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Sinking the Supership

Program Overview

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Yamato NOVA investigates the sinking of Japan's Battleship Yamato through historical records, archeological evidence, and eyewitness accounts.

The program:

  • follows an international crew of deep-sea divers and naval historians searching for the remains of the Yamato.

  • reviews the history of the battleship and the role it played as a weapon of war.

  • describes Japan's intent to build a supership twice the size of her competitors and with extreme firepower.

  • notes how the Yamato, which was put into service in 1941, was designed with a bulbous bow intended to reduce the drag of the ship's enormous hull.

  • points out the secrecy under which the Yamato was built.

  • chronicles how the battleship became obsolete when aircraft proved more effective in combat at sea.

  • relates how the Battle of Midway—in which the U.S. Navy defeated Japan in an air assault—sealed the fate of the gunboat as an effective wartime weapon.

  • explains how, until its final fateful engagement, Japan never fully committed the Battleship Yamato to battle for fear of losing a national treasure.

  • recounts Japan's use of kamikaze pilots as a desperate means to destroy American aircraft carriers.

  • details how Japanese commanders sent the Yamato—in what was known to be a suicide mission—to attack American forces.

  • chronicles the Yamato's final battle.

  • recreates how naval historians believe the ship was sunk.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Sinking the Supership
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