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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Hosho "flying phoenix" class light aircraft carriers

Photos

Hosho light aircraft carrier depicted on a postcard around 1921:
Japan's Hosho light aircraft carrier depicted on a postcard around 1921
National Archives, NH-42374-KN
Hosho light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate soldiers in October 19457 at Kure:
Japan's Hosho light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate soldiers in October 1945 at Kure
US Navy Photo, 80-351903
Hosho light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate soldiers in October 1945 at Kure:
Japan's Hosho light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate soldiers in October 1945 at Kure
US Navy Photo, 80-351904
Hosho light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate soldiers in October 1945 at Kure:
Japan's Hosho light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate soldiers in October 1945 at Kure
US Navy Photo, 80-351905

Design

As part of the 8-6 Fleet Project the Hosho was ordered.2

Hosho was / was not7,8 the first carrier to be designed and built from the keel up.2
Hosho was designed as a combination seaplane and aircraft carrier on a light cruiser hull.6,8

The Hosho was to have a sister ship, the Shokaku, but it was cancelled due to the limitations of the Washington Treaty.1,2,3

Flight Deck

Initially there was an island on the starboard side along with three funnels.1,2,4,6 The funnels could be lowered during flight operations.1,2,6,7

There was a system of lights and mirrors along the flight deck to help with landings.1,2

There were two elevators in the deck.2,7 The forward elevator was 26' x 33' and the aft 43' x 28'.7

The flight deck was widened and lengthened in 1944.8

Island Removed

In 1923 the island was removed making the Hosho flush decked.1,8

Armament

Outboard of the hangar were four 5.5" guns.6,8 The flight deck had two 3" anti-aircraft guns.6,8

Once World War II started the 5.5" guns were removed and eight 25 mm anti-aircraft guns added.6

By the end of the war there were only six 25 mm anti-aircraft guns mounted.6

Hangar

The hangar was 300' long and initially held 21 planes.8 Capacity was reduced to eleven planes as planes became larger.8

Ships

IJN Hosho , IJN Hosyo5, (flying pheonix8)

  • Manufacturer: Tsurumi1,8, Asano7, Asano (Tsurumi) and Yokosuka2,3,5
  • December 16, 1919: Laid down.7,8
  • November 19216, November 13, 1921: Launched.1,2,3,5,7,8
  • December 1922, December 16, 19223, December 27, 19222,5,7,8: Completed.2,3,5,7,8
  • 1923: Island removed.1,2,3,7
  • 1933: Funnels were made to point downward.2
  • 1934: Aircraft reduced to 21.3
  • 1935 - 1939, 1937 - 19408: Sino-Japanese War8 with Combined Fleet.2
  • 1939 - April 1, 1942: Carrier Division 3 with Ryujo / Zuiho4.2
  • 1940: Joined First Fleet and fought off Chinese coast.2
  • 1941: 25 mm guns replaced 3" guns.1 Two 3" / 3.1"7 guns / four 5.5" guns6 replaced by four 25 mm twin mounts.3,7
  • November 1941: Marshalls2
  • 1942: Aircraft reduced to 11.3 Four 5.5" replaced by eight 25 mm twin mounts.3,7
  • June 1942: Battle of Midway with Main Body.2,4,7,8 Carried 11 Nakajima B5N Kates.4
  • July 1942 - April 1945: Training.2
  • 1944: Flight deck extended.1,6,8 Extended to 579' 5" / 176.6 m.3 25 mm anti-aircraft guns increased to 30.6,8
  • 19457, March 19, 1945: Damaged by air attack at Kure.2,7
  • April 20, 1945: Disarmed.2,4

IJN Shokaku, IJN Syokaku5 (flying crane8)

  • 1922: Cancelled1,2,3

Usage

Sino-Japanese War

The Hosho was used for close support.1,2,4,6,8

Battle of Midway

The Hosho was used to escort the Main Body.6,8

Training Duties

After the Battle of Midway the Hosho was made into a training carrier.1,6,8

Repatriation

Having survived the war it was used to repatriate soldiers.1,4,6,8

Specifications

  Hosho Class
Crew 5501,2,8
Displacement 7,470 tons1,2,8
Physical Characteristics  
Length 551' 6"1, 552' 6"2
168.25 m2
Length - 1944 579'8
Length - Water Line 541' 6"2
165 m2
Length - Between Perpendiculars 510'1,2
155.5 m2
Beam 591,2,8
18 m2
Draft / Height 20'8, 20' 3"2, 20' 9"1
6.2 m2
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Flight Deck 509' x 74' 6"1, 519' x 74' 6"2
158.2 m x 22.7 m2
Performance  
Speed 25 knots1,2,8
Range at 12 knots 8,680 nautical miles2,8
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5.5": 41,8
5.5" L/50: 42
3": 21,8
3" L/40: 22
25 twin mounts: 41
Anti-Aircraft - 1945 25 mm: 68
Aircraft 211,2,8
Armor  
Engines 2 shaft turbines1
Shafts: 22
Kanpon boilers: 82
Kanpon geared turbines: 22
HP 30,0001,2
Oil 550 tons2
  Hosho
Crew 5503,4,6,7
Displacement 7,470 tons3,4,5,6,7
Displacement - Loaded 10,000 tons3,4,7
Physical Characteristics  
Length 551' 5"3, 551' 6"4,7
168.1 m3,4,7
Length - 1944 579'6
Length - Water Line 541' 4"3,7
165 m3,7
Length - Between Perpendiculars 510'3,5,7
155.45 m3,5
Beam 59'4,6, 59' 1"3,7, 62'5
18 m3,4,7
Draft / Height 20'6, 20' 3"3,5,7, 20' 4"4
6.17 m3,7, 6.2 m4
Flight Deck 519' x 74' 6"3, 520' x 70'7
158.5 m x 21.34 m7
Performance  
Speed 25 knots3,4,5,6,7
Range 8,680 nautical miles6
Range at 15 knots 8,000 nautical miles7
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5.5"5,7, 5.5" L/503: 43,5,7
80 mm7: 27
3"5, 3" L/403: 23,5
MG: 23,5
Anti-Aircraft - 1941 25 mm twin mounts: 84
Anti-Aircraft - 1945 25 mm twin mounts3,7: 33,7
Aircraft 216, 263,5,7
Aircraft - 1934 217
Aircraft - 1941 117
Aircraft - 1942 B5N Kate: 114
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers Boilers: 123
Kanpon Boilers: 85, 127
Shafts 23,4,5,7
Turbines Geared3,4,5, Parsons Geared7
HP 30,0003,4,5,7
Oil 550 tons5, 2,695 tons3,7
Coal 940 tons3,7

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. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
  6. Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Carriers 1921-45, Mark Stille, 2005
  7. The World's Aircraft Carriers 1914 - 1945, Roger Chesneau, 1986
  8. The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War, Mark E. Stille, 2013
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site