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ZUIHO light aircraft carriers (1940, 1939 / 1942)




Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
瑞鳳 [Zuiho] (ex-高崎 [Takasaki])     Yokosuka K K 20.6.1935 19.6.1936 27.12.1940 sunk 25.10.1944
祥鳳 [Shoho] (ex-剣埼 [Tsurugisaki])     Yokosuka K K // Yokosuka K K 3.12.1934 1.6.1935 15.1.1939 // 26.1.1942 sunk 7.5.1942

Technical data

Displacement standard, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

185.0 pp 201.5 wl 204.8 oa

Breadth, m

18.2 wl 23.0 fd

Draught, m


No of shafts



2 sets Kampon geared steam turbines, 4 Kampon boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

oil 2600

Endurance, nm(kts)7800(18)

Zuiho: 4 x 2 - 127/40 89-shiki, 4 x 2 - 25/60 96-shiki, 30 aircraft (A5M, A6M fighters, D1A, D3A diving bombers, B5N torpedo bombers)

Shoho: 4 x 2 - 127/40 89-shiki, 4 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 30 aircraft (A5M, A6M fighters, D3A diving bombers, B5N torpedo bombers)



Air group

Year Fighters torpedo bombers
3.1941 Zuiho 16 A5M4 12 B5N
12.1941 Zuiho 12 A5M4 12 B5N
1.1942 Shoho 12 A5M4 12 B5N
5.1942 Shoho 6 A5M4, 6 A6M2 9 B5N
6.1942 Zuiho 12 A6M2 11 B5N
7.1942 Zuiho 21 A6M2 6 B5N
11.1943 Zuiho 18 A6M2 8 B5N
2.1944 Zuiho 15 A6M2, 6 A6M5 9 B6N
10.1944 Zuiho 15 A6M2 4 B5N, 11 B6N

Standard scale images

<i>Zuiho</i> 1942
Zuiho 1942


<i> Shoho</i>

Aircraft facilities

 (fd - 4,140m², ha - 2,232m² / ~11,160m³): Flight deck: 180.0x23.0m. There was hangar (124x18.0xm). There were fore (13.0x12.0m) and aft (12.0x10.8m) lifts. Aircraft fuel stowage: ?.         

Project history

Former submarine tenders, which design provided fast conversion to aircraft carriers. Tsurugisaki and Takasaki (9500/13000t, 2 diesels, 56000hp, 29kts, 2x2 - 127mm/40, 12 light guns, 3 seaplanes) were built under 2nd Supplementary Programme of 1934. Tsurugisaki was commissioned 15.1.1939, and already launched Takasaki approximately during the same time have started to rebuild to carrier; she was completed in new quality under name Zuiho. In November, 1940 on Yokosuka N Yd conversion Tsurugisaki, renamed to Shoho, has begun.

Reconstruction of the ships was more thorough, than it provided by pre-war plans. Unsuccessful diesel machinery it was necessary to replace by turbines, unified with Kagero class destroyers. As a whole arrangement and architecture of carriers reminded Ryujo: actually, on the basis of the latter hulls of tenders were designed. Interesting feature of carriers was very long and narrow hull (L/B rate was 11.1), equipped, nevertheless, by underwater protection of cruiser type. Armour was absent, but as local protection of magazines and petrol tanks original box capacities with double sides were used, space between this double sides was filled with water. One more unusual detail of architecture of the ship was an additional funnel smoke tube aft, intended for exhaust gases of diesels-generators.

Ship protection

There was cruiser-type underwater protection.

Modernizations 9.

1943, Zuiho: flight deck was lengthened to 192.6 m; - 4 x 2 - 25/60; + 16 x 3 - 25/60 96-shiki, 1-shiki 2-go radar

1944, Zuiho: + 20 x 1 - 25/60 96-shiki, 6 x 28 - 120 AA RL

Naval service

Zuiho during battle at Santa Cruz 26.10.1942 was damaged by American carrier aircraft (she has received hits aft of two 227kg bombs). Repair lasted till January, 1943. During battle at Engano 25.10.1944 she was sunk by American carrier aircraft (Intrepid, Essex, Langley air groups), receiving hits of two torpedoes and four bombs.

Shoho during battle in Coral sea 7.5.1942 has undergone massed raid of American carrier aircraft (Lexington and Yorktown air groups), received seven torpedo and 13 air bomb hits and sunk in 20 minutes.