From the start of the Pacific War thru her return to Japan after Operation C
(The Indian Ocean Raid), Ryujo carried a fighter squadron, equiped with twelve
A5M4 "Claude" fighters and attack squadron, equipped with 18 B5N "Kate" attack
planes. In the later case, the aircraft were almost entirely the B5N1 model,
with substantially less horsepower than the later B5N2. In December 1941, the
number of B5N2s aboard ship was two or three. Losses of attack aircraft were
light throughout her operations, and thus few replacements were needed. By the
Indian Ocean foray, the ship was carryin no more than four or five B5N2 models,
the remainder still being the B5N1. Interestingly, the B5N1 could not depart
Ryujo with a full load of fuel and ordnance, because at no point in her
operations did the ship ever attempt to launch more fully loaded attack planes
in a single deckload then the number of B5N2s available. Further, only once in
her operations did she attampt to launch more than two fully laoded attack
planes - on one occassion she launced four (likely all the B5N2s available).
Additionally, the ship's deckload launches were restricted to no more than
seven-eight attack planes in a single launch, andd even then the bomblaods of
two-three of aircraft were reduced. Futhermore, the ship only ever launched
torpedo laden aircraft on two occassions during this period, and the numbers
totalled only three - once one was launched as part of an otherwise bomb
equipped chutai (December 1941), and once in the Indian Ocean she launched
two-plane Shotai with torpedes, again as part of a bomb equipped Chutai. Again,
it appears that only B5N2 models ever left the ship with torpedoes or 800 kg
bombs (that happened once with four aircraft and, IIRC [away from my notes] once
The ship recieved new aircraft in Japan just before departing on the Aleutian
opearation, but even then the ship did not receive a full complement of newer
models. TAll the A5M4s were replaced by only a single chutai of six A6M2s - the
remainder of fighters carried were planes of the 6th Ku, destined for
Midway. The attack squadron, which was equiped to full strength, still included
a number of B5N1 models - exactly how many is unclear, but the likely number was
about six, with the remainder (twelve) being the newer -2 model.
The first, and only thime she operated all new models was when she was deployed
to the Southwest Pacific in response to the US landings at Guadalcanal.
The source for all this material is the ships air group records.
I hpe this helps.
Mark E. Horan
From: leviatha29 <peterbigbass@...
Sent: Thu, February 24, 2011 8:53:59 AM
Subject: [The US Asiatic Fleet] Aircraft types aboard Ryujo
If I'm not mistaken, Ryujo only carried B5N "Kates" and A6M "Zeros" during the
Southwest Pacific campaign of '41-'42, and this was due to the fact that her
elevators were not large enough to allow the operation D3A "Vals".
If this is indeed true, then the late, great Samuel Eliot Morison erred when
writing "Rising Sun in the Pacific". He mentions dive bombers operating from
Ryujo on pages 169 and 373. Although "Rising Sun" is an outstanding source of
info and data on this campaign, in was first published in 1948 when a lot of the
details of the campaign were not yet clear or readily available.
I believe that subsequent publications confirm the "Zeros and Kates" scenario.
Can this be confirmed, and if so, in which pulications? Thank you.
Peter Motyka, Plymouth, Mass.
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