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  Taiyō 大鷹 (Kasuga Maru 春日丸)
Ocean Liner
Taiyō-class escort carrier

17,830 (standard)
19,500 (maximum)
569' 11" x 591' 10" x 73' 10"
Armemnt as carrier
4 x 120mm AA guns
4 x 25mm AA guns
(upgraded to 56 April 45)
8 x 13mm AA guns
8 x Depth Charge (April 45)
Aircraft: 27

Ship History
Built by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. at Nagasaki. Laid down 1938. Completed 1939. Launched September 19, 1940. Commissioned as Kasuga Maru 春日丸 named after Kasuga-taisha, the Shinto Shrine in Nara. Purchased by Nippon Yusen Kaisha and used as a passenger ocean liner as a sister ship to the Yawata Maru and Nitta Maru. On November 1, 1940, when Musashi was launched, Kasuga Maru was towed alongside to block her silhouette from any foreign observers.

Wartime History
On February 10, 1941, the Kasuga Maru was requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) to transport military stores and personnel. Between February until March 31, 1941 steamed to Yokosuka, Tokyo, Chichi-Jima Island, Saipan, Formosa, Truk, Ponape, and Fais.

During April 1941, the Navy decided to convert her to an escort carrier. On May 1, 1941 arrives at Sasebo for conversion, completed September 2, 1941. Her flight deck measured 490' x 75' and equipped with two elevators. With no island, catapults or arresting gear and is classified as an auxiliary carrier.

On October 24, 1941 departs Sasebo for Takao, arriving two days later. Departs Takao November 7, 1941 arriving Sasebo three days later. On November 28 departs Sasebo transporting Type 96 fighters via Takao arriving at Palau on December 6, then arrives at Tokuyama on December 12.


On August 31, 1942, renamed Taiyō 大鷹 and reclassified as a warship used primarily for flight training and aircraft transport.


She was torpedoed and hit by United States Navy submarines on several occasions: on 28 September 1942, south of Truk by USS Trout.


On April 4, 1943 departs Yokosuka bound for Truk with Chuyo and Chokai, escorted by Hibiki, Sazanami and Kuroshio. On April 7 arrives at Saipan then departs the same day for Truk. On April 9, USS Tunny fires two torpedoes, a defective torpedo fails to explode and causes only minor damage that does not require repair to Taiyo. Afterwards the force proceeds at flank speed to their destination, arriving at Truk on April 10, 1943. Departs six days later with Chuyo, escorted by Hibiki and Shigure.


She was torpedoed and hit by United States Navy submarine on 24 September 1943 by USS Cabrilla. During her a, Taiyō's anti-aircraft armament was upgraded several times.


On August 3, 1944 arrives at Sasebo, escorting a convoy. Next, proceeded to Imari Bay via Hesaki. On August 10, departs Imari Bay escorting convoy HI-71 bound for Singapore via Manila. Arrives at Mako on August 15, departs two days later bound for Manila.

Sinking History
On August 18, 1944 off Cape Bolinao, Luzon Taiyō was hit by a torpedo fired by USS Rasher (SS-269). The hit caused the carrier’s avgas and oil tanks to explode, and Taiyō sank in a mere 26 minutes, with few survivors.

Fire breaks out in the hangar deck and many are killed, and the carrier begins to list to starboard and settles aft. Captain Sugino orders the port magazines flooded to compensate but at 2230 an oil tank aft on the port side exploded with tremendous force, and it was thought by some to be another torpedo hit amidships. It is reported most of the emergency personnel are killed and the equipment wrecked, and fire fighting and counter-flooding to check the starboard list is impossible. As a result of this Captain Sugino ordered all hands to the upper deck, and then to abandon ship.

Soon after the order to abandon ship, Taiyo suffered another huge explosion and sank at 2248 at roughly 18° 10'N, 120°  22'E. Precisely how many crew and passengers were aboard when lost is unknown, an estimated at 747 - 790 died in the sinking. USS Rasher that claimed she sank in 28 minutes.

Captain Sugino Shuichi was among the over 400 crew and passengers that managed to survive.

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020


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