Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beretta Model 1918

The Beretta Model 1918

The Beretta Model 1918 (also referred to as the Moschetto Automatico Beretta M1918) is considered as the first “conventional” submachine gun to be issued to a fighting force, predating the German MP 18 by a few weeks. It was designed on a request by the Italian Army for an improved design of the bulky Villar-Perosa M1915.

Designer Tuillio Marengoni took half of the Villar-Perosa M1915 (which was a twin-gun weapon) as a base, put it into a carbine-type wooden stock, and added a rifle-type trigger unit. The barrel was lengthened and fitted with a folding bayonet for use in trench warfare.
The M1918 didn’t change the mechanism of the M1915, which was a delayed-blowback weapon. The delay of the initial opening of the bolt achieved by the rotation of the bolt through the bolt handle, which slid against the inclined part of the cocking handle slot. It was fired from an open bolt, and only fired full automatic.
The M1918 was fed by a top-mounted box magazine, with the ejection chute on the bottom of the stock – protecting the firers left from the hot, spent cases which were ejected with quite a bit of force. The sights were offset to the left of the magazine. Another variant, the M1918/30 had the magazine inserted underneath.
The Beretta Model 1918/30
Operational History
The M1918 was designed per request of the Italian army for something to succeed the cumbersome Villar-Perosa M1915, a twin-gun weapon originally designed for aircraft. The result was the Beretta M1918, which was only the second model of a submachine gun to enter service in World War I. It was issued to Ardite regiments of the Italian Army in early 1918, thus becoming the first submachine-gun to become a standard issue weapon.
The M1918 remained in service until early World War II, but because of their carbine-like appearance they were usually unrecognized for what they really were. Many M1918’s were used in the Abyssinian War and the Spanish Civil War, and were frequently encountered in the early phases of the campaign in Libya in 1941.
Beretta M1918/30’s were also manufactured in Argentina as the Hafdasa C-1, and formed the basis for the Argentinian Ballester-Riguard (or Hafdasa C-4) submachine-gun.

Empty Weight: 3.3kg (7lbs 3oz)
Length: 1,092mm (43in)
Barrel Length: 305mm (12in)
Caliber: 9mm
Cartridge: 9x19mm Glisenti, .22LR
Rifling: 6 grooves, right to left twist
Action: Retarded Blowback, automatic only
RPM: 900
Feed System: 25 round detachable box magazine
Sights: Iron Sights


Fedorov Avtomat

The Fedorov Avtomat
The first true assault rifle put into service by any nation, the Fedorov Avtomat, was designed and produced in Russia. A total of 3,200 Fedorov Avtomat’s were manufactured between 1915 and 1924. It saw combat in World War I, the Russian Civil War, and in the Winter War of 1940. It is considered as an early predecessor to the modern assault rifle with its light weight, large detachable magazine, and selective fire capabilities.

The Fedorov Avtomat is a short-recoil operated, locked-breech weapon which fires from a closed bolt. The bolt locking is achieved by two dumbbell-shaped locking plates, which are mounted on either side of the breech. These latch the barrel and bolt together through lugs on the bolt. The plates are allowed to tilt down slightly after about 10mm of free recoil, unlocking the bolt. The barrel is fluted to save on weight and improve on cooling.
The trigger unit uses a pivoting hammer to fire. The selector levers are inside the trigger guard, with the safety and fire-selector levers being separate. The stock is made of wood, with a semi-pistol grip and additional fore-grip in front of the magazine. The detachable magazine is a curved box holding 25 rounds in two rows. A special bayonet attaches to the front of the steel heat-shield below the barrel. The rifle has standard open sights, with a tangent rear installed on the barrel.

Captain V Fedorov began his prototype semi-automatic rifle in 1906, working with Vasily Degtyaryov as his assistant. His model was submitted to the Rifle Commission of the Russian Army in 1911, and this led to an order of 150 for testing. In 1912, the Rifle Commission of the Russian Army ordered 150 Fedorov rifles for further trials, and in 1913, Fedorov submitted a prototype automatic rifle. This rifle featured a stripper clip-fed fixed magazine, and was chambered for Fedorov’s experimental rimless 6.5mm cartridge, called the 6.5mm Fedorov. The newer, rimless ammunition was more compact than the standard Russian ammo of the time, and was much better suited for automatic weapons because it produced less recoil. 6.5mm Fedorov ammunition fired a pointed jacketed bullet weighting 8.5g at an initial velocity of 860 m/s.
Fedorov’s automatic rifles were tested in late 1913, with very favorable results. Because producing a new cartridge wasn’t feasible, it was decided to re-chamber the rifle to fire 6.5mmx50mm Arisaka Type 38 ammunition (bullet weighting 9.0g, firing at initial velocity of 760 m/s). This ammunition was produced in Great Britain, who had purchased Arisaka rifles for the Royal Navy for use in World War I. The fixed magazine was also replaced with a detachable, 25 round, curved box magazine.
In 1915, the need for lightweight, automatic arms led the Russians to order and manufacture Fedorov Avtomat’s with larger-capacity magazines. Production of new cartridges was out of the question, and thus the rifles were converted to use 6.5x50SR Arisaka ammunition (Russia had lots of this kind of ammunition, purchased from Japan and Great Britain along with Arisaka rifles). The change in ammunition only required minimal changes to the rifle, including a new chamber insert and new range scale for the rear sights.
The firearm was not without its shortcomings either. It’s recoil-operated action was sensitive to jamming; early production guns did not interchange parts easily, including magazines; disassembly and reassembly were rather complicated.
In 1916, the Weapons Committee of the Russian Army deemed it necessary to order at least 25,000 Fedorov rifles. However, in early 1918 this was reduced to 9,000, and in the turmoil of the revolution and civil war, only 3,200 Fedorov rifles were manufactured.

Operational History
When it was first ordered, Fedorov automatic rifles were considered a substitute for light machine guns. However, when they were placed on the battlefield they were used as an individual armament for infantry – the exact tactical place of the modern assault rifle.
Fedorov Avtomat’s served the Russians (in both the Russian and Red Armies) throughout World War I, the Russian Civil War, and into the late 1920’s. At that time, it was decided to retire all firearms that did not use standard 7.62x54R ammunition. As a result, all Fedorov’s were put into reserve storage. However, during the Winter War with Finland in 1939/1940, some Fedorov rifles were withdrawn from storage and issued to elite units of the Red Army – marking their last combat use.
Fedorov Avtomat captured during the Winter War
The Fedorov automatic rifle was universally known as the Avtomat (automatic), the name being devised by a Russian small-arms expert during the mid to late twenties. At the time, the term Avtomat was the designation of any shoulder-fired, automatic weapon – be it rifle or submachine gun. The Fedorov rifle can be considered as one of the world’s first practical assault rifles – arming individual soldiers on a battlefield. At the time of its peak usage, 1918-24, only one other practical automatic rifle was in use – the Browning BAR M1918. The BAR was initially intended as an assault rifle, but being almost twice as heavy and twice as powerful as the Fedorov Avtomat, it was evolved into a light machine gun – leaving the Avtomat to be the predecessor of a whole new class of infantry weapons.
However, today’s standards would consider the Avtomat was a Battle Rifle, because its cartridge was much larger than modern assault rifle rounds, and also because of its long barrel and foregrip. Should this be true, than the first true assault rifle would be the StG-44, which was completely different than the Fedorov Avtomat. Despite this, the Fedorov’s ballistic properties are very close to modern idea’s of the “ideal” assault rifle and ammunition.

Empty Weight: 4.4kg (9.7 lbs)
Loaded Weight: 5.2kg (11.5 lbs)
Length: 1,045mm (41in)
Barrel Length: 520mm (20.5in)
Caliber: 6.5mm
Cartridge: 6.5x50mm Arisaka
Action: Short Recoil Operation
RPM: 600
Feed System: 25 round detachable box magazine
Muzzle Velocity: 660 m/s
Sights: Iron Sights


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Breguet 19

Breguet 19

The Breguet 19 (also known as Breguet XIX, Br.19, or Bre.19) was a light bomber and reconnaissance biplane made for the French Armee de l’Air. There were also several civilian variants, many used for long-distance flights.

Designed by chief Breguet engineer, Marcel Vuillerme, the new aircraft was to be a successor to the Breguet 14, a successful World War I light bomber. The prototype for the new aircraft first appeared at the Salon Aeronautique in November 1921. The original prototype equipped with an experimental Bugatti powerplant, comprised of two eight-cylinder Bugatti engines coupled to drive a single four-bladed propeller. In March of 1922, a new design appeared with a more conventional layout and a 450hp Renault 12Kb inline engine. Eleven more evaluation aircraft followed this prototype. After trails, the Armee de l’Air ordered the type in September 1923.
The first eleven prototypes had several different engines, and due to the use of duralumin as a construction material (rather than steel or wood), the Br.19 was faster than most other bombers of its time, and could even outrun some fighter aircraft. This caused a huge interest in the aircraft around the world, which was also helped by its success in the civilian market. Mass production for both the French military and for exportation began in 1924.

The Br.19 was a biplane of sesquiplane design, with a conventional layout. The fuselage was an ellipsoid in the cross-section, the frame made of duralumin pipes. The front area was covered with duralumin sheets, while the tail and wings were covered in canvas. The wings were two-spar structures, the framing made of duralumin. The tail, featuring horn-balanced elevators, also was framed with duralumin. The landing gear of production aircraft as a simple cross-axle type, having a single tapered strut on each side with cable cross-bracing, and it had a rear-skid rather than a tailwheel. It seated a crew of two, with open, tandem cockpits and dual controls.
The Br.19 was fitted with many different engines, the majority of which were water-cooled twelve-cylinder’s including the Renault 12Kb, Lorraine-Dietrich 12Db, 12Eb, and 12Ed, the Hispano-Suiza 12Ha and Hb, and the Farman 12We. Yugoslavian aircraft were also equipped with the Gnome-Rhone 9Ab Jupiter 9-cylinder radial. These engines all drove a two-bladed wooden propeller.
The military versions were armed with a fixed 7.7mm Vickers machine gun for the pilot, firing through the propeller. The observer had a twin mount of trainable 7.7mm Lewis guns, and some variants carried a fourth gun to be fired downwards by the observer through a floor opening. The CN2 night fighter variant had two forward-firing guns. The bomber variant carried up to 472kg of bombs under the fuselage or in a vertical bomb bay. The reconnaissance variant could carry twelve 10kg bombs, and had a small camera mounting (which was optional in the bomber version). All variants were equipped with a radio.

Operational History
The type saw use in many militaries. The French began operating their Br.19 A2 in autumn 1924, the B2 in June 1926, and the C2 and CN2 later. In the later 1920’s and early 1930’s, the Br.19 was the most numerous French combat aircraft. While some structural strengthening became necessary in its early career, the Br.19 gave outstanding service to the French military. It was used against rebel Druze tribesman in Syria, and against Riff insurgents in Morocco. It formed the backbone of day bomber and reconnaissance units for many years. However, it eventually went on to become obsolete, and began to be withdrawn in the early 1930’s. Its final use was in night-fighter units, a role to which it was unsuited, and the last of these were withdrawn from service in 1935. However, it was still used in French colonies in the Middle East and North Africa into World War II.

In 1923, Breguet began an export campaign for the Br.19. The prototype was featured at an international competition organized by the Spanish War Ministry. The Br.19.01 was sold to the Spanish, while the Br.19.02 was supplied to Yugoslavia.
The Belgians bought six Br.19 B2’s in 1924, and manufactured 146 A2’s and B2’s under license at the SABCA works between 1926 and 1930. Theirs were powered by 450hp Lorraine-Dietrich 12Eb W-12’s, and 450hp Hispano-Suiza 12Ha V-12’s.
Greece’s Hellenic Air Force bought thirty Br.19 A2’s, and used them for reconnaissance missions against the Italians in 1940.
The Polish Air Force bought 250 Br.19 A2’s and B2’s powered by Lorraine-Dietrich 12Eb’s. The first Br.19 entered Polish service in 1926, though most were delivered in 1929 and 1930. They were withdrawn from combat units between 1932 and 1937, and used as trainers up until 1939. Though not used in combat during the German invasion, most were destroyed on the ground by the Luftwaffe.
After buying the original prototype, Spain purchased a license for production of the A2 and B2. The first 19 Spanish Br.19’s were imported, the next 26 assembled from French parts, followed by 177 built entirely in Spain. Fifty of these had Hispano-Suiza engines, and the rest had Lorraine-Dietrich 12Eb’s. The Br.19 was the main Spanish bomber and reconnaissance aircraft until the Spanish Civil War. In July of 1936, less than 100 were in service with the Republican Air Force. They were used as bombers on both sides during the civil war. In 1936, the Nationalists acquired twenty from Poland. When more modern fighters entered into the war, the losses mounted and they were withdrawn from frontline service. The Republicans lost a total of twenty-eight, and the Nationalists ten (these figures include two Republican and one Nationalist aircraft that deserted). All remaining aircraft were used for training until 1940.
The Yugoslav Royal Air Force bought 100 Br.19 A2’s in 1924, and in 1927 acquired a license to manufacture them in their new factory at Kraljevo. The initial batch of 85 was assembled from French parts, followed by 215 built from scratch. Theirs were powered by Lorraine-Dietrich’s, Hispano-Suiza 12Hb’s, and 420hp Gnome-Rhone 9Ab Jupiter 9-cyilnder radials. In 1932, the factory began production of the Br.19.7, with the first five built in France, and the next 75 in Yugoslavia. A further 48 were built without engines, and completed between 1935 and 1937 with Wright Cyclones. Some were used in combat after the German assault in 1941.
Yugoslavian partisans under Marshal Tito operated a defected Croatian Br.19 in June and July of 1942 until it was shot down. Another two were captured by forces of the new Communist government, and used in the pursuit of the Ustashe (Croatian Revolutionary Movement).
Argentina operated twenty five aircraft. Bolivia operated ten and used them in the Chaco War against Paraguay. Brazil operated five aircraft. The Chinese Nationalist Air Force received four aircraft purchased by the Chinese government, and the Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin purchased seventy aircraft. Croatia used forty-six aircraft in anti-partisan missions. Italy’s Regia Aeronautica bought a single aircraft for testing. Japan bought several Br.19’s, and it is believed that Nakajima license built some aircraft. The Persian Air Force acquired two aircraft. The Royal Romanian Air Force bought fifty Br.19 A2’s and B2’s. The Soviets bought a single Br.19 for testing. Turkey bought twenty Br.19 B2’s, followed by fifty Br.19.7’s, which were used for bombardment and reconnaissance during the Dersim Rebellion. The United Kingdom acquired one for testing. Venezuela operated twelve aircraft, and Uruguay also operated Breguet 19’s.
The Br.19 was used for many record-breaking flights, made by both standard and modified aircraft. The first record was made by the prototype, which won the military aircraft speed contest in Madrid on February 17, 1923. On March 12, 1923, it set an international altitude record of 19,660ft (5,992 meters) while carrying a load of 500kg.
There were many long-distance flights made. In February 1925, a Br.19 was piloted from Brussels to Leopoldville, central Africa – a 5,500 mile (8,900km) flight. Two Br.19 A2’s bought by the Japanese Asahi Shimbun newspaper were fitted with additional fuel tanks, and flew the Tokyo-Paris-London route in July of 1925, covering 8,600mi (13,800km). Between August 27 and September 26, 1926, a Polish Br.19 flew from Warsaw to Tokyo and back (6,400mi, 10,300km each way) in a modified Br.19 A2, despite the fact that one of the lower wings was broken on the way. Between 1927 and 1930, Polish, Romanian, and Yugoslav Br.19’s were often used in the Little Entente Air Races.
Several world records were set by the Br.19, mostly long-distance, non-stop flights. The first was Arrachart and Lemaitre’s 1,967mi (3,166km) flight from Paris to Villa Cisneros in 24.5 hours on 2-3 February, 1925. On 14-15 July, 1926, Girier and Dordilly set a new record of 2,930mi (4,716km), flying from Paris to Omsk. This was beaten on August 31-September 1 by Challe and Weiser’s 3,215mi (5,174km) flight, and also on October 28 by Dieudonne Costes and Rignot’s 3,390mi (5,450km) flight. From October 10, 1927 to April 14, 1928, Costes and Le Brix flew around the world, covering 35,418mi (57,000km), though the leg between San Francisco and Tokyo was taken by ship.
The Super Bidon variant was created especially for transatlantic flight. Named the Point d’Interrogation (the Question Mark), Dieudonne Costes and Maurice Bellonte made a non-stop distance record of 4,911mi (7,905km) from Paris to Moulllart on September 27-29, 1929. On September 1-2, 1930, it was flown from Paris to New York City, a distance of 3,900mi (6,200km), making it the first non-stop, east-west, fixed-wing crossing of the North Atlantic. The second Super Bidon disappeared over Mexico along with M. Barberan and J. Collar Serra after a transatlantic flight from Seville to Cuba in 1933.
Point d'Interrogation at Le Bourget
Br.19.01: First Br.19 prototype, first flown March 1922 and later bought by Spain.
Br.19.02 through Br.19.011: Pre-production aircraft, lengthened fuselage by 60cm. Br.19.02 sent to Yugoslavia for evaluation in 1923.
Br.19 A2: Two-seat observation and reconnaissance version. Could carry light bombs on underwing racks.
Br.19 B2: Two-seat light bomber. Basically identical to A2, but with provision for up to 800kg of bombs
Br.19 CN2: 40 aircraft converted as night fighters with two forward-firing guns.
Br.19 GR: (Grand Raid) Variant specially modified for long-distance flights, after early long-range attempts made with regular Br.19 A2 fitted with additional fuel tanks. First GR had fuel tank of 230 US gal (2000 liters), and captured world distance record 1925. 1926, three more aircraft modified to Br.19 GR with larger fuel tanks fitted in fuselage, total up to 770 US gal (2900-3000 liters). Cockpit moved slightly aft, wingspan increased to 48.65ft. Three aircraft had different engines. 1927, aircraft no.1685 fitted with 600hp Hispano 12Lb, and fuel capacity extended to 925 US gal (3500 liters), and wingspan increased by a meter. Christened Nungesser et Coli after the two airmen who disappeared in transatlantic flight attempt in May 1927. Fifth aircraft built for Greece called Hellas with 550hp Hispano 12Hb.
Br.19 TR Bidon: (Bidon – Literally Petrol Can) Built 1927, various aerodynamic refinements and 987 US gal (3735 liter) fuel in fuselage. Additional fuel tank in wings, total capacity 1089 US gal (4125 l). Five built by Breguet, two by Spanish company CASA. Three French aircraft had 600hp Hispano 12Lb, one had 550hp Renault 12 kg, and one had 450hp Lorraine 12eb. First Hispano powered aircraft sold to Belgium, and Renault powered sold to China after a Paris to Beijing flight. Third Hispano powered became French Br.19 TF. Second Spanish aircraft christened Jesus del Gran Poder, and flown from Seville to Bahia, Brazil.
Br.19 TF Super Bidon: Last and most advanced long-distance variant, 1929, designed for transatlantic flight. Was third Br.19 TR Hispano powered, named Point d’Interrogation (the Question Mark), with modified fuselage, 60ft wingspan, and 5370 liter fuel capacity. Powered by 600hp Hispano-Suiza 12Lb (later replaced by 650hp 12Nb). Another aircraft, with closed canopy built in Spain 1933. Christened Cuatro Vientos, flew from Seville to Cuba, and disappeared while flying to Mexico.
Br.19 ter: Utilizing experience with long distance variants, improved recon variant developed 1928, but remained prototype.
Br.19.7: Most popular of late variants, 1930, 600hp Hispano-Suiza 12Nb, max speed 150mph. First five converted in France for Yugoslavia, then several built in Yugoslavia, and another 50 built in France for Turkey.
Br.19.8: 780hp Wright Cyclone GR.1820-F-56 radial, 48 Br.19.7 airframes completed as Br.19.8’s in Yugoslavia. Max speed 173mph.
Br.19.9: Single prototype developed in Yugoslavia with 860hp Hispano Suiza 12Ybrs engine.
Br.19.10: Fitted with twin floats as seaplane, single prototype produced for France. Another aircraft sold to Japan and fitted with floats by Nakajima
Nakajima-Breguet Reconnaissance Seaplane: Nakajima-built Breguet 19-A2B seaplanes.

Br.19 A2
Crew: 2
Length: 31ft 6¼in
Height: 12ft 1¼in
Wingspan: 48ft 7¾in
Wing Area: 538 sq ft
Empty Weight: (Lorraine) 3,058lb (Renault) 3,796lb
Max Weight: (Lorraine) 5,511lb (Renault) 6,856lb
Powerplant: 1x 450hp Lorraine 12Ed or 12D 12-cylinder liquid-cooled inline
OR: 1x 513hp Renault 12Kb 12-cylinder liquid-cooled inline
Max Speed: (Lorraine) 133mph (Renault) 146mph at sea level
Range: (Lorraine) 497 miles (Renault) 746 miles
Ceiling: (Lorraine) 23,620ft (Renault) 22,640ft
Armament: 1x 7.7mm Vickers machine gun
2x 7.7mm Lewis machine guns flex-mount rear cockpit
Light Bombs


Friday, December 16, 2011

Vought O2U Corsair

Vought O2U-4 Corsair

The Vought O2U Corsair was a biplane scout and observation aircraft that entered service in the mid-1920’s. It was powered by a 400hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp, and featured a steel-tube fuselage structure, with a wooden wing and a fabric cover. Many of them were seaplanes or amphibious aircraft.
The name Corsair was reused by Vought for their F4U fighter in 1938, and also for the LTV A-7 Corsair II attack bomber in 1963.

In 1925, the US Navy issued specifications for a new observation aircraft. The Chance-Vought Corporation submitted plans, and two prototypes were ordered in 1926 to be tested by the Naval Trial Board before the first production batches were ordered. The aircraft, nicknamed Corsair, was the first service aircraft designed around the Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine – the first reliable air-cooled radial to match power with the water-cooled Liberty and Curtiss Hispano engines. In 1927, 291 O2U’s were produced. In 1928, minor changes resulted in the O2U-2, O2U-3, and O2U-4. By 1930, the O2U’s were superseded by O3U’s, which were basically the same as an O2U-4 but with a Grumman-made float. O3U’s were manufactured until 1936, with a total of 289 built. Many of them had an engine cowling, and some had enclosed cockpits.
When the 600-690hp Pratt & Whitney R-1690-42 Hornet was used, the designation was changed again to Su-1 through Su-4. The designation was changed to reflect the aircrafts main role as a scout. A total of 289 aircraft with the Su designation were built.
Corsair over Cavite, Philippines, 1930

Operational History
The Corsair was one of the most useful and versatile military aircraft ever produced. It was all that was desired by the Navy, and more. It set four world altitude and speed records, which gave it attention from foreign nations. In 1928, during the Nicaraguan campaign, Marine Corsairs were the first aircraft to ever conduct unsupported attacks against fortified positions, attacking 1500 rebels with light bombs and low-level strafing. Also during this campaign, Lt. Frank Schilt, USMC, won a Medal of Honor while flying a Corsair. It lasted in service for a long time - over 141 Corsairs were in service with the United States Navy and Marine Core when the United States entered World War II.
Many Corsairs were exported, with different designations. Argentina received V-65F’s, V-66F’s, and V-80Fp’s. V-80P’s went to Peru, V-85G’s went to Germany, Japan received the variants V-65C and V-92C, and Brazil received V-65B’s and V-65F’s, along with some hydroplanes designated V-66B’s.
In March of 1929, Mexico purchased twelve armed aircraft, designated O2U-2M and powered with 400hp Wasps, for the purpose of subduing a military coup. Mexico also built 31 aircraft under license and called them Corsairios Azcarate O2U-4A. In 1937, Mexico purchased ten V-99M’s with 550hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-T1H-1 Wasps. Some may have been sent over to Spain.
China bought 42 export versions of the O2U-1 from 1929-33, and 21 export versions of the O3U between 1933-4. These aircraft were used extensively for bombing. The O2U-1’s flew during the Central Plains War and the January 28 Incident, while the O3U’s participated in the Battle of Pingxingguan, and over Shanghai.
In 1924, Peru purchased two Vought OSU’s, designated UO-1A. In 1929, they purchased twelve O2U-1’s for use as trainers. However, they did see action against APRA rebels and against Columbian ships and air assets during the Columbia-Peru War. None were lost to enemy fire, but several were lost to accidents.

O2U-1: 2 prototypes, 130 production aircraft. Interchangeable wheel/float landing gear. 28 aircraft for other customers. Powered with a 450hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-88 Wasp.
O2U-2: 37 built; increased upper span, wing refinements, and larger rudder. Pratt & Whitney R-1340-B.
O2U-2M: O2U-2’s built for Mexico.
O2U-3: 110 built; revised wing rigging and redesigned tail surfaces. Pratt & Whitney R-1340-C.
O2U-3SD: O2U-3’s built for Santo Domingo.
O2U-4: 43 built (1 export, 7 civilian); similar to O2U-3 but with changed equipment.
O3U-1: 29 built; strengthened airframe. Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet.
O3U-3: 76 built. Pratt & Whitney R-1340-12 Wasp.
O3U-4: 65 built. Pratt & Whitney R-1535.
XO3U-5: Test aircraft with a Pratt & Whitney R-1535
XO3U-6: Test aircraft – converted O3U-3 with NACA cowling and enclosed cockpits.
O3U-6: 32 built, 16 with Pratt & Whitney R-1340-12 Wasp, and 16 with Pratt & Whitney R-1340-18 Wasp.
SU-1: 28 built; scout version of the O3U-2.
SU-2: 53 built; scout version of the O3U-4.
SU-3: 20 built; SU-2 variant with low-pressure tires.
XSU-4: SU-2 converted as a prototype SU-4 with a 600hp R-1690-42 engine.
SU-4: 41 built; R-1690-2 engine.
V-65B: 36 built; export for Brazil.
V-65C: Export for Nationalist China.
V-65F: Export for Argentina.
V-66B: Export for Brazil.
V-66E: One aircraft evaluated by the RAF.
V-66F: Export for Brazil and Argentina.
V-80F: Export for Argentina.
V-80P: Export for Peru.
V-85G: Export for Germany.
V-92C: Export for Nationalist China.
V-93S: Export of the O3U-6 for Thailand.
V-99M: Export for Mexico.
TNCA Corsairo Axcarate: 31 built; O2U-4A’s built under license in Mexico.
AXV1: Single O2U supplied to the Imperial Japanese Navy for evaluation in 1929.
Corsair in the Royal Thai Air Force Museum

Crew: 2
Length: 27ft 5.5in
Height: 11ft 4in
Wingspan: 36ft
Wing Area: 337 sq ft
Empty Weight: 3,312lb
Max Weight: 4,765lb
Powerplant: 1x 600hp Pratt & Whitney R-1690-42 Hornet radial engine
Max Speed: 167mpg @ sea level
Range: 680 miles
Ceiling: 18,600ft
Armament: 1x .30cal Browning machine gun, fixed forward; 2x .30cal Browning machine guns, flexible in rear cockpit


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Polikarpov U-2

A Polikarpov U-2 in a Museum in Dresden, Germany

The Polikarpov U-2/Po-2 was a general purpose Soviet biplane. The Soviets nicknamed the craft Kukuruznik – maize duster or corn cutter. The NATO reporting name was Mule. It was a simple, reliable, and low-cost aircraft, and used in the military for ground attack, reconnaissance, psychological warfare, and liaison. It is the second most produced aircraft, and the most produced biplane, in the history of aviation. Over 40,000 of them were built between 1928 and 1953 – being in production for a longer period than any other Soviet made aircraft.

The U-2 was designed by Nikolai Polikarpov in 1927 to replace the U-1 trainer aircraft, which was a license copy of the Avro 504. Its name was changed to Po-2 in 1944 after the death of Polikarpov, according the new Soviet system of naming with the designers initials.
The prototype, designated U-2PK, was powered by a 99hp Shvetsov M-11 air-cooled, five cylinder radial engine, flying on June 24, 1927 with test pilot M. M. Gromov at the controls. The prototype had been built for easy repair and maintenance, with the wings made of four identical rectangular panels with square wingtips, and common control surfaces. It showed very poor flight characteristics. After a series of modifications, the second prototype flew on January 7, 1928. It was an immediate success. Pre-production aircraft were tested at the end of the year, with production starting in 1929 at Factory Nr 23 in Leningrad. Production in the Soviet Union ended in 1953, but Polish license produced aircraft were still in production until 1959.

The U-2 had a composite skeleton covered with fabric. Most variants did not have an engine cowling. Both the pilot and passenger had a windscreen, and a few models had enclosed cabins. All of the wings had ailerons connected by cables, and the tips of the lower wings had skids for protection should the undercarriage fail. The wings were staggered in layout, of single bay construction with rounded tips, and had a single set of bracing struts. The undercarriage was a conventional cross-axle gear. The rudder was tall and with a broad chord, and linked to the cockpit via control cables.

Operational History
From its beginnings, the U-2 became the basic Soviet civil and military trainer, mass produced in a “Red Flyer” factory near Moscow. It was also used as a light transport, and for liaison due to its short take-off and landing. It was produced as an agricultural aircraft, which earned it its nickname.
Though outclassed by its contemporaries, the U-2 served extensively on the Eastern Front during WWII, mainly as a liaison, medical evacuation, and general supply. It was very useful for supplying Soviet partisans behind the front lines. Due to its low cost and easy maintenance, it had a production run of over 40,000. Even after its production in the USSR, many were assembled in Aeroflot repair workshops.
The U-2/Po-2 saw operation in Albania, Bulgaria, the Peoples Republic of China, Czechoslovakia, Finland (captured aircraft), France, Germany (captured aircraft), East Germany, Hungary, Mongolia, North Korea, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, Turkey, and Yugoslavia.
A U-2 which was forced down in Ukraine and captured by the Germans.

Armed Use
The first trials of the U-2 with bombs took place in 1941. During the defense of Odessa in September 1941, U-2’s were used as a reconnaissance aircraft, and a light bomber. From 1942, it was adapted as a light night ground attack aircraft. Nikolai Polikarpov was supportive of the project, and, under his leadership, a variant specifically adapted for that purpose was produced – the U-2VS (VS stood for Voyoskovaya Seriya – Military Series). It was a light bomber, holding bombs in bomb carriers beneath the lower wings, being able to hold a total of 350 kg. It was also armed with ShKAS or DA machine guns in the observer’s cockpit.
German troops nicknamed the U-2 Nähmaschine, or sewing machine, for its rattling sound. Finnish troops called it the Hermosaha, or nerve saw, because of the effects of night raids. As the axis became aware of the threat, they gave special instructions to their night fighter pilots for engaging the U-2’s, giving it the derogatory term of Rusfaner, or Russian Plywood.
Though the material effects of the U-2’s night raids were insignificant, the psychological effects on the German troops were significant. They usually attacked in the dead of night to prevent the Germans from sleeping, and to further the high stress level on the Eastern Front. The U-2’s would fly a few feet from the ground on their way to the target, and then climb up on their final approach. The engine would be cut off on the attack run, so that the targeted troops would only hear an eerie whistle of the bracing wires.
It was found that the U-2 was extremely hard to shoot down with night fighters for three main reasons: first, it could take enormous amounts of damage and keep flying; second, the Russian pilots flew at treetop level in the dead of night – a very dangerous position; third, the stall speed of the German aircraft were about the same as the U-2’s maximum cruise speed, only allowing a short time to target.
A U-2 LNB in the Polish Aviation Museum
The most famous user of the U-2 was the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, composed entirely of women – including the ground crews. They were the best known operators, flying low-altitude night raids many times a night – one crew flying 18 such missions one night. What helped with the psychological effects was the fact that the Germans knew that their oppressors were female. This led to the name of Night Witches (German, Nachtexen; Russian, Nočnye Ved’my).
The Germans did attempt to quell the fearsome raids by bringing many searchlights and anti-aircraft guns around probable targets. To counter this, the Russians would fly in formations of three; two of the aircraft would fly in first to draw off the searchlights and flak while the third aircraft would attack. Then the formation would reform, and they would do it again.
The 588th earned several Hero of the Soviet Union citations, and many Order of the Red Banner medals. By the end of the war, most of the surviving pilots had flown almost 1,000 combat missions.

Korean War
During the Korean War, the North Koreans used the Po-2 in a similar fashion as the Russians did in World War II. A significant number of Po-2’s were used by the Korean Peoples Air Force, who caused much damage on night raids against the UN. UN soldiers named them “Bed-check Charlie”. The UN also had the same problems as the Germans, with great difficulty shooting down the Po-2’s. Even though night fighters of the 50’s had RADAR as a standard, the wood and fabric construction of the Po-2 provided a minimal radar echo, making it extremely difficult to track a target. On June 16, 1953, a USMC AD-4 Skyraider from VMC-1, piloted by Major George H. Linnemeier and CWO Vernon S. Kramer, shot down a Po-2, achieving the only documented Skyraider aerial kill of the Korean War. One F-94 Starfire was lost while trying to slow to intercept a Po-2.

U-2: Basic model, built in large numbers as two-seat primary trainer, but had many different civil and military versions including light transport, utility, recon, training. Powered by M-11 radial piston engine, 100hp. Later models had up-rated M-11’s boasting 150hp. Some had rear closed cabins, and others fitted with sledges or floats. Redesignated Po-2 after 1944.
U-2A: Two-seat agricultural crop duster, powered by 115hp M-11K radial. Redesignated Po-2A after 1944.
U-2AO: Two seat agricultural aircraft.
U-2AP: Agricultural aircraft with rear cab replaced with a container to carry 200-250kg of chemicals. 1,235 built 1930-40.
U-2G: Experimental aircraft with all controls linked to control column. 1 built.
U-2KL: Two aircraft fitted with bulged canopy over rear cabin.
U-2LSh: Two-seat ground-attack, close-support aircraft. Armed with single 7.62mm ShKAS gun in rear cockpit; could carry up to 120kg bombs and four RS-82 rockets. Also known as U-2VOM-1.
U-2LPL: Experimental prone-pilot research aircraft.
U-2M: Floatplane version fitted with large central float and two small stabilizing floats. Not built in large numbers. Also MU-2.
U-2P: Floatplane version, limited numbers, several variants with different designations.
U-2S: Air Ambulance version, built from 1934. Could take physician and injured on stretcher in rear fuselage, under cover. Variant U-2S-1, from 1939, had raised fuselage top upon stretcher. From 1941, also used two containers for stretchers which could be fitted over lower wings, or two containers for two seating injured each, fitted under lower wings.
U-2SS: Air Ambulance.
U-2ShS: Staff Liaison version, built from 1943. Had wider fuselage and closed 4-place rear cab.
U-2SP: Civil transport, could carry two passengers in open individual cabs, built from 1933. Other roles included aerial survey, aerial photography. 861 built between 1934 and 1939.
U-2SPL: Limousine version fitted with rear cabin for two passengers.
U-2UT: Two-seat trainer, powered by 115hp M-11D radial. Limited numbers.
U-2LNB: Soviet Air Force night attack version, built from 1942. Armed with one 7.62mm ShKAS, and up to 250kg of bombs under the wings. Earlier aircraft converted to improvised bombers from 1941.
U-2VS: Two-seat training and utility. Redesignated Po-2VS after 1944.
U-2NAK: Two seat night artillery observation and recon aircraft. Built from 1943.
U-3: Improved flying training model, fitted with 200hp M-48 engine.
U-4: Cleaned up version with slimmer fuselage. Not built in large numbers.
Po-2GN: “Voice from the sky” propaganda aircraft, fitted with loud speaker.
Po-2L: Limousine version with enclosed passenger cabin.
Po-2P: Post-war floatplane version. Small numbers.
Po-2S: Post-war Ambulance variant, closed rear cabin.
Po-2S-1: Post-war ambulance version, similar to pre-war U-2S.
Po-2S-2: post-war ambulance, powered by M-11D.
Po-2S-3: Post-war ambulance, two underwing containers, each designed to transport one stretcher patient. Also known as Po-2SKF.
Po-2ShS: Staff communications aircraft, fitted with enclosed cabin for pilot and two to three passengers.
Po-2SP: Post-war aerial photography, geographic survey aircraft.
RV-23: Floatplane version of U-2 built in 1937. Used in number of seaplane altitude record attempts. Powered by 710hp Wright R-1820-F3 Cyclone radial.
CSS-13: Polish license version, built in Poland in WSK-Okęcie and WSK-Mielec after WWII. About 500 built, 1948-1956.
CSS S-13: Polish ambulance version, closed rear cab and cockpit and Townend ring. 53 built in WSK-Okęcie, 1954-55, plus 38 converted.
E-23: Research version, built in Soviet Union in 1934 for research in inverted flight.

Polikarpov U-2
Crew: 1 Pilot/Instructor, 1 Passenger/Student
Length: 26ft 10in
Height: 10ft 2in
Wingspan: 37ft 5in
Wing Area: 357 sq ft
Empty Weight: 1,698lb
Loaded Weight: 2,271lb
Useful Load: 573lb
Max Takeoff Weight: 2,976lb
Powerplant: 1x 125hp Shvetsov M-11D 5-cylinder radial engine
Maximum Speed: 94mph
Range: 391 miles
Ceiling: 9,843ft
Armament (U-2VS, U-2LNB): 1x 7.62mm ShKAS machine gun in rear cockpit; up to 350kg of bombs


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To Try Something New...

Hello to all,

After my last post, I couldn't come up with a really good topic to post on, which leads me to try a different approach. Rather than go with different topics for each post, I'll go in phases. For example, I'll post five to ten posts of just ships, then go with just firearms, etc and so on.

So since my specialty is aircraft, I'll start with that!

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fusō Class Battleship

The Yamashiro, Fusō, and Haruna

The Fusō-class battleships were two battleships that served in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War I. The class displaced 29,330 tons upon completion, making the two ships, Fusō and Yamashiro, the first super-dreadnoughts of the Imperial Japanese Navy. At the time of Fusō’s launching (in 1914), it outclassed any battleship in the Royal Navy or United States Navy in both speed and firepower.

The design of the Fusō class battleship was caused by an international race for superiority of naval forces, and also due to Japanese naval planners who wished to maintain a fleet of first-class vessels that were powerful enough to defeat the United States Navy in a fight in Japanese territorial waters.
Japan’s fleet of battleships had been highly successful in 1905, the last year of the Russo-Japanese War, with final decisive blow which caused the annihilation of the Russian Baltic Fleet in the Battle of Tsushima. Japan immediately looked towards her two remaining rivals for the vast Pacific – the Royal Navy and the United States Navy. Satō Tetsutarō, a Japanese Admiral and military theorist, believed that it was inevitable that a conflict would arise between at least one of the two and Japan. He called for the IJN to maintain a fleet with at least 70% the amount of capital ships as the USN. This, he believed, would enable the IJN to defeat the USN in a decisive battle. To that end, a 1907 Imperial Defense Policy called for the construction of eight modern battleships, 20,000 long tons each, and eight modern cruisers, 18,000 long tons each. This was the beginnings of the Eight-Eight Fleet Program – a development program to produce a cohesive battle line of sixteen first-class vessels.
The launch of the HMS Dreadnought in 1906 by the Royal Navy complicated the Japanese plan. Displacing 17,900 tons and armed with ten 12in guns, the Dreadnought outclassed any other battleship in the world at that time. In 1907, the battlecruiser HMS Invincible was launched, which further complicated the Japanese plans. When Japan launched her two new Satsuma class battleships and two Tsukuba class cruisers, they were already outclassed by the British ships. This caused the Japanese to restart the Eight-Eight Fleet Program.
The first ships built for the restarted program were two battleships of the Kawachi class, ordered in 1907 and laid down in 1908. In 1910 the IJN requested the Diet of Japan (similar to Parliament) to secure funding for the entire Eight-Eight Fleet Program. Due to economic restraints, the Navy Ministry cut the plan down to seven battleships and three cruisers. Then the plan was cut once more by the cabinet, and the Eight-Eight Fleet Program became the Japanese Emergency Expansion bill, which authorized the construction of four cruisers (which became the Kongō class), and one battleship (which became the Fusō).
The Fusō and Yamashiro off of the Japanese coast.

The Fusō class Battleship was based heavily on the design of the Kongo class Cruiser, which was considered a battleship equivalent. After their coordination on the Kongo class, the Japanese had access to the latest British project studies in naval architecture. So as to outdo foreign designs, Japanese planners decided that the new battleship should be armed with twelve 14in guns. Vickers files shows that the Japanese actually had access to British designs for double and triple turrets; however, the Japanese decided to build a ship with six double turrets, as opposed to four triple turrets. The final design, designated A-64 by the IJN, called for a 29,000 long ton displacement and twelve 14in guns in six double turrets – two forward, two aft, and two amidships. The design also called for a top speed of 23 knots. It was superior to any United States counterpart in the elements of armor, armament, and speed. This followed the Japanese doctrine of compensating for quantity with superior quality.

Primary Armament
The primary armament of the Fusō class was twelve 14in cannon. Each gun was about 54 feet in length, and weight 85 long tons. The shells used varied during the lifetime of the class. During World War I, Armor-Piercing Type 3 shells were used, each weighing 1,400lbs. In 1925, APC Type 5 shells replaced the Type 3’s, while APC No.6/Type 88 shells replaced these in 1928. During World War II, APC Type 91 shells were used. These weighed 1,485lbs and fired at a muzzle velocity of 2,543 feet per second.
The main guns were mounted in six double turrets, each weighing 615 long tons. Originally the turrets had an elevation capability of -5/+20 degrees. This configuration outclassed all contemporaries of its day, which were armed with either ten 14in or eight 15in guns. However, the location of the third and fourth turrets proved problematic with the design of the class. They were mounted amidships along the centerline, separated by the funnel. This gave them very restricted arcs of fire, and the internal layout of the ships was affected by their location. The shell rooms for each turret had to be separate, which decreased the available space for other machinery, while it also caused trouble with the armor.
The main battery underwent various modifications during the career of the ships. In the first reconstruction, the elevation of the main guns was increased to -5/+43 degrees, giving a maximum range of 20.14 miles. Also the recoil mechanism was changed from a hydraulic to a pneumatic system, which allowed for faster firing.

Secondary Armament
Originally the Fusō class had a secondary armament of sixteen 6in guns, four 3in guns, and six 21in torpedo tubes below the waterline. The 6in guns were mounted in single casemates on the upper deck of the hull, eight guns to a side. They had a horizontal rotation of 130 degrees, and a maximum vertical elevation of +15 degrees. They fired 100lb High Explosive projectiles up to 13.05 miles at about four to six rounds per minute. During the classes reconstruction, the 6in guns maximum elevation was increased to +30 degrees, with the range increasing about 0.56 miles. While the same 6in guns mounted on other Japanese ships were considered to be dual purpose, the restricted elevation on the Fusō class ships made them unsuitable as anti-aircraft weapons.
The 3in guns on the two Fusō class battleships were in single mounts on either side of the forward and aft superstructures, either side of the second funnel, and two other unspecified locations. These guns had a vertical elevation of +75 degrees, and could fire a 13lb projectile vertically at 1500mph, with a maximum ceiling of 24,600ft.
The configuration of the secondary armament changed several times. During the main modernization in the early 1930’s, the two foremost 6in guns were deleted, while all of the 3in guns were replaced with 5in dual-purpose weapons. These weapons could fire High Explosive Anti-Aircraft shells, Shiki Sankaiden (Beehive) incendiary shells, illumination shells, and training shells.
The light anti-aircraft armament of the class changed drastically between 1933 and 1944. During the first reconstruction, the Fusō was fitted with four 13.2mm machine-guns, while the Yamashiro was fitted with eight 25mm twin-mounted automatic cannon. The 13.2mm guns were based on the French Hotchkiss machine-gun, and was a relatively inadequate design. The 25mm AA guns were soon mounted on Fusō in single, double, and triple mounts. They were the standard Japanese light anti-aircraft gun during WWII, but had several problems in the design, making them relatively ineffective. They did not have enough flexibility of movement when in double or triple mounts, were not able to handle fast moving targets, had too much vibration, too small of a magazine, and extreme muzzle blast. The configuration of the 25mm guns notably varied, and by the end of the 1930’s reconstruction, the Fusō class carried eight twin mounts. In 1943, an additional seventeen single and two twin mounts were added for a total of 37 guns. In August of 1944, both ships were given another twenty-three single, six twin, and eight triple mounts to bring the total up to ninety-five anti-aircraft guns.
The Fusō in 1933, running at full speed after her first reconstruction.

When the Fusō class was completed, its armor was normal for its time. It weighed 8,588 long tons, which was about 29% of its total displacement. The main armor belt was 12in thick, while the underwater belt was between 4in and 6in. The class’s horizontal armor was light for its time, ranging between 1.3in and 2in. The turret’s armor was 12in on the face, 8in on the sides, and 4.5in on the roof. The barbettes on the turrets had 8.1in of armor, and the casemates of the 6in guns were covered in 6in of armor. The conning tower was very strong, utilizing variations of Krupp Cemented Armor up to 13.8in thick in some places.
During the reconstruction of the class, the armor was significantly upgraded. The horizontal armor was increased to a maximum thickness of 3.9in, while another .67in was added aft of the conning tower. Torpedo bulges were added to compensate for the extra weight caused by the extra armor (and also to add underwater protection), resulting in an increase in the beam to 14.5ft. A three inch longitudinal bulkhead was also added to improve underwater protection, along with extra plates covering the original hull. Four inches of plating was added to protect the magazines and machinery. All of this additional armor brought the total armor tonnage to 12,199 long tons, about 31% of the ships total displacement. Despite all of these improvements, the class still could not withstand 14in shells.

When it was constructed, the Fusō’s machinery produced more power than its contemporaries which focused on more armor at the cost of speed. During trials, the ships machinery could produce 40,000 shaft horsepower, which gave the class a maximum speed of 22.5 to 23 knots.
The two Fusō class ships were powered by eight double-ended and sixteen single-ended Miyahara-type boilers, which consumed a mixture of coal and oil, and there were also two sets of Brown-Curtis turbines. The original capacity was 4,000 long tons of coal and 1,000 long tons of oil, which gave the ships an 8,000 nautical mile radius of action.
During the modernization of the ships, the Miyahara boilers were replaced with six Kammpon oil-fired boilers, while the Brown-Curtis turbines were replaced with four Kammpon turbines. This change in machinery allowed for an output of 75,000 to 76,889 shaft horsepower, enabled a maximum speed of 25 knots, and allowed for an 11,800 nautical mile radius of action.

There were only two Fusō class ships built, both completed from 1912 to 1917. The first, the Fusō, was constructed at the Kure Naval Arsenal, while the second, Yamashiro, was built at the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal. Two advanced versions of the class had been planned, but their final design differed so much from the original class that they were redesignated as the Ise class.
The Fusō is considered the first modern battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy. When it was completed in 1915, it outclassed all United States Navy counterparts of the New York class in firepower and speed. It was regarded as the best armed battleship in the entire world.
Both ships were extensively modernized during the 1930’s, but were still obsolete at the outbreak of World War II. Due to this fact, both ships were kept near the home waters in the early years of the war, being used as training and transport ships. After Japan lost most of its carrier fleet in 1943, it was proposed to convert both ships into hybrid battleship/carriers. The process was to begin in June 1943, but the plan was cancelled when the two Ise class battleships were converted instead.
The Yamashiro in 1934, after her reconstruction.

The Fusō was laid down by the Kure Kaigun Koshō on March 11, 1912, and was launched on March 28, 1914. It was completed on November 18, 1915. One difference between the Fusō and Yamashiro was that the C-turret on Fusō featured an aircraft catapult, while that of the Yamashiro was located on the stern.
The launching of the Fusō.

It saw no major action during WWI, and had its major modifications between the two World Wars. Even though it was extensively modified, it was still too slow and lightly armored to be of any great use, and both ships of the class were kept in the Inland Sea as a reserve force at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. It did see action before too long.
The Fusō helped in the unsuccessful pursuit of the American task force that launched the Doolittle Raid in April of 1942. It also was a screen for the Aleutian Force during the Battle of Midway in June of that year. It also was able to rescue 353 survivors of the Mutsu when that ship exploded at Hashirajima on June 8, 1943. She also took part in the reinforcement of Truk in August 1943, and the reinforcement of Biak in June 1944. It was planned to convert the Fusō into an aircraft carrier, but this idea went to pieces after the loss of pilots in the Mariana’s.
 In October of 1944, while under the command of Rear Admiral Ban Masami, the Fusō was a part of Admiral Shōji Nishimura’s Southern Force during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. During the Battle of Surigao Strait on October 25, 1944, the Fusō was hit by one or two torpedoes fired by the destroyer USS Melvin, and caught fire, forcing her to leave the action. It has been argued, however, that rather than exploding and breaking in half shortly after this, it merely rolled over and sank with severe loss of life.
It is probable that the Fusō was the largest vessel of any nationality sunk with all hands during World War II. There is evidence that a few survivors were rescued by the destroyer Asagumo, which was sunk as well a short time thereafter. Some of the sailors may have made it ashore, only to be killed by Filipinos. In any event, the Fusō was removed from the Navy List on August 31, 1945.
A line drawing of the Fusō as she appeared in 1944.

The Yamashiro was laid down in the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on November 20, 1913, launched November 3, 1915, and commissioned on March 31, 1917. It was the first Japanese vessel to ever be equipped with aircraft catapults. It was named Yamashiro after the Japanese province where Kyoto is located.
After serving most of World War II in territorial waters, it took place in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October of 1944. During the Battle of Surigao Strait on October 25, she was attacked and sunk by the US Navy, receiving four torpedoes from destroyers and numerous 14” and 16” shells from US Battleships. There were about ten survivors.
A line drawing of the Yamashiro, as she appeared in 1944.

World Naval Ships
World War II Database