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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
18 x A6M2 Zeros
18 x D3A Vals
27 x B5N Kate
(Plus 25 reserve aircraft)
Roy Grinell 2005
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.
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.
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
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.
Fates of the Crew
June 4, 1942)
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