Goryo Class Battlecruiser:
The fact that Koko had joined the Anglo-Japanese allaiance in 1905 and was expected -although very remotely- to deal with the Russian fleet, was a valid justification to start new naval constructions as the Naval Staff aimed for a fleet able to sustain indipendent operations. A fleet that thus needed more units in its ranks. Requests for a budget increase were submitted to the Diet and quickly approved: the 1906 program request the construction of two newer Armored Cruisers and four Destroyers, the latter ones were eventually built s the Kuchikukan 10 Class between 1909 and 1915.
For the Armored Cruisers, Koko designers were given the plans of the Ibuki Class now under construction in Japan. While mantaining the overall hull dimensions they made multiple modifications to the original design: While the ships would have retained the twin turrets housing the four 305mm guns, the eight turreted 203mm secondaries were replaced by a casemate battery of twelve 152mm guns -initially planned as the 45-caliber Type 41 and replaced by the newer 50-caliber during construction, while the fourteen 120mm tertiaries were reduced to ten, removing eight of the twelve hull casemates and moving four guns in open mounts on the main deck. This because the archipelago lacked an enclosed body of water like Japan's inland sea Koko's warships were modified accordingly in order to avoid and excessive number of low-placed casemates in the hull. Four 76mm quick firing guns and three onderwater torpedo tubes, two broadside and one at the stern, completed the ships armament.
Although made obsolete by the launch of the british battleship HMS Dreadnought in 1906, Goryo, the lead ship of the class, was laid down at Toumachi Naval Arsenal in 1907 and launched in 1909. Just after Goryo's launch, the keel was laid for Aratama, the second ship of the class, then launched in 1910. A last time decision to switch from Miyahara to Kampon boilers on Goryo delayed her completion, so ultimately Aratama was the first to enter service, in March 1912. another change was the decision to reclassify the units from Armoured Cruisers to Battlecruisers because of their heavier armament and higer speed.
Ending up beign some 700 tons lighter and slightly more powerful than her half-siblings of the Ibuki class, Aratama reached 23,5knots on speed trials, and became Kono no Kaigun Flagship between her commissioning and june 1913.
Goryo was commissioned in 1913, following an highly succesful trial run were she achieved over 24knots in light condition, although the realistic attainable service speed for both was around the 22,5/23 knots mark. She could be told apart from her sister by her black-painted masts, and because the foremast had wider legs due to her different boiler arrangement. Steam pipes layout and fog horn placement on the funnel was also different, and the foremost smokestack was two feet higher than Aratama's in order to solve smoke-interference with the bridge.Bridgeworks were also slightly bigger,and the four 76mm guns, placed on top of the main turret on Aratama, were moved on the main deck between the 120mm ones. Goryo also had a single chrisantemum crest under the bow, while Aratama had two, one on each side. Goryo was Flagship between June 1913 and July 1914, ultimately replaced by the newer Battlecruiser Aomegami.
At the start of WWI Aratama Joined the IJN squadrons besieging the Chinese city of Tsingtao. On October 17 1914, she sank the German torpedo boat S-90, then shelled the city until November when the city fell into allied hands. Goryo sailed with her half-sister Ibuki during the unsuccessful hunt for the German cruiser SMS Emden. The two ships then returned to home waters seeign little action for the remainder of the war. Aratama replaced Aomegami as KnK Flagship in November 1914 -serving in that role until Julyl 1915 when the new Kuromegami replaced her-, then Goryo left for Japan in April 1917 while the IJN Special Squadrons deployed to the Mediterranean Sea. Aratama was deployed a few times before the end of the war, making some patrol runs between Koko and Japan. After the war, Goryo and Aratama were superseeded by the newer Yagumo Class Battleships as the frontline units of the fleet.
Aratama entered the yards in 1921 for a year-long refit after the second Yagumo, KnK Inaba, entered service: both fore and aft bridges were enlarged, with the addition of extra deckhouses. three searchlight platforms were added, two on the foremast and one on the mainmast. The 60cm searchlight were relocated to improve visibility from the conning tower. The forward funnel was capped to address smoke interference. Six-meter rangefinders were fitted on the main gun turrets, which recieved excersize guns and canvas bags. The four 120mm gun casemates were removed, and two of the four removed guns were relocated on the main deck. Lattice platforms were added for the 76mm guns, which were also relocated. Just back from her refit, Aratama was spared from the Washington Naval Treaty restrictions, as was her sister Goryo.
Goryo herself was due to underwent the same refit of her sister in 1923/24, but the Great Kanto Earthquake delayed the completion of Battlecruiser Amagi back in Japan, and the Loss of Aomegami in October 1925 forced Goryo to be kept in service. Then, in February 1927, the Geneva Naval Conference was called, and while resulting in a failure for many of the arguments covered, it managed to allow Koko to supplement the unused 30.800T from the WNT with more tonnage by scrapping older units. Getting rid of the older Goryos would have freed another 28.400T open for construction, with the condition that the older ships would have been decommissioned and scrapped before the replacement had been laid down, contrary to the agreed practice.
Despite having been commissioned later and having been fitted with more advanced engines, Goryo had missed her much needed refit and was in poor shape. Thus it was decided to decommission and scrap her in 1927 to allow construction to be started on Battleship Kii. Aratama soilered for two more years, she was then decommissioned too in 1929, to make space for Battleship Owari.
Ships in class: (laid down-launched-commissioned - fate)
Goryo 1907-1909-1913 - Decom 1927
Aratama 1909-1910-1912 - Decom 1929