Her last torpedo made a circular run and sank her.
USS Sealion (SS-195) was a Sargo-class submarine.
Her keel was laid down on 20 June 1938 by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 25 May 1939 sponsored by Mrs. Claude C. Bloch, and commissioned on 27 November 1939, Lieutenant J. K. Morrison Jr. in command
Kongo, first of a class of four 26,230 ton battlecruisers, was built at Barrow-in-Furness, England. The last major Japanese warship to be constructed abroad, she was completed in August 1913. She was active during World War I and afterwards as one of the fastest units of Japan’s battle fleet. In 1929-31, Kongo was modernized at Yokosuka Dockyard, and was thereafter rated as a battleship. She was again modernized at Yokosuka in 1936-37, receiving new machinery and a lengthened hull to increase her speed to over thirty knots. This high speed, plus their heavy guns, made Kongo and her sisters uniquely valuable warships, and they were heavily used in World War II combat operations.
At the outbreak of hostilities between Japan and the Western Allies in December 1941, Kongo supported the landings on the Malayan Peninsula. As Japan’s great southern offensive progressed, she covered the invasion of Java, fired her 14-inch guns in a bombardment of Christmas Island, and was part of the raid against British shipping in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. In the Battle of Midway in early June 1942, Kongo was part of Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo’s Covering Group.
During the fiercely contested campaign over Guadalcanal that began in August 1942 Kongo helped deliver an intense and effective bombardment of Henderson Field on 14 October 1942, took part in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands later in that month and was part of the Japanese aircraft carrier force during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in mid-November. She was not in combat during 1943 and the first part of 1944, but participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea in mid-June 1944 as part of the Japanese vanguard carrier division.
After the 20 October 1944 invasion of Leyte, Kongo sortied with the rest of the Japanese fleet to make a counter-attack. This resulted in the great Battle of Leyte Gulf, an action that essentially destroyed Japan’s Navy as a major fighting force. As part of the Center Force, Kongo survived a submarine attack on 23 October, carrier air attacks in the Sibuyan Sea the next day, the Battle off Samar against U.S. escort carriers and destroyers on 25 October and an Air Force high-level bombing attack as she withdrew from the battle area on the 26th. However, her luck ran out a month later. On 21 Nov 1944, soon after passing through the Taiwan Strait en route to Japan, she was torpedoed by the U.S. submarine Sealion. The resulting fires apparently were uncontrollable, as Kongo blew up and quickly sank a few hours after she was hit. The veteran of the Battle off Samar was the only battleship sunk by submarine attack during the Pacific War.