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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.1,2,3,6,8 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.2

Flight Deck

The Taiyō class were flush deck escort aircraft carriers with two elevators.2,5,6,8 There were no catapults.8

Hangar

There was one hangar, 300' long, in the Taiyō class ships.2,5,6,8

Engines

The original diesel engines were replaced by turbines.6

The uptakes were routed to starboard and exhaust when out funnels that were angled downwards.8

Ships

IJN Chūyō, (heaven bound hawk7)

  • Formerly the Nitta Maru1,2,3,4,5,7,8
  • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi8, Mitsubishi at Nagasaki1,2,3
  • May 9, 1938: Laid down.8
  • May 20, 1939: Launched.1,2,3,8
  • March 23, 1940: Comleted.2
  • May - November 1942, November 25, 19422,3,8: Conversion to carrier at Kure Navy Yard.1,2,3,6,8
  • 1943, Late 19438:
    16 25 mm guns added.1
    Fourteen 25 mm guns and five 13.2 mm guns added.8
  • December 4, 1943: Sunk.1,3,8 Torpedoed by USS Sailfish 260 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka.2,3,4,8

IJN Taiyō, (great hawk7)

  • Formerly the Kasuga Maru1,2,3,4,5,8
  • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi8, Mitsubishi at Nagasaki1,2,3
  • January 6, 1940: Laid down.8
  • September 19, 1940: Launched.1,2,3,6,8
  • September 5, 19412, September 15, 19413,8, September 1941: Carrier conversion completed at Sasebo Navy Yard.2,3,6,8
  • 1943, Late 19438: 16 25 mm guns added.1,8
  • July 1944, Mid 19448:
    42 25 mm and 10 13 mm guns added.1
    Two 5" L/40 twin mounts replaced the 4.7" guns.8
  • August 18, 1944: Sunk.1,3,8 Torpedoed by USS Rasher 22 nautical miles southwest of Cape Bojeador, Luzon.2,3,4,8

IJN Un'yō, (hawk in the clouds7)

  • Formerly the Yawata Maru1,2,3,4,5,8
  • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi8, Mitsubishi at Nagasaki1,2,3
  • December 14, 1938: Laid down.8
  • October 31, 1939: Launched.1,2,3,8
  • July 31, 1940: Commissioned.2
  • January - May 1942, May 31, 19422,3,8: Conversion to carrier at Kure Navy Yard.1,6,8
  • 1943, Late 19438: 16 25 mm guns added.1,8
  • July 1944: 4 4.7" guns removed.1 42 25 mm and 10 13 mm guns added.1
  • September 16, 1944: Sunk.1,3,8 Torpedoed by USS Barb 220 nautical miles southeast of Hong Kong.2,3,4,8

Usage

Since the Taiyō class ships didn't have catapults or arrestor gear they were used to ferry aircraft and for training.1,4,6,8

 

Specifications

  Taiyō class
Crew 7478, 8004, 8501,2,3,5
Displacement 17,830 tons1,2,3,5,8, 17,850 tons4
Physical Characteristics  
Length 590' 11"4, 591'5, 591' 4"1,2,3,8
180.1 m4, 180.2 m2, 180.24 m3,8
Length - Water Line 569' 6"2, 569' 11"3,8
173.7 m2,3,8
Length - Between Perpendiculars 550' 6"2, 551' 2"3,8
168 m2,3,8
Beam 73' 9"1,2, 73' 10"3,4, 74'5
22.5 m2,3,4
Draft / Height 25' 5"3,8, 26'5, 26' 3"1,2,4
7.74 m3, 7.75 m8, 8 m2,4
Flight Deck 492' x 75' 6"8, 564' x 77' 1"4, 564' 3" x 77'3, 564' 4" x 77'2, 564' 6" x 77'1
150 m x 23 m8, 171.9 m x 23.5 m4, 172 m x 23.5 m2
Performance  
Speed 21 knots1,2,3,5,8
Range 8,500 nautical miles5
Range at 18 knots 6,500 nautical miles8, 8,500 nautical miles2
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 4.7"1,8: 68, 81
5"4, 127 mm4, 5" L/40, 127 mm2,3: 82,3,4
25 mm1,3,4,8: 81,3,4,8
25 mm twin mounts: 42
Anti-Aircraft - 1943 25 mm: 241, 302
Aircraft 271,2,3,4,8
Armor None1,2,4
Engines  
Boilers 43,8
Kanpon: 42
Shafts 21,2,3,4,8
Turbines Geared1,2,3,8, Geared steam4
HP 25,2001,2,3,4,8
Oil 2,250 tons2
  Chūyō
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5" twin mounts2, 5" L/40 DP twin mounts8: 42,8
Anti-Aircraft - 1943 25 mm: 223
13.2 mm: 53
Aircraft 302,6
  Taiyō
Crew 7471,2,3,5
Physical Characteristics  
Draft / Height 26' 3"3
8 m3
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 4.7", 120 mm: 41, 62
4.7" L/45: 63
25 mm: 82
Anti-Aircraft - 1943 4.7": 12
25 mm: 242,3
Anti-Aircraft - 1944 25 mm: 641,2,8
13 mm: 101,2,8
Aircraft 272,6
  Un'yō
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5" twin mounts2, 5" L/40 DP twin mounts8: 42,8
Anti-Aircraft - 1943 25 mm: 243
Anti-Aircraft - July 1944 4.7"1, 4.7" L/403: 41
25 mm: 641,2,3,8
13 mm: 101,2,3,8
Aircraft 302,6

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