Kaga, Japanese Fleet Carrier

Photograph of Kaga after her 1936

Kazutoshi Hando (Naval Historical Center# 73060)


Tonnage 38,200 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 812'6" by 106'8" by 31'1
247.65m by 32.51m by 9.47m
Maximum speed     
28 knots
Complement 2016
Aircraft 815' (248.4m) flight deck
3 elevators
72 aircraft operational
90 aircraft total
Armament 10 8"/50 Model 1 guns
8x2 5"/40 dual-purpose guns
15x2 25mm AA guns
Protection 6" (152mm) belt inclined at 14 degrees
2" armor + 1.1" plating (51mm armor + 28mm plating) hangar deck
4" slopes from hangar deck to lower edge of belt
3" (76mm) torpedo holding bulkhead tapering to 0.6" (16mm)
4'11" (1.5m) torpedo bulges
4-shaft Kampon geared turbines (127,400 shp)
8 Kampon boilers
Bunkerage 8208 tons fuel oil
175,000 gallons (660,000 liters) aviation gasoline
Range 10,000 nautical miles (19,000km) at 16 knots

The Kaga was originally laid down as a battleship, but under the terms of the Washingon Naval Treaty, she was completed in 1928 as an aircraft carrier. Her battleship origins were evident in her heavy armor and armament. She was similar to Akagi, but not a true sister ship. The Japanese originally intended to build a second Akagi using the hull of battle cruiser Amagi, but this was wrecked in the 1923 Kanto earthquake. The Japanese substituted the hull of battleship Kaga instead. Because she was built from a battleship hull and retained her battleship machinery, Kaga had a somewhat shorter, wider flight deck than Akagi and was a full five knots slower.

Like Akagi, Kaga was originally a flush deck carrier with three stacked flight decks. She was modernized in 1934-1935 to have a single flight deck with an island, the lower flight decks becoming part of the hangar decks and increasing the aircraft capacity to 90. Unlike Akagi, Kaga retained all ten of her 8" guns, but the four originally located in twin turrets were moved to casemates under the flight deck alongside the other six 8" guns. She was given better machinery and her hull was lengthened, but this failed to increase her speed much. Her funnel arrangement was also improved.

Kaga was part of the Pearl Harbor Attack Force when war broke out in the Pacific. She was scuttled after being set ablaze by dive bombers during the battle of Midway, 4 June 1942. Although the lower hull was still intact and buoyant, the upper decks had been reduced to scrap by secondary explosions and the ship was judged beyond repair even if she could have been towed back to Japan.

Photo Gallery

Low forward quarter view of Kaga

U.S. Navy

Overhead view of Kaga

Wikimedia Commons

Part of gun gallery and flight deck of Kaga




Chesneau (1992) (accessed 2007-12-20)

Gogin (2010; accessed 2012-12-25)

Parshall and Tully (2006)
Peattie (2001)

Worth (2001)

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