Ryuho (Dragon Phoenix)

The Ryuho was the least successful of a series of Japanese aircraft carriers produced by modifying fleet auxiliary ships. She was similar in design to the Shoho and Zuiho, but could carry three fewer operational aircraft, and could rarely attain her top speed of only 26kts.

The Ryuho had entered service on 31 March 1935 as the submarine support ship Taigei. Work on converting her into an aircraft carrier began in December 1941, and was completed on 28 November 1942. She was a flush decked carrier, with two elevators, and no island. Her original flight deck was 607ft long and 75ft 6in wide. In 1944 it was lengthened to 650ft.

When first converted the Ryuho was armed with 38 25mm antiaircraft guns. This was increased to 42 25mm guns and 6 13.2mm guns in 1943 and to 61 25mm and 28 13.2mm guns in 1944.

For most of the war the Ryuho was used as an aircraft supply ship or as a training vessel. She was called into the fleet during the battle of the Philippine Sea, where she was part of Rear-Admiral T. Joshima’s B Force in the decoy carrier fleet. During the battle she suffered light damage from near misses.

The Ryuho was the last Japanese carrier to leave home waters, when in December 1944-January 1945 she was used to transport 58 Ohka suicide rocket aircraft to Formosa. She was badly damaged by American aircraft at Kure on 17 March 1945, and although she was moved into dry docks were never fully repaired. She was scrapped after the war.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed




Armour – deck





707ft 4in max


8 5in/40 dual purpose guns in double mountings
38 25mm anti-aircraft guns

Crew complement



16 November 1933


31 March 1935

Completed as carrier

28 November 1942

Broken up


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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 November 2008), Ryuho (Dragon Phoenix) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_ryuho.html

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