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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Shimane Maru class escort aircraft carriers

Photos

Shimane Maru in Shido Bay on July 28, 1945:
Shimane Maru in Shido Bay on July 28, 1945
Fleet Air Arm, British Royal Navy

Design

Imperial Headquarters wanted more carriers despite the fact that there were few pilots available. There were two Type 1TL/ four oil tankers then under construction and it was decided to convert them into convoy escorts.

Flight Deck

There was a single elevator.

Funnel

A single horizontally mounted funnel was put on the starboard side towards the rear of the ship.

Hangar

There was a hangar located amidships.

Changing Direction

As there was almost no oil left in Japan, in February 1945 work on the Shimane Maru was stopped and work to convert her into a coal burning cargo ship was started. Similarly the Otakisan Maru was to start conversion into a coal burner but she was sunk before it began.
Due to the lack of oil it was decided to convert the ships into coal burners but that was cancelled and it was decided to convert them back into oil tankers. Before this could start the Shimane Maru was sunk. The Otakisan Maru was also to be converted to coal, this was cancelled and it was decided to convert her back to an oil tanker. This didn't happen as she was sunk before work commenced.

Ships

IJN Otakisan Maru

  • Manufacturer: Kawasaki, Kawasaki at Kobe
  • September 18, 1944: Laid down.
  • January 14, 1945: Launched.
  • August 25, 1945: Sunk by mine in Kobe. A storm caused her to break her moorings and she drifted into a mine.

IJN Shimane Maru

  • Manufacturer: Kawasaki, Kawasaki at Kobe
  • June 8, 1944: Laid down.
  • December 17, 1944: Launched.
  • February 28, 1945: Completed.
  • February 1945: Work stopped.
  • July 24, 1945: Sunk during an air raid on Kobe by TF38 off Takamatsu.

I4, I6

  • Manufacturer: Kawasaki at Kobe
  • 1945: Cancelled.
  • March 1945: Cancelled.

Specifications

  Shimane Maru class
Crew  
Displacement 11,800 tons, 14,500 tons
Displacement - Loaded 20,469 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 526', 526' 7"
160.5 m
Length - Water Line 502'
153 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 492', 492' 2"
150 m, 153 m
Beam 65' 6", 65' 7"
20 m
Draft / Height 29' 9", 29' 10"
9.1 m
Flight Deck ? x 75', 489' x 75', 500' x 75' 6"
152 m x 23 m, 152.5 m x 23 m
Performance  
Speed 18.5 knots
Range at 14 knots 10,000 nautical miles
Range at 15 knots 10,000 nautical miles
Armament Depth charges: 16
Anti-Aircraft 4.7", 120 mm: 2
25 mm: 25
25 mm triple mounts, 25 mm Hotchkiss triple mounts: 9
Aircraft 12
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers 2
Kanpon: 2
Shafts 1
Turbines Geared, Mitsubishi Geared
HP 8,600

Sources:

  1. Japanese Warships of World War II, A. J. Watts, 1966
  2. The Imperial Japanese Navy, A. J. Watts and B. G. Gordon, 1971
  3. The World's Aircraft Carriers 1914 - 1945, Roger Chesneau, 1986
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site