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  Zuikaku 瑞鶴
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
IJN Sept 25, 1941

This carrier was a sister ship of Shōkaku. Laid down on May 25, 1938 at Kawasaki Yard at Kobe. Commissioned in September 1941. On September 30, 1939 named Zuikaku (瑞鶴) meaning "Happy Crane". On November 27, 1939 the hull was completed to the hangar deck and launched for fitting out. On November 15, 1940 Captain Yokokawa Ichibei is assigned as Chief Equipping Officer.

Commissioned on September 25, 1941 with Captain Yokokawa Ichibei in command. The same day, assigned to the 1st Air Fleet, Kure Naval Base and departs Kobe arriving at Kure on September 26, 1941. During October 1941, moves between Kure, Oita and Saeki. On October 7, 1941 departs Kure for Oita Bight arriving the next day and joins sister ship Shōkaku.

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.

Battle of the Coral Sea
During early May 1942, participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea along with Shōhō and Shōkaku.

On May 8, 1942 aircraft from Zuikaku helped disable USS Lexington (CV-2) and damaged USS Yorktown (CV-5). During the Battle of the Coral Sea, many Zuikaku aircraft were lost in combat, depleting her air groups and forcing her to withdraw to Japan, missing the pivital Battle of Midway.

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).

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.

Kodochosho, Zuikaku Kōkūtai, February - April 1943
IJN Zuikaku ("Happy Crane"): Tabular Record of Movement

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017



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