Laid down in 1927, heavy cruiser Takao was the lead ship of her class. Commissioned in 1932, Takao suffered from the chronic top-heavy problems of most inter-war Japanese ships, coming from trying to cram as much weaponry into the hulls as possible. She underwent a rebuild in 1938-39 to reduce the issue, and saw service off China. Takao supported the invasion of the Philippines in December, 1941, and in February shifted to anti-shipping sweeps in the Dutch East Indies. In June, she covered the invasion of the Aleutian Islands, and supported carrier operations during the Guadalcanal campaign. She was with the Kirishima the night of 15 November, 1942, when they engaged the US battleships South Dakota and Washington, and Takao landed several hits on the former. She covered the evacuation of Guadalcanal in early 1943, and was later employed as an escort during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June, 1944. Takao was hit by two torpedoes from the submarine USS Darter on 23 October, 1944, and the damage forced her to miss the Battle of Leyte Gulf. She docked at Singapore for the remainder of the war, and was attacked by British midget subs on 31 July, 1945. She was surrendered to the British on 21 September, and was sunk as a target ship in October, 1946. She was the only one of her class to survive the Pacific War.