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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Soryu class fleet aircraft carriers

Photos

Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier during speed trials on April 28, 1939:
Japan's Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier during speed trials on April 28, 1939
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-73063
Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier off Tategama:
Japan's Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier off Tategama
Imperial War Museum, MH-6491
Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier:
Japan's Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier
Imperial War Museum, MH-5928
Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier being bombed by B-17s at Battle of Midway:
Japan's Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier being bombed by B-17s at Battle of Midway
USAF, 75712-AC
Soryu fleet aircraft carrier during speed trials in November 1937:
Japan's Soryu fleet aircraft carrier during speed trials in November 1937
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-73062
Soryu fleet aircraft carrier during trials in January 1938:
Japan's Soryu fleet aircraft carrier during  trials in January 1938
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-73061
Soryu fleet aircraft carrier:
Japan's Soryu fleet aircraft carrier
Imperial War Museum, MH-6490
Soryu fleet aircraft carrier being bombed by B-17s at Battle of Midway:
Japan's Soryu fleet aircraft carrier being bombed by B-17s at Battle of Midway
USAF, ID-4845

Design

As part of the Second Reinforcement Program of 1934 the Navy wanted a carrier design that future designs would be based on.

Soryu was designed based on experience with the Ryujo. The Soryu was the first Japanese carrier to be designed from the keep up. The design for the Soryu was still under the London Naval Treaty restrictions however when the Hiryu was to be built it wasn't.

The Hiryu's forecastle deck was one level higher than Soryu's. After the 4th Fleet suffered storm damage it was decided to build Hiryu with a stronger hull and beam to improve stability.

Hangars

There were three elevators serving the two hangars on the Soryu and the Hiryu.

The upper hangar was 520' long and the lower 420'.

Bridge

Hiryu's bridge was on the port side near the middle of the deck and Soryu's was on the starboard side more forward. Hiryu's placement caused problems with air currents and reduced the area for aircraft landing.

The funnels on the Soryu were just in back of the bridge and went horizontally and then downward.

Ships

IJN Hiryu (flying dragon)

  • Manufacturer: Yokosuka Navy Yard
  • July 8, 1936: Laid down.
  • November 16, 1937: Launched
  • July 5, 1939: Commissioned
  • 1939 - June 1942: Member of Carrier Division 2.
  • 1939: China.
  • December 6, 1941: Pearl Harbor attack.
  • December 21, 1941: Supported attack on Wake Island.
  • January 24 - 25, 1942: Attack on Ambon.
  • February 1942, February 19, 1942: Darwin.
  • March 1, 1942: Java.
  • March 3, 1942: Tjilatjap.
  • March 1942, March 26 - April 22, 1942: Indian Ocean operations. Helped sink HMS Cornwall, HMS Dorsetshire, and HMS Hermes.
  • April 5, 1942: Colombo
  • April 9, 1942: Trincomalee
  • June 4, 1942: Attacks on USS Yorktown.
  • June 5, 1942: Sunk at Battle of Midway.

IJN Soryu (deep blue dragon)

  • Manufacturer: Kure Navy Yard
  • November 20, 1934: Laid down.
  • December 21, 1935, December 23, 1935: Launched
  • January 29, 1937, December 29, 1937: Commissioned
  • 1939 - June 1942: Member of Carrier Division 2.
  • 1939: China.
  • December 6, 1941: Pearl Harbor attack.
  • December 21, 1941: Supported attack on Wake Island.
  • January 24 - 25, 1942: Attack on Ambon.
  • February 1942, February 19, 1942: Darwin.
  • March 1, 1942: Java. Sank USS Pecos.
  • March 3, 1942: Tjilatjap.
  • March 1942, March 26 - April 22, 1942: Indian Ocean operations. Helped sink HMS Cornwall, HMS Dorsetshire, and HMS Hermes.
  • April 5, 1942: Colombo
  • April 9, 1942: Trincomalee
  • June 4, 1942, June 6, 1942: Sunk at Battle of Midway.

Usage

Pearl Harbor

The Soryu carried 18 fighters, 18 bombers, and 18 torpedo bombers for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Battle of Midway

The Hiryu and Soryu made up the 2nd Carrier Division and were sunk at the Battle of Midway. The Soryu carried 21 fighters, 21 bombers, and 21 torpedo bombers,

The Hiryu was set on fire by aircraft from the USS Yorktown and USS Enterprise on June 4, 1942. She was scuttled the next day by the Kazegumo, Makigumo, and Yugumo.

The Soryu was set on fire by aircraft from the USS Yorktown and later blew up on June 4, 1942.

 

Specifications

  Soryu Class
Crew 1,101, 1,103
Displacement 15,900 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 746'
Beam 70'
Draft / Height 25'
Performance  
Speed 34 knots
Range at 18 knots 7,750 nautical miles
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5" twin mounts, 5" Type 89 twin mounts, 5" L/40 twin mounts, 127 mm: 6
25 mm twin mounts: 14
25 mm triple mounts: 3
Aircraft 71, 73
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers Kanpon: 8
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared
Geared Kanpon
  Hiryu
Crew 1,101
Displacement 17,300 tons
Displacement - Loaded 21,900 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 745', 745' 11", 746'
227.3 m, 227.4 m
Length - Water Line 731' 4", 731' 9"
222.93 m, 223 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 677' 6", 688' 9"
206.5 m, 210 m
Beam 73', 73' 3"
22.3 m, 22.32 m
Draft / Height 25' 4", 25' 9", 26'
7.7 m, 7.84 m
Flight Deck 711' 6" x 88' 6"
217 m x 27 m
Performance  
Speed 34.3 knots, 34.5 knots
Range 7,670 nautical miles
Range at 18 knots 7,670 nautical miles, 10,330 nautical miles
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5" L/40 twin mounts: 6
25 mm: 31
25 mm twin mounts: 5
25 mm triple mounts: 7
Aircraft 73
Armor  
Belt 3.5"
Machinery 3.5"
Magazines 5.9"
Deck 1"
Engines  
Boilers 8
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared Turbines
HP 153,000
Oil 3,700 tons, 4,400 tons
  Soryu
Crew 1,100, 1,101
Displacement 15,900 tons
Displacement - Loaded 19,800 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 746', 746' 5", 746' 6"
227.5 m
Length - Water Line 728', 728' 2", 728' 4"
222 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 677' 6", 688' 9"
206.5 m, 210 m
Beam 69' 11", 70'
21.3 m
Draft / Height 25'
7.62 m, 7.5 m
Flight Deck 705' 6" x 85' 6", 711' 6" x 85' 4", 711' 6" x 85' 6"
215 m x 26 m, 217 m x 26 m
Performance  
Speed 34 knots, 34.5 knots
Range 7,680 nautical miles
Range at 18 knots 7,750 nautical miles, 7,680 nautical miles
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5", 5" L/40 twin mount: 4, 12
25 mm: 28
25 mm twin mounts: 14
Aircraft 71
A6M: 18
D3A: 18
B5N: 18
Armor  
Belt 1.8"
Deck 1"
Engines  
Boilers 8, Kampon: 8
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared turbines
HP 152,000
Oil 3,400 tons, 3,670 tons

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. Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Carriers 1921-45, Mark Stille, 2005
  5. The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War, Mark E. Stille, 2013
  6. The World's Aircraft Carriers 1914 - 1945, Roger Chesneau, 1986
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site