- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armament
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Kongo-class, IJN Kongo, 1944 (金剛, namesake: Mount Kongō) was the lead ship of the Kongō-class and would be the last Japanese capital ship built outside Japan. Designed by the British naval engineer George Thurston and laid down in 1911 initially as a battlecruiser, she would see 2 major refits that would reclassify her as a fast battleship. First commissioned in 1913, patrolling the Chinese coast during WWI, she would see many major naval actions in the Pacific War until November 1944 when she would be sunk by a submarine while in transit.
IJN Kongo was introduced in Update "Wind of Change". Being a sidegrade to the other capital ships Japan offers, the Kongō offers speed over total amount of guns and armour, this gives her more opportune reaction times in regards of angling her armour, and getting to desired locations faster than other battleships. Being in her last refit of 1944, she provides a large suite of 25 mm anti-air cannons to fend off medium-close range aerial targets.
Survivability and armour
Kongo's armour truly reflects her legacy as a battlecruiser, even though she has been uparmoured from her original design. Her 203 mm main belt is the second weakest capital ship belt in the game - only HMS Invincible's 152 mm belt is worse, and it's enough to stop cruiser shells, but will stand no chance against battleships. The rest of her amidships hull is protected by 152 mm armour, which greatly improves her survivability against splash damage and weaker shells, but is not very effective against enemy AP. Her bow has a 76 mm belt that extends from the waterline, but as with most battleships, the majority of the bow is left unarmoured. Her turrets have 254 mm of armour, while her barbettes have 229 mm. This is reasonable by battleship standards, but still leaves her turrets vulnerable to even cruiser AP. Her conning tower, nestled behind turret B, is surrounded by 254 mm of armour.
Within the ship, all four magazines are protected by a turtleback armour scheme, which greatly improves her protection against ammunition detonations, especially at close range. In addition to this, the steering at the stern of the ship is armoured by an enormous concrete block.
Overall, her armour is certainly enough to give her protection against most cruisers and some battleships, especially when angled, but given her design and playstyle, it will never be her strength. At the end of the day, she is a battlecruiser at her core, and you should not expect her armour to make you impervious to battleship fire.
The IJN Kongo's crew consists of 1,437 personnel, which is respectable. It is far more than any World War One-era dreadnought, although it's less than the Scharnhorst's complement, and is smaller than the crews of even some World War Two cruisers.
The Kongo's nature as a battlecruiser reflects in her speed, which is a very good 56 km/h. This is only slightly less than most cruisers, and is leaps and bounds ahead of the speed of dreadnoughts. However, her acceleration and deceleration is still unexceptional, and her turning is not very good.
|Game Mode||Upgrade Status||Maximum Speed (km/h)|
Modifications and economy
The 36 cm/45 Type 41, also seen on IJN Hyuga, is an exceptional 356 mm battleship cannon. Compared to the Hyuga, the IJN Kongo gets only 8 guns, but she features a new selection of shells. Her stock shell, Ordinary SAP, is identical to the shell on Hyuga, and certainly gets the job done. With the equivalent of 68.64 kg of TNT, her SAP is still a head and shoulders over even the HE on most other battleships. These shells will smash cruisers whenever they hit, and against battleships, while they will rarely penetrate the hull armour, the splash damage from the detonation will frequently destroy guns and turrets. Type 91 APC is an improvement over the Hyuga's equivalent AP shell, with extra penetration. This shell is mostly used against battleships, where the extra penetration is needed to penetrate the belt armour. The last shell is Type 0 Common, an HE shell. This shell is very poor, possessing only half the explosive filler of SAP. It may find some utility when it comes to sniping patrol boats or stray floatplanes, but overall, it isn't very good.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|1,000 m||2,500 m||5,000 m||7,500 m||10,000 m||15,000 m|
|Type 91 APC||APCBC||635||593||529||476||431||366|
|Common Type 0||HE||67||67||67||67||67||67|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
|Type 91 APC||APCBC||771||671.3||0.05||26||11.66||48°||63°||71°|
|Common Type 0||HE||805||621||0||0.1||31||79°||80°||81°|
The Kongo's secondaries consist of eight 15 cm/50 Type 41 cannons, four per side. Comparable guns can be found on the IJN Agano, although these guns can maintain a sustained rate of fire of 10 RPM. While they are 6-inch secondaries, they are nothing to write home about, as the best shell only has 81 mm of penetration at point blank range. That being said, the exceptionally high explosive mass of the SAP round - nearly as good as HE - makes it very well suited for fighting destroyers.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|1,000 m||2,500 m||5,000 m||7,500 m||10,000 m||15,000 m|
|Type 0 HE||HE||35||35||35||35||35||35|
|Type 4 SAP||SAP||81||68||52||40||34||34|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
|Type 0 HE||HE||850||45.26||0||0.1||3.17||79°||80°||81°|
|Type 4 SAP||SAP||850||45.26||0.01||7||2.92||47°||60°||65°|
The IJN Kongo's AA armament sets her apart from other battleships. It includes six 127 mm (5 inch/40 Type 89) twin cannons, as well as a total of 100 25 mm cannons. The 127 mm guns, which behave more like secondaries, are automatically loaded with HE-TF, with no alternate ammunition choice, which makes them pretty useless against surface targets, as the shells will always detonate early, but decent against aircraft. Meanwhile, the 25 mm cannons provide the Kongo with exceptional close-range AA firepower, being able to put up a hail of fire in any direction. However, note the stopping power of the 25 mm is not very good, and these cannons are only really suitable for self-defence.
Located between the aft main turrets is a deck area and catapult for one Aichi E13A1 scout plane which provides unique offensive and defensive abilities, expanding tactical options. Ship-launched scout planes fly just like regular tree units but lack munition choices and cockpit views. The E13A1 is equipped with a 7.7 mm Type 97 defensive machine gun and a formidable load of 4 x 60 kg bombs. It also has the scout plane ability to cap zones and lay down smoke cover (up to 3 times). Captains will be wise to remember to utilize the aircraft and consider when best to use it, for example to cap a point early or late in the match, to create a smoke screen to stymie enemy bombardment and repair, to attack enemy units directly, or perhaps something completely new! Carrying a heavier bomb load than most other scout planes, this unit has a very good chance to sink enemy boats or even a destroyer.
Usage in battles
Aside from perhaps the Scharnhorst, there is no better ship when it comes to aggressive capital ship gameplay. While the IJN Kongo has the ability to snipe passively, the Hyuga simply is more specialized in that role over the Kongo. It is best to lean into the IJN Kongo's advantages, and play like the battlecruiser that she was originally designed as. Her speed allows her to keep pace with friendly cruisers, while her exceptional gun arcs on the rear turrets (±150°) allow her to make the most of her somewhat lacklustre armour, as well as maintaining the ability to deliver full broadsides while sailing into combat. In addition, her AA is an extremely useful asset, as it allows her to be self-sufficient in combat, instead of relying on teammates for AA support.
Overall, the Kongo is the most efficient ship in the game when it comes to delivering devastating firepower to the enemy. Don't sit passively - put your ship on the line and don't be too afraid to engage in brawls, despite her light protection. While she isn't exactly a very well protected capital ship, her armour is good enough to let her speed and firepower do the rest.
Specific enemies worth noting
- Heavy cruisers - Most cruisers are completely incapable of doing significant damage to you, but if left to their own devices they will eventually chip away at you. Learn their ammunition locations, and dispose of them quickly with SAP. Also, keep in mind which enemy cruisers are armed with torpedoes, and keep them at arms length.
- Scharnhorst - The Scharnhorst is the Kongo's biggest rival, boasting heavier armour and a lower profile hull, while having weaker but more rapid firing armament. Approach them with caution, aiming to disable turrets, and preferably have backup from your team. Never brawl them, as the Scharnhorst's torpedoes will be decisive.
- USS Arizona - The USS Arizona is extremely durable, and their broadside of twelve 356 mm guns is very imposing. However, her Achilles' heel is her reload. Knocking out turrets and dodging incoming fire from an Arizona will cripple their damage output, while you can bombard them until they eventually explode.
- IJN Hyuga - Essentially having your guns, but four more of them, the Hyuga has the deadliest broadside in the game. Chip away from them at long range, and make sure you do not get hit in return. If the Hyuga is playing passively, use your speed to flank and attack from an unexpected direction.
- Kronshtadt - This Soviet battlecruiser is another key rival, possessing a total of nine highly lethal 305 mm cannons in three triple turrets. This ship has a very effective armour layout that can significantly reduce damage when angled, especially at longer ranges, whilst the anti-frag armour and lack of deck clutter renders the vessel quite resistant to fragmentation damage from explosions. It's best to face these ships by focusing on the frontal turrets and taking them out before they can cripple or destroy you first. Ignoring fire coming from this ship is a great way to get blown up.
Pros and cons
- Exceptional 356 mm guns with the most potent SAP round in the game and comfortable gun arcs
- Relatively fast for her size
- Good AA protection, 25 mm AA guns don't cost crew count (the animated crew models don't affect the gameplay)
- Workable armour above waterline; turtleback around the magazines
- Access to floatplanes
- Extremely weak underwater protection, vulnerable to large calibre diving shots from heavy cruiser or above
- Subject to flooding and capsizing in addition due to aforementioned weakness
- 25 mm guns don't have good range - may fire on a target too late, or not at all if at high altitude
- 127mm batteries are categorized into AAA group and hence no combined manual control or ammo options
Design and construction
The end of the Russo-Japanese war and the end of the pre-dreadnought era saw the IJN pursuing bigger and more powerful capital ships to bolster the fleet. However, much of the IJN's budget was spent repairing the newly captured Russian warships and thus Japan's first attempts at a Dreadnought design suffered, leading to them becoming "semi-dreadnoughts" with a mixed main armament. To overcome their current technological deficit, it was decided to order a new ship of the battlecruiser type from Great Britain and the contract was awarded to Vickers Sons & Co, the same company that built Mikasa several years earlier. This contract would lead to the final Japanese warship built by a foreign power and would update the Japanese warship-building industry to the latest British standards. The Vickers design would displace 27,000 tons and carry a speed of 26 knots, this was significantly larger than domestic designs. The Naval General Staff (NGS) worked closely with Vickers to ensure that the new battlecruiser would meet the operational needs of the IJN. Originally, the ship was to have 10 x 12"/50 guns in 5 dual turrets. The NGS decided against this and opted to use the newer and much more powerful Vickers 14"/45 guns, resulting in numerous design changes after the keel of the first ship of the class, Kongō, had already been laid down.
The final design would be a ship with a waterline length of 212m and a beam of 28 m. She would be armed with 8 x 14" guns in 4 dual turrets with superfiring pairs fore and aft, 16 casement-mounted 6" guns, several 8 cm AA guns and 8 submerged torpedo tubes. Protection was offered by an 8" thick main belt, 9-10" on the main turrets and 1.5" on the main deck. Propulsion was provided by 36 mixed-fired (coal sprayed with oil) boilers and two sets of Parsons turbines for a designed output of 64,000 shp.
A technical dispatch would be present for the construction of Kongō and would later finalize the technology transfer to allow the remaining 3 ships of the class; Hiei, Kirishima and Haruna, to be built in Japanese shipyards. Kongō would be launched on May 18th, 1912, at Barrow-In-Furness and completed a year later on August 16th, 1913. During her sea trials, Kongō displaced 27,580 tons and attained a top speed of 27.5 knots with 78,275 shp. Kongō would leave Britain the same year and arrive in Japan on November 5th.
Kongō would see very little operational service during WW1. The British requested for her and her 3 sisters to be transferred to the Grand Fleet to counter the German Navy, however, this was denied and instead, they remained in the Pacific and were used to confiscate island territories of the German Empire. Kongō attempted to intercept the cruiser SMS Nurnberg but saw little action afterwards.
The Washington Arms Limitation Treaty of 1922 put a stop to all ongoing battleship construction and limited the possession of major warships of the US, Great Britain, Japan, France and Italy to a ratio of 5:5:3:1.75:1.75 for the respective nations. Replacements were only permitted for warships exceeding 20 years of age, as a result, the IJN would set about refitting the Kongō-class as these were the oldest dreadnoughts in their fleet.
The first reconstruction of Kongō would begin in December 1928 and would finish in September 1932. Major visual changes would include the reduction in the number of funnels from 3 to 2, the superstructure- which had been built up with platforms and positions from the simple tripod mast of the 1910s, had become more refined and would become the famous Pagoda mast seen on all major Japanese battleships of WW2.
Internally; 4 of her 8 submerged torpedo tubes were removed due to the threat of an internal explosion should the torpedo room sustain damage and her turret rangefinders were updated to newer, more accurate types along with the new Type 13 fire control system. The deck armour over her decks was increased to 3.2" and 4.8" over the magazines and machinery rooms as well as a doubling of the turret roofs from 3" to 6" to protect against plunging fire. Bulkheads and anti-torpedo bulges were added to protect against torpedoes and "diving shells". An emergency counterflooding system was also added to quickly correct a list by up to 8 degrees.
Her 36 Yarrow boilers were replaced by 10 new Kampon-RO boilers. Although intended for complete conversion from mixed to oil, 6 mixed-fired boilers had to be retained. Power output from the boilers increased from 64,000 shp to 75,000 shp, however, the increase in displacement from 26,330 tons to 29,330 tons as well as an increased beam resulted in a reduction in speed to 25 knots. During this reconstruction, Kongō and her sisters (with the exception of Hiei who would be de-armed and converted into a training ship) would be re-rated as battleships.
In 1936, Japan had left the naval treaties. Tensions with the various powers and the need to keep a qualitative advantage over their USN and RN adversaries had meant the abandonment of the limitations imposed upon them.
Thus, the Kongō class would once again enter drydock for another reconstruction. Kongō's main guns would have their maximum elevation increased from 33 degrees to 43 degrees resulting in a range increase from 28,600 m to 34,450 m. The secondary battery was reduced from 16 to 14 guns but the range was also increased from 14,200 m to 19,350 m. Her remaining torpedo tubes were removed and her AA complement would now consist of 10 twin mounts of the infamous 25 mm Type 96 AA gun. Numerous surface and air fire directors and rangefinders were added or improved to make use of the new ranges the ship was capable of engaging at.
The old oil-fired boilers and turbines were replaced with new Kampon RO-Go oil boilers and geared turbines, new propellers, larger rudders and an increased length- achieved through the cutaway, lengthening and reattachment of the bow and stern, which resulted in her achieving a top speed of 30.27 knots with 137,200 shp during trials at a displacement of 37,003 tons (almost 10,000 tons more than her original displacement in 1912). Re-rated as a fast battleship, Kongō had the speed and firepower but still retained the weak armour of her battlecruiser origin.
The Pacific War
Following the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, Kongō and her sister ship Haruna were assigned to cover the invasions of Malaya, the Philippines and later, the Dutch East Indies in 1942. By March Kongō would sail with all her sisters during the Indian Ocean raid, escorting the IJN's carrier force. This would be the only time the 4 Kongō class would operate together. Kongō would then be assigned to the Midway invasion force along with Hiei, the other 2 sisters were part of the carrier escort group.
Bombardment of Henderson Field
Following the disastrous loss of 4 fleet carriers at Midway, Kongō was tasked with what would be the most successful IJN battleship operation. To prevent US air forces from harassing transports for the Army landing forces destined for Guadalcanal, Kongō and her sister Haruna were dispatched to destroy Lunga Airfield. Lunga had previously come under an unsuccessful daytime air attack, therefore a night bombardment involving battleships had to be executed. For the operation, the two battleships were to use the Type 3 Anti Aircraft Incendiary shells, the timed fuses were to be set to detonate the shells 50-150 metres above the airfield to spread shrapnel and incendiary tubes over a large area of the airfield. During the night between October 13th and 14th Kongō would expend 104 Type 3 shells before resorting to Type 91 AP shells. Of the 45 fighters, 45 dive bombers and 8 B-17 Flying Fortresses, 35 fighters, 7 dive bombers and 6 B-17s remained. Almost all the Kerosene had burned leaving Henderson Field and the Cactus Force out of action.
It was becoming increasingly clear that the Japanese were unable to keep hold of the Solomons and the decision was made to evacuate Guadalcanal. Kongō would cover the operation before returning to Japan for an overhaul and would spend the remainder of 1943 in Truk thereafter. The following year Kongō participated in the catastrophic Battle of the Marianas and achieved very little. She then tested radar-directed gunfire for the first time prior to Leyte Gulf and would use this at Samar at nearly 20,000 metres, where she would play a part in the sinking of USS Samuel B. Roberts and damaging USS Heermann. The rest of 1944 would be spent avoiding air attacks by US aircraft.
Sinking by USS Sealion
On November 16th, Kongō departed Brunei accompanied by the battleships Yamato and Nagato. Initially zigzagging to avoid submarine torpedo attacks, the fleet would stop soon after entering the Formosa Strait (now known as the Taiwan Strait) on November 20th. At 0020 hours on November 21st, USS Sealion would pick up radar contact and at 0245 and 0300 hours begin sending torpedoes into the formation. At 0301, Yamato would report 2 hits on Kongō while Sealion reported 3. Boiler rooms 6 and 8 would flood, causing a 15-degree list to port. Despite the damage, Kongō continued on at 16 knots. At 0450, the ship slowed to 11 knots and to a complete stop at 0520. Kongō would capsize and explode 4 minutes later, taking 1,200 sailors. 237 sailors were rescued by the accompanying destroyers Hamakaze and Isokaze.
After the Royal Navy commissioned the battlecruiser HMS Invincible into service in 1908, the IJN was quick to react with a plan to expand its fighting force with modern warships being approved already by the end of the decade. However, the problem persisted that Japanese shipyards simply lacked the technological know-how to build such warships at the time. As a result, taking advantage of the existing naval cooperation agreement with Great Britain, Japan sought assistance from the Vickers company, who besides helping design a matching warship, also agreed to manufacture the lead ship, to be named Kongō, while the remaining ones would be built in Japan.
IJN Kongō was laid down in January 1911 as the lead ship of its class of modern battlecruisers to be built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was launched in May 1912 and completed in April 1913, subsequently entering service in August as the most advanced Japanese warship of its time. During WWI, IJN Kongō took part in minor operations but was quickly placed in reserve after the conflict. With international agreements limiting naval power after WWI, Japan was forced to upgrade existing warships in order to maintain its fighting power. As a result, Kongō was extensively upgraded on two occasions in the interwar period, not only vastly improving its characteristics but also noticeably changing its visual appearance.
During WWII however, Kongō had a rather illustrious service record. It took part in several major operations, including the Invasion of the Dutch East Indies, the Battle of Midway and also supported Japanese forces at Guadalcanal. After taking part in the famous Battle of Leyte Gulf, Kongō would serve until November 1944 when it was sunk by a successful torpedo attack by the American submarine USS Sealion.
- Ahlberg, Lars, and Hans Lengerer. Kongō-Class Battleships. Schiffer Military, 2021.
- Low, Joseph E. The Kongō Class Battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy. vol. 3, Kindle Direct Publishing, 2022.
- Stille, Mark E. The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War. Osprey Publishing, 2013.
|Tribal-class||HMS Eskimo · HMCS Haida|
|Light Tank Mk VI||Light AA Mk I|
|Light Tank Mk VII||Tetrarch I|
|Light Tank Mk VIII||Alecto I|
|Tank, Infantry, Valentine||Valentine I · Valentine IX · Valentine XI · Archer|
|Vickers MBT||Vickers Mk.1 · Vickers Mk.3 · Vickers Mk.7**|
|Export||▂МК-IX "Valentine" · Vickers Mk.E*|
|See also||Vickers-Armstrongs Aircraft Limited|
|***Previously Armstrong Whitworth|
|*Previously Vickers Limited|
|**Vickers Defence Systems|
|****Built for Japan|
|Ise-class||IJN Ise · IJN Hyuga|
|Kongō-class||IJN Kongo · IJN Haruna|