Nisshin, a 11,317-ton seaplane carrier, was built at Kure, Japan. A relatively large and fast ship, intended to carry both combat seaplanes and mines, she was commissioned in February 1942. As part of the Main Body during the Battle of Midway in early June 1942, she appears to have carried motor torpedo boats and midget submarines to equip the advanced base that the Japanese expected to establish at Midway.
In the Pacific War's next great campaign, the long and bitter fight for Guadalcanal, Nisshin proved herself invaluable as the largest component of the "Tokyo Express", making at least four runs down to Guadalcanal in October 1942 with personnel, supplies and equipment for the Japanese ground forces on the island. Among the items she delivered were 150mm howitzers, destined to make U.S. Marines' life difficult through regular shellings from distant positions. Some of these weapons can still be seen on Guadalcanal, nearly six decades later. Nisshin was lost to air attack off Bougainville on 22 July 1943, while on a transport mission from Rabaul to counter an expected Allied attack on the Shortland Islands.
This page features a view that probably shows the Japanese seaplane carrier Nisshin.
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Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: 80-G-31514
Japanese ships in Tonolei Harbor, Bougainville, 13 October 1942
Photographed from a U.S. reconnaissance plane, with the film processed by USS Curtiss (AV-4). Anti-aircraft shell bursts are visible just below the center of the view, and both ships appear to be firing their guns at the plane.
The large seaplane carrier in the center is probably Nisshin, which had carried Japanese reinforcements and artillery to Guadalcanal two days earlier.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
Online Image: 77KB; 740 x 615 pixels
Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.
Note: an enlargement of this image, emphasizing the seaplane carrier, can be seen as Photo # 80-G-31514 (cropped).
Page made 7 December 2001