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Notes: RYUJO was built under the 1927 Program. As originally designed, she was to have a single hangar and carry 24 aircraft. But to double the compliment of aircraft, a second hangar was built atop the first -- but with no increase in tonnage. As a result, she was considered to be lightly built, overloaded, and unstable. Within 18 months of her first commissioning, RYUJO was back in dockyard hands at Yokosuka for a reconstruction. During this reconstruction (1934-36), RYUJO had her hull strengthened, and extra bulges were added for stability. Four of her 5" guns were removed in an attempt to reduce topweight, and four - 25mm AA guns were added (two twin mounts). The forecastle was raised a deck in 1940 to improve seakeeping. Early in 1942, 18 more 25mm AA guns (6x3) were added, as were 24 - 13mm AA guns. And although it was intended for her to carry 48 aircraft, she never carried more than 37.
In April, 1941, RYUJO was named flagship of the 4th Carrier Division, 1st Air Fleet. RYUJO saw action covering the landings in the Philippines in December, 1941. Her aircraft assisted in the sinking of the American destroyer POPE on 1 March 1942. On 20 May 1942, RYUJO was reassigned to the Northern Force / 2nd Mobile Force and in June, RYUJO (along with the JUNYO) was part of the diversionary strikes against the Aleutians during the Midway operations. (One of her A6M "Zero" fighters crash-landed near Dutch Harbor and the pilot was killed, but the plane remained relatively intact. It was recovered by American forces, extensively studied, and that knowledge was used to improve both the design of subsequent American fighters and the tactics they used against their Japanese opponents.) In July, 1942, she was reassigned to the Mobile Force Air Attack Force (Carrier Division 2, 3rd Fleet). On 16 August 1942, in the company of SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU and supporting forces, RYUJO sailed for the area of Guadalcanal. On 24 August 1942, while operating off Guadalcanal, RYUJO took part in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. RYUJO was attacked by dive and torpedo bombers from the American carrier SARATOGA; she suffered four bomb hits and a torpedo hit, was set afire and began to list to starboard as her engine room flooded. Damage control crews managed to put out the fires, but the flooding could not be stopped, and RYUJO rolled over and sank slightly after four hours of the first hit. 120 of her crew were killed.