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IJN Ryujo

Aircraft Carrier

Imperial Japan | 1933

"Commissioned in 1933, IJN Ryujo fell victim to American forces during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on August 24th, 1942."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/12/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The carrier arm of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) prior to, and during, World War 2 (1939-1945) was the lifeblood of the Japanese war machine in the Pacific. By this time, the aircraft carrier was making its case to supplant the battleship as the capital ship in most navies. As such, considerable effort was made on the part of the IJN to ensure its survival in the coming decades and leave no doubt that the nation had risen to become a global power among the few.

Even with the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 in place, nations like Germany and Japan skirted warpower restrictions to enact major new naval programs and bring about a second global arms race. For the IJN, this resulted in the "Ryujo", a one-off, light-class aircraft carrier whose design began as an 8,000-ton hull to remain under the Treaty's 10,000-ton limit. This approach, of course, meant that certain qualities of the ship would have to be revised to remain under the limit, thus forcing little armor protection to be installed over critical components and under decking. Originally intended to carry just 24 combat aircraft, this was increased to 48 before her construction was completed.

The warship was laid down on November 26th, 1929 and formally launched to sea on April 2nd, 1931. She was commissioned into service with the Imperial Japanese Navy on May 9th, 1933 to begin a career that lasted barely a decade. Within a year of having entered service, the warship was taken back to dock to have her stability addressed.

As built, this light carrier was given a rated displacement of 8,000 tons under standard load which could balloon up to 10,150 tons if pressed. Overall length of the vessel was 590.2 feet with a beam of 66.7 feet and a draught down to 18.2 feet. Its original hull work was clearly evident in the finished design as the carrier component, complete with straight-through / flushed flight deck space, was simply added over the existing base hull structure that retained the pointed bow and rounded stern facing.

Power stemmed from 12 x Kampon water-tube boiler units feeding 2 x Geared steam turbines developing 65,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts astern.

Aboard was a complement of 600 men.

Armament was purely defensive in nature, as the carrier's air arm and accompanying warships would suffice in its protection. This suite consisted of 6 x 127mm Dual-Purpose (DP) twin-gunned emplacements and 12 x 132mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) twin-gunned emplacements.

As early as 1936, the vessel underwent a refit which increased displacement to 10,600 tons standard and up to 12,735 tons under load. The beam was widened by two feet and the draught increased to 23.2 feet for better sea-worthiness. The crew complement was expanded considerably to 934 men and armament was trimmed to 4 x 127mm DP twin-gunned mountings with 2 x 25mm AA twin-gunned mountings.

First-contact operations for the carrier were had during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) against Chinese elements. From there, the carrier was a fixture of Japanese naval operations during the early portion of the Pacific Campaign in World War 2 (1939-1945), supporting offensive ground actions against the Philippines, Malaya, and into the Dutch East Indies. The vessel was then used in the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands during June of 1942. Her luck eventually ran out on August 24th, 1942 when she was destroyed and ultimate sunk by American naval warplanes during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Her name was stricken from the Naval Register on November 10th, 1942.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for IJN Ryujo.
12 x Kampon water-tube boilers with 2 x Geared steam turbines developing 65,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts.
29.0 kts
33.4 mph
Surface Speed
10,428 nm
12,000 miles | 19,312 km
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of IJN Ryujo.
590.2 ft
179.89 meters
O/A Length
66.7 ft
20.33 meters
18.2 ft
5.55 meters
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of IJN Ryujo.
6 x 127mm Type 89 Dual-Purpose (DP) main guns (three twin-gunned turrets).
12 x 13.2mm Hotchkiss Anti-Aircraft (AA) machine guns (six twin-gunned emplacements).
Air Arm
Available supported fixed-wing / rotary-wing aircraft featured in the design of IJN Ryujo.
Up to 48 aircraft carried.
Ships-in-Class (1)
Notable series variants as part of the IJN Ryujo family line as relating to the IJN Ryujo group.
IJN Ryujo
Global operator(s) of the IJN Ryujo. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.
National flag of modern Japan

[ Imperial Japan ]
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Image of the IJN Ryujo
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to seaborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
IJN Ryujo Aircraft Carrier appears in the following collections:
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