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"The Sinking of Shokaku -- An Analysis" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2020 8:11 p.m. PST

"In the Battle of the Philippine Sea (called the Battle for the Marianas by the Japanese), the Imperial Japanese Navy lost three aircraft carriers within a period of thirty-six hours. These were the Taiho, Shokaku, and Hiyo. All three were victims of the same fateful combination of torpedo damage that set up massive vapor-induced explosions. Adequate reports exist for the Taiho and, to a lesser degree, for the Hiyo's loss. This analysis concerns itself with the third carrier mentioned, the veteran and famous Shokaku, torpedoed and sunk by U.S.S. Cavalla (SS-244) on 19 June 1944.

The Shokaku was indeed a famous ship, and battle-scarred as well. Her illustrious record included such battles as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Indian Ocean sorties, the Battle of Coral Sea, and the naval battles around Guadalcanal. With sister-ship Zuikaku as part of CarDiv 5, the Shokaku had participated in nearly every carrier battle except Midway. Indeed, some historians cite the absence of the Shokaku and Zuikaku -- recovering from Coral Sea damage or losses -- as the deciding factor in the Japanese defeat at Midway. Whether that is true or not, there was no denying that Shokaku's record and crew were both of the highest standing. It was natural, then, that she and her sister should be teamed with the grand new carrier Taiho when Admiral Ozawa set forth to challenge the U.S. invasion of Saipan in June 1944.

It was widely hoped that the unprecedented combination of Imperial sea and land-based air forces would turn the tide at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, but it was not to be. Taiho would perish from complications arising from a single torpedo hit, and Shokaku herself would be sunk this selfsame day by the same agent -- U.S. submarines. Yet that sinking is veiled by a remarkable reticence of detail -- a frustrating brevity of story that forms an unsatisfactory end to such a brilliant career…"


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Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 7:10 a.m. PST

Excellent article. I've been aboard he "Cavalla" at Galveston and she is a beautiful example of a WW II US boat. It is an honor to have this fine ship preserved in our state.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 11:07 a.m. PST

Happy you enjoyed it my friend! (smile)


Nine pound round29 Jul 2020 1:40 p.m. PST

Very interesting. Horrifying detail about how the ship's sudden plunge tipped the crew mustered the flight deck into the fires burning in the open elevator shaft. What a terrible way to die.

Legionarius01 Aug 2020 6:41 p.m. PST

Compared to the daily life of Army and Marine grunts in the Pacific theater, the sailors had a better existence. But as this article shows, when a ship was mortally wounded the end would be a horrible combination of fire and water. Not a nice way to go!

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