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If there are no aircraft carriers or land-based combat aircraft in the local area the battleships might well reprise their former glorious role as the dominant force in an engagement. Battleships without air protection were scrap metal, as the Japanese knew well after Pearl Harbor and after sinking HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse on December 10 1941. [In fact, both wrecks were being actively subjected to illegal and irreverent salvage years ago – http://www.webcitation.org/6VRa0GwHi].

At the beginning of World War II the Japanese Imperial Navy had

  1. Asahi – four 12 inch guns; commissioned 1900; actually being used as a repair ship (included only for nostalgic reasons); sunk by submarine USS Salmon May 25 1942
  2. Mikasa – four 12 inch guns; commissioned 1902; preserved as a museum in 1922. She is the last remaining example of a pre-dreadnought battleship anywhere in the world. She was the in three battles in 1904 around Port Arthur as well as the battle of Tsushima Strait in 1905 all as part of the Russo-Japanese war. After World War II Admiral Chester Nimitz, who had a great deal of esteem for Mikasa and her commander, Heihachiro Togo, started an effort to preserve the old warship.  https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=YzoqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lUcEAAAAIBAJ&pg=4000,36941 There is also a short reference in paragraph 11 https://web.archive.org/web/20121114113341/http://www.pacificwarmuseum.org/FleetAdmiralNimitz.asp 

As a gesture of respect Mikasa was painted by volunteers from the crew of USS Nimitz (CVN68) in 2009. http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=47862

3. Settsu – six 12 inch guns; commissioned 1912; converted to a target ship in 1924; damaged by American carrier aircraft while docked at Kure in July 1945.

4. Fuso – twelve 14 inch guns;  commissioned 1915; sunk during the Battle of Surigao Strait, 25 October 1944.

5. Yamashiro – twelve 14 inch guns;  commissioned 1915; Sunk during the Battle of Surigao Strait, 25 October 1944. sister ship of the Fuso;  Neither ship saw active combat until the disaster at Surigao.

6. Ise – twelve 14 inch guns;  commissioned 1917; she was considered obsolete at the start of the war and was converted to hybrid aircraft launcher/battle cruiser capable of launching 24 planes. She re-entered service in September 1944 to fight in the battle of Cape Engano. She was sunk at anchor at Ondo Seto on July 28 1945.

7. Hyuga – twelve 14 inch guns;  commissioned 1918; like her sister ship Ise she was considered obsolete at the start of the war and was converted to hybrid aircraft launcher/battle cruiser capable of launching 24 planes. She re-entered service in September 1944 to fight in the battle of Cape Engano. She was run aground in shallow water at Kure on July 24 1945.

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