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  Kongō 金剛
Kongō-class Battlecruiser

36,600 Tons
728' 4" x 101' 8" x 31' 10"
8 × 356mm guns (4x2)
16 × 152 mm guns (8x2)
8 × 76mm guns
4 × 6.5mm machine guns
8 × 21 in torpedo tubes
3 × floatplanes
IJN 1931
Ship History
Built by Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness, United England. Designed by Vickers naval architect Sir George Thurston as lead ship of the Kongō-class Battlecruiser and was the last major Japanese warship to be designed and built overseas for Japan. The Kongō-class battlecruisers included Kongō, Hiei, Kirishima, and Haruna. Laid down January 17, 1911 as the lead ship of the Kongō-class Battlecruiser. Launched May 18, 1912 as Kongō named after Mount Kongō meaning "Indestructible Diamond" in Osaka Prefecture in Japan. In English sources often spelled Kongo. Commissioned August 16, 1913 in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as the first super-dreadnought type battlecruiser under the command of Captain Naoe Nakano.

On August 28 1913 departs Portsmouth and steams via Singapore to Japan. On November 5, 1913 arrives Yokosuka and placed into first reserve. On December 1, 1913 assigned to Captain Shibakichi Yamanaka. During January 1914 at Kure for inspection of gun turret rangefinders. On February 12, 1914 departs Koniya (Setouchi) and six days later arrives at Chinhae (Jinhae-gu) in Korea then returned to Japan. On August 16, 1914 departs Yokosuka and three days later arrives Sasebo.

World War I Service
On August 21, 1914 departs Sasebo and two days later returns Yokosuka when Japan declares war on Germany and enters World War I on the side of the Allies. On August 24, 1914 attached to BatDiv 3, First Fleet and two days later departs to patrol the sea lanes eastward towards Midway. On September 2, 1914 supports the Japanese landing at Lungkow (Longkou) in China to land Allied troops including Japanese and British to conduct a siege against Tsingtao then returns to Yokosuka. On December 1, 1914 assigned to Captain Shuzo Matsuoka.

On August 15, 1941 assigned to Captain Tomiji Koyanagi at at Hashirajima in Hiroshima Bay.

On November 29, 1941 Kongō and Haruna departs Saeki attached to the Southern Force to provide distant support for the invasion of Malaya. On December 2, 1941 arrives Mako and receives the signal that hostilities will commence. On December 4, 1941 departs Mako bound for the South China Sea.

Pacific War
On December 8, 1941 in the South China Sea when hostilities commence and three days later arrives Camranh Bay in Indochina (Vietnam). On December 14, 1941 departs Camranh Bay to provide distant cover for the Second Malay Convoy then returns three days later. On December 20, 1942 departs Camranh Bay to provide distant cover for the Japanese landings in Lingayen Gulf and operates in the vicinity of Macclesfield Bank then returns four days later.

On January 8, 1942 departs Camranh Bay and two days later arrives Mako. On January 14, 1942 departs for Palau arriving four days later. On January 18, 1942 departs Palau to provide distant cover for the invasion of the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) with Atago and Takao plus four destroyers and provides distant cover to the south of Palau then returns.

On February 18, 1942 departs Palau and two days later arrives Staring Bay on Celebes (Sulawesi) and joins the main body of Japanese warships and Kido Butai aircraft carriers. On February 25, 1942 for Operation J the invasion of the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) assigned to the Carrier Striking Force but will be detached to search for enemy shipping off Java and departs Staring Bay with Haruna, Atago, Takao and destroyers Arashi and Nowaki and are joined by Hayashio from Timor. On March 1, 1942 in the Banda Sea and proceeds via the Ombai Strait off Timor bound for Christmas Island. On March 7, 1942 Kongo and Haruna plus destroyers Urakaze, Hamakaze, Isokaze and Tanikaze bombard Christmas Island.

On March 9, 1942 returns Staring Bay to refuel and the crew are allowed rest and relaxation. On March 26, 1942 departs supporting Operation "C"Indian Ocean Raid and supports the striking force in the Indian Ocean. On April 10, 1942 exits the Andaman Sea (Burma Sea) and enters the Strait of Malacca then proceeds via Singapore to the South China Sea. On April 15, 1942 refueled at sea by Kokuyo Maru with 1,045 metric tons of coal.

On April 22, 1942 arrives Sasebo and the next day enters drydock with additional anti-aircraft guns added around the forward funnel. On May 15, 1942 assigned to Second Fleet, Strike Force, Occupation Force. On May 21, 1942 departs Sasebo for Hashirajima. On May 27, 1942 departs Hashirajima with Hiei assigned to Operation MI the invasion of Midway and steams eastward.

On June 4, 1942 at 8:42am during the Battle of Midway, spotted by USS Gudgeon (SS-211) that reports the "pagoda masts" of two battleships. Afterwards, returns to Japan and reassigned to Northern Force, Support Group. On June 24, 1942 arrives at Kawauchi, Mutsu Bay then to Sendai Bay.

On July 10, 1942 assigned to the Second Fleet and departs for Yokosuka. On July 14, 1942 becomes the flagship of the BatDiv 3 under the command of Vice Admiral Kurita. The battleship floatplanes are upgraded to one E13A Jake and two F1M2 Petes with tail code CI-x (single digit). On July 18, 1942 departs Yokosuka and the next day arrives Hashirajima for training.

On August 1, 1942 arrives Kure for overhaul and refit including the installation of a Type 21 air and surface radar on the forward rangefinder. On August 21, 1942 returns to Hashirajima for training. On September 6, 1942 departs Kure escorted by destroyers Makinami and Naganami bound for Truk and two days later assigned to Advanced Force, Vanguard Group.

On September 10, 1942 arrives Truk and the next day departs with Second Fleet, Advanced Force bound for the northern Solomon Islands. On September 14, 1942 attacked by seven bombers but is undamaged and while at sea refuels escorting destroyers then turns back towards the northern Solomon Islands. On September 20, 1942 recalled to Truk returning three days later.

On October 5, 1942 assigned to the Emergency Bombardment Force. On October 11, 1942 departs Truk bound for the Solomon Islands with the Second Fleet and Third Fleet. On October 12, 1942 in the northern Solomon Islands, the battleships are escorted by Isuzu and destroyers. On October 13, 1942 proceed southward down "The Slot" to Guadalcanal.

Bombardment of Henderson Field
On October 14, 1942 at 1:33am floatplanes release flares to mark Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. At 1:37am Kongō opens fire joined shortly after by Haruna to commence a shore bombardment of Henderson Field on Guadalcanal firing a total of 918 shells including High Explosive (HE) and Type 3 San Shiki (Sanshikidan) then switched to less effective Armor Piercing (AP). Kongō fired 435 shells and Haruna fired 483 shells. During the bombardment, Isuzu and destroyers provide covering firing targeting shore batteries. The force steams eastward passing Lunga Point firing to starboard, then made a 180 degree turn and fires to port while departing. On the ground, the shelling damaged the two runways, burned fuel and destroyed 48 parked planes and resulted in 41 KIA. Although PT Boats attempt to intercept, they are driven away by Naganami. At 2:30am the force retires northward up "The Slot" at 29 knots. Afterwards, reassigned to the Advanced Force.

On October 25, 1942 the Advanced Force is spotted by B-17 Flying Fortresses from the 11th Bomb Group. On October 26, 1942 during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, attacked by TBF Avengers from USS Enterprise (CV-6) but is not damaged. Afterwards, steams northward to Truk arriving four days later.

On November 1, 1942 Captain Koyanagi is promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral. On November 9, 1942 departs Truk for Ontong Java as part of the main body force and provides distant support. On November 15, 1942 after the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal departs for Truk arriving three days later and undergoes training for the remainder of the month.

On December 16, 1942 assigned to Captain Matsuji Ijuin and later in the month is reassigned to the Third Fleet. On January 30, 1942 departs Truk bound for the northern Solomon Islands as a feint to cover Operation KE to evacuate the remaining Japanese from Guadalcanal. On February 9, 1942 returns to Truk and four days later departs with other warships and aircraft carriers northward bound for for Japan and experiences heavy seas.

On February 20, 1942 arrives Sasebo and a week later enters drydock and concrete is added around the steering gear as protection, improved ventilation, additional watertight bulkheads and pumps plus two batteries of triple 25mm anti-aircraft guns instead of no. 7 and no. 8 secondary guns. On March 19, 1943 departs Sasebo for Hashirajima.


Sinking History
On November 21, 1944 sunk by USS Sealion (SS-315) in the Formosa Strait (Taiwan Strait) off Formosa (Taiwan).

Combined Fleet IJN Battleship KONGO: Tabular Record of Movement
Marines in World War II Historical Monograph The Guadalcanal Campaign Chapter VII: Expansion to the West and The October Attack on the Airfield pages 110-111
"Later the same night, a strong attack was made upon the American positions. The battleships Kongo and Haruna, screened by light cruiser Isuzu and eight destroyers, rained a continuous fire upon the airfield and the fighter strip for a period of 80 minutes.13 Flares from observation and spotting planes illuminated the area, and the fire was accurate and heavily damaging. The scout-bomber aircraft suffered heavily, and the close of the action found only one SBD in operating condition. Forty-one dead were suffered, with many wounded (footnote 14: Final Report, Phase V, p. 16)."
History of the Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (1952) pages 98-100 (The Big Bombardment)

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Last Updated
November 7, 2021


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