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fighting ships of the world

IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY (JAPAN)

AIRCRAFT CARRYING SHIPS

SHOKAKU aircraft carriers (1941)

Shokaku 1941

Zuikaku 1944

Name No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
翔鶴 <Shokaku>   Yokosuka K K 12/12/1937 1/6/1939 8/8/1941 sunk 19/6/1944
瑞鶴 <Zuikaku>   Kawasaki, Kobe 25/5/1938 27/11/1939 25/9/1941 sunk 25/10/1944

 

Displacement standard, t

25675

Displacement full, t

32105

Length, m

236.1 pp 250.0 wl 257.5 oa

Breadth, m

26.0 wl 29.0 fd

Draught, m

8.87

No of shafts

4

Machinery

Kampon geared steam turbines, 8 Kampon boilers

Power, h. p.

160000

Max speed, kts

34.2

Fuel, t

oil 4100

Endurance, nm(kts)

9700(18)

Armour, mm

belt: 46 (165 abreast magazines), deck 90 (132 over magazines)

Armament

8 x 2 - 127/40 89-shiki, 12 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 84 aircraft (A5M, A6M fighters, D3A diving bombers, B5N torpedo bombers)

Sensors 0-shiki sonar

Complement

1660

Aircraft facilities (fd - 7,024m², ha - 7,000m² / 33,600m³): Flight deck: 242.2x29.0m. Upper hangar: 190.0x~20.0x4.8m, lower hangar: 160.0x~20.0x4.8m. Lifts: fore (13.0x16.0m), medium and aft (13.0x12.0m). Aircraft fuel stowage: 1800t.

year fighters diving bombers torpedo bombers recon planes
11/1941 18 A6M2 27 D3A 27 B5N ---
1/1942 21 A6M2 21 D3A 21 B5N ---
4/1942 18 A6M2 27 D3A 27 B5N ---
5/1942 21 A6M2 21 D3A 21 B5N ---
7/1942 27 A6M2 27 D3A 18 B5N ---
3/1943 27 A6M2 18 D3A and D4Y 27 B5N ---
3/1944 27 A6M5 27 D4Y 18 B6N 3 D4Y1C
10/1944, Zuikaku 16 A6M2, 28 A6M5 7 D4Y 14 B6N ---

Ship project history: Shokaku and Zuikaku are designed in 1936-1937 as enlarged and improved version of Soryu. On architecture and structure they almost in accuracy repeated a prototype, however had strengthened protection, AA armament and more numerous air group. At the moment of the occurrence among all purpose built aircraft carriers these ships by right were considered as the largest and most powerful in the world.

Seaworthiness of Shokaku, in comparison with Soryu, has notably improved. The hull became on one deck higher and has gained new contours:  "clipper" stem with large bow flare and underwater bulb (here designers made use of experience of designing of the hull of Yamato class battleships).

Two-level hangar was completely covered. In hangar there were posts of of aircraft refuelling and air bombs hooking that expedited preparing of air group for a launch, but increased danger of fire: here there was no protection against enemy bombs and shells.

Flight deck was covered by wood. Lifting of one aircraft  spent 15 seconds, and a full cycle, including loading and discharging, 40 seconds.

Armouring scheme basically repeated accepted on Soryu. External 46mm waterline belt was protected machinery. Armour deck over machinery had 90mm thickness (65 + 25), over magazines 132mm. Remaining decks, including flight deck, were made of 16-19mm construction steel. Local box protection of magazines reached 165mm thickness. In the second half of 1944 on Zuikaku aviation petrol tanks received additional protection from concrete.

Ship protection: Main 46mm belt protected only machinery, main 90mm (65mm armour on 25mm plating) lower hangar deck connected with its upper edge. Its thickness was 25mm at ship ends. Flight deck had 25mm thickness over fore part of ship and funnel uptakes. Magazines had 165mm vertical and 132mm horizontal protection. There was 76-25mm longitudinal anti-torpedo bulkhead.

Modernizations: 6/1942, both: + 4 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 21-go radar

7/1943, both: + 2 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 16 x 1 - 25/60 96-shiki

8/1944, Zuikaku: aircraft fuel tanks received additional concrete protection; + 5 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki, 26 x 1 - 25/60 96-shiki, 8 x 28 - 120 AA rockets, 13-go radar.

Naval service: Shokaku 8/5/1942 was damaged by American carrier aircraft (2 454kg bomb hits). Repair lasted till the end of June, 1942. 26/10/1942 she was again damaged by American carrier aircraft (six air bomb hits) and was under repair till March, 1943. 19/6/1944 during battle at Mariana Islands Shokaku received 3-4 torpedo hits from American submarine Cavalla and in 3 hours after attack has blown up and sunk.

Zuikaku 20/6/1944 was hard damaged by American carrier aircraft (one direct bomb hit and 5 near misses), was repaired till early August, 1944. During battle at Engano 25/10/1944 Zuikaku was sunk by American carrier aircraft of TF.38 (6-7 torpedo and 7 bomb hits).

 

Shokaku 1941

 

Ivan Gogin, 2008-14