IJN Kaga: Tabular Record of Movement

(Revised 5 November 2007)

© 2000 Anthony P. Tully

(revised 2007)

1 November 1929:
Conversion from a TOSA-class battleship hull completed at
Sasebo Navy Yard. Named KAGA ("Increased Joy") and commissioned. In her original configuration, she sports three flight decks that form a series of ramps at the bow.

10 April 1941:
Joins the newly organized First Air Fleet and assigned to Cardiv 1, Air Fleet 1. Subsequent operations in and around Kyushu
's coastal waters. Current skipper is Captain Yamada Sadayoshi, in command since 15 October 1940.

1 May 1941
Enters dock at

14 May 1941:
Leaves dock.

21 May 1941:
Becomes flagship of CarDiv 1.

21 June 1941:

1 July 1941:
Arrives at

8 July 1941:

11 July 1941:
Arrives at
Ariake Bay. Moving about Inland Sea and Kyushu subsequently.

15 September 1941:
Captain Yamada relieved by Captain Okada Jisaku as commanding officer.

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

11 November 1941:
Enter dock at
Sasebo navy yard.

14 November 1941:
Leave dock.

17 November 1941:
Arrive at
Saeki Bay to load 100 special torpedoes for the impending Hawaii Operation.

19 November 1941:
Depart Saeki for
Hittokapu Bay, the secret assembling point for the Pearl Harbor attack.

22 November 1941:
Arrives at
Hittokappu Bay at Etorofu Island (in the Kuriles) as part of the assembling Mobile Force.

26 November: 1941
As part of CarDiv 1 of VADM Nagumo Chuichi's First Air Fleet, departs
Hittokapu Bay in the Kuriles leading the Carrier Striking Force ("KidoButai") in the "Hawaii Operation" ....the surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleetat Pearl Harbor.

7 December 1941:
Two strike waves launched against
Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Nagumo orders a withdrawal following recovery of the second attack wave.

23 December 1941:
Return with AKAGI, SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU to Hashirajima.

9 January 1942:
Depart Iwakuni for Truk.

15 January 1942:
Arrive at Truk, joining AKAGI.

17 January:
Departs Truk as part of the attack forces for the invasion of Rabaul and its environs. Sorties with Crudiv 8.

20-22 January 1942:
Carried out air strikes against Rabaul, Kavieng, and Rabaul (again on the 22nd), respectively.

25 January 1942:
Returned to Truk.

1 February 1942:
Cancelling preparations to move to the
Celebes, departs Truk in an attempt to catch the enemy carrier force that attacked the Marshall Islands.

2 February 1942:
Pursuit of
U.S. Task force abandoned, task force proceeds to Palau.

8 February 1942:
With AKAGI and ZUIKAKU arrives at

9 February 1942:
KAGA strikes reef at
Palau while shifting mooring positions. Bilges are damaged, and Palau can only make temporary repairs. Leakage remains and speed cut to 18 knots.

15 February 1942:
Despite the damage to her hull, departs
Palau with AKAGI, CarDiv 2, and Crudiv 8, screened by DesRon 1 for the attacks on Davao and Port Darwin, Australia.

19 February:
Raid on Port
Darwin launched. Sunk or damaged 9 ships, including the U.S. destroyer PEARY, and 18 aircraft destroyed.

21 February 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay.

25 February 1942:
Staring Bay with the Striking Force to cover the invasion of Java.

27 February 1942:
Close to launch attack against USS LANGLEY, but the allied vessel is dispatched by land-based air before Kido Butai strike can be launched.

1 March 1942:
During mop-up operations off southwest Java coast, aircraft from AKAGI and SORYU sink the tanker USS PECOS; but KAGA's wing does not participate in the strikes.

5 March 1942:
Launch strikes against Tjilatjap.

6 March 1942:
CarDiv 2 detaches and with two BBs and DesDiv 17 heads to raid Christmas Island. CarDiv 1 continues east.

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

11 March 1942:
Return to
Staring Bay, Java having surrendered two days prior.

15 March 1942:
Depart Starting Bay for

22 March 1942:
Arrive at
Sasebo for repairs to bottom and maintenance.

27 March 1942:
Enters drydock for repairs to hull from reef damage.

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

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 still at Sasebo.

4 May 1942:
Leaves dock, repairs complete. Departs Sasebo for the Inland Sea to rejoin CarDiv 1.(AKAGI had left Yokosuka and returned to Hashirajima on 18 May).

27 May 1942:
0600 Departed Hashirajima for the MI Operation (Battle of Midway) with flagship AKAGI as CarDiv 1 of VADM Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force (CarDivs 1,2). CarDiv 5 unable to participate, due to damage to SHOKAKU and aircraft losses to ZUIKAKU suffered at
Coral Sea on 8 May.

4 June 1942:
Launched strikes against
Midway Island. Subsequently engaged and attacked by numerous enemy land and carrier-based aircraft. At 1022 struck by a minimum of four bombs from aircraft from U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6) inducing explosions among armed and fueled aircraft and unstored ordnance on the hangar decks, starting a raging aviation gasoline fire. One of the bombs destroyed the bridge, killing Captain Okada, her Gunnery Officer, and DCO. As a result, KAGA is left with only inexperienced aviators to fight the fires, and they are soon out of control. KAGA' engine gang soon is overcome, and she goes dead in the water. Her acting skipper orders the Emperor's portrait transferred, and soon after, at 1410, KAGA is attacked by submarine USS NAUTILUS. One torpedo hits the starboard quarter, but fails to explode. By 1700 all non-essential personnel have left the ship, removed by destroyers HAGIKAZE and MAIKAZE.

Sunk: At around 1920 the KAGA is ordered scuttled, and a final caretaker crew is removed.  Then at 1925 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 Note). She suffered a loss of 814 officers, petty officers, and men.

10 August 1942:
Removed from Navy List.

Though most sources indicate KAGA sank from internal explosion, in May 1998 survivors of the KAGA participating in the Ballard expedition which found USS YORKTOWN claimed she had in fact been scuttled by two torpedoes fired into the starboard side by HAGIKAZE. This is under investigation.  Subsequently, after further research, in “Shattered Sword” it was argued by the writer with fellow author Jon Parshall that the evidence in fact clearly supports the mounting claims by veterans and modern Japanese sources that SORYU and KAGA were deliberately scuttled by torpedoes at sunset to free the screen for night counter-attack operations.

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.

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