The Japanese battleship Kaga was laid down in 1918 and launched in November 1921, but as a result of the Washington Naval Disarmament Treaty of 1922 was scheduled to be scrapped. In September 1923, however, the Tokyo earthquake caused severe damage to the battle-cruiser Amagi, which was about to start her conversion to an aircraft-carrier, and the hull of the slightly smaller Kaga was substituted. The 41/2-year conversion produced a carrier similar to the original Afe-agi' conversion, with a flush deck and two short 'flying-off' decks forward. But unlike Akagi she had her smoke-ducts trunked on the starboard side. She was not an unqualified success, and was not operational until two years of trials had been conducted, and only four years after that, in 1934, she was taken in hand for modernization.
In her new guise she was considerably better, with more aircraft (90 instead of 60) and a small 'island' superstructure. However, unlike Western carriers, she still had a large downward-angled funnel below the edge of the flight deck. As displacement had gone up by 9,000 tons (standard) more powerful machinery had to be installed, with endurance to match, and many of the original faults were eliminated.
The Kaga was one of the six carriers which attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, and she launched 27 Nakajima B5N 'Kate' torpedobombers, followed by 18 Mitsubishi A6M Zeros and 26 Aichi D3A Val' divebombers. She and the Akagi (Carrier Division 1) then took part in the devastating series of strikes in the East Indies, South Pacific and Indian Ocean which destroyed Allied military power in the first half of 1942.
At Midway on 4 June 1942, two hours after beating off American attacks succesfully, Kaga was hit by four bombs from Douglas SBD Dauntless divebombers from the USS Enterprise, and near-missed by five more. Blast fractured fuel lines, feeding fuel to the fires already started among the aircraft waiting, fully armed and fuelled. Within 30 minutes the 38,000-ton carrier had to be abandoned, though she continued to burn for another 9 hours. At dusk the flames reached a magazine, and she blew up and sank quickly.
Specification Kaga Displacement: (1941) 38,200 tons standard, 43,650 tons full load Dimensions: length 247.6 m (812 ft 4 in) overall; beam 32.5 m (106 ft 7 in) over flight deck; draught 9.5 m (31 ft 2 in) Machinery: 4-shaft geared steam turbines delivering 127,400 shp
(95020 kW) Speed: 28'/s knots Armour: uncertain Armament: 10200-mm (7.9-m), 16127-mm (5-in) AA and eight twin 25-mm AA guns Aircraft: 90 fighters, dive-bombers and torpedo-bombers Complement: 2,016 officers and men