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IJN Kongo Class Battleships

IJN Kongo Class Battleships Book Review

By Chris Crowder

Date of Review August 2004 Title IJN Kongo Class Battleships
Author Steve Wiper Publisher Classic Warships Publishing
Published 2001 ISBN 0-9710687-1-2
Format 72 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $13.95


The 4 ships of the Kongo-class fast battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy were probably the most active of all the Japanese battleships in World War 2. Originally designed as battlecruisers they were later rebuilt and reclassified as fast battleships. By the time of the Pacific War they were outclassed by most contemporary American battleships. However, their high speed meant they were ideal for supporting fast moving Japanese carriers and they would act as escorts during many of the pivotal carrier battles, from Pearl Harbor to Midway. Hiei and Kirishima would both meet their dooms during the wild night battles of Guadalcanal. Kongo would succumb to submarine torpedoes while Haruna would be battered to a hulk by carrier aircraft while riding at anchor at Kure.

Classic Warship's book on the Kongos is divided into 4 sections, each devoted to a single ship. Starting off each section is a comprehensive record of movement for the ship during the World War II. Following this are many pages of black and white photographs charting the development of the ship. Of particular interest are many photos showing the differences between the pagoda masts of each ship. The book contains 112 photos in all. Drawings are also provided to highlight the radical changes the ships underwent during their reconstructions. There are a total of 15 drawings provided of the various ships, as well as a drawing of the 4 types of aircraft deployed aboard them during their careers.

Like the other books in the Warship Pictorial series, Kongo is a terrific source of photos at a decent price. I'd highly recommend it to anyone, from the warship enthusiast to those with no previous knowledge of the ship. It is an invaluable source for anyone building the Classic Warships 1/350 Kirishima as well.