Hosho class aircraft carriers

Hosho (as completed)

Hosho (1924)

Hosho (1944)

Displacement7470t standard, 9330t trial, 10,000t full load
Length155.45m pp, 165.0m wl, 168.1m oa
Machinery2-shaft geared turbine, 12 boilers, 30,000shp
Fueloil 2695t, coal 940t
Armament4-14cm/50cal gun (1x4), 2-8cm/40cal AA gun (1x2), 2 MGs, 26 aircraft

Name Plan Builder Laid down Launch Complete
HoshoFY1918Asano Dock/Yokosuka NYd1919.12.161921.11.131922.12.27CV1945.10. 5 disc
1945.12. 1 Transport for retreat
1946. 8.31 BU
1947. 5. 1 BU complete
ShokakuFY1920----1923 cancelled

The first aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. She has been planned as a transport in budget, however laid down as an aircraft carrier. Based on the cruiser style hull, a flight deck and one-layer hanger has been equipped. An island was placed on starboard, fore-part of flight deck has been declined to accelerate plane's liftoff. Three funnels stood starboard after island, they can be laid horizontally during flight operation. Just after some flight trial, she must be modified to improve operability - island was removed and flight deck was flatted. Now she became a typical 'flush-deccker'.
Hosho was served during Shanghai incident in 1932, Chinese War in 1937, and so on. In 1934, funnels were fixed downwards to improve stability - the mechanism weighed more than 60 tons to make funnels stand or lay, because it was useless at that time. After outbreak of the Pacific War, she was regarded too small and too slow to operate heavier, larger carrier-planes, therefore the flight deck was significantly enlarged in length and width. By this modification, ocean-going navigability was lost because of overhung of the flight deck from hull. Hosho was used as training carrier at inland sea after 1943. After Japan's surrender, she was served as transport for retreat (flight deck overhung was cut down) and broken up later.
Japanese aircraft carriers were usually named after birds or flying animals (often imaginal). Hosho means 'Flying Phoenix' in Japanese.

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Copyright © Hiroshi Nishida (Misohito), 2002.
Illustration by courtesy of Tensho