IJN Sōryū (1935)

Japanese Navy Japan, 1937-42. Fleet Aircraft Carrier

The first purpose-built IJN fleet carrier

Another important landmark in the development of IJN air power, was the construction of the IJN Sōryū. Until then, following a parralel with the USN, IJN Hosho was the earlier equivalent to the USS langley, Converted IJN Akagi and Kaga, the answer to USS Lexington and Saratoga, and the IJN Ryūjō, the equivalent of the USS Ranger, a light carrier playing with the Washington's treaty inconsistencies. She was the result of the London treaty, opening a new alley for Japanese medium carriers.

The IJN Sōryū was often paired with IJN Hiryū and indeed, they proceeded from the same program, as half sister-ships. But they diverged considerably, and the former paved the way to the excellent Shōkaku-class aircraft carrier completed in 1941, and in fact for a whole wartime generation of Japanese fleet aicraft carriers. IJN Sōryū's career started immediately with the Sino-Japanese war and her actions with the Kidō Butai, followed its fate at Midway in June 1942.

Design development

The London Naval Conference of 1930 at last allowed the Japanese to strengthen their carrier fleet as the parity with the USA and Great Britain and Japan shifted from 5:5:3 at Washington to 10:10:7 which was more favorable and opened an option for two more, larger aircraft carriers. Both ships were indeed built under 1st Supplementary Program of 1931.

IJN Sōryū was one of two new large carriers approved for construction, under the 1931–32 Supplementary Program with IJN Hiryū. This was a first as she was to be designed from the keel up as a medium fleet aircraft carrier. The main advantage of the time she was started, was to incorporate lessons learned from the light carrier Ryūjō. The latter as a reminder was built to exploit a loophole of the Washington treaty defining aircraft carriers by their tonnage; Below 10,000 tons.

The idea was to built swarms of these light carriers, outside the cap fixed in that category. Of course the treaty's revision led to the closure of this in the 1930 London treaty, just as the first ship was built. So she remained alone, but experience with her led to an interesting starting point to develop a larger fleet carrier, while still relatively light, but maximizing aircraft capacity while using available treaty tonnage.


During the Shanghai incident of 1932, 1st Koku Sentai, IJN KAGA and HOSHO were deployed to the Chinese coast, first opportunity for Japanese carriers to be tested in battle conditions, gaining invaluable operational experience. Around this time the impractical triple-deck arrangement on AKAGI and KAGA was abandoned and the two carriers were indeed scheduled to be rebuilt by 1935 and 1938. But the fleet still needed its first truly successful medium sized Japanese carrier. IJN SORYU and HIRYU were authorized under the Second Replenishment Program of FY 1934 which accentuated the expansion of naval aviation. In addition to two purpose-built carriers it included two fleet oilers TSURUGIZAKI and TAKASAKI, designed for rapid conversion to carriers (later SHOHO and ZUIHO). The general aim was to achieve parity with the United States naval air arm.

Of course, all aforementioned carriers were conceived in accordance with the tonnage restrictions of the Washington Treaty. It was hoped that by the time of HIRYU's completion in 1937 the restrictions would be lifted, but in January 1936 the Japanese delegation withdrew from the new London Treaty talks. It was decided not to comply with the limitations of both Washington and London Naval Treaties any longer. After 1 January 1937, warship construction could proceed without further constraints.

1933 - start of the design process

First off, it was obvious in 1930 that the design of Ryūjō was top-heavy, especially after the admiralty decision to double the number of aircraft. At that stage, in 1933, it was clear on her first trials that she had serious stability issues and was downright dangerous. She was rebuilt in 1935. Still in 1933, the engineers at least started with a better basis, freed from the below 10,000 tonnes cap. The ship could have a larger, beamier hull, a slightly taller forward freeboard to cope with heavy weather and better hangar-prow combination, while accommodating a more reasonably shaped hangar, and not inheriting a tall tandem hangar.

The "Blue Dragon", translation of her name, was still on specifications tailored for speed, and an emphasis on aircraft capacity over self defence. Targeting 16,000 tonnes, the admiralty still hoped to have three instead of two over the fleet's carrier authorized tonnage at the time. In 1935, the Japanese indeed ripped their treaties altogether. The reasoning was the same as on the American USS Ranger, designed earlier (In 1930).

The beam was augmented by 50 cm (from 20.8 to 21.3 m or 69 feets 11 inches), and the overall length jumped to 227 m (746 feets 5 in) instead of 179 m, engineers preferring to stretch the design to add more capacity, which also favored a better length-width ratio and thus, again, overall speed. On Soryu, this ratio was of 10,65 versus 9 on Ryujo. For speed and agility it became evident that four shafts produced some advantages. Therefore, a four turbines arrangement was preferred, with eight boilers instead of six, resulting on a brute output of 152,000 shp versus 65,000 shp on Ryujo, almost double.

The end result, combined to the better ratio was to provide these ships a top speed well in excess of 32 knots, whereas Ryujo was limited to 29 knots, just sufficient to act with battleships. For Soryu, it was expected to use these carriers in night operations with the latest IJN heavy cruisers, and therefore a top speed of 34-35 knots was targeted. The new design was also required to carry more planes, in this case 63 plus nine in reserve so an overall 72, versus 48 on Ryujo (and that was with spares and in 1933, the size of aircraft downgraded this massively until 1942).

1934 - The design is refined

With all this in mind, the engineers responsible for the design submitte their final proposal in early 1934, wich was approved and blueprints prepared by the chosen naval yard of Kure Naval Arsenal. Construction at last started on 20 November 1934 when her keel was laid down. This was more than one year and a half after USS Ranger had been launched already. In Comparison, the latter was slightly shorter, but beamier, slower, but carried more planes, a grand total of 86 as built, which was remarkable for such light tonnage. In between, design proceeded on the next generation of aircraft carriers in the USN, the Yorktown class, and both navies were capped by the same global 135,000-ton Treaty limit.

The new design, worked out from 1933, targeted 90 planes, but on a better balanced 19,000 tonnes basis. Meanwhile, the Japanese proceeded with IJN Hiryu ("Flying dragon"), a virtual copy of the first, with two years of gap, but with enough difference not to be considered as a true sister-ship. No naval historian today attached them in the same class anyway.

With their post-1935 "treaty out" approach, Japanese engineers were free at last to design in 1936 the "ideal fleet carrier", the Shokaku class, dubbed by many historians as "arguably the best aircraft carriers in the world" when built. They started with almost double the tonnage (32,000 tonnes), nine meters more in beam but still a slightly inferior aviation complement to the taller and roomier Yorktown, with "only" 72 operational planes and 12 spares so a total on paper of 84. The output was superior, so that despite their larger tonnage they still managed to reah more than 35 knots on trials, and the best defensive armament so far.

It is important to note that the Japanese outright lied in official publications on their CVs, officially for 10,050 tons standard. Their true tonnage was not revealed until the end of WWII. Nevertheless, if the "Soryu class" was overly successful, at least from the Japanese perspective, they were lacking good aircraft facilities, compared to contemporary HMS ARK ROYAL and USS YORKTOWN. Their aircraft-handling facilities were not modern, but improved on the next Shokaku class.

In fact it was hoped that by the time of HIRYU's completion in 1937 the restrictions would be lifted, but in January 1936 the Japanese delegation withdrew from the new London Treaty talks. It was decided not to comply with the limitations of both Washington and London Naval Treaties any longer. After 1 January 1937, warship construction could proceed without further constraints.

Detailed Design of IJN Sōryū

Deck and hull plan in 1941

The final design of IJN Sōryū called for a long hull as precised earlier, with a remarkable set of differences compared to Ryujo. Her prow was taller from the start (three stages high) but the height of her main two hangars was quite low, allowing the ship to avoid topweight issues. The internal distribution was in reality more complex with a separate hangar and workshop containing the spare planes and a repair space, plus ammo parks (gasoline tanks, aerial torpedoes, bombs, machine-gun cartridge bands, etc.), which were lower, so as to keep a balanced metacentric height. This was still not however a massive departure from Ryujo as rebuilt.

Hull and protection

If Ryujo was an unsatisfactory compromise, in short, a failed aircraft carrier, Soryu was the prototype for all following IJN aicraft carrier designs: Fast, lightly built, designed to deliver blows but not taking them. The hull measured 227.5 m (746 ft 5 in) overall but 210 (688 ft 9 in) at between parallels, 222 m (728 feets) at the waterline, for a beam of 21.3 m (69 ft 11 in), also at the largest hull section, not on the flight deck, and 7.62 m (24 ft 11 in) of normal draught.

Armour protection was not the overriding priority there. It was to be adjusted where and when the most needed and not more. It never passed 2.2 inches in thickness, and this was the deck over the ammunition magazines and aviation gasoline storage tanks (55.88 mm) with Ducol steel, down to 1 inch (25,4 mm) over the machinery, whereas the belt was only 1.6 to 1.8 inches thick (41-45,72 mm) with an internal anti-splinter bulkhead.

Soryu after launch, fitting out at the Kure Naval Arsenal in 1936

ASW compartimentation was of course pushed just enough to include a full separation of the machinery, between the four turbines, outer and inner shafts, and the boilers surrounded by many compartiments designed to absorb any torpedo blast, and at the bottom, a double hull running for about 70% of her lenght. But she had no bulges.

This ASW protection was more optimized against lighter aerial torpedoes than regular marine torpedoes, and it was believed their high top speed was a good argument against torpedo hits. Protection against aerial bombs however was limited to the "sandwich effect" of the two decks below the main and secondary hangar, plus the waterline deck. It was not sufficient at Midway, but because of the way ammunitions and fuel was stored and used inside the first hangar itself, where the damage was done. At that stage, no thoughts were given to armored decks. This was a close prewar British idea, and a very good one as shown by events in the Mediterranean.


Fantail view, IJN Soryu on trials at 35 knots
Fantail view, IJN Soryu on trials at 35 knots

The machinery was without contest the main selling point of the design. It was enormous for an aircraft carrier at the time for that tonnage, beating all standards. IJN Sōryū was propelled by four shafts, two outer and two inner, drove by four geared steam turbine sets, with a total of 152,000 shaft horsepower (113,000 kW). Steam came from eight Kampon water-tube boilers. These turbines and boilers were just borrwoed from the contemporary Mogami-class cruisers.

This sort of raw power combined with her slim, cruiser-type hull gave her a speed of 34.5 knots (63.9 km/h; 39.7 mph): This made her in 1937 the fastest aircraft carrier in the world at the time, when commissioned. She carried 3,710 metric tons (3,650 long tons) of fuel oil for an overall range of 7,750 nautical miles (14,350 km; 8,920 mi) at the cruis speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). The boiler uptakes were trunked together on her starboard side amidships, still below flight deck level, so to exhaust just below that level with two funnels curved downwards to avoid releasing smoke. The whole package was virtually repeated on IJN Hiryu.


IJN Sōryū was to be lightly armed, focusing on anti-aircraft armament as it was believed in 1934 onboard fighters had the primary duty to defend their carrier. Hwever ro procure a long range AA defence against bombers, and capabilities in a still possible naval fight, Soryu was fitted with twelve 127 mm/50 (5 inches) in three twin-gun mounts on either side. Two were closer together aft port and two forward on starboard. The Type 89 dual-purpose guns rested on projecting sponsons. They had a max range of about 14,700 meters (16,100 yd), but a practical ceiling of 9,440 meters (30,970 ft) when elevated at 90°. Maximum rate of fire was 14 rpm, 8 rpm sustained. They were assisted and directed by two Type 94 fire-control directors also mounted on sponsons, one of each side, but the starboard director mounted on the island was able to cover all sides and therefore control all this artillery if needed.

The second layer of active AA protection consisted of fourteen twin-gun mounts (28) license-built Hotchkiss 25 mm (1 inch) Type 96 AA guns. Three were located on a platform below the forward end of the flight deck, the rest were located in sponsons along the flight deck, three on the opposite side of the island, followed by three others mid-ship, then five heavenly spaced in between the aft 127 mm mount on the other side. However as in the previous designs, all three main sponsons were mounted below the flight deck level and could only cover half of the ship.

The ubiquitous 25 mm was a known standard issue light AA weapon suffering from severe design shortcomings, like being unable to be trained or elevated fast enough, with mediocre sights for high-speed targets, excessive vibration, muzzle blast and noise. Effective range was 1,500–3,000 meters (1,600–3,300 yd), with 5,500 meters (18,000 ft) of ceiling at +85° and 110-120 rpm with 15-round magazines. To serve these, five Type 95 directors were installed on each side of the flight deck and one in the bow. In 1938, gun shields were added to protect both the 127 and 25 mm mounts.

Aircraft facilities

Section of the island cutaway drawing, Extract from Kagero's book on IJN carriers.

Sōryū's flight deck was as customary shorter than her hull, at 216.9 m (711 ft 7 in) overall, but for 26 m (85 ft 4 in) in width. There was the customary overhang at both ends, and it supported by pairs of pillars. fore and aft. Her island was built on starboard on a extension protruding beyond hull, not encroaching on the flight deck. It was a small and narrow model reminiscent of what was done on Akagi, with a main enclose bridge and open brige above, and two small utility rooms below. On top of it was located a serie of binoculars for the watch and aft the large main telemeter for the 5-in guns.

The flight deck was criss-crossed by nine transverse arrestor wires starting at the level of the exhausts, and going back about 60m short of the end of the flight deck. These could could stop a 6,000 kg (13,000 lb) aircraft. In addition, there were two folded safety nets in case of an overshoot, one located abaft the forward exhaust and another forward.

The flight deck due to the particular way the ship was tretched out, was low over the water, only 12.8 meters (42 ft), the lowest since Hosho. The designers reduced indeed the height of the hangar, with a main upper hangar 171.3 long (562 feets) and 18.3 metres wide (60 ft) but just 4.6 meters (15 ft) in height, while the lower hangar was shorter at 142.3 m (467 feets) by 18.3 m (60 ft) and just 4.3 m hight (14 ft 1 in).Total area for parking was 5,736 Sq. metres (61,742 sq ft). These hangars were so low in fact, contrary to US paractice allowing spare planes to be just suspended under the ceiling, that the tails and folded wings sometimes reached the ceiling. The Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bomber when introduced was a particular difficult fit inside, condemned to the 1st hangar, or the flight deck as it could neither have its wings spread or folded inside.

There was also a recovery crane starboard aft, close to the aft offset lift, to recover water crashed planes and floatplanes. It was carried folded into a recess of the flight deck. The latter was colored, with a central section, starting roughly 10 meters forward of the island, and ending after the rear lift, in clear pine wood, and metal deck forward and aft. There was a white bearing mark forward and central white line running all the way to the aft section, and a white/red painted aft section for landing, with wings extensions for aiming.

The 60 strong air group was distributed from the two hangars to the flight deck via three elevators: The forward one was the largest at 16 by 11.5 meters (52 ft 6 in × 37 ft 9 in), rectangular in shape to fit in a "Kate" wings unfolded. It was located abreast the island, centerline but the two others were squarish and offset to starboard, a better fit for fighters. The first was 11.5 by 12 meters (37 ft 9 in × 39 ft 4 in), the rear one, smallest, was 11.8 by 10 meters (38 ft 9 in × 32 ft 10 in). All three had a lifting capacity uo to 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb). To serve this air group, IJN Soryu's total gasoline capacity was 570,000 liters (150,000 U.S. gal).

Onboard aviation

Her air group was initially planned to include eighteen Mitsubishi A5M, twenty-seven Aichi D1A2 dive bombers, and twelve Yokosuka B4Y Type 96 torpedo bombers but the Nakajima A4N1 was issued instead. (Dedicated Illustrations in preparation)

Completed in 1937, IJN Soryu was given only biplanes, transitioning to monoplanes from 1938 and until 1941. She operated in short succession the A2N, A4N, and finally A5M, A6M fighters in WW2, but also the D1A, D3A diving bombers and the B4Y and B5N torpedo bombers. At Pearl Harbor, she carried 21 Mitsubishi A6M Zero, 18 Aichi D3A and 18 Nakajima B5N for a total of 57, plus 11 in ready reserve to replace losses, and 9 more to be assembled to replace the latter (or be cannibalized). This basically was the same air group at Midway, barely six months later.

-The Nakajima A2N (1929) was already an old biplane introduced in 1936. Pilots trained with it, the very first squadrons tested comprised some Navy Type 90-III (A2N3) Carrier-based fighter, which moslty flew from the Hōshō, Kaga and Ryūjō. They were quickly replaced by the A4N or some possibly flew for early tests in 1937, according to navypedia.org.

-The Nakajima A4N1 (1934) was the replacement for the A2N, introduced in 1936 and quickly became the main fighter of Soryu from 1937 to 1938, used extensively over China. It was not given any codename by ONI, as considered obsolete in 1941. It was a stopgap before she received her planned A5M, in short supply.

-The Mitsubishi A5M "Claude" (1935) first IJN monoplane, but with open cockpit and fixed undercarriage was introduced in the IJN in 1936, so as IJN Soryu was still fitting out. It however replaced the A4N in 1938 when available. By that stage, it was probably the A5M3, replaced by the A5M4 variant in 1939. It was still used in 1941.

-The Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" (1940) arrived just in time, to be precise, the A6M2, for Pearl Harbor. They became the mainstay of the carrier until her loss in June 1942, as there is no clue the A6M3 replaced it. The latter was mostly available from November-December 1942.

-The Aichi D1A "Susie" (1934) was her first dive bomber, a biplane, but brand new when she was completed. It was retired in 1942, but on second-hand units, whereas on Soryu it was retired well before the attack on Pearl Harbor, meaning Soryu lacked for a short time a dedicated dive bomber, before the "Val" arrived, with pilots fresh from training.

-The Aichi D3A1 "Val" (1938) was introduced from 1940 and replaced the D1A on all IJN carriers gradually in 1941. Given the schedule for the December attack, pilots trained intensively all the winter, on land bases and on IJN Soryu. This was still the frontline dive bomber on board at Midway.

-The Yokosuka B4Y "Jean" (1935) was the only torpedo biplane onboard IJN Soryu, introduced when she was fitted out. It equipped the carrier when commissioned and soldiered on for most of the Sino-Japanese war until declared obsolete.

-The Nakajima B5N "Kate" (1937) was the arguably most modern torpedo plane in the world when introduced in 1938. It had better caracteristics than the Devastator. It was probably available in sufficient numbers to replace the B4Y in 1940 already, leaving plenty of time for Soryu's pilots to train for Pearl Harbor.

Nakajima A4N1 fighter, which only served two years onboard Soryu.

Mitsubishi A5M4 "claude", Soryu 1939. In 1941, she was replaced by the A6M.

Comparison with IJN Hiryu

The most striking aspect with IJN Hiryu was her taller bow, four stage high (four rows of portholes) compared to just two on the initial Ryujo design, and three on Soryu. No risk ever she "plowed" in heavy weather of her deck being washed up to the hangar by tall waves as it happened previusly. Interestingly also, the ratio between the hangar's height coppared to Ryujo's was reverse. It was 50% on Soryu. The hangar was much lower, although seating higher up over the main deck.

For armor, IHN Hiryu was much better protected, with 90 millimeters (3.5 in) over the machinery spaces and aviation gasoline storage tanks and even 150 millimeters (5.9 in) over the magazines, quite a stretch.

Sōryū 1941
Author's illustration of IJN Sōryū in May 1942

⚙ Specs 1937

Dimensions227,5 m (746 ft) x Beam 21.3 m (69 ft) x Draught 7.6 m (24 ft)
Displacement16,200 long tons standard, 17,100 long tons FL
Propulsion4 shaft Kampon geared steam turbines, 8 Kampon boilers 152,000 shp
Speed34 knots (63 km/h; 39 mph)
Range7,750 nmi (14,350 km; 8,920 mi) at 18 knots (33 kph, 21 mph)
ArmorBelt 41 mm (1.6 in), see notes
Armament6×2 12.7 cm (5 in) DP, 14×2 25 mm (1 in) AA, 70 planes

Sources/ Read more
Conway's all the worlds fighting ships 1922-1947

The model's corner

Model kit 1/700, Tamiya's boxart

Tamiya 1/700 waterline color set boxart

IJN Soryu's career

Interwar service

IJN Soryu in 1938

On 16 August 1937, Sōryū was fitting out, with Captain Akitomo Beppu assigned as Equipping Officer. On 1st December Beppu was relieved by Captain Kimpei Teraoka and on the 29th she was at last Commissioned in IJN, and assigned to Yokosuka Naval District, Second Fleet (second carrier division or CarDiv 2). On 9 April 1938 she departed the Terashima Channel and sailed to the South China Se, arriving at Takao, Taiwan on the 15th, starting a training session before being back to Japan. On 25 April 1938 she delivered indeed nine A4Ns, eighteen D1A2s, and nine B4Ys to Nanking air base, for a daily support of IJA troops advancing along the Yangtze River. This air group took part in many successful offensives, dealing blows to the Chinese Air Force and Soviet Volunteer Group until it was transferred to Wuhu in early June and then Anqing.

On 8 May 1938, she was considered ready and departed Sasebo for her first tour of duty along the Chinese coast. On 4 June 1938 she departed for maintenance and crew's rest at Yokosuka. eanwhile, leaving a few fighters and their pilots behind as the nucleus of a new fighter unit, this air group returned to Sōryū on 10 July. On 9 October 1938, she was in Mako, and sailed again to operate in South China Sea, arriving at Takao on 14 November. The following day she hosted her new captain, Keizo Uwano. She was back home later, spending most of the next year and a half training.

Japanese aircraft carrier Soryu 02 Kuriles Islands 1939

On 21 March 1939 she departed Sasebo for another tour of duty in the East China Sea, until 2 April 1939 when she headed back to Sasebo. On 15 October 1939 Captain Uwano was relieved by Captain Sadayoshi Yamada and on the 31th she departed Yokosuka for her third tour of duty, until retired for resplenishment at Okinawa. On 26 March 1940 she departed Nakagusuku Bay (Okinawa) for a fifth round of operations in the South China Sea with her near sister IJN HIRYU. From 2 April 1940 she was stationed in Kirun, Taiwan. On 1st May 1940 she was back in Yokosuka for maintenance, short overhaul and prolongated crew's rest. She departed on 29 May 1940 for a drydock period at Yokosuka Navy Yard until 6 June 1940, proceeding two days later to Tateyama, embarking a new air group, and on 22 June 1940 sailed to Kisarazu for training before being back to Yokosuka on the 29th.

On on 5 July 1940, Soryu sailed to Tateyama for training and was back on the 22th to Yokosuka, departing on the 24th for Hakodate, Hokkaido, then saled to Ise Bay in August, proceeded to Saeki Bay in Kyushu, Sukumo Bay in Shikoku, Beppu in Kyushu and back to Yokosuka on 2 September 1940, drydocked until 11 October 1940. Captain Wataru Kamase too command on the 15th, and she return in drydock on 2 December 1940 for a short overhaul, proceediong on the 17th to Tateyama, then Ariake Bay, Kyushu, Kure for modifications (Iwakuni). She departed to participate in large naval maneuvers off Taiwan. During these on 3 February 1941 she collided with the destroyer YUZUKI.

On 6 February 1941 she entered Sasebo for repairs, until the 18th and she was back in Takao to join HIRYU. CarDiv 2 departed Takao on the 22th for Nakagusuku Bay before going back on 3 March 1941 to Takao, then Ariake Bay and back to Yokosuka on the 26th, assigned to the newly created First Air Fleet (Kido Butai), still CarDiv 2, paired with IJN HIRYU. On 20 April 1941 they sailed to Tateyama and on 20 May 1941 she trained with HIRYU in Ariake before going back to Yokosuka, departing on 10 July 1941 to support the invasion of southern French Indochina. On 16 July 1941 they were off Samah, Hainan, reaching port Cap St. Jacques and back to Samah in August, covering the invasion and occupation, and she also took part in the blockade of southern China. Her air group was detached in mid-July, transferred to Hainan Island to support the occupation of southern Indochina. She was back home on 7 August 1941 in Sasebo for maintenance and crew's rest. She also became flagship of the 2nd Division. She trained later this month off Kyushu until September 1941, back to Yokosuka. On the 12th Captain Kiichi Hasegawa (formely on IJN AKAGI) took joint command while the aicraft carrier was drydocked at Yokosuka Navy Yard in October, Captain Ryusaku Yanagimoto taking sold command before the ship leaves drydock after a short refit completed on 24 October. She made some training as flagship at Kagoshima, and arrived at Kushikino (Kyushu) for more training, Ariake Bay in November, before heading for Kure, Saeki as CarDiv 2 departed on the 18th for an action in the Kuriles, anchoring in Hitokappu Bay, Etorofu, the gathering point of the 1st air fleet under Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, for the attack of Pearl Harbor. On 26 November 1941, she Departed for Hawaii from there to avoid known shipping lanes.

Japanese planes preparing Pearl Harbor, Soryu in the backround

Wartime Operations from Pearl Harbor to Midway

On 7 December 1941 the 1st air fleet and CarDiv 2 arrived in position north 230 nautical miles (430 km; 260 mi) north of Oahu, pilots preparing at noon for the the Attack on Pearl Harbor. IJN SORYU launched like the rest of the fleet two succesive strikes. The First comprised 18 Kate torpedo bombers (Led by Lt. Tsuyoshi Nagai, Lt. Heijiro Abe) escorted by 8 Zero fighters (Lt. Masaharu Suganami). Eight of her B5Ns were supposed to attack the aircraft carriers normally berthed on the northwest side of Ford Island, only to found they were absent and focus on other ships. Six were detached to attack and sink the target ship Utah, and also the cruiser USS Raleigh, badly damaged. Two other pilots attacked ships berthed alongside "1010 Pier" and found in drydock the light cruiser Helena and minelayer Oglala. A torpedo missed Oglala but struck Helena. The other pilot instead attacked USS California.

Meawnhile the dive bombers also attacked Battleship row as planned. The ten B5Ns dropped their 800-kilogram (1,800 lb) armor-piercing bombs on the southeast side of Ford Island, reported scoring one or two hits. Her eight A6M Zeros strafed the Marine Corps Air Station Ewa and claimed to have burned twenty-seven aircraft, shooting down five more in the sky. Meanwhile Soryu's flight deck was crammed with the prepared planes of the second wave, 18 Val dive-bombers led by Lt.Cdr. Takashige Egusa escorted by 9 fighters (Lt. Fusata Iida). During the operations, her air group lost 4 Vals and 3 Zeros, also Lt. Iida. They attacked on the Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay. One Zero was lost to AA fire. Zero pilots claimed on their way down two American aircraft, loosing two of their own. The D3As of the second wave continue pounding the battle ship row, but it was not possible to determine what ship they hit, and two of them were shot down due to AA fire.

Attack on Wake

On 21 December 1941 CarDiv 2 was detached from the 1st air fleet to support the Second Invasion of Wake. She launched the first strike consisting of 18 dive-bombers and 18 fighters. On 22 December 1941 she launched a second strike against Wake with 18 Kates and 18 Zeros, loosing two "Kates". Indeed they were intercepted by the two surviving Grumman F4F Wildcat fighters of VMF-211. They were shot down themselves by escorting Zeros. On the 23, Soryu departed for home, arriving on the 29th at Kure for overhaul and replenishment.

Battle of the Philippines

On 11 January 1942 she was back at sea, Proceeding to Hashirajima before heading for Palau and on 23-24 January 1942 CarDiv 2 launched two strikes against Ambon, in support of the Kendari landings before making it to Davao, Mindanao. So they swapped from the invasion of the Palau Islands and Battle of Ambon to the invasion of the Philippines, but did not took part in it. During their initial strike, CarDiv 2 was able to put in the air 52 planes total. The carriers also detached eighteen Zeros and nine D3As to operate from land bases, in support of the Battle of Borneo. On 30 January, they shot down two aircraft on the ground and a Qantas Short Empire flying boat en route to Surabaya.

Raid on Darwin

On 28 January 1942 IJN Soryu was in Palau for resplenishment and meeting Kaga and Akagi, before departing on 15 February 1942 to Australia. She participated in a major raid over Port Darwin, Australia, but damage was far less impressive than in Pearl Harbor. Anyway, Soryu contributed 18 B5Ns and 18 D3As, escorted by 9 Zeros, the rest staying in a flying Combat Air Patrol (CAP). Eight ships were sunk or badly damaged, mostly civilian, three beaching to not sink. Zeros claimed a single Consolidated PBY Catalina and one D3A was lost (probably to AA). They also spotted a ship on a return trip, but coilod not attack, short of ammo. They had to be rearmed and refueled onboard, and several hours later, nine D3As located and bombed the supposed same ship, the American supply cargo of 3,200 GRT Don Isidro. She was hit five times but failed to sink, amazingly.

Battle of Java

On 21 February she was in Staring Bay, Celebes, departing to support the invasion of Java Island, Battle of Java. SORYU and AKAGI sunk the oiler USS PECOS during operations, and on 5 March 1942 the two CarDiv 2 carriers launches a strike against Tjilatjap in Java. On 7 March 1942 the division launched a strike against Christmas Island and on 11 March 1942 was back to Staring Bay for resplenishing, departing on 26 March 1942 to join the rest of the fleet and participate in the next big operation.

Raid to the Indian Ocean

IJN Soryu in the Indian Ocean 1942

This large operation was intended to secure newly conquered Burma, Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies, making impossible any Allied counter-attack from there for at least several months. The Kido Butai (two divisions) was tasked of destroying base facilities and all present forces in the area. Departing on 26 March 1942, the five carriers were spotted en route by a Catalina, about 350 nautical miles (650 km; 400 mi) southeast of Ceylon. On 5 April 1942 SORYU launched a strike from 120 nautical miles (220 km; 140 mi) against Colombo (Ceylon). Her pilots claimed to have shot down a Fairey Fulmar (806 Naval Air Squadron) and seven other fighters, conceding one. D3As and B5Ns inflicted in the end little damage to the port facilities as after the warning has been given, learly all traffic in the port was at sea.

Latter, spotter planes found HMS CORNWALL and DORSETSHIRE another strike force from Sōryū of eighteen D3As took off, led by Lt.Cdr. Egusa. They found the two cruisers and were the first to engage them, claiming 14 hits on both heavy cruisers. They were finished off by other waves. On 9 April 1942, Soryu launched the second strike planned against Trincomalee. Soryu's B5Ns were the first over the port while fighters met no opposition and instead started to strafe the installatons.

Meanwhile, a floatplane from IJN Haruna spotted the HMS Hermes, used as plane transport, escorted by the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire. As soon as they were ready, every available D3A was launched and again, Sōryū's squadron comprised eighteen dive bombers but they arrived too late as the ship was already catch up and sank by other waves. Instead this squadron spotted three other ships further north, the oil tanker British Sergeant and Norwegian cargo ship Norviken. Both were sunk. However since they were close to the coast, alert has been given and they were attcked by eight Fulmars from 803 and 806 Naval Air Squadrons. They claimed three D3As, conceding two Fulmars while actually four D3As were lost, five damaged, proving the "jack of all trade" British naval plane was equal to the task.

Meanwhile, IJN Akagi narrowly escaped a raid from eight British Bristol Blenheim bombers from Ceylon. The latter dropped their payload at 11,000 feet (3,400 m), proving these tactics fruitless. Sōryū contributed to the CAP with six Zeros in the fourteen which collectively accounted for five Blenheim, conceding on Zero from Hiryū. The First Air Fleet reversed headed southeast (Malacca Strait) recovering their air groups in between, and went home on 22 April 1942.

Soryu at Midway

Kaga Akagi and Soryu under attack Midway diorama

Battle of Midway diorama

Before Midway, and before joining home island, the Kido Butai and CarDiv 2 led by Soryu were transiting the Bashi Straits between Taiwan and Luzon on 19 April when a counter-order came to be sent in pursuit of the American carriers USS Hornet and Enterprise on their way back from the Doolittle Raid. They found none, the latter already back to Hawaii. They dropped anchor at Hashirajima on 22 April and needed badl an overhaul and rest after 4,5 months of uninterrupted activity. IJN Sōryū however was still needed elsewhere and hurriedly refitted and replenished, in preparation for the next major operation directed against Midway. Sōryū's air group was based ashore at Kasanohara for extensive training with the other First Air Fleet squadrons.

On 27 May 1942, she departs Hashirajima with the rest of the unit, the same Kaga/Akago of the 1stDivision and her near-sister ship Hiryu of the second in order to participate in "Operation Mi".

Yamamoto's bold "trap" aimed at finishing off the beleaguered American carrier force that remains from the recent air-sea battle at Coral Sea. He decided to invade and occupy Midway Island, an in-between too close to Hawaii for comfort. For this, he needed to lure out the American carriers, waiting with the main fleet in ambush. On 25 May 1942, Sōryū departd with a completed and well trained air group, with eighteen Zeros, sixteen D3As, eighteen B5Ns, plus two prototypes of the brand new Yokosuka D4Y dive bomber, plus three additional A6M Zeros (6th Kōkūtai) to deal with Midway and be later based there.

The fleet was placed 250 nautical miles (460 km; 290 mi) northwest of Midway, arriving at dawn on 4 June 1942. IJN Sōryū launched her planes which joined a 108 strong combined air raid, targeting the airfield on Midway's eastern island. She launched eighteen torpedo bombers, escorted by nine Zeros. She lost a single B5N (by fighters) two ditching on the return at extreme range and five damaged beyond repair. Meanwhile the US informed by their Intel were ready.

Sōryū alaunched 3 Zeros (out of 11) assigned to the initial CAP, helped to stem a frst wave from Midway Island at 07:10, notably six Grumman TBF Avengers (VT-8), four USAAC Martin B-26 Marauders also with torpedoes. Hiryū was attacked by the Avengers, which was their cmbat debut, a bit like the the Marauders attacking meanwhile Akagi. Five Avengers, two B-26s were shot down, and they all missed. Sōryū then launched three more Zeros, expecting more attacks.

Aerial view IJN Soryu evading an air attack, 4 June 1942

At 07:15 Nagumo ordered Kaga & Akagi planes to be rearmed with bombs, but it became a long process, and the order was reversed at 07:40 when news camed USN warships had been spotted. Meanwhile, Sōryū's CAP Zeros landed back to resupply. At 07:55, sixteen Douglas SBD Dauntless of VMSB-241 were met first by Sōryū's three CAP fighters, claiming six. 12 USAAC Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses soon appeared above and carpedt-bombed the IJN formation, also without result from 20,000 feet (6,100 m). Sōryū saw a few "far misses" as it was not accurate. She kater constributed shooting down eleven Vought SB2U Vindicator dive bombers (VMSB-241) and at 08:20 the USN American carrier force was spotted to the northeast prompting Sōryū at 08:30 to launch a single D4Y to confirm their exact location. Soon after, she started recovering her planes back from Midway. This was over at 09:10, and these were quickly struck below to be prepared for strike against the USN carrier force, interrupted at 09:18 as a first incoming waves from these arrived.

Fifteen Douglas TBD Devastator (VT-8, Lt.C. John C. Waldron, from Hornet) came first, just as her CAP Zeros were landing to be refuelled at 09:30. They concentrated on Soryū, but they were dealt for by other Zeros in the CAP while Soryu was manoeuvering at full speed. Son after, fourteen Devastators from VT-6 (USS Enterprise) tried to sandwich Kaga, but were also shot down by the CAP now augmented by Sōryū's Zeros. Sōryū also soon launched her three other CAP Zeros at 10:00, three more at 10:15, but conceded one to an escorting Wildcat with VT-3.

However around 10:20, miracusliously all dive bombers arrive don site about the same time and fell onto the four carriers. At 10:25, Sōryū was targeted along by no less than thirteen Dauntlesses, Yorktown's VB-3. She received three direct hits, all being from 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs, penetrating the lower hangar deck amidships or exploding in her upper hangar deck, both fore and aft. Since her air group was caught pants down, rearming and fuelling, a catastrophic serie of explosions ensued,aggravatied by the rupturing steam pipes in the boiler rooms. Fires became uncontrollable and at 10:45 Captain Yanagimoto ordered the crew to abandon ship. Destroyers IJN Isokaze and Hamakaze rescued the survivors but she was still afloat when this was over, so Isokaze was ordered to torpedo her at close range. She reported her sunk at 19:15. In total, the aicraft carrier's crew suffered 711-718 losses* over a total of 1,103, Captain Yanagimoto dedciding to remain on board. The death tall was the highest of all the Japanese carriers struck that day at Midway. As the admiralty judged prudent to conceal the defeat, she was only struck from the registry on 10 August 1942.

Naval History

⚑ 1870 Fleets
Spanish Navy 1870 Armada Espanola Austro-Hungarian Navy 1870 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine
Danish Navy 1870 Dansk Marine
Hellenic Navy 1870 Nautoko Hellenon
Haitian Navy 1914Haiti Koninklije Marine 1870 Koninklije Marine
Dutch Screw Frigates & corvettes
De Ruyter Bd Ironclad (1863)
Prins H. der Neth. Turret ship (1866)
Buffel class turret rams (1868)
Skorpioen class turret rams (1868)
Heiligerlee class Monitors (1868)
Bloedhond class Monitors (1869)
Adder class Monitors (1870)
A.H.Van Nassau Frigate (1861)
A.Paulowna Frigate (1867)
Djambi class corvettes (1860)
Amstel class Gunboats (1860)

Marine Française 1870 Marine Nationale
Screw 3-deckers (1850-58)
Screw 2-deckers (1852-59)
Screw Frigates (1849-59)
Screw Corvettes (1846-59)
Screw Fl. Batteries (1855)
Paddle Frigates
Paddle Corvettes
screw sloops
screw gunboats
Sailing ships of the line
Sailing frigates
Sailing corvettes
Sailing bricks

Gloire class Bd. Ironclads (1859)
Couronne Bd. Ironclad (1861)
Magenta class Bd. Ironclads (1861)
Palestro class Flt. Batteries (1862)
Arrogante class Flt. Batteries (1864)
Provence class Bd. Ironclads (1864) Embuscade class Flt. Batteries (1865)
Taureau arm. ram (1865)
Belliqueuse Bd. Ironclad (1865)
Alma Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1867)
Ocean class CT Battery ship (1868)
French converted sailing frigates (1860)
Cosmao class cruisers (1861)
Talisman cruisers (1862)
Resolue cruisers (1863)
Venus class cruisers (1864)
Decres cruiser (1866)
Desaix cruiser (1866)
Limier class cruisers (1867)
Linois cruiser (1867)
Chateaurenault cruiser (1868)
Infernet class Cruisers (1869)
Bourayne class Cruisers (1869)
Cruiser Hirondelle (1869)

Curieux class sloops (1860)
Adonis class sloops (1863)
Guichen class sloops (1865)
Sloop Renard (1866)
Bruix class sloops (1867)
Pique class gunboats (1862)
Hache class gunboats (1862)
Arbalete class gunboats (1866)
Etendard class gunboats (1868)
Revolver class gunboats (1869)

Marinha do Brasil 1870 Marinha do Brasil
Barrozo class (1864)
Brasil (1864)
Tamandare (1865)
Lima Barros (1865)
Rio de Janeiro (1865)
Silvado (1866)
Mariz E Barros class (1866)
Carbal class (1866)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1870 Osmanlı Donanması
Osmanieh class Bd.Ironclads (1864) Assari Tewfik (1868) Assari Shevket class Ct. Ironclads (1868)
Lufti Djelil class CDS (1868)
Avni Illah class cas.ironclads (1869)
Fethi Bulend class cas.ironclads (1870)
Barbette ironclad Idjalleh (1870)
Messudieh class Ct.Bat.ships (1874)
Hamidieh Ct.Bat.Ironclads (1885)
Abdul Kadir Batleships (project)

Ertrogul Frigate (1863)
Selimieh (1865)
Rehberi Tewkik (1875)
Mehmet Selim (1876)
Sloops & despatch vessels

Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru
Monitor Atahualpa (1865)
CT. Bat Independencia (1865)
Turret ship Huascar (1865)
Frigate Apurimac (1855)
Corvette America (1865)
Corvette Union (1865)

Regia Marina 1870 Regia Marina 1870 Imperial Japanese navy 1870 Nihhon Kaigun Prussian Navy 1870 Preußische Marine Russian mperial Navy 1870 Russkiy Flot Swedish Navy 1870 Svenska marinen
Norwegian Navy 1870 Søværnet
⚑ 1898 Fleets
Argentinian Navy 1898 Armada de Argentina
Parana class Gunboats (1873)
La Plata class Coast Battleships (1875)
Pilcomayo class Gunboats (1875)
Ferre class Gunboats (1880)

Austro-Hungarian Navy 1898 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine

Chinese Imperial Navy 1898 Imperial Chinese Navy
Danish Navy 1898 Dansk Marine

Hellenic Navy 1898 Nautiko Hellenon
Haitian Navy 1914Marine Haitienne
Koninklije Marine 1898 Koninklije Marine
Konigin der Netherland (1874)
Draak, monitor (1877)
Matador, monitor (1878)
R. Claeszen, monitor (1891)
Evertsen class CDS (1894)
Atjeh class cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Sumatra (1890)
Cruiser K.W. Der. Neth (1892)
Banda class Gunboats (1872)
Pontania class Gunboats (1873)
Gunboat Aruba (1873)
Hydra Gunboat class (1873)
Batavia class Gunboats (1877)
Wodan Gunboat class (1877)
Ceram class Gunboats (1887)
Combok class Gunboats (1891)
Borneo Gunboat (1892)
Nias class Gunboats (1895)
Koetei class Gunboats (1898)
Dutch sloops (1864-85)

Marine Française 1898 Marine Nationale
Friedland CT Battery ship (1873)
Richelieu CT Battery ship (1873)
Colbert class CT Battery ships (1875)
Redoutable CT Battery ship (1876)
Courbet class CT Battery ships (1879)
Amiral Duperre barbette ship (1879)
Terrible class barbette ships (1883)
Amiral Baudin class barbette ships (1883)
Barbette ship Hoche (1886)
Marceau class barbette ships (1888)
Cerbere class arm. rams (1870)
Tonnerre class Br. Monitors (1875)
Tempete class Br. Monitors (1876)
Tonnant Barbette ship (1880)
Furieux Barbette ship (1883)
Fusee class Arm. Gunboats (1885)
Acheron class Arm. Gunboats (1885)
Jemmapes class Coast. Def. ships (1892)
Bouvines class Coast. Def. ships (1892)

La Galissonière Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1872)
Bayard class barbette ships (1879)
Vauban class barbette ships (1882)
Prot. Cruiser Sfax (1884)
Prot. Cruiser Tage (1886)
Prot. Cruiser Amiral Cécille (1888)
Prot. Cruiser Davout (1889)
Forbin class Cruisers (1888)
Troude class Cruisers (1888)
Alger class Cruisers (1891)
Friant class Cruisers (1893)
Prot. Cruiser Suchet (1893)
Descartes class Cruisers (1893)
Linois class Cruisers (1896)
D'Assas class Cruisers (1896)
Catinat class Cruisers (1896)

R. de Genouilly class Cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Duquesne (1876)
Cruiser Tourville (1876)
Cruiser Duguay-Trouin (1877)
Laperouse class Cruisers (1877)
Villars class Cruisers (1879)
Cruiser Iphigenie (1881)
Cruiser Naiade (1881)
Cruiser Arethuse (1882)
Cruiser Dubourdieu (1884)
Cruiser Milan (1884)

Parseval class sloops (1876)
Bisson class sloops (1874)
Epee class gunboats (1873)
Crocodile class gunboats (1874)
Tromblon class gunboats (1875)
Condor class Torpedo Cruisers (1885)
G. Charmes class gunboats (1886)
Inconstant class sloops (1887)
Bombe class Torpedo Cruisers (1887)
Wattignies class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)
Levrier class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)

Marinha do Brasil 1898 Marinha do Brasil
Siete de Setembro class (1874)
Riachuleo class (1883)
Aquidaban class (1885)

Marina de Mexico 1898 Mexico
GB Indipendencia (1874)
GB Democrata (1875)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1898 Osmanlı Donanması
Cruiser Heibtnuma (1890)
Cruiser Lufti Humayun (1892)
Cruiser Hadevendighar (1892)
Shadieh class cruisers (1893)
Turkish TBs (1885-94)

Regia Marina 1898 Regia Marina Pr. Amadeo class (1871)
Caio Duilio class (1879)
Italia class (1885)
Ruggero di Lauria class (1884)
Carracciolo (1869)
Vettor Pisani (1869)
Cristoforo Colombo (1875)
Flavio Goia (1881)
Amerigo Vespucci (1882)
C. Colombo (ii) (1892)
Pietro Micca (1876)
Tripoli (1886)
Goito class (1887)
Folgore class (1887)
Partenope class (1889)
Giovanni Bausan (1883)
Etna class (1885)
Dogali (1885)
Piemonte (1888)
Staffeta (1876)
Rapido (1876)
Barbarigo class (1879)
Messagero (1885)
Archimede class (1887)
Guardiano class GB (1874)
Scilla class GB (1874)
Provana class GB (1884)
Curtatone class GB (1887)
Castore class GB (1888)

Imperial Japanese navy 1898 Nihhon Kaigun German Navy 1898 Kaiserliches Marine
Russian Imperial Navy 1898 Russkiy Flot
Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru

Swedish Navy 1898 Svenska Marinen Norwegian Navy 1898 Søværnet
Royal Navy 1898 Royal Navy
HMS Hotspur (1870)
HMS Glatton (1871)
Devastation classs (1871)
Cyclops class (1871)
HMS Rupert (1874)
Neptune class (1874)
HMS Dreadnought (1875)
HMS Inflexible (1876)
Agamemnon class (1879)
Conqueror class (1881)
Colossus class (1882)
Admiral class (1882)
Trafalgar class (1887)
Victoria class (1890)
Royal Sovereign class (1891)
Centurion class (1892)
HMS Renown (1895)

HMS Shannon (1875)
Nelson class (1876)
Iris class (1877)
Leander class (1882)
Imperieuse class (1883)
Mersey class (1885)
Surprise class (1885)
Scout class (1885)
Archer class (1885)
Orlando class (1886)
Medea class (1888)
Barracouta class (1889)
Barham class (1889)
Pearl class (1889)

Spanish Navy 1898 Armada 1898
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)

Infanta Maria Teresa class (1890)
Emperador Carlos V (1895)
Cristobal Colon (1897)
Princesa de Asturias (1896)
Aragon class (1879)
Velasco class (1881)
Isla de Luzon (1886)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Reina Regentes class (1887)

Destructor class (1886)
Temerario class (1891)
TGunboat Filipinas (1892)
De Molina class (1896)
Furor class (1896)
Audaz class (1897)
Spanish TBs (1878-87)
Fernando class gunboats (1875)
Concha class gunboats (1883)

US Navy 1898 1898 US Navy
USS Maine (1889)
USS Texas (1892)
Indiana class (1893)
USS Iowa (1896)

Amphitrite class (1876)
USS Puritan (1882)
USS Monterey (1891)

Atlanta class (1884)
USS Chicago (1885)
USS Charleston (1888)
USS Baltimore (1888)
USS Philadelphia (1889)
USS San Francisco (1889)
USS Newark (1890)
USS New York (1891)
USS Olympia (1892)
Cincinatti class (1892)
Montgomery class (1893)
Columbia class (1893)
USS Brooklyn (1895)

USS Vesuvius (1888)
USS Katahdin (1893)
USN Torpedo Boats (1886-1901)
GB USS Dolphin (1884)
Yorktown class GB (1888)
GB USS Petrel (1888)
GB USS Bancroft (1892)
Machias class GB (1891)
GB USS Nashville (1895)
Wilmington class GB (1895)
Annapolis class GB (1896)
Wheeling class GB (1897)
Small gunboats (1886-95)
St Louis class AMC (1894)
Harvard class AMC (1888)
USN Armoured Merchant Cruisers
USN Armed Yachts


☉ Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
Majestic class (1894)
Canopus class (1897)
Formidable class (1898)
London class (1899)
Duncan class (1901)
King Edward VII class (1903)
Swiftsure class (1903)
Lord Nelson class (1906)
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
Bellorophon class (1907)
St Vincent class (1908)
HMS Neptune (1909)
Colossus class (1910)
Orion class (1911)
King George V class (1911)
Iron Duke class (1912)
Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
HMS Canada (1913)
HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Erin (1915)
Revenge class (1915)
B3 class (1918)

WW1 British Battlecruisers
Invincible class (1907)
Indefatigable class (1909)
Lion class (1910)
HMS Tiger (1913)
Renown class (1916)
Courageous class (1916)
G3 class (1918)

ww1 British cruisers
Blake class (1889)
Edgar class (1890)
Powerful class (1895)
Diadem class (1896)
Cressy class (1900)
Drake class (1901)
Monmouth class (1901)
Devonshire class (1903)
Duke of Edinburgh class (1904)
Warrior class (1905)
Minotaur class (1906)
Hawkins class (1917)

Apollo class (1890)
Astraea class (1893)
Eclipse class (1894)
Arrogant class (1896)
Pelorus class (1896)
Highflyer class (1898)
Gem class (1903)
Adventure class (1904)
Forward class (1904)
Pathfinder class (1904)
Sentinel class (1904)
Boadicea class (1908)
Blonde class (1910)
Active class (1911)
'Town' class (1909-1913)
Arethusa class (1913)
'C' class series (1914-1922)
'D' class (1918)
'E' class (1918)

WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Campania (1893)
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)

WW1 British Destroyers
River class (1903)
Cricket class (1906)
Tribal class (1907)
HMS Swift (1907)
Beagle class (1909)
Acorn class (1910)
Acheron class (1911)
Acasta class (1912)
Laforey class (1913)
M/repeat M class (1914)
Faulknor class FL (1914)
T class (1915)
Parker class FL (1916)
R/mod R class (1916)
V class (1917)
V class FL (1917)
Shakespeare class FL (1917)
Scott class FL (1917)
W/mod W class (1917)
S class (1918)

WW1 British Torpedo Boats
125ft series (1885)
140ft series (1892)
160ft series (1901)
27-knotters (1894)
30-knotters (1896)
33-knotters (1896)

WW1 British Submarines
Nordenfelt Submarines (1885)
Flower class sloops
British Gunboats of WWI
British P-Boats (1915)
Kil class (1917)
British ww1 Minesweepers
Z-Whaler class patrol crafts
British ww1 CMB
British ww1 Auxiliaries

✠ Central Empires

⚑ Neutral Countries

Bulgarian Navy Bulgaria
Danish Navy 1914 Denmark
Greek Royal Navy Greece

Dutch Empire Navy 1914 Netherlands
Norwegian Navy 1914 Norway

Portuguese navy 1914 Portugal

Romanian Navy 1914 Romania
Spanish Armada Spain Swedish Navy 1914 Sweden


✪ Allied ww2 Fleets

US ww2 US Navy
WW2 American Battleships
Wyoming class (1911)
New York class (1912)
Nevada class (1914)
Pennsylvania class (1915)
New Mexico class (1917)
Tennessee Class (1919)
Colorado class (1921)
North Carolina class (1940)
South Dakota class (1941)
Iowa class (1942)
Montana class (cancelled)

WW2 American Cruisers
Omaha class cruisers (1920)
Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
USS Wichita (1937)
Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)

WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
USS Langley (1920)
Lexington class CVs (1927)
USS Ranger (CV-4)
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
Long Island class (1940)
Independence class CVs (1942)
Essex class CVs (1942)
Bogue class CVEs (1942)
Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
Casablanca class CVEs (1943)
Commencement Bay class CVEs (1944)
Midway class CVs (1945)
Saipan class CVs (1945)

WW2 American destroyers
Wickes class (1918)
Clemson class (1920)
Farragut class (1934)
Porter class (1935)
Mahan class (1935)
Gridley class (1936)
Bagley class (1936)
Somers class (1937)
Benham class (1938)
Sims class (1938)
Benson class (1939)
Fletcher class (1942)
Sumner class (1943)
Gearing class (1945)

GMT Evarts class (1942)
TE Buckley class (1943)
TEV/WGT Rudderow classs (1943)
DET/FMR Cannon class
Asheville/Tacoma class

WW2 American Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1943)
Majestic class (1944)
Centaur class (started 1944)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)

WW2 British Destroyers
Shakespeare class (1917)
Scott class (1818)
V class (1917)
S class (1918)
W class (1918)
A/B class (1926)
C/D class (1931)
G/H/I class (1935)
Tribal class (1937)
J/K/N class (1938)
Hunt class DE (1939)
L/M class (1940)
O/P class (1942)
Q/R class (1942)
S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
Z/ca class (1943)
Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
Battle class (1945)
Weapon class (1945)

WW2 British submarines
L9 class (1918)
HMS X1 (1923)
Oberon class (1926)
Parthian class (1929)
Rainbow class (1930)
Thames class (1932)
Swordfish class (1932)
HMS Porpoise (1932)
Grampus class (1935)
Shark class (1934)
Triton class (1937)
Undine class (1937)
U class (1940)
S class (1941)
T class (1941)
X-Craft midget (1942)
A class (1944)

WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
LSI(L) class
LSI(M/S) class
LSI(H) class
LSS class
LSG class
LSC class
Boxer class LST

LST(2) class
LST(3) class
LSH(L) class
LSF classes (all)
LCI(S) class
LCS(L2) class
LCT(I) class
LCT(2) class
LCT(R) class
LCT(3) class
LCT(4) class
LCT(8) class
LCT(4) class
LCG(L)(4) class
LCG(M)(1) class

British ww2 Landing Crafts

WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British MTBs
MTB-1 class (1936)
MTB-24 class (1939)
MTB-41 class (1940)
MTB-424 class (1944)
MTB-601 class (1942)
MA/SB class (1938)
MTB-412 class (1942)
MGB 6 class (1939)
MGB-47 class (1940)
MGB 321 (1941)
MGB 501 class (1942)
MGB 511 class (1944)
MGB 601 class (1942)
MGB 2001 class (1943)

WW2 British Gunboats

Denny class (1941)
Fairmile A (1940)
Fairmile B (1940)
HDML class (1940)

WW2 British Sloops
Bridgewater class (2090)
Hastings class (1930)
Shoreham class (1930)
Grimsby class (1934)
Bittern class (1937)
Egret class (1938)
Black Swan class (1939)

WW2 British Frigates
River class (1943)
Loch class (1944)
Bay class (1944)

WW2 British Corvettes
Kingfisher class (1935)
Shearwater class (1939)
Flower class (1940)
Mod. Flower class (1942)
Castle class (1943)

WW2 British Misc.
WW2 British Monitors
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1920)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1932)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
IJN Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1937)
Zuiho class (1936) comp.40
Ruyho (1933) comp.42
Junyo class (1941)
IJN Taiho (1943)
Chitose class (comp. 1943)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)
Ioshima class (1944)
WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB

⚑ Neutral

Armada de Argentina Argentinian Navy

Rivadavia class Battleships
Cruiser La Argentina
Veinticinco de Mayo class cruisers
Argentinian Destroyers
Santa Fe class sub. Bouchard class minesweepers King class patrol vessels

Marinha do Brasil Brazilian Navy

Minas Gerais class Battleships (1912)
Cruiser Bahia
Brazilian Destroyers
Humaita class sub.
Tupi class sub.

Armada de Chile Armada de Chile

Almirante Latorre class battleships
Cruiser Esmeralda (1896)
Cruiser Chacabuco (1911)
Chilean DDs
Fresia class subs
Capitan O’Brien class subs

Søværnet Danish Navy

Niels Juel
Danish ww2 Torpedo-Boats Danish ww2 submarines Danish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Merivoimat Finnish Navy

Coastal BB Ilmarinen
Finnish ww2 submarines
Finnish ww2 minelayers

Nautiko Hellenon Hellenic Navy

Greek ww2 Destroyers
Greek ww2 submarines
Greek ww2 minelayers

Marynarka Vojenna Polish Navy

Polish ww2 Destroyers
Polish ww2 cruisers
Polish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Portuguese navy ww2 Portuguese Navy

Douro class DDs
Delfim class sub
Velho class gb
Albuquerque class gb
Nunes class sloops

Romanian Navy Romanian Navy

Romanian ww2 Destroyers
Romanian ww2 Submarines

Royal Norwegian Navy Sjøforsvaret

Norwegian ww2 Torpedo-Boats

Spanish Armada Spanish Armada

España class Battleships
Blas de Lezo class cruisers
Canarias class cruisers
Cervera class cruisers
Cruiser Navarra
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Submarines
Dedalo seaplane tender
Spanish Gunboats
Spanish Minelayers

Svenska Marinen Svenska Marinen

Gustav V class CBBs (1918)
Interwar Swedish CBB projects

Tre Kronor class (1943)
Gotland (1933)
Fylgia (1905)

Ehrernskjold class DDs (1926)
Psilander class DDs (1926)
Klas Horn class DDs (1931)
Romulus class DDs (1934)
Göteborg class DDs (1935)
Mode class DDs (1942)
Visby class DDs (1942)
Öland class DDs (1945)

Swedish ww2 TBs
Swedish ww2 Submarines
Swedish ww2 Minelayers
Swedish ww2 MTBs
Swedish ww2 Patrol Vessels
Swedish ww2 Minesweepers

Türk Donanmasi Turkish Navy

Turkish ww2 Destroyers
Turkish ww2 submarines

Royal Yugoslav Navy Royal Yugoslav Navy

Dubrovnik class DDs
Beograd class DDs
Hrabi class subs

Royal Thai Navy Royal Thai Navy

Taksin class
Ratanakosindra class
Sri Ayuthia class
Puket class
Tachin class
Sinsamudar class sub

minor navies Minor Navies

naval aviation Naval Aviation
Latest entries

USN aviation
Boeing model 2/3/5 (1916)
Aeromarine 39 (1917)
Curtiss VE-7 (1918)
Aeromarine 40 (1919)
Douglas DT (1921)
Naval Aircraft Factory PT (1922)
Loening OL (1923)
Huff-Daland TW-5 (1923)
Martin MO (1924)
Consolidated NY (1926)
Vought FU (1927)
Vought O2U Corsair (1928)
Berliner-Joyce OJ (1931)
Curtiss SOC seagull (1934)
Grumman F3F (1935)
Northrop BT-1 (1935) Vultee V-11 (1935)
Grumman J2F Duck (1936)
Curtiss SBC Helldiver (1936)
Vought SB2U Vindicator (1936)
Brewster F2A Buffalo (1937)
Douglas TBD Devastator (1937)
Vought Kingfisher (1938)
Curtiss SO3C Seamew (1939)
Cessna AT-17 Bobcat (1939)
Douglas SBD Dauntless (1939) Grumman F4F Wildcat (1940)
Northrop N-3PB Nomad (1941)
Brewster SB2A Buccaneer (1941)
Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger (1941)
Consolidated TBY Sea Wolf (1941)
Grumman F6F Hellcat (1942)
Vought F4U Corsair (1942)
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver (1942)
Curtiss SC Seahawk (1944)
Douglas BTD Destroyer (1944)
Grumman F7F Tigercat (1943)
Grumman F8F Bearcat (1944)

Curtiss H (1917)
Curtiss F5L (1918)
Curtiss NC (1919)
Curtiss NC4 (1918)
Naval Aircraft Factory PN (1925)
Douglas T2D (1927)
Consolidated P2Y (1929)
Hall PH (1929)
Douglas PD (1929)
Douglas Dolphin (1931)
General Aviation PJ (1933)
Consolidated PBY Catalina (1935)
Fleetwings Sea Bird (1936)
Sikorsky VS-44 (1937)
Grumman G-21 Goose (1937)
Consolidated PB2Y Coronado (1937)
Beechcraft M18 (1937)
Sikorsky JRS (1938)
Boeing 314 Clipper (1938)
Martin PBM Mariner (1939)
Grumman G-44 Wigeon (1940)
Martin Mars (1943)
Goodyear GA-2 Duck (1944)
Edo Ose (1946)
Hugues Hercules (1947)

Japanese WW2 naval aviation
Mitsubishi 1MF
Mitsubishi A5M
Nakajima A4N
Mitsubishi A6M "zeke"

Mitsubishi B1M
Aichi D3A Navy Type 99 "Val" (1940)
Aichi B7A Ryusei "Grace" (1942)
Mitsubishi B5M (1937)
Nakajima B5N "Kate" (1937)
Nakajima B6N "Jill" (1941)
Yokosuka B4Y "Jean" (1935)
Yokosuka D4Y "Judy" (1942)
Yokosuka MXY-7 "Baka" (1944)
Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" (1935)
Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" (1941)
Yokosuka P1Y1 "Frances" (1943)

Aichi M6A1-K Nanzan (1943)
Kyushu K10W1 "Oak" (1941)
Kyushu K11W1 Shiragiku (1942)
Kyushu Q1W1-K "Lorna" (1943)
Mitsubishi K3M "Pine" (1930)
Yokosuka K5Y1 "Willow" (1933)
Yokosuka MXY-7K-1 "Kai" (1944)
Yokosuka MXY-8 Akigusa

Nakajima E4N
Nakajima E14Y
Nakajima E8N "Dave"
Mitsubishi F1M "pete"
Kawanishi E7K
Kawanishi H6K
Kawanishi E11K
Kawanishi K6K
Kawanishi K8K
Kawanishi E15K Shiun
Kawanishi H8K "Emily"
Kawanishi N1K1 "Rex"

Italian WW2 air arm
CANT Z.501 Gabbiano
CANT Z.506 Airone
Fiat RS.14
IMAM Ro.43
IMAM Ro.44
Macchi M5

British Fleet Air Arm
Carrier planes
Fairey IIIF (1927)
Fairey Swordfish (1934)

Fairey Flycatcher (1922)
Supermarine Southampton (1925)
Blackburn Iris (1926)
Hawker Osprey (1930)
Short Rangoon (1930)
Short Valetta (1930)
Fairey Seal (1930)
Supermarine Scapa (1935)
Supermarine Stranraer (1936)
Supermarine Walrus (1936)
Fairey Seafox (1936)
Short Sunderland (1937)
Saro Lerwick (1940)
Short Shetland (1944)

The Cold War

Royal Navy Royal Navy
Sovietskaya Flota Sovietskiy flot
US Navy USN (1990)

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