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Kongo file photo [1555]


Ship ClassKongo-class Battleship
BuilderBarrow-in-Furness, England
Launched1 Aug 1913
Sunk21 Nov 1944
Displacement36,601 tons standard
Length728 feet
Beam101 feet
Draft31 feet
Speed30 knots


ww2dbaseKongo, first of a class of four 26,230 ton battlecruisers, was built at Barrow-in-Furness, England. The last major Japanese warship to be constructed abroad, she was completed in August 1913. She was active during World War I and afterwards as one of the fastest units of Japan's battle fleet. In 1929-31, Kongo was modernized at Yokosuka Dockyard, and was thereafter rated as a battleship. She was again modernized at Yokosuka in 1936-37, receiving new machinery and a lengthened hull to increase her speed to over thirty knots. This high speed, plus their heavy guns, made Kongo and her sisters uniquely valuable warships, and they were heavily used in World War II combat operations.

ww2dbaseAt the outbreak of hostilities between Japan and the Western Allies in December 1941, Kongo supported the landings on the Malayan Peninsula. As Japan's great southern offensive progressed, she covered the invasion of Java, fired her 14-inch guns in a bombardment of Christmas Island, and was part of the raid against British shipping in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. In the Battle of Midway in early June 1942, Kongo was part of Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo's Covering Group.

ww2dbaseDuring the fiercely contested campaign over Guadalcanal that began in August 1942 Kongo helped deliver an intense and effective bombardment of Henderson Field on 14 October 1942, took part in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands later in that month and was part of the Japanese aircraft carrier force during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in mid-November. She was not in combat during 1943 and the first part of 1944, but participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea in mid-June 1944 as part of the Japanese vanguard carrier division.

ww2dbaseAfter the 20 October 1944 invasion of Leyte, Kongo sortied with the rest of the Japanese fleet to make a counter-attack. This resulted in the great Battle of Leyte Gulf, an action that essentially destroyed Japan's Navy as a major fighting force. As part of the Center Force, Kongo survived a submarine attack on 23 October, carrier air attacks in the Sibuyan Sea the next day, the Battle off Samar against U.S. escort carriers and destroyers on 25 October and an Air Force high-level bombing attack as she withdrew from the battle area on the 26th. However, her luck ran out a month later. On 21 Nov 1944, soon after passing through the Taiwan Strait en route to Japan, she was torpedoed by the U.S. submarine Sealion. The resulting fires apparently were uncontrollable, as Kongo blew up and quickly sank a few hours after she was hit. The veteran of the Battle off Samar was the only battleship sunk by submarine attack during the Pacific War.

ww2dbaseSource: Naval Historical Center

Last Major Revision: Jun 2005

Battleship Kongo Interactive Map


Battlecruiser Kongo on sea trials, Aug 1913Battleship Kongo at Takao (Kaohsiung), Taiwan during Crown Prince Hirohito
See all 20 photographs of Battleship Kongo

Kongo Operational Timeline

10 Dec 1941 Japanese submarine I-58 spotted British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse off British Malaya, launched five torpedoes, but all of them missed; beginning at 1117 hours, Japanese aircraft began to attack. Overwhelmed, HMS Repulse was sunk at 1233 hours (513 killed), followed by HMS Prince of Wales at 1318 hours (327 killed); destroyers HMS Electra, HMS Express, and HMS Vampire rescued 1,862 survivors. On land, the British commanders dispatched the 1st Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Gurkha Rifles regiment to Changlun and Asun in northern British Malaya to counter the Japanese advance; contact was made at Changlun at 2100 hours, where two Japanese tanks were destroyed before the Punjabi troops fell back toward Asun.
19 Mar 1943 Kongo departed Sasebo, Japan for the West Inland Sea, with Yugure and Hagikaze in escort.
20 Mar 1943 Kongo arrived at the West Inland Sea, with Yugure and Hagikaze in escort.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
2 Jun 2021 09:19:55 AM

How high was her freeboard of the aftships section?

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More on Kongo
» Abe, Hiroaki
» Arima, Masafumi
» Daigo, Tadashige
» Hara, Chuichi
» Kondo, Nobutake
» Koyanagi, Tomiji
» Kusaka, Ryunosuke
» Matsuda, Chiaki
» Tanaka, Raizo

Event(s) Participated:
» Battle of Coral Sea
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Mariana Islands Campaign and the Great Turkey Shoot

» Interrogation Nav 83, Captain Nobuye Ukita

Related Books:
» Imperial Japanese Navy Battleships 1941-45

Partner Sites Content:
» Kongo Tabular Record of Movement
Battleship Kongo Photo Gallery
Battlecruiser Kongo on sea trials, Aug 1913Battleship Kongo at Takao (Kaohsiung), Taiwan during Crown Prince Hirohito
See all 20 photographs of Battleship Kongo

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