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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Taiyō class escort aircraft carriers

Photos

IJN Chūyō in May 1943:
IJN Chuyo in May 1943
Japanese Navy photo
IJN Taiyō at Yokosuka:
IJN Taiyo at Yokosuka
Japanese Navy photo
IJN Un'yō 1943 at Yokosuka Naval Base:
IJN Unyo 1943 at Yokosuka Naval Base
Japanese Navy photo

 

Design

Originally the Taiyō class ships were Nippon Yusea Kaisya (N.Y.K.) luxury liners. They were to serve European passengers, but with Europe at war the Japanese Navy decided to take over the ships and make them into carriers.

Flight Deck

The Taiyō class were flush deck escort aircraft carriers with two elevators. There were no catapults.

Hangar

There was one hangar, 300' long, in the Taiyō class ships.

Engines

The original diesel engines were replaced by turbines.

The uptakes were routed to starboard and exhaust when out funnels that were angled downwards.

Ships

IJN Chūyō, (heaven bound hawk)

  • Formerly the Nitta Maru
  • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi at Nagasaki
  • May 9, 1938: Laid down.
  • May 20, 1939: Launched.
  • March 23, 1940: Comleted.
  • May - November 1942, November 25, 1942: Conversion to carrier at Kure Navy Yard.
  • 1943, Late 1943:
    16 25 mm guns added.
    Fourteen 25 mm guns and five 13.2 mm guns added.
  • December 4, 1943: Sunk. Torpedoed by USS Sailfish 260 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka.

IJN Taiyō, (great hawk)

  • Formerly the Kasuga Maru
  • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi at Nagasaki
  • January 6, 1940: Laid down.
  • September 19, 1940: Launched.
  • September 5, 1941, September 15, 1941, September 1941: Carrier conversion completed at Sasebo Navy Yard.
  • 1943, Late 1943: 16 25 mm guns added.
  • July 1944, Mid 1944:
    42 25 mm and 10 13 mm guns added.
    Two 5" L/40 twin mounts replaced the 4.7" guns.
  • August 18, 1944: Sunk. Torpedoed by USS Rasher 22 nautical miles southwest of Cape Bojeador, Luzon.

IJN Un'yō, (hawk in the clouds)

  • Formerly the Yawata Maru
  • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi at Nagasaki
  • December 14, 1938: Laid down.
  • October 31, 1939: Launched.
  • July 31, 1940: Commissioned.
  • January - May 1942, May 31, 1942: Conversion to carrier at Kure Navy Yard.
  • 1943, Late 1943: 16 25 mm guns added.
  • July 1944: 4 4.7" guns removed. 42 25 mm and 10 13 mm guns added.
  • September 16, 1944: Sunk. Torpedoed by USS Barb 220 nautical miles southeast of Hong Kong.

Usage

Since the Taiyō class ships didn't have catapults or arrestor gear they were used to ferry aircraft and for training.

 

Specifications

  Taiyō class
Crew 747, 800, 850
Displacement 17,830 tons, 17,850 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 590' 11", 591', 591' 4"
180.1 m, 180.2 m, 180.24 m
Length - Water Line 569' 6", 569' 11"
173.7 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 550' 6", 551' 2"
168 m
Beam 73' 9", 73' 10", 74'
22.5 m
Draft / Height 25' 5", 26', 26' 3"
7.74 m, 7.75 m, 8 m
Flight Deck 492' x 75' 6", 564' x 77' 1", 564' 3" x 77', 564' 4" x 77', 564' 6" x 77'
150 m x 23 m, 171.9 m x 23.5 m, 172 m x 23.5 m
Performance  
Speed 21 knots
Range 8,500 nautical miles
Range at 18 knots 6,500 nautical miles, 8,500 nautical miles
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 4.7": 6, 8
5", 127 mm, 5" L/40, 127 mm: 8
25 mm: 8
25 mm twin mounts: 4
Anti-Aircraft - 1943 25 mm: 24, 30
Aircraft 27
Armor None
Engines  
Boilers 4
Kanpon: 4
Shafts 2
Turbines Geared, Geared steam
HP 25,200
Oil 2,250 tons
  Chūyō
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5" twin mounts, 5" L/40 DP twin mounts: 4
Anti-Aircraft - 1943 25 mm: 22
13.2 mm: 5
Aircraft 30
  Taiyō
Crew 747
Physical Characteristics  
Draft / Height 26' 3"
8 m
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 4.7", 120 mm: 4, 6
4.7" L/45: 6
25 mm: 8
Anti-Aircraft - 1943 4.7": 1
25 mm: 24
Anti-Aircraft - 1944 25 mm: 64
13 mm: 10
Aircraft 27
  Un'yō
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5" twin mounts, 5" L/40 DP twin mounts: 4
Anti-Aircraft - 1943 25 mm: 24
Anti-Aircraft - July 1944 4.7", 4.7" L/40: 4
25 mm: 64
13 mm: 10
Aircraft 30

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. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Carriers 1921-45, Mark Stille, 2005
  6. Allied Escort Carriers of World War Two in Action, Kenneth Poolman, 1988
  7. The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War, Mark E. Stille, 2013
  8. The World's Aircraft Carriers 1914 - 1945, Roger Chesneau, 1986
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site