Japanese Navy
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At the beginning of the Second World War, the Japanese Navy (or, in the Japanese language, Nihon Kaigun, or even Teikoku Kaigun, the Imperial Navy) was arguably the most powerful navy in the world. Its naval aviation corps, consisting of 10 aircraft carriers and 1500 topnotch aviators, was the most highly trained and proficient force of its kind. Its 11 (soon to be 12) battleships were among the most powerful in the world. And its surface forces, armed with the superb 24" Type 93 (Long Lance) torpedo, were incomparable night fighters.
Once the supreme power in the Pacific Ocean.  But within three years, a shattered fighting force.  Technologically inferior to the enemy only at the end of the war, the Imperial Navy (Nihon Kaigun) smashed every force in her path at the outset of war.  Japan was not adverse to experimentation.  Some examples include: Midget Subs, Huge Amphibious Torpedo Tanks, Jets, Rocket Launchers on Destroyers, and Hybrid Carrier/Battleships.  A purely professional navy, well respected at home and abroad.  No matter what the odds, the men of this navy fought with courge and spirit.

Ships of the Japanese Imperial Navy:


Yamato class battleship, 3 were built

yamato.jpg (18741 bytes) By far the largest warships of W.W.II. They were also the heaviest armed and armored of all battleships. These great ships were built in complete secrecy and it was not until very late in the war that it was found out how large and powerful they really were.

Kongo class battleship, 4 were built

kongo.jpg (23366 bytes) Kongo was the last major capital ship laid down in a foreign yard and Haruna was among the first to be built in a Japanese yard.  Based on a British battlecruiser design, the Japanese added their own modifications and came out with four excellent ships. They were reconstructed with more armor and reboilered to raise their speed from a design of 27.5 knots to over 30 knots. These ships were normally used as carrier escorts because of their high speeds.

Aircraft carriers:

Ise class hybrid battlecruiser/carrier

ise.gif (56536 bytes) This class was a slightly improved version of the previous Fuso class. Extensively modernized between the World Wars, they had by 1937 grew 37 feet in length.They were converted to battleship-carriers with a flight-deck aft replacing the two aft turrets after the disastrous loss of four carriers at Midway, but because of manning and aircraft shortages they never received an airwing.Both were finally sunk July 28,1945 in a series of air-strikes undertaken by Allied forces.

Zuikaku class aircraft carrier

zuikaka.jpg (17356 bytes) One of the most succesful carrier designs by the Japanese and were very much the equal of the USN carriers, except in numbers. They carried 75 planes but could carry 82 if necessary. Neither the Shokaku or her twin the Zuikaku were available at Midway because of theirparticipation and damage in the Battle of the Coral Sea.They were both sunk in 1944.

Kaga class aircraft carrier

kaga.jpg (6719 bytes) She was converted to a carrier before completion because of the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.  Built initially to hold 60 aircraft, she was later modified to carry heavier aircraft and more AAW weaponry. As first converted she had three flight decks forward, no island and two funnels on the starboard side. During her 1935 reconstruction, the two lower flight decks were removed and the main flight deck was extended forward to the bow, plus an island was added on the port side.  She led the attack on Pearl Harbor, but met her end only seven months later at the disastrous Battle of Midway.


Atoga class cruiser

atago1.jpg (47915 bytes) These ships had massive bridges that looked strangely enough like a new U.S. Arleigh Burke class destroyer bridge. Three were lost to submarine attack by USS Dace and Darter on Oct.23/44 in the Phillipines.
Well designed ships and probably the best Japanese cruisers ever built.


Akitsuki class destroyers

The design of this class was originally to be that of an anti-aircraft escort ship for carrier task forces, and they were not to have any torpedoes or depth charge equipment.  However, it was decided to amend the design such that they could also fulfill the role of Fleet Escort/ASW vessel. 
For that reason, the design was altered to include a quadruple torpedo mount and 6 DCT.  As completed, these ships proved to be an excellent design.

Yugumo class destroyers

The design of this class was that of the earlier Kagero class with added refinements.  The elevation of the main guns was increased from 55 to 75 degrees and the bridge was streamlined, reducing wind resistance and improving stability. They were the first Japanese destroyers designed to carry depth charges as opposed to having them added at a later date.

Matsu class destroyers

The Matsu Class, approved in the 1942 Supplementary Programme was laid down 1943-1944 and completed between April 1944 and January 1945. Designed for simplicity and rapid construction, they were analogous to the American destroyer escorts, but much more heavily armed.


I-400 class submarine Ro-35 class submarine Kaiten midget submarine

Sources :
Warships of the world

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