Chitose-class Light Carrier
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
This article refers to the entire Chitose-class; it is not about an individual vessel.
ww2dbaseChitose-class ships, designed in the 1930s when the Wasington Treaty still held the Japanese Navy in check, were built as Nisshin-class seaplane tenders so that their tonnage would not count toward the carrier tonnage limit, but the designers put in as much elements of a light carrier as they could. On 30 Jun 1942, weeks after the devastating loss of four fleet carriers at the Battle of Midway, orders came down for the two Chitose-class ships, Chitose and Chiyoda, to be converted into light carriers to make up for some of the lost air power. Because of their light carrier-inspired original design, the conversion would prove to be relatively easy. Chitose's conversion was completed in Jan 1944 at Sasebo, Japan; Chiyoda's conversion was completed in Mar 1944 at Yokosuka, Japan. In their new roles, they served with carrier fleets and saw combat in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and then the Battle off Cape EngaĆ±o; in the former action their air groups were effectively wiped out, and in the latter they were both sunk.
Last Major Revision: Feb 2013
Chitose-class Light Carrier Operational Timeline
|25 Jul 1938||Chitose was commissioned into service.|
|25 Jul 1938||Chiyoda was commissioned into service.|
|12 Oct 1942||Yugure and Yura escorted Nisshin and Chitose after Battle of Cape Esperance off Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.|
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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal
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