|Ship Class||Taiyo-class Escort Carrier|
|Builder||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries|
|Laid Down||6 Jan 1940|
|Launched||19 Sep 1940|
|Commissioned||2 Sep 1941|
|Sunk||18 Aug 1944|
|Displacement||17830 tons standard; 19500 tons full|
|Machinery||Four Kampon water-tube boilers, two Kampon geared steam turbines, two shafts, one rudder|
|Power Output||25200 SHP|
|Range||6,500nm at 18 knots|
|Armament||2x2x127mm L/40 Type 90 AA, 64x25mm L/60 Type 96 AA, 10x13.2mm L/76 Type 93 AA|
|Armor||25mm side belt over machinery spaces and magazines|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseOriginally laid down as the civilian luxury passenger liner Kasuga Maru by shipping company Nippon Yusen, she was partially subsidized by the Japanese government. Therefore, when the Japanese Navy needed military transports, she was drafted for service in the fall of 1940 when she was still under construction. After being launched at Nagasaki, Japan, she sailed to Sasebo, Japan for final fitting and conversation between 1 May and 31 Aug 1941; she was to become an escort carrier with no island, no catapults, nor arresting gear. On 5 Sep 1941, she was assigned to the Carrier Division 1 under the command of Captain Kanichi Takatsugu, acting as a transport ferrying supplies between Japan and the outlying islands. Because she was converted from a passenger ship design, she initially carried only 27 aircraft: nine Type 0 "Zero" Fighters (two in spare) and fifteen B5N Navy Type 97 carrier attack bombers (one in spare). Her initial armament consisted of six 120-mm and four dual 25-mm anti-aircraft guns. After the conversion, she was assigned to Carrier Division 5 as the flagship.
ww2dbaseOn 31 Aug 1942, Kasuga Maru was renamed Taiyo, becoming the lead ship of her class of escort carriers.
ww2dbaseTaiyo's first mission as carrier was to ferry fighters from Japan to the Palau Islands in Nov-Dec 1941. She continued to engage in aircraft ferrying and aviation training duties throughout her career.
ww2dbaseAt 1325 on 28 Sep 1942, Taiyo was attacked by American submarine Trout south of Truk in the Caroline Islands, damaging her stern and killing 13 crewmen. At 2049 on 9 Apr 1943, she was hit by multiple torpedoes launched by submarine Tunny, though at least one of them were defective and did not explode. She was repaired and placed back into service each time.
ww2dbaseAt 0726 on 24 Sep 1943, Taiyo was hit by submarine Cabrilla, damaging her starboard quarter near the propeller. Her sister ship Chuyo took her in tow and brought her back to Yokosuka, Japan two days later for repairs. The opportunity was taken to upgrade her anti-aircraft weaponry; by the end of 1943, she was carrying three dual 127-mm Type 90 and 16 dual 25-mm anti-aircraft guns. In Apr 1944, her armament was upgraded again to her final weapon configuration. Her flight deck was also lengthened from 162 to 172 meters.
ww2dbaseAt 2215 on 18 Aug 1944, while off Cape Bolinao, Luzon, Philippine Islands as part of a convoy for Manila under the command of Captain Shuichi Sugino, Taiyo detected an enemy submarine to starboard. At 2220, she was struck by one or two torpedoes from American submarine Rasher on the starboard quarter. The torpedo explosions ignited aviation tanks, causing heavy fires in the hangar deck and killing many. She quickly listed to starboard; to compensate, Captain Sugino ordered the port magazines flooded. Within minutes of the order, however, the oil tank aft on the port side exploded violently, killing most of the emergency personnel. After the oil tank explosion, Sugino gave the abandon ship order. At 2248, she suffered another explosion, and sank quickly afterwards. At the time, about 1,200 were aboard. Only 400, including Sugino, survived.
ww2dbaseSources: Imperial Japanese Navy Page, Wikipedia.
Escort Carrier Taiyo Interactive Map
Taiyo Operational Timeline
|1 May 1941||Kasuga Maru began conversion into an escort carrier at Sasebo, Japan.|
|31 Aug 1941||Kasuga Maru completed her conversion into an escort carrier at Sasebo, Japan. She was renamed Taiyo.|
|2 Sep 1941||Kasuga Maru was commissioned into service.|
|11 Apr 1942||Eight B-26 Marauder bombers took off from Port Moresby, Australian Papua at 0900 hours; one of them would return to base due to engine trouble. The remaining seven attacked Vunakanau airfield and Lakunai airfield near Rabaul, New Britain, causing minimal damage. As the bomber crews returned to base, they reported a sighting of a fleet carrier (most likely mis-identified Kasuga Maru), causing the commanders to scramble to prepare a major against the target.|
|12 Apr 1942||Three B-26 Marauder bombers were launched from Port Moresby, Australian Papua at dawn in search of the reported fleet carrier (most likely the mis-identified Kasuga Maru) at Rabaul, New Britain. At 0930, another group of four B-26 aircraft was launched. The two groups attacked Rabaul, causing little to no damage.|
|7 May 1942||Kasuga Maru arrived at Rabaul, New Britain.|
|31 Aug 1942||Kasuga Maru was renamed Taiyo.|
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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal