IJN Zuiho (CVL-1940)


Return to Japanese Navy page:


For some reason the Japanese had a liking for light fleet carriers as back-ups to the fleet carriers. These were mainly conversions from light and heavy cruisers, fast oilers, and repurposed seaplane carriers. The Japanese had built a lot of seaplane carriers when the seaplane / amphibian aircraft types were close in performance to those wheeled aircraft on the aircraft carriers. Once the monoplanes of the mid 30's came into service, the seaplane carriers days were numbered. Most, as with the Zuiho's, were repurposed (and renamed) to light fleet carriers. Their speed tied them to the main battlefleet.

The conversion of these ships was to make them into 'service' carriers supporting the four main carrier divisions. This never really happened and they operated as full aircraft carriers. As always, needs outweighed dreams.

I have thought about fitting enclosed bows to these ships, but have followed the thought that these ships were not meant to have been used as full carriers, more as maintenance carriers. Thus the requirement for better seakeeping is not needed for these ships.

The main CV carrier divisions had only two ships per division, the light divisions had four ships. In each case one pair of Zuiho's were matched with either a pair of Ryujo's or a pair of Junyo's to make up their division. While the main carrier divisions cleared out the Pacific of enemy aircraft carriers it was left to the two light divisions to clear the South East Asia and Indian Ocean theatres.

At this stage of the war, Australis and Zealandia have committed their ships to the European war, in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans or the Mediterranean Sea. It will take time for those countries to extricate their forces from their European deployments and bring them back to where they can challenge the Japanese regional dominance.

Displacement 14,800 tons std, 18,550 tons full load
Length 725 feet
Breadth 80 ft
Draught 24 ft
Machinery 4 shaft, turbines & diesels, 45,000shp, 15,000bhp = 60,000hp.
Speed 28 knots
Range 10,000 miles at 18 knots
Armour unarmoured (2" box around magazines)
Armament 8 x 5" (4x2)

30 x 25mm (10x3)

Aircraft 40
Complement 840
Notes IJN Zuiho

IJN Hosho

IJN Chitose

IJN Chiyoda

Real life Zuiho at Battle of Leyte Gulf 1944.


Return to Japanese Navy page: