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NAME

KAGA

CLASS

AIRCRAFT CARRIER

ENT/SERVICE

MARCH 21st 1928

BUILT

KAWASAKI NAVY YARD / JAPAN

WEIGHT

35,000 TONS

LENGTH

789 FEET

WIDTH

108 FEET - FLIGHT DECK 109 FEET

SPEED

29 KNOTS

PROPELLERS

4

ENGINES

4 - GEARED STEAM TURBINES - 127,400 HP

AIRCRAFT

85 - ZERO FIGHTERS / VAL DIVE BOMBERS / KATE TORPEDO


Kaga was the largest Japanese aircraft carrier at the Battle of Midway in June 1942, the other three being Akagi at 33,000 tons, Soryu 16,000 tons and Hiryu 16,000 tons. These carriers were part of the largest fleet ever assembled, around 200 ships altogether. The Japanese began attacks on Midway Island so they could draw the US Pacific Fleet into a battle. They expected to strengthen their grip on the Pacific region with a decisive victory at Midway.

Kaga

After the United States received an intelligence report stating the Japanese fleet was closing in on Midway, they deployed a carrier group from Pearl Harbor led by the 19,900-ton carriers Yorktown, Enterprise and Hornet. The Japanese carrier aircraft began attacks on US aircraft based at Midway Island in the morning of June 4th. As they were re-arming with bombs for a second assault on Midway later that day, their reconnaissance aircraft detected the US carriers closing in. The US carrier aircraft found their targets as the Japanese were re-arming their aircraft with torpedoes for attacks on the US fleet. As their decks were littered with bombs and fuel hoses, that was the worst possible time for the carriers to be attacked. Only Hiryu managed to launch her bomber and torpedo aircraft before US bombers devastated the four Japanese carriers.

Akagi

Three of Hiryu’s bombers broke through the US defenses and targeted Yorktown. As fires from damage sustained in that attack were quickly extinguished, a following attack by Hiryu’s torpedo aircraft targeted Yorktown as well. Two torpedoes from that attack found their target causing serious damage.

Hiryu

The battle turned out to be a disaster for the Japanese as US dive-bombers sank Kaga and damaged Akagi to an extent she had to be scuttled by her crew. Hiryu had to be scuttled the following day, as dive-bombers had damaged her beyond repair and the US submarine Nautilus sank the least damaged Soryu the following day. The battle of Midway cost Japan four carriers, two cruisers, one destroyer, 332 aircraft and 2,155 men. US losses were one carrier, one destroyer, 150 aircraft and 307 men.

Soryu

Other large Japanese carriers lost during the war were the 35,000-ton Taiho sunk by the US submarine Albacore near Japan in June 1944. Shokaku at 28,000 tons was sunk by the US submarine Cavalla June 19th 1944 during the battle of the Philippians Sea. The 28,000-ton Zuikaku sank after being attacked by US carrier aircraft October 25th 1944 at Leyte and the US submarine Archerfish sank the 59,000-ton Shinano as she traveled from her builders at Yokosuka to the Kure navy yard to undergo fitting out. This ship was originally being built as a Yamato class battleship. After Japan realized the importance of aircraft carriers, they had Shinano completed as by far the largest carrier of the Second World War.

Shokaku

Japan had about 28 aircraft carriers in service, or about to enter service during WWII, all were either sunk or damaged enough to prevent them operating during the war.

Japan Carrier List.

Shinano

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