IJN Carrier Wreckage- Identification Analysis
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The Kaga

Figure 16: Kaga in 1942. (Scanned from Jentschura et. al. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945)

By process of elimination, we are left with the Kaga. And as it turns out, there is important photographic evidence that comes out strongly in support of Kaga’s case. Kaga’s starboard bow 25mm battery (S#3, S#4, and S#5) can be eliminated because the mounts located here do not form a gallery, being individually sponsoned out from the ship (this is shown nicely in Figure 4, presented in the earlier “Japanese Carrier Equipment” section.) This leaves the aft galleries.

Most of the gun tubs in the aft galleries are problematic. Like Sôryû, Kaga also Type 95 directors located very near some of her 25mm tubs. Drawings differ as to how close, with some drawings (notably the illustration of Kaga in Gakken #14) showing the guns and directors in separate tubs, albeit jammed right next to each other. Another source, Hasegawa’s Nihon no Kokubokan, suggests that the two tubs were actually merged to form a hybrid tub. This tub has an unusual shape, with a bulge towards the forward part of the tub that housed the Type 95 equipment (illustrated in Figure 17). This hybrid tub arrangement seems to be supported, at least for Kaga’s port gallery, by close examination of the photograph in Figure 18, although it is difficult to tell for certain.

Figure 17: Hybrid gun/fire-control director tub aboard Kaga.

Yet the wreckage photographs seem to support the idea that both of the gun tubs on the bottom were fully semi-circular in nature. This indicates that they could not have been “hybrid” 25mm/Type 95 tubs. That, in turn, requires that we locate two “pure” semi-circular 25mm tubs that are adjacent to each other, and which have a gallery structure extending both fore and aft of their position.

This new requirement rules out Kaga’s port gallery. On that gallery, “hybrid” gun tubs occupy the two middle

positions of the four, meaning there are not two adjacent “pure” tubs to be had. This leaves the starboard aft gallery as the only structure aboard Kaga that has a chance to satisfy the requirements. We are, so to speak, down to our last nickel.

Fortuitously, the two forward tubs (S#8 and S#9) in the starboard gallery, according to every source we have at hand, are purely semicircular in nature. Furthermore, the gallery structure in this area runs both forward

(towards the 127mm battery) and aft (towards mounts S#10, S#11, and S#12). There is a nice separation between tubs in the area. The question then becomes, does either of the two forward tubs contain a landing light array that will match the wreckage?

The photographic record of Kaga is nearly as weak as Sôryû’s. However, there is a surprisingly good overhead shot of Kaga available (Figure 18) which shows her flight deck in some detail.

Figure 18: Kaga, photographed in April 1941, showing her flight deck and anti-aircraft galleries. (Scanned from Maru Special)

A close examination of this photograph reveals that Kaga did indeed carry a light array on the second tub in the starboard gallery, on mount S#9. The landing light array can be made out as a thicker line in the magnified photograph at right. The array can be seen to project further outboard than the net supports that line the flight deck in the area. More important, it is clearly mounted in the center of the gun tub structure, and not immediately abaft it (as was the case with Akagi’s aft galleries).

This in itself is strong primary evidence in favor of mount S#9 carrying a gun tub. It is further reinforced by an illustration recently published in the Gakken Pacific War Series Volume #13, which illustrates Kaga’s starboard side quite clearly (see Figure 20). In this drawing, mount S#9 is shown having a landing light array attached to it.

Figure 19: Magnification of Kaga's starboard aft 25mm gallery. Mount numbers are indicated by circled numbers.

Additional evidence includes the probable existence of portholes in the area in question. The drawings in Jentschura’s “Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Hasegawa’s Nihon no Kokubokan, ModelArt Volume #3, and Takeshi Yuki’s painting of her, all seem to support the existence of portholes in this area of the upper hanger deck. Three of these drawings show a porthole directly in front of mount S#8, located in the upper hanger deck, which corresponds nicely to the wreckage. It should be noted that the illustration in Watts does not show any portholes, but this work contains drawings that are in general less detailed than some of the other reference works consulted.

An interesting, though inconclusive piece of corroborating detail, is the hatch shown in the Gakken illustration. Sited midway between S#8 and S#9 at the back of the gallery, it seems to lead to the upper hanger deck. The wreckage shows a stairway on the inside of the bulkhead structure. It is possible that this stairway terminated in a hatch like the one shown in the Gakken illustration, allowing anti-aircraft crews to reach their stations from inside the vessel.

Figure 20: Kaga's starboard 25mm gallery. Mount S#9, with landing light array, is circled. (Scanned from Gakken Pacific War Series, Volume #13.)

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