KIDO BUTAI

IJN Amagi: Tabular Record of Movement

© 2004 Anthony Tully


Initial Command Structure:
Commanding Officer: Captain Yamamori Kamenosuke. Assigned to
Mobile Force, CarDiv 1, Third Fleet.

10 August 1944:
Commissioned at
Nagasaki. Proceeds to Oita and becomes flagship of Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's Mobile Fleet till October.

September - December 1944:
Throughout this period, vessel never left the
Inland Sea, moving between Gunchu, Kure, and Hashirajima.

23 October 1944:
Captain Yamamori relieved by Captain Miyazaki Toshio.

28 October 1944:
With UNRYU off Gunchu-koh.

27 November 1944:
Depart Iwakuni with KATSURAGI for exercises in the
Inland Sea.

10 December 1944:
RAdm Keizo Komura releived by Radm Sueo Obayashi as ComCarDiv 1.

12 December 1944:
Arrives after exercises with KATSURAGI at Matsuyuma roadstead.

20 December 1944:
ComCarDiv 1 Obayashi makes AMAGI his flagship. Depart for torpedo attack training exercises with land-based air.

21 December 1944:
Holding to a maximum speed of 12 knots to conserve fuel, AMAGI serves as target in live torpedo practice in the
Inland Sea.

20 January 1945:
At Iwakuni.

21 January 1945:
At Iwakuni. CarDiv 1 ordered to transport personnel and equipment of the Oita Detachement of the Yokosuka Air Group from Kure and report to Iwakuni to report for duty with said Air Group for torpedo adjustment and attack training.

1 February 1945:
Depart Iwakuni for
Kure.

10 February 1945:
ComCarDiv 1 hauls down his flag.
AMAGI enters dock at
Kure.

15 February 1945:
At
Kure. Joined by KATSURAGI.

24 February 1945:
Undocked.

15 March 1945:
AMAGI assigned to 2nd Fleet.

19 March 1945:
Air attack in morning at
Kure while anchored northwest of HARUNA. One bomb hit on edge of flight deck starboard aft. Damage minor, though it jams the aft elevator in the down position. AMAGI's gunners claim 12 planes shot down.

26 March 1945:
Ordered to repair damage and refit at
Kure. (Apparently for possible service with 1-YB).

28 March 1945:
In outer
Kure harbor roadstead. 1-YB including YAMATO departs for Mitajiri via Kubuto-shima; AMAGI to remain behind. After Ten-Go and loss of 2nd Fleet, it is decided to deactivate AMAGI to join her sister at Mitsuko-jima.

13 April 1945:
By this date, AMAGI has joined KATSURAGI at Mitsuko-jima in semi-permanent mooring. Camouflaging begins.

20 April 1945:
Reassigned as `special duty' reserve ship of the 4th Kure Naval District. Captain Miyazaki relieved by Captain Shiro Hiratsuka who leaves KATSURAGI to take over AMAGI manned only by a skeleton crew. Captain Miyazaki assumed senior responsibility for both idle carriers.

April to July 1945:
Never moves from semi-permanent mooring with starboard side 50 meters offshore from the southwest end of
Mitsuko-jima Island in Kure harbor. Heavily draped by camoufage nets with foliage and flight deck camouflaged with false "trees" and "houses" with sand poured to simulate roads to complete the effect.

24 July 1945:
Heavy air-raid on
Kure by TF 38 carrier planes. The first wave of attack did not score any hits, but near-misses bracketed the bow on both sides. One landed very close along the port side blasting a hole in the hull fifteen feet below the waterline which caused the forward bomb magazine to immediately flood. The AMAGI listed slightly to port. Then at around 1000 hours was struck by two bombs only minutes apart. The first is a 500-pound bomb that detonates in the starboard passageway beside No.2 stack, severely damaging the stack and blew a small hole in the starboard hull below the flight deck. However, this damage paled before that inflicted by a no less than 2,000 pound bomb that struck almost exactly on the centerline dead amidships between the elevators. It penetrated some 25 feet and exploded either against or just above the upper hangar deck. The resulting blast was tremendous, completely blowing apart the adjacent hangar walls and flight deck. The flight deck for a length of 200 feet was bulged up, the sides of the hangar bulkheads amidships blown out and a 50 meter section hurled out and overboard. The blast shock dropped the forward elevator and caused a large longitudinal crack in the forward flight deck that caused the deck to droop downward. Finally, the bomb blew a 25-foot hole in the upper hangar deck and fragments of it passed through the lower hangar deck below, destroying watertight integrity of decks and bulkheads in the lower amidships over a wide area.

On the bridge the Commanding Officer and others miraculously survived the catastrophic blast, and there was little fire. However, at this time a 5-inch rocket zoomed right past the island and smacked into an intact part of the flight deck to starboard between the forward elevator and the base of the island.  At the same time near-misses were landing close alongside to port, detonating below the waterline, whose fragments riddled the port shell in places. Boiler Rooms # 4 and 6 on the port side began to flood, and AMAGI began to settle deeper into the water. Though the carrier is in no danger of sinking, the commanding officer (it may not have been Captain Shiro aboard this morning) is unnerved by the damage and the rocket hit and orders her abandoned some time noon. With some reluctance, the engineering watch evacuates, finally moving to do so after an additional near-miss to port abreast the after elevator grazes an anti-aircraft gun and opened the port after engine room to the sea.

The carrier is all but abandoned when attacked again at 1530 by another 20 planes, after which, when the port after engine room begins to flood, the last watch evacuates. However, hearing the survivors reports that evening the Kure Navy Yard Superintendent censures the premature abandonment, and at the end of the day the AMAGI is still afloat and with only a slight port list and trim at the bow. Her flight deck however, is completely demolished.

25 to 27 July 1945:
No clear details available. However, it is known that with their bulkheads perforated and weakened, # 3 and 5 Boiler Rooms adjacent to starboard gradually flooded as well. It appears that during this time the AMAGI became heavily flooded below decks, and sat deep in the water. Any additional uneven flooding would (and did) produce a loss of stability.

28 July 1945:
Again bombed during heavy air raid on
Kure from TF 38. Although suffered only one, possibly two, further direct hits, many near-misses to port opened plating and accelerated progressive flooding. One bomb observed as a direct hit on the flight deck near the port deck edge opposite the No.2 stack. Since the ship had been abandoned, no real details are known, but the damage from this and a fullisade of near-misses to port exaberate the progressive flooding already in progress. The AMAGI begins to list more notably to port, and as she heels water enters the gashes torn in the hull above the waterline by the fragments of exploding bombs alongside. Though a small fire-fighting crew from Kure Navy Yard is aboard, they report that progressive flooding has spread over the third deck. Ship made further unstable by the weight of water poured into hangar by fire fighters.

29 July 1945:
Listing increased through the night and by morning AMAGI's bow was nosing under. At 1000 hours she lurched sharply to port, and capsized, toppling over to an angle of 70 degrees. The bulk of the ruined flight deck and the two elevators fell overboard when she did. She grounded with bow submerged and flight deck canted slanting into the water, starboard screws exposed. Casualties in the two days of action are unknown, but said to be light.

13 October 1945:
At time of
Kure inspection hand-over, AMAGI has only 1 officer and 4 petty officers and men still assigned as caretaker crew.

28 November:
AMAGI wreck boarded and inspected by NavTech teams.

30 November 1945:
Removed from Navy List.

16 February 1946:
Raising and scrapping authorized.

13 November 1946:
Righting operations on AMAGI hulk commence.

5 December 1946:
Afloat again, AMAGI docked and scrapping commences.

12 December 1947:
Scrapping completed.


Note: Many accounts incorrectly state that Amagi was sunk on 24 July 1945; however, 28 July found her still upright with only a slight list to port. The fatal damage apparently came from the near-misses of 28 July further waterlogging the ship and adding water to spaces remaining unflooded on 24 July . Given the lack of list in the days following the first attack, and the quickened pace of listing in the evening of the 28th, the best available evidence indicates that the attacks of the 28th, not the 24th, were the fatal ones, and not redundant as sometimes alleged.

Remarks:
Last Japanese fleet carrier sunk in the Pacific War.

Acknowledgements: Special thanks go to Bill Somerville for correspondence that helped make sense of the locations of the Amagi in the 1945 period.

 


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