- Class: Kongo - 4 ships of 1910
- Displacement: 31,980 tons
- Dimensions: 654 (pp) 729.5 (oa) x 101 x 32 ft.
- Machinery: 4-shaft geared turbines, S.H.P. 136,000 = 30.5 knots
- Armor: Main belt 3 in. (bow), 8 in. (amid), 3 in. (aft), deck 2.75 in., turrets 9 in., C.T. 10 in.
- Armament: 8-14 in. (4x2), 14-6 in. (14x1), 8-5 in. A.A. (4x2), 20-25 mm. A.A. (10x2) guns; 3 aircraft
- Complement: 1,437
- Builder: Mitsubishi, Nagasaki
- Laid Down: 17 Mar 1912
- Launched: 1 Dec 1913
- Completed: 19 Apr 1915
- Notes: The Kongo class was designed by Sir George Thurston as improved versions of the British Lion class.
The Kongo herself was built in a British yard, but Hiei,
Kirishima, and Haruna were all built in Japan. Initially classified as battlecruisers, they underwent extensive modernization in early 1930s and were reclassified as high speed battleships.
- Service: Kirishima and Hiei formed the 1st
Squadron, 3rd Battle Battleship Division, and accompanied the six carriers of the Pearl Harbor Strike Force from 26 Nov to 24 Dec 1941. Joined the Southern Force in Feb 1942, participating in the carrier raid on Darwin, operations around Java in March, and in the Indian Ocean in April. Accompanied the Carrier Strike Force at the Battle of Midway, June 1942. After that defeat, she was assigned to the Third Fleet at Truk. Participated in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in August and various other sorties in the Guadalcanal area. On the night of 12/13 Nov 1942, Hiei, Kirishima, a light cruiser and 11 destroyers were heading for a scheduled bombardment of Henderson Field when they encountered an American force off Savo Island. The Americans included cruisers
San Francisco, Portland,
Helena, and Juneau,
and 8 destroyers. During the confused battle, the American force was severely hit, losing Atlanta and Juneau (sunk by submarine the following morning) and four destroyers. However Hiei was badly damaged by gunfire and then sunk by aircraft the next day; two Japanese destroyers were also sunk and the bombardment mission was
Kirishima returned on the night of 14/15 Nov for another bombardment try accompanied by cruisers Atago and
Takao, two light cruisers and a destroyer squadron. This time they were intercepted by American battleships USS South Dakota and Washington and four destroyers. Kirishima badly damaged the former, but then was shot to pieces by the latter and reduced to a burning wreck, sinking a few hours later. Three American and one Japanese destroyers were also sunk.