Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier Hiryu during builder's trials. She was commissioned on July 5, 1939, operating in Japanese waters as part of Carrier Division 2 under the command of Captain Tomeo Kaku. She was part of the First Air Fleet's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Ten Nakajima B5N2 torpedo bombers (Allied code name "Kate") targeted USS Arizona (BB-39), USS California (BB-44), eight Kates targeted USS West Virginia (Bb-48), USS Oklahoma (BB-37), and USS Helena (CL-50) and six Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero-Sen fighters attacked US air bases at Wheeler Field and Barbers Point. After that operation, Hiryu and IJN Soryu attacked Wake until the island fell on December 23. She attacked Darwin, Australia on February 19, 1942, causing heavy damage to local shipping. In March 1942 Hiryu joined the rest of Kido Butai in raiding the Indian Ocean, sinking HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire on April 5 and HMS Hermes and HMS Vampire on April 9. During the Battle of Midway, Hiryu launched a strike against the Atoll on June 4, but saw all three carriers in First Air Fleet destroyed by the Americans. She launched two retaliatory strikes against USS Yorktown (CV-5) that immobilized the carrier, allowing IJN I-168 to sink her on June 6. Caught by thirteen Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless Dive Bombers at 1703 hours on June 4, Hiryu was staggered by three bomb hits to her forward elevator, which smashed into the bridge. Her forward flight deck collapsed. At 0158 a major explosion dooms the ship. Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi and Captain Kaku elect to remain aboard; destroyer IJN Makigumo attempts to scuttle her with a single torpedo. However, she is afloat at 0630 when a float plane from carrier IJN Hosho photographs her; approximately 70 sailors are still aboard, mostly her engineering team that was inadvertently left behind. Before a destroyer can reach the stricken Hiryu, she sinks at 0912. 35 sailors are rescued by USS Ballard (AVD-10) on June 19. 383 Hiryu sailors were killed.
United States Naval Historical C
Caption ©2007 MFA Productions LLC
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