A New Chapter for the Musashi
The thrilling discovery of the Japanese superbattleship Musashi in March marks an important and intriguing advance in underwater exploration. The Musashi, sister ship of the famous Yamato, was one of the two largest battleships ever built. Displacing more than 72,000 tons fully loaded, she mounted nine 18.1-inch rifles, the largest guns ever carried to sea. She was an innovative design in many respects, featuring a bulbous bow (unique for the time, but now a standard drag-reducing feature of many large vessels), an elegantly sloped main deck (designed to reduce weight), and the integration of her main armor belt as a strength member of the vessel (another weight-saving measure). In many ways, she represented the apotheosis of battleship design, rivaled in sheer power only by the American Iowa class.