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HIJMS Akagi (Red Castle) was an aircraft carrier that was used by Japan during World War II.

Description

Akagi was the sole ship of the Amagi-class battle cruisers, and was in fact originally developed as such, but was converted into an aircraft carrier before she was completed. The Akagi was launched in 1925, commissioned two years later, and was sunk in 1942 during the Battle of Midway.

The Akagi's carrying capacity came out to a total of 91 aircraft and it had three elevators to service them.[1] The Akagi also had nine different arresting cables on the flight deck and two hangar decks to store its aircraft. The Akagi required a crew of 2,000 and its armament consisted of twenty-eight 25 mm AA guns, twelve 11.9 cm guns, and six 20.3 cm guns. The total length of the Akagi was about 260.6 meters while the total displacement was about 33,638 metric tons.[2]

History

The Akagi was ordered in 1920 and initially laid down as an Amagi-class battle cruiser but was later converted to meet the standards of the Washington Naval Treaty. It required a whole five years before it could be launched and then commissioned in 1927. However, the Akagi was forced to return to port in 1935 because it had three flight decks, one under the other, which caused a major problem in takeoff. Therefore, the space was reused to accommodate more aircraft for the main flight deck. These changes were finally finished in 1938. The first combat action of the ship was in 1941 with the surprise Attack on Pearl Harbor.[3]

Following the raid, the ship was again called back to respond to American aircraft raiding Japan, also known as the Doolittle raid. Though by the time Akagi had arrived for the search, the American carrier was gone and it was needed elsewhere. After supporting the landings at Java and the skirmishes with the Royal Navy, Akagi was sent on what would be its final mission. The carrier was critically damaged on June 4th, 1942 during the Battle of Midway when an American divebomber hit the ship and  set alight the ship's aircraft fuel. Soon enough the ship was fundamentally useless, being burned to a crisp, the Akagi was scuttled the next day by accompanying destroyers. The battle would prove to be the turning tide of the Pacific War, with Japan losing four of its relatively few aircraft carriers.

References

  1. http://ww2db.com/ship_spec.php?ship_id=10
  2. Lüdeke, Alexander. Weapons of World War II. Parragon Books Ltd. (2007), Page 292
  3. http://www.militaryfactory.com/ships/detail.asp?ship_id=Akagi


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