Zuiho-class Light Carrier


Alongside the six main aircraft carriers of Kido Butai, Japan had made plans for other ships to be converted to carriers if they needed them. The two ships of the Zuiho class were the prime examples, starting out as submarine tenders before undergoing the conversion process to carriers, entering service just as the war started. While useful with the speed to work alongside the main fleet carriers, they could only carry a small air group. Shoho would not last long as American carrier aircraft sank her at Coral Sea while Zuiho would serve at Midway before participating in the Battle of Santa Cruz in 1942 and the Battle of the Philippine Sea in 1944. She would sortie one last time and succeed in luring the American carriers away from Leyte Gulf before being sunk by American aircraft.

Andrew Nguyen

Year CompletedZuiho: 1940
Shoho: 1941
Displacement11,262 tons
Dimensions712' x 59' x 22'
Speed28 knots
Armament 8 x 5in guns, 8 x 25mm guns (1941)
68 x 25mm guns, 6 28 5in AA rockets (1944)
30 aircraft
Crew785

Additional Info
Zuiho Tabular Record of Movement (TROM)
Shoho Tabular Record of Movement (TROM)

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Zuiho-class Light Carrier
  * Zuiho
  * Shoho


Submarine tender Tsurugizaki off Tateyama, Japan, 30 Jan 1939; she was later converted to become light carrier ShohoCarrier Zuiho at Yokosuka, Japan, 28 Dec 1940Light carrier Shoho, Yokosuka, Japan, 20 Dec 1941Japanese light carrier Shoho shortly after her conversion from a submarine tender, Yokosuka, Japan, 25 Dec 1941Shoho burning as she was attacked by aircraft, Battle of Coral Sea, 7 May 1942; note TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bomber faintly visible to the right of splash
Submarine tender Tsurugizaki off Tateyama, Japan, 30 Jan 1939; she was later converted to become light carrier ShohoCarrier Zuiho at Yokosuka, Japan, 28 Dec 1940Light carrier Shoho, Yokosuka, Japan, 20 Dec 1941Japanese light carrier Shoho shortly after her conversion from a submarine tender, Yokosuka, Japan, 25 Dec 1941Shoho burning as she was attacked by aircraft, Battle of Coral Sea, 7 May 1942; note TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bomber faintly visible to the right of splash
Shoho burning during Battle of Coral Sea, photographed by a torpedo bomber pilot from Yorktown, 7 May 1942Shoho burning during Battle of Coral Sea, photographed by a torpedo bomber pilot from Yorktown, 7 May 1942; note the faint outline of a TBD-1 in bottom half of photoShoho heavily damaged, late afternoon of 7 May 1942Shoho taking a hit, 7 May 1942Shoho torpedoed, photographed by pilot from Lexington, Battle of Coral Sea, 7 May 1942
Shoho burning during Battle of Coral Sea, photographed by a torpedo bomber pilot from Yorktown, 7 May 1942Shoho burning during Battle of Coral Sea, photographed by a torpedo bomber pilot from Yorktown, 7 May 1942; note the faint outline of a TBD-1 in bottom half of photoShoho heavily damaged, late afternoon of 7 May 1942Shoho taking a hit, 7 May 1942Shoho torpedoed, photographed by pilot from Lexington, Battle of Coral Sea, 7 May 1942

See all 12 photos of Zuiho-class Light Carrier on WW2DB






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