Hiryū (飛龍, "Flying Dragon") was an aircraft carrier built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1930s. The only ship of her class, she was built to a modified Sōryū design. Her aircraft supported the Japanese invasion of French Indochina in mid-1940. She took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Wake Island. During the first few months of the Pacific War, the ship supported the conquest of the Dutch East Indies in January 1942. The following month, her aircraft bombed Darwin, Australia, and continued to assist in the Dutch East Indies campaign. In April, Hiryū's aircraft helped sink two British heavy cruisers and several merchant ships during the Indian Ocean raid.
After a brief refit, Hiryū and three other fleet carriers of the First Air Fleet (Kido Butai) participated in the Battle of Midway in June 1942. After bombarding American forces on the atoll, the carriers were attacked by aircraft from Midway and the carriers USS Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown. Dive bombers from Yorktown and Enterprise crippled Hiryū and set her afire. She was scuttled the following day after it became clear that she could not be salvaged. The loss of Hiryū and three other IJN carriers at Midway was a crucial strategic defeat for Japan and contributed significantly to the Allies' ultimate victory in the Pacific.
IJN Hiryu Pearl Harbor Raid FH print