Kongō ("indestructible") was a warship of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War I and World War II. She was the first battlecruiser of the Kongō class, the most heavily armed ships in any navy when built. Her designer was the British naval engineer George Thurston, and she was laid down in 1911 at Barrow-in-Furness in Britain by Vickers Shipbuilding Company. Kongō was the last Japanese capital ship constructed outside Japan. She was formally commissioned in 1913, and patrolled off the Chinese coast during World War I.
Kongō underwent two major reconstructions. Beginning in 1929, the Imperial Japanese Navy rebuilt her as a battleship, strengthening her armor and improving her speed and power capabilities. In 1935, her superstructure was completely rebuilt, her speed was increased, and she was equipped with launch catapults for floatplanes. Now fast enough to accompany Japan's growing carrier fleet, Kongō was reclassified as a fast battleship. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Kongō operated off the coast of mainland China before being redeployed to the Third Battleship Division in 1941. On the eve of World War II, she sailed as part of the Southern Force in preparation for the Battle of Singapore.
Kongō fought in almost every major naval action of the Pacific Theater during World War II. She covered landings of Japanese forces in Malaya (part of present-day Malaysia) and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1942 before engaging American forces at the Battle of Midway and during the Guadalcanal Campaign. Throughout 1943, Kongō primarily remained at Truk Lagoon (Micronesia), Kure Naval Base (near Hiroshima), Sasebo Naval Base (near Nagasaki), and Lingga (in present-day Malaysia), and deployed several times in response to American carrier air strikes on Japanese island bases. Kongō participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944, engaging and sinking American vessels in the latter.
Kongō was torpedoed and sunk by the submarine USS Sealion II while transiting the Formosa Strait on 21 November 1944.