Japanese aircraft carrier Taiho

Taihō (meaning Great Phoenix), was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Possessing heavy belt armor and featuring an armored flight deck (a first for any Japanese carrier), she represented a major departure in Japanese carrier design and was expected to not only survive multiple bomb, torpedo or shell hits but also continue fighting effectively.

Built by Kawasaki at Kobe, she was laid down on 10 July 1941, launched almost two years later on 7 April 1943 and finally commissioned on 7 March 1944. She sank on 19 June 1944 during the Battle of the Philippine Sea after suffering a single torpedo hit from the American submarine USS Albacore, due to explosions resulting from design flaws and poor damage control.

Japanese aircraft carrier Taiho
Class Ship
Type Aircraft Carrier
Manufacturer Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation
Production Period 1941 - 1943
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1944
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1944 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation 1941 1943 1 View

Taiho was approved for construction in the 1939 4th Supplementary Programme. Her design was that of a modified Shokaku. Under the Modified Fleet Replenishment Program of 1942, Taiho was to be the first of a new generation of Japanese aircraft carriers, which would include Taiho, 15 of a modified Hiryu-class (which turned into the Unryu-class) and five of an improved Taiho design.

Battle of the Philippine Sea

Taiho was formally commissioned on 7 March 1944. Following several weeks of service trials in Japan's Inland Sea, she was deployed to Singapore, arriving there on 5 April. Taiho was then moved to Lingga Roads, a naval anchorage off Sumatra, where she joined veteran carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku in the First Carrier Division, First Mobile Force. All three carriers engaged in working up new air groups by practicing launch and recovery operations and acting as targets for mock aerial attacks staged from Singapore airfields by their own planes. On 15 April, Vice-Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa officially transferred his flag from Shokaku to Taiho to take advantage of the carrier's extensive command facilities. Shortly thereafter, the First Mobile Force departed Lingga and arrived on 14 May at Tawi-Tawi off Borneo, where the fleet could directly refuel with unrefined Tarakan Island crude oil and await execution of the planned Kantai Kessen ("decisive battle") known as Operation A-GO.

When American carrier strikes against the Marianas indicated an invasion of Saipan was imminent, the Japanese Combined Fleet staff initiated Operation A-GO on 11 June. Taiho and the rest of Ozawa's First Mobile Force departed Tawi-Tawi on 13 June, threading their way through the Philippine Islands and setting course for Saipan to attack American carrier forces operating in the vicinity.

Career (Japan)
Name: Taiho
Namesake: Taiho Japanese meaning Great Phoenix".
Laid down: 10 July 1941
Launched: 7 April 1943
Commissioned: 7 March 1944
Struck: August 1945
Fate: Sunk in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19 June 1944
General characteristics
Class & type: Taiho-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 29,770 long tons (30,250 t) (standard);
37,270 long tons (37,870 t) (fully loaded)
Length: 260.6 m (855 ft 0 in)
Beam: 27.4 m (89 ft 11 in)
Draft: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Installed power: 160,000 shp (120,000 kW)
Propulsion: 4 × geared Kampon steam turbines
8 × Kampon RO Go boilers
4 × shafts
Speed: 33.3 kn (61.7 km/h; 38.3 mph)
Range: 10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 1751
Armament: 12 × 100 mm (3.9 in)/65 cal Type 98 anti-aircraft guns (6x2)
51 × 25 mm (1 in) anti-aircraftcannons (17x3)
Armor: Belt: 55–152 mm (2.2–6.0 in) (waist); 40 mm (1.6 in) (below waterline)
Deck: 75–80 mm (3.0–3.1 in) (upper); 32 mm (1.3 in) (lower)
Aircraft carried: 65
Aviation facilities: 2 × elevators
1 × crane

End notes