First Carrier Division

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First Carrier Division
Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku and two destroyers under attack.jpg
The First Carrier Division's Zuikaku (center) and two destroyers under attack by U.S. Navy carrier aircraft during the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
Active April 1, 1928 – April 10, 1945
Country Empire of Japan
Allegiance Axis Powers of World War II
Branch Imperial Japanese Navy
Type Naval aviation unit
Role Aircraft carrier support
Engagements Attack on Pearl Harbor
Indian Ocean raid
Battle of Midway
Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
Battle of the Philippine Sea
Chūichi Nagumo

The First Carrier Division (第一航空戦隊 Dai Ichi Kōkū sentai?, often abbreviated as 一航戦 Ikkō-sen) was an aircraft carrier unit of the Imperial Japanese Navy's First Air Fleet. At the beginning of the Pacific Campaign of World War II, the First Carrier Division consisted of the fleet carriers Akagi and Kaga. The division participated in the Attack on Pearl Harbor and Indian Ocean Raid. After Akagi and Kaga were sunk at the Battle of Midway in June 1942, carriers Shōkaku, Zuikaku, and Zuihō were redesignated as the First Carrier Division.

Organization (extract)

Date Ships
1 April 1928 (original) Akagi, Hōshō and Destroyer Division 6 : Ume, Kusunoki
1 December 1931 Kaga, Notoro and Destroyer Division 2 : Minekaze, Okikaze, Yakaze, Sawakaze
15 November 1934 Ryūjō, Hōshō and Destroyer Division 5 : Asakaze, Harukaze, Matsukaze, Hatakaze
1 December 1937 Kaga and Destroyer Division 29 : Oite, Hayate, Asanagi, Yūnagi
15 November 1939 Akagi and Destroyer Division 19 : Isonami, Uranami, Ayanami, Shikinami
10 April 1941 Akagi, Kaga and Destroyer Division 7 : Akebono, Ushio
14 July 1942 Shōkaku, Zuikaku, Zuihō
1 April 1944 Taihō, Shōkaku, Zuikaku
15 August 1944 Unryū, Amagi
15 December 1944 Amagi, Unryū, Katsuragi, Jun'yō, Ryūhō
10 April 1945 dissolved


Rank Name Date
1 R.ADM Sankichi Takahashi 1 April 1928
x Disbanded 10 December 1928
2 R.ADM Sankichi Takahashi 1 April 1929
3 R.ADM Yurikazu Edahara 30 November 1929
4 R.ADM Takayoshi Katō 1 December 1930
5 R.ADM Koshirō Oikawa 15 November 1932
6 R.ADM Isoroku Yamamoto 3 October 1933
7 R.ADM Hideho Wada 1 June 1934
8 R.ADM Saburō Satō 15 November 1935
9 R.ADM Shirō Takasu 1 December 1936
10 R.ADM Jin'ichi Kusaka 1 December 1937
11 R.ADM Boshirō Hosogaya 25 April 1938
12 R.ADM Jisaburō Ozawa 15 November 1939
13 R.ADM Michitarō Totsuka 1 November 1940
14 V.ADM Chūichi Nagumo 10 April 1941
15 V.ADM Jisaburō Ozawa 11 November 1942
16 R.ADM Keizō Komura 1 October 1944
17 R.ADM Sueo Ōbayashi 10 December 1944
x vacant post 10 February 1945
x dissolved 10 April 1945

The First Carrier Division participated in the largest carrier-to-carrier battle in history, the Battle of the Marianas, and specifically the aircraft carrier Battle of the Philippine Sea (the so-called “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”) on 19–20 June, where the Japanese naval forces were decisively defeated with heavy and irreplaceable losses to their carrier-borne and land-based aircraft.[1]


  1. Polmar, Norman (January 24, 2008). Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events, 1946-2006 (hardcover). II. Washington, D.C: Potomac Books Inc. pp. 377–400. ISBN 1574886657. ISBN 978-1574886658. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 

Further reading