The Kongo was a Japanese battlecruiser launched in 1912; she was the leading
ship of her class and unlike the others she was built in British shipyards. The ships of the Kongo class were based on the British
battlecruisers of the Lion class, but they were fitted with many improvements to satisfy the Japanese requirements. Instead of the
343-millimeter cannon in use in Britain the Japanese demanded that of caliber 356 millimeters to keep pace with the American progress.
The third main turret was reallocated from within the funnels to after the superstructure, but still so its new position between the
boilers and the engine room was far from ideal.
As the largest part of the projects of battlecruisers the Kongo class had a relatively weak protection theoretically vulnerable to
heavy grenades at every range. The intention was to transport a heavy armament at high speed to pose a formidable threat to lighter
units. The limitations imposed by the naval treaties of the interwar period caused the cancellation of the Japanese naval
programs whose purpose was the creation of a modern fleet of capital ships. For such reason, the Imperial Japanese Navy preserved its
veteran battleships modernizing them as much as possible. Along this period the ships of the Kongo class suffered a long series of
small improvements, being reconstructed two times. The illustration shows the Kongo as she was in 1944; note the tall "pagoda style"
conning tower crowned by a radar, the additional antiaircraft cannons and the seaplane E13A1 "Jake" on the catapult.
Initially conceived as battlecruisers, the ships of the Kongo class were reclassified as battleships in 1929 when their armor was
slightly strengthened, and finally as fast battleships in 1937, after further improvement of their speed, to make them capable of
accompanying the carrier fleet. After a hard service in the Pacific, the Kongo was eventually torpedoed and sunk by the submarine
USS Sealion in November 1944. Two years ago, her sister Kirishima had been sunk in a matter of minutes by the modern battleship USS Washington,
demonstrating this fact the obsolescency of the Kongo class.
Class: Kongo (4 units - Haruna, Hiei, Kirishima, Kongo)
Type: Battlecruiser/Fast battleship
Length: 214.6 meters in 1912; 222 meters in 1937
Beam: 28 meters in 1912; 29 meters after 1931
Draught: 8.4 meters in 1912; 8.7 meters in 1931; 9.7 meters in 1937
Displacement (standard): 26750 tonnes in 1912; 29800 tonnes in 1931; 32670 tonnes in 1937
Propulsion (in 1912): 4 x shaft, steam turbines Parsons, 36 x coal/petrol boiler Yarrow, 64000 horsepower
Propulsion (in 1931): 4 x shaft, steam turbines Parsons, 6 x coal/petrol boiler Kampon RO, 4 x petrol boiler Kampon RO, 64000 horsepower
Propulsion (in 1937): 4 x shaft, steam turbines Parsons, 8 x petrol boiler Kampon RO, 136000 horsepower
Speed: 27.5 knots (50.8 kilometers/hour) in 1912; 25.9 knots (48 kilometers/hour) in 1931; 30 knots (55.5 kilometers/hour) in 1937
Range: 8000 nautical miles (14800 kilometers) at 14 knots in 1912; 9500 nautical miles (15742 kilometers) at 14 knots in 1931;
9800 nautical miles (14800 kilometers) at 18 knots in 1937
Complement: 1221 in 1912; 1118 in 1931; 1437 in 1937
Armament (in 1912): 8 x 356-millimeter 40-caliber cannon, 16 x 152-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 8 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube
Armament (in 1931): 8 x 356-millimeter 40-caliber cannon, 16 x 152-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 7 x 80-millimeter cannon, 4 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube, 3 x aircraft
Armament (in 1937): 8 x 356-millimeter 40-caliber cannon, 14 x 152-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 8 x 127-millimeter cannon, 20 x 25-millimeter cannon, 3 x aircraft
Armament (in 1944): 8 x 356-millimeter 40-caliber cannon, 8 x 152-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 12 x 127-millimeter cannon, 118 x 25-millimeter cannon, 3 x aircraft
Armor (in 1912): 152-203 millimeters in belt, 76 millimeters in ends, 38 millimeters in upper deck, 19 millimeters in lower deck, 152 millimeters in casemates
254 millimeters in barbettes, 76-229 millimeters in main turrets
Armor (in 1931): 152-203 millimeters in belt, 76 millimeters in ends, 38 millimeters in upper deck, 19-120 millimeters in lower deck, 152 millimeters in casemates,
280 millimeters in barbettes, 152-229 millimeters in main turrets