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Sandini Sammlung

Imperial Iapanese
Navy Aircraft Carriers
1921-45

Sandini Sammlung

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION 3
JAPANESE CARRIER DEVELOPMENT 3
AIRCRAFT, AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS, AND 5
AIRCRAFT HANDLING FACILITIES

MARK STILLE is a ret ir ed
CARRIER SHIPBOARD WEAPONS 7
c om mande r in the US Navy,
currently working in Naval CARRIER RADAR AND FIGHTER DEFENSE 8
Intelligence. He has had
numerous war games CARRIER NAMES 10
published in the past,
including some concerning
Japanese Aircraft Carriers.
PRE-WAR-BUILT CARRIERS 10
Interested in the navy, in • Hosho
particular the Imperial
• Akagi
Japanese Navy, for most of
his Iif e, he devotes much of
• Kaga
his time to researching the • Ryujo
IJN and the vessels they used. • Soryu dass
• Shokaku dass

THE LIGHT CARRIER CONVERSIONS 21
• Shoho dass
• Hiyo dass
• Ryuho
• Chitose dass

FLEET CARRIER WARTIME CONSTRUCTION 35
• Taiho
• Unryu dass
• Shinano
TONY BRYAN is a freelance
illustrator 01 many years' THE ESCORT CARRIERS 40
experience. He initially
qualified in Engineering and • T aiyo dass
worked for a number of years • Kaiyo
in Military Research and .'
• Shinyo
Development, and has a keen
interest in military hardware -
armor, small arms, aircraft
CONCLUSION 43
and ships. Tony has produced
many illustrations for BIBLIOGRAPHV 44
partworks, magazines and
books, including a number COLOR PLATE COMMENTARV 45
of titles for Osprey's New
Vanguard series.
INDEX 48

Sandini Sammlung

OSPREY
New Vanguard . 109 PUBLISHING

Imperial Japanese
Navy Aircraft Carriers
1921-45
.-

Mark Stille · Illustrated byTony Bryan

Sandini Sammlung

First published in Great Britain in 2005 by Osprey Publishing Author 's note
Midland House, West Way, Botley, Oxlord 0X2 OPH, UK
443 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016, USA Several people have helped in the production 01 this bock, but I would Iike to
E-mail: info@ospreypub lishing.com thank Richard Wolft for his assistance in translating Japanese and reviewing the
text. I wou ld also like to give a special thanks to Tohru Kizu, Editor-in-chief 01
© 2005 Osprey Publishing U d. Ships of tne World magazine, lor his permission to use many photographs from
his magazine that appear in this book.
Ail rights reserved. Apart lram any lair dealing for the purpose 01 private study,
research, crtticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act , 1988, no part 01 this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, Artist 's note
electrical , chem ical, mechanical, optical , photocopying, recording er otherwise,
without the prior wrill en permission 01 the cop yright owner. Inquiries should Readers may care to note that the original paintings Irom which the color plates
be addressed to the Publishers. in this bock were prepared are available fer private sale. Ail reproduction
cop yright whatsoever is retained by the Publishers. All inquiries should be
A CIP catalog record lor this book is available frorn the British Library addressed to:

ISBN 1 84176 853 7 Tony Bryan, 4a Forest View Drive, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 7NZ, UK

Editor: Katherine Venn The Publishers regret that they can enter into no co rrespondence upon this
Design: Melissa Orrom Swan, Oxlord, UK matter.
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Sandini Sammlung

IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY
AIRCRAFT CARRIERS 1921-45

INTRODUCTION

D
uring th e ope ning peri od of the Pacific War, the Imperialjap an ese
Navy possessed th e most powerful carrier force in th e world. By
virtue of a potent co mbina tion of excellent ships, well-design ed
aircraft, and unsurpassed aviators, the Imperi al Navy's carrie r force
recorded astring of victories fro m Hawaii to th e Indian O cean. Even after
th e crus hing defeat at th e battle of Midway injune I 942,jap an ese carrie rs
co n tin ue d to give a goo d accoun t of themse lves during th e fero cious
battles off Gu adalcanal during th e second half of 1942. Only with th e
even tual elim ination of th e last of th eir highl y train ed aircrews were
th e j apanese carrie rs rendered powerl ess to interfere with th e US Navy's
march to th e j apanese homeland.
This book provides a sh ort account of th e 25 carriers th at saw activ e
servi ce in th e Imperial Navy during th e Pacific War. Those ships that
were not co m ple ted are not covere d . Likewise , seaplan e ca rriers are not
discu ssed. The lat e-war co nversio n of two battIeships into hybrid carriers
is left for an o ther volume in th is series .

JAPANESE CARRIER DEVELOPMENT
The Imperi al Navy's aviation program d eveIoped in broad parallel with
those of th e Royal Navy an d th e United Stat es Navy. By 1913, th e
japan ese were impressed enough with th e potential of naval aviatio n
th at a naval transport, Wakamiya Maru, was fitt ed to carry two seaplanes

The Imperial Navy was t he
first naVy to concentrate
carr iers to increase t hei r
striking power. Shown here are
two of the si x ca rr iers used in
the Hawaiian operation . The
ai rc raft in the fo reground are
D3 A dive -bombers. (US Naval
Hi stori cal Center) 3

000 tons. the J ap an ese reali zed th e importa nce of aircraft carrie rs and th e requiremen t for a modern navy to incorpo ra te naval aviat ion. Japanese naval observers suited for fleet air defense. aircraft technology had . but was les s weil Ge rman te rrito ries in China. J apanese carrie r d octri n e was also in flux . th e total carrie r tonnage allowed to th e Im pe rial • avy was 81. The treaty limited new constructio n hip to a displacem ent of 27. th e J apane e asked th eir British ally for technical assistance in developing their naval aviat io n pro gram . During th e war. 'a\)'. The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 greatly affected J apan carrier design and co nstru ction . Between 1921 an d 1923. which also affected shi p design . the ba ttles hi p. th e J apan ese \ . A6Ms are ready to th e wo rld 's leading aviatio n navy. By th e ea rly 1930 . Co nversion of two exi ting capital hips into carriers was permitted and th ese could be up to 33. afte r j ap an 's en try into World The A6M fi g ht e r was a War I. launch during the Hawaiian Th rough their own ex pe rie nce with Wakami)'a Maru and th eir operation. reconnaissance .ere co ntinually scheming to maximize th e utility of th eir allotted tonn e \ rhile also attempting to ma intain n umerical parity of carriers with the U . Accord ingly. (National Archives) observatio n o f th e Royal Navy. nder th e treaty.000 to ns. th e role of its ca rrie rs as p rovidi ng spotting. this meant th at th e j ap an ese were placed in a pos ition of inferi o rity. with the Royal Navy allowed J apan to keep abreast of d evelopmen ts in Here. fro m training and d esign det ails for th e first Japan e carrier to d esign and co ns tructio n of naval airc raft. The Im perial aw fi t . All aspects of naval aviation \ re re adva nced. Un til th e restric tions were lifted in 1936. airc raft fro m Wakamiya M aru took part in th e J apan ese seizure of f ormidab le ai r superiority fi ght er. and anti-submari ne patr ol to the main battle fleet co m posed of the undisputed arbi ters of 4 naval power.000 tons. In 1914. In 1920 . Sandini Sammlung and was used in fleet man euvers. th e Royal Navy m' ion ent to assist the J apanese p ro ved ind ispe nsable in th e d evelopm ent of th e Im perial Navy's carrie r force. as it imposed a lim it on the size and number of aircraft carriers allowed. th e Flee t Programs of both 1918 and 1920 pro vid ed for the co ns tructio n of carriers.000 tons. During th is time . as th e US and Royal Navies were each permirred 135.

o pera tio ns we re dir ected by th e Air Operations Offi cer positi o n ed on a platform on th e rear of th e island . Wh en laun ching aircraft. In April 194 I . as th ey needed less of a flight-deck run to become airborne. space. Th e t orped o-a rm ed B5N was a pot e nt ship-killer. even though it was feared th at massin g th em in a single force would expose th emall to a crip pling attack. all aircra ft servicing. giving them greate r range. "Kate") a n d a very accu ra te carrier di ve-b ornber (the D3A. Un like US a n d Royal 5 . To launch ai rcraft. The Im perial Navy's carrie r force h ad been welded into a weap on of u n p recede n ted pow er. Beca use ca rrie rs were seen to be very vulnerabl e to attack. Allied co de n ame "Ze ke"). The main target of ca rrie r aircraft was n ow d ete rmined to be e nemy ca rrie rs. AND AIRCRAFT HANDLING FACILITIES By th e sta rt of th e Pacific War. As th e importance of carrier co m ba t was recogni zed. th e advocates of co nc e n tration prevailed. th e esse n tial precondition for ca rrie r co m ba t was that th e Imperial Navy strike fir st. th e issue of h ow th e Imperi al Navy's carriers we re to be used was m uc h debated. co mbined to make th e Impe rial Navy's ca r rie rs in to form idab le striking pl a tforms. m eant that Japanese ca rrie rs d id not usually poss ess th e aircraft capacity of US carriers. An A6M cou ld take o ff in a m ere 230 feet in th e right wind conditions. U n like o n US Navy carriers. and by Decembe r of th e same year this force was used to deliver an ambitious pre-emptive a ttac k agains t th e US Pacific Fleet. These aircraft . This acco u n ts for th e great J apan ese e m p h asis o n large ca r rie r air gro u ps com posed of aircraft uniformly lighte r th an th ei r o p ponents. th e First Air Fleet was created. "Val") . th e ca r rie r turned into th e win d a nd ste a med at fu ll speed. th e wo rld's best ca r rier to rpedo aircraft (the B5N . co m b ined wit h well-trained a n d ex perie nced airc re ws a n d deck crews . Lighte r aircraft were spotted forward to tak e off first. a nd the fact that only th e B5N had folding wings.• th ei r survi vabili ty? Eventually. AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS. AIRCRAFT. re fueling. an d (US Naval Historical Center) weapons reloading was done in th e hangar. This practice. Should th ey be massed fo r greater stri king power an d a greater defensive capability. Destruction of th e e nerny's carrier force wo uld th en allow Japanese carrier aircraft to weak en th e e nerny 's battle fleet. Japanese carriers did not maintain a deck park of aircraft. or sho u ld th ey be dispersed to en h ance. h eavier airc ra ft n eeded twice that distance . th e J apanese had six fleet ca r riers in se rvice su p p o rted by three smaller units. Also in service was a world- beating ca r rie r fighte r (the A6M. It w as also The aircraft capacity of J apan ese ca rriers was de te rmi ned by h an ga r us ed in a horizont al bomber rol e. Betwee n 20 a n d 30 seconds were n eeded for each ai rcraft launch . Sandini Sammlung reach ed a p oint where carriers were viewe d as viab le striking pl a tforms in their own right and were give n a n important ro le in th e Impe rial Navy's a ttritio nal strategy th a t re qu ire d ligh t units a nd aircraft to re d uce th e size of th e large r US Fleet before th e d ecisive clash of battlesh ip s took pIace on equ al te rms.

J apanese carriers used aircraft elevators d riven by elec tr ic motors. Given th e lighter weights ofJapan ese aircraft spotted further aft. O nce aboard. Sandini Sammlung Navy ca rriers. The sides of J apanese carrier hangars were designed to vent the force of a bomb exploding on the bangar deck outwards instead of upwards.000lb aircraft in abo ut 130 fee t. all locat ed on th e sh ip's ce n te rline (o r just off ce n te rline). . On fleet carrie rs. T h is pro tected any aircraft parked on the forwa rd part of the d eck from an aircraft th at failed to ca tch o ne of the arresting wires. Japanese aircraft elevators were large r th an th ose o n carrie rs of the US and Royal Navies. as the result of a bomb hit on the hangar deck was a ruptured fligh t deck. In practice.Japanese fleet carriers had u p to nine arresting wires placed in the rear portion of the flight d eck. Japanese ca rrie rs were never equip pe d with catap ults to Shokaku ready to launch a strike during the battle of Santa Cruz. as was th e flight deck. which could render the flight deck useless. eac h usually be tween 13 and 16ft tall and placed one above th e o ther. ai rcraft had to be moved quickly d own to the han gar deck for maintenan ce . Most fleet carriers fea tured two han gars. By the start of the Pacific War. Outboard of the hangars were areas dedicated to aircraft ma in te nance. th us forward with the heavier strike allowing larger strikes to be flown. Only th e in troduction of two late-war 6 carriers with arrnored fligh t decks addressed this key vulnerability. the opposite freq uently occurred. th ere were usually three elevato rs. Fo rward of the arresting wires was a cras h barri er. T hough it was not stabilized to compensate for the moverne nt of the ship in a heavy sea. it proved successfu l an d was use d th rough out the war. Because mostJapanese aircraft d id n o t have foldin g wings. J ap an ese pilo ts were not guide d down to th e sh ip's d eck with the assistance of a landing signa ls officer. as was th e case for America n and British ca rrier pil o ts. th e lack of ca tap ults did not affe ct operati ons until IUS Naval Historical Center) lat er in th e war. Hanga rs on J apanese carrie rs were un arrnored. assist in airc raft launching. whe n heavier aircraft began to en te r servi ce. carriers were eq uipped with the Kure Type 4 arresting system tha t used an eleetric engine and co uld stop an 8. early-war aircraft. Use of cata pults would hav e allow ed a greate r The A6M fighters are spotted number of airc raft to be ran ged o n the flight d eck for launch. This design flaw was apparent throughout the war. T his innovation greatly speeded u p aircraft recovery. an d re arming. A proficie nt Japan ese carrier co uld recove r a n aircraft every 25-45 seconds. refueling. J ap an ese carriers were equ ip pe d with a system of ap proach ligh ts that assisted th e pilo t in j udging h is angle of approach. th e size i\nd placem ent of elevators was a key factor in aircraft handling.

In addition to the 96 25mm guns. CARRIER SHIPBOARD WEAPONS As the Pacific War developed. creating possible leaks. the vulnerability of Japanese ships to air attack increased and proved a decisive weakness as the war progressed. Sandini Sammlung Japanese aircraft carriers This faulty hangar design was worsened by the fa~! that hangars were received large numbers of not flash or vapor tight. as used with great effectiveness by the US Navy againstJapanese aircraft. the potential for disaster was obvious. Two primary guns were mounted on Japanese carriers for air defense. the Japanese greatly augmented the anti-aircraft protection of their surface ships. Japanese carriers used anti-aircraft guns as the war intake and exhaust fans. It was a respectable weapon and was used on a variety of other surface ships and also as a coast defense gun in both anti-aircraft and anti-surface roles. in spite of the increased number of guns onboard the carriers. but was still faulty hangar design. combined with the design flaw of enclosed hangars and a vulnerable fuel system. Fuel tanks were part of the air attack. damage control was not given proper priority. shown here under attack during the battle of danger that the Japanese planned to combat with a foam spray system Leyte Gulf. To ventilate the hangar. but its fire-eontrol system. Combined with the inability to vent these fumes from the hangar. Compounding this was the fact that the Japanese never developed any sort of proximity fuse. Organizationally. However. The primary heavy anti-aircraft gun was the Type 89 Sin/4ü-caliber dual mount that was successfully tested for fleet use in 1931. In response. To make things worse. 7 . These factors. which meant that shocks to the hull were also Ce nter) absorbed by the tanks. aviation fuel handling arrangements on Japanese overwhelmed and sunk by carriers were dangerously inadequate. was equipped w ith using rows of pipes and nozzles on the hangar walls. Fires on the hangar deck were an obvious progressed. meant thatJapanese carriers could be characterized as ships with great striking power but with limited ability to take damage. carriers included. The Type 94 fire-eontrol director was very reliant on manual inputs and control and thus was generally unsuited for tracking fast targets. (US Nava l Historical structure of the ship. Zuikaku . the Imperial Navy was increasingly exposed to air attack. The weakness of this weapon was not its performance. damage-control training on Imperial Navy ships was generally poor.

Th e 25 m m gu n was a n ad aptation of a Fre nc h H otchkiss d esign . the Im p e rial avy's seleetio n of its ligh t an ti-aircraft gu n proved to be a disaster. muzzle flash . it was a wea po n with a relatively low rate o f fire a n d which used a proj ectil e with in suffi cient hitting power to d est ro y in creasingly rugged Am eri can airc raft. . H oweve r. the tripIe m ount versio n e n te re d se rvice in 1941 a n d was foll owed by a single gu n m ount. Though it had a n ominal rate of fir e of 200-260 rounds p er minute . Th e lack of effective an ti-aircraft p rotecti on an d a fau lty d octrine for the use of escorting shi ps in defen di ng the ca rriers m ean t that the b est h ope fo r su rvival of a ca rrie r u nde r air attack was usu ally th e m aneuve ring skill of its ca ptain. In itially. in service. a n d recoil o f th e Type 96 gu n was co ns idered.075yds/30 . Japanese a nti-aircraft gu n nery was generally in accurate. th e Type 95 p ro ved unabl e to track m odern airc ra ft.040ft ma~ ceiling " Rate of fire: 200-260 rounds per rninute (per gun) CARRIER RADAR AND FIGHTER D EFEN S E T he Imperial Na vy's ra dar p rogram was far less developed th an th at of the Allies. Un fortu nate ly fo r th e Impe rial Navy. the Type 96 was in trod uced as a do u ble mou n t. Sandini Sammlung TYPE 89 ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUN Size: 5in Shell weight: 511b Muzzle velocity : 2379ft per second Max elevation: +90 to -8 degrees Max range: 16. th e lack of effec tive radar was devastating to J apanese 8 aircraft carriers.970ft max ceiling Rate of fire: 8 rounds per minute As undistingu ished as the Type 89 proved to be in se rvice.10 degrees I Max range: 8. Ad d itio nally. an d when the excessive smoke. T he ta rdy introd uc tio n of ra dar a nd its in effective use was perhaps the single biggest wea kness of the Im pe rial avy d uring the Pacific War. th e re loa d system th at re qu ired ceasin g fir e wh en a 15-round clip was ex haus te d reduced th e ac tual ra te o f fir e to a p proximate ly 130 ro u n ds p er m inute. TYPE 96 ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUN (TRIPLE MOUNT) Size: 25mm Shell weight: . While th e use of radar greatly strengthened the air defense of America n sh ips.' 2953ft per second Max elevation: +85 to . The Type 96 co u ld be co n trolled m anually o r by the Type 95 director. whi ch was co ns idered sta te of th e art when it was in trod uced in 1936.200yds/18 . T he sta n dard ligh t an ti-airc raft gu n of the Pacific War was th e Type 96 25mm . th e wea pon h ad a slow training an d eleva ting speed.61b Muzzle velocity: .

with the ability to detect a group of aircraft at approximately 60 miles and a single aircraft at about 45 miles. IUS Naval received radar late in the war (the first carrier to receive radar was Shokaku Historical Cen ter) in 1942 when the ship received the Type 21 radar). This made the task of controlling defending fighters very difficult.000 were built. it was mounted atop the island. including carriers. At was gained. with the capability to detect a group of aircraft at 60 mi les and a single aircraft at 30 mi les. air defense was accomplished by conducting standing patrols. the first carrier did not receive any radar until after the disastrous battle of Midway. Even when carriers Midway to 27 aircraft. and the Type 13 is mounted on the mainmast aft of the stack. The first radar introduced was the Type 21. The Type 13 anti-aircraft radar was mounted on many Japanese ships. Sandini Sammlung No Japanese carrier or any other ship began the war fitted with radar. In the early war period. but lo n g. With no radar. These aircraft were usually divided into a nine- aircraft division to accompany outgoing strike aircraft and another nine-aircraft division to provide air defense for the ship and its escorts. Junyo was equipped with both Type 21 and Type 13 radar. Two primary types of radar were used on J apanese carriers. Imperial Navy fleet carriers embarked a fighter squadron with 18 aircraft. IUS Naval Historical Center) 9 . however. only a few Each Imperial Navy fleet carrier aircraft (usually a seetion of three) wou ld be airborne at any time. on other ships it was p laced on the flight-deck edge and the control room and radar antenna were lowe red flush with the flight deck when aircraft operations were under way. The Type 21 is the ma ttress sp ring ant enna forward of t he st ac k. Adding further difficulty to the fighter defense problem the start of the war. with carried a dedicated fi ght er un it the remaining aircraft standing by to be scrambled if adequate warning equ ipped w ith A6M aircraft. Th is was the inferior quality of Japanese aircraft radios which made it was increased after t he battle of virtually impossible to control aircraft already airborne. and was mounted on the mainmast or radio masts of carriers. On carriers with an island. Performance was similar to the Type 21. as approximately 1. Performance was mediocre. the Japanese were never able to maximize their fighter assets by integrating all incoming information into what the US Navy called a Combat Information Center. a fighter unit was assigned 18 aircraft. The Type 13 was light. However.

they PRE -WAR-B U I LT CARRIERS were swiveled 90 degrees parallel with the flight deck. The most obvious modification occurred earl y in Hoshds career. As completed . This was later reduced to 11 as aircraft got larger. When flight operations were being conducted. The widened and lengthened flight deck is evident and now extends weil over the sh ip 's bow and stern. Hoshowas relegated to seco ndary duties in horne waters and was therefore only slightly modified. (Shlps of the Wor/d) . The three small stacks in to carriers and retained their original names. small island. A small starboard-side island was found to impede aircraft operations on suc h a narrow deck and was removed. Hosho was laid down as a mixed seaplane carrier/aircraft ca rrie r employing both seaplanes and deck-Iaunched aircraft. only 21 aircraft could be carried.hangar. (Ships of the Wor/d) Hosho (Flying Phoenix) Design and Construction. are shown in their normal position. The landing-light sys tem can be seen on both sides of the stern. Sandini Sammlung Hosho on its speed trials in CARRIER NAMES November 1922. During the Pacific War. She was launched in November 1921 and commissioned into service in December 1922. Service Modifications. Hosho in October 1945 after its surrender. but these were ships that were converted unsuccessful in service and was removed. The fligh t dec k was length ened and widened in 1944 to facilitate its ro le as a traini ng carrier. The Im perial Navy's first carrier was not th e first ship to be designed as a carrier from the keel up. the ship was equipped with a J apanese carriers were given poetic names based on flying creatures. With a narrow beam and a 300ft hangar. Navigation was now accomplished from two platforms mounted on either side of the forward edge of the. as is often stated. The ship was modified during construction and was completed as a full-deck aircraft carrier based on a light cruiser hull. Camouflage of both the hu ll and the f1ight deck can be fai nt ly 10 made out. but it proved There were several exceptions.

After its expe rie nce with Hosho. In 1923. The th e opening of the Pacific War in 1941 . Of marginal usefulness by on the middle flight deck. an d eigh t 25 mm AA guns were fitt ed. Afterwards. Th e number of 25mm gu ns was in cr eased to 30 by 1944. conversion began on battlecruiser A kagi. Du rin g th e Sin o-Jap an ese War of 1937-40. Sandini Sammlung View from the forecastle of Hosho after it s surrender. only six 25mm gu ns remained. HIJMS (HIS IMPERIAL JAPANESE MAJESTY'S SHIP) HOSHO Displacement: 7. As a resu lt of th e Washington Naval Treaty. (US Naval Historical Center) Ar mament.680nm Crew: 550 Akag. an d th e ship was eq uip ped for defense primarily against surface attack. four 5.470 tons Dimensions : Length 579ft (1944) Beam 59ft Draft 20ft Maximum speed : 25kts Radius: 8. th e Imperial Navy decided it needed carriers with a larger aircraft ca pac ity that had th e speed to operate with th e fleet. Wh en surre ndere d in 1945. Hosho returned to the Wor/cI) th e Inl and Sea and was used as a tr aining carrier for th e remainder of th e war. (Red Castle . th ese were removed at th e sta rt of the war.5in gu ns were mounted outboard of the hangar and two 3in AA guns were positioned on th e flight d eck. on ly th e 3in gu ns rem ained. Their large hulls and high speed made th em ideal platforms for conversion into carriers. (Ships of esco rt to th e battleship-heavy Main Body. littl e co nside ratio n was given to anti-aircraft defense . showing the narrowness of the flight deck and the general light standard of construction. Hosho inst all at i on of the two Bin turrets was active in operations off th e China co ast. Wh at emerge d 11 . Acco rd ingly. Wh en co m plete d in 1922 . Hosho was em ployed in a few difficulty of flying aircraft off the lower two flight decks can m inor operations before sh e participat ed in the battle of Midwa y as an be easily imagined. Akagi in 1929 just after the Operational Hi story. a number of incomplete battlecruisers were slated for scrapping. As war neared.an extinct volcano in the Kanto area near Tokyo) Design and Construction . Ho sho su rvived th e war an d was used fo r repat riation duties before being scra p pe d in 1947.

Akagi maintained this configuration until her lass in 1942. (US Naval Historical Center) 12 . Akagi served as the flagship of the First Air Fleet and led the Imperial Navy's carrier fleet during the war's first six months. Akagi's multi-level flight-deck arrangement proved impractical and she was removed from service in 1937 for modernization. after the 1937-38 reconstruction Akagi still retained six 8in guns mounted in casemates. Rabaul. This arrangement allowed 60 aircraft to be carried.1942 American dive-bombers from USS Enterprise caught Akagi with fully fueled and armed aircraft on its deck. Hit by two bombs. each had its own flying platform forward. At Midway. a common design feature on most subsequentJapanese carriers. Not surprisingly. Akagi in 1939 after modernization. the Dutch East Indies. During this time . they were virtually unusable in any kind ofsea. and Ceylon. Completed with a total of ten 8in guns. A sm all island was also added. The formerly complex stack arrangement was reduced to a single downward-facing stack on the starboard side. There were two hangars. This was extensive and saw the removal of the two lower flight decks and the lengthening of the main flight deck to 817ft. Operational History. Sandini Sammlung in 1927 demonstrated the evolving nature of Japanese carrier design. onJune 4. Akagi and its elite air group devastated Allied forces at Pearl Harbor. The hangars were also lengthened (aircraft capacity being increased to 66 plus 15 reserves) and a third elevator was added. the resulting fires raged out of control and resulted in the ship being scuttled the following day. Armament. No radar was ever fitted.7in anti- aircraft guns in dual mounts (Akagi was the only fleet carrier not to receive the newer Type 89 5in anti-aircraft guns) and 14 twin 25mm guns. Service Modifications. The wartime exploits of Akagi made her the most farnaus Japanese carrier. Placed low to the water. Akagi possessed a flight deck of 632ft but no island. Port Darwin. Anti-aircraft protection was strengthened and now totaled 12 4.

After just over four years in se rvice. Kaga received a ne w lease o n life when the (torpedo). the same number of aircraft spotted forward on Akagi before the start of the war. 27 B5N attack planes. only 27. th e multi-le vel flight-de ck arran gement proved impractical. This work ac tua lly occ u rre d before A kagi' s a nd was eve n mo re ex te ns ive. a third elevat or and a small island were ad ded and th e former sta ck syste m was reduced to a single downward-facin g stack. Becau se here are several fighters th e hangars were exte nde d and were wider. 1942. was dam aged was assigned 18 A6M fighters. Armament. one attack Washington Naval Trea ty. As with A kagi. Note the large Rising Sun placed on the forward part of the flight deck for the Midway operation. Kaga was substituted and work began in late 18 D3A dive-bombers. Kaga's original armament was sim ilar to th at of Ak agi but was signifi cantly upgraded during its 1934-35 mod emization. Earmarke d for scrapping u nde r th e one dive-bomber. Airc raft capacity was in cr eased to 72 plus 18 reserves. th e lar ger beam and less powerful side island makes the ship ma chine ry o n Kaga result ed in a slower speed th an any o ther Imperial easily recognizable. and one fighter. (US Naval Historical Center) 13 . Sandini Sammlung Japanese fleet carriers Kaga (a former province of Japan ) embarked three squadrons: Design and Construction. Akagi's air unit battlecruiser A magi. The two lower flight d ecks were removed and th e main flight d eck rebuilt so that it extende d up to the bow for a total of815ft.5 kn ots. Historical Center) Service Modifications. The carrier Akagi under attack by US B-17 bombers on June 4. At the start of the war. Kaga returned to se rvice in mid-1 935 and re taine d this co nfiguratio n until its loss. Though th e hull of th e battleship was over 60ft shorter than A kagts. Howe ver. earlier slated for co nversio n to a carrier. The hull was lengthened 34ft and underwater protection in cr eased. The port co uld be carried as on A kagi. As with Akagi. (US Naval Navy fleet carrier. in the 1923 Tokyo eart hqua ke. Kaga re tu rned to th e yards für a majo r reconstructio n. and 1923. Shown upon com pletio n Kaga possessed th e sam e ge ne ra l layout as Akagi.

With this remaining tonnage. Kaga formed the Imperial Navy's Carrier Division 1. the elite unit of the First Air Fleet. Kaga did not carry radar. it was determined that such a small air group would not be effective.000 tons remained for additional carriers under the Washington Treaty. Originally it was to be an 8. but all were mounted in casemates only 15ft Kaga in 1936 after above the waterline. Kaga's wartime exploits were similar to Akagi's except that Kaga missed the expedition into the Indian Ocean in April 1942 because of a grounding incident in February 1942. weil over treaty restrictions. and the removal 14 of two of the six Type 89 mounts. clearly not the case by 1941). A total of 30 25mm AA guns were also fitted in twin mounts. Together with Akagi. Operational History.000 tons were exempted from calculations. The resulting design resulted in a ship of some 12. The resulting fires could not be brought under control and she sank the same day. Sandini Sammlung retained its ten 8in guns. After a year in service. HIJMS KAGA (AFTER 1935 RECONSTRUCTION) Ryujo (Heavenly Dragon ) Design and Construction. Ryujo was returned to the yards in August 1934 to address stability problems. 1942. each with a useful number of aircraft and the speed to operate with the fleet. the Imperial Navy wanted as many ships as possible. However.500 tons. Anti-aircraft protection surpassed that of Akagi and included eight Type 89 dual mounts. Ryujo was designed to make use of this exemption. These were largely corrected by the addition oflarger bulges. more ballast. carriers under 10. Repaired on time for the Midway operation. so a second hangar deck was added which brought aircraft capacity up to 48. (US Naval Historical Cen ter) an 8in gun on a carrier had any utility at all. additional . Service Modifications. only 30. Under the Washington Treaty. Kaga was struck by four bombs from American dive-bombers from USS Enterprise on June 4.000-ton ship carrying 24 aircraft in a single hangar. drastically reducing their effectiveness (assuming modernization. before construction was begun. After the construction of Akagi and Kaga. After re-entering ervice.

Kaga Draft 23ft carried 18 A6M f ighters. She epi tomized Japanese carrier design philosophy with a relatively large aircraft capacity on a fast.7mm machine guns. Soryu has the distinction of being the firstJapanese fleet carrier designed as such from the keel up. Laid down in 1934.600 tons Kaga en route to Pearl Harbor Dimensions: Length 590ft in December 1941. 15 .Flying Dragon) Design and Construction. Committed to cou nter the American seizure of Guadalcanal in August 1942. th us avoiding the d isastrous de feat inflicted on the Im perial Navy's main carrier force. mostly on secondary operations. Ryujo's aircraft covered the landings in the Philippines in December 1941 and later the invasion ofJava in Feb ruary 1942. but was assigned to the Aleutians diversionary attack. the machine guns had been replaced with 22 25mm guns in a mix of double and tri pie mounts. the ship was completed in 1937. Two of the Type 89s were removed in Ryujo's first refit. Despite its limitations.. Ryujo was subjected to attack by aircraft from USS Saratoga during the battle of the Eastern Solomons and was quickly destroyed by four bombs and one torpedo. as is the forecastle to prevent shipping water in heavy seas. Ryujo entered service with a heavy armament including six Type 89 mounts and 24 12. O p erational Hi stor y.tlaximums pf3ed: 29kt~ dive-bombers and 27 B5N Radius: . (Ships of th e World) Armament.OOOnm attack aircraft. battleship hu ll form . 27 D3A tI. Sandini Sammlung Kaga pictured before the start of problems were found. Ryujo again the war. HIJMS RYUJO (AFTER 1936 RE FIT) Disp lacement: 10. No radar was fitted before the ship was lost. again related to the ship's stability.Deep Blue Dragon. Two hangars were provided. The ship was also part of the Imperial Navy's Indian Ocean raid in April 1942. light hull. Ryujo was employed extensively during the initial period of the Pacific War.. (US Naval ·C rew : 924 Historical Center) Soryu class (Soryu . Soryu served as a template for the remainder of the Imperial Navy's fleet carrier designs. With some modification. The small size of the entered the yard in May 1936 to have an additional deck built on her is land is evident. 10. She was also present at the battle of Midway.68ft Hawaiian operation. For the Beam . By the outbreak of the Pacific War. and Hiryu .

(US Naval 16 Historical Center) . small elevators. ~ . Armament... and -. rectifying one of th e design defects on Soryu. .. Bot h carried six Type 89 mounts. but it was still inadequate against attack by aircraft bombs... Servi ce Modifications. .. it proved a failure in service because of th e generation of dangerous wind currents aft of th e island and th e fact that the placement of th e island adv ersely affected aircraft recovery and parking space.. combined with a high bearn-to-wat erline ratio. Though designed to carry 48 aircraft. and a small is evident. ~ . At the battle of the Eastem Solomons. Both ships proved very satisfactory in servic e and neither saw any significant modification during their relatively short service lives. Powerful machine ry instability. so me important improvem ents were made.. in service many fewer were embarked. A total of 57 aircraft wer e carried with another 16 in reserve. . Of note. . . . Like the portside island on A kagi. . .--. Hiryu's one Type 89 mount and three 25mm mounts aft of th e stacks on the starboard sid e were provided with full shields. to correct stability problems. Additional armor was also fitt ed. another design feature Ryujo under way in September repeat ed on carriers with downward-venting stac ks.. were carried. Th e hull was stre ng thene d and th e beam increased for added stability. This expe rimen t was never repeated after the completion of Hiryu. or)'u carried 14 double mounts while Hiryu carried a mix of seven tripIe mounts and five twin mounts. -~ .... - . No a rmamen t was 1938 after its second major refit ad d ed before th eir loss and neith er ship carried radar.. Exhaust gases were vented trials in April 1933.. The weapons fit on both ships was sim ilar.. The sh ip's small flight deck. unfavorable elevator placement made aircraft operations difficult and greatly reduced the sh ip 's effectiveness. (Ships of the World) and a cru iser-type hull .. . only 24 A6Ms and nine B5Ns . Short- range anti-aircraft protection was provided by a mix of double and tripie 25mm mounts.. With an extra 1.400 tons in displacement. Th e single biggest difference between the two ships was th e portside island mounted am idsh ips on Hi ryu. . three on each sid e just below th e flight de ck. The low freeboard in the forecastle area through two downward-venting stacks on the starboard side.. gave a very high speed.. but proteetion over machinery and magazine spa ces was en tirely inadequate.. as is the potential for island was built weil forward on th e starboard side. Hiryu was a near siste r of Soryü and was laid down in 1936 to an improved d esign . . Sandini Sammlung giving the Soryu the capacity to operate 63 aircraft with another eight in Ryujo pictured on its full speed reserve. -. Three aircraft: elevators were carried.

17 . th e ship could not be saved and sh e sank the next da y.670nm) C rew : 1. Sandini Sammlung Soryu projecting an image of Operational History. high speed. Australia. and Zuikaku - Lucky Crane) Design and Cons tr uction. Later onJune 4. and the dass can be easil y co nside re d th e most successful J apanese carrie r design. HIJMS SORYU Displacement: 15. Carrier Division 2 took part in th e J ap an ese raid into th e Indian Ocean. The succe ss of the design was evidenced throughout an eve ntful wartim e career.101 Shokaku class (Shokaku . d etached to su p po rt th e invasion of Wake Island in De cember 1941. Although initially able to maintain power and fight th e resulting fire s. Both ships met their end in the battle ofMidway. striking Co lombo and Trineomalee in Ceylon. These eventually resulted in th e loss of Yorktown.680nm (Hiry u 7. Soryu's Both participated in th e Pearl Harbor operation and then were a ir un it included 18 A6M f ighters. Sh e sank th e same day with a heavy loss of life. Soryu was caught by US Navy dive-bombers on the morning ofJune 4 and was hit by three bombs fro m USS Yorktown aircraft. The two ships form ed th e First Air Fleet's Carrier speed and power du ring sea Division 2 and saw extensive servi ce before th eir loss early in the war.Flying Crane. resulting in four hits. both su p po rted th e (Ship s of th e World) invasion of th e Dutch East Indies and participated in th e d evastating attac k o n Port Darwin.300 tons) Dimensions: Length 746ft Beam 70ft (Hiry u 73ft) Draft 25ft Maximum speed: 34kts Radius: 7. trials in January 1938. In ApJiI 1942. th e Imperial Navy was free to d esign its first fleet carrier without restriction. With th e expira tio n of the Washington Nava l Tre aty in December 1936. The Japanese desire for a ship with a high aircraft capacity. and 18 BSN attack a ircraft. Hiryu was attacked by dive-bombers from USS Enterprise. 18 D3A d ive -bombers. The ship was soon abl aze as th e fire spread fro m fu eled and armed aircraft an d after only 20 minutes following th e attac k th e ship was aband o ned . The Shokaku dass was su pe rio r to all its foreign co n te m p ora ries and was not surpassed until the introducti on of th e US avy's Essex dass in 1943. Operating with th e rest of th e First Air Fleet. a superior radius of action and good protection was realized in the Shokaku dass wh ich was laid down in 1937 and en te re d service just in tim e to be included in the Pearl Harbor operati on. Hiryu escaped th e initial attack and immediately retaliated against th e American carriers with torpedo and dive-bomber strikes.900 tons (Hiryu 17.

Zuikaku h ad the capacity of its fuel tanks reduced and concrete blisters fitted for added protection. (US Naval the most powerful machinery ever on an Im perial Navy ship an d a new Historical Center) bulbous bow that reduced underwater drag. the ships retained a very high speed. Hiryu's air unit launched two strikes on US carriers and suffered heavy losses. Losses to the aircrew of the other thrae carriers' air un its were not heavy. two han gars were p rovided. During the battle. 18 (US Naval Historical Center) . Unlike o n earlier carriers. In spite of thi s increased ship carried an identical air unit to Soryu: 54 aircraft in three size. on Zuikaku. due to an aviation fue l fire. Both received Type 21 radar that was moun ted o n the island. A small island was place d forward on th e starboard side.5 00 tons heavier. After Shokaku was lost at th e battle of th e Phi lippine Sea . the island director was Hiryu under attack at the battle of M idway. The longe r and ap proximately 8. Service Modifications. a smaller antenna was used wh ich allowe d the radar to be placed o n to p of the Type 94 fire -control director. This was due to th e fitting of equal squadrons. despite popular belief. which gave an aircraft: ca pacity of 72 with room for another 12 spa re airc raft. Sandini Sammlung The dass was esse n tially an upgrad ed H iryu. neither ship received a major refit. Three elevators were installed. in fact Shokaku was the first carrier to receive thi s equipmen t. these reserve aircraft were n o t sto re d in astate of disassembly and could be readied fo r operation in a short time. On Shokaku. During their very eve ntful service lives. As with the Soryu dass. being alm ost 100ft Hiryu on trials in April 1939.

1942 after the ship had been abandoned. A total of eigh t Type 89 mounts and four Type 94 fire-eontrol systems were fitted. ByJuly 1943 . The bomb hits forward have thrown part of the forward elevator against the port-side Island. 26 more single mounts were ad de d for a total of 96. In exchange. Zuikaku received a second Type 21. This resulted in th e first carrier action in hist ory in May 1942 in th e Coral Sea. Together. Fires are still burning in the aft part of the ship. Before Zuikakus final action . received add itional protection after th e battl e of th e Philippine Sea. In June 1942.7in ro cket launch ers for short-range anti-aircraft d efense. Aircraft from th e j apanese carrie rs san k th e carrier USS Lexington and damaged USS Yorktoum. exce pt Midway. placed on th e portside aft area of th e flight d eck. With Shokaku under repair and Zu ikaku' s air group unfit for action . th e Im perial Navy's two most mod em carriers missed th e fateful battle of Midway. The Shokaku dass carried a heavy anti-aircraft suite. Armament. Zu ikaku joined Shokaku in O ctob er 1941 to form Carrier Division 5 of th e First Air Fleet. Foll owin g th e fiasco at Midway. T hese weapons were designed to deter dive-bomber attack as th ey had a vertical range of only 3. The sho rt-ra nge an ti-aircraft fit was con tin ua lly in creased throughout th e war. where th e Americans had landed at Gu ad alcanal in the Solomon Islands. Wh en co mmissioned. and at th e condusion of th e battl e only 39 aircraft: remained from both carriers. Both were presen t during the Pearl Harbor attack and th en in raids on A1lied forces in New Guinea and Rabaul. Sandini Sammlung Hiryu taken by an aircraft from Hosho on June 5 . whe re th e rwo sisters acquitted th em selves weIl. The two ships were next assigne d to cover th e J ap an ese invasion of Port Moresby in New Guinea. (Ships of the World) removed and a Type 21 mounted in its place. ten were portable mounts positioned on th e fligh t deck during periods of no flight op erations. In th e first major a tte m pt by th e J ap an ese to 19 . both would parti cip ate in every carrier action of the Pacific War. In 1944 . another four tripIe mounts were added. Shokaku was hit by three bombs. each ship carri ed 12 25mm tripI e mounts. she received six 28-barrel 4. Zuikaku. Opera tional His to ry. two forward and two aft. th ey proved of questionable value. Both ships also re ceived a Type 13 radar mounted on th e mainmast. In service. their next op eration was the April 1942 Indian Oc ean raid.300ft. another two tripI e mounts were added with ano ther 16 singl e mounts for a total of70 guns. th e Imperial Navy's atten tio n turned to th e South Pacific. Of th ese. Having missed the First Air Fleet 's attack against Port Darwin and th e East Indies.

272 crewmen. Enterprise. The resulting clash. Shokaku was hit by four to rp edoes fro m th e submarine USS Cavalla. th e wat er rea ch ed the forwa rd eleva tor weil and poured in to the hanga rs. the composition of the ship 's air unit was altered. The sh ip qui ckly Zuikaku after completion in upended and plunged in to the depths with a loss of 1. in fact. led by Shokaku and Zu ikaku. n early sinking he r. was th e largest carrier battle in histo ry. Aseries of J apanese carrier air stri kes on June 19 were shatte re d by strong Ameriean defenses. th e J ap an ese san k carrier USS Hornet and damaged Enterprise. the number of attack aircraft Wh en Zuikaku returned to service in Augu st 1944. th e Imperi al was reduced to 18. next day. three bombs damaged air group of 18 A6M fighters. After h ours of flooding. After Midway. In Historical Center) 20 . Again . decisive victo ry th ey were see king. On th e same da y. This 27 D3A dive-bombers. Shokaku took th e brunt of th e (US Naval Historical Center) dam age. insid e j ap an 's inner defense zone. the Imperial Navy husbanded its ca rrier force in preparation for a decisive battle. the ship had an light damage from bomb fragm ents. Repairs to th e heavily damaged Shokaku prevented th e ship from returning to servic e until March 1943. This ca me in June 1944 when the Am ericans landed o n Saipan in th e Marianas. When commissioned. The September 1941. No t until O etober would th ere be anoth er carrie r battl e. Sandini Sammlung reinforce th e island. th e battl e of th e Philippine Sea. As th e cre w gathered on th e aft porti on of th e flight deck to prepare to aba n don sh ip . the J ap an ese carrier force was subjected to carrier air attac k. suffe ring August 1941. all in th e fo rward are a of the sh ip. The number of and Zuikaku was jnoderately damaged by o ne bomb th at penetrated th e fighters was increased to 27 and fligh t deck and started a fire in th e hangar. and time the result was more favorabl e to th e Japan ese. In return. taking six bomb hi ts. (US Naval Navy's carrier fleet was a hollow force with few ex pe rie nced aircrew. th e two sisters again eng age d US carrie rs on Shokaku after completion in August 24. th e bow was subme rged to th e point where th e sea wash ed over th e flight deck. Shokaku was h it again . The Imperial Navy reaeted with th e sortie of a nine-earrier force. th eir decisive defeat resulted in th e virtual en d of th e Imperi al Navy's carrier force . 1942 in an in conclusive clash. In exchange. but was not th e 27 BSN attack aircraft. During 1943 and th e first h alf of 1944. The battl e did n ot turn out as th e Japanese had planned.

took only a yea r and was completed in January 1942. During part of a decoy force intended to draw the attention of the US carrie r this ~ngagement. but the second was never completed as a submarine tender. navigation being accomplished from a position forward of the hangar.700nm Crew: 1. the Imperial Navy created a shadow fleet of merchant ships and auxiliaries designed to be easily converted into carriers during war. Shoho received no modifications during its short service Iife. 21 . being attacked and sunk by air the ship took on so much water attack after receiving seven torpedo and nine bomb hits. No armor was fitted. No island was fitted. Shokaku was fleet while the Im perial Navy's remaining surface forces struck the severely damaged by three bomb hits. that it nearly capsized. 25 . En route to Japan at high Am erican landing on the island of Leyte in the Philippines. The first result of the program was a dass of two ships laid d own in 1934-35 originally as high-speed oi lers. The original diesels were removed and replaced by destroyer turbines. Zuikaku was deployed as battle of the Coral Sea. (US Naval Historical Center) HIJMS SHOKAKU Displacement: 26. Service Modifications.675 tons Dimensions: Length 845ft Beam 85ft Draft 29ft Maximum speed: 34kts Radius: 9. Both were to have their hulls strengthened to facilitate co nversion to ligh t carriers. Shoho.Happy Phoen ix . During the I930s. Conversion of the second ship. The first joined the fleet as such in 1939. When completed. conversion of the second ship into a carrier commenced inJanuary 1940. Zuiho became a template for other auxiliary-to- carrier conversions to follow.800 THE LIGHT CARRIER CONVERSIONS Shoho class (Shoho . and Z u iho . Zuikaku fu lfilled her final mission. The flight deck was fitted over the existing structure and two elevators served a single hangar deck that could hold 30 aircraft.Lucky Phoenix) Design and Construction. With war douds looming. Sandini Sammlung Shokaku under attack during the its final action during the battle of Leyte Gu lf. This was another guise to avoid trea ty restrictions and was an attempt to alleviate the problem of inadequate shipyard space should war come. Plans were changed and the sh ips were built as submarine tenders. On October speed and with a damaged bow.

Shoho had a very short service life and was th e first Zuikaku's crew gathers on the Imperi al Navy carrier su nk during th e war. she was subjected to extensive air attac k and suffere d two to rpedo hi ts.' Beam 59ft Draft 22ft Maximum speed: 28kts Radius: 9. the . two on eac h side with their own Type 94 fire-co ntrol system . and innumerabl e near misses. inc1ude d th e ad d itio n of a Type 21 and a Type 13 ra dar. In july 1944. Armament. T he largest of th ese merchant conversions became the Hiso c1ass.236nm Crew: 785 Hiyo class (Hiyo . her first co m ba t action was to escort th e invasion fleet during th e Port With its 1055 in October 1944. Only 203 crewmen survived . several bo mb hi ts. The ship took part in the Midway operation . and Junyo . In this engageme n t. HIJMS SHOHO Displacement: 11.262 tons Dimensions: Length 712ft . Zuiho suffered ligh t damage when she was hit by two bombs. th e Imperial Navy also subsid ized the building of passenger lin e rs that coul d b e converted into carriers. the fligh t d eck was extended forward fro m 590ft to 63 1ft. Iisting flight deck to salute the naval ensign as it is lowered. Assigned to accompany Zuikaku as part of the diversion ary fo rce at Leyte Gulf.7in roc ket lau nch e rs.Fl yi n g F al c o n . in res ponse to growing American naval appropriation 22 beginn ing in 1938 an d a desire to main tain carrier parity with S. Shoho was struc k by a re po rted seven torpedoes and 13 bomb hits by Pearl Harbor carriers to be sunk. A total of four Type 89 mounts were carried. Zu iho's an ti-airc raft gu ns were in cr eased to 68 with th e addition of nume ro us 25mm single m oun ts. Shoho's wea pons fit was no t m odified before its loss. The Kashiuiara Maru and Izumo Maru. Com missione d injanuary 1942 . (US Naval Historical Center) Zuiho participa ted in a n u mber of actions ane! survived weil into 1944. In ad d ition to several auxiliary ships th at were d esign ed to be quickly co nve rte d into carrie rs. T he short-ra nge anti-airc ra ft fit originally co nsiste d of a n inad equat e four tripie 25mm mounts. Her next op erati on was with th ree o ther Imperial Navy carriers in th e battle of San ta Cruz in O ctob er 1942. in ad d itio n to weapons upgrades.Peregrine Falcon) Design and Construction. Moresby o peration in May. the largest passenger liners in the japa nese m erch an t fleet. In 1943. were laid down in 1939. In the ope ning stages of th e battle of th e Coral Zuikaku was the last of the six Sea. Zuiho's next action was at the ba ttle of th e Philippine Sea where her air group was almos t annihilated but th e ship was undam aged. Progressive flooding resulted in her loss on O ctob er 25 with a relatively sma ll loss of life. Operational History. aircraft from USS Lexington and USS Yorktown. Sandini Sammlung Mod ificatio ns to Zuiho. During 194 3. Zuiho received an ad d itio nal six tripie mounts and four d ouble m oun ts. H oweve r. Also sh ip pe d were six 28-barrel 4.

(US Naval mounts for a total of 79 25mm guns. In an attem p t to in crease speed. Even by May and 12 single mounts. following th e loss of Hiyo to an aviatio n fue l ex plosion. When Hiyo received an additional four tripI e 25mm mou n ts. After th e battle . and for the first tim e the downward-facing stack.7in roc ket launch ers 23 . Sandini Sammlung Shoho in December 1941 before two lin ers were requisition ed in February 1941 and work began o n their its conversion was complete. Just th e stack was co mbine d with th e island. the Imperial Navy 's chronic shortage of carrier aircraft and increased by an additional three tripIe . Six Type 89 mounts were positioned th ree per side . Junyo Shoho under attack in the Co ra l had th e spa ces aro un d its fuel tan ks filled with co nc re te . Junyo rec eived lost. The res ult was mac h inery th at pro ved troubleso me and pro vid ed a marginal speed for fleet use. Junyo received a Type 21 radar in July 1942 mounted on th e island.12 fighters and six Philippine Sea. Part of the ship's company can The Hiyo d ass rep rese n ted a different di rectio n for J apanese carrier be seen mustered on the fli9ht deck aft of the wind screen. The largest island to d ate was provided. Junyo also received the standard Historical Center) J apanese carrier late-war addition of six 28-barrel 4. co nve rsio n into ca rriers. eigh t tripI e 25m m mounts were also can ied. only 18 aircraft were th e sam e incr ease during th e summer of 1943. Only so me two inch es of steel was World) provided arou nd th e machinery spaces and o ne inch around the magazin es. Service Modifications. Some addition al watertigh t su bd ivisio n was inco rp orated. When 30 aircraft . In J une 1944.21 f ighters and six attack aircraft with another three commissioned. Junyo's anti-air craft armamen t was 1942. Sea. similar work followed on Hiyo in th e au tumn of 1942. and 18 single 25m m aircrew was evident. (Ships of the borderline 25. Before the battle of the embarked . both ships received an additional four tripI e 25mm mou n ts attack aircraft. During conversion. a hybrid propulsion system was provided with destroyer-type boilers being mated to me rch an t tu rbines. anti-aircraft mount and a Type 94 a minimum o f protection was provided so as no t to reduce th e already fire-control director. Note d esign. In ea rly 1943.5 kn ots top speed. Both ships received a second Type 21 in 1943 and a Type 13 in 1944. attack aircraft in reserve. She was designed to carry Armament. Air cr aft ca pac ity was ra ted at 48 with another five in reserve. Two e levato rs were in stalled to service two hangars. two double. The stac k was sloped outward at forward of the stack is a Type 89 26 degrees to keep exhaust away fro m th e flight d eck.

she was hit by th ree submarine torpedoes. She originally en tered servi ce as a submarine tender in 1934. The original diesels were removed and replaced by destroyer turbines during co nversio n. but aircraft capacity was only 24. light construction. . buckled flight deck aft. on the port side. Despite heavy flood in g. J unya quickly saw its first action as part of the Northern Force assigne d to occ upy two islands in the Aleutian s as part of th e Midway operation. During can be seen on the lowered mast the battle of the Phi lippine Sea. J unya was surrendered and scrapped after the war.224 . When comple ted . Of note. J unya re mai ne d active in the Sout h Pacific throug hout J uly 1943.' Ryuho (Dragon Phoenix) De sign and Cons truc tio n. Operational History. and small air group . though dramatic it battle of Santa Cruz because of engine problems. (US Nava l Historical Center) HIJMS HIYO 24. she conducted two tra nspo rt missions to the Philippines area. the shi p presen ted th e sa me flush-deck appearance as the Sh oho dass. Another member of th e Im perial Navy's shadow carrier fleet. while u nd e rgoing conversion in Yok osu ka. with another seven in reserve. T he cus to mary two elevators were fitted . J unya was com missione d in May 1942 an d H iya in July 1942. H er next action was at the battle ofSanta Cruz. insufficient speed. Also note the Pro bable leaking fuel vapor ca use d massive internal explos io ns . Conversion to a ligh t carrier began in Decem ber 1941 and was completed in Nove mber 1942. Off the J apanese coast in November 1943. but top speed was a relatively slow 26 knots. she was lightly d am aged byaircraft from the Dooli ttle Raid in Apri l 194 2. With its small fligh t deck. she was was ineffective. In J un e 1943. she was h it by two aircraft torpedoes. After repairs. th e sh ip ma de it bac k to J apan but was A well-known shot of Zuiho never fully repaired. under attack during the battle of Leyte Gulf. Sandini Sammlung mounted three per side along the forward part of the flight deck.140 tons Length 718ft Beam 88ft Draft 27ft Maximum speed: 26kts Radius: 10. tak ing two hits around the island. 24 Ryuha was considered a second-line unit. the result of a bomb explosion o n resu lting in th e loss of the ship. where her air group helped sin k USS Harnet while suffering no damage in return . a US submarine hit the carrier with two torpedoes butJunya\vas towed to port. the hangar deck. Note the f1ight-deck H iya was active in th e South Pacific early in its career but missed th e camouflage. While re tu rni ng to J apan after the second. A Type 13 radar torpedoed by a submarine off the J apanese coast but surviv ed. In the battl e of the Philippine Sea. Junya was bom bed on June 20 . Ryuha was the least successful of the five ligh t carriers converted from auxi liary shi ps.000nm Crew: 1.

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Sandini Sammlung D: HIJMS ZUIKAKU 1: Type 89 5in anti-aircraft gun 2: Type 96 25mm anti-aircraft gun (tripie mount) D .

2 elevator (13m x 11 Upper aircraft hangar 19 Type 96 25mm tripie gun 12m) 12 Forward elevator (13m x mou nt 5 Type 94 director 16m) 20 Smo ke tunnels 6 Navigation bridge 13 Propeller blast deftector 21 Low er aircraft hangar 7 Kure Type 4 arresting screen 22 Type 89 with smoke w ires 14 Type 89 5in dual gun shields 8 1sland mount 23 Antenna mast . Sandini Sammlung 1 Rear elevator (13m x 12m) 9 Type 96 25mm tripie gun 15 110cm searchlight 2 Landing guide light mount 16 60c m signal light (green) 10 Kusho Type 3 cras h 17 Type 94 director 3 Antenna mast barrier 18 Type 95 director 4 No.

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four twin. The Service Modifications. a Typ e 21 the most elaborate merchant radar was fitt ed. The and 18 B5N attack aircraft. Also note the wood-planked roc ket bombs to Fo rmosa in Decem be r 1944-jan u a ry 1945. T h ese sh ips were the only ligh t carriers to have two hangars. large bulges were aeldeel to maintain stability. for these ships was 12 A6M two on each side with their own Type 94 fir e-control system. Sandini Sammlung Junyo shown after the war.000nm Crew: 989 Chitose class (Chitose . The standard four ligh t-ca r rie r Typ e 89 m qunts were carried . but airc raft 33 . Chiyoda's was comp leteel in only te n m on th s. For most of her life she was used as an aircraft ferry attack planes. After Mielway. with th e neeel for ca r rie rs b ecomin g pressi ng. the flight deck was extended forward two ships of the Hiyo c lass were from 607 to 660ft to allow th e use of heavier aircraft. The number fighters. In March f1ight deck. By final configuration was ten trip ie. her by th ejapanese.a city in Hokkaido . (US Naval 1945 the ship was attacked anel severely damaged by US ca rrie r aircraft Historical Center) in Kure . of25mm guns was increased in 1943 to 42 and again in 1944 to 61. Ryuho's on ly combat action was during the battle of Historical Center) th e Philippine Sea in which the ship suffered light damage from bomb near miss es. conversions completed during the war. but was n eve r fu lly repair eel. The ship was torpedoed offTokyo Bay in Dece m b e r 18 dive-bombers. HIJMS RYUHO Displacement: 13. 18 D3A d ive -bombers. Both were built originally as h igh-sp eeel seaplane carriers anel saw servi ce ea rly in th e Pacific War in this capacity. In 1944.360 tons Dimensions: Length 707ft Beam 64ft Draft 22ft Maximum speed: 26kts Radius: 8. Ryuho did conduct th e last voyage of an Imperial "Navy Close-up of Junyo 's island carrier beyonel h orn e waters when sh e transported 58 Ohka suiciele showing the slanted stack. T he two ships of the Chitose dass were th e final two auxiliaries to be converteel to ligh t carriers. In it ially. and Chiyoda . and six 1942 but survived. Ryuho surviveel th e war to be scra p peel in 1946-47. and 23 single mounts. Durin g conversion . it was elecieled to co nvert both into carriers. In 1943. Chitose's co nversion began in j anua ry 1943 a nel was co m p leteel in january 1944. (US Naval or training carrier. Ryuho's career confirmed the low opinion h eld o f 27 f ighters (nine of which were fighter-bombers ).a city near Tokyo) Design and Construction. T h e shi p was put into dry dock to re pair flo oelin g . a typical air unit Armament. th is was modified to Operational History. 1944.

Both ships were available for th e last sortie of th e Imperial conversion from its seaplane Navy's carrier forc e during the battle of Leyte Gulf. The ship's only combat service was at the battle of the Philippine Sea . Despite this . In July 1944 . Chiyoda came under fire battle of the Philippine Sea. another six tripIe mounts were added for a final total of 48 25mm guns. During March an d April 1944 . The re lative ly high speed of this dass combined with their long radius made them suitable for employment in fleet servic e . suffering a single bomb hit on late 1943. during which it embarked an air group of 21 A6M fighters and nine attack aircraft. Sandini Sammlung Ryuho shown after the war at Kure. both ships were attacked by US carrier aircraft on Designed for a capacity of 30 aircraft. O perational History. diversionary force . where they were escorted by th e Im perial Navy's most powerful surface units in an attempt to draw US carrier strikes away from the main carrier force. two on eac h sid e in the usuallight-carrier arrangement. Aga in acting as a carrier origin is evident. (US Naval Historical Center) capacity remained the same as the Shoho dass . working with th e very similar Zuiho.30 aircraft. In all other respects. Chitose was hit by what wer e probably three torpedoes and 21 A6M fighters and nine sank within an hour. The ship sank with no survivors. None. only A ship of the Chifose class pictured in the Inland Sea in Chiyoda was damaged during the battle. these ships carried O ctober 25. Chiyoda co nd uc ted two urgent aircraft ferry missions. Four Type 89 mounts were carried. Ar mament. the dass was very sim ilar to Zuiho in her late-war configuration. Thirty 25mm guns wer e carried in ten tripI e mounts. (Ships of the Wor/ci) 34 . Escort ships wer e attack aircraft during the unable to rescu e th e cr ew and lat er on th e 25th. Chiyoda was hit by four bombs. Service Modifications. from US surface forces. The simplicity of the June 20. Both ships were assigned to th e "Van Force" during th e battle of th e Philippine Sea . excep t armament increas es noted below.

Taiho co u ld also act as a su p po rt carrier. a new d esign feature was introduced .9in was also in stalled. A stro ng armored belt o f u p to 5. again usin g a slan te d stac k.an armored flight d eck d esigned to with stand I . On ly 35 . A number of A6M fighters and B6N attack ai rc raft can be Taiho was d esigned on th e basis of th e Shokaku dass. To ac h ieve this. 1944. th e ship was (Ships of th e Wor/cI) built with one d eck less than Shokaku to reduce its ce n te r of gravity. Un like th e o n ly o ther arm ored ca rrie rs then in se rvice with the Royal Navy. Ano the r unique d esign feature was the e nc lose d bow d esign ed to improve seaworthiness.OOOlb bo m bs. for th e gr eater upper weight from th e an n o re d flight d eck .470 i. (Ships of Maximum speed: 29kts the Wor/cI) Radius: 11.190 tons tripie mounts. F LEET CARRIER WARTIME CONSTRUCTION Taiho (Great Pho e n ix ) Design and Construction.th e sid es o f th e hanga r were not arm o re d . and for thi s purpose she carried Taiho p ict ured after its arrival at ad d itio nal ordnance and 33 percent more than th e usual supply of Taw i Tawi anchorage in May aviatio n fue l. Co nst ructio n o n th e "C reat Ph oenix" began in 1941 . Taiho had only an an n ored flight d eck ofbetw een 75mm and 80 m m . Sandini Sammlung Another shot of a Chitose-class HIJMS CHITOSE unit showing its two port-side 'TYpe 89 mounts and four 25mm Displacement: 11. T h is sh ip was th e first J apan ese carrie r d esign ed to receive d am age and co n tin ue figh tin g.OOOnm Crew: 1. A lar ge island sim ilar to that on the Hiyo d ass was built. To co m pe nsate see n on the f1ight deck aft. The ship's 'TYpe 21 Dimensions: Length 631ft radar can be seen in the ra ised Beam 68ft position on the forward part Draft 24ft of the flight deck.

increasing the spread of vapor fumes. The resulting damage flooded the forward elevator weil and resulted in a slight bow trim. a huge explosion took place that buckled the flight deck upwards an d blew out the sides of the hangar. (US Naval Historical Center) flight d eck.OOOnm 36 1. Taiho was hit by one torpedo from USS Albacore. Sandini Sammlung two elevators were fitted. All hangar doors and hatches were opened. one on th e forward top of th e island and one on th e lower aft section of th e island. Seventeen tripie 25mm guns were placed around the flight deck and on th e island. However. On June 15. Anti-aircraft protection was provided by a new weapon that h ad b een introduced ea rlie r on the Imperial Navy's new dass of an ti-aircraft d estroyer. Taiho was ch osen as th e flagship of th e Mobile Fleet. as it was not desired to weaken the integrity of the armored to the Soryu class is obvious. the single torpedo had cracked th e aviation fuel tanks in the area of the forward elevator and caused gasolin e to mix with water in the elevator weil . On June 19. Twenty ad d itional single mounts were also fitted .751 eneer . the ship became araging inferno and sank with a third of its crew. whil e launching strike aircraft against the US carrier fleet. Taiho was the only car rie r to use this weapon and h ad six dual mounts fitted three on each side of the flight deck. The crew's response demonstrated th e uneven standard of damage-eontrol training in the Imperial Navy.Just over six hours after being torpedoed. forward and aft of the armored area of the Katsuragi on trials. Unable to fight the fires. and much was expected of her during th e impending decisive battle. Service Modifications. The damage-eontrol officer switched on all fans throughout ship. This was the excellent Typ e 98 anti-aircraft gun .3 00 tons Leng th 855ft Bearn 91ft -Draft 32ft 133kts 10. on its only com ba t operation. None . Taiho sortied to exe cu te operation "A-Go". Taiho e m bar ke d 75 aircraft. Upon com p le tion in March 1944. a lOOmm weapon with a maximum range of 21 . th e ship moved to th e Mobile Fleet's anchorage near Singapore for sea trials and aircrew training.300yds. 29. The explosion also ruptured th e hull and caused a loss ofpower. but this was notjudged to be serious and the ship maintained 26 knots. Armament. Two Type 21 rad ars were also car ried . Two hangars were provided. Operational History. turning the ship into a floating bomb. The similarity flight d eck. longer than the older Type 89 5in gun.

but speed was only slightly re d uced at almost 33 knots.an extinct volcano . Unryu and Amagi carried the same machinery as the Soryu dass. th e ships were pattem ed after Hiryu. except for the armament increases noted below. With its final fleet-carrier design. 60 percent. Amagi. Of the three ships completed. three on each side of the flight deck. Service Mo difications. not the larger and more complex Shokaku dass or Taiho. respectively. The first three ships were laid down in 1942 and another three in 1943. with the ships only 84 percent. and Ka tsuragi . None. the Imperial Navy retumed to its pre-war concept of a fast carrier with little protection and a relatively large air group. only three. To facilitate their timely completion. The basic hull was almost identical to Hiryu with the same distribution of armor. However. Unryu. and 60 percent completed. Note the faded flight-deck camouflage and the buckled f1ight deck. Six Type 89 mounts were fitted. Only two elevators were fitted to service the two hangars and a total of 63 aircraft could be carried (57 plus another six in reserve). and the space around the fue l tanks was filled with concrete. In line with battle experience. only a single fire-con tro l director was provided for all six positions. another four tripie mounts were added along with another 13 singl e mounts for a total of 76 guns. With war looming. Another 11 ships of the dass were ordered but never laid down. . This was increased during the final months of the war to 22 tripie and 23 single mounts for a final total of 89 guns. six carriers were ordered. Short-range anti-aircraft protection was provided by 16 tripie and three single 25mm mounts on Unryu and Amagi when completed. Armament. (US Naval Historical Center) 37 . The weapons fit was simi lar to that on Hiryu. Katsuragi was completed with two sets of destroyer turbines. shown after the war in a damaged condition. Ofthese. T he bigges t difference from Hiryu was the placement of the island forward o n the starboard side. In the construction programs for 1941 and 1942. the Im perial Navy took steps to construct a large number of fleet carriers. Ikoma. was suspended in 1945.Heaven-bound Drago n Ri di n g t h e Clouds .a mountain near Osaka) Design and Construction . Shortly after completion. providing a top speed of 34 knots. and Katsuragi were completed. Amagi . Construction of the other three. Kasagi. aviation fue l capacity was h alved . All Katsurag. and Aso. Sandini Sammlung Unryu class (Unryu .

: . InJuly 1945. even th e Imperial avy could see th at battleships were no lon ger needed .460 tons. aircraft.r: 742ft I * MBeam 72ft :D raft 26ft 'P34 kt s (Katsuragi 33kts) 8. Shinano has the distinction of bein g th e largest carrier b uilt durin g Wodd War II and re ma ine d th e largest carrier ever built un til the in tro duction of th e US Navy's su pe r-carriers in the late 1950s. Unryu was assigne d the Amagi under attack at Kure on missio n of taking an eme rgency cargo of Ohkas to Mani la. and aircrew was attacked by the submarine USS Redfish. Two Type 13 rada rs were also fitted. Katsuragi was operations. she was o nly co m ple te up to th e main deck. th e ship of fuel. (US Naval Historical Center) co m m issio ne d into se rvice in O ctobe r.OOOnm 1.260 tons) Dimensions : L. Only o ne saw active service tran sporting airc raft an d h igh-priority cargo to th e Ph ilip pines. Lack a sma ll aviation d etachment and head ed sout h. taking with her all but 147 of th e crew. The th ree co m pleted ships of the Un ryu dass were destin ed neve r to particip at e in a fleet action and it is almos t certa in th at none of the ships ever em barked a full air gro up . Two Type 21 radars were fitted. Shinano was origina lly laid down as th e third ship of th e Yamato dass of super-ba ttleships in May 1940. o ne o n th e island and a second alo ng th e aft edge of th e flight d eck.7in ro cke t laun ch ers for short-range anti-aircraft d efense. th e two surviving ships were laid up in J ap an ese ports because of fue l shortages. one on the mainmast and a seco nd o n one th e four hinged rad io masts. Sandini Sammlung three sh ips also re ceived six 28-barre l 4. Following d ebat e withi n the aval Staff o n how to .. Unrnc was th e first ship to be co m missione d in August 1944. but with the shortage of train ed aircre ws. Ne ither shi p would leave horne wate rs bccau se o f fue l. The prevented the three completed second hit th e forward aviation fuel tanks and th e ship explode d and san k ships of the Unyru class in seven min ut es. H eavily damaged on July 24. Amagi suffe red light d am age in March 1945 from a US carrier aircraft on Kur e. byJ une 1942. from taking any part in fleet A magi was co m ple ted o nly five d ays after Un ryu. followin g ad di tio nal dam age suffered in aJu ly 28 raid.: ~:. HIJMS UNRYU Displacement: 17.ength . Unryu e mba rked March 19. and hit by two to rpe does. O n December 19. the ship did not accom pany the Im perial Navy's carrie r for ce on its last mission in the battle o f Leyte Gulf in O cto ber 1944. Operational History. another ra id to ok place o n Kure. In December.. aircraft. After th e star t of th e war const ruction on th e ship slowed. She was assigne d to th e Mobi le Fleet .595 Shinano (An ancient Japanese province ) Design and Construction.150 tons (Amagi 17. A lllagi finall y san k in Kur e . She was th e last Im perial Navy carrier su n k in th e Pacific War. Katsuragi 17. Kat suragi was also d am aged in th e July 24 attack but survi ved to be used as a repat riati on ship before being scra p pe d in 1946. After th e battl e of Midway. Late in th e war. 1945. and airc rew shortages. and plans were drawn up to convert 38 Shina no into a carrier. Beyond Amagi is the escort carrier Kaiyo.

th is tim e with j us t over three inch es of armor. two pai rs fo rward on each side of th e fligh t d eck . but Shinano's incomplete co nd itio n permitted th e flooding to spread. As o n Taiho. The sh ip was co mmissio ne d o n Nove m be r 18. co m bine d with th e in experience of its cre w. Co u n te r- flooding checked th e initial flooding .000 tons Dimensions: Length 873ft Beam 119ft Draft 34ft Maximum speed: 27kts Radius: 10. p rotection for the hull was extensive. T he belt armor thi ckn ess was halved from its battl eship origin . primaril y for self-protec tion . Two Type 13 radars were also ca rrie d .000nm Crew: 2. one forward o n th e island and o ne on the aft po rt ion of the island. 1944.800 tons of a YrlrnatlKlass battleship. T hese served a single hangar level . providing 360-degree coverage. and another two pairs aft in a sim ilar a rrangement.400 39 . The damage was not co nsidere d to be fata l and her cap tain co n tin ue d to steam on at 18 kn ots. As suc h. HIJMS SHINANO Displacement: 62. In accorda nce with this ro le and because o n ly a single han gar deck was pr ovided during co nve rsion. As o n Taiho. Shinano had th e shortes t ca reer of any Imperial Navy carrier. All the an nor brought th e trial displ acem en t o f th e sh ip to within 2. Armament. spe lled di saster wh en she was struck by four su bm arine torpedoes from USS A rcherfis h early on November 29. she departed Yok osuka and headed sou th to th e port of Kur e to co m plete fittin g o u t. th e fo rward o ne being o pe n with sh u tters and the rear area being e nclosed like Taiho. it was envisione d that she would ac t as a forward floating fo rtress able to lan d and refu el/rearm aircraft fro m less pro tected carriers operating to the rear. o n ly two e levato rs we re fitted. Sandini Sammlung employ the sh ip. bu t was still over eigh t in ch es. The sh ip was not fully ready for sea. Twelve sho rt-ra nge roc ke t launch e rs we re also fitt ed . T he d esign of Shinano mirro red that of Taiho in many respects. Operational History. Shinano was weil su p plied with sho rt-ra nge anti-airc raft p rotect ion .5in of arm o r was Fitted in an an nore d d eck ove r th e machine ry and magazine spaces. Eac h pair was p ro vid ed with its own fire-control director. having 33 tripie 25mm moun ts. None. she would operate on ly a small air group (47 aircraft). th e hangar area was divided into two hangars. o ne o n the mai n m ast and another on th e fo rward po rt side ra d io m ast. with in complete waterproofing and missin g cou n ter-flood ing and damage- co ntro l pumps. Ten d ays lat er. An an ti-torpedo bplge was fitred and anothe r 7. Eight Type 89 m ounts were ca rried. All power was lost when th e boiler rooms flo oded an d soon th ereafter th e unsinkable Shinano capsized with over 1. Service Mo d ifications. Two Type 2 1 ra da rs we re ca rrie d.400 of its cr ew. what emerged was the co ncept of using Shinano as a sup port carrier. arranged in sets of three in a sim ilar fash io n to th e Type 89 gu ns . a large islan d with a slanted stac k was fitted. Shinano featured an armored f1i gh t d eck between the elevators. This. In ad d ition to th e armored flight d eck.

Kasuga Ma ru was requisitioned while still under construction and conversion to a carrier begun. of th ese co nversions becam e the H iyo dass and were considered so (Ships of t h e Wor /d) succe ssful by th e Japanese that th ey were typ ed as regular. Two elevators service d a sin gle hangar.23 knots) . Service Mo difications. with th e fifth being lost before sh e could be co nvert ed. th e Imperial Navy subsidized th e Nitta Maru d ass of three passenger liners. anoth er five lin ers were subsidized by th e Imperial Navy for possible co nversio n into carrie rs. was actually th e first com pleted as a carrier. th e sh ips emerg ed as flush-de ck carriers with th e navigation bridge placed forward under th e flight d eck. The hull camouflage is just vis ible.Great Hawk. Four of th ese were even tually co nverte d into escort carrie rs. a Ge rman lin er was requisitioned. Before th e two largest lin ers wer e laid down.Heaven-bound Hawk. In 1937. In 1940. th ey were n ever co ns ide re d satisfactory for fleet work. In its pla ce . The Another co m po nen t of th e Imperial Navy's shadow carrie r program ship has taken a starboard heel was th e use of passenger lin ers for conversion into carriers. The conversions were fairly auste re and took only six months. As su ch . In typicalJapanese fashi on. No ne . Th e Imperial Navy intended th at th ese co nversio ns would work with th e Co m bined Fleet. th ey were used primarily for airc raft ferryin g operations and aircrew tr aining. Kasuga Maru. Work was not com pleted until September 1941 when th e ship. was commissio ne d. when th e Imperial Navy realized it co uld no longer ignore co m merce protecti on and cre ated th e Grand Escort Command. Ta. respectively. To increas e speed. The last of th e three ships. now named Taiyo. Sandini Sammlung Taken in November 11 .a Hawk in the Clouds) Design and Construction.yo class (Chuyo . an d lacked cata pu lts. not auxiliary ca rrie rs. th e remaining esco rt carriers were utili zed in a convoy protection rol e. .1944. and Unyo . th e original diesel engines were re place d with turbines but th e result was an unsatisfactory 21 kn o ts. exc ept for th e armamen t in creases noted 40 below. Because th ese sh ips had a fairl y low top speed (21. Later in th e war. was not com pleted until November and May 1942. Wh en co m pleted. Conversion of the first two ships. Taiyo had th e ca pac ity to operate 23 aircraft (with four more in reserv e ) and th e o ther two sh ips co uld carry 30 aircraft. All were structurally designed to be converted into auxiliary carriers. The largest during a ru dder test. Ta. Nitta Ma ru and Yawata Maru. THE ESCORT CARRIERS this is the only known photograph of Shinano. exhaust gases were ven ted by means of a downward-slop ed sta ck locat ed amidsh ips on th e starboard sid e. when th ey eme rge d as Chuyo and Unyo.yo .

500nm Crew: 850 (Taiyo 747) 41 . su pplies.7in an ti-aircraft gu ns in sing le mounts and four twin 25mm mounts. Operational History. Unyo was commissioned in May 1942 and followed a simi lar career pattern to its two sister ships. (Ships of the World) Type 89 mounts.7in guns wer e removed and repl aced with were assigned to the Grand two Type 89 mounts. The third attack. carrying airc raft. Taiyo was equip pe d with six of th e older fighters on deck. The designed 4. and passengers. In thi s capac ity. Escort Command . Though th e ship 's aviatio n fuel tanks did not blow up. In Augus t 1942 . After many ferry runs. Taiyo was transferred fro m th e Co m bined Fleet to th e Grand Escort Co mmand and assumed h er n ew ro le of co nvoy esco rt. Sandini Sammlung Taiyo pictured w ith five A6M Armament. by USS Sailfish.250 cre w and passengers . sh e wo rked briefly with su per-ba ttles hip Yamato during opera tio ns near Gua da 1canal. proved fatal. Wh en complet ed. Chuyo had 14 25mm guns when sunk in 1943. Hit again by two torpedoes launched from USS Barb in September 1944 . Sh e was torpedoed twice by su bmarines between September 1942 and September 1943. including 20 US pri soners being tra nsported to Japan. sh e was assigned to th e Grand Escort Command in December 1943 . only B5Ns The two siste rs co mm issio ne d in 1942 were armed with th e usu al were carried . The sh ip's aviati on fuel ta n ks ex plode d and th e ship san k quickly with fewe r th an 100 su rvivors. and in 1944 when th e 4. the qui ck sin king of the ship resulted in the d eath of 1. During th e cou rse of th ese missions from December 1942 until December 1943. All three ships were sunk by submarines. Taiyo was struck fo r th e final tim e by one to rpedo fro m USS Rasher ui Augu st 1944. aircraft mix for these ships was Taiyo's arrna me n t was updated in 1943 with th e fitting of add itio nal 25mm 2 1 f ighters and nlne attack aircraft. when they guns. Chuyo was torpedoed o n three different occasions by US submarines . By 1944.830 ton s Dimensions: Length 591ft Beam 74ft Draft 26ft Maximum speed : 21kts Radius: 8. this proved to be Taiyo's o nly frontline ap pearance . All three ships were equipped with a Type 21 radar fitt ed on the fo rward starboard fligh t-d eck edge. In December 1943. Unyo san k. by 1944. Chuyo was co m missione d in Novem be r 1942 after less than six months in convers ion . but su rvived . Taiyo was th e first unit co m m issioned in September 1941 and ac tually co nd uc ted two ai rcraft fer ry runs before th e sta rt of th e war. She co nduc ted 13 d epl oyments. a total of 64 25mm guns were embarked . Unyo was hit by three su bmarine torpedoes in January 1944 but survived. Unyo had 64 25mm guns. However. HIJMS TAIYO Displacement: 17.

but in December 1942 the Argentina Maru entered the yards to begin conversion into a carrier.ength 546ft "Beam' 72ft "Draft 2? ft " . . the original diesels were replaced with turbines. In 1938. The Brazil Maru was sunk before conversion could be ordered. Service Modifications. None . In this case . single-hangar carrier. Conversion work began in September 1942 .QOOnm 587 Shinyo (Godly Hawk) Design and Co nstructio n . The Imperial Navy purchased the ship with the original intent of using her as a troop transport. April 1943. Shinyo was originally built as a passenger liner. 1945 by US carrier aircraft. None. the ship became a training carrier in the Inland Sea and was used as a target for kamikaze pilot training. She was later sunk on July 24. . she was the German liner Schamhorst. In 1945. Kaiyo had th e capacity to operate 24 aircraft (nominally 18 fighters and six bombers) . which was serving a Pacific route when the war began and was unable to return to Germany. Kaiyo emerged with four Type 89 mounts. except for the armament increases noted below. Eight depth charges were also carried for anti-submarine periscope of USS Haddock in work. As the layout of the Schamhorst was similar to Japanese liners of the Nitta Maru dass. construc- tion began on passenger liners Argentina Maru and Brazil Maru. Two elevators serviced a single hangar. Eight tripie 25mm All three Taiyo-class un its were mounts were fitted. Like all the other Imperial Navy escort carrier conversions. Shinyo's conversion was simi lar to that of the Taiyo dass with the primary d ifferences being the addition of external bulges to increase stability and the retention of Scharnhorst's original turbo-electric drive system. HIJMS KAIYO !\I!~!!~09 . The ship suffered minor damage at Kure in March 1945. A Type 21 radar was added forward on the flight-deck edge. Two elevators were fitted to service the flush deck. Service Modifications. IUS Naval Historical O perational H ist ory. but speed was still only 23 knots. Again . Sandini Sammlung Kaiyo (Sea Hawk) Design and Construction. kt~" " . which could operate 27 aircraft with six more in reserve . Work was completed in November 1943 and was nearly identical to that of the Chuyo dass.!l. Here one of these ships is captured in the total of 44 guns. Armament. but after the battle of Midway plans were begun to convert her into a carrier to train new aircrews. Kaiyo was the smallest of the escort carrier conversions. and another 20 single mounts were added later for a sunk by submarines. Kaiyo joined the fleet in November 1943 and was Center) used to ferry aircraft and escort convoys throughout 1944.tons lf. except for the armament increases noted 42 below.

anel by 1944 . Hosho proveel a su ccess . Shinano. providing a powerful striking force but proving unable to survive elamage in th eir only clash with enemy carriers. th e sh ip esc o r te el co nvoys. provieling air co ver ag ain st submarine a ttac k. After joining th e fleet in December 1943. At th e time of their introduction in la te 194 1. However. it was actually a ste p back . as she was useel to suc cessfull y introelu ce a number of n ew technologies a n el proceelures into fleet service. Shinyo was commission ed with four Type 89 mounts. The Soryu dass e p ito m ize d th e Im p e rial Navy's elesire to cre a te a fast ca rrie r with a large air win g a t th e expen se of protecti on. sh e was irrelevan t. was a n a n o maly but o ne th at possesseel consiel erabl e potential. However.000nm Crew: 948 CONCLUSION A quick exam in a tio n of eac h o f th e Imperial Navy's principal classes of carrie rs reveals a mixeel ba g o f success anel failure. As th e Navy's initial a ttem p t a t flying aircraft from th e elecks of sh ips. From July 1944 . A total often tripie 25mm mounts were originaliy fitted . Sandini Sammlung Armament. In No vem be r 1944 . whil e escort ing a COl1\'oy bounel for Singapore . Th e poorly protecteel avia tio n fu el tanks e xp loeleel causing a large fir e that claimed th e sh ip anel most of h er cre w. HIJMS SHINYO Displacement: 17. they were th e most weli-balanceel anel powerfu1 ca rrie rs in th e worlel. A Type 2 1 radar was added on th e forward edge of th e flight d eck o n th e sta rboard side . The wartime-built fleet carriers were not as suc cessful.500 tons . Taiho was certain ly a fin e elesign . Operational History. Shinso was struc k by as m any as four torpeeloes from USS Spadefish. as it possesseel littl e protection . The Unryu dass was a elesign co nceiveel with ease of construction in minel. In th e Shokaku dass. 43 . Akagi anel Kaga must also be seen as successfu l co nve rsio ns as th ey provieleel th e backbane of th e First Air Fleet's strikin g power eluring th e initial stages of th e war." Dimensions: Length 651ft Beam 84ft Draft 26ft Maximum speed: 22kts Radius: 8. th e size o f its air grou p co m pareel unfavorably with those of the new US Navy fleet ca rrie rs alreaely in se rvice. Th e most teliing co m men t regarding th e Impe rial Navy's fleet ca rrie r co ns truc tio n program was that only five sh ips e n tereel servi ce . but was clea rly not one that co u lel be repeateel in suffi cient numbers to allow th e Imperial Navy to sustain a ca m paign against th e US Navy. inJuly 1944 ad d itio n al single mounts were added to bring th e final total to 50 25 m m gu ns . Soryu anel Hiryu lived up to their d esign ers ' promise. Japanese ca rrie r d esign reacheel its zenith. Both ships proved very tough and ca pable units in action. thi s was clea rly inadequate. The final flee t ca rrie r. by th e tim e o f h er co m m issio n ing. Co m pa re d with th e 17 fleet ca rrie rs built by th e US Navy during th e war. Shinso was assigneel to th e Granel Escort Co m man el.

Volurne 1. Robbins. Landon. Warship Volume VI. 1985 Wells. The most useful co nversion was th e H iyo d ass. and Sh ibata Takehiko. For th e Imperi al Navy. th ey were importan t ad d itio ns to its carrier force .co m . The ImperialJapanese Navy. Arco Publishing Co m pa ny. Hansgeorg. Maryland.. Ge nerally. Landon . 'Akagi and Kaga' (three parts). 1977 Dicksan . Yam amoto . Even used in a more suitabl e rol e as convoy esco rts th ey proved a failure. D. with no catap ults and insuffici ent speed. As th e only sh ips co nverted fro m me rch an ts to ac t as fleet carrie rs durin g th e war. B. Ga kke n . Landon . 'T he Shokakus'. and A. Yoshiwara Kannari . eve n th e mo re successful co nve rsio ns co uld o pe ra te on ly a small nurnb er of aircraft. Warship Volume IX. th ey were a failure in th eir envisione d rol e as fleet units. Massachusetts. Ne w Yo rk . and Peter Mick el . Diet er Jung. as th ey ca me immediat ely after Midway. in Robert Gard iner (e d. TheAircraft Carrier Story 1908-1 945. Massachusetts. International Naval Research Organizati on. Sandini Sammlung J ap an ese pre-war plans for preparing merchant and aux iliary sh ips fo r conversion into carrie rs was also a mix ed success. Warships of the ImperialjapaneseNa vy 1869-1 945.J. Warship International. were largely unpro tected. whi le man euverabl e . Cassell. th ese shi ps o ffere d the ca pability of Hi ryu. Hara Katsuhiro . Warship 1991. Whil e th e p ro gram was succ essful in providing 11 ships. KK Bestselle rs. 2002 Perfeet Gu ide .). "Th e Japanese Air craft Ca rriers H iyo andJunyo' (th ree pa rts ) . David . Tokyo 44 www. 1982 Yoshihide . Conway Maritime Press. Aircraft Carriers. T he Imperial Navy's five esco rt carriers re n de re d little useful service aside fro m acting as aircraft ferries. Co nway Maritime Press. Warship International. 1971 Guy. Hans Lengerer. Naval Institute Press. and . BIBLIOGRAPHY Bro wn . The contributions of th e Imperial Navy's five escort carrie rs co n tras t miserably with th e key rol es played by the over 125 esco rt carrie rs th at en tered service in th e Royal and US Navies. MacDonald. Landon . To kyo. H oweve r. H olden. Hans and Tomko Rehrn-Takahara. Hans. and Tomko Rehm-Takah ara. Co nway Maritime Press. G. ' Pain ting Systems of th e ImperialJapanese Navy 1904-1 945' . th ey must be j udged as a successfu l co nversion. th ese were ge ne ra lly not of a sta ndard to be successful in fleet service. The five sh ips co nve rted fro m auxi liaries into light carrie rs ge nerally pro ved useful in service with th e excep tio n of Ryuh o. Holden. Volurne 1. 1991 J entschura. The Aircraft Carriers of the ImperialJapanese Navy and Army . Watts. W. Linton. but with a lower speed and reduced pro tecti o n. Internati onal Naval Research O rgani zati on. A ll About J apanese Naval Shipboard Weapons.Jiro. No t su rprisingly.. 'An ti-airc raft Gu n nery in th e Imperi al japanese Navy'. 2001 Itani . Annap olis . Landon.combinedflee t. 1982 Lengerer. 1977 Lengerer. 1977 Go rdo n .

Maizuru was the lightest wi th Kure. C: IM P E R IA L NAVY CARRIER CONVERSIONS 2. apart from the addition convers ions. The small island has been placed back on the normal starboard side. instances of a carrier not having its island placed on the starboard side. and Sasebo each becomi ng more dark. Two of these dark gray co lor. 1942. used to determine wind direction with the help of a steam Yorktown was later sunk by a Japanese submar ine attack on vent located on the torward end of the flight deck. The top view shows Akagi as it appeared at the start of the Lt. 8efore Hiryu covered in wood was painted in the basic dark navy gray could launch a th ird strike with the remnants of its dive- color. The two blue fuselage bands and the tail rear part of the deck on the port side and cons isted of the code of 811 indicated that the aircraft was from Hiryu . An A6M from Hiryu 's fight er squadro n. This view shows Kaga in December 1941. the-shlp was attacked by marked to assist in aircraft take-offs and landings. part of first letter or syllable of the ship 's name rendered in katakana Carrier Division 2. B : H IRYU AT MIDWAY This pläte shows Hiryu preparing to launch a torpedo plane strike against the American carrier task force during the battle of Midway on June 4. The six A6M fighters are Force ships). which all carriers became more silver gray in tint. Only hours earlier. assist the pilot in judging his final approach during landings. On the dive-bombers from USS Enterprise and hit by four bombs . Hiryu 's 85N aircraft were painted in a two-color arresting wires. Many carriers also had a white circle painted on the for fighter aircraft. Sandini Sammlung COLOR PLATE COMMENTARY A : PR E-WAR IM PE RI A L NAVY CARR IERS escorted by six A6Ms . (Ships o f the Wor/d) 45 . A distinctive ship identification marking was device. The cowling was painted in black as an anti-glare solid or dotted. 3. For most carriers this was located on the to a section leader. The flight deck was bomb er and torpedo squadrons . A single tail stripe indicated that the aircraft belonged painted in white. As with Akagi . forward section of the flight deck on the centerline were six Damage control parties could not contain the resulting fires white lines radiating out at ten-degree intervals. Only Hiryu remained unscathed and it was now up to her to salvage the battle for Kaiyo c learly showing it s mercantile origin s. The Japanese attac k was directed This plate shows the Imperial Navy's first fleet carriers. Also evident is the heavy anti-aircraft armament and the casemate-mounted 8in guns aft near the waterline. The aircraft has the same unit and formation dec k was marked with a number of white and red stripes to markings as the A6M. The Pacific War. Note the small port-side island. Hiryu finally sank the next day. From had embedded lights to aid in night landings. centerline stripe ran the entire length of the flight dec k and Inset 1. but in this case it has three tail bands . As the first Imperial Navy ship designed from the keel up as a fleet carrier. All at USS Yorktown and succeeded in placing three bomb hits Imperial Navy ships were painted in a dark navy gray. The June 5. the war as material shortages increased. of a large red circle on the f1ight deck for the Midway operation . wit h black green on the upper sides and light gray aircraft during recovery. This was provided as an aiming point for scheme. One of these is actually from Akagi as indicated by the current color of modern Japanese Maritime Self-Defense red stripe around the rear fuselage. Only five returned to the Hiryu . Each of the major naval depots in Japan first to take off. The on the carrier at the cost of 13 D3As. The block of 100 numbers was reserved figures. IJN carrier-based fighters were painted in a light stripe was usually flanked by tw o other stripes that cou ld be gray color. The centerline 1941-1943. including aircraft elevato rs. as evidenced by the two red stripes around Yokosuka. indicating that it is a group leader's aircraft (in this case 1. ten of which are shown ranged on the flight black blend with a blue tint (this is very similar to the deck. the base colo r for Hiryu's torpedo strike attacked Yorktown again. Of the ten 85Ns. Tomonaga who led the strike on USS Yorkto wn). Later in the rear fuselage. Any area not scored hits. its non-carrier origin is obvious . two planking that was left in its original color. The ship This plate shows some of the Imperial Navy's carrier retained this appearance until its loss. Now it was the turn of basic shade was made up of a 75 percent white/2 5 percent Hiryu 's 85Ns. as they need a much shorter length of flight unintentionally used a slightly different shade of the basic deck to take off than the torped o-laden 85Ns. This was and the ship was abandoned. Immediately after the disastrous strike on Type 21 radar on t he fli ght deck and the port-sid e Type 94 the Japanese carriers. Hiryu launched a strike of 18 D3As fire-control director. one of only two 300 block of numbers was reserved for attack aircraft . Shown here is Soryu as it appeared at the start of the war. the First Air Fleet's other three carriers had been struck by US carrier dive-bombers and put out of action. rear section of the flight deck in the area of the rearmost Inset 2. had gotten under way following repairs of the damag e Imperial Navy carrier flight dec ks were covered by wood inflicted by Hiryu 's dive-bombers. are from Kaga . but also an inability to carry heavy protection. The extreme aft section of the flight on the lower. Not e t he ra is ed the Imperial Navy. its sleek lines indicate speed .

commanding office r's cabin . The pair of Type 89s aft of the stack co mmunications office . downward-facing stack on the starboa rd side. and distinctive enclosed bow. two Kusho Type of the flight deck . and . each with its own Type 94 director. it would appear as dark navy elevator. officer's spaces were located on the second level.100lb . Three elevators were used to move aircraft from the two 0: HIJMS ZUIKAKU hangar decks to the flight deck . The small island had four levels. Type 89 5in anti-aircraft gun Ordnance for the ship 's air group includ ed 45 Type 91 Inset 2. 60 1.461 mercantile Iines of the Hiyo are clearly evident as is the large enlisted men and petty officers. 528 1321b. The four radio masts shown on the flight. Eleven binocu lars and tw o signal was provided by 12 Type 96 tripie mounts. Shinyo in November 1943 durin9 speed tria ls. petty officers had tiered armament has been increased to 18 25mm tripie mounts . A behind the island. In October 1942 at the battle of Santa Cruz. One hoist was provided for moving the large E: WART IME CARRIER CONSTRUCTION bombs from the ir magazine to the hangar deck. 56 warrant officers . Eight boilers were located in eight rooms aligned increased anti-aircraft guns and the add ition of six 4. with four shafts. The ship 's anti-aircraft provided with cabin-Iike staterooms. in addition to the Type 4 arresting a second Type 21 in a retract ing position on the aft port side wires located on the aft portion of the deck . 60 1. only two aircraft elevators are fitt ed instead of the in the same areas as the magazines.7in 46 in two rows and connected to four turbines. windbreak screen was positioned in front of the torward deck edges aft of the island were lowered during flight elevator. officers were island with the slanted stack. for ready use. Because of the armored flight aboard. Zuikaku was fitted with the most powerful machinery 2. and a Type 13 fitted on the mainmast 3 crash barriers were installed in the area of the island. captain 's bridge . This plate shows Amagi as it app eared in 1945 before available . enlisted men. was used for the smaller bombs . Aviation fuel tanks were located deep inside the ship deck . a full circuit took 40 second s. On the There were 250 shetls-provlded per gun plus a ready store of third level were the pilot house . Iike the Yamato. 312 550lb . This plate shows Shoho in May 1942 just before its loss. A seven-ton collapsible crane was fitted aft on the operations . Magazines were located on slanted stac k. The warrants and including the ship's air group) and 1. in add ition to one of the rounds were provided per gun plus an additional 100 rounds ship 's four Type 94 directors. For fire protect ion.it delivered a total of 160.760lb. Shoho was commissioned speed was 34 knots . The wheelhouse .600 25mm Iights were positioned on this level. The ship has a typical late-war appea rance. Type 96 25mm anti-aircraft gun (tripie mount) torpedoes. short of the bow . and had their flight decks lengthened . The ship's top rocket launchers on the forward flight -dec k edge. the four other light When commiss ioned . and a Zuikaku had a heavy defens ive armament with eight Type ready room . 26 knots could be attained by using with a light anti-aircraft fit and a flight deck that ended weil cruising turbin es. The first contained the were intended to have no foreign equal. appeared during the Pearl Harbor attack and the batt le of the With time to offload an aircraft . bunks . The fourth level was open and were provided with smoke shields. Later on in the war.000 horsepo wer on its loss. The ship also either side of the forwa rd elevator and forward of the most aft features an armored flight deck . the same plan that author ized the two cou ld be divided into six or seven subdiv isions by the use of battleships of the Yamato class . Three radars are also fitted including a Type 21 on the island. This plate shows Hiyo as the ship appeared in June 1944 the actual ship's compl ement was 107 officers (including before its loss at the battle of the Philippine Sea. These carriers were roller-type fire curta ins. On the flight deck . 71 petty officers . radio room and navigation 89 guns fitted in pairs. and 48 661b bombs. and 1. Inset 1. and the 12 additional rounds. 2. Radar has . and another 1. and enlisted men used hammocks. each hangar fiscal year 1937. Also note the (Ships of the Wortd) narrow flight dec k that hindered aircraft operat ions and limited aircraft capacity to 30. starboard side for handling the ship 's boats and aircraft. Coral Sea. Zuikaku was the second ship of the Shokaku class The 16ft-high upper and lower hangars were each divided that was ordered in the Third Replenishment Program in into three compartments. Taiho had a unique appearance with its large island. designed without treaty restriction . Each could move an aircraft This plate shows Zuikaku in her original configuration as she from the lower hangar deck to the flight dec k in 15 seconds . the operations room . usual three for a fleet carrier. Note the Type Note the typ ical light carrier flush-deck appearance with the 21 radar in it s raised position forward of the ma inmast. a large num ber of officers . A total of 496 tons of aviation gas was carried gray instead of wood planking. 2. Short-range air defense housed the look-outs. Zuikaku 's crew was Iisted as 75 carrier conversions received radar. Aboard ship . Sandini Sammlung 1.458 additiona l 25mm guns.

Taiho embarked the 601st Naval Air Group's Hikotai 311 against aircraft was ineffective. very dark green. Afte r testing. These schemes were experimental and were not the result of any coordinated F: TA/HO AT THE SATTLE OF THE effort . 1944 charged with investigat ing methods of camouflaging aircraft as the ship was participating in Operation "A-Go. the ship also shows the late-w ar changes made to all escort carriers . principally radars (one on the mainmast and the second on the forward light cruisers and auxiliary cruisers. to Taiho. bombers. 1. but the including a disruptive pattern on the flight deck and an numbe r 220 is drawn from the block reserved for dive- anti-submarine scheme on the h . the ship. spotted the wakes of the incoming deck was covered with a cement. One hit Taiho on the starboard side in the area of determined that camouflage would not prevent a carrier from the forward elevator. 3. It is also from the 601st Naval Air Group. On June 19. 53 D4Ys. and twelve 4. piloted by Flight Warrant 1944.ike substance. and 18 B6N torpedo camouflage measures were recommended . dark green. 30 D4Y dive-bombers. This plate shows Shinano as it appea red in Novem ber Taiho 's orb iting D4Y "Judy" aircraft . so it would torped oes. The D4Y "Judy" dive-bomber was a late-war shown aft was collapsed into the ht deck during flight replacement for the D3A "VaL" This aircraft was also assigned operations. it was again 2. A Type 13 Note that the hinomaru is now encircled by white . and greenish brown. Type 21 on the flight-deck edge on the po rt side. Without hesitat ion. Command intended to break up the shape of the flight deck and to give markings have been simplified .7in rocket launcher s. Each pattern was unique and included black . the Yokosuka Navigation School was This plate shows Taiho as it appeared on June 19. Note the battleship lines of the hulL successfully exploding one.000yds. appear as light gray. by Force "A. one of 3. eight Type 89 Of all major navies in World War 11. on the premise that some camouflage was Imperial Navy's finest carrier sank in its first engagement. several schemes were prepared for Inset 1. with a Type 21 on island and another the B6N is an attack aircraft from the 601st Naval Air Group . the B5N had been largely replace d by application to carrie r flight decks. variation of disruptive or dazzle camouflage. However. 2.7in mounts A BSN attack a ircraft takes off showing the flight-deck have been replaced by Type 89 mounts and the numbe r of markings of this Imperial Navy carrier. Moments before the fatal torpedo hit. The resulting hull bombers. 47 . PHILIPPINE SEA In March 1943. better than nothing. Sandini Sammlung also been fitt ed. By June 1944. (US Nava l 25mm mounts has also been increased. The aircraft and boat crane Inset 2. The con clusion of the invest igating toget her with Shokaku and Zuikaku. G: I M P ER IA L NAVY CARRIER CAMOUFLAGE including numerous tripIe 25mm tripie mounts. carrier flight decks. The schemes were the B6N "JiIL" This aircraft was assigned to Taiho. another committee took Albacore. During has two Type 21 radars fitt ed on the island and tw o Type 13 the early course of the war. The ship is painted with a flight deck disruptive scheme and the anti-submarine hull scheme . At 1628. but the remainder were onboard when carriers in 1944. tw o of each type were destroyed in scheme was applied to the Imperial Navy's surviving aircraft a landing accident. In add ition to the camouflage scheme . the hull to be painted in a bright green base which was over- Japanese launched their strikes on the US carriers. This plate shows Zuiho as it appeared in the battle of Leyte Gulf in Octob er 1944. a handful of ships . Also evident are the increased num ber of 25mm guns and the addition of six rocket launchers along the aft edge of the flight deck. it has been painted with a flight deck disruptive scheme. This plate shows escort carrier Chuyo in 1944. The older 4. At 0810 . was assigned to Force com mittee was that camou flage of an exposed flight deck "A". he dove into their path . The hull employs an anti. were painted in some radio mast). The tail code indicated that the impression to attacking US aircraft that the ship being attacked had gun turrets and other structures and was therefore not a carrier. This plate shows the light carrier Chitose as it appeared in the batt le of Leyte Gulf. As the painted with a false silhouette of another smaller ship in an strike of 48 A6Ms.submari ne scheme. Shinano features the largest f1ight deck and island of any Japanese carrier." Taiho was being tracked by the submarine USS Between March and July 1944. but some anti-submarine with 27 A6M. cam ouflage scheme . The ship least developed system of warship camouflage. The pattern was simple and called for the Taiho sortied with the rest of the Mobile Fleet. is mounted on the mainmast. Type 21 and Type 13 Historical Center) radars have also been fitted. The ship is in her Ia e." Taiho. This single hit started a chain of events being spotted by aircraft or confused with another type of that resulted in a fatal internal explosion at 1432. The extended flight deck com pared to its sister ship Shoho is evident. the Imperial Navy had the 5in dual mounts. greenish black. Chitose was orig inally a seaplane tend er and its orig inal lines can still be seen after its conversion into a carrier. Albacore fired six torpedoes at Taiho from up the issue of carrier camouflage. For its last battle . On June 13. and 27 B6Ns was being launched olive green shade. Note the tremendou s defensive armament. The flight Officer Sakio Komatsu .

45 Redfis h.ssex-class (US Navy) 17 Shinano. HIJMS 40-1 . 19 Brav. batt le of th e (lune 1944) Brasil Ma11l (passenge r line r) 42 Chitose. Washi ngton Naval Treaty (1922) 4. 47. Spodefish. HIJMS 7. 37 Sailfis h. 47. 44. 5. Po rt Moresby 19. HIJMS 37 Type 13 9.45 Kaga. 15. 17. H . 45. HIJ~lS 22-4. 19. 16. 22. H IJMS 38-9. 23. GI Wake Island 17 Hornet.45.41. HIJ MS 21-2. CI Schamhorst (Gennan lin e r ) 42 First Air Flee t 5. FI evalua tion of 43-4 Mari anas 20 D3A d ive-bo rnb ers 3. 22-4. battl e of th e 15 RYllho. F2 han gars 6-7 14. 20. 43. 24 Zuikaku. 5. 37-8. 18. USS 41 ChitoslKlass 33-5. 33 Typ e 21 9. 37-8. 34 . 24. HIJMS 13-14. 35 Phi lipp in e Sea.4 1 Tri neoma lee 17 Grand Escort Co m ma nd 40. 46. 34. battl e of (june 1942) 3.35. E3 24 Shinyo. A3 Solomo n Islands 19-20 Carrier Division 5 19 Taiho. 22 A6M figh ters 4. 47. B5N carrie r torpedo aircra ft 5. 35 . 24. 17 Hiryu .17 Im pe rialJ apanese Navy: carrier J ava 15 develop ment 3-5 Yamato-class battl eshi ps 38 Ind ia n Ocea n raid (Ap ril 1942) 14.47. HIJMS 16-1 7. ba ule of (Oc to ber 1944) 7.33-5 Mobil e Fleet 36. 38 47 . 14. 45 Ryuj o. HIJ MS 40. 46. Dl wartime co nstru ction 35-9 Nitta Maru (passe nge r line r ) 40 Type 95 d irecto r 8 wea po ns 7-8 Type 96 7. 43 Guadalcana l 3. 17 Kasagi. 22. D 14. 47 ligh t carrier co nversions 2 1-4. Ikoma. 11. 17. HIJ MS 37 Pearl Harho r 12.1 Wakarniya Maru (naval transpo rt) 3-4 Zl1i1lO.1 9 kamika ze tra ini ng 42 YalOata Maru (passe nger lin er ) 40 Izumo Maru (passenger lin e r ) 22 Kashhoara Maru (passenger liner) 22 Yo kosu ka 24 Kasuga M aru (passe nger liner ) 40 Yok osu ka Naviga tio n School 47 J ap an ese carriers: ge neral Kom atsu . Sakio 47 Yomtoum. 17-21. USS 36. 45 Shoho. H . C2 Rabaul 12. 9. B Albacore. HIJMS 9. USS 20. 13.21. 24 p re-war 10-21 anti-aircraft guns rada r 8-9 New Guinea 19 Type 89 7-8. ba ttle of the (May 1942) 19. 14 Shokaku. F Chiyoda.21.23. HIJMS 21-2. USS 17. 23. 45. 19. D4Y dive-hombe rs 47.B2 esco rt carrie rs 40-3 B6N carrie r torpedo air craft 35 . 40. 12. 22. ba ttle of (Oc to ber 1942) 22.1 7. HIJMS 37 Katsuragi. USS 4 1 Eastern Solomons. 39. USS 20 Ch11)'O.42 aircraft laun ching 5-6 aircraft aircraft recovery 6 Lexington. HIJMS 33-5. 45. 22. 12. 18. HIJMS 6. H IJMS 14-15. 44 Saipan 20 Enterprise. 23 JW1yO. HIJMS 38. 9. 11. G2 18. 45 48 . 20. 46. 40.20. HIJMS 35-6. 19. 22. HIJMS 33-5 Ph ilippi nes 15 Cavalla. 15. 47.20. 43. 46. 8 . USS 19. 24 21. 47 Aleutians 15. HIJMS 11-1 2. f. 9. USS 43 Fonnosa 33 EI. 35 . developme nt 3-5 21. 35. Sandini Sammlung INDEX Figures in bold refer to illustrations aircraft ca pac ity 5 Kur e 38. 16 Santa Cru z. 45.1 9 Co m bine d Fleet 40.4 1. G3 Po rt Darwin 12. 6. E2 passen ger lin e rs 22. 43 Sino-Japa nese Wa r (193 7-40) II Carrier Division 2 17 S01)'u. 42 Aso. 22 Colom bo 17 45 . 17. Ope ra tio n "A-Go" (june 1944 ) 36 Argentina Ma11l (passenger lin er ) 42 43. 13. 23. 38. BI camo uflage 47. 43.9. USS 39 Akagi. HIJ~IS 10-11 . 22. USS 12. 43.1 9. 34. 9. 10.38.43. 24. 33.20.17. USS 4 1 Doo little Raid (Ap ril 1942) 24 Kaiyo. 43 radar Co ral Sea. 33. F Taiyo.1 4. 17 Ceylon 12. 34. HIJMS 15-1 7.42.1. HIJMS 13. HIJMS 36 . 44. G Leyte Gulf. 43 Unryu. A2 Rasher. 46 Samtoga. 39. AI a rres ting systems 6 Amagi. HIJMS 42-3. B Combat 1nfonn ati on Centers 9 Hiyo. USS 38 Dutc h East Ind ies 12. 46-7. HIJMS 37-8. HIJMS 40.47. 38 A rcherfish.41 H osho. 15. 12. 17. 5 fuel tanks 7 Midway. D2 J apa nese carriers (by nam e) Ohka suicide roc ket bombs 33.4 1 Unyo. H IJMS 24. USS 15 fire co n tro l d ireeto rs: Type 94 7.

and the battle of the Coral Sea . it possessed a fantastically effective naval aviation force.com 111111 9 78 18 41 768533 1 ~n 0 1 (. Sandini Sammlung New Vanguard · 109 The design. o pe ration and histo ry Imperial ]apanese of the machinery of warfare through t he ages Navy Aircraft Carriers 1921-45 The Imperial japanese Navy was a pioneer in naval aviation.are all discussed. IS BN 1-84176-853-7 ÜSPREY PUBLISHING www . by the time Japan entered World War II and attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor in 1941. development.ospreypublish ing.the first carrier Cutaway artworl< Photographs vs carrier battle .1'1 • I . This book covers the design. development. the Hosho. Pearl Harbor. and operation of IJN aircraft carriers built prior to and during World War II. having commissioned the world 's first built-from-th e-keel-up carrier . the IJN experimented with its carriers. As a result. Midwa y. Throughout the 1920s an d 1930s. perfecting their Full color artwerk Unrivaled detail design and construction.