IJN Hiryu Aircraft Carrier (Fujimi, 1:350)

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IJN Hiryu Aircraft Carrier (Fujimi, 1:350)

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Hiryu was completed at Yokosuka, Japan in 1939. She was a member of Chuichi Nagumo's dreaded Mobile Force and was one of the fleet carriers that launched the deadly attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 1941. She participated in the Battle of Midway and launched the aircraft that disabled the American carrier Yorktown. Hiryu then came under attack by Yorktown's SBD aircraft, which fought through Hiryu's combat air patrol fighters and a flak barrage. Captain Susumu Kawaguchi, air officer aboard Hiryu, recalled that Hiryu was hit six times during the fourth and final attack on her. One of the bombs struck the forward elevator, two just aft of the forward elevator, three just forward of the after elevator. All bombs were aimed at the red Hinomaru painted on her flight deck, a proud symbol of the rising sun that ironically doubled as the bull's-eye to the American pilots.

When he determined that Hiryu was unsavable, her captain Tamon Yamaguchi gathered the 800 men who were still aboard the ship, including the wounded, on the flight deck near the bridge, and led them in yelling banzai three times toward Tokyo, followed by the playing of the national anthem. After the ceremony, the order to abandon ship was issued. It was recorded that Yamaguchi and Tomeo Kaku (Hiryu's captain) had this exchange as they shared naval biscuits and water while the ship is abandoned, the exchange signifying how much the two officers had in common.


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