Kirishima file photo [1547]


Ship ClassKongo-class Battleship
BuilderMitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard
Laid Down17 Mar 1912
Launched1 Dec 1913
Commissioned19 Apr 1915
Sunk15 Nov 1942
Displacement32,156 tons standard; 36,601 tons full
Length728 feet
Beam101 feet
Draft32 feet
MachinerySteam turbines, four shafts
Speed30 knots
Range10,000nm at 14 knots
Armament8x14in, 16x6in, 8x5in DP, 118x25mm anti-aircraft


ww2dbaseThe four Kongo-class ships were the first modern warships in the Japanese Navy. They were designed by Britain's Sir George Thurston, and strongly influenced the design of the forthcoming Tiger-class battlecruisers. They were originally rated as battlecruisers, but 1933-1934 reconstruction and rearmament at Kure reclassified them as battleships.

ww2dbaseAs WW2 broke out, Kirishima first served as naval support off the Chinese coast beginning in 1938, then escorted the Japanese aircraft carriers during the raid on Pearl harbor. She was active during the Japanese southward offensive in early 1942. In Mar and Apr, she was part of the powerful force that raided the British in the Indian Ocean. During the Solomons Campaign later in 1942, Kirishima was present during the carrier battles of the Eastern Solomons in August and the Santa Cruz Islands in October. She received minor damage in the night surface action off Guadalcanal on 13 Nov. Two nights later, serving as flagship of another Japanese surface force, she was engaged by the American battleships Washington and South Dakota. She exchanged gunfire with the latter, but because American destroyers' spotlights blinded Kirishima's lookouts, she could not locate Washington which was located 8,000 yards away. Because her guns were trained accurately on South Dakota already, Kirishima did not attempt to shift her guns at Washington's direction. At the end of the engagement, she was hit by nine 16-in shells and forty 5-in shells, all from Washington, and became disabled. With her superstructure aflame and rudders stuck, Kirishima was scuttled by opening her Kingston valves a few miles west of Savo Island about two and half hours after the start of the engagement. About 250 men were lost during the battle.

ww2dbaseKirishima's wreck was discovered and examined in August 1992, resting upside down with its forward end blown off some 4000 feet below the surface.

ww2dbaseSources: Interrogations of Japanese Officials, Naval Historical Center, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Mar 2007

Battleship Kirishima Interactive Map


The launching of battlecruiser Kirishima at the Mitsubishi Naval Shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan, 1 Dec 1913Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima at Sasebo, Japan, 21 Dec 1915Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima undergoing maintenance and training at Sasebo, Japan, 4 May 1921Kirishima
See all 18 photographs of Battleship Kirishima


Map depicting Japanese and US Naval movements during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal the night of Nov 14, 1942.

Kirishima Operational Timeline

19 Apr 1915 Kirishima was commissioned into service.
21 Oct 1938 Kirishima launched a E8N1 Type 95 floatplane and photographed HMS Birmingham off Xiamen, China.
24 Aug 1942 Kumano screened the carrier Ryujo and the battleship Kirishima in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and against an attack from B-17 bombers.
15 Nov 1942 US battleship Washington sank Japanese battleship Kirishima by gunfire off Savo Island in the Solomon Islands.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
26 Jun 2014 05:27:43 PM

Info is incorrect on American BBs that engaged the Kirishima. The BBs in question were the USS Washington (a North Carolina class ship) and the USS South Dakota that engaged and sank her.
2. Wingy says:
4 Jan 2019 09:48:33 AM

Washington hit Kirishima with 20-21 16inch shells; more of them were underwater hits that flooded her hull- she was not scuttled. See Combined Fleet website for documentation.

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More on Kirishima
» Mikawa, Gunichi
» Nagumo, Chuichi
» Sakai, Saburo
» Tokuno, Hiroshi

Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor
» Invasion of Malaya and Singapore
» New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 1, Bismarck Islands
» Attack on Darwin
» Raids into the Indian Ocean
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign

Related Books:
» Imperial Japanese Navy Battleships 1941-45

Partner Sites Content:
» Kirishima Tabular Record of Movement

Battleship Kirishima Photo Gallery
The launching of battlecruiser Kirishima at the Mitsubishi Naval Shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan, 1 Dec 1913
See all 18 photographs of Battleship Kirishima

Famous WW2 Quote
"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"

Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943

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