Japanese aircraft carrier Sōryū

Japanese aircraft carrier Sōryū

"Sōryū" (Japanese 蒼龍 "Sōryū", meaning "blue (or green) dragon") was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. She took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor and was sunk at the battle of Midway. [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-s/soryu.htm Soryu] ]

"Sōryū" was built at Kaigun Kosho, Kure, Japan and commissioned on 29 December 1937. As opposed to some earlier Japanese carriers which were redesigns on battlecruiser ("Akagi") or battleship ("Kaga") hulls, she was designed from the start as an aircraft carrier. At close to 65 km/h (35 kts), she was the fastest carrier in the world at launch.

At the outbreak of the Pacific War, commanded by Captain Ryusaku Yanagimoto, "Sōryū" was one of six carriers making up the "Kido Butai" (Striking Force) that attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. She launched two waves of air strikes against the US Naval base. Her first wave targeted "Nevada", "Tennessee", and "West Virginia" with armour-piercing bombs and "Utah", "Helena", "California", and "Raleigh" with torpedoes, as well as attacked grounded aircraft at Barbers Point. Her second wave targeted "California", "Raleigh", Kaneohe and Navy Yard installations.

Combat history

From 21 December to 23 December 1941 "Sōryū" launched air strikes against Wake Island. In January 1942 she supported the invasion of the Palau Islands and the Battle of Ambon. On 19 February 1942 "Sōryū" launched air strikes against Darwin, Australia. In March 1942 she took part in the Battle of the Java Sea, helping sink the US tanker "Pecos".

In April 1942 "Sōryū" took part in the Indian Ocean raid, launching air strikes against the Royal Navy base at Ceylon on 5 April 1942, and helping to sink the Royal Navy cruisers "Cornwall" and "Dorsetshire". On 9 April she helped sink the British carrier "Hermes" and the escorting Australian destroyer HMAS "Vampire".

On 19 April 1942 she pursued the American carriers "Hornet" and "Enterprise" after they launched the Doolittle Raid, but without success.

In June 1942 "Sōryū" was one of four carriers with Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's First Carrier Striking Force in the battle of Midway. Her aircraft complement consisted of 21 Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" fighters, 21 Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers, and 21 Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers. [http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq81-6.htm] On 4 June 1942 she launched one wave of planes against the American base on Midway Island. At 10:25 while preparing to launch a second strike against an American carrier group, she was attacked by thirteen SBD Dauntless dive bombers from the American carrier "Yorktown". "Sōryū" received three direct hits from 454 kg (1000 lb) bombs: one penetrated to the lower hangar deck, and the other two exploded in the upper hangar deck. The hangars contained armed and fueled planes in preparation for the upcoming strike, resulting in secondary explosions. Within a very short time the fires on the ship were out of control. At 10:40 she stopped and her crew were taken off by the destroyers "Isokaze" and "Hamakaze". "Sōryū" sank at 7:13 PM at position coord|30|38|N|179|13|W. Losses were 711 crew of her nominal complement of 1103, including Captain Yanagimoto, who chose to remain on board. This was the highest mortality percentage of all the Japanese carriers lost at Midway, due largely to the devastation in both hangar decks.

The official record (the Nagumo Report) implies that "Sōryū" sank of her own accord. Later research has revealed she was scuttled with torpedoes by "Isokaze"

Commanding Officers

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Ichiro Ono - 23 December 1935 - 1 April 1936

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Takeo Okumoto - 1 April 1936 - 1 December 1936

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Akitomo Beppu - 1 December 1936 - 16 August 1937

Capt. Akitomo Beppu - 16 August 1937 - 1 December 1937

Capt. Kinpei Teraoka - 1 December 1937 - 15 November 1938

Capt. Keizo Uwano - 15 November 1938 - 15 October 1939

Capt. Sadayoshi Yamada - 15 October 1939 - 15 October 1940

Capt. Wataru Kamase - 15 October 1940 - 25 November 1940

Capt. Kanae Kosaka - 25 November 1940 - 12 September 1941

Capt. Kiichi Hasegawa - 12 September 1941 - 6 October 1941

Capt./RADM Ryusaku Yanagimoto - 6 October 1941 - 4 June 1942 (KIA)

Pop Culture references

Asuka Langley Soryu from the animated series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" is named for this aircraft carrier, as well as the American aircraft carrier USS Langley (CV-1).


External links

* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/soryu.htm Tabular record of movement] from [http://www.combinedfleet.com/ combinedfleet.com]
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-s/soryu.htm US Navy photos of "Sōryū"]
* [http://ww2db.com/ship_spec.php?ship_id=11 WW2DB: Sōryū]
* [http://www.geocities.com/jwarship/Soryu.html Japanese warships - Soryu]


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