3 x 1 18"/25 (see below),|
8 x 5"/40 DP
numerous x 25mm AA
12 x 24" TT
|VTS Rating||(2) 1 8|
Goryo ("Vengeful Ghosts") was originally built as Sagami, a Tone-class cruiser. In port a mis-handled 8" shell set off sympathetic detonations that wrecked the entire bow section forward of the bridge. Burning debris thrown up from the explosion landed on a fully fueled floatplane on the rear handling deck and started more fires and explosions aft that demolished the deck and hangar below. The sunken cruiser was raised, renamed, and rebuilt with a different armament and concept.
In a classic fleet action, opposing cruisers skirmish and try to 'set up' their opponents for a favorable battleship action. The Goryo was another 'pocket battlecruiser' design intending to accompany a cruiser force and intimidate or deceive an opposing cruiser force by using battleship guns. An enemy force, seeing shell splashes from large-caliber guns, may think a battleship was just out of sight firing ranging salvos. Even if the ruse was discovered, Goryo's considerable firepower and torpedoes would make her a tough adversary.
Goryo's main armament was three of the nine 18" destined for the Musashi but had major casting flaws toward the tips. Aratama got the six good ones and the other three were cut down to almost half their normal length for possible use as land-based high-angle howitzers to protect island bases. Instead, the IJN ordered the rebuilt
Armor was thin. The IJN considered adding bulges and better armor to her, but the resulting design would not have been able to keep speed with her 34-knot cruiser mates and the carriers they were intended to screen.
In the South Pacific battles to take and/or reinforce Guadalcanal, Goryo and other cruisers escorted a landing battalion and was guarded by land-based air cover. A balanced American task force confronted them at dusk and Goryo's heavy salvoes did indeed sink an American heavy cruiser. The battleships Washington and South Dakota, however, responding to their cruiser's frantic calls of "Japanese BB's shelling us" ignored the massive but sparse shell splashes and chewed up the Japanese cruisers while hunting for the "BBs" on radar. When daylight came, the damaged but fleeing Goryo was found by USS Fly's dive bombers. The third aircraft to plunge suddenly looked like a colander from the Sanshikidan put up by Goryo's high-angle 18" guns, but the first two bombers scored hits in nearly the same location and broke her back.