Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku

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Zuikaku (Japanese: 瑞鶴 "Fortunate Crane") was a Shōkaku-class aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Her planes took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor that formally brought the United States into the Pacific War, and she fought in several of the most important naval battles of the war, finally being sunk in the battle off Cape Engaño.[1]

One of six carriers to participate in the Pearl Harbor attack, Zuikaku was the last of the six to be sunk in the war (four in the Battle of Midway and Shōkaku in the Battle of the Philippine Sea).


World War II

In 1941, Zuikaku, under the command of Captain Yokokawa Ichibei, and her sister ship Shōkaku comprised Carrier Division 5. On 26 November 1941, she left Hittokapu Bay for the attack on Pearl Harbor as part of the Kido Butai ("Mobile Force"). Her aircraft complement consisted of 15 Mitsubishi A6M fighters, 27 Aichi D3A dive bombers, and 27 Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers. On 7 December, she launched two waves of planes against American military installations on the island of O'ahu. In the first wave, 25 dive bombers attacked the airbase at Wheeler Field and five fighters attacked the airbase at Kaneohe. In the second wave, 27 torpedo bombers armed with bombs attacked the airbase at Hickam Field and 17 dive bombers targeted the battleships USS California and USS Maryland on Battleship Row at Pearl Harbor.

Zuikaku's planes also attacked the Australian bases at Rabaul on 20 January 1942 and Lae in New Guinea on 21 January. In April 1942, she took part in the Indian Ocean raid, striking the British naval bases at Colombo and Trincomalee on Ceylon, and sinking the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and the heavy cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire.

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