Shoho file photo


Ship ClassZuiho-class Light Carrier
BuilderYokosuka Naval Arsenal
Laid Down3 Dec 1934
Launched1 Jun 1935
Commissioned30 Nov 1941
Sunk7 May 1942
Displacement11262 tons standard; 13950 tons full
Length674 feet
Beam60 feet
Draft22 feet
MachineryGeared turbines, two shafts
Power Output52000 SHP
Speed28 knots
Range7,800nm at 12 knots
Armament8x100mm, 8x25mm, 12x13.2mm


ww2dbaseShoho was the name-sake ship of the class of two light carriers. When Shoho and her sister ship Zuiho were laid down, they were of a flexible design that could eventually be completed as a light carrier, an oil tanker, or a submarine tender. She was originally launched in 1935 as the submarine tender Tsurugisaki, but was converted into a light carrier in 1941. On 30 Nov 1941, she was assigned to Carrier Division 4 and was placed under the command of Captain Ishinosuke Izawa. In May 1942, she participated in Operation MO, which aimed at Port Moresby in New Guinea; her mission was to guard troop transports against potential American air or submarine attacks. The Japanese fleet was intercepted in the Coral Sea on 7 May, and was attacked at 0755 by 53 dive bombers, 22 torpedo bombers, and 18 fighters from American carriers Lexington and Yorktown. Shoho was sunk after being hit by 7 torpedoes and 13 bombs. She sank at 0835 on 7 May 1942 with the loss of 631 men. 203 men, including Captain Izawa, were rescued by destroyer Sazanami.

ww2dbaseShoho was the first Japanese carrier to be sunk in the Pacific War.

ww2dbaseSources: Interrogations of Japanese Officials, Naval Historical Center, Wikipedia.

Shoho Operational Timeline

30 Nov 1941 Shoho was commissioned into service.
7 May 1942 Shoho sank in the Coral Sea at 1135 hours after an hour-long carrier aircraft attack that saw 13 bomb and 5 torpedo hits; 631 were killed, 203 survived.


Submarine tender Tsurugizaki off Tateyama, Japan, 30 Jan 1939; she was later converted to become light carrier ShohoLight carrier Shoho, Yokosuka, Japan, 20 Dec 1941Japanese light carrier Shoho shortly after her conversion from a submarine tender, Yokosuka, Japan, 25 Dec 1941Shoho burning as she was attacked by aircraft, Battle of Coral Sea, 7 May 1942; note TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bomber faintly visible to the right of splash
See all 10 photographs of Light Carrier Shoho

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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
    28 May 2011 01:18:14 AM

    It was the sinking of the Shoho that was the subject of that famous radio message, “Scratch one flattop!” LtCdr Robert E. Dixon, commander of USS Lexington’s dice bomber squadron, radioed that message back to his ship as Shoho sunk. Stanley Johnston, a war correspondent for The Chicago Tribune, was aboard the Lexington at the time and his reports immortalized the quote.

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Event(s) Participated:
» Battle of Coral Sea

» Interrogation Nav 10, Captain Mineo Yamaoka

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Light Carrier Shoho Photo Gallery
Submarine tender Tsurugizaki off Tateyama, Japan, 30 Jan 1939; she was later converted to become light carrier Shoho
See all 10 photographs of Light Carrier Shoho

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