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Sister ships: none (as CV)
Notes: AKAGI was laid down as a 41,200 ton battlecruiser of the AMAGI class, as a part of Japan's "8-8" Program. Her construction was suspended in January, 1922, under terms of the Washington Treaty. Conversion of the AKAGI to an aircraft carrier was approved, and began on 19 November 1923. Upon completion, her main flight deck was 624' long; two flying-off platforms enabled her aircraft to take off directly from the hangar decks. The boiler uptakes led to two funnels on the starboard side; the larger one curved downwards and the smaller one curved upwards, but both ended below the level of the main flight deck.
AKAGI was taken in for a complete re-construction at Sasebo Naval Yard in 1935. She emerged, significantly heavier (listed at 36,500 tons) in 1938 with a flight deck that ran the entire length of the ship. This flight deck also sloped slightly downward towards the bow (from a point about one-third of the way back from the bow), to assist her aircraft to gather more speed on takeoffs. Both hangar decks were extended by about 80', and her aircraft capacity grew to 91, although 72 was considered her operational maximum. A small island was fitted to the port side amidships, the two twin 8" gun turrets were removed, as were the MG's (which were replaced by 28 - 25mm AA guns in twin mounts), and a third lift (or elevator) was added. Her two funnels were trunked into a single long downward-curving stack (still to starboard, and still below the flight deck). A 4' wide bulge was fitted on each side, which both improved stability and provided additional underwater protection, but did reduce her top speed to slightly over 31 knots. Her coal-fired boilers were replaced by oil-fired, and the bunkerage was increase to 6,000 tons.
AKAGI served as flagship of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's Carrier Fleet. She took part in the Sino-Japanese war in 1937. AKAGI was a part of the strike force against Pearl Harbor (on 7 December 1941); her torpedo planes were given the primary credit in the sinking of the battleships OKLAHOMA and WEST VIRGINIA. In January, 1942, she was transferred to Truk, and took part in several operations against Allied forces in the south Pacific. During a foray into the Indian Ocean (26 March - 23 April 1942), her aircraft help sink the British carrier HERMES and the heavy cruisers CORNWALL and DORSETSHIRE. She was present at the Battle of Midway on 6 June 1942. While her flight deck was full of aircraft refueling and reloading for a strike, AKAGI was bombed by American dive bombers from the carriers ENTERPRISE. Two hits were scored; one penetrated the flight deck and exploded in the upper hangar, detonating bombs and torpedoes being readied there. The second hit amongst her aircraft on the flight deck, causing more explosions and fires to be started. While she remained afloat, she was incapable of maneuvering (her rudder was stuck 20° to port, leaving her steaming in wide circles), and it proved to be impossible to bring her fires under control. Nagumo and his staff were evacuated by destroyer to the light cruiser NAGARA, and AKAGI was ordered to be scuttled. Torpedoes from the destroyers ARASHI, HAGIKAZE, MAIKAZE and NOKAZE sunk her approximately 120nm northwest of Midway Island. 263 of her crew were killed, but nearly 1,100 survived.