THE SOUTH CAROLINA CLASS

 

The South Carolina class of battleships was the first battleships designed to carry one large size as their main battery of weapons.  All previous ships had mix caliber weapons.  The arrangement of their gun turrets were also revolutionary, with one turret firing over another at each end of the superstructure was more efficient than the previous mixed caliber pre-dreadnoughts.  It was even more efficient than their contemporary, the HMS Dreadnought.  This turret design has become a standard for the all of the world’s future battleships.

 

South Carolina Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

16,000 tons

16,257

Length

452.9 feet

138 meters

Beam

80.25 feet

24.46 meters

Maximum draft

25.3 feet

7.7 meters

Armament:

 

Twin Turrets

(8 guns)

 

Secondary

(14 guns)

 

Torpedoes

(2 tubes)

 

 

12”/45 cal Mk 5

 

 

3”/50 cal

 

 

21” torpedoes

 

 

305 millimeters

 

 

76.2 millimeters

 

 

533 millimeters

Speed

18.79 knots maximum

Propulsion system

16,500 hp triple-expansion reciprocating engines

Endurance

6,950 miles at 10 knots

Armor

Belt:  11"-9" over machinery and 12"-10" over magazines (both 8' wide and both tapered uniformly top to bottom) 10"-8" belt forward of forward magazines; 1.5" nickel steel from belt forward and aft of belt to stern

Deck: 1.25" nickel steel + .75" over magazines, .75" + .75" over machinery, 1.75" nickel steel + .75" over forward belt, 1" +.5" over bow, 2" nickel steel + .75" aft of belt, 2.5" nickel steel + .5" sloping to stern

Casemates:  8”-10”

Barbettes:  10"-8"

Turrets:  12" face, 2.5" nickel steel roof, 8" sides

Conning Tower:  12", 2" roof

 

Ships in class:

 

SOUTH CAROLINA (BB-26)

 

The USS South Carolina was commissioned in March 1910.  She primarily served off the US east coast and in the Caribbean.  She also cruised to Europe in late 1910 and early 1911.  She was involved in the US interventions in Haiti and Mexico.  With the out break of World War I, she conducted her activities in the Western Hemisphere.  The USS South Carolina was decommissioned in December 1921 and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1923.  She was scrapped in 1924.

 

MICHIGAN (BB-27)

 

The USS Michigan was commissioned in January 1910 and operated mainly in the Atlantic coast.  She played a key role in the Vera Cruz intervention in 1914.  During World War I, she served primarily as a training ship or a convoy ship.  She was designated BB-27 in 1920.  In February 1922, the Michigan was decommissioned and was scrapped in 1924.


THE DELAWARE CLASS

 

This class of battleship was perhaps the first real class of dreadnoughts.  They carried an all big gun main battery and had a speed of over twenty knots.  These ships also served to test engine efficiency.

 

Delaware Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

20,000

20,321

Length

518.9 feet

158.2 meters

Beam

85.23 feet

25.98 meters

Maximum draft

27.65 feet

8.4 meters

Armament:

 

Twin Turrets

(10 guns)

 

Secondary

(20 guns)

 

Torpedoes

(2 tubes)

 

 

12”/45 cal Mk5

 

 

14 x 5”/50 cal Mk 5

6 x 3”/50 cal Mk 2

 

21” torpedoes

 

 

305 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

76.2 millimeters

 

533 millimeters

Speed

21 knots maximum

Propulsion system

25,000 hp triple expansion reciprocating engines in Delaware

25,000 hp direct-drive steam turbines in North Dakota

Endurance

6,560 miles at 10 knots (North Dakota)

9,750 miles at 10 knots (Delaware)

Armor

Belt:  11"-9" (8' wide, uniformly tapered top to bottom)

Bulkheads:  10”

Deck:  1.25" nickel steel + .75" over magazines, .75" nickel steel + .75" over machinery & boiler spaces, 1.75" nickel steel + .75" forward of forward magazine, 1" nickel steel +.5" to bow, 2.5" nickel steel + .5" to stern

Casemates:  lower: 8"-10" (7.3' wide amidships), upper: 5"

Barbettes:  10"-4"

Turrets:  12" face, 3" nickel steel roof, 8" sides

Conning Tower:  11.5", 2" roof

 

Ships in class:

 

DELAWARE (BB-28)

 

The USS Delaware was commissioned in April 1910.  It made four cruises to Europe and participated in the Atlantic Fleets exercises.  It also participated in the Vera Cruz operation and deployed to the North Sea in late 1917, where she served with the British Grand Fleet.  She was decommissioned in November of 1924 and scrapped later in the year

 

NORTH DAKOTA (BB 29)

 

The USS North Dakota was commissioned in April 1910 and served primarily with the Atlantic Fleet.  She was a part of the Mexican intervention in April-October 1914.  She also participated in the aerial bombing tests off of the Virginia Capes in 1921.  She was decommissioned in November 1923 and demilitarized in 1924.  She was then converted to a mobile target and was redesignated unclassified.  She was scrapped in 1931.


THE FLORIDA CLASS

 

The Florida class of battleships was in a sense, the heavier version of the Delaware class.  It was also the first of the US battleships to received steam turbines for propulsion.  These ships were lucky to survive the Washington Naval Limitations treaty and the Utah into World War II.  However, by World War II, these ships were obsolete and were assigned mainly training duty.

 

Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

21,825 tons

22,175 tons

Length

521.5 feet

158.95 meters

Beam

88.2 feet

26.9 meters

Maximum draft

27.65 feet

8.43 meters

Armament:

 

Twin Turrets

(10 guns)

 

Secondary

(22 guns)

 

 

12”/45 cal Mk 6

 

 

16 x 5”/50 cal Mk 5

6 x 3”/50 cal Mk 2

 

 

305 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

76.2 millimeters

Speed

21.04 knots maximum

Propulsion system

28,000 hp direct-drive steam turbines

Endurance

6,860 miles at 10 knots

Armor

Belt:  11"-8" (8' wide uniformly tapered) design

Deck:  1.5" STS + .5" over magazines, 1" STS + .5" over machinery, 2.5" STS + .5" sloping from belt to stern, 2" STS + .5" forward end of belt, 1" STS + .5" watertight deck (at upper platform level) to bow

Casemates:  lower: 8"-10" (7.3' wide), upper: 6.5

Barbettes:  10"-4"

Turrets:  12" STS face, 3" STS roof + 1" STS backing, 8" sides

Conning Tower:  11.5", 4" TS roof

 

Ships in Class:

 

FLORIDA (BB-30)

 

The USS Florida was commissioned in September 1911 and was stationed mainly along the western Atlantic and Caribbean.  She also participated in the Vera Cruz intervention.  During World War I, she served with the British Grand Fleet and operated in the North Sea for the duration of World War I.  In the late 1920’s she became the flagship of the Control Force of the US Fleet.  Then in 1925-27, she was modernized and received better armor, boilers, and anti torpedo blisters.  However, she was a victim of the 1930 London Naval Limitations Treaty and was decommissioned in February 1931 and scrapped later in the same year.

 

UTAH (BB-31)

 

The USS Utah was commissioned in August 1911.  She and her sister ship, the Florida, participated in the Vera Cruz intervention in 1913.  During World War I, the Utah mainly operated in the Atlantic, escorting convoys.  In 1925, the Utah also underwent a similar modernization as the Florida.  In 1931, she was converted to a radio-controlled target ship, and she served in this capacity until the end of her career.  In 1941, she was given more guns to enhance her gunnery training capabilities, but this was all a waste.  Later on in that same year, on 7 December 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and sunk the Utah.  Then a few years later, she was moved closer to Ford Island, where they erected a memorial.


THE WYOMING CLASS

 

The Wyoming class, a powerful battleship built by the U.S. was designed as a counter for the increasing power of the battleships of foreign sea powers.  Equipped with six pairs of 12” caliber guns, it outgunned its predecessors, the South Carolina, Delaware, and Florida classes.  This made this class of ships both heavier and longer.  With half a dozen 12” caliber guns, the Wyoming class had the largest amount of individual turrets in any U.S. “big gun” battleship.

 

Wyoming Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

26,000 tons

26,417 metric tons

Length

558.7 feet

170.3 meters

Beam

93.2 feet

28.4 meters

Maximum draft

26 feet

7.9 meters

Armament:

 

Twin Mounts

(6 pairs)

 

Secondary Gun

(21 guns)

 

Anti-Air

 

 

12”/50 cal Mk 7

 

 

5”/51 cal Mk 7

 

 

3”/50 cal Mk 2

 

 

 

305 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

 

 

76.2 millimeters

 

Speed

20.5 knots (20.5 nautical miles/hour)

Propulsion system

4 28,000 hp steam turbines

Endurance

6,860 miles at 10 knots

Armor

Belt:  11"-9"

Forward Transverse Bulkhead:  11”

Deck:  2.5" STS + .5" STS main, 1.5" STS + .5" STS second, .5"-1" STS + .5" STS over bow and stern

Barbettes:  11"-4.5"

Turrets:  12" face, 3" STS roof, 8" rear, 12" sides

Conning Tower:  11.5", 3" STS roof

 

Ships in Class:

 

WYOMING (BB-32)

 

The USS Wyoming was commissioned in September of 1912.  During her first year of service, she operated in the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean.  She also made a brief deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in October-November 1913.  In the following year, Wyoming was also part of the Vera Cruz intervention.  Under the terms of the London Treaty signed in 1930, Wyoming was demilitarized in 1931 and turned into a training ship.  With the US’ formal participation in World War II, Wyoming took on the job of training thousands of sailors.  In 1945, she became the first experimental gunnery ship and served for about two more years until 1947 when she was decommissioned.  USS Wyoming was scrapped in 1947.

 

ARKANSAS (BB-33)

 

The USS Arkansas was also commissioned in September 1912 and spent the next seven years in the Atlantic Fleet.  The Arkansas took part in the US intervention in Mexico.  In 1925, she was subject to extensive refitting.  She received new oil-fired boilers, more armor, and replacing the two masts with one smokestack and “basket”.  The Arkansas, like the Wyoming served largely as a training ship, training up the next generation of sailors.  When World War II broke out, the Arkansas became an escort to convoys in the Atlantic.  In March-June 1942, she once again underwent an overhaul.  This time she received tripod masts, replacing the previous “basket”.  She supported allied troops in Normandy, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.  After World War II ended, she became a target ship for atomic bomb tests at the Bikini Atoll.  There, on the 25 July 1946, she was sunk.

 


THE NEW YORK CLASS

 

The New York class battleships were pioneers in that they were the first battleships armed with the 14” guns.  Their design was based on their predecessor, the Wyoming Class.  They were powerful weapons during World War I and they were also the first class of ships outfitted with the tripod masts in the US Navy.  As they were outfitted with new anti-torpedo blisters that increased their beam by more than ten feet, their speed suffered and fell to below twenty knots.  Both of these ships retired from naval service by the end of 1948.

 

New York Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

27,000 tons

27,433 tons

Length

573 feet

174.65 meters

Beam

95.25 feet

29.03 meters

Maximum draft

 

 

Armament:

 

Twin Turrets

(10 guns)

 

Secondary

(21 guns)

 

Anti-Air

 

 

14”/45 cal Mk 1

(refitted with Mk 8’s)

 

5”/51 cal Mk 7

 

 

8 x .50 cal MG

8 x 3”/50 cal Mk 2

 

 

356 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

 

 

8 x 12.7 millimeters

8 x 76.2 millimeters

Speed

21 knots maximum

Propulsion system

28,100 hp triple-expansion steam reciprocating engines

Endurance

9,605 miles at 12 knots

Armor

Belt:  12"-10", 6" aft

Deck:  2.5" STS + .5" aft, 1.5" STS + .5" amidships, 1" STS + .5" forward of belt

Casemates:  lower: 9"-11", upper: 6.5"

Barbettes:  12"-5"

Turrets:  14"/4" STS face, 8" sides

Conning Tower:  12" sides, 4" STS roof

 

Ships in Class:

 

NEW YORK (BB-34)

 

The USS New York was commissioned in April 1914.  Her first assignment was Vera Cruz, Mexico.  She was the flagship of the Sixth Battle Squadron during World War I.  Then in 1925-1927, she was refitted with new oil boilers, anti-torpedo bulges, heavier armor, and more current gunfire control mechanisms that enhanced her combat capabilities, but slowed her down considerably.  The New York participated in the Neutrality Patrol operations while the US was neutral during World War II.  In 1942, she provided support for troops during the North African invasion.  The next two years was spent primarily escorting ships and training sailors.  Then, in February, 1945, the New York bombarded the island of Iwo Jima, providing support for the US Marines.  She did the same thing at Okinawa.  In 1946, the New York’s last assignment was to be a target for the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  Although, she was not destroyed, she was too radioactive to be of any use and was sunk at sea just off of Pearl Harbor.

 

TEXAS (BB-35)

 

The USS Texas was commissioned a month after the USS New York in March of 1914.  She joined the New York in the Vera Cruz operations in May.  In 1918, she joined the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea and remained there until the end of World War I.  In 1925, she underwent a similar overhaul as the New York.  The Texas was kept busy training Navy personnel during 1937-39.  During most of World War II, the Texas escorted Allied ships, troops, and supplies.  She took part in Normandy, in the North African campaign, in the South France landings, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.  After the war ended, she was decommissioned in 1948 and turned into a memorial by the state of Texas.


THE NEVADA CLASS

 

The Nevada class battleships were the first class of ships outfitted with the Navy’s triple gun turrets.  This feature would used in all but a few future battleship designs.  This class of ships also pioneered the selective armor scheme where most of the armor on the ship was used to protect the vital parts of the ship against heavy caliber guns, while leaving the rest of the ship virtually unprotected.  The thinking behind this is that battleship engagements would be long range and the smaller guns are used to defend against torpedoes and fighters.  Thus extra armor to protect against such weapons would be a waste of valuable weight.

 

Nevada Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

27,500 tons

27,941 tons

Length

583 feet

177.7 meters

Beam

97.3 feet

29.66 meters

Maximum draft

32.42 feet

9.88 meters

Armament:

 

Triple Turrets

(6 guns)

 

Twin Turrets

(4 guns)

 

Secondary

(16 guns)

 

Anti-Air

 

 

Torpedoes

(2 tubes)

 

 

14”/45 cal Mk 1,2,3,5

 

 

14”/45 cal Mk 1,2,3,5

 

 

5”/51 cal Mk 7

 

 

4 x 3”/50 cal Mk 20

6 x .5 cal MG

 

21” submerged

 

 

356 millimeters

 

 

356 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

 

 

4 x 76.2 millimeters

6 x 12.7 millimeters

 

533 millimeters

 

Speed

20.5 knots maximum

Propulsion system

2 parsons with reduction gearing

Endurance

4,000 miles at 20 knots

Armor

Belt:  13.5"-8"

Bulkheads:  13”-8”

Deck:  1.2" STS + 1.2" STS + .5" main, 4.25" STS + .75" aft, splinter deck: 1" STS + .5"/1.5" nickel steel + .5" STS + .5"/1.5" STS + .5", 2" added during reconstruction

Torpedo Bulkhead:  .25" cofferdam bulkhead added through boiler spaces, .30" torpedo bulkhead added outboard of existing bulkhead, additional skin added under boiler spaces (triple hull)

Barbettes:  13"

Turrets (triple):  face 18", sides 9", back N/A, roof N/A

Turrets (twin):  face 16", sides 9", back N/A, roof N/A

Conning Tower:  16" sides, removed in 1942 on BB 36

 

Ships in Class:

 

NEVADA (BB-36)

 

The USS Nevada was commissioned in March 1916.  It was assigned to the British Isles for World War I service in 1918.  She was modernized in 1927-30.  She received tripod masts to replace her “basket” mast, new superstructure, relocation of her five-inch secondary battery, and new anti-aircraft guns.  She was then stationed in the Pacific for the next eleven years.  During the Japanese attacks of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, she was the only battleship to get underway.  Thus, she drew many intense attacks by the Japanese aircraft.  After receiving one torpedo and multiple bomb hits, she was beached.  Through much salvage work and temporary repairs, she was able to steam to the US west coast in April of 1942 where she spent the rest of the year receiving permanent repairs and more powerful anti-air weaponry.  The Nevada resumed duty and was assigned combat duty during the Attu landings in May 1943.  She also took part in the Normandy and Southern France invasions.  In the Pacific, she assisted in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  With the end of the war, Nevada was assigned as a target for the atomic bomb tests in 1946 at Bikini Atoll, which left her damaged and radioactive.  She was then sunk near the Hawaiian Islands.

 

OKLAHOMA (BB-37)

 

The USS Oklahoma was commissioned in May of 1916 and spent her first five years in the Atlantic Ocean.  In mid-1918, she was assigned escort duty to protect European convoys.  She also escorted President Wilson to and from France.  In 1927-29, the Oklahoma underwent extensive modernization which noticeably altered her appearance and greatly improved her combat capabilities.  In 1940, her base was fatefully shifted to Pearl Harbor.  Then on 7 December 1941, the Japanese scored a multitude of hits with their type 91 aerial torpedoes against her port hull, during their surprise attack.  The Oklahoma took on water and capsized and took with her, 400 crewmembers.  In 1943, she was salvaged and deemed too old and badly damaged to be of use, was stripped of all weapons and equipment and sold for scrapping.  While under tow to California in May 1947, the Oklahoma’s hull finally burst and she sank.


THE PENNSYLVANIA CLASS

 

The Pennsylvania class of battleships was an improvement of the Nevada class.  It had two more 14” guns, greater length and displacement, and a slightly faster speed.  They also had an impressive amount of secondary 5” guns, which were later reduced when much of their locations proved impractical.  These ships were the stalwart members of the Navy’s Battle Fleet.  These ships, capable of long-range gunfire, spent another decade in the Navy after World War II.

 

Pennsylvania Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

31,400 tons

31,903 tons

Length

608 feet

185.32 meters

Beam

97.3 feet

29.66 meters

Maximum draft

33.42 feet

10.19 meters

Armament:

 

Triple Turrets

(12 guns)

 

Secondary

 

 

 

 

Anti-Air

 

 

Torpedoes

(2 tubes)

 

 

14”/45 cal Mk 1,2,3,5

 

 

22 x 5”/51 cal Mk 7

(10 removed in 1930)

8 x 5”/25 cal Mk 10

(added in 1930)

 

4 x 3”/50 cal Mk 20

8 x .5 cal MG

 

21” torpedoes

 

 

355.6 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

 

127 millimeters

 

 

4 x 76.2 millimeters

8 x 12.7 millimeters

 

533 millimeters

Speed

21 knots maximum

Propulsion system

2 sets of Curtis with reduction gearing

Endurance

2,652 miles at 20 knots

Armor

Belt:  13.5"-8"

Bulkheads:  13”-8”, Forward Transverse 13"

Armor Deck: 1.2" STS + 1.2" STS + .5" STS, 1.25" added during 1930s reconstruction, 4.5" STS + 1.75" STS over steering gear

Splinter Deck:  1" STS-1.5" STS + .5" STS

Torpedo Bulkheads:  1.25" STS + 1.25" STS, one .6" bulkhead added outboard each side in 1930s reconstruction

Barbettes:  13"-4.5"

Turrets:  face 18", sides 9", back 5", roof 5"

Conning Tower:  16"-14"+4", removed BB-38 in 1943

 

Ships in Class:

 

PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38)

 

The USS Pennsylvania was commissioned in June 1916.  She became the flagship of the US Atlantic Fleet in 1921.  From 1929-1931, she underwent an overhaul that gave her the new tripod masts, improved combat systems, and an enlarged armored conning tower.  During the next few years, she conducted drills and other exercises and improved the fleet’s battle readiness.  During the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, the Pennsylvania was in dry dock.  This prevented her from receiving major damage.  With her light damages repaired relatively quickly, she resumed duty and participated in the recapture of the Attu Islands and Kiska.  She went on to bombard Makin during an amphibious assault on the Gilbert Islands.  She did the same at Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan, Tinian, and Guam.  She also supported assaults at Palaus and Leyte.  The Pennsylvania also helped destroy part of the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Surigao Strait.  In 1945, while taking part in the Lingayen Gulf invasion, she received a torpedo hit from a Japanese aerial torpedo and was seriously damaged.  The repairs were only enough to make her seaworthy.  She ended her battleship career as a target for the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.  She was sunk in 19 February 1948 at sea.

 

ARIZONA (BB-39)

 

The USS Arizona was commissioned in October 1916 and operated out of Norfolk, Virginia.  Then in 1921, she was stationed in Southern California.  In 1929, she was modernized at Norfolk, Virginia.  The USS Arizona was anchored in Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row in Hawaii.  During the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, she was hit by several bombs.  One of these bombs managed to penetrate her forecastle and detonated her forward ammunition magazines.  This caused a massive explosion that ripped her forward hull to shreds and collapsed her superstructure.  Inevitably, she sank relatively quickly, taking with her 1100 crewmen.  During the next few months, most of her armaments were removed as was her topside structure.  Two of her triple 14” gun turrets were transferred to the army as coast defense batteries on Oahu.  The Arizona remained at the bottom of Pearl Harbor where she sank and is a tomb for the many men that went down with her.  A memorial was built in the 1960’s over her midship hull and is a lasting legacy of those men and women who gave their lives in the defense of their country.


THE NEW MEXICO CLASS

 

The New Mexico class was a huge improvement on the basic design of the Nevada class of battleships.  Complete at the end of World War I, this class of battleships was an integral part of the Battle Fleet in the period between the World Wars.  All three ships of this class were refitted in 1931-34, receiving new superstructures, modern gunfire controls, new engines, and improved anti-air weaponry and surface attack defenses.  They also carried the Navy’s first generation of ship-launched guided missiles.

 

New Mexico Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

32,000 tons

32,514 tons

Length

624.6 feet

190.4 meters

Beam

97.3 feet

29.66 meters

Maximum draft

34 feet

10.36 meters

Armament:

 

Triple Turrets

(12 guns)

 

Secondary

 

 

 

 

Anti-Air

 

 

Torpedoes

(2 tubes)

 

 

14”/50 cal Mk 4,6,7

(refitted with Mk 11’s)

 

22 x 5”/51 cal Mk 7

(constructed with 14)

8 x 5”/25 cal Mk 10

(added in 1930)

 

4 x 3”/50 cal Mk 20

8 x .5 cal MG

 

21” torpedoes

 

 

356 millimeters

 

 

22 x 127 millimeters

(constructed with 14)

 

 

 

4 x 76.2 millimeters

8 x 12.7 millimeters

 

533 millimeters

Speed

22.5 knots maximum

Propulsion system

2 sets of Westinghouse geared turbines with 32,000 hp

Endurance

12,750 miles at 18 knots

Armor

Belt:  13.5"-8"

Bulkheads:  13.5"-8"

Deck:  1.75" STS + 1.75" nickel steel, 4.25" STS + 1.75" over steering gear, 2" added on second deck, 1.25" added on third deck

Torpedo Bulkheads:  .75" added outboard original bulkhead

Barbettes:  13"

Turrets:  face 18", sides 9", back N/A, roof N/A

Conning Tower:  16"-4" + 4" STS

 

Ships in Class:

 

NEW MEXICO (BB-40)

 

The USS New Mexico was commissioned in May 1918 and escorted President Wilson back to the US from Versailles in 1919.  Also in that year, she became the flagship of the Pacific Fleet.  Then in March 1931, she underwent a modernization that replaced her cage masts with a tower superstructure and improved her weaponry and armor.  She was stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1940 to help protect Hawaii from a Japanese attack but was sent to the Atlantic in May of 1941 to help defend against the Germans.  Early in 1942, she once again found herself in the Pacific, being sent there to bolster the badly crippled Pacific Fleet.  The New Mexico participated in the recapture of the Aleutian Islands.  She provided support for the assaults on the Gilbert Islands, New Ireland, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Mindoro, and Luzon.  In 1945, she was hit by a Japanese Kamikaze plane and sustained more than a hundred casualties.  However, she remained on duty and repaired.  While participating in the Okinawa assault, she was hit again with a suicide bomber and had over 170 casualties.  She was decommissioned in Boston on July 1946 and was scrapped in October 1947.

 

MISSISSIPPI (BB-41)

 

The USS Mississippi was commissioned in December 1917 and served in the Atlantic until 1919, when she joined the Pacific Fleet.  She conducted many exercises and training operations there.  During one of those training missions on 12 June 1924, a turret fire claimed the lives of 48 crewmen.  In 1931-33, she underwent an extensive overhaul similar to that of the New Mexico.  She was then sent back to the Atlantic in 1941 to support the Atlantic Fleet.  After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Mississippi once again joined the Pacific Fleet in early 1942.  During an attack on the Gilbert Islands, she suffered another turret explosion that killed 43 crewmembers.  She also participated in the assault on Kwajalein, Peleliu, Leyte, Lingayen, Okinawa, and defeated a Japanese task force in the Battle of Surigao Strait.  In 1946, she was converted into a training ship and carried a variety of guns and radars.  She also tested the Navy’s first surface-to-air guided missile called the Terrier.  In 1956, she was decommissioned and scrapped in November of the same year.

 

IDAHO (BB-42)

 

The USS Idaho was commissioned in March of 1919 and was stationed in the Pacific for the next twelve years.  In 1931, she underwent an overhaul similar to that of what her sister ships received.  With the outbreak of World War II, the Idaho was shipped to the Atlantic Fleet in June 1941 and helped escort convoys against German attacks.  Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, she was sent back to the Pacific Fleet and arrived in January 1942.  She participated in the recapture of the Aleutians.  She also supported attacks on Makin, Palaus, Okinawa, Mariana, and New Ireland.  The Idaho was decommissioned in July 1946 and scrapped in November of 1947.


THE TENNESSEE CLASS

 

The Tennessee class of battleships was in a sense, a better version of the Idaho class.  It used the same weaponry as its predecessor but had more modern technology.  The Tennessee class received the newly developed four-layer anti-torpedo system, and a better arrangement of the boiler and engine rooms to maximize power and speed.  They also had a greater battle range than their predecessor possessed.  These ships proved invaluable in the Second World War.

 

Tennessee Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

32,300 tons

32,818 tons

Length

624.5 feet

190.3 meters

Beam

97.6 feet

29.75 meters

Maximum draft

35.41 feet

10.79 meters

Armament:

 

Triple Turrets

(12 guns)

 

Secondary

(14 guns)

 

Anti-Air

 

Torpedoes

(2 tubes)

 

 

14”/50 cal Mk 4,6,7

(refitted with Mk 11’s)

 

5”/51 cal Mk 7

 

 

3”/.50 cal Mk 20

 

21” torpedoes

 

 

356 millimeters

 

 

12.7 millimeters

 

 

76.2 millimeters

 

533 millimeters

Speed

21.01 knots maximum

Propulsion system

28,500 hp steam turbines with electric drive

Endurance

2,500 miles at 20 knots

Armor

Belt:  13.5" side vertical, 8" lower belt

Deck:  Main 3.2"--2nd 2.5", 5"-7" (1943)

Barbettes:  13"

Turrets:  face 18", sides 10", back 9", roof 5", roof 7"-7.25" (1943)

Conning Tower: 16"-4" + 4" STS

 

Ships in class:

 

TENNESSEE (BB-43)

 

The USS Tennessee was commissioned in June 1920 and served in the Atlantic for about a year.  She transferred to the Pacific and served there for two decades.  Her base of operations was transferred to Pearl Harbor to counter the Japanese tensions.  During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, she was hit by two bombs and scorched by the burning oil from the USS Arizona.  After receiving temporary repairs, the Tennessee steamed to Puget Sound Navy Yard for an overhaul.  Then in 1942, she underwent an extensive modernization.  She participated in the Aleutian, Kiska, Tarawa, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, New Ireland, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Anguar, Pelieu, Leyte, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa campaigns.  She also helped sink the Japanese battleship Yamashiro in the Battle of Surigao Strait.  Then in February 1947, she was decommissioned and remained in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet for twelve years.  Finally in 1959, she was scrapped.

 

CALIFORNIA (BB-44)

 

The USS California was commissioned in August 1921 and was deployed to Hawaii in 1940.  She was moored in Pearl Harbor the day the Japanese attacked and was badly damaged and sunk by bombs and torpedoes.  She was salvaged and modernized by the Pearl Harbor and Puget Sound Navy Yards and returned to active duty in January 1944.  She provided support for the Saipan, Guam, and Tinian invasions.  She also participated at Leyte, Lingayen Gulf, and the Surigao Strait campaigns.  Then in February 1947, she was decommissioned and was mothballed for another twelve years before she was scrapped in July 1959.


THE COLORADO CLASS

 

The Colorado class, also known as the Maryland class, was a beefed up version of the Tennessee class.  Instead of the 14” guns its predecessors used, it possessed eight 16” guns.  The Colorado class and Tennessee class were known by the Battle Fleet as the “Big Five”, these heavily armed and armored battleships were sailing fortresses of the sea.

 

Colorado Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

32,500 tons

33,021 tons

Length

624.5 feet

190.3 meters

Beam

97.42 feet

29.69 meters

Maximum draft

35.2 feet

10.73 meters

Armament:

 

Twin Turrets

(8 guns)

 

Secondary

(12 guns)

 

Anti-Air

 

 

16”/45 cal Mk 5

 

 

5”/51 cal Mk 15

 

 

3”/50 cal Mk 8

 

 

406 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

 

 

76.2 millimeters

Speed

21.07 knots maximum

Propulsion system

28,900 hp steam turbines with electric drive

Endurance

2,500 miles at 20 knots

Armor

Belt:  13.5" Class "A" side (10.5' wide), tapered to 8" at bottom (6.5' wide), 1.3125" cement used as a cushion to seat the belt to the hull plate

Hull0.375"-1" HTS

Bulkheads:  Forward Transverse 13.5”, Longitudinal .225”-.325” medium steel

Deck:  weather deck--0.25" HTS, upper deck--0.5"-0.3"-0.25" medium steel, main deck--1.25" HTS- 0.3" medium steel, armored deck--1.75" STS on 1.75" nickel-steel, 3rd deck--1" STS laminated to 0.5" medium construction steel

Barbettes:  13.5" sides

Turrets:  face 18”, sides 10”, back 9”, roof 5”

Conning Tower:  16" sides-N/A roof

 

Ships in class:

 

COLORADO (BB-45)

 

The USS Colorado was commissioned in August 1923.  After making a cruise to Europe, she was transferred to the Pacific in 1924, where she spent the rest of her active career.  This ship also helped search for the Amelia Earhart in 1937.  The Colorado was spared from the Japanese attacks because at the time, she was undergoing an overhaul in Puget Sound.  After completing the overhaul, she steamed back to the Pacific and was one of the older battleships used to guard against another possible Japanese attack.  She participated in the Tarawa, Kwajalein, and Eniwetok invasions.  During the Tinian operation, enemy batteries hit the Colorado and she suffered serious casualties to topside personnel.  She also helped at Leyte, Mindoro, Lingayen Gulf, and Okinawa.  In 1947, she was decommissioned and mothballed.  Twelve years latter, the Colorado was scrapped in July 1959.

 

MARYLAND (BB-46)

 

The USS Maryland was commissioned in July 1921.  Maryland was stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1940 and was moored there when the Japanese stuck on 7 December 1941.  However, she only received minor damages.  After receiving repairs, the Maryland joined Task Force One off the US West Coast and deployed to the South Pacific the next year.  She participated in the assaults on the Gilbert Islands, Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan, Leyte, Palaus, Okinawa, and the Battle of Surigao Strait.  With the conclusion of World War II, the Maryland was reduced to the same fate as that of the Colorado.

 

WASHINGTON (BB-47)

 

The USS Washington had a sad fate as a battleship.  She was never completely built and was sunk by friendlies.  The construction of this ship was halted because of the Washington Naval Limitations Treaty.  Because of this, she was used for target practice to test weapons effects and warship protection.  Her miserable life was ended in November 1924 when she was sunk.

 

WEST VIRGINIA (BB-48)

 

The USS West Virginia was commissioned in December 1923 and was the last battleship built for the US Navy for the next twenty years.  She was transferred to Pearl Harbor in 1940 and was docked in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked.  During the attack she received two bomb hits and seven or more torpedo hits which quickly overwhelmed her anti-torpedo defenses.  It was only through skillful damage control that prevented her from capsizing.  However, it could not prevent her from sinking and taking with her more than a hundred crewmen.  She was salvaged and modernized and returned to duty in July 1944.  She participated in bombarding Leyte and helped stop the Japanese task force in the Battle of Surigao Strait.  The West Virginia’s sixteen inch guns were used in supporting the invasion of Mindoro, Lingayen Gulf, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.  In 1947, she received the same fate as that of her sister ships.


THE SOUTH DAKOTA CLASS

(Fiscal Years 1918-1919)

 

The South Dakota class is a story of a sad tale.  It had a decent speed and was heavily armed and armored.  Their main battery would have been composed of twelve 16” guns.  However, these powerful battleships never saw combat and probably never even reached the sea.  All six battleships of this class were cancelled due to the Washington Naval Limitations Treaty signed in February 1922.  These ships never made it to the ocean.

 

South Dakota Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

41,400 tons

42,064 tons

Length

684.5 feet

208.6 meters

Beam

105.7 feet

32.22 meters

Maximum draft

31.42 feet

9.6 meters

Armament:

 

Triple Turrets

(12 guns)

 

Secondary

(15 guns)

 

Anti-Air

(8 guns)

 

Torpedoes

(2 tubes)

 

 

16”/50 cal Mk 2

 

 

6”/53 cal Mk 12

 

 

3”/50 cal Mk 8

 

 

21” torpedoes

 

 

 

406 millimeters

 

 

152 millimeters

 

 

76.2 millimeters

 

 

533 millimeters

Speed

23 knots maximum

Propulsion system

60,300 hp steam turbines with electric drive

Endurance

8,000 miles at 10 knots

Armor

Belt:  13.75" vertical, 8" lower

Deck:  Main 3.2"--2nd 2.5"

Barbettes:  13.5"

Turrets:  face 18" -sides 9" -back 5"-roof 5"

Conning Tower:  16" sides-8" roof

 

Ships in Class:

 

USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-49), USS INDIANA (BB-50), USS MONTANA (BB-51), USS NORTH CAROLINA (BB-52), USS IOWA (BB-53), USS MASSACHUSETTS (BB54)


THE NORTH CAROLINA CLASS

 

The North Carolina class was the first US big-gun battleships built in nearly two decades.  The Washington Naval Limitations Treaty limited their displacement.  At first, 14 inch guns in quadruple turrets were used because of the treaty, but when it collapsed, 16” guns took their place.  The North Carolina ships underwent extensive shakedown cruises to control the initial teething problems.  These ships were valuable during World War II as their maximum speeds allowed them to keep up with carriers and thereby defending them.  With their heavy weaponry, they were successful in that task.

 

North Carolina Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

35,000 tons

35,562 tons

Length

729 feet

222.2 meters

Beam

108.4 feet

33.04 meters

Maximum draft

35.1 feet

10.7 meters

Armament:

 

Triple Turrets

(9 guns)

 

Secondary

(20 guns)

 

Anti-Air

(28 guns)

 

 

16”/45 cal Mk 6

 

 

5”/38 cal Mk 12

 

 

16 x 1.1”/75 cal Mk 1

12 x .5” M2 MG

 

 

406 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

 

 

27.9 millimeters

12.7 millimeters

Speed

28 knots maximum

Propulsion system

115,000 hp steam turbines

Endurance

6,740 miles at 25 knots

Armor

Belt:  12.0" on 0.75 " STS plate inclined 15 degrees tapered to 6.6" on 0.75" STS plate at lower edge plus 3.75"-2.2" over magazines mounted internally

Deck:  main 1.45", 2nd 3.6"+1.4", 3rd 0.62"

Barbettes:  16"-14.7"

Turrets:  face 16", sides 9.8", back 11.8", roof 7.0"

Conning Tower:  16"-14.7" sides, 7.0" roof

Immunity Zone:  21,000 to 26,000 yards against 16"/45

 

Ships in class:

 

NORTH CAROLINA (BB-55)

 

The USS North Carolina was commissioned in April 1941 and was the first new battleship to join the fleet in twenty years.  After a year of shakedowns, she was sent to the Pacific in June 1942.  The North Carolina escorted and protected carriers from enemy air attacks and was a formidable foe against enemy ships.  She participated in the Solomons, Gilbert Islands, Marianas, and Iwo Jima campaigns.  She also was present in the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944.  She was decommissioned and mothballed in June 1947 for thirteen years until stricken from the navy list in June 1960.  The next year the North Carolina was moved to the state of North Carolina and turned into a memorial at Wilmington till today.

 

WASHINGTON (BB-56)

 

The USS Washington was commissioned in May 1941 and was stationed in the Atlantic.  Then in 1942, she joined the US forces already engaged in the Guadalcanal Campaign and became the flagship of Rear Admiral Willis A. Lee.  During this campaign, her 16” guns fatally damaged the Japanese battleship Kirishima.  During the invasion of the Gilbert Islands, the Washington and the Indiana collided and the Washington’s bow was crushed.  After the repairs, she participated in the Marianas invasion and in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.  She also participated in the assaults on Palaus, Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.  The USS Washington was decommissioned in June 1947 and mothballed until May 1961 when she was scrapped.


THE SOUTH DAKOTA CLASS

(Fiscal Year 1939)

 

The second series of South Dakota class ships were a welcome reinforcement to the Navy during World War II.  With their nine 16” guns, these ships were a formidable weapon and their powerful engines could drive them to 27 knots.  Though shorter than their predecessor the North Carolina class, these ships were better armored.  These ships also helped the North Carolina class ships protect air craft carriers from air raids.

 

South Dakota Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

35,000 tons

35,562 tons

Length

680 feet

207.3 meters

Beam

108.2 feet

32.98 meters

Maximum draft

36.5 feet

11.13 meters

Armament:

 

Triple Turrets

(9 guns)

 

Secondary

(20 guns)

 

Anti-Air

(40 guns)

 

 

 

 

16”/45 cal Mk 6

 

 

5”/38 cal Mk 12

(16 on BB-57)

 

24 x 1.6”/56 cal Bofors

16-35 x .79”/70 cal Oerlikons

28 x 1.1”/75 cal Mk 1

(BB-57)

 

 

406 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

 

 

40 millimeters

20 millimeters

 

28 millimeters

Speed

27.8 knots maximum

Propulsion system

130,000 hp steam turbines

Endurance

6,400 miles at 25 knots

Armor

Belt:  side belt 12.2” on .875” STS plate inclined 19 degrees, lower side belt 12.2” tapered to 1”

Deck:  Main 1.5"--2nd 5"+0.75"--3rd 0.3" --splinter 0.625"

Barbettes:  17.3"

Turrets:  face 18" -sides 9.5" -back 12" -roof 7.25"

Conning Tower:  16" sides-7.25" roof

Immunity Zone:  17,700 to 30,900 yards, against 16"/45 2,240 lb AP shell

 

Ships in class:

 

SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57)

 

The USS South Dakota was commissioned in March 1942 and was transferred to the Pacific in August.  During the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, her forward 16” gun was hit by a Japanese bomb and shortly afterwards, she collided with the USS Mahan.  She was repaired locally and sent back to duty.  During a night battle, the South Dakota was once again damaged by enemy fire.  After receiving repairs back in the US, she participated in the Gilbert Islands and Marshall Islands invasions.  Her armament of anti-aircraft weaponry protected US carriers from air attacks.  The South Dakota also participated in the Marianas, Saipan, Tinian, Philippine Sea, Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa campaigns.  She was mothballed in January 1947 until October 1962 when she was scrapped.

 

INDIANA (BB-58)

 

The USS Indiana was commissioned in April 1942 and mainly operated in the Pacific, where she participated in the assaults on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.  During the Marshall Island campaign, she collided with the USS Washington.  After repairs, she went on to participate in the carrier raids on the Carolinas and the Japanese Home Islands.  She also participated in the battles in the Marianas, Saipan, Philippine Sea, Palaus, Iwo Jima, and Ryukus.  She was decommissioned in 1946 and scrapped in 1963.

 

MASSACHUSETTS (BB-59)

 

The USS Massachusetts was commissioned in May 1942.  After her shakedown cruise, she went onto participate in the North African invasion and fought French warships at Casablanca, Morocco.  In early 1943, the Massachusetts transferred to the Pacific, where she served primarily as a carrier screen against air attacks.  She also supported the campaigns in the Gilbert Islands, Marshall Islands, Hollandia, Okinawa, Formosa, Leyte Gulf, Philippines, Luzon, Iwo Jima, and the Japanese home islands.  Then in late 1945 she underwent an overhaul and was stationed along the Pacific coast until April 1946.  The Massachusetts was decommissioned in March 1947 and in 1965, became a memorial in Fall River, Massachusetts.

 

ALABAMA (BB-60)

 

The USS Alabama was commissioned in August 1942 and operated out of the east coast.  In early 1943 it was deployed to the North Atlantic to guard against the threat of German raids.  Then in August of the same year, the Alabama was transferred to the Pacific, where she participated in the capture of the Gilbert, Marshall, Marianas, and Leyte Islands.  She was also involved in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf.  Following an overhaul in January-April 1945, she rejoined the fleet in the Western Pacific.  There she helped conduct attacks on the Japanese home islands.  The Alabama was decommissioned in January 1947 and was in mothballs until June 1962, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register.  In September 1964, she was turned over to the State of Alabama, where she became a memorial.


THE IOWA CLASS

 

The Iowa class of battleships was probably the Navy’s best battleships ever built.  They were the US’s first new World War II era battleships.  These battleships were the fastest battleships of the fleet, designed to protect aircraft carriers from air and surface attacks.  These ships were considerably longer and more powerful than any previous Navy battleships.

 

Iowa Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

45,000 tons

45,722 tons

Length

887.3 feet

270.4 meters

Beam

108.2 feet

32.98 meters

Maximum draft

38 feet

11.58 meters

Armament:

 

Triple Turrets

(9 guns)

 

Secondary

(20 guns)

 

Anti-Air

(109-140 guns)

 

 

 

16”/50 cal Mk 7

 

 

5”/38 cal Mk 12

 

 

60-80 x 1.6”/56 cal Bofors

49-60 x .79”/70 cal Oerlikons

 

 

406 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

 

 

40 millimeters

20 millimeters

Speed

33 knots maximum

34-35 knots unofficially achieved in 1987

Propulsion system

212,000 hp steam turbines

Endurance

4,830 knots at full power

Armor

Belt:  Side belt 12.2” on .875” STS plate inclined 19 degrees (38.6’ wide, top 10.6’ class A) 1.5” outer hull shell (decapping plate), Lower side belt 12.2” tapered to 1.625” inclined 19 degrees 1.5” outer hull shell (decapping plate)

Bulkheads:  11.2" (BB.61-62), 14.5" (BB.63-66)

Deck:  Main 1.5", 2nd 4.75"-5" Class B + 1.25 STS", 3rd 0.5" to 0.625", splinter 0.625" STS (BB.61-62), splinter 0.75" STS (BB.63-66)

Barbettes:  17.3"-14.8"-11.6" to second deck, 3" 2nd-3rd deck, 1.5" below 3rd deck

Turrets:  face plates 17"+ 2.7", sides 9.5", back plates 12", roof plates 7.25

Secondary:  2.5" STS, handling rooms 2.5"

Conning Tower:  sides 17.5", roof 7.25", deck 4", communications tube 16"

Immunity Zone:  17,600 yards to 31,200 yards vs 2,240 lb AP shell @ 2520 ft/sec, below 12,000' vs 1,600 lb AP bomb

 

Ships in Class:

 

IOWA (BB-61)

 

The USS Iowa was commissioned February 1943 and initially carried President Roosevelt to and from Casablanca Morocco in November of 1943.  Then in January 1944, she was sent to the Pacific to participate in the Marshall Islands campaign.  From then until the end of 1944, she participated in the capture of the Marianas, Palaus, and Leyte.  She was also involved in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf.  After an overhaul in 1945, the Iowa returned to duty just in time for the Okinawa assault.  She was then decommissioned in March 1949.  However, the Korean War brought the Iowa out of mothballs and back into service.  She was recommissioned in August of 1951 and was deployed to Korea.  During this time, she served as the flagship of the Seventh Fleet.  With the conclusion of the Korean conflict, she was decommissioned in February 1958.  But once again, military tension caused the Iowa to be brought out of retirement.  During the 1980’s defense build up, she was recommissioned in April 1984.  She conducted many cruises to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.  During one of her cruises, a fire in her second turret killed 47 crewmen.  However, she remained in service and the second turret was never repaired.  She was decommissioned once again in October 1990 and is currently now in mothballs.

 

NEW JERSEY (BB-62)

 

The USS New Jersey was commissioned in May 1943 and was sent to the Pacific in 1944, where she participated in her first combat mission in the Marshall Islands.  She also became the flagship of the Fifth Fleet during the attacks on Japanese base at Truk.  For the rest of that year, she participated in assaults on the Marianas Islands, and in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf.  The USS New Jersey was the flag ship of the Third Fleet under Admiral F. Halsey from August 1944.  She was also part of the invasions of Iwo Jima and the Ryukyus.  After an overhaul, she once again became the flagship of the Fifth Fleet.  In June of 1948, the New Jersey was decommissioned.  However, with the advent of the Korean War, the New Jersey was brought back into service in November 1950.  She also deployed to the Mediterranean and European waters twice.  In August of 1957, she was once again placed out of commission.  With the Vietnam War lurker around the corner, the New Jersey was called back to duty.  She was the only battleship active in the Vietnam War.  From April 1968 to April 1969, she conducted bombardments along the South Vietnamese coast.  After completing her first tour, she was decommissioned in December 1969.  In December 1982, the New Jersey was recommissioned for the fourth and last time of its career.  She fired her big guns in combat one last time during the Lebanon crisis of 1983-1984.  Decommissioned in February 1991, she would wait eight years before being towed from the Pacific to the Atlantic to become a museum at Camden, New Jersey.

 

MISSOURI (BB-63)

 

The USS Missouri was commissioned on 11 June 1944 and is known as the last battleship the US ever built.  Although Missouri is BB-63, she was completed two months after the Wisconsin was.  The Missouri was deployed in the Pacific by 1945.  The Missouri was a participant in the Iwo Jima and Ryukyus campaigns.  She also participated in raids on the Japanese home islands.  She became the flagship of the Third Fleet in May.  On 2 September 1945, the Japanese surrendered to Supreme Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur aboard the Missouri.  With the conclusion of World War II, the Missouri returned to the US and participated in a great naval review at New York.  Then she was sent to the Mediterranean on a diplomatic mission to prevent the Soviets from subjugating more of the Middle East.  In 1950, she underwent an overhaul and was conducting a training mission 17 January 1950 when she ran aground 1.6 miles from Thimble Shoals Light and remained there for nearly a month.  She was refloated on 1 February with the help of tug boats and an incoming tide.  Missouri was now the only US battleship still on active duty in June 1950, when the Korean War began.  She was deployed to Korea twice.  She was then decommissioned for the first time in February 1955.  Then almost thirty years later, she was reactivated, along with her sister ships, during the 1980’s military build up.  The Missouri was recommissioned in May 1986.  She remained on active duty for the next six years and in 1991, participated in the Persian Gulf War where she fired twenty-eight newly installed Tomahawk missiles into Iraqi forces.  Then in March of 1992, she was once again decommissioned.  In 1995, she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and towed to Hawaii in June 1998, where she serves as a memorial and museum.

 

WISCONSON (BB-64)

 

The USS Wisconsin was commissioned in April 1944 and joined the Pacific Fleet in October of the same year.  She reached the combat zone in December and in the next nine months, participated in the capture of the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.  She was also an active participant in the raids against the Japanese home islands.  After the conclusion of World War II, she was decommissioned in July 1948, but was reactivated three years later for the Korean War in March 1951.  She was the flagship for the Seventh Fleet during this time.  The USS Wisconsin was the last active battleship to be decommissioned in March 1958.  Now for the second time, she was reactivated in October 1988 for the Reagan-era naval build up.  She entered the Persian Gulf In August 1990 and along with the Missouri fired missiles and shells into the Iraqi forces.  With the end of the Persian Gulf War, the Wisconsin was decommissioned for the third and last time in September 1991.  She is scheduled to be moved to Nauticus, the National Maritime Museum, in Norfolk Virginia in 2000.

 

ILLINOIS (BB-65)

 

She was cancelled in August 1945 and scrapped in 1958.

 

KENTUCKY (BB-66)

 

The USS Kentucky’s keel was laid in March 1942, but construction was halted until December 1944.  With the end of World War II, her construction was again suspended and the incomplete hull was launched in January 1950 to clear the building dock.  There were several plans to complete the Kentucky as a guided missile ship, but none were put into action.  Her bow was dismantled to repair the USS Wisconsin and she was sold for scrapping in October 1958.  However, part of the Kentucky still lives.  Her engines are still in service to this day.  They power the fast combat support ships USS Sacramento and USS Camden.


THE MONTANA CLASS

 

The Montana class of ships was never built.  However, if they had been built, they would have been unarguably the most powerful battleships the Navy every possessed.  They were larger, more powerful, and more armored than the Iowa class of ships.  However, with the closing of World War II, such a powerful ship was thought useless, and all construction of these ships was cancelled.  Only their designs and schematics remain.

 

Montana Class Characteristics

 

English Units

Metric Units

Ship Displacement

60,500 tons

61,471 tons

Length

925 feet

281.9 meters

Beam

121.2 feet

36.94 meters

Maximum draft

40.42 feet

12.32 meters

Armament:

 

Triple Turrets

(12 guns)

 

Secondary

(20 guns)

 

Anti-Air

(96 guns)

 

 

 

16”/50 cal Mk 7

 

 

5”/54 cal Mk 16

 

 

40 x 1.6”/56 cal Bofors

56 x .79”/70 cal Oerlikons

 

 

406 millimeters

 

 

127 millimeters

 

 

40 millimeters

20 millimeters

Speed

28 knots maximum

Propulsion system

172,000 hp steam turbines

Endurance

15,000 miles at 15 knots

Armor

Belt:  Side belt 16.1” tapering to 10.2” on 1” STS plate inclined 19 degrees, Lower side belt 7.2” tapered to 1” inclined 10 degrees

Bulkheads:  18" forward, 15.25" aft

Deck:  Main 0.75"+1.5", 2nd 5.8"+1.25", 3rd 0.62" to 0.625", splinter 0.625", total 10.454"

Barbettes:  21.3", 18" rear

Turrets:  face 18"+4.5", sides 10", back 12", roof 9.15"

Conning Tower:  18" sides, 7.25" roof

Immunity Zone:  18,000 yards to 32,000 yards vs 16"/50 2,700 lb shells, 16,500 yards to 34,500 yards vs 16"/45 2,245 lb shells 

 

Ships in class:

 

MONTANA (BB-67), OHIO (BB-68), MAINE (BB-69), NEW HAMPSHIRE (BB-70), LOUISIANA (BB-71)