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Sōryū-class aircraft carrier
15,900 tons (standard)
18,800 tons (normal)
6 × 127mm DP guns (3x2)
14 x Twin 25mm AA (7x2)
Aircraft: 63 plus 9 reserve
21 x A6M2 Zeros
18 x D3A Vals
18 x B5N Kates
USAAF June 4, 1942
Built by Kure Naval Arsenal at Kure. Laid down November 20, 1934. Launched December 23, 1935. Commissioned January 29, 1937 into the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Sōryū meaning Blue (or Green) Dragon in Japanese. In English spelled Soryu. Assigned to the 2nd Carrier Division with 18 A6M4 Claudes due to shortages, these were substituted with A4N1 biplanes, 27 D1A2 dive bombers and 12 B4Y torpedo bombers.
Second Sino-Japanese War
On April 25, 1938 during the Second Sino-Japanese War the Soryu air group was transferred to Nanking Airfield to support Japanese forces advancing up the Yangtze River. In June 1938 transferred to Wuhu and later Anquing to provide aerial defense. In China, one pilot died after shooting down a Chinese plane. Some of her pilots and planes remained in China.
On July 10, 1938 her aircraft returned to Soryu and supported operations over Canton until September but experienced no air combat. The carrier returned to Japan in December 1938 and spent the next year and a half engaged in training excercises.
On December 7, 1941 Soryu was part of the carrier strike force that attacked Pearl Harbor and Oahu. In the first wave, Soryu launched eight B5N1 Kates that were to target U. S. aircraft carriers moored on the northwest side of Ford Island. Finding none, the Kates attacked alternate targets. One of her Kates torpedoed USS Utah causing the battleship to capsize and damaged USS Raleigh CL-7. Another Kates targeted USS Helena CL-50 and its torpeodes passed under Oglala before impacting USS Helena CL-50 in her engine room. A third Kate attacked USS California BB-44. Her other ten Kates armed with 800 kg armor piercing bombs that targeted "Battleship Row" on the southeast side of Ford Island and may have scored one or two hits. Meanwhile, her eight A6M2 Zeros strafed parked aircraft at Ewa Field claiming twenty-seven aircraft destroyed on the ground and five in the air.
In the second wave, Soryu launched nine A6M2 Zeros and seventeen D3A1 Vals. Her Zeros attacked NAS Kaneohe Bay with one Zero shot down by anti-aircraft fire. Returning, two Zeros were lost in air combat and they claimed two shot down. Her Vals attacked warships in Pearl Harbor loosing two shot down. Lost was A6M2 Zero 3277 Tail B1-151 pilot Lt. Commander Fusata Iida.
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.
Operation MI - Battle of Midway
On June 4, 1942 at 10:25, Sōryū was attacked by thirteen SBD Dauntless dive bombers from Bombing Squadron 2 (VB-2) from USS Yorktown and sustained three direct hits from 1,000 pound bombs. One penetrated to the lower hangar deck amidships, and the other two exploded in the upper hangar deck fore and aft. Her hangars contained armed and fueled aircraft preparing for the upcoming strike that caused secondary explosions and rupturing the steam pipes in the boiler rooms. Within a very short time, fires on the ship were out of control.
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