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World War II Vehicles, Tanks, Airplanes, and Guns

World War II, a time in history of great upheaval the world over. Found here in are some of the machines used in that time by the men and women who fought the battles, delivered the supplies, and transported the wounded. Look around and enjoy the historical information, the specifications, pictures and videos of the machines of war that were used in World War II.

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26 October 2014, Japan's Shinyo Class Escort Aircraft Carrier

In 1939 the German liner Scharnhorst became stuck in Japan as it couldn't return to Europe due to the war. It was subsequently purchased by the Japanese government after the severe losses in the Battle of Midway. It was to become the Shinyo.

IJN Shinyo on November 1, 1943 in the Western Island Sea:
Japan's IJN Shinyo on November 1, 1943 in the Western Island Sea
Imperial War Museum

25 October 2014, Japan's Kaiyo Class Escort Aircraft Carrier

Converted from a luxury liner the Kaiyo was primarily used for ferrying aircraft, escorting convoys, and training.

IJN Kaiyo beached at Beppu Bay while being scrapped from 1946-1947:
Japan's IJN Kaiyo beached at Beppu Bay while being scrapped from 1946-1947
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph NH-85386

25 October 2014, Japan's Chitose Class Light Aircraft Carriers

Converted from submarine tenders the Chitose class the Chitose and Chiyoda both saw action at the Battle of Philippine Sea and the Battle of Leyte Gulf where they were sunk.

24 October 2014, Japan's Ryuho "Dragon Phoenix" Light Aircraft Carrier

Converted from a submarine tender the Ryuho was the least favorite carrier in the Japanese fleet primarily due to poor design. It was primarily used as a training and aircraft ferry.

Ryuho light aircraft carrier in November 1942 in Tokyo Bay:
Japan's Ryuho light aircraft carrier in November 1942 in Tokyo Bay
Imperial War Museum

19 October 2014, Japan's Hiyo Class Fleet Aircraft Carriers

The Hiyo class aircraft carriers were converted from passenger liners. They were the first Japanese carriers to have the funnel go through the island. The Junyo was one of the few large ships to survive to the end of the war.

Junyo fleet aircraft carrier at Sasebo on September 26, 1945. Two HA-201 class submarines are alongside.:
Japan's Junyo fleet aircraft carrier at Sasebo on September 26, 1945. Two HA-201 class submarines are alongside
USMC 136995

9 October 2014, Taiyo class escort aircraft carrier

The Taiyo class ships were ones I had never heard of before. They were converted passenger liners and used for ferrying aircraft and training.

7 October 2014, Japan's Shoho Class Light Aircraft Carriers

As a way to get around treaty restrictions ships were specifically designed for one task and could easily be converted into aircraft carriers when needed. The Shoho class were originally submarine tenders but were quickly modified into light aircraft carriers.

The Shoho had the distinction of being Japan's first carrier loss.

Shoho light aircraft carrier under attack at Battle of Coral Sea, May 7, 1942:
Japan's Shoho light aircraft carrier under attack at Battle of Coral Sea, May 7, 1942
US Navy Photo G-17024

2 October 2014, Japan's Shokaku Class Fleet Aircraft Carriers

The best aircraft carriers in the world, until the Essex class came along, the Shokaku and Zuikaku were instrumental in Japan's early victories.

Zuikaku fleet aircraft carrier on September 25, 1941:
Japan's Zuikaku fleet aircraft carrier on September 25, 1941
US Naval History and Heritage Command photograph NH 73067

1 October 2014, Japan's Soryu Class Fleet Aircraft Carriers

The Soryu was to be the basis for future Japanese aircraft carrier designs.

Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier off Tategama:
Japan's Hiryu fleet aircraft carrier off Tategama
Imperial War Museum MH 6491

30 September 2014, Japan's Ryujo "heavenly dragon" Light Aircraft Carrier

The Ryujo was not popular in the Japanese Fleet as it couldn't carry many aircraft and it was slow in aircraft operations.

Ryujo light aircraft carrier in September 1938:
Japan's Ryujo light aircraft carrier in September 1938
US Naval Historical Center NH 73072

29 September 2014, Japan's Akagi "red castle" Fleet Aircraft Carrier

The Akagi was the flagship of the First Air Fleet up until its loss at Midway.

Akagi fleet aircraft carrier in Sukumo Bay in April 27, 1939:
Japan's Akagi fleet aircraft carrier in Sukumo Bay in April 1939
US Naval History and Heritage Command photograph NH 73058

28 September 2014, Japan's Kaga Fleet Aircraft Carrier

The Kaga was converted from a battleship as a result of the Washington Treaty.

Kaga fleet aircraft carrier after modernization in 1936:
Japan's Kaga fleet aircraft carrier after modernization in 1936
US Naval History and Heritage Command photograph NH 73060

26 September 2014, Japan's Hosho Class Light Aircraft Carriers

The Hosho was Japan's first carrier.

Hosho light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate soldiers in October 1945 at Kure:
Japan's Hosho light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate soldiers in October 1945 at Kure
US Navy Photo 80-351904

7 September 2014, Germany's Graf Zeppelin Aircraft Carrier

Now let's take a look at Germany's feeble attempt at an Aircraft Carrier. It never really had support nor did the Germans have a lot of experience with developing a carrier. Eventually the Graf Zeppelin was abandoned and scuttled at the end of the war.

Graf Zeppelin aircraft carrier after launching in December 1938:
Germany's HMS Graf Zeppelin aircraft carrier in late 1918
US Navy photo

7 September 2014, Great Britain's Ruler Class Escort Aircraft Carriers

And more Escort Aircraft Carriers built by the United States for the Royal Navy, the Ruler class. With all the escort carriers that Allies had it is no wonder that the U-Boats didn't have a chance.

HMS Ameer Escort Aircraft Carrier at Greenock:
Great Britain's HMS Ameer Escort Aircraft Carrier at Greenock
Imperial War Museum A 21338

6 September 2014, Great Britain's Attacker Class Escort Aircraft Carriers

The Attacker class was also produced by the United States.

HMS Fencer Escort Aircraft Carrier:
Great Britain's HMS Fencer Escort Aircraft Carrier
Imperial War Museum FL 13104

6 September 2014, Great Britain's Archer Class Escort Aircraft Carriers and Avenger Class Escort Aircraft Carriers

The United States produced the Archer and Avenger class ships from merchant hulls.

HMS Avenger Escort Aircraft Carrier with Sea Hurricanes:
Great Britain's HMS Avenger Escort Aircraft Carrier with Sea Hurricanes
Imperial War Museum FL 1268

5 September 2014, Great Britain's Majestic Class Light Aircraft Carriers

The Majestic class was very similar to the Colossus class but none saw combat in World War II.

HMS Hercules light aircraft carrier:
Great Britain's HMS Hercules light aircraft carrier
Imperial War Museum FL 13890

5 September 2014, Great Britain's Colossus Class Light Aircraft Carriers

The Colossus class light aircraft carriers were built late in the war and only a few were made it to combat.

HMS Colossus light aircraft carrier at Greenock:
Great Britain's HMS Colossus light aircraft carrier at Greenock
Imperial War Museum A 27438

1 September 2014, Great Britain's Illustrious Class, HMS Indomitable, and Implacable Class Fleet Aircraft Carriers

I've lumped the Illustrious class and Implacable class together as they were very similar in many ways. The mainstay of the British carrier fleet, these highly armored carriers were very well liked despite not carrying a lot of aircraft.

HMS Indomitable fleet aircraft carrier astern HMS Victorious during Operation Pedestal in August 1942:
Great Britain's HMS Indomitable fleet aircraft carrier astern HMS Victorious during Operation Pedestal in August 1942
Imperial War Museum A-11295

1 September 2014, Great Britain's HMS Ark Royal Fleet Aircraft Carrier

The HMS Ark Royal was the first carrier to join the Royal Fleet after the HMS Glorious. During that time aircraft carrier theory had improved and the design of the Ark Royal reflected that. The flight and hanger decks were armored to allow for a stiffer ship and added greater protection. It was also finally realized that defense against aircraft could be important and more anti-aircraft guns were added.

HMS Ark Royal fleet aircraft carrier in 1938 or 1939:
Great Britain's HMS Ark Royal fleet aircraft carrier in 1938 or 1939
National Archives 19-SB-2J-1

 

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