IJN Shokaku: Tabular Record of Movement

Revised 19 June 2007

© 1998 Anthony P. Tully
(Revised June 2007)

Initial Command Structure:
8 August 1941:
Commissioned at Yokosuka, assigned as Special Duty Ship. Captain Jojima Takatsugu assigned as Commanding Officer.

23 August 1941:
Arrive at Ariake; becomes flagship of 1st Air Fleet, and assigned to 1st Air Fleet, CarDiv 5.

8 September 1941:
Arrive at Yokosuka, Commander First Air Fleet leaves the ship.

10 September 1941:
Becomes flagship of ComCarDiv 5. Remains at Yokosuka for the rest of the month.

8 October 1941:
Arriving at Kure, join new sister-carrier ZUIKAKU for the first time. Remainder of month spent moving around in Kure, Oita, Saeki area.

14 November 1941:
Flag of ComCarDiv 5 shifts to ZUIKAKU.

19 November 1941:
Depart Inland Sea with ZUIKAKU for Hittokappu Bay in the Kuriles to join the ships massing for the "Hawaii Operation".

22 November 1941:
CarDiv 5 arrives at Hittokapu Bay as part of a last-minute addition to the Carrier Striking Force.

26 November: 1941
With VADM Nagumo Chuichi's First Air Fleet, departs Hittokappu Bay in the "Hawaii Operation" ....the attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

7 December 1941:
Two strike waves launched against Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Nagumo orders a withdrawal following recovery of the second attack wave.

23 December 1941:
Return with AKAGI, KAGA, and ZUIKAKU to Hashirajima.

3 January 1942:
Undocked at Kure, proceeds to Hiroshima Bay on the 5th.

8 January 1942:
Depart Hiroshima for Truk.

14 January 1942:
Arrive at Truk.

16 January 1942:
Depart Truk assigned to "R" Operations from the 14th to 24th.

20 January 1942:
Launch strikes against Rabaul and Lae on the 21st.

29 January 1942:
Return to Truk. Stay there just one day.

30 January 1942:
Depart Truk for Yokosuka to pick-up aircraft, while the following day sister-ship ZUIKAKU departs with the rest of the Striking Force for the pursuit of the enemy carrier force raiding the Marshall Islands.

3 February 1942:
Arrive at Yokosuka, and remains in its environs for the remainder of the month.

27 February 1942:
Enter drydock at Yokosuka.

5 March 1942:
Leave drydock.

7 March 1942:
Depart Yokosuka.

11 March 1942:
With sister ZUIKAKU, accompany ComFirstFleet VADM Shiro Takasu's ISE and HYUGA on a sortie to sweep for enemy believed to approaching the homeland.

16 March 1942:
Return to Yokosuka, no enemy contacts made.

17 March 1942:
Depart Yokosuka for Staring Bay to join "C" Operations.

24 March 1942:
Arrive at Staring Bay, joining ZUIKAKU.

26 March 1942:
Depart Staring Bay for "C" Operations. Assignment, First Air Fleet, CarDiv 5, Striking Force, air attack force.

3 April 1942:
Enter the Indian Ocean.

5 April 1942:
Launch strikes against Colombo.

9 April 1942:
Launch strike against Trincomalee, Ceylon.

18 April 1942:
Arrive at Mako.

19 April 1942:

Depart Mako to participate in "MO" Operation in the Coral Sea commencing 20 April.

25 April 1942:
Arrive at Truk.

1 May 1942:
Depart Truk with ZUIKAKU to participate in "MO" Operation.

8 May 1942:
Battle of the Coral Sea. 0907-0915 severely damaged by three bomb hits. One tore open the port bow and started a fire in the forecastle. The second struck the end of the flight deck to starboard. The third hit the starboard side of the rear of the island, damaging gun tubs and the mainmast. Large fires break out, but evaded all torpedoes successfully. Escorted by USHIO and YUGURE, the carrier is detached at once and able to evacuate the battle area at full speed. 108 officers and men are killed by the fires and explosions, and another 40 wounded.

9 May 1942:
Reassigned to CarDiv 5, 1st Air Fleet. Detached to proceed immediately to the homeland at top speed. Now begins a dramatic dash past a cordon of American submarines alerted to intercept the cripple.

12 May 1942:
Rendevous with KUROSHIO, OYASHIO, and HAYASHIO in the Philippine Sea; USHIO and YUGURE released. Final leg home successfully avoids more submarines; however, with the high speeds and gashed bow, the ship takes on so much water she nearly capsizes en route.

17 May 1942:
Having evaded no less than eight submarines, return to Kure for repairs, and is immediately placed in the Reserve Unit of the Mobile Force.

25 May 1942:
Captain Jojima relieved by Captain Masafumi Arima.

16 June 1942:
Enter drydock for battle damage repairs.

27 June 1942:
Leave drydock.

14 July 1942:
Reassigned to Striking Force, 3rd Fleet, CarDiv 1. In HashirajimaŞKure area.

19 July 1942:
At Hashirajima.

21 July 1942:
Depart Hashirajima.

31 July 1942:
Return to Hashirajima.

16 August 1942:
Assigned to Main Body, Striking Force, 3rd Fleet, CarDiv 1. Depart Kure for Phase 2 of the Eastern Solomons battle.

24 August 1942:
Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Light damage from bomb fragments.

September 1942:
Support force, striking force main body (3rd Fleet, CarDiv 1). At Truk or at sea throughout.

5 September 1942:
Arrive at Truk.

10 September 1942:
Depart Truk.

23 September 1942:
Return to Truk.

11 October 1942:
Depart Truk for Guadalcanal operations.

26 October 1942:
Battle of Santa Cruz; heavily damaged by bombs. Four, possibly even six bombs struck the flight deck, one aft of the island and the rest all grouped around the amidships and aft elevators. Large fires are started, and the flight deck is completely buckled and burst by the blasts. Though sixty officers and men are killed, since no aircraft were aboard, no fuel was active and damage control is able to extinguish the fires and save the ship. Admiral Nagumo transfers his flag to destroyer ARASHI. Then, with the also-bombed light carrier ZUIHO, the carrier is detached and ordered home to Truk escorted by HATSUKAZE and MAIKAZE.

28 October 1942:
Return to Truk for emergency repairs.

2 November 1942:
Depart Truk screened by DesDiv 4 with the also-damaged ZUIHO and CHIKUMA, for the homeland.

6 November 1942:
Arrive at Yokosuka. Enters the navy yard immediately for a long period of extensive repairs and refit.

16 January 1943:
Assignment shifted from Main Unit, Mobile Force to the Maintenance Force, Mobile Force.

8 February 1942:
Enters drydock, and remains there through the month.

16 February 1943:
Captain Masafumi relieved, successor unclear.

19 March 1943:
Departs drydock, and then Yokosuka for Kure.

27 March 1943:

Arrives at Kure after layovers at Tokuyama, Iwaishima, Beppu, and Tokuyama again en route.

5 April 1943:
Depart Kure fore a series of round trips between Iwaishima and Tokuyama (3 times), Oita, and Beppu.

26 April 1943:
Return to Kure.

14 May 1943:
Depart Kure for another series of trips to Oita, Iwasihima, and Tokuyama.

20 May 1943:
Depart Tokuyama for the Yokosuka region to prepare for Aleutians counter-attacks.

21 May 1943:
Arrive at Yokosuka with CruDiv 7 MOGAMI, KUMANO, SUZUYA from Tokuyama. On 22 May joined by BatDiv 1's MUSASHI, Bat Div 3: KONGO, HARUNA, CarDiv 2: JUNYO, HIYO, CruDiv 8: TONE, CHIKUMA, all from Truk, and light cruisers AGANO and OYODO and 11 destroyers. Before force could sail to Aleutians, Attu fell to U.S. forces.

31 May 1943:
Depart Yokosuka for the Inland Sea.

2 June 1943:
Arrive at Kure.

June 1943:
Throughout this month, is in and around the Kure-Tokuyama area.

9 July 1943:
Depart Kure for Truk, followed by ZUIKAKU, the two sisters again re-united.

15 July 1943:
Arrive at Truk.

August 1943:
Remain at Truk throughout, except for two short sorties on Aug 3 and Aug 25.

18-25 September 1943:
Sortied from Truk to Brown Island (Eniwetok) with Combined Fleet under VADM Ozawa's tactical command in response to U.S. Task Force 15 carrier raids on Tarawa and Makin.

20 - 23 September 1943:
At Eniwetok, depart on the 23rd back for Truk.

25 September 1943:
Returned to Truk.

15 September 1943:
Depart Truk, return the following afternoon.

17-26 October 1943:
Sortied from Truk to Eniwetok with Combined Fleet under ADM Koga's command in response to U.S. Task Force 16 carrier raids on Wake Island. 19-23 October 1943:
At Truk.

26 October 1943:
Returned to Truk.

30 October-13 November 1943:
Operation RO - Reinforcement of Rabaul: Departed Truk towards Rabaul with SHOKAKU, ZUIHO, light cruiser AGANO. Cruised 200 miles from Rabaul, ZUIKAKU launched 24 fighters daily to reinforce Rabaul's land-based units, then returned to Truk.

11 November 1943:
Depart Truk for Yokosuka.

15 November 1943:
Arrive at Yokosuka.

17 November 1943:
Captain ??? relieved by Captain Matsubara Hiroshi.

26 November 1943:
Depart Yokosuka for Truk.

1 December 1943:
Arrive at Truk.

12December 1943:
Depart Truk for Yokosuka.

17 December 1943:
Return to Yokosuka.

27 December 1943:
Enter drydock at Yokosuka.

6 January 1944:
Left drydock.

17 January 1944:
Depart Yokosuka to rejoin ZUIKAKU in the Inland Sea.

6 February 1944:
Depart Inland Sea by Tokuyama with ZUIKAKU for Singapore.

13 February 1944:
Arrive at Singapore, the new advance base of "decisive operations".

20 February 1944:
Depart Singapore for Lingga.

March 1944:
Moving alternately between Singapore and Lingga throughout the month.

22 March 1944:
Arrive at Lingga.

25 March 1944:
At Lingga becomes flagship of ComThirdFleet, Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo, and the Mobile Fleet.

31 March 1944:
Arrive off Singapore naval yard.

3 April 1944:
Arrive at Lingga.

4 April 1944:
Return to Singapore naval arsenal. ComThirdFleet transfers flag aboard from the shore.

6 April 1944:
ComThirdFleet transfers flag to TAIHO.

12 May 1944:
Depart Lingga for Tawitawi anchorage.

15 May 1944:
Arrive at TawiTawi.

13 June 1944:
Depart Tawi tawi to go to Saipan's defense.

14 June 1944:
Arrive at Guimaras.

15 June 1944:
Depart Guimaras with Mobile Fleet for the Battle of the Marianas.

18-19 June 1944:
In company with flagship TAIHO and sister ZUIKAKU participates in the Battle of the Marianas.

19 June 1944:
- Dawn: Has CAP/Search duty for CarDiv 1. Lanches seventeen A6Ms.
- At 1110 Recovers ten A6Ms. As these flight landing operations are concluding, at 1122 hit by three torpedoes fired from USS CAVALLA (SS-244) in the starboard side; two forward near the switchboard and generator room, and and one amidships. Large fuel fires are ignited in the hangar and No.1 boiler room goes off line. SHOKAKU remains underway, but begins to list to starboard, and counterflooding to port is carried out, but overcompensates, giving her a port list. Meanwhile flooding and heat of the fires force shutting down of the boiler rooms. SHOKAKU continues to settle forward. Though damage control initially hoped to save her, the flooding forward and the fires intensify in the following hours. By 1210 has come to a halt when fires detonate an aerial bomb on the hangar, setting off volatile gases from a cracked forward tank. Large induced explosions wrack the carrier, and hope begins to fade. The list to port and bow trim both increase. At 1350 her strike planes return, but are ordered away, having to be directed to ZUIKAKU and TAIHO. At this time Captain Matsubara has ordered `Abandon Ship' and crew musters on flight deck for flag lowering. However , before the evacuation can proceed far, the bow dips under and water pours into No.1 elevator well, causing the carrier to corkscew to port and upend. (See Note 1)

- Sunk: At 1401 SHOKAKU sinks head first, stern raised high. After she has gone under, four tremendous explosions rumble in her grave. Due to this sudden disaster, loss of life is very heavy: fifty-eight officers, 830 petty officers and men, in addition to 376 members of Air Group 601 and eight civilians share the fate of the vessel; a total of 1,272 dead. Light cruiser YAHAGI and destroyers URAKAZE and HATSUZUKI rescued Captain Matsubara Hiroshi among 570 other survivors. (See Note 2:)

31 August 1945:
Removed from Navy List.

Note 1: After extensive research of Japanese sources, the conventional view having Shokaku sunk by blowing apart and sinking quickly needs some adjustment. The big explosions came earlier and she actually foundered, going down down by the bow just at (YAHAGI sent notice at 1401). It was as she went under, in fact, most likely after gone from view, that the four terrific explosions felt by CAVALLA at 1408-1411 took place. Something similar to SORYU's sinking in this regard.

Note 2: The casualty figures given above differ slightly from those quoted in the analysis on the SHOKAKU's sinking. Since then, a fresh Japanese source giving details of the damage and loss breakdown has come to my attention. This opts for the second.

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Jim Sawruk and Bill Somerville for additional details for the loss at Marianas.

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