Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryū

Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryū

:"This article is about the Japanese carrier; for the videogame and manga character, see Strider Hiryu."

"Hiryū" (Japanese: 飛龍, meaning "flying dragon") was a "Modified" "Sōryū"-class aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. She was one of the carriers that began the Pacific War with the attack on Pearl Harbor. After being heavily damaged by air attacks 4 June 1942 at the Battle of Midway, Hiryu sank on 5 June 1942. [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-h/hiryu.htm Hiryu @] www.history.navy.mil]

The ship was built within the specifications of the Washington Naval Treaty that was in place at the time, which placed limits on its tonnage and armament. As a result, the "Sōryū" and "Hiryū" were relatively small as fleet aircraft carriers compared to their contemporaries during World War II, carrying around 70 aircraft. Compared to her sister "Sōryū", "Hiryū" was almost four feet greater of beam, 2,000 tons heavier, and had her island superstructure placed on the port side and farther aft on her flight deck. [http://www.combinedfleet.com/soryu_c.htm] The port side island was an unusual arrangement; the only other carrier to share this feature was a contemporary, the "Akagi". The "Akagi" and the "Hiryū" were intended to work in a tactical formation with starboard-sided carriers, in order to improve the flight pattern around the formation, but the experiment was not continued beyond those two carriers. [http://www.hazegray.org/faq/smn5.htm#E9]


Early Operations

In 1941, commanded by Captain Tomeo Kaku, "Hiryū" was assigned to Carrier Division 2. On 7 December 1941 she was with the Strike Force in the attack on Pearl Harbor. She launched one wave of planes against the island of Oahu: ten Kates targeted "Arizona", "California", eight Kates targeted "West Virginia", "Oklahoma", and "Helena" and six Zeros attacked US air bases at Wheeler Field and Barbers Point.

From 21 December to 23 December she launched air strikes against Wake Island. In January 1942 she supported the invasion of Ambon in the Moluccas. On 19 February 1942, together with her sister ship "Sōryū" she launched an air strike against Darwin, Australia.

In March 1942 she took part in the battle of the Java Sea, attacking Allied shipping at Tjilatjep and Christmas Island and sinking the Dutch freighter "Poelau Bras". In April 1942 she took part in the Indian Ocean raid, striking Royal Navy bases at Colombo and Trincomalee Ceylon and helping to sink the cruisers "Cornwall", "Dorsetshire", the aircraft carrier "Hermes", and her escort destroyer "Vampire".

On 19 April 1942 she pursued the US carriers "Hornet" and "Enterprise" after they launched the Doolittle Raid, but failed to catch them.


In May 1942, "Hiryū" sailed on her final mission. Her aircraft complement consisted of 21 Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" fighters, 21 Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers, and 21 Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers. [http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq81-6.htm] On 4 June 1942 she took part in the battle of Midway. At 4:30 AM she launched a strike against Midway Island, destroying planes and damaging installations. After "Kaga", "Sōryū" and "Akagi" were disabled by air attack at about 10:25 AM, "Hiryū" was the only operational carrier left to the Japanese. She launched two waves of planes at 10:50 and 12:45 against "Yorktown", heavily damaging the American carrier with bombs and torpedoes (she was sunk later by "I-168"). [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-h/hiryu.htm Hiryu @] www.history.navy.mil]

Japanese search planes had located the remaining American aircraft carriers, and all surviving aircraft from the Carrier Striking Force had landed on "Hiryū" and were refueled and armed; but while preparing to launch a third strike against them, "Hiryū" was attacked at 5:03 PM by 13 SBD Dauntless dive bombers from "Enterprise". She was hit by four 1000 lb (453.6 kg) bombs, three on the forward flight deck and one on or near the forward elevator. The explosions started fires among the aircraft on the hangar deck.

Although "Hiryū"'s propulsion wasn't affected, the fires could not be brought under control. At 9:23 PM her engines stopped, and at 1:58 AM a major explosion rocked the ship. The order to abandon ship was given shortly afterwards and the survivors were taken off by the destroyers "Kazagumo" and "Makigumo". Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi and Captain Kaku remained on board as "Hiryū" was scuttled at 5:10 AM by torpedoes from "Makigumo". She sank at 9:12 AM, taking 35 men down with her (another 350 or so had been killed by the bombs, fires and explosions). Thirty-five were rescued by the US Navy and taken prisoner. Admiral Yamaguchi's insistence on going down with his carrier robbed the Japanese of one of their most experienced and brilliant carrier admirals.

hips in class

Commanding Officers

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Takatsugu Jojima - 10 August 1938- 15 December 1938

Chief Equipping Officer - Capt. Ryuzo Takenaka - 15 December 1938 - 1 April 1939

Capt. Ryuzo Takenaka - 1 April 1939 - 15 November 1939

Capt. Ichibei Yokokawa - 15 November 1939 - 15 November 1940

Capt. Shikazo Yano - 15 November 1940 - 8 September 1941

Capt. / RADM* Tomeo Kaku - 8 September [1941] - 5 June 1942 (KIA at Midway)


External links

* [http://www.combinedfleet.com/hiryu.htm Tabular record of movement] from [http://www.combinedfleet.com/ combinedfleet.com]
* [http://ww2db.com/ship_spec.php?ship_id=12 WW2DB: Hiryu]

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