, ultimately beign sunk (along her sister Fuso) with only 10 survivors in the Battle of Surigao Strait.