IJN Akagi

Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier Akagi with three Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen (Allied code name "Zeke") fighters spotted forward. Akagi ("Red Castle") was originally designed as a battlecruiser, but like USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3), she was converted while building to an aircraft carrier, along with her semi-sister IJN Kaga. She was commissioned on March 25, 1927. Her original configuration had three flight decks stacked on each other. She was modernized and recommissioned August 31, 1938 with a single flight deck almost the entire length of the hull. This allowed her aircraft complement to be increased to 91. With Kaga, she was the premiere striking force of First Air Fleet. Participating in the attack on Pearl Harbor, her Nakajima B5N2 (Allied code name "Kate") torpedo bombers help sink USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and USS West Virginia (BB-48). During the Indian Ocean Raids her aircraft helped sink HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire on April 5, 1942 and HMS Hermes on April 9, 1942. During the Battle of Midway, Akagi launched a strike against the atoll, only to be struck by bombs from USS Enterprise (CV-6) on June 4, 1942. Three Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless dive bombers hit the island, starting a fire that explodes the aircraft armed and refueling for a counterstrike; the second hits the fantail; and the third near-misses on the forward port side. If the aircraft weren't in the process of rearming, the damage wouldn't have been grievous. Akagi is wrecked, her rudder jamming, sending her into a wide circle. She stops dead at 1350 Hours. Her surviving crew are taken off at 1600. On June 5, she is scuttled. 263 are killed; 1,070 are rescued, including Captain Taijiro Aoki. Akagi was the first Japanese warship to be sunk by her own navy in World War II. Date estimated.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
United States Naval Historical C
Date Photographed: 
Sunday, June 1, 1941
Kangawa Prefecture