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Imperial Japanese Navy
warships in World War II
Number of units
Battleships 12
Fleet carriers 21
Light carriers 4
Cruisers 45
Destroyers 141
Submarines 171

The Imperial Japanese Navy of World War II was the second most powerful navy in the Pacific War in World War II. It was the third largest navy in the world. During the first years of the war the Imperial Japanese Navy dominated the Western Pacific. However, after a series of defeats it lost control of the Western Pacific and collapsed by the end of the war. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff and the Navy Ministry. The naval air service was one of the most potent air forces in the world before its destruction in World War II. Nearly all were sent to the bottom of the sea by the war's end.

Personnel Strength[edit | edit source]

Imperial Japanese Navy ranks.

  • December 1941 — 291,359 including 1,500 pilots
  • July 1945 — 1,663,223

Order of battle[edit | edit source]

Warships[edit | edit source]

IJN at time of Pearl Harbor Attack in December 1941:

Battleships[edit | edit source]

(1) 4 Yamato class (3 building (1 Shinano converted to an aircraft carrier) and 1 cancelled later in 1941).

  • Yamato — commissioned 1941, † 1945
  • Musashi — commissioned 1942, † 1944

Hull Number 111 was scrapped in 1943 when only 30% complete, and a proposed fifth hull, Number 797, proposed in the 1942 5th Supplementary Program, was never ordered.

Aircraft carriers[edit | edit source]

(1) Does not include Imperial Japanese Army built aircraft transports.
(2) Amagi — sister ship to Akagi both as a battlecruiser and as a conversion to an aircraft carrier, was destroyed during construction by an earthquake and replaced with the Kaga.

Heavy cruisers[edit | edit source]

(1) Ibuki ordered but not laid down (2) Mogamis designated light cruisers but were built to be up-gunned as heavies once the London Naval Treaty was broken.

Light cruisers[edit | edit source]

  • 20 (plus 5 building) (1)

(1) 4 Agano and 2 Ōyodo (1 cancelled).

Destroyers[edit | edit source]

(1) 27 Yūgumo class and 16 Akatsuki class building (2) Others of class re-rated as patrol vessels (3) 2 others of class converted to patrol vessels

Submarines[edit | edit source]

Others[edit | edit source]

Merchant Ships[edit | edit source]

Many under direct navy control as armed merchantmen.

  • 1939 - 2,337 with 5,629,845 tons
  • World War II construction of 4,250,00 tons
  • 2,346 sunk

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

Commanders[edit | edit source]

Imperial Japanese Navy commanders at the time of the Attack on Pearl Harbor:

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Evans, Kaigun, p.496, ISBN 978-0-87021-192-8

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