Zuikaku was a fleet carrier used by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Launched in 1939 and commissioned in 1941, she was part of the Japanese fleet that launched the air attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Along with Shokaku, she took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 4, 1942, as some of her planes sank the American carrier USS Lexington. Having come out unscathed of this naval engagement, Zuikaku participated in the Battle of the Eastern Salomons, during which her dive bombers damaged the USS Enterprise. On October 26, 1942, her aircraft put the USS Hornet out of action in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. However, having survived the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Zuikaku would be sunk during the Battle of Cape EngaƱo, on October 25, 1944, as she was struck by bombs dropped by SBD Dauntless dive bombers that had taken off the USS Enterprise and Essex carriers, which were part of Task Group 38.

Zuikaku offensive weaponry consisted of 72 aircraft (Aichi D3A dive bombers, Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers, and Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters). Her defensive ones were sixteen 127mm (5″) guns and thirty six 25mm AA guns. The power plant that propelled her to the major battles of the Pacific theater was composed of 4 Krampon geared steam engines, using 4 shafts and supplied by 8 water-tube boilers, delivering 160,000 hp. Zuikaku was a Shokaku-class aircraft carrier, with the island located on the right hand side of the ship (starboard).

Specifications

Total length: 257.5 m (281 yd)

Flight deck length: 249 m (272 yd)

Beam: 26 m (28 yd)

Draft: 8.9 m

Displacement: 29,800 tons

Speed: 34.5 knots

Range: 7,600 nautical miles (15,000 km)

Crew: 1,650 sailors and officers

Zuikaku

Zuikaku_aircraft_carrier

Zuikaku scale model, looking from stern

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