Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Shinano, Sinking of (29 November 1944)

Third in the projected four-ship Yamato-class of super battleships. Laid down at Yokuska on 4 May 1940, Shinano was complete up to the main deck by the June 1942 Battle of Midway, in which the Japanese lost four carriers. The Japanese then decided to convert the Shinano into an aircraft carrier. Based on the Midway battle, she received an armored flight deck. She was seen as a floating base for refueling, rearming, and maintaining aircraft from other carriers. As a result, despite her large size and a 550-foot-long aircraft hanger, she would have carried only 47 aircraft for self-defense. Reflecting her new mission, she had large holds for fuel, munitions, and spare parts in the spaces where her turrets were to have been located.

Launched on 8 October 1944, Shinano was the largest aircraft carrier ever built until the U.S. Navy's Forrestal-class of the 1950s. She displaced 73,040 tons fully loaded and was 872' by 131' in size. Her design speed was 27 knots. Antiaircraft armament consisted of 16 x 5-inch and 145 x 25-mm guns, along with 336 x 5-inch rocket launchers. She had a crew of 2,400 men.

On 29 November 1944, Shinano was being moved to Kure for her final fitting out when the U.S. submarine Archerfish intercepted her in the Inland Sea and hit her with four torpedoes aft. Having retained her battleship triple-hull protection, the carrier continued to travel at 16 knots. However, an untrained crew and the fact that many of her watertight compartments were not yet complete resulted in the carrier sinking later that day.

C. J. Horn


Further Reading
Alden, John. U.S. Submarine Attacks during World War II: Including Allied Submarine Attacks in the Pacific Theater. Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1989; Chesneau, Roger. Aircraft Carriers of the World, 1914 to the Present. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1984.; Enright, Joseph F. Shinano! The Sinking of Japan's Secret Supership. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.
 

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