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  Akagi 赤城
IJN
Amagi class battlecruiser

36,500 Tons (standard)
41,300 Tons (deep load)
855' 3" x 102' 9" x 28' 7"
10 x 200mm guns
6 x 120mm guns
14 x 25mm AA guns
Aircraft: 66
18 x A6M2 Zeros
18 x D3A Vals
27 x B5N Kate
(Plus 25 reserve aircraft)
PacificWrecks.com
Roy Grinell 2005

Ship History
Built by Kure Naval Arsenal at Kure. Laid down on December 6, 1920 as an Amagi-class battlecruiser. When Japan signed the Washington Naval Treaty on February 6, 1922. The treaty placed restrictions on the construction of battleships and battlecruisers. Afterwards, the incomplete hulls of Amagi and Akagi were selected to become aircraft carriers under the 1924 fleet construction program.

On September 1, 1923 a 8.3 magnitude earthquake strikes the Kanto area but does not significantly damage Akagi and construction continues. On November 9, 1923 conversion into an aircraft carrier begins. Launched on April 22, 1925 as Akagi 赤城 for Mount Akagi meaning "Red Castle". Commissioned on March 25, 1927 into the Kure Naval Arsenal. Afterwards, conducted sea trials.

PARTIAL HISTORY

During 1935 to 1938 rebuilt as a aircraft carrier and became the second Japanese aircraft carrier, the first fleet carrier with a large flight deck.

PARTIAL HISTORY

On May 26, 1942 refueled at sea for MI Operation the planned invasion of Midway Atoll. On May 27, 1942 departs Hashirajima bound for Midway Atoll. On June 3, 1942 at 3:07am the Carrier Strike Force is again refueled and increased speed to 24 knots by 10:25am to reach their position. Akagi was the flagship of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo First Mobile Force, Carrier Strike Force with Hiryu and Soryu escorted by battleships, cruisers and destroyers.

Battle of Midway
During the Battle of Midway, Akagi's air group consists of 18 A6M2 Zekes, 18 D3A1 Vals and 18 B5N2 Kates. Also aboard are six A6M2 Zeros from the 6th Kokutai that were to be based at Midway Airfield after it was captured by Japanese forces.

On June 4, 1942 Akagi carrier aircraft took off at 4:30am including 18 D3A Vals, 9 A6M2 Zeros on a strike against Midway Atoll led by Lt. Tomonaga Joichi. Lost on the mission was one A6M2 Zero and one D3A2 Val was badly damaged put out of commission.

Between 7:00am to 10:26am, Akagi is attacked by American U. S. Navy (USN) carrier aircraft and U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) land based aircraft during three different attacks. Akagi was undamaged by the first two attacks and sustains two bomb hits and a near miss during the third attack.

At 7:10am, Akgai crew spot six TBF Avengers approaching low then four B-26 Marauders from Midway Airfield that attempted to attack Akagi with aerial torpedoes. Intercepting, Akagi's Combat Air Patrol (CAP) of A6M2 Zeros and defensive anti-aircraft fire shot down two bombers: B-26 "Satan's Playmate" 40-1424 (MIA) and B-26B 41-17570 (MIA). Lost was one CAP A6M2 Zero. The two remaining B-26s released their torpedoes, but both were evaded by the carrier. Afterwards, B-26 "Suzy-Q" 40-1391 piloted by 1st Lt. James P. Muri flew down the flight deck while his gunners strafe and manages to land safely but his damaged bomber sustained 500 bullet holes and was written off.

At 7:54am, Akagi crew spotted a formation of B-17 Flying Fortress led by Lt. Col Walter C. Sweeney at high altitude that released their bombs but again the carrier manages to evade all their bombs.

At 10:26am, Akagi is attacked by three SBD-3 Dauntless led by Lt. Cdr Richard H. Best from VB-6 from USS Enterprise CV-6. Attempting to evade the attacks, Akagi was engaged in a evasive maneuver of a 20° turn to port.

The dive bombers scored a direct hit amidships near the island and causes a fire in both hanger deck levels. This hit mortally damaged the carrier. A second bomb hit passes through the net-guards of the fantail and explodes under the port quarter. A third bomb is a near-miss port-side amidships-forward.

Although the single bomb hit normally would not have been fatal, the carrier was in the preparing to mount another strike and caused aircraft, fuel and armaments to begin exploding and started a fire fueled by aviation fuel. Also, her rudder jammed at 20° port turn resulting in a counter-clockwise circle with her engines starting and spotting erratically.

At 11:46, Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo transfers his flag to destroyer Nowaki then to light cruiser Nagara. By 4:00pm, all non-essential crew were evacuated off the carrier while Captain Aoki and a damage control party remain aboard. During the evening and overnight, the carrier burns and remains afloat.

Sinking History
On June 5, 1942 at 5:20am at roughly 30-30N, 178-40W scuttled by Japanese destroyers Arashio, Hagikaze, Maikaze and Nowaki that fired four torpedoes that scored two or three hits causing the damaged carrier to sink stern first. On September 25, 1942 officially removed from the Navy list.

Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, more than 1,070 of the crew were rescued by the four destroyers, including Captain Aoki Taijiro although he had to be ordered off the ship he opted to stay aboard. A total of 263 crew were lost. Afterwards, the surviving crew were transfered aboard Mutsu.

References
Combined Fleet - IJN Akagi: Tabular Record of Movement
Shattered Sword by Jon Parshall and Anthony Tully

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Map
Map
June 4, 1942)
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