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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 as part of "Operation C" with Akagi, Zuikaku and Hiryū to the Indian Ocean to strike Colombo on Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and sank cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire.
Operation MI - Battle of Midway
On June 4, 1942 at dawn at the start of the Battle of Midway the Japanese fleet including Soryu was 290 northwest of Midway when she launched eighteen B5N Kates escorted by nine A6M2 Zeros to attack Midway Airfield on Eastern Island. Inbound to the target, a B5N was shot down and another shot down by anti-aircraft fire and two ditched near U. S. destroyers returning from the mission. Four others were damaged beyond repair. Meanwhile, three of her Zeros flew a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) over the carriers.
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.
At 10:40am she stopped and her crew was ordered to abandon ship five minutes later. Aboard Soryu, out of her crew of 1,103, a total of 711 died. This was the highest mortality percentage of all the Japanese carriers lost in the Battle of Midway largely due to the explosions in both hangar decks.
On June 4, 1942 by early evening, the damaged carrier was still afloat and showed no signs of sining, so Isokaze scuttled her with torpedoes. At 7:15pm Sōryū sank at roughly Lat 30°38′N Long 179°13′W. Captain Yanagimoto elected to remain aboard the carrier and went down with her. Officially stricken from the Navy register on August 10, 1942.
After the order to abandon ship, her surviving crew were rescued by destroyers Isokaze and Hamakaze.
Combined Fleet - IJN Soryu: Tabular Record of Movement
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