Built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries at Kobe. Laid down November 20, 1939 as the fast luxury passenger liner Idzumo Maru by Nippon Yusen Kaisha (Japan Mail Steamship company) but was instead purchased by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in 1940 along with her sistership Kashiwara Maru which became Junyō. Both ships were converted into aircraft carriers. Her bridge was built on the starboard side, and its funnel was slightly tilted to the outside in order to increase visibility on the flight deck. Named Hiyō 飛鷹
meaning "Flying Hawk".
Spelled Hiyo in English. Launched June 24, 1941. Commissioned July 31, 1942 at Kure and assigned to Carrier Division 2, Third Fleet.
On October 4, 1942 departs Saeki for Truk, arriving on the 9th and assigned to main unit Advance Force. On October 11 departs Truk for the Solomons.
Abort from Battle of Santa Cruz
On October 17, while operating off Guadalcanal prior to the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, a fire broke out in the generator room. Considerable damage to the condensor is caused and the carrier is slowed to 16 knots and the carrier is forced to proceed for repairs, arriving at Truk on October 26, 1942.
While under repair at Truk, suffers minor bomb damage on November 13, 1942 and November 27, 1942 during air raids. When the repairs were completed, Captain Beppu takes command and the carrier is assigned to Mobile Force and departs Truk on December 5 proceeding northward via Saeki before arriving at Kure on December 11.
On January 15, 1943 the carrier patrols the Inland Sea, and travels from Tokuyama frequently. On February 26 dry docked at Kure, and departs on March 4 and resumes patrolling. On March 22 departs Saeki and is reassigned to the Main Unit Mobile Force, arriving at Truk on March 27, 1943.
During early April 1943, while Hiyo remained at Truk, her A6M2 Zero and D3A Vals flew to Rabaul to participate in Operation I-GO. On April 7, 1942 based at Ballale Airfield and then Rabaul. On April 12, 1942 while Hiyō is at Truk, she sustains minor damage from an air raid. On April 14, 1943 her Zeros and Vals participate in the attack against Milne Bay. The Vals score a bomb hit on MS Van Heemskerk that catches fire and sinks. Gorgon (3,500 Tons) sustained a bomb hit to the engine room and stern and sank but was later refloated. Van Outhorn (2,070 Tons) was damaged by two near misses and a fire started aboard that was extinguished. Bombs fell near other ships but no other damaged was reported. Damaged by strafing were Australian corvettes and Moa Moa off at Kana Kopa. In total, the Allies aboard the ships suffered 15 killed and 80 wounded.
Arrives at Tawi Tawi on May 16, 1944. During June 19-20, 1944 participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea (Great Marianas Turkey Shoot).
On June 20, 1944 while operating with Junyō, Ryuhō, Nagato and Mogami and destroyers, this carrier was attacked by aircraft from USS Enterprise that dropped a bomb that exploded above the top of the bridge. Another bomb exploded on the flight deck. Later, six TBF Avengers from USS Belleau Wood CVL-24 attacked with aerial torpedoes, one scored a hit that flooded the starboard engine room, caused fires and a loss of speed. Afterwards, the fires were put under control and the list corrected.
Two hours after the attack, there was a tremendous explosion. Japanese sources credited this to a submarine, but was actually caused by an explosion of gas vapor that cut off all power and started fires. Escorting destroyer Uranami could not assist due to the flames and the carrier began to sink stern first at 7:32pm.
Fates of the Crew
During the sinking 247 crew were lost. Escorting destroyers rescued 1,000 crew including Captain Yokoi.
Operation A by Richard Dunn
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August 4, 2020