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Postby shipstamps » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:48 pm

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Built as an aircraft carrier by the Kawasaki Shipyard in Kobe for the Imperial Japanese Navy.
25 May 1938 keel laid down.
27 November 1939 launched under the name ZUIKAKU the name means “fortunate crane”. One sister the SHOKAKU.
Displacement 25.675 tons standard, 32.000 tons full load. Dim. 257.5 x 26 x 8.9m. (draught).
Powered by four Kampon geared steam turbines, 160.000 shp., four shafts, speed 34 knots.
Armament 8 – 127mm, 12 – 25mm AA guns, later in the war upgraded to 16 – 127mm and 96 – 25mm AA guns.
Carried 74 aircrafts (27 fighters, 27 dive-bombers and 18 torpedo bombers.)
Crew 1.660.
25 September 1941 commissioned under command of Captain Ichibei Yokokawa.

She joined and formed with her sister the First Air Fleet, Carrier Division 5, and stationed at Oita.
26 November 1941 she and her sister sailed from Hittokapu Bay for the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Then she carried 27 dive-bombers, 27 torpedo-bombers and 15 fighters.
Her aircrews were inexperience, when she headed for Pearl Harbour, and her planes were more used for a supporting roll during the attack.
07 December 1941 she launched two waves of planes against the Navy base at Pearl Harbor. The first wave attacked the airbase at Wheeler Field and Kaneohe, in the second wave the airbase Hickham Field and the CALIFORNIA and MARYLAND were the target..
After her planes returned the ZUIKAKU together with the other Japanese carriers headed west for Japan and she arrived Hishirajima 23 December.

20 January 1942 her planes attack Rabaul, and Lae in New Guinea on 21 January, then returned to Truk where she arrived 29 January.
February she left from Truk to chase the Allied carrier fleet that was assaulting the Marshall Island.
Thereafter she sailed to Yokusuka.
26 March 1942 she left Staring Bay in “Operation C” the attack on the Colombo and Trincomalee, Ceylon.
19 April she departs from Mako to take part in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 and 8 May, in which the Allies lost the carrier LEXINGTON and the Japanese the light carrier SHOHO.
The ZUIKAKU lost many airplanes but the carrier did not get any damage herself.
After the battle she sailed to Truk before heading for Kure, Japan to retrain her air group, where she arrived on 21 May.
To work in the new aircrews she missed the Battle of Midway.

25 June 1942 she joined the Carrier Division 1. based at Truk.

24 August 1942 she took part in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons under Captain Tameteru Notomo in which planes of the ZUIKAKU damaged the USS ENTERPRISE but at considerable cost.
January 1943 used for the evacuation of Guadalcanal in which around 12.000 Japanese soldiers successfully were evacuated.

03 May 1943 she left Truk bound for Yokosuka, Japan., thereafter returned to Truk, and took part in many attacks on Allied warships and ground forces in and around Tarawa and Makin.

07 December she sailed from Truk for Kure, Japan for a refit and dry-docking.
17 January 1944 ready for service.
06 February sailed for Singapore where she arrived on the 13th. Till 06 May used in the waters between Japan and Singapore, she left from Singapore after dry-docking for the last time on 12 May when she sailed to the Tawitawi Group., Philippines, where she arrived on 15 May.

19 June 1944 she was the only aircraft carrier remaining in Carrier Division 1, after the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944, where she got a bomb hit just aft of the control tower, which penetrated the flight deck and started a fire in the hangar bay, the fire is extinguished and she had moderate damage.

Sailed to Kure for repair and dry-docking and was ready for service 02 August.
10 August she joined the Third Fleet, Carrier Division 3.
13 September 1944 she arrived at Oita, Japan, from where she departed on 20 October for the Sho Operation, the greatest sea battle of all times in the Leyte Gulf, Philippines.
She was the flagship of Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa’s

24 October 1944 she launched her last air-strike, in which most of the aircraft were shut down, the next day she was attacked by US Navy aircraft after receiving 7 torpedo hits and 9 bomb hits. Admiral Ozawa shifted his flag to the OYODO
13.58 The order is given to abandon the ship and at 14.14 her bow slit below the waves taken with him Rear-Admiral Takao, 48 officers and 794 men.
815 Crewmembers were rescued by the destroyers WAKATSUKI, KUWA.

Dominica 1995 $2 sg 1974, scott 1776d

Source: ... er-Zuikaku and other web-sites. The Encyclopedia of Warships.
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