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  Sōryū 蒼龍
IJN
Sōryū-class aircraft carrier

15,900 tons (standard)
18,800 tons (normal)

6 × 127mm DP guns (3x2)
14 x Twin 25mm AA (7x2)
Aircraft: 63 plus 9 reserve
21 x A6M2 Zeros
18 x D3A Vals
18 x B5N Kates

Ship History
Built by Kure Naval Arsenal at Kure. Laid down November 20, 1934. Launched December 23, 1935. Comissioned January 29, 1937 as Sōryū meaing Blue (or Green) Dragon in Japanese. Also spelled Soryu in English. Assigned to the 2nd Carrier Division.

Her original complement was eighteen A6M4 Claudes (due to shortages, substituted with A4N1 biplanes), twenty-seen D1A2 dive bombers and twelve B4Y torpedo bombers.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, on April 25, 1938 her air group was transferred to Nanking to support Japanese forces advancing up the Yangtze River then transferred to Wuhu in June and later Anquing to provide aerial defense. In China, one pilot died after shooting down a Chinese plane. Some of her pilots and planes remained in China.

On July 10, 1938 her aircraft returned to Soryu and supported operations over Canton until September but experienced no air combat. The carrier returned to Japan in December 1938 and spent the next year and a half engaged in training excercises.

PARTIAL HISTORY

Pearl Harbor
On December 7, 1941 Soryu was part of the carrier strike force that attacked Pearl Harbor and Oahu. In the first wave, Soryu launched eight B5N1 Kates that were to target U. S. aircraft carriers moored on the northwest side of Ford Island. Finding none, the Kates attacked alternate targets. One of her Kates torpedoed USS Utah causing the battleship to capsize and damaged USS Raleigh CL-7. Another Kates targeted USS Helena CL-50 and its torpeodes passed under Oglala before impacting USS Helena CL-50 in her engine room. A third Kate attacked USS California BB-44. Her other ten Kates armed with 800 kg armor piercing bombs that targeted "Battleship Row" on the southeast side of Ford Island and may have scored one or two hits. Meanwhile, her eight A6M2 Zeros strafed parked aircraft at Ewa Field claiming twenty-seven aircraft destroyed and five in the air.

In the second wave, Soryu launched nine A6M2 Zeros and seventeen D3A1 Vals. Her Zeros attacked NAS Kaneohe Bay with one Zero shot down by anti-aircraft fire. Returning, two Zeros were lost in air combat and they claimed two shot down. Her Vals attacked warships in Pearl Harbor loosing two shot down.

PARTIAL HISTORY

On March 17, 1942 departs Yokosuka to join "C" Operation. She joined the Indian Ocean raid along with Akagi, Zuikaku, Sōryū, and Hiryū attacking Colombo on Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and helped to extensively damaging support facilities on April 4, 1942. That task completed, the task force found and sank the British carrier Hermes, and two cruisers: Cornwall and Dorsetshire.

PARTIAL HISTORY

Battle of Midway
During the Battle of Midway at dawn on June 4, 1942 the Japanese fleet including Soryu was 290 northwest of Midway when she launched eighteen B5N Kates escorted by nine A6M2 Zeros to attack Midway Airfield on Eastern Island. Inbound to the target, a B5N was shot down and another shot down by anti-aircraft fire and two ditched near U. S. destroyers returning from the mission. Four others were damaged beyond repair. Meanwhile, three of her Zeros flew a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) over the carriers.

PARTIAL HISTORY

Sinking History
On June 4, 1942 at 10:25, Sōryū was attacked by thirteen SBD Dauntless dive bombers from Bombing Squadron 2 (VB-2) from USS Yorktown and sustained three direct hits from 1,000 pound bombs. One penetrated to the lower hangar deck amidships, and the other two exploded in the upper hangar deck fore and aft. Her hangars contained armed and fueled aircraft preparing for the upcoming strike that caused secondary explosions and rupturing the steam pipes in the boiler rooms. Within a very short time, fires on the ship were out of control.

At 10:40am she stopped and her crew was ordered to abandon ship five minutes later. By early evening, the damaged carrier was still afloat and showed no signs of sining, so Isokaze scuttled her with torpedoes. At 7:15pm Sōryū sank at roughly Lat 30°38′N Long 179°13′W. Captain Yanagimoto elected to remain aboard the carrier and went down with her. Officially stricken from the Navy register on August 10, 1942.

Fates of the Crew
Aboard Soryu, out of her crew of 1,103, a total of 711 died. This was the highest mortality percentage of all the Japanese carriers lost in the Battle of Midway largely due to the explosions in both hangar decks.

Rescue
After the order to abandon ship, her surviving crew were rescued by destroyers Isokaze and Hamakaze.

References
Combined Fleet - IJN Soryu: Tabular Record of Movement

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Last Updated
January 10, 2018

 

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