Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi

Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi

The "Akagi" ( _ja. 赤城) was an aircraft carrier serving with the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.

The only ship in her class, "Akagi" played a major part in the Attack on Pearl Harbor, but was sunk along with three other large carriers by dive bombers from US carriers "Enterprise" and "Yorktown" in the Battle of Midway. [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-a/akagi2.htm Akagi @] www.history.navy.mil]


"Akagi" was laid down as an "Amagi" class battlecruiser at Kure, Japan. However, the Washington Naval Treaty, which Japan signed in 1922, prevented Japan from completing "Akagi." Because the Treaty authorized conversion of two battleship or battlecruiser hulls into aircraft carriers of up to 33,000 tons displacement, the incomplete hulls of "Amagi" and "Akagi" were selected for completion as carriers.

"Amagi's" hull was damaged beyond economic repair in the Great Kantō earthquake of 1 September 1923. The remaining battlecruisers of the class, "Atago" and "Takao" were cancelled and scrapped in 1924, in accordance with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.

"Akagi", the only remaining member of her class, was launched on 22 April 1925 and completed at Kure Naval Arsenal on 27 March 1927. As completed, the ship had two hangar decks with a capacity of 61 aircraft. The hangars opened onto two superimposed flying off decks at the bow. In theory, this permitted aircraft to take off directly from the hangars, while landing on the main flight deck above. Funnel gasses were discharged through a downturned starboard funnel. To compensate for the weight of the hangar structure, the horizontal armor was reduced from 3.8 to 3.1 inches and moved one deck lower. The belt armor was reduced from 10 to 6 inches and was also lowered by one deck.

In practice, the multiple flight deck arrangement proved unsuccessful. From 1935 to 1938, "Akagi" received a massive reconstruction at Sasebo Naval Arsenal. It extended the hangars forward, removed the flying off decks, and increased aircraft capacity to 91. The refit added an island superstructure on the port side of the ship, which was an unusual arrangement; the only other carrier to share this feature was a contemporary, the "Hiryū". "Akagi" and the "Hiryū" were intended to work in a tactical formation with starboard-sided carriers, in order to improve the flight pattern around the formation, but the experiment was not continued beyond those two carriers. [ [http://www.hazegray.org/faq/smn5.htm#E6 www.hazegray.org] ]


Because "Akagi" was initially conceived as a battlecruiser, the prevailing ship naming conventions dictated that she (like her sister ships) be named after a mountain. "Akagi" was named after Mount Akagi, a dormant volcano in the Kantō region (the name literally means "red castle"). After she was redesignated as an aircraft carrier her mountain name remained, in contrast to bespoke aircraft carriers like "Sōryū", which were named after flying creatures. The name was previously given to the Maya class gunboat "Akagi".


"Akagi" was active off China during the next few years as the flagship of Carrier Division 1. In April 1941, the Imperial Navy combined the First Carrier Division ("Akagi" and "Kaga"), the Second Carrier Division ("Hiryū" and "Sōryū"), and Fifth Carrier Division ("Shōkaku" and "Zuikaku") into the First Air Fleet or KIDO BUTAI (Striking Force). "Akagi," as flagship, took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Indian Ocean raids.

Pearl Harbor

In World War II, under the command of Captain Kiichi Hasegawa, she was Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's flagship for the Striking Force for the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. She launched two waves of planes at Oahu. In the first wave 27 Kates targeted "Maryland", "Tennessee" and "West Virginia", "Oklahoma", and "California" and 9 Zeros attacked the air base at Hickam Field. In the second wave, 18 Vals targeted "Neosho", "Shaw" and "Nevada".

In January, 1942 "Akagi" supported the invasion of Rabaul in the Bismarck Islands. On 19 February 1942 she launched air strikes against Darwin, Australia, sinking nine ships, including USS "Peary". In March, 1942 "Akagi" covered the invasion of Java.

In early April, 1942, under the command of Captain Aoki Taijiro, "Akagi" took part in the Indian Ocean raid. On 5 April 1942 she launched air strikes against Colombo, Ceylon, helping sink the cruisers "Cornwall" and "Dorsetshire". On 9 April she struck at Trincomalee and sank "Hermes" and her escorts.

On 19 April 1942 she took part in the unsuccessful pursuit of the American carriers "Hornet" and "Enterprise" after they launched the Doolittle Raid.


On 25 May 1942 the "Akagi" set out with the Striking Force for the attack on Midway Island. Her aircraft complement consisted of 21 Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" fighters, 21 Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers, and 21 Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers. [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq81-6.htm www.history.navy.mil] ] On 4 June she launched an air strike against the island and was attacked by American land- and carrier-based planes. At 10:26 she was attacked by dive-bombers from USS "Enterprise" and hit by one bomb. This hit set off explosions among the armed and fueled planes within her hangar deck that were being prepared for an air strike against the American carriers. The burning aviation fuel proved impossible to control. The same attack produced two near misses, one of which, by virtue of exploding in the water alongside the stern area, caused the rudder to jam off-center after an evasive maneuver 20 minutes later.

At 10:46 Admiral Nagumo transferred his flag to "Nagara". "Akagi" stopped dead in the water at 13:50 and her crew, except for Captain Aoki and damage-control personnel, was evacuated. She burned through the night but did not sink. The damage-control teams were eventually evacuated as well, as was (under duress) Aoki. On 5 June Yamamoto ordered her scuttled by torpedoes from the destroyers "Arashi", "Hagikaze", "Maikaze", and "Nowaki". She sank at 05:20 with the loss of 263 men at coordinates coord|30|30|N|178|40|W.Compared to the other Japanese fleet carriers lost in the battle, she was the luckiest, suffering the fewest casualties. [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-a/akagi2.htm Akagi @] www.history.navy.mil]

Commanding Officers

*Capt. Ryutaro Kaizu - 25 March 1927 - 1 December 1927
*Capt. Seizaburo Kobayashi - 1 December 1927 - 10 December 1928
*Capt. Isoroku Yamamoto - 10 December 1928 - 1 November 1929
*Capt. Kiyoshi Kitagawa - 1 November 1929 - 26 October 1930
*Capt. Goro Hara - 26 October 1930 - 1 December 1930
*Capt. Hideho Wada - 1 December 1930 - 28 August 1931
*Capt. Jiro Onishi - 28 August 1931 - 1 December 1931
*Capt. Baron Masaki Shibayama - 1 December 1931 - 1 December 1932
*Capt. Eijiro Kondo - 1 December 1932 - 20 October 1933
*Capt. Nishizo Tsukahara - 20 October 1933 - 1 November 1934
*Capt. Rokuro Horie - 1 November 1934 - 15 November 1935
*Capt. Toshio Matsunaga - 15 November 1935 - 1 December 1936
*Capt. Kokichi Terada - 1 December 1936 - 27 August 1937
*Capt. Shinichi Moizumi - 27 August 1937 - 1 December 1937
*Capt. Junichi Mizuno - 1 December 1937 - 15 November 1938
*Capt. Kinpei Teraoka - 15 November 1938 - 15 November 1939
*Capt. Ryunosuke Kusaka - 15 November 1939 - 15 October 1940
*Capt. Ko Ito - 15 October 1940 - 25 March 1941
*Capt. Kiichi Hasegawa - 25 March 1941 - 25 April 1942
*Capt. Taijiro Aoki - 25 April 1942 - 5 June 1942

Pop Culture references

*The Akagi appears as a "boss" in the WWII-themed video game .
*Ritsuko Akagi from the animated series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" is named for this aircraft carrier.
*The Akagi appears in the animated series Strike Witches, which is set in an alternate version of 1944.


ee also

* List of aircraft carriers
* List of World War II ships

External links

* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/Akagi.htm Tabular record of movement] from [http://www.combinedfleet.com/Akagi.htm combinedfleet.com]
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-a/akagi2.htm United States Navy photos]
* [http://ww2db.com/ship_spec.php?ship_id=10 WW2DB: Akagi]

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