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  Zuikaku
IJN
Shōkaku Class
Aircraft Carrier

25,675 Tons (standard)
32,000 Tons (full)
844.1' x 85.4' x 29.1'
5 x 2x5" Guns
46 x 25mm MG
22 x 13.2mm MG
Aircraft: 85

Click For Enlargement
September 25, 1941

Construction
Zuikaku means 'Happy Crane'. This carrier was a sister ship of Shōkaku. The keel was laid down in 1938 at at Kobe and built by Kawasaki. Commissioned in September 1941.

Wartime History
On December 7, 1941 participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. Also, attacks on Rabaul, the East Indies, and the Indian Ocean.

While covering an intended invasion of Port Moresby in May 1942, Zuikaku and Shōkaku participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea. On May 8, her planes helped disable USS Lexington (CV-2) and damage USS Yorktown (CV-5) but many planes were lost, depleating the carrier's air groups, forcing it to miss the Battle of Midway in June.

On June 15-23 escorted by Oboro from Kure to Ominato.

During second half of 1942, Zuikaku was involved in the Guadalcanal campaign, taking part in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons during August 24, 1942. Next, during October 1942 participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz.

During early February 1943 Zuikaku Zeros and Vals flew from Rabaul and Buin Airfield (Kahili).

Next, during early April, Zuikaku aircraft participated in Operation I-Go with 27 Zeros and 18 Vals departed the carrier from Truk to Rabaul. Afterwards, these aircraft staged to Buin Airfield (Kahili). On April 7, all 27 Zeros and 17 Vals attacked shipping off Tulagi lossing three Vals on the mission.

During June 19-20, 1944 Zuikaku participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Zuikaku was damaged but was soon repaired.

Sinking History
During the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944, Zuikaku led the remaining Japanese carriers in the role of "bait" to divert U.S. carrier planes away from the surface forces attempting to attack U.S. ships off Leyte. During the Battle off Cape Engano off north-east Luzon on October 25, 1944, the four Japanese carriers were repeatedly hit by U.S. carrier bombs and torpedoes. All of them were sunk, including Zuikaku.

References
Kodochosho, Zuikaku Kōkūtai, February - April 1943

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Last Updated
August 29, 2013

 

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