Aoba were designed with twin 8" gun turrets from the start, but had topheaviness problems. They were the oldest heavy cruisers and initially thrown into the Guadalcanal fighting. In the climax of the naval battles for Guadalcanal, Kinugasa was attacked by many aircraft from the U.S. carrier Enterprise and finally sank. Aoba continued its lively career, joining the Tone and Chikuma into their brief foray into the Indian Ocean - one freighter Behar sunk and most of its crew massacred on Tone - early in 1944. Aoba was then subjected to many bombings which permanently damaged an engine room and reduced her speed. She was active peripherally during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 then to limp home to Japan and be declared a reserve ship and antiaircraft battery. Aoba was then bombed at anchor and sunk.
Here is the ONI drawing and entry for the Aoba class cruisers, and you might want to see the "2-D models" of the ships I created, at 1:700, 1:1200, and 1:1800 scales. There are 1:700 plastic models available of each of the ships.
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