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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Taiho fleet aircraft carrier

Photos

Taiho:
Taiho
Imperial Japanese Navy photo
Taiho at Lingga Roads:
Taiho at Lingga Roads
Imperial Japanese Navy photo

Design

The Taiho was to be built under the 4th Reinforcement Program of 1939. The basic design was based on the Shokaku class.

Flight Deck

The Taiho was fitted with an armored flight deck, one of only two in the Japanese Navy, which caused it to be top heavy. As a result one deck was removed from the initial design.

The flight deck was designed to withstand an 1,000 lb bomb.

Two elevators were installed in the flight deck.

Bridge

The bridge was designed to have the funnel go through it.

Hangars

There were two hangars with the bottom one almost near the waterline. The hangars did not have armored sides. The height of the hangars was 16' 6".

Ships

IJN Taiho, (great phoenix)

  • Manufacturer: Kawasaki, Kawasaki at Kobe
  • July 10, 1941: Laid down.
  • April 7, 1943: Launched.
  • March 1944, March 7, 1944: Commissioned.
  • March 1944: Moved to Singapore for trials and training.
  • June 1944: Flagship of 1st Carrier Strike Force for the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
  • June 19, 1944: Sunk. Battle of the Philippine Sea. Torpedoed by USS Albacore. Went down 180 nautical miles north-northwest of Yap.

No 801, 802

  • Ordered under 1942 Programmed but not built.
  • 30,100 tons.
  • 33 knots
  • 1942: Cancelled.

No 5021, 5022, 5023, 5024, 5025

  • Ordered under 1942 Modified Programmed but not built.
  • 30,300 tons. 30,360 tons.
  • 16 3.9", 66 25 mm, 53 aircraft.
  • Overall 867' 9". Flight deck 858' x 98' 6".

Usage

Volatile Mixture

The Japanese were using improperly refined oil which gave off gas fumes. When hit by torpedoes at the Battle of the Philippine Sea her hangar was jammed and fuel tanks ruptured by the explosion. All the ventilation ducts were opened which only lead to the fumes being spread throughout the ship. Fumes concentrated in the hangar and a spark set off an explosion which lead to Taiho's sinking. The resulting explosion ruptured the flight deck, blew out the sides of the flight deck and even blew holes in the bottom of Taiho.

It took about 90 minutes for the Taiho to sink. There were about 500 survivors from the crew.

 

Specifications

  Taiho
Crew 1,751, 2,150
Displacement 29,300 tons
Displacement - Loaded 37,720 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 852', 854' 8", 855'
260 m, 260.5 m, 260.6 m
Length - Water Line 830', 830' 1"
253 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 780' 9", 780' 10"
238 m
Beam 90' 9", 90' 10", 90' 11", 91'
27.7 m
Draft / Height 31' 6", 31' 9", 32'
9.59 m, 9.6 m
Flight Deck 843' x 98' 6", 844' x 98' 6", 844' 9" x 98' 6", 845' x 98' 6"
253 m x 30 m, 257.5 m x 30 m
Performance  
Speed 33 knots, 33.3 knots
Range at 18 knots 8,000 nautical miles, 10,000 nautical miles
Range 10,000 nautical miles
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 3.9" twin mounts, 3.9" L/65 twin mounts, 100 mm twin mounts: 6
3.9" L/65 twin mounts: 6
25 mm: 20, 51, 71
25 mm triple mounts: 15, 17
Aircraft 33, 60, 74, 75, 84
D4Y Judy dive bomber: 30
A6M Zero fighter: 27
B6N Jill torpedo bomber: 18
Armor  
Belt 2.2"
Flight Deck 3", 3.1", 3.75"
Engine Room 2", 2.25", 5.9"
Hangar Deck 4.9"
Magazine 5.9", 6"
Elevator 2"
Engines  
Boilers 8
Kampon, Kanpon: 8
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared, Geared steam
HP 160,000, 180,000
Oil 5,700 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. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Carriers 1921-45, Mark Stille, 2005
  6. The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War, Mark E. Stille, 2013
  7. The World's Aircraft Carriers 1914 - 1945, Roger Chesneau, 1986
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site