IJN Carrier Wreckage- Identification Analysis
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The Sôryû



Figure 15: Sôryû in 1942. Note the very complex nature of the ship’s port side bulkheads, with numerous ventilation trunks. (Scanned from Jentschura et. al. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945)


The case surrounding the Sôryû is more complex. The photographic record of Sôryû is limited, and the available plans of her are much less detailed than those of Akagi. For instance, it was not possible to determine where she carried her landing light arrays from either the photographic record or the line drawings available. However, a strong case can be made on the basis of other evidence.
Sôryû was a much smaller ship than either Akagi or Kaga.  While the latter were built on top of capital ship hulls (a battlecruiser and battleship, respecitively), the Sôryû and her slightly larger sister Hiryû were based on heavy cruiser hulls and machinery sets. Yet they mounted an airwing and anti-aircraft armament that were similar in scale to the larger fleet carriers. As a result, these were very tight, cramped designs, and this is reflected in the layout of their anti-aircraft armament and fire-control facilities. Sôryû‘s 25mm galleries are smaller, contain fewer gun mounts, and are more cramped. Type 95 directors are often mounted practically adjacent to the mounts they control.


As a result, it is difficult to find any galleries aboard Sôryû that match the six requirements set out previously. The only likely candidates are the P#2-P#4 and P#5-P#7 galleries on the port side of the vessel. Each contains three 25mm mounts. However, the P#2-P#4 gallery can be dismissed because of the complex hull structure directly beneath the gallery (please refer to the portside view of Sôryû in Figure 15 above). The bulkhead is clearly not flat in this area, and there are no portholes in evidence.
Similarly, the bulkhead underneath P#5-P#7 is largely occupied by boiler room ventilator intakes. Not withstanding that the wreckage is partially crushed in the center, we find it unlikely that we would have missed seeing a structure as prominent as a ventilator trunk in this vicinity. And no portholes would be visible in such a structure.

In addition, there is a Type 95 director directly between P#5 and P#6, and another platform directly abaft P#7, meaning that the gallery structure does not match the rather expansive gallery seen in the wreckage, which continues 7-8 feet in both fore and aft directions without encountering any other platforms.Lastly, even though we have no direct evidence of light array placement aboard Sôryû, we feel that it is less likely that these arrays would be mounted in the vicinity of the two portside 25mm galleries. Landing light arrays tended to be located near the quarters of the ship, whereas these two galleries are fairly amidships.
The resulting picture is of a ship whose primary physical features cannot match the wreckage as seen on the bottom, for a host of circumstantial reasons. Even without direct evidence as to the placement of the landing light arrays, we feel confident in dismissing Sôryû from contention.
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