- Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku
"Zuikaku" (Japanese: ずいかく
Kanji: 瑞鶴 "fortunate crane") was a "Shōkaku"-class aircraft carrierof the Imperial Japanese Navy. Her planes took part in the attack on Pearl Harborthat formally brought the United Statesinto the Pacific War, and she fought in several of the most important naval battles of the war, finally being sunk in the battle off Cape Engaño. [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-xz/zuikaku.htm Zuikaku @] www.history.navy.mil]
In 1941 "Zuikaku", under the command of Captain Yokokawa Ichibei, and her sister ship "Shōkaku" made up Carrier Division Five. On
26 November 1941she left Hittokapu Bay for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Her aircraft complement consisted of 15 Mitsubishi A6Mfighters, 27 Aichi D3Adive bombers, and 27 Nakajima B5Ntorpedo bombers. On 7 Decembershe launched two waves of planes against the United States Navybase at Pearl Harbor. In the first wave, 25 Vals attacked the airbase at Wheeler Field and 5 Zeros attacked the airbase at Kaneohe. In the second wave, 27 Kates attacked the airbase at Hickam Field and 17 Vals targeted the "California" and the "Maryland".
Her planes attacked Rabaul on
20 January 1942and Laein New Guineaon 21 January. In April 1942 she took part in the Indian Ocean raid, striking the British naval bases at Colomboand Trincomaleeon Ceylon, and sinking the British aircraft carrier "Hermes"
In May 1942 she was assigned along with "Shōkaku" and "Shōhō" to cover Operation MO, the invasion of
Port Moresby, New Guinea. Alerted by signal decrypts, the Allies were able to dispatch the carriers "Yorktown" and "Lexington" against the Japanese. On 8 May 1942, the main carrier forces located one another and launched maximum effort raids, which passed each other in the air. Hidden by a rain squall, "Zuikaku" escaped detection, but "Shōkaku" was hit three times by bombs and was unable to launch or recover her planes. "Zuikaku" was undamaged but had lost half her planes in the battle and had to return to Japan for resupply and aircrew training. Thus neither carrier was able to take part in the battle of Midwayin June. (See Battle of the Coral Sea) [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-xz/zuikaku.htm Zuikaku @] www.history.navy.mil]
In August 1942, commanded by Captain Tameteru Notomo, "Zuikaku" and Carrier Division One were dispatched to the
Solomon Islandsto drive away the U.S. fleet. On 24 August 1942, in the battle of the Eastern Solomons, her planes severely damaged "Enterprise".
26 October 1942, in the battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, her planes again damaged "Enterprise", and crippled "Hornet" (she was abandoned and later sunk by the Japanese destroyers "Akigumo" and "Makigumo"). However, "Shōkaku" and "Zuihō" were both severely damaged by American air attack, and "Zuikaku" had to pick up the surviving planes. Of the 110 planes launched by the Japanese carriers, only 44 returned to "Zuikaku".
In February 1943 she covered the evacuation of
Guadalcanal. In May she was assigned to a mission to repulse the Allies from Attu in the Aleutian Islands, but after the Allied victory on May 29, 1943the operation was cancelled. Later in 1943, under the command of Captain Kikuchi Tomozo, she was based at Trukand operated against U.S. forces in the Marshall Islands.
In 1944 she was based at
Singapore. In June she was assigned to Operation "A-Go", an attempt to repulse the Allied invasion of the Mariana Islands. On 19 June 1944, in the battle of the Philippine Sea, "Taihō" and "Shōkaku" were both sunk by submarine attack, leaving "Zuikaku", the only survivor of Carrier Division One, to recover their few remaining planes. On 20 Junea bomb hit started a fire in the hangar, but "Zuikaku"'s experienced damage control teams managed to get it under control, and she was able to escape under her own power.
After the battle, "Zuikaku" was the only remaining survivor of the six fleet carriers that had launched the
attack on Pearl Harbor.
In October 1944 she was the flagship of Admiral
Jisaburo Ozawa's decoy Northern Force in Operation "Shō-1". On 24 October 1944she took part in the battle off Cape Engaño. She launched her remaining aircraft in an ineffective strike against the U.S. Third Fleet: most were shot down by the American covering patrols, but a few stragglers made it safely to Luzon. Then she came under heavy air attack and was hit by seven torpedoes and nine bombs. With "Zuikaku" listing heavily to port, Ozawa shifted his flag to "Ōyodo". The order to abandon ship was issued at 13:58 and the flag was struck. "Zuikaku" rolled over and sank at 14:14, taking Rear Admiral Kaizuka Takeo and 842 men with her. 862 men were rescued by "Wakatsuki" and "Kuwa". [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-xz/zuikaku.htm Zuikaku @] www.history.navy.mil]
Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Ichibei Yokokawa - 15 November 1940 - 25 September 1941
Capt. Ichibei Yokokawa - 25 September 1941 - 15 June 1942
Capt. Tameki Nomoto - 15 June 1942 - 21 June 1943
Capt. Tomozo Kikuchi - 21 June 1943 - 18 December 1943
Capt. / RADM / VADM* Takeo Kaizuka - 18 December 1943 - 25 October 1944 (KIA; promoted to Rear Admiral on 15 October 1944; posthumous promotion to Vice Admiral.)
Battle of the Coral Sea
* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/Zuikak.htm Tabular record of movement] from [http://www.combinedfleet.com/ combinedfleet.com]
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