Shinano Class Aircraft Carrier
# of Aircraft
ID: Plastic aircraft carrier gaming piece: the Shinano aircraft carrier from the game Axis & Allies Pacific 40-2nd Ed.
The Story of the Shinano: The Shinano was in nearly every concievable way a rather atypical ship. Originally planned as the third of the Yamato class battleships, the Japanese decided to convert her into an aircraft carrier in the aftermath of the catastrophic Battle of Midway, when the building priorities switched to attempt to recover from the sudden loss of 4 of her 6 premier fleet carriers. Built on the foundation of the largest battleship hull ever constructed, she would go on to be the largest aircraft carrier constructed until the creation of the US Navyâ€™s â€œsuper-carriersâ€ of the post-war period. She was designed to perform a supporting role in the IJNâ€™s carrier strike fleet, with extensive facilities for storing and repairing aircraft. She was intended to field only a modest wing of 47 aircraft of her own, but she was capable of storing up to 139! Unfortunately for the IJN, before she could be completed most of Japanâ€™s carriers, carrier aircraft and trained carrier pilots had been wiped out in the battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf, making her vast potential mostly irrelevant to the war effort. She was then torpedoed by a US submarine while being moved from one port to another and before she had been fully finished. With a (partially-trained) skeleton crew and without her water-tight doors having been installed, Shinano was ill-prepared for such an attack and sank without ever having an impact on the war effort, putting her along-side Germanyâ€™s Graf Zeppelin in a class of interesting â€œmight-have-beenâ€™sâ€ in naval aviation.
Usage Notes: Use this piece for â€œGlobal 1939â€ and â€œInvasion of Italyâ€ Variants as a carrier unit. Other Japanese warships of interest may be: the Takao class cruiser, & the Yamato class battleship.