The Akagi was a 34364 tonne Japanese aircraft carrier that was built at the Kure navy yard and was commissioned for service on March 25, 1927. Originally laid down as a battle cruiser, the Akagi's design was later changed, by virtue of the Washington Treaty, to make her one of first two large-scale aircraft carriers of the Japanese Imperial Navy. She became one of the most famous aircraft carriers from any nation during WWII being compared to the western Lexington and Saratoga class carriers.

Service History

The years between when she was commissioned and 1935 were mainly uneventful for the Akagi, however from 1935 to 1938 she underwent massive reconstruction in an attempt to modernize her. The following years she was active off the coast of China, until April 10, 1941 when she became the flagship of the First Air Fleet and was assigned to Carrier Division 1 of the Japanese Imperial Navy.

On November 16, 1941 she departed Hittokapu Bay as Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's flagship then on December 7, 1941 as part of the 'Kido Butai' carrier strike force she became the flagship for the attack against Pearl Harbor. Subsequent to Pearl Harbor the Akagi was involved in a number of missions includingcarrier raids into the Indian Ocean and participating in the hunt for the vessels responsible for the attack on the Marshall Islands. In January 1942, the Akagi as part of Carrier Division 1, returned undamaged from an attacks on Rabaul and Kavieng as part of plans to invade those areas. February 19, 1942 saw the Akagi take part in the attack on Darwin and Davao in Australia as well as her providing air cover for the invasion of Java. She also played a main role in the attacks on British bases at Columbo and Trincomalee.

These missions continued until June 4, 1942, when she became the flagship of the Japanese carrier strike force for The Battle of Midway. It was during this battle, while operating north of Midway itself, that the Akagi was hit by dive bombers from the USS Enterprise causing her to catch on fire. Attempts to contain the fire and control the damager were unsuccessful and so early the following day she was scuttled by a number of torpedoes fired from a Japanese destroyer.

Specifications

Laid down: December 6, 1920
Launched: April 22, 1925
Date completed: March 25, 1927
Re-construction: April 1935
Re-construction completed: August 31, 1938
Displacement: 42 765 tons (full after modifications)
Length: 816 ft
Full Dimensions: 816 x 102.5 x 28.5 ft
Aircraft: 53-60 (before 1935), 70 to 90 (after 1938)

Dimensions
Length (O/A): 816'
Beam: 95'
Draft: 25.5'
Flight Deck Length: 530' (before reconstruction) 821' (after)
Flight Deck Width: 94.85' (before reconstruction) 102' (after)

Displacement
Standard: 34 364 tons
Full Load: 42 765 tons

Propulsion
Boilers: 19 Kanpon boilers
Turbines: Generated steam turbines
Horsepower: 131 000
Speed: 31.5 knots
Shafts: 4

Complement
1200 Navy personal
800 airwing

Aircraft
53-60 (before reconstruction)
71-90 aircraft (after reconstruction)

Armour
Main Side Belt: possible 6.0" belt
Flight Deck Armour: 2.8"
Deck Armour: 2.1""

Armament
Main Guns: 10 x 8"/50 cal (2 twins mountings and 6 singles) - 12 x 4.7"/45 cal
AAW: 28 x 25mm - 22 13.2mm MG

Trivia

'Akagi' means "Red Castle" and is the name of a volcano in the Kanto area of Japan. Akagi is also used as the last names of two of the characters of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hideaki Anno the creator of that anime, used Imperial Japanese Warships as a source of names for his characters, Ritsuko Akagi and Naoko Akagi are two of these characters. The Akagi is also noted for having a interesting funnel design. Her funnels are arranged on the starboard side so that one of them (the foremost) is trunked outward and downward amidship, while the other projects a little bit above the flight deck.

Source of specifications: http://www.geocities.com/japaneseships/

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