Hiei was the fourth Kongō-class battlecruiser designed by Vickers naval architect Sir George Thurston. The Kongō-class battlecruises included Kongō, Hiei, Kirishima, and Haruna.
Built at Kobe, Japan. Completed in April 1915. Named "Haruna" 榛名 after Mount Haruna an active volcano on Honshu in Japan.
World War I Service
Operated in the Pacific during the First World War. While in the South Pacific in 1917, she was possibly damaged by a mine laid by the SMS Wolf or Berlin. In 1927-28, she was modernized at Yokosuka Dockyard, emerging with only two smokestacks and a new forward superstructure, as well as with improved armament and protection. Reclassified thereafter as a battleship, Haruna was again modernized in 1933-34, this time at Kure Dockyard, raising her standard displacement to over 32,000 tons and giving her a quite up-to-date appearance. More powerful machinery and a lengthened hull gave the reconstructed ship a speed of thirty knots, making her a very useful battleship, though relatively lightly armed and armored.
World War II Service
In December 1941, she covered the invasion of Malaya. The first four months of 1942 saw her supporting the conquest of the Dutch East Indies, participating in a bombardment of Christmas Island, and participating in the Indian Ocean Raid.
During early June, she was part of the Japanese carrier force that participated in the Battle of Midway. During the afternoon, a pair of B-17s piloted by Lt. Wuertele and Lt. Grundman located Haruna and made bomb runs, claiming hits. In fact, only one near miss was scored on the stern of Haruna, causing light damage including bent plates and jammed the main battery's range finder.
The Guadalcanal Campaign that began in August 1942 also brought Haruna into action. During the night of October 13-14, 1942, with her sister ship, Kongo, she delivered a devastating bombardment against Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. Later in the month, she was present during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands and in mid-November operated with the Japanese aircraft carrier force during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
Afterwards, she steamed north to Japan in May 1943 in response to the American landings on Attu and was in the central Pacific later in the year during the invasions of the Gilbert Islands and Bougainville.
Battle of the Philippine Sea
In mid-June 1944, however, the Japanese fleet was sent to counterattack the U.S. forces then assaulting Saipan. As part of the heavily-defended van carrier group, she took an active role in the ensuing Battle of the Philippine Sea and was hit by a bomb on June 20, 1944.
Battle of Leyte Gulf & Samar
Haruna also participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. She was damaged by bomb near-misses in the Sibuyan Sea on October 24, 1944, but steamed on to engage U.S. escort carriers and destroyers in the next day's Battle off Samar.
At the start of 1945, Haruna was stationed in Japan. On March 19, 1945 damaged by U.S. Navy carrier planes while anchored in Kure Harbor at Kure.
On July 28, 1945 again attacked by U. S. Navy (USN) Task Force 38 (TF-38) carrier aircraft and B-24 Liberators from the 7th Air Force that scored more hits on the vessel causing it to sink into Kure Harbor.
Haruna settled in shallow water. Postwar, the shipwreck was scrapped.
Fortress Against The Sun page 192
Combined Fleet - IJN Battleship Haruna: Tabular Record of Movement
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November 16, 2018