Amphibious assault ship Shinshu Maru: Secret project from the IJA


Amphibious assault ship Shinshu Maru

 

Imperial Japanese Army landing vehicle carrier Shinshu Maru.

Imperial Japanese Army landing vehicle carrier Shinshu Maru.

 

Secret project of the Imperial Japanese Army

 

The Shinshu Maru was one of the secret projects of the Imperial Japanese Army. It was concealed to a large extent and even when she participated in operations during wartime her name was concealed and diverted into two cover names such as Fuso Maru and Ryujo Maru. It is considered by several authors and sources the first precursor of the modern amphibious assault ships. She is also classified as landing craft carrier ship.

 

Shinshu Maru transport capabilities and carried aircraft

The Shinshu Maru had several novel and interesting features such as significant advances in amphibious warfare. For example, she could transport and deploy 20 daihatsu-class landing craft, 25 Shohatsu-class landing craft and four gunboats. They could be deployed through a floodable well deck.

However, the transported weapons were not limited to ground or naval warfare. She could also carry aircraft stored in a hangar. Because she lacked of flight deck, they could be launched using catapult. They planes could not return to the ship, so they should land in friendly land based air bases.

The Shinshu Maru was laid down on April 1933, which shows the advanced thinking when designing the ship. This concept is the current conceptual thinking that led to the US Navy LHA and LHD amphibious assault ships. She was finally commissioned on November 1934. The ship was sunk on January 1945 due to aerial attack performed by American carrier based airplanes when returning from a supply missions to Leyte island.

Aerial view of the Imperial Japanese Army landing vehicle carrier Shinshu Maru in 1938.

Aerial view of the Imperial Japanese Army landing vehicle carrier Shinshu Maru in 1938.

 

Shinshu Maru Technical specifications

Type: Amphibious assault ship
Displacement: 7,100 tons standard, 8,108 tons full
Length: 144 m (472 ft 5 in)
Beam: 22 m (72 ft 2 in)
Draft: 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in)
Speed: 20.4 kn (37.8 km/h; 23.5 mph)
Complement: 2,000
Armament:
  • 4 × 75 mm (3 in) Type 88 guns
  • 4 × 20 mm (0.79 in) AA guns
Aircraft carried:
  • 6 × Nakajima Army Type 91 Fighters
  • 6 × Mitsubishi Ki-30 Bombers
Aviation facilities: Hangar and catapult; no flight deck


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