Unryū class fleet aircraft carriers (1944) Japan, 1943-45. 15 fleet aicraft carriers planned
IJN Unryū, Amagi, Katsuragi, Kasagi, 5005, Aso, Ikoma, Kurama, Kaimon, 5010-5015.
The Unryū class in brief
The six Unryū class fleet aircraft carriers were added in the 1942 naval programme, but only two were completed in time before the end of the war to actually see some service. They were the Japanese equivalent to the USN Essex class fleet carrier, but on Japanese scale.
The Project was developed under 1941 Programme already, as a modified variant of Soryu
, as unprotected "second line carriers", the 1st line being constituted by vessels of the Taiho
class armoured carriers. Unlike Shokaku, derived from the Soryu they were closed, with a smaller displacement to stay cheap, much simplified and more modular for faster construction. With operations commencing in 1942 the design drawn attention of the Japanese naval command, which labelled it as the most eligible for serial construction and thus the class was added in the 1942 program. No less than seven were planned, twice as many armoured carriers in the new tactical reasoning og the admiralty for carrier operations. An additional eight carriers were planned FY1944. However these plans were cut short by the state of the Japanese industry in 1943-44: Only six our of the 15 ordered were laid down in effect, only three were completed, and only perhaps one started fleet operations.
On general arrangement and architecture, the Unryu class repeated the base design derive on Soryu, with increased dimensions for the island superstructure, and an asymmetric hull with a port side deviated from centreline more than starboard. Protection scheme was the same and only differed in some details. Underwater protection was improved with better compartment arrangement and use of 50 mm longitudinal bulkheads. Magazines walso saw their protection much strengthened.
Avgas tanks were also better protected, adding a concrete layer around. As a whole their protection was still weak due to their limited displacement. Machinery was the same as for the Soryu and Hiryu, based on the standard machinery of the heavy cruiser IJN Suzuya. Shortage of turbines forced to use those from Katsuragi and Aso, which were destroyers. The output was as a result 1/3 lower and speed fell from 2 knots. Provision of 25mm AA guns went to 51 total in seventeen triple mounts, and no dual purpose armament, but they differed when commissioned.
Ship protection: Main 46mm belt protected only machinery, main 25mm lower hangar deck connected with its upper edge, its thickness increased to 55mm over magazines and aircraft fuel tanks. Magazines had 165mm vertical protection. There was 50mm longitudinal anti-torpedo bulkhead. Aircraft fuel tanks had additional concrete protection.
Modernizations: 1944-1945, Unryu, Amagi received six 28-tubes 120mm AA Rocket Launchers and for Katsuragi eight of these.
Unryu was sunk on 19/12/1944 in the East China Sea, torpedoed by USS Redfish. Amagi was destroyed on 24/7/1945 during air raids from TF 58 in Kure, with one direct bomb hit, two near misses. At second raid on the 28th added another bomb hit portside amidships and the following day she was moved to ran aground on the port side and sunk in shallow water, saving the crew.
As for their installations, they had no catapult but two axial lifts fore and aft. They carried 60-65 aircraft with variable air groups. Planned in 1943 to be fourteen A6M2, 21 D4Y1 and 20 D4Y1C. But on paper it changed and they were to carry a variation on the following models: A6M fighters, D3A, D4Y diving bombers, B5N, B6N, B7A torpedo bombers, C6N recon planes. In reality by the fall of 1944 before her loss, IJN Unryu carried only 56 A6M5 Zero fighter-bombers and four Kokusai Ki-76 for recce, liaison and ASW patrols.
Katsuragi was also attacked during the same raid on 24 July 1945 and the 28th. After a first bomb hit, she received two more causing considerable destruction between the flight deck and hangar amidships. After the war she was used for repatriation of Japanese troops stranded in the Pacific, and BU 1947. Kasagi was cancelled on 1/4/1945 at 85% completion and BU 1947. Aso and Ikoma were suspended in January, 1945, at 60% completion and their incomplete hulls already had been badly damaged by an air raid. These two were BU in 1947.
Author's illustration of
⚙ Specs Unryu 1945
|Dimensions|| 227.4 oa x 22.0 wl (27.0 fd) x 7.85 m|
|Displacement||17,150 t. standard -22,400 t. Full Load|
|Propulsion||4 Kampon geared steam turbines, 8 Kampon boilers, 152,000 hp.|
|Speed||34 knots (62 km/h; 40 mph)|
|Range||8,000 nmi (14,350 km; 8,920 mi) at 18 knots (33 kph, 21 mph)|
|Armor||Belt 46mm (165 abreast magazines), lower hangar deck: 25mm (56 over magazines)|
|Armament||6x2 127mm/40 Type 89, 21x3 25mm/60 Type 96 AA, 64 aircraft|
Sources/ Read more
Conway's all the worlds fighting ships 1922-1947
The model's corner