Alternate history, 1946
After several years of decisive action in the Pacific Theater, the high command of the Imperial Japanese Navy encountered severe problems with their supply chains. Their lines overstretched from New Zealand in the South to the Alaskan coast, it became nearly impossible to ferry adequate amounts of food, ammunition, and repair parts to the front lines. Consequently, by late 1945, a bloody stalemate had broken out in the Pacific, with American forces holding a tenuous grip on their remaining Pacific holdings, centered around the defense of the Hawaiian chain. It became clear to both sides that new strategies would be needed to break the deadlock.
The Japanese military believed that nuclear arms would deal a knockout blow to American forces, but attempts to produce enriched Uranium had been significantly hindered by partisan actions in Manchuria. Research had begun to find new non-nuclear wonder-weapons. As it turned out, recent discoveries of Aluminum on the Island of Borneo provided a wealth of structural material, and the discovery of a hidden Helium stockpile in Singapore led many in the Army high command to begin envisioning a new fleet of flying fortresses.
To test their theories, several pre-war airships were retrofitted with new instruments which allowed then to carry a medium-sized . superstructure, a few 100 mm naval guns, and a couple scout aircraft. Movement was made possible using large propellers These first crude platforms were designated Type 1 Aerial Battleships, and despite their ability to outrun any surface ship, they were extremely vulnerable to enemy anti aircraft fire. Their lack of Maneuverability further added to the list of technical difficulties. The ships simply could not rise fast enough to outpace the climb rate of enemy fighters.
The Type 2 Aerial Battleships were largely retrofitted Type 1s. An additional 50 mm of homogeneous steel armor was riveted to the bottom of the Aluminum frame. The enormous propellers were converted to Turbo-propellers, with a large air intake at the front of the ships to supply extra power to the props. The interior was filled with many smaller capsules of helium, which prevented a single flak shell from releasing all of the gas, and the climb rate was significantly improved. The Type 2s could now outpace some of the heavier Torpedo bombers.
Type 3 Aerial Battleships had been in construction since the start of the project. Unlike the Type 1s and 2s, Type 3 ships were built from scratch, and resembled traditional battleships in their design and structure. These ships had their helium stored in their hulls, compensating for this lack of space by building taller superstructures. The largest and Grandest of the Type 3 ships was the battleship Imperial Japanese Aerial Navy (IJAN) Kikumon, named after the imperial 16-petaled chrysanthemum seal.
The Kikumon was designed to be the bane of all ships. It was able to ascend to colossal heights, before launching up to 300 fighters from its aerial decks. The increased altitude gave a significant advantage to all planes launched from this ship, as their speed and potential energy was far greater as they descended after takeoff than their attackers who had to climb quickly to meet them. Often, enemy fighters would stall as they tried to keep up, and made easy pickings for the Kikumon’s fighters and AA guns. From its high postion, the Kikumon could also use its radar to scan it surroundings. There was ample warning time to launch fighters on any occasion. The lower section of the hull was covered in 120 mm guns, capable of firging anti-ship, anti-concrete or High Explosive rounds at ground targets, as well as several hundred bomb bays if the guns should fail. An independent unit worked at the front of this colossal ship to control the enormous howitzer. This monstrous gun was capable of lobbing a 2,400 mm High Explosive shell in exact arcs to destroy entire enemy ships with a single hit. The mortar had its own crew of long range bombers, who scouted ahead and radioed back the coordinates of targets. The gun took 30 mins to load, and produced enough recoil to slow the entire ship by as much as 40 knots every time it fired. The shock wave produced by firing the gun was enough to destroy any plane flying underneath it, so takeoffs were suspended when the howitzer was firing. The Kikumon was later upgraded in January 1946 to bear 3 enormous jet engines, increasing its speed significantly, and reducing the amount of runway needed to takeoff planes by half at full speed, thanks to the increased amounts of wind flowing over the bow.
The final development in this series was the creation of the Type 4 aerial battleship. These ships were completely jet-powered and had somewhat smaller forecastles. They also produced less smoke when running, making them harder to spot. By the Summer of 1946, only a few small Type 4s existed, mostly escort craft, destroyers, and large gun carriers.
In this project, the escort fleet of the battleship Kikumon Docks at Japanese-held Midway Island in August 1946.
The fleet is made up of:
1 large Seaplane
3 Type 2 Aerial “Snout” Aerial battleships
IJAN Kikumon (Type 3 with upgrades)
1 Type 2 “Dragon’s Mouth” Heavy material carrier
2 Type 4 Heavy Gun carriers
Several type 4 Destroyers and escort craft
Hundreds of Fighters and Medium bombers
This fleet will dock at Midway, replenish its fuel, and go on to regroup with Aerial Fleet North in preparation for the assault on Honolulu.
This was a fun little project I have been wanting to work on for a long time. I have always been interested in alternate history scenarios. After seeing the abundance of Japanese battleships that always seem to be very popular building references on this site, I decided to give a try at making some myself. I don’t really like to copy real ships or the builds of others, so I kind of went off my own way and made some flying versions based on some really cool WWII and WWI Japanese and Russian Battleships. I should note that this build is only an aesthetic exploration of the design of WWII ships, and is in no way a piece that condones the atrocities committed during the second world war.
Thank you so much to everyone who rendered this project! The work you all do is absolutely amazing. As for the render contest, I will be posting polls for the contest on twitter, along with an imgur album with these and other renders.
I will be providing a world save for this project. Feel free to explore this build, and use this in your maps/other creative pieces, so long as you give credit!
The Military base can be found at
the ships are east of there
Additional Credits: Built by: cjrainbolt2
ScreenshotsDownload Shadows over Midway