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Shoho file photo [1851]

Zuiho-class Light Carrier



This article refers to the entire Zuiho-class; it is not about an individual vessel.

ww2dbaseThe Zuiho-class ships were originally laid down as submarine tenders with design flexible enough for them to be used as either light aircraft carriers or fleet oilers; they would indeed be converted to become light aircraft carriers, one after commission (Tsurugizaki/Shoho) and the other shortly after launched (Takasaki/Zuiho). Although Tsurugizaki was completed first as a submarine tender, because Zuiho had beaten Tsurugizaki/Shoho to service after conversion, Zuiho became the lead ship of the class of light carriers. These 11,443-ton ships, each having two centerline elevators and a single hangar, could each operated up to 30 aircraft; although the air groups they carried were small compared to their larger cousins, their speed meant they would nevertheless be valuable additions to fast carrier groups. Shoho's service as a carrier would last only months into the Pacific War, having been sunk at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, becoming the first Japanese carrier to be lost in the war. Zuiho, however, would see greater service, participating in the Battle of Midway, the campaign in the Solomon Islands, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the campaign in the Philippine Islands during which she would be sunk in the Battle off Cape EngaƱo.

Nihon Kaigun

Last Major Revision: Jun 2012

Zuiho-class Light Carrier Interactive Map

Zuiho-class Light Carrier Operational Timeline

27 Dec 1940 Zuiho was commissioned into service.
30 Nov 1941 Shoho was commissioned into service.
7 May 1942 Shoho sank in the Coral Sea at 1135 hours after an hour-long carrier aircraft attack that saw 13 bomb and 5 torpedo hits; 631 were killed, 203 survived.
26 Oct 1942 At the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, US forces achieved victory but saw USS Enterprise, USS South Dakota, and USS San Juan damaged. Aircraft carrier USS Hornet (Yorktown-class) was badly damaged from aerial bombs and torpedoes and then finally hit by three Type 93 torpedoes launched from Japanese destroyers Akigumo and Makigumo which caused her to sink 30 minutes later. On the Japanese side, carriers Shokaku and Zuiho were damaged by dive bombers from USS Hornet and USS Enterprise, respectively.
26 Oct 1942 Kumano screened the carriers Shokaku, Zuikaku, and Zuiho in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
28 Feb 1943 Yugure took on ground support crews of carrier Zuiho and departed Wewak, Australian New Guinea at 1200 hours.
2 Mar 1943 Yugure arrived at Truk, Caroline Islands at 1300 hours and unloaded support crews of carrier Zuiho.

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