Japanese carriers operated--well, normally--in divisions of two ships. The divisions could be combined into larger groups for specific missions. The air wings for each carrier were also specific to that carrier, and not like in US practice separate units that were assigned as available to any carrier.Carl Schwamberger wrote: ↑22 Jun 2022 02:25Greater minds than mine would be required to answer that one. It would be easy to say operational issues & retirements led to reduction of the KB, but that does not really answer the question.
After the PH strike the KB was split up & if I recall correctly not reconstituted as six carriers until Operation C.
For example, when Shokaku and Zuikaku had heavy losses of aircraft and pilots, along with damage, at Coral Sea the surviving pilots and aircraft remained with the ships and worked up replacements for those losses while the ships were repaired.