The IJN Shokaku was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the lead ship of her class. Shokaku and her sister ship IJN Zuikaku, were an efficient modern design, a displacement of about 30,000 tons, and a top speed of 34 knots (63 km/h), Shokaku could carry 70 to 80 aircraft.
Along with her sister ship Zuikaku, she is most famous for taking part in many key engagements of the World War II Pacific Theatre, including the battles of Pearl Harbor and the Coral Sea. Shokaku was destroyed during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944 while being in the process of refueling.
IJN Shokaku in Days of Infamy
The Shokaku was one of the many Japanese carriers that took part in the battle and invasion of Hawaii in 1941-1942. After the islands had been conquered, the carrier left with Admiral Chuichi Nagumo for support actions in the rest of the Pacific.
Later when the Soryu was damaged, Shokaku, along with Zuikaku, returned as part of the fleet that defeated the US Navy’s first attempt to retake Hawaii in mid 1942. She was the only carrier in the task force to come out unscathed, taking on planes from Zuikaku.
She was still part of the fleet attached to protecting Hawaii when the US Navy returned in 1943 with a much larger force. Shokaku was overwhelmed by US dive bombers and badly crippled beyond saving. Destroyers ended up putting torpedoes in to the carrier in order to sink her.