IJN Kaga: Tabular Record of Movement

(Revised 5 November 2007)
© 2000 Anthony P. Tully (revised 2012)
© 2014 Anthony Tully with Gilbert Casse

19 July 1920:
Kobe. Laid down as a TOSA-class battleship at Kawasaki Heavy Industries Shipyard.

1 November 1921:
Captain (later RAdm) Miyamura Rekizo (27) (former CO of KUMA) is posted Chief Equipping Officer.

17 November 1921:
Launched at Kawasaki and named KAGA (“Increased Joy”, after the Kaga province, now Ishikawa Prefecture).

5 February 1922:
Both TOSA class battleships 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 and TOSA and KAGA designated for scrapping. Construction work on the KAGA is ordered halted.

25 June 1922:
Captain Miyamura is reassigned as outfitting of KAGA has been halted. He is later posted CO of HYUGA.

11 July 1922:
KAGA's hull is transferred to the Navy and towed to the Yokosuka Navy Yard. The plan is to expend her as a target.

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 and dislodged her from the ways, making launch impossible. After inspection, the structure is deemed too heavily damaged to be usable and conversion work is abandoned. Henceforth, battleship KAGA is reordered on 19 November as a carrier to replace AMAGI.

13 December 1923:
Conversion of KAGA to an aircraft carrier officially authorized to begin, but no work undertaken yet.

14 April 1924:
AMAGI is removed from the Navy’s list. Later sold for scrapping.

No work undergone on KAGA as Yokosuka Naval Yard is under repair and new plans being drafted.

KAGA’s conversion to an aircraft carrier starts at Yokosuka Naval Yard.

10 March 1927:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Seizaburo (31) (Former CO of cruiser TONE [1904]) is appointed Chief Equipping Officer.

1 December 1927:
Captain Kobayashi Seizaburo is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kawamura Giichiro (32) (Former CO of light carrier HOSHO) as Chief Equipping Officer.

1 March 1928:
Captain Kawamura is appointed Commanding Officer.

31 March 1928:
Completed. Officially commissioned that same day but this only signifies the beginning of her sea trials. Her displacement is 27,300-tons standard. KAGA, like AKAGI, is completed with three superimposed flight decks, the only carriers ever to be designed so. KAGA’s funnel gases are collected in a pair of long horizontal ducts which discharge at the rear of each side of the flight deck, A disposition made to keep the hot gases away from the flight deck. However, it will later prove unsatisfactory in this matter.

28 December 1928:
Moved from Yokosuka to Sasebo for some final fitting-out work.

For more detail of layout as completed and subsequent alterations see:
KAGA Data page

30 November 1929:
Attached to the Combined Fleet. Planes actually aboard the carrier are 12 (+3 spares) 1MF fighters, 18 (+6 spares) B1M attack aircraft and 6 (+2 spares) 2MR reconnaissance aircraft.

E 1930:
Due to numerous problems and damage to aircraft caused by the British longitudinal arresting gear system, KAGA is refitted with a French transverse system used on their aircraft carrier BEARN, another conversion from a battleship.

1 December 1930:
Captain Kawamura is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Uno Sekizo (34) (former CO of heavy cruiser HAGURO) as Commanding Officer.

18 September 1931: The "Mukden Incident":
Liutiaohu, about 25 miles from Mukden (now Shenyang), the capital of Manchuria. Japanese soldiers detonate an explosive on the Japanese-owned Southern Manchurian Railway. Chinese soldiers retaliate with gunfire. The Japanese Kwantung Army reinforces their troops and settles the conflict. The Japanese continue N to Mukden, attack the city and win control the next day. The “Mukden Incident” is the beginning of the Pacific War.

1 December 1931:
Captain Uno is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Onishi Jiro (34) (former CO of carrier AKAGI) as Commanding Officer. That same day, KAGA is assigned as CarDiv 1’s flagship under the command of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Kato Takayoshi (31), also consisting of light carrier HOSHO.

29 January 1932:
KAGA, attached to the 3rd Fleet, CarDiv 1, also consisting of light carrier HOSHO, departs Sasebo for Shanghai.

1 February 1932:
The Imperial Japanese Army joins Shanghai SNLF attempting to take control of Shanghai from the Chinese. By the end of the month, IJA troops number 50,000 men under General Shirakawa. That same day in support, KAGA arrives at the mouth of the Yangtse River. Her air group consists of 16 Nakajima Type 3 A1N2 fighters and 32 Mitsubishi Type 13 B1M3 attack aircraft.

3 February 1932:
About noon, KAGA launches an air strike against Chinese positions with of 12 Nakajima Type 3 A1N2 fighters and 3 Mitsubishi Type 13 B1M3 attack aircraft. Due to heavy AA fire, some of the aircraft abort. No losses are sustained.

4 February 1932:
3 Nakajima Type 3 A1N2 fighters from KAGA escort 3 Yokosuka Type 14-3 E1Y3 floatplanes from NOTORO to a strafing mission on Chinese 19th Army troops. No losses are sustained.

5 February 1932:
One KAGA Mitsubishi Type 13 B1M3 attack aircraft, on a recon mission, is shot down by Chinese AA with her two aviators KIA.

7 February 1932:
Some of HOSHO and KAGA’s aircraft are detached to Kunda Airfield. There, they fly ground attack missions in support of the IJA.

23~26 February 1932:
KAGA and HOSHO’s bombers attack Chinese airfields at Hangzhou and Suzhou, destroying a number of Chinese aircraft on the ground.

26 February 1932:
Nine attack aircraft from KAGA, escorted by 6 fighters from HOSHO on one of the bombing raids, shoot down two of 5 Chinese fighters that engaged them.

1 March 1932:
General Shirakawa's troops encircle the Chinese 19th Route Army and force a Cease-Fire. That same day, the Japanese establish the puppet government of Manchukuo (former Manchuria). They make Henry Pu Yi , the last Emperor of China, the Emperor of Manchukuo. The Japanese carriers are able to return to the homeland.

E 17 March 1932:
CarDiv 1 departs China waters.

20 March 1932:
CarDiv 1 rejoins the Combined Fleet in Japan waters.

15 November 1932:
Captain Onishi is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Okada Shunichi (35) (former CO of armored cruiser IWATE) as Commanding Officer.

28 November 1932:
Captain Okada is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hara Goro (35) (former CEO of light carrier RYUJO) as Commanding Officer.

14 February 1933:
Captain Hara is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Sonosuke (35) (former CO of heavy cruiser HAGURO) as Commanding Officer.

20 October 1933:
Reduced to second class reserve status. As KAGA is judged inferior to AKAGI because of her slower speed, smaller flight deck and problematic funnel arrangement, the IJN decides for a second major reconstruction of the ship. KAGA docks at Sasebo Naval Yard for this purpose.

15 November 1933:
Captain Kobayashi is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kondo Eijiro (36) (former CO of carrier AKAGI) as Commanding Officer.

25 June 1934:
Sasebo Naval Yard. KAGA’s reconstruction is officially started.

15 November 1934:
Captain Kondo is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mitsunami Teizo (37) (former CO of light carrier HOSHO) as Commanding Officer.

25 June 1935:
Undocked, reconstruction completed. KAGA is drastically modified. Her displacement is now increased to 38,200-tons standard with her flight deck and hangers extended to the bow, increasing the flight deck length to 248.55-meters (815.5’) and raising aircraft capacity to 90, including 18 spares. A third elevator services the extended hangers. Her arrested gear is replaced by a Japanese-designed Type 1 system. A small starboard island superstructure is also installed. The lengthy funnel ducting is replaced by a single amidships downturned starboard funnel.

For more detail of alterations see:
KAGA Data page

E June 1935:
Returns to service. Assigned to Car Div 2 consisting of KAGA as only carrier with DesDiv 2’s MINEKAZE and OKIKAZE. Her air group (operational aircraft only) includes 16 Nakajima Type 90 A2N1 fighters, 16 Aichi Type 94 D1A “Susie” dive bombers and 28 Mitsubishi Type 89-2 B2M2 attack planes.

15 November 1935:
Final modifications completed.

1 December 1936:
Captain Mitsunami is relieved by Captain (Vice Admiral posthumously) Inagaki Ayao (38) (former CO of battleship HIEI) as Commanding Officer. KAGA remains attached to CarDiv 2 with DesDiv 22’s SATSUKI, MINAZUKI, FUMIZUKI and NAGATSUKI.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (Sino-Japanese) Incident:
Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops on night maneuvers fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese captured him. They demand entry to a suburb of Beijing to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city and a full - but undeclared - war on China begins.

11 July 1937:
The IJA and IJN agree to operational jurisdictions in China. The IJA takes responsibility for northern China and the IJN assumes assumes responsibility for central and southern China.

11 August 1937:
Car Div 2 departs Sasebo for China and provides escort to troop convoys.

15 August 1937:
KAGA joins CarDiv’s 1 RYUJO and HOSHO in the East China Sea as part of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Hasegawa Kiyoshi’s (31) 3rd Fleet, and begins supporting military operations along the central China coast around Shanghai and further inland. The IJN's air power in-theater at this time consists of only about 80 carrier-based planes. KAGA’s air group consists of 16 Yokosuka Type 92 B3Y1 and 22 B2M2 attack planes, 16 D1A1 “Susie” carrier-bombers and 16 A2N1 fighters.

About 120-nm SW of Shanghai, At 0550 KAGA’s air strike, consisting of 16 D1A1 bombers, 13 B3Y1 and 16 B2M2 attack planes, takes off without fighter escort for a bombing mission of several targets in China. Bad weather conditions prevail over Nanking and the B3Y1 have to abort mission and return to their carrier. The 16 D1A1’s target is Sou-Tcheou (now Suzhou) but due to poor weather, the bombers head to their secondary objective, Chao-Chin Airfield. There, they are engaged by Chinese Curtiss Hawks III and Northrop fighters and have to jettison their bomb load. Japanese aerial losses are unknown but sufficient to forbid anymore mission without a fighter escort. Finally, the B2M2 start to bombard Shien-Chao Airfield, near Hang-Tcheou (now Hangzhou) when they are intercepted by 4th PG’s 21 Hawk III fighters. 8 B2M2 are shot down and a 9th one has to make a forced landing on a rice field.

16 August 1937:
At 0300, 12 D1A1, 12 B3Y1 escorted by 4 A2N1-3 fighters take-off for a bombing mission over Sou-Tcheou. 1 D1A1 is lost. That same day, 6 A2N1 fighters engage 4 Chinese aircraft over Kiangwan (now Jiangwan), shooting down 1 Vought V-65 “Corsair” and 2 Douglas O-38 without loss.

17 August 1937:
4 A2N1 fighters from KAGA shoot down 2 Chinese aircraft over Kiangwan without loss. However, that same day 12 of the carrier’s bombers attack Hangchow (now Hangshou) without fighter escort and 11 of them are shot down by Chinese fighters.

22 August 1937:
KAGA’s air group gets some Mitsubishi A5M Type 96 “Claude” fighters. 2 of this new plane make their first sortie that same day but without encountering the enemy.

That same day, at 0300, 6 D1A1 are assigned to bomb a naval mines’ depot located about 150-km (90-m) NW of Shanghai. 1 bomber is lost.

4 September 1937:
2 “Claudes” shoot down 3 Curtiss “Hawk” III.

7 September 1937:
3 A5M “Claude” escort 6 D1A1 “Susie”. At 0750, 3 Curtiss “Hawk” intercept the Japanese formation over Taï Hu (now Lake Taï) and claim 2 B3Y1 before being engaged by the A5M for half an hour in which the Japanese claim shooting down 5 Chinese aircraft. However, none of the “Hawks” are lost.

15 September 1937:
6 A2N1 and 6 A5M “Claude” fighters, 18 D1A1 “Susie” bombers and 18 just landed Yokosuka Type 96 B4Y1 “Jean” attack planes are temporarily detached from KAGA to Kunda Airfield, to support land operations.

19 September 1937:
3 A5M “Claude” fighters are engaged in aerial attacks on Nanking (now Nanjing), claiming 2 Chinese aircraft shot down. After midday, 15 D1A1 and just received D1A2 “Susie”, 11 B4Y1 “Jeans” escorted by 2 A5M “Claude”, head to Nanking. Intercepted by Chinese fighters, they claim 4 victories.

20 September 1937:
Nanking is again attacked by 6 KAGA bombers escorted by 2 A5M “Claude”. They are engaged by 9 Hawk III and 2 Boeing 281. The Japanese claim to have shot down 4 Chinese aircraft but none is actually lost. That same day, Vice Admiral Hasegawa orders aerial attacks on Chinese light cruisers NING HAI and PING HAI, patrolling in Hangtcheou Bay.

22-23 September 1937:
NING HAI and PING HAI are attacked several times by aircraft from carrier KAGA and the ground-based 2nd Combined Air Flotilla. NING HAI sustains hits by four bombs and several near misses. PING HAI sustains hits by eight bombs and several near misses. Her captain is badly wounded, but continues the fight. PING HAI settles in shallow water near Koin. The Chinese shoot down several IJN aircraft and damage others.

Soon after this success, KAGA departed the China area and headed back to the homeland.

26 September 1937:
Arrives at Sasebo Naval Base for reprovisionning. Receives new replacement aircraft including 32 B4Y1 “Jean”, 16 D1A2 “Susie” and 16 A5M “Claude”.

4 October 1937:
Departs Sasebo.

E 7 October 1937:
Arrives in China waters, off Canton (now Guangzhou).

E 8-23 October 1937:
KAGA’s aircraft are engaged in offensive/support missions against Chinese objectives in Canton’s area.

E 24 October 1937:
Departs China waters.

27 October 1937:
Arrives at Sasebo for replenishment and replacements.

1 November 1937:
Departs Sasebo and provides escort to troops convoys.

5 November 1937:
Arrives off Maanshan Islands, SE of Hangtcheou.

E 6-12 November 1937:
KAGA’s aircraft are engaged in offensive/support missions against Chinese objectives in Hangtcheou’s area.

11 November 1937:
Maanshan Islands anchorage. KAGA is attacked by 3 Chinese 2nd BG’s Northrop 2EC. The bombs miss and they are intercepted by 3 A5M “Claude”. 2 Northrop are shot down.

E 13 November 1937:
Departs China waters.

17 November 1937:
Arrives at Sasebo for replenishment and replacements.

21 November 1937:
Departs Sasebo.

E 24 November 1937:
Arrives in Canton’s vicinity.

E 24-29 November 1937:
KAGA’s aircraft are engaged in offensive/support missions against Chinese objectives in Canton’s area.

E 29 November 1937:
Departs China waters. Some aircraft are detached to land-bases.

1 December 1937:
Captain Ayao is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Abe Katsuo (40) (former CO of light carrier RYUJO) as Commanding Officer. That same day, KAGA is attached to CarDiv 1.

2 December 1937:
Arrives at Sasebo for replenishment and replacements.

9 December 1937:
6 KAGA fighters are assigned to land bases near Shanghai and Nanking and operate with the 12th and 13th Air Flotillas.

10 December 1937:
Departs Sasebo.

E 14 December 1937:
Arrives in Canton’s vicinity.

E 14 December 1937~21 January 1938:
KAGA’s aircraft are engaged in ground support missions against Chinese objectives in Canton’s area.

12 December 1937: The “China Incident.”
Yangtze River, above Nanking. About 1327, LtCdr (later Cdr) James J. Hughes' river gunboat USS PANAY (PR-5) is attacked by IJN aircraft while escorting three Socony Vacuum Oil Company barges MEI PING, MEI SHIA and MEI AN. PANAY is hit by two of the 18 60-kg (132-lb) bombs dropped by 3 B4Y1 “Jean” from KAGA and straffed by Nakajima A4N Type 95 fighters. The attack continues until 1554 when PANAY sinks. Three men are killed and 43 sailors and five passengers wounded.

Tokyo. American Ambassador Joseph C. Grew immediately lodges a formal protest. The Japanese government accepts responsibility, but claims the attack was unintentional. However, the USN decrypts an IJN message which reportedly indicates that the attack on PANAY and other neutral ships in the Yangtse River has been knowingly and deliberately planned by an air officer on KAGA.

Washington, DC. The United States government, militarily unprepared, is anxious to avoid war. The Roosevelt Administration accepts the Japanese "mistake" explanation. After an indemnity of $2.2 million is paid in April 1938, the incident is officially closed.

15 January 1938:
KAGA’s detached fighters return back to their carrier.

E 21 January 1938:
Departs China waters.

25 January 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo.

E January-February 1938:
Departs Sasebo. Arrives later at Yokosuka.

28 February 1938:
Departs Yokosuka.

3 March 1938:
Arrives in Canton’s vicinity. Nine KAGA fighters are temporarily based out of Nanking.

4 April 1938:
KAGA’s detached fighters return back to their carrier.

13 April 1938:
0830. 18 D1A2 bombers, escorted by 3 A4N1 and 3 A5M2 fighters take-off the carrier to bomb Tien He airbase. They are intercepted over their target by Chinese 28th and 29th PS’ 18 Gloster Gladiators. During the aerial combat that lasts about fourty-minutes, 1 A5M2, 2 A4N1 and 2 D1A2 are lost for the kill of 4 Gladiators.

25 April 1938:
Captain Abe is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ono Ichiro (38) (former CEO of carrier SORYU) as Commanding Officer.

30 August 1938:
5 bombers, 4 B4Y1 attack planes escorted by 6 A5M4 fighters attack an airfield near Canton. They are intercepted by Chinese 32nd PS Gladiators in a forty-minute aerial battle. 2 fighters are lost while 6 Gladiators are shot down.

28 October 1938:
Canton is secured by Japanese Forces.

15 November 1938:
Captain Ono is promoted Rear Admiral.

E December 1938:
KAGA departs China waters for Japan. Between October 1937 and December 1938, she has steamed 29,048-nm, supporting military operations from the South and East China Seas. Her bombers have attacked railroad bridges, airfields and transportation vehicles. Her fighters claimed to have destroyed at least 17 Chinese aircraft in aerial combat for the loss of five of them. The carrier is now placed in reserve status to undergo an extensive overhaul for a period of about two years.

15 December 1938:
Captain Ono is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yoshitomi Setsuzo (39) (former CO of submarine tender CHOGEI) as Commanding Officer. That same day, KAGA enters dock at Sasebo Naval Yard.

15 November 1939:
Captain Yoshitomi is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji (38) (former CO of heavy cruisers SUZUYA and MIKUMA) as Commanding Officer.

1 May 1940:
Arrives at Sasebo. Hereafter over the following months undergoes extensive refit and maintenance work.

15 October 1940:
Captain Kubo is relieved by Captain (later Vice Admiral) Yamada Sadayoshi (42) (former CO of carrier SORYU) as Commanding Officer.

14 November 1940:
Enters drydock at Sasebo.

15 November 1940:
Joins the First Air Squadron (CarDiv 1), 2nd Fleet.

18 November 1940:
Overhaul is completed. Undocked. Her flight deck is enlarged and reinforced. If not earlier in May, an additional pair of support pillars are placed forward in-between the two existing pairs. (Most likely related to a catapult system, see Data Page) Her hanger areas are enlarged to accommodate the new generation of aircraft. Her arrester gear is replaced by a Type 3 system and her bridge is modernized. Four additional Type 96 twin 25-mm guns are fitted on sponsons. Her airgroup consists of 12 Mitsubishi A5M4 fighters, 24 Aichi D1A2 bombers and 36 Yokosuka B4Y1 attack planes with another 18 aircraft carried in crates as spares.

For more detail of alterations see:
KAGA Data page

5 December 1940:
Departs Sasebo; arrives Kagoshima the next day. For next two months cruising between Kagoshima and Makurazaki.

24 January 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.

15 February 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

19 February 1941:
Departs Sasebo for Okinawa.

21 February 1941:
Arrives at Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa.

25 February 1941:
Departs Nakagusuku Bay for China coast.

3 March 1941:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa.

7 March 1941:
Departs Takao for Ariake Bay.

11 March 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.

26 March 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo after stopover at Kagoshima. At Sasebo undergoes repairs and maintenance.

10 April 1941:
The First Air Squadron joins the newly organized First Air Fleet and assigned to Cardiv 1. Subsequently operatesions in and around Kyushu's coastal waters.

1 May 1941:
Enters dock at Sasebo Naval Yard for maintenance and is probably fitted with an external degaussing coil.

14 May 1941:
19 May 1941:
Departs Sasebo; arrives at Ariake Bay the next day.

21 May 1941:
Becomes flagship of CarDiv 1.

29 May 1941:
Departs Ariake Bay.

30 May 1941:
Arrives at Beppu Bay.

6 June 1941:
Departs Beppu Bay; arrives at Kagoshima two days later.

20 June 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay; departs next day.

21 June 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

1 July 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

8 July 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

12 July 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Wan (Bay). Later, departs for the Inland Sea and Kyushu subsequently.

20 July 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo. Hereafter carries out refitting, repairs, and maintenance work.

15 September 1941:
Captain Yamada is relieved by Captain (later KIA, Rear Admiral posthumously) Okada Jisaku (42) as commanding officer.
20 September 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay.

16 October 1941:
Departs Ariake Bay for Kagoshima.

19 October 1941:
Arrives back at Ariake Bay.

22 October 1941:
Sails to Hososhima, eastern Kyushu.

23 October 1941:
Flag of ComCarDiv 1 is shifted to AKAGI.

31 October 1941:
Departs Hososhima and arrives at Kagoshima.

2 November 1941:
Arrives at Ariake Bay. Departs two days later.

11 November 1941:
Enter dock at Sasebo Navy Yard.

14 November 1941:

18 November 1941:
Arrives at Hososhima. Departs same day and arrives Saeki Wan (Bay), Kyushu, to load 100 special torpedoes for the impending Hawaii Operation. Those Type 91 Model 2 torpedoes have just been modified by Mitsubishi at Nagasaki to enable them to be used in Pearl Harbor anchorage’s shallow waters.

19 November 1941:
Departs Saeki for Hittokapu Wan (Tenzan Bay), Etorofu-To (now Iturup), Kuriles, the secret assembling point for the Pearl Harbor attack.

22 November 1941:
Arrives at Hittokappu Wan as part of the assembling Mobile Force. KAGA air group’s consists of 18 Type 0 Mitsubishi A6M2 Reisen “Zeke” fighters, 27 Type 97 Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” attack planes and 27 Type 99 Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive bombers.

26 November: 1941:
At 0600, Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (36) (former CO of battleship YAMASHIRO) First Air Fleet Striking Force, ("Kido Butai") CarDiv 1's KAGA and AKAGI, 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 Abe Hiroaki’s (39) CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA, flagship of Rear Admiral Omori Sentaro's (41) that includes DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO and SHIRANUI departs Hittokapu Wan in the "Hawaii Operation"...the surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. 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 Niimi Kazutaka's (40) Supply Group No. 2's oilers TOHO (F), TOEI and NIPPON MARUs.

Nagumo's orders from Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku (32), CINC, Combined Fleet, 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).

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.

7 December 1941: Operation "Z" - The Attack on Pearl Harbor: (Hawaii Date Time)
At 0618, the Carrier Striking Force first wave is launched against Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

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, KAGA contributes 12 B5N2 “Kate” torpedo bombers and 14 B5N2 “Kate” each equipped with one 800-kg Type 99 model 5 bomb, that target battleships ARIZONA (BB-39), WEST VIRGINIA (BB-48), TENNESSEE (BB-43 ), OAKLAHOMA (BB-37) and NEVADA (BB-36) and repair ship VESTAL (AR-4), and 9 A6M2 “Zeke” fighters that attack Hickam Field airbase.

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). KAGA contributes 23 D3A1 “Val” dive bombers that target battleships NEVADA (BB-36), WEST VIRGINIA (BB-48) and MARYLAND (BB-46) and Wheeler Field Airbase and 9 A6M2 “Zeke” fighters that attack Hickam Field and Wheeler Field airbases. By 0945, they retire towards their carriers.

Nagumo orders a withdrawal following recovery of the second attack wave. Losses sustained by KAGA’s aircraft are 4 A6M2 “Zeke”, 5 B5N2 “Kate” and 6 D3A1 “Val”, totaling 15 aircraft.

23 December 1941:
Arrives Hashirajima, Yamaguchi Prefecture, with AKAGI, SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU.

E 25 December 1941:
Arrives at Kure.

5 January 1942:
Departs Kure and arrives later that same day at Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

9 January 1942:
Departs Iwakuni for Truk, Central Carolines.

15 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk, joining carrier AKAGI.

17 January 1942: - Operation "R" - The Invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng:
Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi’s (36) 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.

20-22 January 1942:
N of New Ireland. CarDivs 1 and 5 launch 100 bombers and fighters to attack Rabaul, New Britain. KAGA provides 27 B5N2 “Kate” and 9 A6M2 “Zeke”. Norwegian cargo ship HERSTEIN, chartered to the Australian Government, 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. 1 B5N2 “Kate” is shot down by AA fire. That evening, CarDiv 5 is detached and moves to a position in the Bismarck Sea.

21 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 attacks Allied positions at Kavieng, New Ireland, of which KAGA contributes 9 A6M2 “Zeke” and 16 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, it departs the Bismarck Sea area that evening to rendevous with CarDiv 1.

22 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches a 45-plane strike against Rabaul, of which KAGA contributes 6 A6M2 “Zeke” and 16 D3A1 “Val”. 2 D3A1 “Val” from KAGA have to ditch alongside the carrier but the crews are rescued.

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. 1 A6M2 “Zeke” from KAGA is shot down by ground fire while strafing Vunakanau airfield. After recovering its aircraft, Nagumo's CarDiv 1 heads north to Truk later followed by CarDiv 5.

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.

8 February 1942: Arrives at Palau, Western Carolines with AKAGI and ZUIKAKU.

9 February 1942:
KAGA strikes a reef at Palau while shifting mooring positions. Bilges forward are damaged, and only temporary repairs can be made at Palau. Leakage in her bow remains and maximum speed is reduced to 18 knots. (1)

15 February 1942:
Despite the damage to her hull, KAGA departs Palau with AKAGI, 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:
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 KAGA contributes 27 B5N2 “Kate”. At 0900, the second wave is launched with 71 D3A1 “Val escorted by 18 A6M2 “Zeke” to which KAGA contributes 18 D3A1 “Val” and 9 A6M2 “Zeke”. The second wave catches up with the first one before arriving over Darwin.

During the approach, an A6M2 “Zeke” from KAGA shoots down a Consolidated PBY “Catalina”, NW of Bathurst Island.

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) and 15 aircraft, including 9 American Curtiss P-40E "Warhawk" fighters, destroyed. KAGA’s aircraft losses are 1 B5N2 “Kate” and 1 D3A1 “Val”.

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 arrive at Staring Bay, Celebes (now Sulawesi) to refuel. They are joined by First Section of BatDiv 3 HIEI and KIRISHIMA. Vice Admiral Kondo Nobutake (35) ) 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), but the allied vessel is dispatched by land-based aircraft before Kido Butai strike can be launched.

1 March 1942:
Involved in mop-up operations off southwest Java coast.
- 1240 KAGA and SORYU D3A1 "Vals" ordered to take off and sink enemy merchant ship sighted at noon. (This is USS PECOS AO-6).
- 1255 KAGA launches nine dive-bombers.
- 1327-1330 KAGA's nine planes attacked PECOS. They claim one direct hit and eight near-misses. (Three more strikes of nine Vals each from the other three carriers follow in succession.)
- 1718 PECOS sank. KAGA planes could count only one bomb hit among the 12 hits claimed.
- 1745 Enemy warship identified as light cruiser sighted pursuing and closing KdB from astern. The Support Force is ordered to turn and sink it with gunfire. (This was actually destroyer USS EDSALL DD-219, apparently seeking to come to the rescue of USS PECO's crew. However, the gunfire of the battleships and cruisers is surprisingly ineffective, and despite growing darkness it is necessary to launch air strikes.)
- 1815 KAGA planes ordered (with CarDiv 2) to take-off for night attack to finish off fleeing USS EDSALL. KAGA launches eight dive-bombers, and the Cardiv 2 carriers nine each. They reach the target within thirty minutes. KAGA's bombers claim five hits; SORYU's three, and HIRYU's one.
- 1901 EDSALL heeled over and sank stern first. CHIKUMA rescued 8 survivors.
- 1946 KAGA recovered her dive-bombers.

5 March 1942:
0945: Launch strikes against Tjilatjap, Java, N.E.I (now Cilacap, Indonesia). KAGA contributes 27 B5N2 “Kate” and 9 A6M2 “Zeke”. No losses are sustained.
1405: Strike recovered. KAGA bombers claim heavy damage to one large merchantman.

6 March 1942:
1103: CarDiv 2 is detached and with two BBs and DesDiv 17 heads to raid Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. CarDiv 1 continues east.

10 March 1942:
CarDiv 2 force rejoins CarDiv 1 and all head for Staring Bay.

11 March 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay, Java having surrendered two days prior.

15 March 1942:
Departs Starting Bay for Sasebo, Kyushu escorted by Desdiv 15 (KUROSHIO, OYASHIO, HAYASHIO) having been ordered to return home for full repairs by CinC 2nd Fleet.

22 March 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo for permanent hull repairs from reef damage and maintenance. Her air group is flown off to Tateyama Air Base for training during the maintenance period.

27 March 1942:
Enters Sasebo Naval Yard drydock.

26 March - 18 April 1942: “Operation C” – The Raids in the Indian Ocean:
Nagumo's force departs Staring Bay for the Indian Ocean Operation. KAGA is unable to participate due to repairs still in progress at Sasebo.

8 April 1942:
Combined Fleet requests repairs to KAGA be expedited, as it is hoped to include KAGA in Operation "MO."

18 April 1942:
2110 :Following the Doolittle raid on Japan, KAGA’s air group is ordered to join the ship and depart as soon as possible to search for the enemy force in conjunction with SHOHO.

22 April 1942:
Nagumo fleet less CarDiv 5 arrives at Yokosuka after abortive pursuit of the "Doolittle Raiders" who had bombed Tokyo on 18 April. KAGA is still under repairs at Sasebo.

4 May 1942:
Repairs are completed. Undocked. Departs Sasebo for the Inland Sea to rejoin CarDiv 1. Arrives same day at Hashirajima.

6 May 1942:
Becomes flagship of First Air Fleet.

8 May 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for training at Kagoshima area.

16 May 1942:
Nagumo holds conference in Kagoshima.

18 May 1942:
AKAGI that had departed Yokosuka, joins KAGA at Hashirajima.

23 May 1942:
Arrives at Oita, northeast Kyushu.

24 May 1942:
Nine A6M2 "Zekes" from the 6th Air Group assigned to be based at Midway are flown out to KAGA by 1st Air Fleet pilots and landed aboard.

26 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

27 May 1942:
At 0600 KAGA departs Hashirajima for the MI Operation (Invasion of Midway) with flagship AKAGI as 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.)

KAGA’s air group consists of 18 A6M2 “Zeke”, 18 D3A1 “Val” and 27 B5N2 “Kate”. Additionally, nine A6M2 “Zeke from the 6th Air Group, destined to Midway’s future garrison, and two spare D3A1 “Val” are embarked.

28 May 1942:
At 1430 (JST), the Carrier Strike Force joins the refueling 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/(5 June JST) - The Battle of Midway:

Note: For convenience and familiarity local times and date are used herein until KAGA's sinking as the vast majority of sources, even some Japanese ones, utilize this approach. To convert to Tokyo (JST) or Zone 9 time, subtract three hours but advance one one day ahead of a Midway Local time - (Tully)

- 0430 (0130 JST), 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”. KAGA contributes 18 D3A1 “Val” and 9 A6M2 “Zeke”. 1 D3A1 “Val” and 2 A6M2 “Zeke” are lost. In addition, KAGA launched one B5N2 to participate in the morning long-range search covering No.2 Search line along 158 Degrees, and two fighters for the CAP.
- 0700 (Enemy planes sighted approaching in force from 90 degrees. Launch six fighters. At same time, HIRYU radios that per strike leader, there is need for second strike against Midway Island.
- 0707 KAGA notifies AKAGI: "Sand Island bombed; great results obtained." (2)
- 0710-0725 AKAGI and HIRYU under attack by land-based bombers and twin-engine torpedo planes.(Six TBFs and four B-26s) No damage.
- 0715 Nagumo orders second attack wave to arm for land strike against Midway.
- 0730 KAGA recovers three fighters.
- 0745 Nagumo directs that the preparations for the second wave to attack Midway be halted, and land-bombs switched to torpedoes (in the case of AKAGI and KAGA) for ship attack. (3)
- 0755-0815 In this time frame B-17s are bombing the carrier force (no hits).
- 0805 First Midway strike wave returns, but is unable to home due to American air raids. They orbit at a distance to wait.
- 0815 Launch five fighters. (Sixteen SBDs were attacking HIRYU in this time frame.)
- 0830 Launch three fighters. (Eleven Vindicators from Midway were attacking).
- 0837 Midway strike recovery begins.
- 0850 All KAGA first wave aicraft recovered.
- 0905 Nagumo orders force to head north to destroy enemy force after completion of recovery operations.
- 0910 Recover five fighters.
- 0917 Fleet course 70 degrees. Preparations continue to launch anti-ship attack wave armed with torpedoes and armor-piercing bombs.
- 0920 Launched six CAP fighters to repel incoming enemy torpedo plane attack. Set course westward to head away from enemy.
- 0930 Attack ended; all enemy planes shot down.
- 0938 Second enemy torpedo plane group sighted approaching from the south.(This is USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) Torpedo Squadron VT-6’s Douglas TBD “Devastators” led by LtCdr (KIA, Navy Cross posthumously awarded ) Eugene E. Lindsey (USNA ’27) which directly targeted KAGA. Carrier force turns to course 300 degrees to head away.
- Enemy torpedo planes attack both sides of KAGA in an "anvil" attack. But assisted by CAP the carrier dodges a total of six torpedoes, the “Zeke” CAP shooting down 10 out of the 14 attacking aircraft.
- 1000 Launched six fighters to engage torpedo planes. Attack repulsed. Fleet course set to 030 degrees to close and attack enemy carrier to the northeast. Preparations continue to launch anti-ship attack wave armed with torpedoes and armor-piercing bombs.
- 1005 KAGA recovered long-range search B5N2 torpedo plane.
- 1010 Fleet turns to port to course 300 degrees to put sterns to third enemy torpedo plane group approaching from southeast.
- 1020 Cardiv 1 ordered to launch CAP fighters as soon as ready.
- 1022 (0722 JST) As fighters prepare to launch, approximately 30 enemy dive-bombers overhead reported by HIRYU and also sighted by lookouts about to attack. KAGA takes evasive action to starboard, avoiding first three bombs but is struck by a minimum of one 1,000-pound (450-kg) and three 500-pound (230-kg) bombs from USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6)’s Douglas SBD “Dauntless” VS-6 and VB-6 led by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Wade McClusky (USNA ’26) inducing explosions among armed and fueled torpedo planes on the hangar decks, aggravated by unstored ordnance, starting a raging aviation gasoline fire. One of the bombs destroyed the bridge, killing most there including Captain Okada, Executive Officer Capt. Kawaguchi Masao (47), Navigator Cdr. Kodota Kazuharu, Gunnery Officer LtCdr. Miyano Tosaburo (52). As a result, KAGA is left with only surviving damage control officers, inexperienced personnel, and aviators to fight the fires. The fires are soon out of control. Switched to emergency steering. (At the same time, AKAGI and SORYU also set afire by bombing.)
- 1130: Comcardiv 2 (Rear Admiral Yamaguchi Tamon on HIRYU) orders ComCrudiv 8 (Rear Admiral Abe Hiroaki) to assign one destroyer each to the three damaged carriers, and have the damaged carriers retire toward Yamamoto's Main Body. The order is repeated at 1147. KAGA under supervision of the First Damage Control Officer attempts to comply, still making about 5-8 knots.
- 1300 (1000 JST) About this time KAGA's engine gang is either overcome, or ordered to stop the ship (Only a third of them would survive; 213 of them perished.) The carrier goes dead in the water. HAGIKAZE moves up to assist.
- 1325: The Imperial Portrait is transferred via the forecastle to HAGIKAZE. Elsewhere, the senior surviving officer Air Officer Cdr. Amagai Takahisa (51) directs all non-essential personnel, particularly aviators, to abandon ship and jumps into the sea with them.
- 1410: (1110 JST) KAGA is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral, retired) William H. Brockman’s (USNA ’27) submarine USS NAUTILUS (SS-168). One torpedo hits the starboard quarter, but fails to explode. Counter-attack by depth charge is made, but results unknown.
- 1640 The situation judged hopeless, all remaining personnel are ordered (apparently by the First Damage Control Officer) to abandon ship. They are removed or subsequently rescued from the sea by destroyers HAGIKAZE and MAIKAZE.
- 1715: HAGIKAZE reports to Nagumo that all remaining personnel on KAGA having earlier been ordered to abandon ship, have now been taken aboard the two destroyers.
- 1750 Nagumo reports to Yamamoto: "KAGA is inoperational in (grid) position HE E A55. All survivors have been transferred to destroyers."
- 1800 Comdesdiv 4 on ARASHI orders HAGIKAZE to "keep a watch on KAGA until further notice." He also asks KAGA and SORYU's escorts if either carrier was starting to sink.
- 1830: ComDesdiv 4, having received false report of approaching enemy forces, orders NOWAKI, HAGIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, and ISOKAZE to continue to screen their assigned damaged carriers, but if the enemy approaches, to engage them.
- 1856: Sunset. Shortly after this time, KAGA and SORYU are apparently ordered scuttled. A final caretaker crew is removed from KAGA by a written order.

- Sunk: 1925 (1625 JST) destroyer HAGIKAZE fires two torpedoes into her starboard side amidships aft. The KAGA begins to settle by the stern, yet remains on an even keel until she slides from sight in approximate position 30-23.3'N, 179-17.2' W. (See Notes). She suffers a loss of 814 officers, petty officers, and men. (4)

10 August 1942:
Removed from Navy List.

Notes and Sources:

In February 2000, the author, A.P. Tully, as part of of a three-man consultant team including Jon Parshall and David Dickson conclusively identified wreckage discovered by Nauticos and NAVO in September 1999 as belonging to the KAGA. Though the main wreck and hull has not yet been found, it is anticipated that a renewed expedition will soon locate it. For details, see this link:

KAGA wreckage found off Midway.

Special thanks are due to Gilbert Casse in preparing this TROM, and Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Bill Somerville, Matthew Jones and Allyn Nevitt for entries derived from their works.

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