War Stories, by Lyle Hansen


Copyright  2002



Section 5





























Although many of the ship’s systems seemed antiquated, (for example, the speaking tubes and sound detectors) I marveled at the huge optical range finder mounted high on the pagoda-style superstructure.  There was also a fantastic binocular spotting scope. The whole assembly was about six feet in length, and when I looked through it at the shoreline I could see people moving about. We were three or four miles away, the day was misty, and only a dim outline of the shore was visible to the naked eye.




                                          View of the Nagato from her foredeck.



Top photo:


Command center.  Note the numerous speaking tubes.        














Lower photo:



Two members of the Nagato’s crew with a telescope.




At left:


The armored range finder high on the Nagato’s superstructure.












US naval officers getting a look at the mechanisms used to rotate the range finder.




Sound detectors mounted on the pagoda one level down from the range finder.



Damaged anti-aircraft gunnery system. Note the P-51 silhouette painted on the stanchion with the notation “350 knts”




Bomb damage to the structure around one of the turrets.  Probably from one of our 500-pounders. There are scuff marks on the turret’s armor, but no penetration.











The lower picture shows damage in the wardroom.  The exit hole was possibly made by a 5-inch rocket which failed to explode.  The entrance hole on the opposite side of the room was at a lower elevation, as though whatever it was may have ricocheted from the surface of the water.  I often wondered if anyone was in the wardroom when it happened.





                Member of the prize crew from the Iowa examines a storage bin of ammunition for the big guns.




       Photographer Davis using a broom to check the water depth at the entrance to a flooded compartment.




                                                                     The baths for multiple bathers




                                                                    Steam cookers in the Nagato’s galley.





                                                                     Coal-burning galley range.


While in the Nagato’s galley, I was surprised to see this coal-fired stove. It seemed another example of how far behind the times this ship seemed in comparison to our own.  As I was preparing the picture for inclusion here I found a detail I hadn’t noticed when the photo was made. In the upper right side there is a figurine, maybe a kitchen god?


On the morning of September 2, Mr. Rogers told us to be ready to go aboard the Missouri to photograph the signing of the surrender.  He went off to arrange for a boat to get us out to it.  He returned a little later, very crestfallen, to tell us that we wouldn’t be allowed on board without white uniforms!  All of us had long since stopped carrying such extras.  It was a big disappointment, but there was nothing to be done about it.  It seemed that a special unit had been flown out from the states to do the photos of this historic event.  (There were also many news media people.) I have some copies of the stills the special unit made, as well as a set of 11x14 prints made from the negatives made by one of the combat photo unit officers who managed to get aboard.   Although the 11x14’s were made from small negatives, (2 ¼ x 3 ¼) they are superior to those done on 4 x 5’s by the unit sent out from the states.  Some of the pictures you may have seen in the history books came from those small negatives.  He used a Kodak Medalist camera.  (End of Section 5.  See Section 6 to continue.)