Shinano (Japanese aircraft carrier)
Shinano (Japanese: 信濃) was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. It is named after Shinano Prefecture, a former prefecture of Japan. She was originally built as the third of five planned Yamato-class battleships.
Design and manufacture
The keel of Shinano was laid in June 1940 at the Yokosuka Navy Yard, but its construction was halted in the summer of 1941 to concentrate manpower and resources for the approaching war. After catastrophic losses in the Battle of Midway, the Japanese decided to convert Shinano into an aircraft carrier.
The conversion of the Shinano was mainly based on very heavy armor. For example, the flight deck was designed with 17,700 tons of steel, enough to withstand a 450 kg (1,000 lb) bomb. With a full displacement of nearly 72,000 tons, she was the largest aircraft carrier ever built until the introduction of the super-carrier USS Enterprise in 1961. Shinano was designed as the It was a support carrier, using its extensive mechanical yards and abundant fuel reserves for the operation of aircraft aboard other carriers. She had a small air force of her own, but had a large number of aircraft in the bunker to replace those lost on the other carriers.
The existence of the new aircraft carrier was kept a high secret. A high fence was erected on three sides of the dock where it was built, and those involved in the conversion work were confined to the yard. Severe punishments, including the death penalty, were reserved for anyone who said a word about the Japanese Navy's new aircraft carrier. As a result, Shinano is the only capital ship built in the 20th century that has never been officially photographed during construction. Under such conditions, Shinano was launched on 5 October, 1944 and was officially named on 8 October. She left the shipyard for shakedown on 11 November 1944, and was commissioned on 19 November.
On 28 November, Shinano sailed for Kure to refit, and was escorted by three destroyers. Captain Toshio Abe commanded a crew of 2,176 officers and sailors. In addition, there are 300 shipyard workers and 40 civilian employees. Abe tended to choose to travel at night after he learned that there was no protection from the air during the day; while in command of the destroyers requested to be moved during the day, citing crew fatigue (they had just attended the Battle of Leyte Gulf) and the need for urgent repairs. . However, Abe felt that passing in broad daylight without air support was an invitation to disaster.
The Japanese military command had high hopes for the Shinano, hoping that it could turn the tide of a conflict in which the Japanese were now clearly defeated. In fact, they placed so much importance on it that Abe was