Unryu Class, Japanese Fleet Carriers

Photograph of an Unryu-class carrier under air

Naval Historical Center #95778

Schematic of Unryu class

ONI 222


Tonnage 17,150 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 746'1" by 72'2" by 25'9"
227.4m by 22.0m 7.8m
Maximum speed       34 knots
Complement 1595
Aircraft 712' (217.0m) flight deck
65 aircraft
Armament 6x2 5"/40 dual-purpose guns
21x3 25mm/60 AA guns
Protection 5.9" (150mm) belt (magazines)
1.8" (46mm) belt (machinery)
2.2" (56mm) deck (magazines)
1" (25mm) deck (machinery)
2" (50mm) torpedo bulkhead
4-shaft geared turbine (152,000 shp)
8 Kampon boilers
Bunkerage 3670 tons fuel oil
150,000 gallons (570,000 liters) aviation gasoline
Range 8000 nautical miles (15,000 km) at 18 knots
Type 13 air search radar
Type 21 radar (two sets)
Modification Amagi and Katsuragi completed with an additional 1x3, 23x1 25mm guns. Katsuragi was allocated destroyer machinery due to a shortage of parts, reducing power to about 100,000 shp and maximum speed to 32 knots.

1944: Added 6x8 5" antiaircraft rocket launchers

The Unryus were ordered in 1941 and were based on the Hiryu, with few improvements based on lessons learned with the earlier ships.  Since the Shokakus and Taiho were superior to the Hiryu, this seems like a retrograde step. However, the ships were apparently designed to be the heart of anti-convoy strike forces rather than part of the main battle fleet. The ships were designed with cruiser machinery which gave them good speed. They operated a reasonably large air group (65 aircraft) but did not incorporate the excellent Japanese 3.9”/65 AA gun and were somewhat lacking in protection.  Unryu herself was crippled by a single torpedo, and finished off with another salvo that set off suicide craft stored in her hangar deck.

Three ships were built of this class, and three more were planned but canceled in 1945.  The Japanese shortage of steel was crippling by this point in the war. Furthermore, the units that were completed never saw combat due to shortages of aircraft and aviation fuel.

Units in the Pacific:


Completed 1944-8-6 (Yokosuka)

Torpedoed by Redfish on 1944-12-19 200 nautical miles southeast of Shanghai


Completed 1944-8-10 (Nagasaki)      

Sunk by aircraft on 1945-7-24 off Kure


Completed 1944-10-15 (Kure)

Photo Gallery

Profile view of Unryu-class carrier

Wikimedia Commons

Profile view of Unryu-class carrier

Wikimedia Commons

Wreck of carrier Amagi

U.S. Navy


Chesneau (1992)

Gogin (2010; accessed 2013-4-20)

Jentschura, Jung, and Mickel (1977)

Worth (2001)

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