Taiho, the Last Big Carrier

Taiho, the flagship of Ozawa's mobile fleet in the Marianas, accomplished little in her breif lifespan. Laid Down on July 10, 1941, she was palgued with problems during construction. She was commishioned on March 7, 1944. During the "Marianas Turkey Shoot" a gasoline spill occured. A crewmember innocently used the ship's ventalition system to get rid of the smell, spreading gasoline vapors throughout the ship. Shortly thereafter one submarine torpedo struck the ship, igniting the vapors and blowing up the ship like a giant firecracker. She sank within a few hours on June 19, 1944, taking down nearly 3/4 of her crew with her.

Taiho Specifications

Taiho "Great Phoenix"

Displacement: 37,720 tons full load

Dimensions: 830 x 91 x 31.5 feet/253 x 27.7 x 9.6 meters

Extreme Dimensions: 855 x 98.5 x 31.5 feet/260.6 x 30 x 9.6 meters

Propulsion: Steam turbines, 8 boilers, 4 shafts, 160,000 shp, 33.3 knots

Crew: 1751

Armor: 2.2-5.9 inch belt, 3.1 inch flight deck, 4.9 inch hangar deck

Armament: 6 dual 3.9/65 AA, 51 25 mm AA

Aircraft: 53 (84 maximum)

Concept/Program: A large, heavily armored carrier design embodying many wartime improvements, but too late to see effective service. These ships were meant to serve as the core of fleet battlegroups. Two ships of a slightly improved design were ordered but cancelled in favor of a 5-ship program of improved ships; this in turn was cancelled by wartime events.

Design: Essentially a Shokaku design with an armored flight deck, revised armament, enclosed bows, much larger island, and other improvements.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Sunk soon after completion of shakedown.

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