Taiyo Class, Japanese Escort Carriers

Photograph of Taiyo
Wikipedia Commons


Tonnage 17,830 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 591'2" by 73'10" by 25'5"
180.19m by 22.50m by 7.75m
Maximum speed       21 knots
Complement 850
Aircraft 564'3" (171.98m) flight deck
2 elevators
27 aircraft
Armament 6 4.7"/45 dual-purpose guns
8 25mm/60 AA guns
Machinery 2-shaft geared turbines (25,200 shp)
4 boilers
Range 6500 nautical miles (12,000 km) at 18 knots

1942: Unyo and Chuyo completed with 4x2 5"/40 DP guns instead of the 4.7" guns of Taiyo.

1943: Chuyo: A total of 22 25mm guns and 5 13mm/76 machine guns and Type 21 radar. Other units: 24 25mm guns.

1944-7: Total armament 4 4.7" guns, 64 25mm guns, 10 13mm guns.

The Taiyos were originally laid down as 17,100-ton 21-knot ocean liners, but were converted to flush-deck carriers in various Mitsubishi and Navy yards in 1941-1942, when the Japanese perceived a pressing need for more flight decks. The original machinery was replaced with destroyer sets and the uptakes routed to the side, a 300' (90m) hangar constructed, a flight deck slapped in place, and some light antiaircraft guns scrounged up to provide a minimum of point defense. Though roughly similar to Allied escort carriers, they were significantly larger.

A shortage of trained pilots for their air groups led the Japanese to classify the first two ships as auxiliaries and use them in secondary roles until the summer of 1942, when they were reclassified as warships. The Japanese unwisely employed them as aircraft ferries and training ships rather than in the antisubmarine escort role for which they would have been ideal. Curiously, the ships were built without any arrester gear, which may go a long ways towards explaining why they were used the way they were.

Units in the Pacific:



Kasuga Maru until name changed 1942-8-31. Torpedoed 1944-8-18 by Rasher off Luzon


1942-5-31 (Kure)     

Yawata Maru until named changed 1942-7-31. Torpedoed 1944-9-16 by Barb 220nm SE of Hong Kong


1942-11-25 (Kure)    

Converted from Nitta Maru. Torpedoed 1943-12-4 by Sailfish off Japan      


Chesneau (1992)

Jentschura, Jung, and Mickel (1977)
Peattie (2001)

Worth (2001)

Zimm (2011)

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