Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  Shōkaku 翔鶴
Shōkaku class
aircraft carrier

26,087 Tons (standard)
32,620 Tons (full load)
844' 10" x 85' 4" x 28' 10"
16 x 127mm Type 89 guns
36 x 25mm AA guns (later upgraded to 70)

Aircraft: 72 plus 12 spare
(December 7, 1941)
18 x A6M2 Zeros
27 x D3A1 Vals
27 x B5N1 Kates

Click For Enlargement
IJN 1941

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
IJN December 7, 1941

Ship History
Built at Yokosuka Dockyard. Laid down December 12, 1937. Launched June 1, 1939. Comissioned August 8, 1941 as Shōkaku meaning "soaring crane or "flying crane", as the lead ship of the Shōkaku class aircraft carrier.

Shōkaku and Zuikaku formed the Japanese 5th Carrier Division, acquired their aircraft shortly before the Pearl Harbor attack and were ready just in time for it. Shōkaku joined the Kido Butai (Pearl Harbor attack force). Aboard are 72 aircraft (18 x A6M2 Zeros, 27 x D3A1 Vals and 27 B5N1 Kates).

Pearl Harbor Attack
On December 7, 1941 participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu.

On January 3, 1942 departs Kure for Hiroshima Bay arriving on the 5th, then departed with Zuikaku four days later for Hashirajima. On January 8, 1942 departs with Nagumo's Strike Force bound for Truk arriving on January 14, 1942.

On January 16, 1942 departs Truk as part of Operation "R" against Rabaul. On January 20, 1942 the Kido Butai launches a 90 plane strike against Rabaul, including 19 D3A Vals from Shōkaku and suffers no losses.

On January 21, 1942 Shōkaku, Zuikaku with Chikuma and destroyers Akigumo, Kasumi, Kagero, Shiranuhi proceed to launch separate carrier aircraft raids against targets in New Guinea. Shōkaku A6M2 Zeros led by Lt Tadashi Kaneko strafe Salamua and five Zeros strafe three Junkers G 31 trimotors parked at Bulolo Airfield. Afterwards, departs northward to Truk.

On January 25, 1942 operating 100 miles south of Truk embarks sixteen A5M4 Claudes from Chitose Kokutai. On January 27, her aircraft are transported and land at Rabaul, afterwards returns to Truk two days later and departs the next day for Yokosuka.

On February 3m 1942 arrives at Yokosuka and remains in the vicinity during the month, entering drydock from February 27 to March 5, and two days later departs for Marcus Island to search unsuccessfully for American forces, returning March 16 to Yokosuka.

On March 17, 1942 departs Yokosuka to join "C" Operation. She joined the Indian Ocean raid along with Akagi, Zuikaku, Sōryū, and Hiryū attacking Colombo on Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and helped to extensively damaging support facilities on April 4, 1942. That task completed, the task force found and sank the British carrier Hermes, and two cruisers: Cornwall and Dorsetshire.

Battle of the Coral Sea
During early May 1942, participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Her aircraft helped to sink USS Lexington CV-2, but was severely damaged by carrier aircraft from USS Yorktown CV-5.

After repairs, Shōkaku took part in two further 1942 battles including the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, where they damaged USS Enterprise, and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, where her aircraft sank the USS Hornet CV-8 but Shōkaku was again seriously damaged by SBD Dauntless dive bombers.

Repaired in 1943 under the command of Captain Matsubara Hiroshi. She was assigned to a counter-attack against the Aleutian Islands, but the operation was cancelled after the Allied victory on Attu Island.

For the remainder of 1943 she was based at Truk. During 1944 she was based at Lingga near Singapore.

On June 15, 1944 for the counterattack against the Mariana Islands Operation A-Go, Shōkaku was assigned to the "Mobile Fleet".

Sinking History
During the Battle of the Philippine Sea on June 19, 1944 at 11:23am while in the process of refueling aircraft, the carrier was hit by three (or possibly four) torpedoes fired from a spread of six fied by USS Cavalla (SS-244). The torpedoes started fires that were impossible to control. At 2:08pm an aerial bomb exploded detonating aviation fuel aboard and caused Shōkaku to quickly sink at roughly Lat 11°40′N, Long 137°40′E. Aboard, 1,272 of her crew were killed or missing.

Afterwards, Yahagi, Urakaze, Wakatsuki, and Hatsuzuki rescued Captain Matsubara and 570 of her crew.

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
August 10, 2019


Tabular Movement

11°40′N, 137°40′E

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram