Kongō (1912)

Kongō in drydock, c.1929, when she was undergoing conversion from a battlecruiser to a fast battleship. Original believed to be in the public domain.

Ship Class
Laid Down

Originally built by Vickers-Armstrong to a Japanese order, Kongō commissioned in 1913, and was the last Japanese capital ship to be built abroad. She patrolled the Chinese coast during the Great War, and carried Emperor Hirohito to Taiwan in 1923. Since the Washington Treaty temporarily banned new battleship construction, Kongō and her sisters were heavily upgraded during the 1920s and 1930s, evolving from battlecruisers to fast battleships. Kongō was involved in operations supporting the Army in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and she was heavily engaged in the opening offensive against the Allies in December, 1941. Kongō was assigned to cover the invasions of Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, and participated in the Indian Ocean Raid and the Battle of Midway. Kongō saw little action during the Guadalcanal campaign, bombarding the US airfield on the island in mid-October. She spent most of 1943 at Truk Lagoon, the major forward base of the Japanese Navy. In 1944, Kongō participated in the Battles of the Philippine Sea, and Leyte Gulf, engaging enemy warships for the first time in the latter battle. She was sunk by the submarine USS Sealion (SS-315) in the Formosa Strait 21 November, 1944, while returning to Japan from the Philippines.