Japanese seaplane tender Akitsushima

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Japanese seaplane carrier Akitushima.jpg
Akitsushima on 18 April 1942
Career
Name: Akistushima
Namesake: Another name of Japan
Builder: Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 29 October 1940
Launched: 25 July 1941
Completed: 29 April 1942
Commissioned: 29 April 1942
Decommissioned: 10 November 1944
Maiden voyage: 29 April 1942
In service: 1942–1944
Fate: Sunk on 24 September 1944
General characteristics
Displacement: 4,650 long tons (4,725 t) standard
5,000 long tons (5,080 t) trial
Length: 114.8 m (376 ft 8 in) overall
113.0 m (370 ft 9 in) waterline
Beam: 15.8 m (51 ft 10 in)
Draught: 5.4 m (17 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: 4 × Kampon Mk.22 Model 10 diesels, 2 shafts, 8,000 bhp
Speed: 19.0 knots (21.9 mph; 35.2 km/h)
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h)
Capacity: • 689 tons gasoline
• 36 × Type 91 torpedoes
• 30 × 800 kg bombs
• 15 × 500 kg bombs
• 100 × 250 kg bombs
• 100 × 60 kg bombs
Complement: 545
Armament: • 4 × 127 mm (5.0 in) L/40 Type 89 AA guns
• 4 × Type 96 25mm AA guns
• 6 × Type 95 depth charges
• 1 × Type 94 depth charge thrower (Y-gun)
Aircraft carried: 1 × flying boat (in anchorage only)
Aviation facilities: deck and crane

The Akitsushima (秋津洲?) was a seaplane tender of the Imperial Japanese Navy, serving during World War II from 1942 until being sunk in September 1944.

Design[edit]

In 1938, the IJN wanted to use their large-sized flying boats more effectively, because the Kawanishi H6K was the only aircraft able to hit Pearl Harbor directly from the Marshall Islands. However, the Marshall Islands did not have flying boat facilities at that time. Early in 1939, the IJN converted the Kamoi to a seplane tender. However, she was not able to repair seaplanes.

The IJN therefore planned two kinds of seaplane tenders which were included in the Maru 4 Programme. One was a 10,000 tons class flying boat carrier, the other a 2,400 tons class flying boat tender. These plans were not able to pass the assessment by the Ministry of Finance. These two basic plans were revived by the Maru 5 Programme in 1941. However, their construction did not begin. Therefore the IJN planned a 3,500 tons class tender, which was a scaled-up model of the 2,400 tons class. The ships should be able to maintain, repair and supply seaplanes. The IJN intended to accommodate the flying boat by bow-up trim and slope at first, however this plan was cancelled and the Akitsushima class was equipped with a 35 ton crane. The IJN changed the design frequently, ending up with a displacement increased by 1000 tons.

Operational Service[edit]

Akitsushima and Kawanishi H8K1 flying boat in Shortland Island, 1942.

The Akitsushima was commissioned on 29 April 1942 and assigned to the 25th Air Flotilla, 11th Air Fleet. Two weeks later, she sailed to Saipan and Rabaul. After the U.S. invasion of Guadalcanal, Akitsushima arrived at the Shortland Islands on 16 August 1942. She was damaged by B-17E Flying Fortress bombers at Buka Island two weeks later.

Her repairs were completed on 5 January 1943, and she was dispatched to Kavieng, only to proceed to Jaluit Atoll in February. On 30 June 1943 she sailed to Paramushir for the evacuation of Kiska. She returned to Yokosuka in August and sailed via Shanghai to Truk. Here, she was slightly damaged by U.S. carrier planes which attacked Truk during Operation Hailstone. The following month, Akitsushima was assigned to the 14th Air Fleet and returned to Yokosuka for repairs. She also received repair ship facilities, because the Akashi had been sunk. Her refit was completed on 1 August 1944 and she was assigned to the 2nd Fleet.

In August 1944, she sailed to Kure and Imari, then to Kaohsiung and Manila, finally arriving at Coron Bay on 23 September 1944. Here she was sunk by aircraft of Task Force 38 the following day. Akitsushima was officially decommissioned on 10 November 1944.

Ships in class[edit]

Ship # Ship Builder Laid down Launched Completed Fate
131 Akitsushima (秋津州?)[1] Kawasaki Shipbuilding, Kōbe Shipyard 29 October 1940 25 July 1941 29 April 1942 Sunk by aircraft at Coron Bay 11°59′N 120°02′E / 11.983°N 120.033°E / 11.983; 120.033, 24 September 1944.
303 Chihaya (千早?) Kawasaki Shipbuilding, Kōbe Shipyard 25 July 1941 Construction stopped in Autumn 1942. Later scrapped.
5031
5032
5033
Cancelled on 5 May 1944.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Meanings are the another name of the Japan in the Kojiki and the Man'yōshū.

Bibliography[edit]

  • "Rekishi Gunzō". , History of Pacific War Vol.62, Ships of The Imperial Japanese Forces, Gakken (Japan), January 2008, ISBN 978-4-05-605008-0
  • Model Art Extra No.537, Drawings of Imperial Japanese Naval Vessels Part-3, "Model Art Co. Ltd.".  (Japan), May 1999
  • Collection of writings by Sizuo Fukui Vol.7, Stories of Japanese Aircraft Carriers, "Kōjinsha".  (Japan), August 1996, ISBN 4-7698-0655-8
  • Ships of the World special issue Vol.40, History of Japanese Aircraft Carriers, "Kaijinsha". , (Japan), May 1994
  • The Maru Special, Japanese Naval Vessels No.25 Japanese seaplane tenders, "Ushio Shobō".  (Japan), March 1979