Begining in 1937, conversions of four merchant ships, requisitioned from their owners by the IJN, were carried out at Kawasaki's Kobe shipyard. These were KAMIKAWA, KIMIKAWA, KIYOKAWA and KUNIKAWA MARUs. KAMIKAWA MARU remained a seaplane carrier until her loss in 1943, while KIYOKAWA, KIMIKAWA and KUNIKAWA MARUs were rerated as transports in 1943. Years Completed: KAMIKAWA MARU: 1937 KIMIKAWA MARU: 1937 KIYOKAWA MARU: 1942 KUNIKAWA MARU: 1937 Displacement: 6, 863-tons. Dimensions: Length 479', beam 62', draft 30' td> Propulsion: 1 Kawasaki-M. A. N. diesel, 1 shaft, 7, 600 shp. Armament: 2 x 120-mm (4.7-inch)/45 cal HA guns (KAMIKAWA only),2 x 150-mm (5.9-inch), (plus 2 x 3-inch AA - KIMIKAWA and KIYOKAWA only), 2 x 25mm AA, 2 x 13mm MG Conversion: Aft well deck fitted with two 56' catapults, cranes fitted to recover aircraft. Aircraft: 12 seaplanes: four Type 94 Kawanishi E7K2 “Alf” and eight Type 95 Nakajima E8N1 “Dave” reconnaissance floatplanes. (24 aircraft maximum as cargo).

johnbr, Oct 4, 2011
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