Chitose Class aircraft carrier
The two aircraft carriers of the Chitose class were the last of a series of Japanese carriers produced by modifying existing auxiliaries, in this case two seaplane carriers built in the late 1930s. Both ships served as seaplane carriers in the first months of the Pacific War, but after the battle of Midway the Japanese navy urgently needed new carriers.
As seaplane carriers the Chitose class ships already carried some of the facilities needed on carriers, and their conversion progressed rapidly. Chiyoda was completed on 31 October 1943, Chitose on 1 January 1944. They were very similar to the Zuiho, converted from a submarine support ship, and could carry 30 aircraft (21 fighters and 9 attack aircraft) in their two hangers. As with the earlier conversions, they were not given an island, and were controlled from positions in front of the hangers. The only modification made to these ships was an increase in the number of 25mm AA guns from 30 when built to 48 after June 1943.
The two ships had virtually identical service careers. The Chiyoda was used on two aircraft ferrying missions in March and April 1944, before the two ships came together for the battle of the Philippine Sea (June 1944), where they formed part of Admiral Kurita’s C Force. This force sailed ahead of the main Japanese fleet, in an attempt to distract the American carriers. Both ships survived the battle, although the Chiyoda’s flight deck was badly damaged during the daring twilight attack of 20 June.
Both ships formed part of part of Vice-Admiral Ozawa’s Main Body during the battle of Leyte Gulf (October 1944). Once again they were being used as a decoy, along with the entire Japanese carrier force, and this time both ships were destroyed during the battle of Cape Engano (25 October).
The Chitose was first to sink. She was hit by three aircraft torpedoes in the first American attack, and sank at 9.37am. The Chiyoda was hit by several bombs from the second American attack, before being immobilised by a torpedo at 10.18am. She remained afloat, but her escort ships were unable to rescue the crew before
she came under fire from US surface forces (one of the few carriers to suffer that fate). She sank with the loss of all hands.
631ft 7in max
8 5in/40 dual purpose guns in double mountings
Ships in class
The Sad Story Of How This Soviet Aircraft Carrier Ended Up Rotting In A Landlocked Chinese Lagoon
The former Soviet Kiev class aircraft carrier Minsk is rusting away, seemingly abandoned, in the middle of a man-made lagoon some 50 miles northwest of the Chinese city of Shanghai. It's a visual that feels better suited to a movie or video game set in a cyberpunk dystopia or an Earth where nature has reclaimed areas in the aftermath of some kind of apocalypse. It looks to be a sad and lonely fate for the ship, which was already spared the scrapper's torch once by Chinese businessmen in the 1990s.
The ex-Minsk's present home sits just off the Yangtze River to one side of the Sutong Yangtze River Bridge in Nantong, China. Its immediate neighbors are farms and associated agricultural facilities. Looking at satellite imagery of the site, to the immediate north of the Lagoon, there is what looks to be a viewing platform with a walkway leading back to various structures and a tented pavilion. All of this looks to be part of equally abandoned work on a planned theme park that was to feature the aircraft carrier at its center, but which never opened.
Chitose's conversion began in January 1943 and was completed a year later. Her sister ship Chiyoda was converted in only 10 months. Aircraft capacity was the same as the Zuiho class at 30 and the 2 ship classes often worked in conjunction. The ships were fitted with thirty 25mm guns carried in 10 triple mounts. Later in the war another 6 triple mounts were added increasing the total to 48.
Chiyoda conducted 2 urgent aircraft ferry missions during March and April 1944, Both ships were assigned to "Van Force" during Philippine Sea where they were to act as a diversion to the main carrier fleet, they were escorted by the most powerful surface units. However, the Chiyoda only suffered a single bomb hit during the battle. At Leyte Gulf, both ships were attacked by USN carrier aircraft on October 25. Chitose was hit by 3 torpedoes and sank within an hour. Chiyoda was hit by 4 bombs and later came under fire from USN surface forces and was sunk with no survivors.
Ships similar to or like Chitose-class aircraft carrier
Light aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. First laid down as a seaplane tender in 1934 at Kure Navy yard, the ship originally carried Kawanishi E7K Type 94 "Alf" and Nakajima E8N Type 95 "Dave" floatplanes. Wikipedia
The two Hiyō-class aircraft carriers (飛鷹型航空母艦) were built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during World War II. Both ships of the class, and, were originally laid down as luxury passenger liners before being acquired by the IJN for conversion to aircraft carriers in 1941. Wikipedia
Light aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Originally constructed as the second vessel of the seaplane tenders in 1934, she continued to operate in that capacity during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the early stages of the Pacific War until her conversion into a light aircraft carrier after the Battle of Midway. Wikipedia
The Unryū-class aircraft carriers (雲龍型航空母艦) were World War II Japanese aircraft carriers. Sixteen ships of the class were planned under the Maru Kyū Programme (Ship #302 in 1941) and the Kai-Maru 5 Programme (#5001&ndash5015 in 1942). Wikipedia
Class of two aircraft carriers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy before World War II, the Zuihō and Shōhō. Both ships were originally built as submarine tenders, but were subsequently converted into carriers. Wikipedia
The Shōkaku class (翔鶴型) consisted of two aircraft carriers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the late 1930s. Completed shortly before the start of the Pacific War in 1941, the and were called "arguably the best aircraft carriers in the world" when built. Wikipedia
Group of three escort carriers used by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during World War II. Converted while still under construction. Wikipedia
The name ship of her class of two light aircraft carriers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Renamed and converted while under construction into an aircraft carrier. Wikipedia
The Nagato-class battleships (長門型戦艦) were a pair of dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during World War I, although they were not completed until after the end of the war. The last of Japan's pre-Treaty capital ships, they were the first class to carry 41 cm guns, the largest afloat and the first bigger than 15 in. Wikipedia
Aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the lead ship of her class. Along with her sister ship, she took part in several key naval battles during the Pacific War, including the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands before being torpedoed and sunk by a U.S. submarine at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Wikipedia
Light aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Converted from the submarine tender Taigei , which had been used in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Wikipedia
This Russian Aircraft Carrier Was Built to Kill Everything
The Kiev-class carrier ships were an ambitious attempt to give Russia a powerful ship capable of taking on American aircraft carriers while at the same time hunting down submarines that posed a threat to the Soviet homeland.
Here’s What You Need to Remember: At the tail end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union produced a number of unique aircraft carriers. Known as the Kiev-class, the carriers were the Soviets’ initial foray into the world of fixed-wing naval aviation, and the only Soviet carriers to become fully operational. The story of the Kiev carriers is also the story of a land power forging a path to become a naval power, seeking to realize a fleet that could challenge the mighty U.S. Navy.
The Kiev-class aircraft carriers had their origins in the tenure of Admiral Sergei Gorshkov. Appointed by Nikita Khrushchev to the position of Commander in Chief of the Soviet Navy in 1956, Gorshkov served in that position for a remarkable twenty-nine years. He oversaw the expansion of the Soviet Navy from a strategically insignificant force in the years after World War II to a well-balanced one that could project power into the Third World, a problem that became obvious during the Cuban Missile Crisis when the Soviet Navy had no long-range striking forces it could send to meet the U.S. naval blockade of Cuba.
The Kiev-class carriers were the result.
While Gorshkov devoted a huge amount of the Soviet Navy’s construction budget into submarines, particularly ballistic missile submarines, he wanted a balanced force capable of projecting power overseas. Faced with the imminent deployment of longer-range submarine-launched Trident C-3 missiles, the Soviet Navy would have to operate even farther from the Eurasian continent in order to counter them. This would pitch the Soviet Navy directly against the carrier task forces of the U.S. Navy.
At the same time, more countries were falling into the Soviet orbit, providing the USSR with port facilities. Cuba in the Western Hemisphere, Vietnam in Asia, Angola in Africa, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Libya in the Middle East, and Ethiopia and Somalia in the Horn of Africa all provided anchorages for the Soviet Navy to visit and demonstrate fraternal socialism. If the Soviet Union wanted to keep and even expand a network of overseas allies, it would need a naval force, complete with capital ships, capable of visiting such allies and engaging in visible shows of support.
The four Kiev-class carriers were part of a major shipbuilding effort designed to fulfill both sets of tasks.
In 1975, Kiev appeared, followed by her sister ships Minsk (1978), Novorossiysk (1982), and Baku (1987). All four were built at the Nikolayev South Shipyards in Ukraine, the Soviet Union’s only constructor of large surface warships. Like the Moskva class before them, the vessels were a mix of ship types, with the front half resembling a guided-missile cruiser and the remainder of the ship resembling an aircraft carrier. At 899 feet, the ships were approximately 85 percent as long as the U.S. Navy’s new Nimitz-class carriers.
The forward half of the ship had a considerable amount of firepower, with eight SS-N-12 “Sandbox” anti-ship missiles. Each SS-N-12, known 4K80 in the Soviet Union, carried a 2,000-pound high explosive warhead or a 350 kiloton nuclear warhead. The Sandbox had a range of 341 miles, with targeting data provided by shore-based Tu-95 maritime patrol aircraft or helicopters from the Kiev’s air wing. The nuclear warhead option would have been particularly effective against U.S. carrier battle groups, with only a single missile needing to penetrate U.S. defenses to ensure the carrier’s destruction.
A capital ship designed to go head-to-head with an American carrier needed formidable air defenses, and the Kiev-class ships did not disappoint. The first three ships featured a pair of twin rail SA-N-3 (NATO reporting name: “Goblet”) surface-to-air missile launchers with seventy-two missiles below decks while the fourth ship, Baku, received a weapons upgrade with 192 9K330 Tor anti-air missiles replacing the SA-N-3s. The ships also carried forty 9K33 Osa missiles, the sea-based version of the land-based, short-range SA-8 “Gecko” missile. Finally, for close-in defense against incoming missiles, each Kiev had eight AK-630 30-millimeter radar-directed Gatling guns. Other standard armaments included two sets of 76-millimeter dual-purpose guns, one facing forward and one facing the rear, two RBU-6000 anti-submarine multiple rocket launchers, and ten anti-submarine torpedoes.
The real innovation found in the Kiev-class, however, was the ship’s aviation capabilities. The ships featured a six-degree angled flight deck that started parallel to the bridge and ran all the way to the stern in that way, the carrier flight deck could be two-thirds the overall length of the ship while half of the ship retained traditional cruiser characteristics. The carriers were designed to operate up to twenty-two Yak-38 “Forger” fighters, which used two downward-facing engines and a vector-thrust engine in the rear to take off and land vertically. At sea, however, the ships typically carried up to thirteen Forgers and a dozen Ka-25 “Hormone” helicopters acting in the anti-submarine, over-the-horizon missile targeting for SS-N-12 missiles, and search and rescue roles.
The breakup of the Soviet Union left the ships in the hands of the Russian Federation, which could not afford to maintain them. Worse, the Nikolayev South shipyards and spare parts were now in a separate country, Ukraine. All of the Kiev-class ships were retired and a fifth unnamed ship was never built. Kiev was sold to China where it became a hotel, while Minsk will reportedly be part of a theme park. Novorossiysk was broken up at Pohang, South Korea in the 1990s.
Of all four mighty ships only one, Baku, remains. The most advanced ship in the best condition of all four, Baku was retained, renamed Admiral Gorshkov, and then sold to the Indian government to be converted into a full aircraft carrier. Converted by Russia’s Sevmash shipyards in the 2000s and 2010s, today it is known as the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya and is the flagship of the Indian fleet.
The Kiev-class carriers were an ambitious attempt to give Russia a powerful ship capable of taking on American aircraft carriers while at the same time hunting down submarines that posed a threat to the Soviet homeland. Because responsibilities were split between two vastly different, their ability to do either was severely curtailed. Ships that are half one type of ship and half another, like Japan’s World War II Ise-class aircraft carrier/battleships, are usually a failure at being both. The Kiev class was no exception.
Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.
- (1927) (converted liner Augustus, not completed as carrier) – Sunk 5 October 1944 (1926) (converted liner Roma) – BU 1951–1952
- (1921) – sunk, Battle of Midway, June 1942 (1925) – sunk, Battle of Midway, June 1942 (1931) – sunk, Battle of the Eastern Solomons, August 1942 (1933) – damaged at Kure by U.S. air raid March 1945 and scrapped postwar
- (1935) – sunk, Battle of Midway, June 1942 (1937) – sunk, Battle of Midway, June 1942
- (1935) – sunk, Battle of the Coral Sea, May 1942 (1936) – sunk, Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944
- (1936) – seaplane tender from 1934 to 1942, rebuilt as light carrier and sunk at Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 (1937) – sunk at Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944
- (1939) – sunk, Battle of Philippine Sea, June 1944 (1939) – sunk, Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944
- (1939) – damaged during Battle of Philippine Sea, June 1944. Never repaired scrapped postwar. (1939) – sunk, Battle of Philippine Sea, June 1944
- (1943) – used as anti-aircraft platform and sunk in July 1945 (1943) – sunk by U.S. submarine Redfish, December 1944 (1944) – used as transport to repatriate Japanese troops postwar and then scrapped
Only Hōshō, Junyō, Katsuragi and Ryuho survived the war and these were scrapped by 1948.
- 4th unit of Unryū class (not completed) 5th unit of Unryū class (not completed) 6th unit of Unryū class (not completed)
- - heavy cruiser conversion scrapped post-war
List of aircraft carriers of World War II
This is a list of aircraft carriers of the Second World War.
Aircraft carriers serve as a seagoing airbases, equipped with a flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying and recovering aircraft. Ώ] Typically, they are the capital ships of a fleet, as they project air power worldwide without depending on local bases for operational support. Aircraft carriers are expensive and are considered critical assets. By the Second World War aircraft carriers had evolved from converted cruisers, to purpose built vessels of many classes and roles. Fleet carriers were the largest type, operating with the main fleet to provided offensive capability. Light aircraft carrier's were fast enough to operate with the fleet but smaller and with fewer aircraft. Escort carriers were smaller and slower, with low numbers of aircraft, and provided defense for convoys. Most of the latter were built from mercantile hulls or, in the case of merchant aircraft carriers, were bulk cargo ships with a flight deck added on top. Catapult aircraft merchant ship's, were cargo-carrying merchant ships that could launch (but not retrieve) a single fighter aircraft from a catapult to defend the convoy from long range German aircraft.
The aircraft carrier dramatically changed naval combat in the war, as air power became a significant factor in warfare. The advent of aircraft as primary weapons was driven by the superior range, flexibility and effectiveness of carrier-launched aircraft. They had higher range and precision than naval guns, making them highly effective. The versatility of the carrier was demonstrated in November 1940 when HMS Illustrious launched a long-range strike on the Italian fleet at their base in Taranto, signalling the beginning of effective and highly mobile aircraft strikes. This operation incapacitated three of the six battleships at a cost of two torpedo bombers. In the Pacific Ocean clashes occurred between aircraft carrier fleets. The 1941 Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was a clear illustration of the power projection capability afforded by a large force of modern carriers. Concentrating six carriers in a single unit turned naval history about, as no other nation had fielded anything comparable. However, the vulnerability of carriers compared to traditional battleships when forced into a gun-range encounter was quickly illustrated by the sinking of HMS Glorious by German battleships during the Norwegian campaign in 1940.
This new-found importance of naval aviation forced nations to create a number of carriers, in an effort to provide air superiority for every major fleet. This extensive usage required the construction of several new 'light' carriers. Escort aircraft carriers, such as USS Bogue, were sometimes purpose-built, but most were converted from merchant ships as a stop-gap measure to provide anti-submarine air support for convoys and amphibious invasions. Following this concept, light aircraft carriers built by the US, such as USS Independence, represented a larger and more "militarized" version of the escort carrier. Although with complements similar to escort carriers, they had the advantage of speed from their converted cruiser hulls. The British 1942 Design Light Fleet Carrier was designed for quick construction by civilian shipyards and a short 3 year service life. They served the Royal Navy during the war, and their hull design was chosen for nearly all aircraft carrier equipped navies after the war until the 1980s. Emergency situations during the war spurred the creation of highly unconventional aircraft carriers, such as the CAM ships. ΐ] Α] Β] Γ] Δ] Ε]
The List of ships of World War II contains major military vessels of the war, arranged alphabetically and by type. The list includes armed vessels that served during the war and in the immediate aftermath, inclusive of localized ongoing combat operations, garrison surrenders, post-surrender occupation, colony re-occupation, troop and prisoner repatriation, to the end of 1945. For smaller vessels, see also List of World War II ships of less than 1000 tons. Some uncompleted Axis ships are included, out of historic interest. Ships are designated to the country under which they operated for the longest period of World War II, regardless of where they were built or previous service history.
The backbone of the US Navy
After the Washington Naval Treaty expired in 1936, the US Navy set about building more modern carriers. The result was the Essex class, the lead ship of which entered service in 1942.
Due to the demands of World War II, "short-hull" and "long-hull" versions of Essex-class carriers were built, and many were modified and refitted throughout the war.
They were between 872 feet and 888 feet long, had crews of over 3,000, and could carry 90 to 100 aircraft. They were outfitted with four twin and four single 5-inch gun turrets, 60 20-mm canons, and sometimes as many as 68 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns.
Essex-class carriers became the backbone of the US Navy's strength during the war. Twenty-four were completed in total — more than any other capital ship in the 20th century — and they saw action in almost all major naval battles of the Pacific.
Although none were lost, some took massive damage. USS Bunker Hill and USS Franklin, for instance, suffered kamikaze and air attacks that killed 390 and 800 crewmen, respectively.
The carriers were used long after World War II and were constantly upgraded and modified. Some were given angled flight decks and the ability to carry jets. A few carriers even served in Vietnam. The last Essex-class carrier, used as a training ship, was decommissioned in 1991.
Hmm, South Korea&rsquos First Aircraft Carrier Looks Awfully Familiar
South Korea&rsquos Navy has shared images of the country&rsquos first aircraft carrier. The unnamed ship, which will carry the vertical takeoff and landing version of the F-35, will take to the seas sometime in the 2030s.
⚓️ You love badass ships. So do we. Let's nerd out over them together.
The ship bears a striking resemblance to the Royal Navy&rsquos new carriers, built half a world away, but there are some major distinctions between the two ships.
The Republic of Korea Navy provided the image above, along with an explanation of some of the ship&rsquos details, to the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper. The carrier will be the largest warship ever built by South Korea&rsquos shipyards. The current record holders, the amphibious assault ships Dokdo and Marado, have full-length flight decks, but weren't built with operating fixed wing aircraft like the F-35 in mind.
The carrier&rsquos dimensions and overall displacement in tons aren't stated, but it looks to be about the same length as the U.S. Navy&rsquos America-class amphibious assault ships, which are approximately 844 feet long and displace 45,000 tons. The carrier is depicted with at least 10 F-35B fighters and a single helicopter. It also features two islands overlooking the flight deck and two elevators leading to a large hangar below, both on the right side.
One of the most distinctive features of the ship is the presence of two islands instead of the usual one overlooking the flight deck. This is a setup pioneered by the Royal Navy&rsquos two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. As the U.K Defense Journal describes it:
Two smaller islands instead of a single large one frees up space on the flight deck. (Incidentally, American carriers can get away with one small island because they're nuclear-powered, and their reactors don't generate exhaust.) The JoongAng Ilbo also says the two islands will both be independently capable of overseeing flight operations, in case one is disabled by enemy fire.
Escort Carrier Program
The following article on the escort carrier program is an excerpt from Barrett Tillman’s book On Wave and Wing: The 100 Year Quest to Perfect the Aircraft Carrier. It is available to order now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Among the miracles of production in the Second World War was America’s escort carrier program. For scale and efficiency, few industrial achievements could match it.
When the United States abruptly faced a severe shortage of flight decks in December 1941, a quick fix was found. Merchant ship hulls could be converted to “baby” or “jeep” carriers capable of operating as many as thirty aircraft. The British had pioneered the concept, but could not meet the numbers required—hence the Royal Navy’s reliance on its “rich uncle in America.”
USS Long Island was the first American escort carrier, originally designated ACV-1 (auxiliary aircraft carrier). Commissioned in June 1941, she was capable of 17 knots and proved the merchant conversion concept, but saw little combat.
The next four escort carriers were the Sangamon class, converted from oilers to flattops in as little as six months. They were 11,600-ton ships with two elevators to operate twenty-five planes.
Next came the Bogue class, ten escort carriers serving in the U.S. Navy and thirty-four with Britain as the Attacker and Ruler classes. They were small, usually less than five hundred feet in length, but weighed as much as 14,400 tons and proved highly versatile. Most entered service between early 1942 and early 1944.
Finally, the immensely successful Casablanca class produced fifty escort carriers in twenty-one months. More remarkably, they were commissioned in the year between July 1943 and July 1944. It was a stunning accomplishment, as Henry Kaiser’s Vancouver, Washington, shipyard built not only escort carriers, but turned out Liberty transport and cargo ships in as little as ninety days.
Small and lightly armored, “baby flattops” lent themselves to grim sailors’ humor. Some insisted that CVE stood for “combustible, vulnerable, and expendable.” Others said they were “two-torpedo ships” because the second torpedo would pass over the flight deck.
Seeandbee, acquired in March 1942, was commissioned in August as USS Wolverine (IX-64). The IX designator indicated a miscellaneous vessel. Her partner emerged as Sable (IX-81) in May 1943, both displacing about seven thousand tons as carriers. Because they were based at Chicago’s Navy Pier, their lack of a hangar deck was of little concern.
Wolverine’s flight deck measured five hundred feet in length, while Sable’s was 535, both about ninety-eight feet wide. Thus, their decks were shorter than a Casablanca-class CVE (476 x 80) but somewhat wider.
Wolverine began qualifying carrier pilots in September 1942, and by war’s end she and Sable were credited with producing 17,820 aviators who logged nearly 120,000 landings. (Originally pilots needed eight landings to qualify, later reduced to six.) In those three years the ships also trained forty thousand flight deck crewmen—essential supporting players in the carrier aviation cast.
Pilots reported to NAS Glenview from around the country, regardless of their ultimate carrier assignment. Retired Captain Chuck Downey recalled his experience as an eighteen-year-old “nugget” aviator in 1943. “We were only there for about three days. We spent a couple days working with an LSO, practicing carrier approaches at a training field, and then when he felt we were ready, he sent us out to the carrier.”
However, unavoidable complications arose. Inevitably the smoke from coal-burning engines wafted ashore, depositing sooty residue over the urban area, including laundry hung out to dry. Beyond that, when operating within view of shore, the carriers caused major traffic jams as motorists slowed or stopped to take in the Navy air show.
Some 140 carrier aircraft sank in the Great Lakes, with eight known fatalities. A few planes survived well enough in fresh water to be retrieved and restored for museum display, a reminder.
You can also buy the book by clicking on the buttons to the left.
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