Japanese Aircraft Carrier Taiho: The “Great Phoenix” Imperial Japanese Navy Fleet Carrier
The “Great Phoenix” Taihō was the name of the a fleet aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy during Pacific War. Some people consider her the best fleet carrier ever built by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Among the improvements she had was the heavy belt armor and featuring an armored flight deck (a first for any Japanese aircraft carrier). Therefore, she was prepared to survive multiple bomb or torpedo.
Technical specifications Japanese Aircraft Carrier Taiho
|Class and type:||Taihō-class aircraft carrier|
|Length:||260.6 m (855 ft 0 in)|
|Beam:||27.4 m (89 ft 11 in)|
|Draft:||9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Installed power:||160,000 shp (120,000 kW)|
|Speed:||33.3 kn (61.7 km/h; 38.3 mph)|
|Range:||10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)|
|Aircraft carried:||up to 60|
Taiho Japanese Carrier 1/700 Tamiya
On 7 March 1944, she was commissioned and quickly was deployed to Singapore, arriving there on 5 April. Taihō was then moved to Lingga Roads, a naval anchorage off Sumatra, where she joined veteran carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku in the First Carrier Division, First Mobile Force. All three carriers trained and awaited execution of the planned Kantai Kessen (“decisive battle”) known as Operation A-GO.
A preliminary design planned modern aircrafts for the Taiho’s airwings. A first plan was prepared to carry 126 aircraft (with 30 of these in reserve). Later, this was pared down to 64, raised again to 78 and finally reduced to 53. One reason for the discrepancy in numbers was (in sharp contrast to the United States) the Imperial Japanese Navy’s lack of insistence that its carrier planes have the smallest possible folded wingspan (many designs’ folded only near the tips, while the wings of the Yokosuka D4Y Suisei dive-bomber did not fold at all). Her aircraft capacity was also changed based on previous wartime experience and the fact that Taihō was expected to carry larger newer-model carrier planes still under development at the time of her construction: 24 Mitsubishi A7M2 Reppu “Sam” fighters, 25 Aichi B7A2 Ryusei “Grace” torpedo bombers and four Nakajima C6N1 Saiun “Myrt” reconnaissance planes. However, as none of these types were available at the time of her commissioning, Taihō went to sea with older-model aircraft.
Prior to 13 June 1944, Taihō carried 65 aircraft: 22 Mitsubishi A6M5 Reisen (Zero) fighters, 22 Yokosuka D4Y1 Suisei “Judy” dive bombers (of which four were the D4Y1-C reconnaissance types), three Aichi D3A2 “Val” dive bombers and 18 Nakajima B6N2 Tenzan “Jill” torpedo bombers. By 19 June 1944, however, the day the Battle of the Philippine Sea took place, she had already lost nine aircraft due to various causes and had just 56 planes remaining for actual combat
On 19 June 1944, Taihō was one of nine Japanese aircraft carriers involved in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. At 07:45 that morning, she was turned into the wind to launch her contribution (16 Zeros, 17 “Judy”s and nine “Jill”s) to Ozawa’s second attack wave. As Taihō’s planes circled overhead to form up, American submarine USS Albacore, which had spotted Ozawa’s carriers earlier that morning, reached an ideal attack position and fired a spread of six torpedoes at the carrier. One of Taihō’s strike pilots, Warrant Officer Sakio Komatsu, saw the torpedo wakes, broke formation and deliberately dove his plane into the path of one torpedo; the weapon detonated short of its target and four of the remaining five missed. The sixth torpedo, however, found its mark and the resulting explosion holed the carrier’s hull on the starboard side, just ahead of the island. The impact also fractured the aviation fuel tanks and jammed the forward elevator between the flight deck and upper hangar deck.
Though Admiral Ozawa wanted to go down with the ship, his staff prevailed on him to survive and to transfer his flag to the cruiser Haguro. Taking the Emperor’s portrait, Ozawa transferred to Haguro by destroyer. After he left, Taihō was torn by a second thunderous explosion and sank stern first at 16:28, taking 1,650 officers and men out of a complement of 2,150 down with her.
There are several model kits that reproduce the Taiho Carrier at 1/700 scale as follows:
Fujimi 1/700 IJN Aircraft Carrier “TAIHO”
This is a Fujimi 1/700 scale assembly required plastic model kit of the World War II Imperial Japanese Navy aircrfat carrier Taiho. This is a waterline-hull version kit that features unpainted plastic parts mounted on sprues. Illustrated assembly guide and waterslide decals are included. Scale model building experience highly recommended.
1/700 Photo-Etched Parts for IJN Aircraft Carrier Taiho
1/700 IJN Aircraft Carrier Taiho Based Aircraft Set (Kugisho Judy Liquid Cooler Type, Tenzan, Zero Fighter Type 52) (Plastic model) by Fujimi model