IJN Akagi: Tabular Record of
© 1998/2006 Anthony P. Tully
Revised Enhanced Edition:
© 2013 Anthony P. Tully and Gilbert Casse
6 December 1920:
Kure. Laid down as a battlecruiser - as second warship of AMAGI class - in Kure Naval Yard.
5 February 1922:
Both AMAGI class battlecruisers are canceled under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. As the treaty authorizes conversion of two battleship or battlecruiser hulls into aircraft carriers, the incomplete battlecruisers AMAGI and AKAGI are selected.
1 September 1923:
An earthquake of magnitude 8.3 on the Richter scale strikes the Kanto plain, Honshu killing about 105,000 people. AMAGI, under conversion at the Yokosuka Naval Yard is heavily shaken by the quake that causes significant stress damage to her hull. After inspection, the structure is deemed too heavily damaged to be usable and conversion work is abandoned. Henceforth, incomplete battleship KAGA is reordered as a carrier to replace AMAGI.
9 November 1923:
Works on conversion to a carrier starts at Kure Naval Yard.
14 April 1924:
AMAGI is removed from the Navy's list. Later sold for scrapping.
22 April 1925:
Launched. Named AKAGI ("Red Castle" - after Akagi-yama, a mountain in Gunma Prefecture). Later transferred to Yokosuka Naval Yard for completion.
25 March 1927:
AKAGI like KAGA is completed with three superimposed flight decks as a means to launch as many aircraft as quickly as possible. No island is fitted, the ship being commanded from a space below the forward end of the upper flight deck. (For more details see her specs page). [In Preparation]
Captain Kaizu Ryutaro (30) (former CEO of light carrier HOSHO) is appointed Commanding Officer.
17 June 1927:
Achieves a speed record of 32.5-knots during her trials.
1 August 1927:
Attached to the Combined Fleet (Rengo Kantai). Her air group consists of 12 Mitsubishi Type 10 1MF3 (+4 spares) fighters, 24 (+4 spares) Mitsubishi Type 13 B1M attack planes and 12 Mitsubishi Type 10 2MR reconnaissance aircraft.
E August-October 1927:
Participates in maneuvers at sea during which operational experience for carriers usage is gathered.
1 November 1927:
Reduced to reserve-class status. Undergoes, probably at Yokosuka Naval Yard, an overhaul due to necessary changes after few months of operational service.
1 December 1927:
Captain Kaizu is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Seizaburo (31) (former CEO of carrier KAGA) as Commanding Officer.
1 April 1928:
Attached as flagship of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Takahashi Sankichi's (29) (former CO of battleship FUSO) newly formed CarDiv 1 with light carrier HOSHO and DesDiv 6's UME and KUSUNOKI.
E April-June 1928:
Participates in large maneuvers at sea during which CarDiv 1 forms defense force (“blue”) facing the “red” force composed of other warships.
10 December 1928:
CarDiv 1 is disbanded and AKAGI again is reduced to reserve-class status. That same day, Captain Kobayashi is relieved by Captain (Fleet Admiral posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (32) (later Commander in Chief of Combined Fleet) as commanding officer.
1 April 1929:
CarDiv 1 is reformed under command of Rear Admiral Takahashi with AKAGI, light carrier HOSHO and DesDiv 6's UME and KUSUNOKI. Participates in fleet maneuvers.
20 April 1929:
Due to a severe gale, AKAGI's air group is forced to land at airfields near Saishutoshima. Maneuvers are aborted.
22 April 1929:
Arrives at Sasebo.
1 November 1929:
Captain Yamamoto is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kitagawa Kiyoshi (33) (former CO of heavy cruiser KINUGASA) as Commanding Officer.
30 November 1929:
Reduced once more to reserve-class status, AKAGI is replaced by carrier KAGA in CarDiv 1.
26 October 1930:
Captain Kitagawa is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hara Goro (35) (former CO of light carrier HOSHO) as Commanding Officer.
1 December 1930:
Captain Hara is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Wada Hideo (34) (former CO of light carrier HOSHO) as Commanding Officer.
18 August 1931:
Sustains some damage from a crash-landing airplane that injures Captain Wada.
28 August 1931:
Injured Captain Wada is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Onishi Jiro (34) (former CO of heavy cruiser NACHI) as Commanding Officer.
1 December 1931:
Reduced to second-class reserve status. That same day, Captain Onishi is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Baron Shibayama Masaki (35) (former CO of oiler KAMOI) as Commanding Officer.
E December 1931~E November 1932:
Undergoes a refit in Yokosuka Naval Yard.
1 December 1932:
Refit is completed. Her arresting gear is replaced with a transverse cabled system and ventilation systems are overhauled and improved. The carrier is fitted with an improved radio instrumentation system. AKAGI is reclassified a first-class reserve ship. That same day, Captain Shibayama is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kondo Eijiro (36) (former CO of light carrier HOSHO) as Commanding Officer.
25 April 1933:
Resumes active service and joins CarDiv 1 with DesDiv's 2 MINEKAZE, YAKAZE, SAWAKAZE and OKIKAZE.
20 October 1933:
Captain Kondo is relieved by Captain (later Admiral) Tsukahara Nishizô (36) (former CO of light cruiser OI) as Commanding Officer.
15 October 1934:
Arrives at Osaka Wan (Bay).
1 November 1934:
Captain Tsukahara is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Horie Rokuro (36) (former CO of light carrier HOSHO) as Commanding Officer.
15 November 1934:
AKAGI is attached to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Katagiri Eikichi's (34) (former CO of battleship HARUNA) newly formed CarDiv 2 as flagship with DesDiv's 2 MINEKAZE and OKIKAZE.
24 October 1935:
Sasebo. Enters docks at Sasebo Naval Yard for a general reconstruction including extensive changes in entire equipment and ship's outline. The three flight decks had shown their lack of ability to handle ever larger and heavier aircraft and have to be replaced by a single flight deck to accommodate the new generation of aircraft.
15 November 1935:
Reduced to a third reserve-class status. That same day, Captain Horie is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsunaga Toshio (37) (former CO of light carrier RYUJO) as Commanding Officer.
1 December 1936:
Captain Matsunaga is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Terada Kokichi (36) (former CO of light carrier HOSHO) as Commanding Officer.
27 August 1937:
Captain Terada is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Moizumi Shinichi (37) (former CO of heavy cruiser MAYA) as Commanding Officer.
1 December 1937:
Captain Moizumi is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mizuno Junichi (37) (former CO of heavy cruiser FURUTAKA) as Commanding Officer.
31 August 1938:
Modernization is completed; AKAGI emerges with the three flight decks removed. In their place is one single flight deck with a length increased to 249.17-m (817.5-ft) running nearly the length of the ship. Aircraft capacity is thus raised from 60 to 91 (66 operational and 25 in storage). A third elevator is added amidships. Her arrester gear is replaced by a Japanese-designed Type 1 system. An island superstructure is added on the ship's port side, an unusual arrangement which will be later shared by carrier HIRYU. However, this experiment will not be continued on other future carriers. Her displacement is now 37,100-tons (standard).
3 September 1938:
Captain Mizuno is confirmed as Commanding Officer and also is appointed Commanding Officer of battleship HARUNA.
E September-October 1938:
Undergoes a cycle of acceptance trials.
15 November 1938:
Reclassified as a first reserve-class ship. That same day, Captain Mizuno is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Teraoka Kinpei (40) (former CO of carrier SORYU) as Commanding Officer.
15 December 1938:
Resumes active service and joins Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hosogaya Boshiro's (36) (former CO of battleship MUTSU) CarDiv 1 as only carrier with DesDiv 29's OITE, HAYATE, ASANAGI and YUNAGI.
30 January 1939:
Departs Sasebo for southern China. Her air group consists of 12 (+4 spares) A5M2 “Claude”, 18 (+5 spares) D1A2 “Susie” and 36 (+16 spares) B4Y1 “Jean”.
E 2 February 1939:
Arrives off Hainan Island, China.
9 February 1939:
At midnight, after escorting a convoy, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35)(former CO of KONGO) 5th Fleet (South China Naval Force) consisting of CruDiv 9's MYOKO (F), light cruisers NATORI and NAGARA, DesDiv 23's MOCHIZUKI,MUTSUKI, MIKAZUKI and KIKUZUKI, DesDiv 45's MATSUKAZE and ASAKAZE and DesDiv 28's YUNAGI and ASANAGI and MinesweepDiv 12 enter and anchor in Tsinghai Bay on the northern shore of Hainan Island. Kondo's forces then carry out a amphibious assault landing. Air cover is provided by CarDiv 1's AKAGI and seaplane carrier CHIYODA.
LtCdr (later Captain) Prince Takamatsu Nobuhito (1/52)(former Division Commander, FUSO), brother of Emperor Hirohito (Showa) and a Naval General Staff officer is aboard MYOKO as an observer.
10 February 1939:
At 1200, the 4th Base Force's 4th Yokosuka, No. 6 Kure and No. 8 Sasebo Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF) effect a landing at Haikow. IJA MajGen Iida Shojiro's Taiwan Mixed Brigade consisting of the 1st and 2nd Infantry and Mountain Gun Regiments and Navy SNLF forces mop up the northern part of the island.
11 February 1939:
Combat units land at Samah at the southern Hainan Island and occupy Yulin (Samah) and Yai-Hsien. Later, these units and the 5th Garrison Unit occupy and subjugate the entire island. Hainan Guard District's Headquarters is established at Samah and an air base is completed on the island.
19 February 1939:
Departs China waters.
27 April 1939:
At Sukumo Bay.
11 November 1939:
Samah (Sanya), Hainan Island, At 1200, the Pakhoi and Nanning invasion transports assemble in Samah Bay consisting of TAITO (4,466 grt), TAIAN (3,670 grt), ISSHIN (4,955 grt), TOMIURA (3,821 grt), TATEISHI (3,800 grt), FUKUYO (5,463 grt), and YUKI MARUs (3,170 grt). Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35)(former CO of KONGO) 5th Fleet (South China Naval Force) provides the covering force consisting DesDiv 11's HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI.
The transports carry elements of LtGenAndo Rikichi's 21st Army including LtGen Imamura Hitoshi's 5th Division, MajGen Nakamura Masao's 21st Brigade and others
Air cover for the invasion will be provided by seaplane carrier CHIYODA, tender KAMIKAWA MARU and CarDiv 1's AKAGI and CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU cruising in the South China Sea escorted by DesRon 1.
15 November 1939:
At 0700, Army forces under the protection of the guns of IJN units, effect a successful surprise landing on the coast of Guangxi at the mouth of the Yuhung River, near Pakhoi, at Lungmen Island and the eastern shore of Yamchow (Chinghow) Bay.
CarDiv 1 is operating with DesDiv's 19 ISONAMI, URANAMI, AYANAMI and SHIKINAMI. That same day, Captain Teraoka is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kusaka Ryûnosuke (41) (former CO of light carrier HOSHO) as Commanding Officer.
On the south coast, an unidentified IJN Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) lands on Qinzhouwan Bay, near Qusha of Pakhoi city. After overwhelming limited Chinese resistance, the Japanese occupy the port of Pakhoi and push towards Nanning with two IJA divisions and one SNLF brigade. They soon capture Fangcheng and cut off the Nanning-Zhennanguan Pass segment of the Xiang-Gui Railway, but the Chinese ship away locomotives, 7,000 tons of railway materials and 5,000 tons of supplies to Tongdeng before the Japanese take over Mingjiang.
24 November 1939:
Nanning falls to the Japanese as Chinese forces fall back along the highway to Wuming. Shortly thereafter, departs for home waters.
E December 1939-March 1940:
Operates in Japan waters and is stationed in Ariake Wan (Bay), Kyushu.
26 March 1940:
Arrives in Central China waters. Her air group consists of 18 A5M “Claude” (+ 6 spares), 27 B5N “Kate” (+ 9 spares) and 18 D1A2 “Susie” (+ 6 spares).
E 27 March-2 April 1940:
Participates in operations against Chinese forces.
2 April 1940:
Departs China for Japan.
1 June 1940:
Departs Yokosuka for Ariake Bay for training.
25 June 1940 :
Arrives at Beppu Bay, via Sukumo Bay.
15 July 1940:
Returns to Yokosuka.
10 August 1940:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.
4 September 1940:
Arrives at Yokosuka from Sukumo Bay.
5 September 1940:
Departs Yokosuka. Steams to the southern Pacific to support Army's operations.
18 September 1940:
Arrives at Hiroshima Bay.
20 September 1940:
Arrives at Kure.
11 October 1940:
Participates in the Naval Review off Yokohoma, then cruises over to Yokosuka.
15 October 1940:
Captain Kusaka is relieved by Captain Ito Ko (39) as Commanding Officer.
15 November 1940 ~ March 1941:
Reclassified as special duty ship in Yokosuka Naval District. Undergoes during that period, several inspections of her armament, radio instrumentation and fire-control systems.
25 March 1941:
Captain (Vice Admiral posthumously) Hasegawa Kiichi (42) (former CO of light carrier RYUJO) is appointed commanding officer.
10 April 1941:
Becomes flagship of the newly organized First Air Fleet and assigned to Cardiv 1 with carrier KAGA and DesDiv's 7 AKEBONO and USHIO. CarDiv 2's carriers HIRYU and SORYU with DesDiv's 23 KIKUZUKI and UZUKI and CarDiv 4's light carrier RYUJO also are attached to the First Air Fleet.
11 April 1941:
Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (36) (former CO of battleship YAMASHIRO) embarks on AKAGI as CINC, Air Fleet 1.
22 April 1941:
24 April 1941:
Arrives at Kagoshima Bay.
Late April-May 1941:
Near Kyushu, generally operating from Ariake Bay. Intensive exercises in horizontal bombing are performed against target ship (formely battleship) SETTSU. AKAGI's air group consists of 18 A5M “Claude” (+3 spares), 27 B5N “Kate” (+3 spares) and 18 D3A “Val” (+3 spares). Kyushu and Okinawa.
22 May 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo. Enters drydock the following day for hull maintenance and minor repairs.
5 June 1941:
Arrives at Kushikino, western Kyushu.
June ~ Mid July 1941:
Between Kyushu and Okinawa. Several training exercises in torpedo-bombing are conducted as well as protection of carriers against enemy air attacks. CarDiv 1 attacks CarDiv 2 (and vice-versa).
15 July 1941:
Returns to Yokosuka for maintenance and repairs.
29 July 1941:
Departs Yokosuka for Ariake Bay. Henceforth operating between Kagoshima and Ariake Bay.
25 August 1941:
Depart Ariake Bay for Yokosuka. That same day, LtCdr (later Cdr) Fuchida Mitsuo (52) is appointed air group Commanding Officer.
27 August 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Carries out maintenance and refitting.
16 September 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Wan (Bay). Depart later for Yokosuka.
E October 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Enters Yokosuka Naval Yard dock to repair minor damage from previous training exercises.
23 October 1941:
27 October 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.
30 October 1941:
Cruises to Kagoshima Bay. Subsequently returns to Ariake Bay.
1 November 1941:
Departs Ariake Bay, returns same day.
4 November 1941:
Two training air raids are conducted against Saeki base from a distance of 200 nautical miles. Later that same day, arrives at Ariake Bay. At 2145, Admiral Yamamoto, Combined Fleet's CINC, holds a conference aboard. Date of commencing military operations - 8 December (Tokyo time) - is confirmed; also discussed are recent training and issue of too deep runs of torpedoes after they are dropped, which could lead them to hit the bottom in the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor. This issue will be later fixed by the implementation of wooden fins to make them dive less deeply upon entry into the water.
7 November 1941:
Arrives at Kagoshima Bay.
8 November 1941:
Departs Kagoshima Bay.
9 November 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.
13 November 1941:
Departs Sasebo. Arrives later that day at Kagoshima.
15 November 1941:
Departs Kagoshima Bay.
16 November 1941:
At 1340, arrives at Saeki Bay. At 1500, Admiral Yamamoto and his staff embarks and carries out an officer briefing on the flight deck, attended by over 100 men who would participate in the upcoming Hawaii Operation. The crews receive a strict order not to get ashore. After sunset, departs Saeki Bay for the Kuriles.
22 November 1941:
Arrives at Hittokappu Bay, Etorofu-To (Island) (now Iturup) the secret assembling point for the Pearl Harbor attack Mobile Force. At 2000, LtCdr Fuchida and Chief of Intelligence Suzuki meet in the conference room. Intel Chief points particular targets on the diorama depicting PH Naval Base and refers present status of warships based there, number of aircraft basing on every airfield and AA defense stations. AKAGI operational air group's consists of 18 Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M2 Reisen “Zeke” fighters, 27 Type 97 Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” attack planes and 18 Type 99 Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive bombers.
23 November 1941:
Early morning. Vice Admiral Nagumo conducts a briefing for COs of all warships participating in Hawaii Operation. Afterwards, LtCdr (later Captain) Genda Minoru (52) specifies particular targets and refers a planned course of operation.
25 November 1941:
A ceremonial banquet to the future victory with officers of the other warships, is held on the carrier.
26 November: 1941:,
At 0600, Vice Admiral Nagumo First Air Fleet, Striking Force, ("Kido Butai") CarDiv 1's AKAGI (F) and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU and CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3, Section 1's HIEI and KIRISHIMA with Vice Admiral Mikawa's (38) Support Force: Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral Abe Hiroaki's (39) CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA, flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's (41) (former CO of ISE) that includes DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO and SHIRANUI departs Hittokapu Bay. Refueling operations are needed during the mission and two Supply Groups join the warships: Captain Ota Masanao's (39) Supply Group No. 1's oilers KYOKUTO (F), KOKUYO, KENYO and SHINKOKU MARUs and Captain (Rear Admiral posthumously) Niimi Kazutaka's (40) (former CO of light cruiser TAMA) Supply Group No. 2's oilers TOHO (F), TOEI and NIPPON MARUs.
Nagumo's orders from Admiral Yamamoto, are that if refueling proves impossible in the stormy winter waters of the Northern Pacific, Nagumo is to detach AGAKI, SORYU and HIRYU and his destroyers and make the attack with only KAGA, SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU that need no refueling.
2 December 1941:
940 miles N of Midway Island. Nagumo's Force receives the coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).
That same day, the oilers refuel battleships HIEI and KIRISHIMA.
4 December 1941: (Hawaii Time):
N Pacific. Weather conditions worsen. Rough seas cause the Striking Force's destroyers to roll up to 45 degrees. Refueling is cancelled.
5 December 1941: (Hawaii Time):
600 miles N of Oahu, Hawaii. At about 1130, after fleet refueling is completed, the 2nd Supply Group's oilers TOHO (F), NIPPON and TOEI MARUs and destroyer ARARE are detached from the Striking Force and turn towards a designated rendezvous point with the carriers for the return trip to Japan.
6 December 1941: (Hawaii Time):
400 miles N of Oahu, Hawaii. At 0810, after refueling the Carrier Force, the 1st Supply Group's oilers KYOKUTO (F), KENYO, KOKUYO and SHINKOKU MARUs and destroyer KASUMI are detached and turn towards a designated rendezvous point with the carriers for the return trip to Japan. The Striking Force increases speed to 24 knots and proceeds to Hawaiian waters to launch the attack.
That same day, Vice Admiral Nagumo dispatches ABUKUMA and DesDiv 17's TANIKAZE to Supply Group No. 1 at the rendezvous point following final refueling before the attack. At about 2100, the two warships reach the oilers, refuel and return with the oilers to the First Air Fleet.
7 December 1941: Operation "Z" - The Attack on Pearl Harbor: (Hawaii Times):
At 0618, the Carrier Striking Force first wave is launched against Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
At 0630, BatDiv 3/1 launches Type 95 Nakajima E8N "Dave" two-seat reconnaissance floatplanes to patrol south of the Striking Force. CruDiv 8 also launches picket floatplanes.
At 0755, the Striking Force's first wave of 183 aircraft (89 Type 97 Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” attack planes, 51 Type 99 Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive-bombers and 43 Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zeke” fighters) led by Cdr (later Captain) Fuchida Mitsuo (52) attack the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and other military installations on Oahu, Hawaiian Islands. In the first strike, AKAGI contributes 12 B5N2 “Kate” torpedo bombers and 15 B5N2 “Kate” each equipped with one 800-kg Type 99 model 5 bomb, that target battleships MARYLAND (BB-46), CALIFORNIA (BB-44), WEST VIRGINIA (BB-48), TENNESSEE (BB-43 ) and OAKLAHOMA (BB-37) and nine A6M2 “Zeke” fighters that attack Hickam Field airbase and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Ewa Field, Oahu Island.
About 0840, the first wave is followed by a second wave of 167 aircraft (54 "Kate", 78 "Val" and 35 "Zeke") led by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral posthumously) Shimazaki Shigekazu (57). AKAGI contributes 18 D3A1 “Val” dive bombers that target battleship MARYLAND (BB-46), light cruiser RALEIGH (CL-7), fleet oiler NEOSHO (AO-23), destroyer SHAW (DD-373)and Naval Air Station Ford Island and nine A6M2 “Zeke” fighters that attack Hickam Field Air Force Base. By 0945, they retire towards their carriers.
Nagumo orders a withdrawal following recovery of the second attack wave. Losses sustained by AKAGI's aircraft are one “Zeke” and four “Val”, totaling five aircraft.
23 December 1941:
Arrives at Hashirajima, Yamaguchi Prefecture, with KAGA, SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU. Departs later for Kure.
25 December 1941:
Arrives at Kure.
5 January 1942:
Carrier Striking Force (Car Divs 1, 5) departs Hashirajima, and arrives later that same day at Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
8 January 1942:
Departs Iwakuni for Truk with CarDiv 5, BatDiv 3 (HIEI, KIRISHIMA), DesRon 1, ABUKUMA with Desdiv 18 (ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO, SHIRANUHI, with AKIGUMO attached.)
14 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
15 January 1942:
KAGA arrives with CruDiv 8 at Truk. CarDiv 1 is reformed.
17 January 1942: - Operation "R" - The Invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng:
Admiral Nagumo Carrier Striking Force's CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CruDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3/1 HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA and DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA with DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO, SHIRANUI and unattached destroyer AKIGUMO departs Truk.
CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA also depart Truk with oiler GOYO MARU and troop transports KINRYU and AZUMASAN MARUs escorted by DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI and DesDiv 23's KIKUZUKI, UZUKI and YUZUKI. They are screened by CruDiv 6's AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO and FURUTAKA, minelayers TSUGARU and OKINOSHIMA and CarDiv 11's seaplane carrier CHITOSE.
20 January 1942:
New Ireland. CarDivs 1 and 5 launch 100 bombers and fighters to attack Rabaul, New Britain. AKAGI provides 20 B5N2 “Kate” and 9 A6M2 “Zeke”. Norwegian cargo ship HERSTEIN is hit by three bombs, resulting in a fire that quickly spread all over the ship. During the night, HERSTEIN drifts across to the other side of Simpson Harbour and burns until the next morning before becoming beached and deemed a total loss. That evening, CarDiv 5 is detached with CHIKUMA and three destroyers and moves to a position in the Bismarck Sea.
21 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 attacks Allied positions at Kavieng, New Ireland, of which AKAGI contributes 9 A6M2 “Zeke” and 18 D3A1 “Val” with no casualties sustained. That same day, CarDiv 5 launches attacks on Madang, Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea. After CarDiv 5 recovers her aircraft, she departs the Bismarck Sea area that evening to rendezvous with CarDiv 1.
22 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches a 45-plane strike against Rabaul of which AKAGI contributes 6 A6M2 “Zeke” and 18 D3A1 “Val”.
22-23 January 1942:
The invasion forces land at night, swiftly overcome light Australian opposition and occupy Rabaul and Kavieng. All four carriers contribute small patrols of dive-bombers and fighters, providing continuous air cover over the landing area. After recovering its aircraft, Nagumo's CarDiv 1 heads north to Truk later followed by CarDiv 5 after it conducts an aircraft ferry operation.
27 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 arrives at Truk.
29 January 1942:
CarDiv 5 arrives at Truk. Later that day, SHOKAKU departs for Yokosuka.
1 February 1942:
Cancelling preparations to move to the Celebes, AKAGI, KAGA and ZUIKAKU departs Truk in an attempt to catch the enemy carrier force that attacked the Marshall Islands earlier that same day.
2 February 1942:
Pursuit of U.S. Task force is abandoned and the Japanese Carrier Strike Force proceeds to Palau, Western Carolines.
8 February 1942:
Arrives at Palau with KAGA and ZUIKAKU.
9 February 1942:
CarDiv 1 switches anchorages and during these movements KAGA's bow grazes a reef. However temporary repairs are made and she remains operational. ZUIKAKU departs same day for Yokosuka.
15 February 1942:
Departs Palau with KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU, and Crudiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, screened by DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA, that includes DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's KASUMI and SHIRANUI and DesDiv's 27 ARIAKE and YUGURE for the attacks on Port Darwin, Australia.
19 February 1942:
At 0830, raid on Port Darwin is launched. The first wave led by Cdr (later Captain) Fuchida Mitsuo (52) consists of 81 B5N2 “Kate”, escorted by 18 A6M2 “Zeke” to which AKAGI contributes 18 “Kate”. At 0900, the second wave is launched with 71 D3A1 “Val escorted by 18 A6M2 “Zeke” to which AKAGI contributes 18 “Val” and nine “Zeke”. The second wave catches up with the first one before arriving over Darwin.
Eight ships, including the destroyer USS PEARY (DD-226) and large Army transport GENERAL M. C. MEIGS are sunk and nine damaged, including seaplane tender USS WILLIAM B. PRESTON (AVD-7); 15 aircraft, including nine American Curtiss P-40E "Warhawk" fighters are destroyed. AKAGI's aircraft sustain no loss in the raid.
21 February 1942:
The Carrier Striking Force “Kido Butai” CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU and CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA and TONE, DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA with DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's KASUMI and SHIRANUI and DesDiv 27's YUGURE and ARIAKE arrives at Staring Bay, Celebes (now Sulawesi) to refuel. They are joined by BatDiv 3/1 HIEI and KIRISHIMA. Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake (35) (former CO of KONGO) also arrives from Palau with BatDiv 3/2's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, MAYA and TAKAO and DesDiv 4's ARASHI, NOWAKI, MAIKAZE and HAGIKAZE.
25 February 1942:
Departs Staring Bay with the Striking Force to cover the invasion of Java.
27 February 1942:
Close to launch attack against USS LANGLEY (AV-3) as ordered by 2nd Fleet CO VADM Kondo, but the american vessel is dispatched by land-based aircraft before Kido Butai strike can be launched.
1 March 1942:
At 1040 search plane from TONE sights a merchant ship east of Christmas Island. This is MODJOKERTO, which is engaged by gunfire from the screen at 1125 and sunk. At noon another merchant ship is sighted heading due south, and at 1240 Nagumo orders aircraft from KAGA and SORYU to sink it. This is the tanker USS PECOS (AO-6). It proves difficult to sink, so at 1520 AKAGI also launches nine Vals to participate. The combined force of three carriers finally sinks PECOs which goes down bow first at 1718. Immediately after, at 1720 USS EDSALL (DD 219) surprises KdB from astern, having come down from northeast heretofore unobserved in an attempt to rescue PECOS. Batdiv 3 and Crudiv 8 are ordered to reverse course and sink it. KAGA and CarDiv 2's carriers also launch aircraft, but AKAGI does not participate. Their combined gunfire and bombing sinks the EDSALL at 1900. Seven to eight survivors are picked up by CHIKUMA.(Note 1)
5 March 1942:
Launch strikes against Tjilatjap, Java, D.E.I (now Cilacap, Indonesia). AKAGI contributes 18 “Kate” and nine “Zeke”. No losses are sustained.
6 March 1942:
CarDiv 2 is detached and with two BBs and DesDiv 17 heads to raid Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. CarDiv 1 with HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8 and six destroyers continues east.
10 March 1942:
CarDiv 2 force rejoins CarDiv 1 and all head for to Staring Bay after the fall of Java.
11 March 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay.
26 March: “Operation C” - The Raids in the Indian Ocean:
Vice Admiral Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force (less KAGA) departs Staring Bay with CarDiv 1's AKAGI, CarDiv 3's SORYU and HIRYU, CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3's KONGO, HARUNA, HIEI and KIRISHIMA, Crudiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, and DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA, DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's KASUMI, SHIRANUHI, ARARE and KAGERO, DesDiv 4's MAIKAZE and HAGIKAZE, CarDiv 5's AKIGUMO and fleet oiler SHINKOKU MARU and heads to the Indian Ocean via the Timor Sea.
4 April 1942:
At 1930, a Catalina of the 413th Canadian Squadron sights KdB and reports it as 360 miles SE of the southernmost point of Ceylon. Three fighters each are launched from AKAGI, SORYU, SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU, and six from HIRYU in a concerted effort to shoot it down before it can transmit details. It is forced into the sea, and six survivors of the nine crew are rescued by destroyer ISOKAZE.
5 April 1942:
The Striking Force attacks Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). At 1100, 127 of the "Kido Butai's" aircraft led by Cdr Fuchida attack the British naval base. AKAGI contributes 17 “Kate” and six “Zeke” with no loss sustained. They wreck the base's facilities, destroy 31 aircraft (six Swordfish, 21 Hurricane, four Fulmar) and sink destroyer HMS TENEDOS and armed merchant cruiser HMS HECTOR. 55 RN personnel are killed at Colombo (TENEDOS 33, HECTOR three, LUCIA two, TRUSTY one, BALTA one, FAA aircrew and ground crew 12, and an "Albacore" crew from INDOMITABLE three).
A TONE floatplane finds Vice Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet, Sir) James Somerville's (former CO of HMS WARSPITE) British Eastern Fleet's cruisers HMS CORNWALL and HMS DORSETSHIRE at sea - without air cover. Between 1638-1700, 53 Aichi D3A1 "Val" dive-bombers from AKAGI (17), HIRYU (18) and SORYU (18) sink both ships. 424 RN personnel are killed (DORSETSHIRE 234, CORNWALL 190). After the attack, the Striking Force withdraws to the SE and searches unsuccessfully for the rest of Somerville's fleet. All “Val” aircraft return safely to their carriers.
9 April 1942:
At 0900, the Striking Force launches 91 Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive-bombers and 41 Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zeke” fighters led by Commander Fuchida to attack the British naval base at Trincomalee, Ceylon. They find the harbor almost empty, but destroy merchant ship SAGAING and the four aircraft she was carrying, and damage monitor EREBUS. They also seriously damage the dockyard and the RAF station at China Bay, shoot down nine planes and destroy at least 14 aircraft on the ground.
HARUNA launches one E8N2 “Dave” floatplane that at 1055, spots an enemy carrier 65 miles south of the base. At noon, the Striking Force launches 85 D3A1“Val”, escorted by three A6M2 “Zeke”, of which AKAGI contributes 17 “Val” and three “Zeke”. They attack from 1335-1402 and sink old light carrier HMS HERMES and Australian destroyer HMAS VAMPIRE. Nagumo's aircraft also find and sink corvette HMS HOLLYHOCK, oilers ATHELSTANE and BRITISH SERGEANT and Norwegian merchant ship NORVIKEN.
At 1230 strikes are being recovered, when at 1350, without any lookouts' warning, AKAGI is straddled by bombs off the starboard bow and port quarter from RAF 18th Squadron's nine Blenheim IVs based in Colombo, Ceylon. All bombs miss but so sudden and unexpected is the attack that only a few AA shots is fired upon the attackers. This incident in fact, is the first time “Kido Butai” has been attacked since the start of the war.
13 April 1942:
By nightfall, the fleet passes Singapore and enters the South China Sea, bound for Japan.
14 April 1942:
CarDiv 5 is detached from the Striking Force for refueling at Mako with HAGIKAZE and MAIKAZE.
18 April 1942: The First Bombing of Japan:
Led by Lt Col (later General/MOH) James H. Doolittle, 16 Army B-25 "Mitchell" twin-engine bombers of the 17th Bomb Group take off from Captain (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's (USNA '10) carrier HORNET and strike targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe. At Yokosuka, a North American B-25 “Mitchell” damages light carrier RYUHO in drydock while undergoing conversion from former submarine depot ship TAIGEI.
19 April 1942:
In response to the raid on Japan, when west of Bashi Channel while steaming north for Formosa Straits, Vice Admiral Nagumo changes course eastward and his three carriers pass through Luzon Strait at high speed in an attempted pursuit of the "Doolittle Raiders" - carriers USS HORNET (CV-8) and ENTERPRISE (CV-6). No contact is made and the chase has to be called off.
22 April 1942:
AKAGI arrives at Hashirajima. Departs later for Yokosuka.
25 April 1942:
Captain Hasegawa is relieved by Captain Aoki Taijiro (41).
E 17 May 1942:
18 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima. Her air group flies off to Kagoshima for training.
26 May 1942:
Refueling operations at sea are needed for MI Operation - “The Invasion of Midway”. Captain Ota Masanao's (39) Supply Group departs Hiroshima Wan (Bay) with oilers KYOKUTO (F), KOKUYO, TOHO, NIPPON and SHINKOKU MARUs escorted by destroyer AKIGUMO.
27 May 1942:
At 0600 (JST), AKAGI departs Hashirajima for the Invasion of Midway as flagship of CarDiv 1 of Vice Admiral Nagumo's First Mobile Force, Carrier Strike Force also consisting of CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU, BatDiv 3/2's HARUNA and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA with DesDiv 4's NOWAKI, ARASHI, HAGIKAZE and MAIKAZE, DesDiv 10's KAZAGUMO, YUGUMO and MAKIGUMO and DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE.
CarDiv 5 is unable to participate, due to damage to SHOKAKU and aircraft losses to ZUIKAKU suffered at Coral Sea on 8 May. AKAGI's air group consists of 18 A6M2 “Zeke”, 18 D3A1 “Val” and 18 B5N2 “Kate”. Additionally, six A6M2 “Zeke” from the 6th Air Group, destined to Midway's future garrison, are embarked.
28 May 1942:
At 1430 (JST), the Carrier Strike Force rejoins the Supply Group. Cruising speed is maintained at 14 knots.
3 June 1942:
At 0307 (JST), the Supply Group concludes its refueling activities and is detached from the Carrier Strike Force. Shortly after 1025, speed is increased to 24 knots.
4 June 1942:
At 0430 (local times), the air strike led by Lt. (later KIA, Cdr posthumously) Tomonaga Joichi (59) is launched against Midway Island with 36 B5N2 “Kate”, 36 D3A1 “Val” and 36 A6M2 “Zeke”. AKAGA contributes 18 “Val” and 9 “Zeke”. 1 “Val”, badly damaged is put out of commission and 1 “Zeke” is lost. .
Thereafter, AKAGI is subsequently engaged and attacked by numerous enemy land and carrier-based aircraft.
At 0710, AKAGI's lookouts spot enemy planes coming low. The aircraft are six Grumann TBFs “Avenger” torpedo-bombers, on their first combat mission, and four twin-engined Martin B-26 “Marauder” medium bombers, the latter targeting AKAGI. The four “Marauder” are all shot down by CAP fighters and AA fire for the loss of one “Zeke”. Two torpedoes are evaded by the carrier.
At 0754, lookouts spot a dozen of USAAF Boeing B17s “Flying Fortress” led by LtCol (later General) Walter C. Sweeney. AKAGI evades all bombs subsequently released from high altitude.
At 1026, AKAGI is attacked by three VB-6's Douglas SBD-3 “Dauntless”dive-bombers led by LtCdr Richard H. Best (USNA '32) from U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6). One direct hit is scored amidships in the vicinity of the island, starting a fire in both hangar levels, a second slices through the net-guards of the fantail and explodes under the port quarter, while the third is a near-miss port-side amidships-forward. (Note 2). Although normally the damage would have been moderate, the vessel is currently engaged in preparations to spot a strike, with the result that the single bomb hit induces terrible explosions among armed and fueled torpedo planes within the hangar and starts a raging aviation gasoline fire from ruptured lines. Since she was in a maximum turn at the time, AKAGI's rudder is damaged, and soon jams at 20 degrees to port, leaving her going in wide circles.
At 1146, unable to command the fleet from her now, VADM Nagumo Chuichi transfers flag first to destroyer NOWAKI, then to light cruiser NAGARA. AKAGI's engines work erratically, with the ship starting and stopping, but she goes dead in the water for good at 1350. By 1600 all non-essential personnel have left the ship, though Captain Aoki and a damage control party remain aboard. The vessel burns through the evening and next night, but remains afloat.
5 June 1942:
AKAGI is scuttled by direct order of CINC-Combined Fleet, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku. At 0520, she sinks tail first after two or three torpedo hits out of four fired into her starboard side - one each - by ARASHIO, HAGIKAZE, MAIKAZE and NOWAKI in position 30-30N, 178-40W. More than 1,070 survivors are rescued, including her skipper, (Captain Aoki Taijiro) though he had to be ordered off the ship, while only 263 petty officers and men are lost. Survivors subsequently are transferred from destroyers to MUTSU, one of the battleships in Yamamoto's Main Body.
25 September 1942:
Removed from the Navy List.
REMARKS & NOTE:
Note 1: For more details on this confused and neglected encounter, see A Blue Sea of Blood: Deciphering the Mysterious Fate of the USS Edsall by Donald M. Kehn Jr.
Note 2: Heretofore it has been generally reported that Akagi was struck by two bombs, one amidships, and the second on the rear of the flight deck. However, in "Shattered Sword" we (Jon Parshall & Anthony Tully) make the case that the available facts indicate the bomb aft did not detonate on the flight deck, but exploded close beside the fantail. For this reason, Akagi was in fact mortally wounded almost certainly by one hit alone, although the rudder damage did frustrate salvage efforts to an important degree.
Special thanks are due to Gilbert Casse in preparing this TROM, and Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Bill Somerville, Lu Yu, and Allyn Nevitt for entries derived from their works.
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