Japanese amphibious assault ship Shinshū Maru

Shinshū Maru (神州丸 or 神洲丸) was a ship of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. She was the world's first landing craft carrier ship to be designed as such, and a pioneer of modern-day amphibious assault ships. During some of her operations, she was known to have used at least four cover names, R1,GL,MT, and Ryujo Maru.

Empire of Japan
Name: Shinshū Maru
Laid down: 8 April 1933
Launched: 14 March 1934
Commissioned: 15 November 1934
Fate: Sunk 3 January 1945
General characteristics
Type: Amphibious assault ship
Displacement: 7,100 tons standard, 8,108 tons full
Length: 144 m (472 ft 5 in)
Beam: 22 m (72 ft 2 in)
Draft: 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in)
Speed: 20.4 kn (37.8 km/h; 23.5 mph)
Complement: 2,000
Aircraft carried: 26 × aircraft (planned)
Aviation facilities: Hangar and catapult; no flight deck (planned)

The Shinshū Maru was one of the ships sunk by friendly torpedo fire at the Battle of Sunda Strait, but later salvaged and returned to service.

Design features

Shinshū Maru was a significant advance in amphibious warfare, having incorporated numerous innovative features, and as such she was shrouded in a veil of secrecy throughout her existence. She could carry 29 Daihatsu-class landing craft, 25 Shohatsu-class landing craft and four armoured gunboats, to be launched from a floodable well deck.

In addition, it was planned that Shinshū Maru should carry aircraft in a hangar within her voluminous superstructure. The aircraft would have been launched by two catapults to support amphibious assaults, but the catapults were removed before completion and the ship never carried any operational planes.

These concepts pioneered by Shinshū Maru persist to the current day, in the U.S. Navy's LHA and LHD amphibious assault ships.


On 3 January 1945, while returning to Takao after a supply mission to Leyte Island, Shinshū Maru was heavily damaged by a US air attack by Task Force 38; after the ship was abandoned she was sunk by the submarine USS Aspro in the Formosa Straits off Takao.[1]



  • Murray, Williamson and Millett, Alan R. Military Innovation in the Interwar Period. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-521-55241-9.

See also

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