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IOWA CLASS BB

Missouri on her shakedown cruise, August 1944. 80-G-K-4575
Missouri on her shakedown cruise, August 1944. 80-G-K-4575
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Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
BB61 Iowa New York NY 27 June 40 27 Aug 42 22 Feb 43 In reserve 97
BB62 New Jersey Philadelphia NY 16 Sept 40 7 Dec 42 23 May 43 In reserve 97
BB63 Missouri New York NY 16 Jan 41 29 Jan 44 11 June 44 In reserve 97
BB64 Wisconsin Philadelphia NY 25 Jan 41 7 Dec 43 16 April 44 In reserve 97
BB65 Illinois Philadelphia NY 6 Dec 42 not launched Scrapped on slip
BB66 Kentucky Norfolk NY 6 Dec 42 20 Jan 50 Scrapped incomplete 58
Displacement: 48,110 tons/48,879 tonnes (standard); 57,540 tons/58,460 tonnes (full load)
Length: 887ft 3in/270.43m (oa); 860ft/262.13m (wl)
Beam: 108ft 2in/32.96m
Draught: 29ft/8.84m (mean)
Machinery: eight Babcock & Wilcox boilers; 4-shaft General Electric geared turbines
Bunkerage: 7,621 tons oil
Performance: 212,000shp = 32.5kts
Range: 15,000nm at 15kts
Protection: main belt 12.2in; blkhds 11.2in; main deck 5in; barbettes 17.3in; CT 17.3in; turrets 17in
Guns: nine (3x3) 16in; twenty (10x2) 5in DP; eighty (20x4) 40mm; forty-nine 20mm
Torpedo tubes: nil
Aircraft: three, catapults two
Complement: 1,921

Towards the end of the 1930s US naval policy began to favour fast battleships as the core of task groups intended to seek out the Japanese battle fleet in the wide spaces of the Pacific. Hitherto the US Navy had favoured armour and firepower at the expense of speed, but intelligence regarding the suspected high speeds of the newly refitted Japanese Kongo-class battleships precipitated a change of mind. In addition, there was the possibility that the escalator clause of the 1936 London Naval Treaty could be invoked to increase gun calibre from 14in to 16in (which was later to be done in the North Carolina class). Nevertheless, in 1938 some 'slow' designs were discussed, at least one of which was armed with 18in guns, the others generally favouring twelve 16in as opposed to the hitherto standard nine. Speed was about 27 knots and protection varied only for the belt armour, being from 11.3in to 14.75in. Decks were 5.1in. The initial 'fast' design envisaged a ship of the maximum size that could pass through the Panama Canal, armed with twelve 16in guns, capable of 35 knots on a standard displacement of 50,950 tons, but only protected against 8in shellfire. Three even larger studies were considered, displacing from 52,707 tons to 59,060 tons, armed with nine or twelve 16in, having 12.6in side armour and capable of between 32 and 35 knots. The sheer size of these designs made it unlikely that even the USA could afford to build them. By the early spring of 1938 a stretched South Dakota had been proposed, with a length of about 800 feet, having 33 knots on 40,000 tons displacement. But this implied an increase in displacement of 10,000 tons for an extra 6 knots and little else, so consideration was given to the use of a more powerful 16in gun than that of the North Carolina. This gun existed in the 16in Mk 2 50cal weapon ordered for the cancelled South Dakota and Lexington classes of 1922, of which more than 100 barrels were now surplus. Use of this gun was ordered in April 1938. But the gun was heavier than the 16in/45 of North Carolina by more than 42 tons, i.e., an additional 381 tons for a nine-gun ship. Moreover, the turret required a barbette diameter 2 feet greater than that of the more modern gun, and in total the extra weight penalty involved amounted to almost 2,000 tons. Quite amazingly, the Bureau of Construction and Repair, responsible for the ship's design, remained unaware of this radical difference and had designed the hull for the smaller barbette of the Mk 6 turret, a state of affairs which persisted until its discovery in November 1938! In the end the situation was resolved by the rapid development of a new model of light-weight 16in gun and turret, which became the Mk 7. The design was virtually complete by the end of 1938, but further refinements were made later by the New York Naval Shipyard to improve the machinery layout and the underwater protection system, which was inadequate after having been stretched from the short South Dakota hull.

Iowa, good detail from the bow
Iowa, good detail from the bow
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Design

The standard displacement of these ships came out at 45,000 tons, but full load displacement was 56,270 although individual ships varied slightly. The hull, with its distinctive narrow forward section (which allowed strength and weight to be concentrated amidships at the machinery spaces) was 887 feet in length, i.e., more than 200 feet longer than South Dakota but maintaining the same beam. The protection system was similar to that of the preceding class, with a 12.2in main belt inclined at 19° outwards from base to top, carried internally on 1in plating in the manner of South Dakota and tapered down to l.5in at its lower end. This belt was 464 feet long and 38ft 6in in depth, of which the maximum thickness was 10ft 6in deep. Outboard of the side belt the bulge was carried up to meet the upper deck without the distinctive recess of BB57, and stiffened to 1.5in between the second and third decks. The bulges themselves were compartmentalised in a similar manner to BB57 and the underwater protection scheme was very similar to that of the South Dakotas. The side belt was closed off by transverse armoured bulkheads 11.3in thick, increased to 14.5in for the forward one in BB63-BB66. Aft of the main side belt was a narrow strake of 13.5in armour, also sloped at 19°, protecting the shafts and steering gear. The horizontal protection included l.5in on the upper or weather deck, with a main armoured deck of 4.75in on l.25in plating, with a .5in splinter deck below it. The faces of the main turrets were given no less than 17in armour on 2.5in STS plate, but the sides were reduced to 9.5in on .75in plate from the 10in originally specified. Barbette armour was 17.3in at its maximum. Conning towers were again incorporated, that in Iowa having 17.5 sides and a 7.25in roof. Armour represented about 41 per cent of standard displacement.

The main machinery consisted of a four-shaft geared turbine arrangement developing 212,000shp for a designed maximum speed of 33 knots, so the extra 5 knots over South Dakota required 63 per cent more power. There were eight main machinery spaces housing alternately from forward to aft, two boilers or one turbine, with No. 1 being a fire room. The order of the turbine rooms was, from forward to aft, starboard outer, port outer, starboard inner, port inner. The boilers were Babcock & Wilcox 3-drum Express-type, operating at 565psi and 850° F. Generating capacity was again increased to l,000kW plus the usual diesel emergency generators. The turbines had double reduction gearing, the ships built by Philadelphia Navy Yard having Westinghouse and the others General Electric type.

The main armament was the 16in Mk 7, a new light-weight 50cal weapon, in triple turrets. The latter were of the same roller path diameter as the Mk 6 turrets and were in consequence, rather cramped in some respects. RPC was fitted. The Mk 7 gun fired a 2,700 lb shell to a range of 43,345 yards at 45°, but initially there were problems with accuracy, caused by poor gun alignment, which were not resolved until after Leyte in 1944. Secondary armament was the standard 5in/38 DP in twin gun-houses, five on each beam. The light AA outfit as designed consisted of fifteen quadruple 40mm (see below) and about fifty 20mm, but some ships completed with other figures. (These guns supplanted the four quadruple l.lin and twelve 0.5in machine-guns.) There were three main battery directors, two Mk 38 on the fore and after tops plus one Mk 40 in the conning tower. All four 16in turrets were fitted with range-finders. Fire control for the 5in was exercised by four Mk 37 secondary directors, one forward, one aft and two abreast the fore tower. In keeping with US practice, no torpedo tubes were fitted. There were two catapults on the quarterdeck and three aircraft could be accommodated, initially the Vought OS2U Kingfisher. By September 1945 all except Winsconsin had received the new Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk, which became the standard floatplane post-war until the final demise of USN shipboard floatplanes in 1949.

Three ships, BB61-BB63, were authorised by an Act dated 17 May 1938, and a fourth, BB64, was added sometime after. Contracts for the first two, Iowa and New Jersey, were placed on 1 July 1939. Two more, Missouri and Wisconsin, were ordered on 12 June 1940. Finally, the need to standardise design in order to expedite ship construction, under the 19 July 1940 Act of Congress, led to the abandoning of slow battleship design, and two extra ships were ordered, these being Illinois and Kentucky, contracts being placed on 9 September 1940. The contract dates for completion were: 1 August 1943 (BB61); 1 May 1944 (BB62); 12 June 1944 (BB63); 12 June 1945 (BB64); 1 May 1945 (BB65); 1 May 1946 (BB66). It will be noticed that Iowa (BB61) was delivered six and New Jersey (BB62) twelve months ahead of contract. Kentucky was laid down on 7 March 1942, but her construction was held up by the need to build LSTs, so the double bottom structure already in place was launched in June of that year to clear the slipway. After completion of the LSTs, the carrier Lake Champlain was laid down on the slip. The existing structure of Kentucky was moved into dry dock and work started again, on 6 December 1944. Again, construction proceeded only slowly and by now her completion was scheduled for the third quarter of 1946. On 15 December 1945 it was recommended that she be suspended and completed as an AA battleship, the contract being duly suspended in August 1946. Two years later, no firm decision as to her final configuration having yet been made, work was resumed on 17 August 1948. Kentucky's hull, completed up to the second deck and with machinery installed, was launched in 1950 in order to clear the yard, and was laid up, estimated at 73 per cent complete. During a period of ten years, studies were carried out to investigate the possibilities of converting her to a guided-missile armed battleship, the last being in the spring of 1956. This project envisaged the ship being armed with two Polaris launch tubes and a total of sixteen missiles, together with four Talos launchers (eighty missiles per launcher) and twelve Tartar launchers with 504 missiles. In July 1956 it was anticipated that Kentucky could complete by July 1961, but cost eventually ruled the conversion out. While laid up, her bow was used for the repair of Wisconsin in 1956, and the machinery was removed for use in new replenishment ships. On 31 October 1958 she was sold for breaking to Boston Metals Co. for $1,176,666 and was towed out to their Baltimore yard in February 1959. Illinois was cancelled on 12 August 1945 when about 22 per cent complete, but the material on the slipway was not immediately dismantled because of a suggestion that she could be used as a nuclear target. But the cost to bring her to launching stage (some $30 million!) was too great, and the incomplete hull was scrapped in situ.

Modifications

Iowa completed with a narrow rounded bridge, and a comprehensive radar outfit. As a Force Flagship, she had an enlarged conning tower. She shipped fifteen quadruple 40mm and sixty single 20mm. Shortly after commissioning she received two additional 20mm right forward in the eyes of the ship. By July 1943 the 40mm outfit had been increased to nineteen quadruple mountings at the expense of eight 20mm, the additional mountings being fitted on the weather deck abreast the after tower, and forward of No. 1 turret. By 1945 she had been allocated eight twin 20mm, but it is not clear if all or any of these were ever mounted. Iowa was unique in that she was never given a quadruple 40mm on No. 2 turret, only ever having 20mm there because the larger 40mm mounting would have obstructed the view from the conning tower. In 1945 she was given a square-fronted bridge in place of the original narrow one. Radars were updated throughout the war, as they were in all classes. By January 1947 all single 20mm had been landed and the 20mm outfit consisted of sixteen twins. Four months later, four quadruple 40mm were landed (those on the upper or weather deck). During reactivation for the Korean War in 1951, the catapults were removed as were all the 20mm guns, but the 40mm complement was brought back to wartime standard. Plans to replace the 40mm with twin 3in/50 mountings never reached fruition, though their Mk 56 and Mk 63 directors were fitted in Iowa. To accommodate them she landed four quadruple 40mm. In 1956 she was equipped to accommodate 16in nuclear shells. By the 1980s, when reactivated again, Iowa had, in April 1984, only twelve 5in and no 40mm, but shipped four 20mm CIWS mountings, sixteen RGM-84 Harpoon missiles (4x4 abreast the after funnel), and thirty-two BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles (8x4 amidships replacing four twin 5in, and abreast the after tower).

New Jersey completed with sixteen quadruple 40mm including one on No. 2 turret, but after conclusion of work-up had four more added on the weather deck as in Iowa. At this time too she received the two 20mm in the eyes of the ship, giving a total of forty-nine single weapons. By the end of the war the 20mm outfit had been increased to fifty-seven, forty-one singles and eight twin. Four main deck quadruple 40mm were landed in 1946 and all the 20mm were landed when the ship was de-activated in 1947-8.

At the time of the Korean War she had lost her catapults and was able to operate a Sikorsky HO3S-1 helicopter. There were eighteen quadruple 40mm aboard but no 20mm, although a pair of twin 20mm were later added in the eyes of the ship as a defence against floating mines, but these appear to have gone by 1953. Plans to fit 3in/50 in lieu of the 40mm in the mid 1950s were never implemented, but in 1954 she received the Mk 56 and Mk 63 directors intended for them, losing two 40mm quadruple mountings. On re-activation for service off Vietnam, New Jersey had all 40mm removed and more modern electronics fitted. Finally, during her last re-activation in 1981-2, she received eight quadruple Tomahawk systems and four quadruple Harpoon systems as well as four CIWS 20mm quadruple mountings at the expense of four twin 5in gunhouses. She was also issued with a Kaman SH-2 Seasprite helicopter. Her boilers were converted to use lighter fuel oil in lieu of black oil. The radar outfit was also modernised.

Missouri completed with twenty quadruple 40mm and an enclosed square-faced bridge. She had at this time forty-nine 20mm, all singles. By April 1945 eight twin 20mm had been added, but by the end of the war six of the single 20mm had been landed. By June 1946 the number of single 20mm had been again reduced, to twenty-six, and to twenty-two by January 1947. By October of that year all single mountings had been landed and the 20mm outfit at that time was sixteen twin, but her authorised outfit by April 1951 was thirty-two twin, which she received. From the end of 1947 to early 1951 she landed half of her quadruple 40mm, leaving her with ten mountings, but it would appear that she was back up to twenty mountings by April 1952. Her catapults were retained into 1949. As with her sisters, plans to fit 3in/50 in lieu of the 40mm never came to fruition, nor did this ship ever receive the directors for them. When re-activated in the 1980s, she was fitted with Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles like her sisters, and the CIWS mountings. Wisconsin completed with the squared-off bridge front, the two 20mm in the eyes of the ship, and twenty quadruple 40mm. Sixteen twin 20mm were added in lieu of a number of singles towards the end of the war, these being landed when she passed to reserve in 1948. The four maindeck quadruple 40mm were landed 1955-6. In the late 1980s she received the same Harpoon/Tomahawk refit as was applied to the class.

Service

Iowa joined the fleet in February 1943 and worked-up in the Atlantic, during which period she ran aground in Casco Bay and damaged her bottom plating. On 27 August she sailed for Argentia Bay, Newfoundland, where she was stationed against the eventuality of a breakout by Tirpitz. At the end of the year she took President Roosevelt to the Mediterranean for his Cairo and Tehran conferences. On 2 January 1944, as Flagship Battleship Division 7, she sailed for the Pacific to participate in the Marshall Islands campaign. Operating with TG58.3, Iowa screened the carriers of TF58 during strikes against Eniwetok and Kwajalein 29 January - 3 February. Operations in the Caroline Islands followed, Iowa forming part of TG50.9 for a strike against Truk on 17 February, and towards the end of the month she covered the carrier strikes against Saipan, Tinian, Rota and Guam. On 18 March, with TG50.10 during a bombardment of Mili Atoll in the Marshalls, she was struck by two 4.7in shells but sustained little damage. In April she supported the landings at Hollandia in New Guinea, and screened another strike against Truk at the end of that month. On 1 May she participated in a bombardment of Ponape in the Carolines. By June she was in the Marianas with TG58.7, bombarding Saipan and Tinian 13-14 June, and a few days later was present at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. She remained in the Marianas in July, but in August, now with TG38.2, sailed from Eniwetok to cover strikes against Iwo Jima and Chichijima, and the landings at Peleliu in September. On 10 October she arrived off Okinawa with TG38.2 to cover carrier strikes against targets in Formosa and the Ryukus, followed by strikes against Luzon in support of the landings in Leyte Gulf on 20 October. Iowa continued to operate in Philippine waters until sailing for refit on the west coast of the USA late in December.

Iowa with Task Force 38 in December 1944. 80-G-K-15631
Iowa with Task Force 38 in December 1944. 80-G-K-15631
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She was under refit at San Francisco from January to March 1945, sailed for Okinawa again on 19 March, reaching the operational area on 15 April. From 24 April she was screening the fast carriers in support of army operations on Okinawa, then covered fast carrier strikes against the Japanese mainland during attacks on southern Kyushu from 25 May to 13 June. These strikes continued into July, the ship bombarding Muroran, Hokkaido and Hitachi, and continuing the task until the end of the war.

Missouri and Iowa off Japan, 20 August 1945. NH 96781
Missouri and Iowa off Japan, 20 August 1945. NH 96781
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Iowa was present in Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremonies, and returned to Seattle on 15 October 1945. In January 1946 she sailed again for Japan as Flagship of the 5th Fleet, but left for home on 25 March. From then until the autumn of 1948 Iowa operated off the west coast in a training role until paid off to reserve on 24 March 1949. On 25 August 1951 she was recommissioned for active service in Korean waters, sailing in March 1952 for the Far East where, on 1 April, she assumed the role of Flagship 7th Fleet, operating off the east coast of Korea in support of United Nations troops. This deployment ended in October 1952 and she sailed for Norfolk, Va., on the 19th. After overhaul, she was employed on training duties in the Atlantic, and was with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean from January to April 1953. She operated in the Atlantic and Mediterranean 1956-7, but in October 1957 arrived at Philadelphia to reduce to reserve, decommissioning on 24 February 1958. On 13 July 1982 Ingalls were awarded the contract for refitting the ship, and in September 1982 Iowa was towed to Avondale shipyard to be re-activated. She recommissioned on 28 April 1984. In September 1987 she was ordered to the Mediterranean and on 25 November went to the Strait of Hormuz to relieve Missouri during the Iran-Iraq War, returning to the USA in February 1988. On 19 April 1989, while in the Caribbean, she suffered an explosion in the centre gun of No. 2 turret, which killed forty-seven men. Complete repair of the damaged turret was not carried out. On 26 October 1990 she was decommissioned again at Norfolk Navy Yard, and, with her sisters, was stricken from the Navy Register on 12 January 1995.

New Jersey October 1943. NH45486
New Jersey October 1943. NH45486
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New Jersey refuelling
New Jersey refuelling
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New Jersey 1944-1945, with the Pacific Fleet. 80-G-K-15383
New Jersey 1944-1945, with the Pacific Fleet. 80-G-K-15383
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New Jersey - an unusual and impressive photo
New Jersey - an unusual and impressive photo
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Phillip Reece : 2018-7-11;19:10
The opening shots of the film about the invasion of Iwo Jima are shot from the bridge of what looks to be an Iowa class battleship, the film is available on youtube, if anyone is interested, a great image, thank you for posting it.
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mike : 2018-3-18;7:20
what a pic !
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New Jersey cleared the Panama Canal en route for the South Pacific on 7 January 1944, bound for Funafuti in the Ellice Islands, where she joined her sister Iowa with Battleship Division 7 on 22 January, serving with the 5th Fleet. Her first operation was to screen a strike against the Marshall Islands with TG58.3, built around the carriers Bunker Hill, Monterey and Cowpens, which attacked Kwajalein and Eniwetok on 29 January-2 February. This was followed by a strike against Truk lagoon on 17-18 February when she was Flagship of TG50.2 whose task was to prevent any Japanese ships from escaping. This was the first time that New Jersey fired her guns in anger, sinking a trawler and engaging Katori and the destroyers Maikaze and Nowake, the latter being fired on from a range of 22 miles. From 17 March to 10 April she sailed with TG50.10 for a bombardment of Milli and later covered strikes against the Palaus. On 13 April she sailed from Majuro to cover the landings at Hollandia, in New Guinea, on 22 April, then carried out a bombardment of the island of Ponape with a force of seven battleships and eleven destroyers, the ship expending ninety rounds of 16in. On 6 June New Jersey sailed with TF58 to the Marshalls, bombarding Saipan and Tinian on the 13th. During the Battle of the Marianas she protected the carriers with her AA guns. On 9 August she arrived at Pearl Harbor and assumed the role of Flagship, 3rd Fleet, sailing for Ulithi on the 30th from where she operated for the next eight months. With TG38.2 she covered strikes against Palau, Mindanao and the Visayas in the Philippines from 28 August to 24 September 1944. By October this group was operating against targets on Formosa and, during the battle for Leyte, New Jersey was with the carrier group that included Intrepid, Bunker Hill, Cabot and Independence.

New Jersey in a stiff storm in the western Pacific, 8 November 1944, from the carrier Intrepid. Hancock is in the background. 80-G-291047
New Jersey in a stiff storm in the western Pacific, 8 November 1944, from the carrier Intrepid. Hancock is in the background. 80-G-291047
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On 11 December TG38.2, which included New Jersey, sailed from Ulithi to attack targets in Luzon, returning on 24 December. Until 25 January 1945 she was screening strikes against various targets including Formosa, Okinawa, Luzon, Indo-China, Hong Kong, Swatow and Amoy. From February to April she covered the assault on Iwo Jima, screened carrier strikes against the Japanese mainland and supported the landings on Okinawa. On 2 April she collided with the destroyer Franks, whose commanding officer died of injuries received. On 16 April New Jersey arrived at Ulithi, bound for refit in the USA, and reached Puget Sound Navy Yard on 6 May. After completion she ran trials on 30 June and sailed for San Pedro on 4 July, eventually arriving at Guam on 9 August 1945, having bombarded Wake Island en route. On 14 August she became Flagship of the 5th Fleet once more, but the war was now over and she proceeded to Tokyo Bay, where she arrived on 17 September. New Jersey was relieved as Flagship by Iowa on 28 January 1946 and steamed for home, arriving at San Francisco on 10 February. In May 1947 she returned to the Atlantic and was used for training cruises to northern Europe and the Mediterranean until decommissioned at Bayonne on 30 June 1948 and allocated to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was recommissioned on 21 November 1950 for service in Korean waters, and sailed from Norfolk for the war zone on 16 April 1951. New Jersey made two tours to Korea, bombarding in support of UN forces ashore. On 22 November 1951 she was relieved by Iowa and sailed for home, arriving at Norfolk on 20 December. From 11 February to 16 May 1952 she was under refit, then served in a training role until beginning her second deployment to Korea. She left Norfolk on 5 March 1953 and was in action off the Korean coast until the armistice, being relieved once again by Iowa at Yokosuka on 14 October 1953. Returning home, she was used as a training ship until 1957 when she arrived at New York for de-activation, paying off at Bayonne on 21 August 1957. New Jersey was brought back into service yet again for the Vietnam War, recommissioning on 6 April 1968, and fired her first rounds against communist positions on 30 September. This tour lasted until March 1969, but a second planned tour was cancelled for political reasons, and she paid off on 17 December that year to join the Reserve Fleet at Bremerton where she remained until 1981. On 27 July of that year she was towed from her berth for refit at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, California, where she arrived on 6 August. The re-activation refit was carried out in dry dock and New Jersey was floated out again on 13 March 1982, and recommissioned on 28 December 1982. From September 1983 to April 1984 she was stationed off Lebanon, bombarding shore targets on several occasions. She was paid off on 8 February 1991 and did not see service in the Gulf War. New Jersey was stricken from the Navy Register on 12 January 1995.

Missouri spent the latter half of 1944 working-up in the Atlantic. She left Norfolk on 11 November bound for San Francisco where she was fitted out as Fleet Flagship. She sailed on 14 December for Ulithi in the western Caroline Islands where she arrived on 13 January 1945. On the 27th, with her sister Wisconsin and three carriers, she sailed with TF58, as part of TG58.2, for a strike against Tokyo, which took place on 16 February, and against Yokohama next day. On the return passage the task group supported the landings on Iwo Jima until returning to Ulithi on 4 March 1945. She sailed with TG58.4 again on the 14th for a strike against targets on Kyushu on the 18th. On 24 March she was one of several battleships bombarding Okinawa, and remained in support into May.

Missouri about to be hit by a Japanese A6M Zero Kamikaze, while operating off Okinawa on 11 April 1945. The plane hit the ships side below the main deck, causing minor damage and no casualties on board the battleship. A 40mm quad gun mount crew is in action in the lower foreground. NH 62696
Missouri about to be hit by a Japanese A6M Zero Kamikaze, while operating off Okinawa on 11 April 1945. The plane hit the ships side below the main deck, causing minor damage and no casualties on board the battleship. A 40mm quad gun mount crew is in action in the lower foreground. NH 62696
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its been suggested this is a montage - If you look closely at the 5" unit in front of the 40s there are no barrels. Also the guys at the 40 don't look concerned at all and the guys at the 20s in front of the 5" don't seem to be concerned either. You'd think with the a/c about to impact that there would be some sign of covering. Any views ?

more feedback - You've suggested that the photo is a fake. I think not. The 5 inch battery is actually a shielded set of quad 40's, which have, of course, much shorter barrels. If you blow up the image, you'll see that the sailors and marines are actually engaged in passing ammunition. They're not being casual; rather, they are in the midst of operations and passing ammunition as they should be. Anybody sightseeing or (worse) ducking would have been at the least ostracized by those who didn't; most likely, somebody would be at captain's mast in the morning following.

The kamikaze bounced off the side of the ship. The Zero would be seen more clearly from the deck as being just below the line of the deck, and thus not presenting any particular danger to the 20mm crew.

One last thought: If I were faking the picture (which is not an unreasonable thought - since the picture came from Bull Halsey's personal collection - and if Halsey wanted that picture, the photographer would darn well be sure to have the airplane in it) I at least would have put a tail on the Zero, don't you think? Wouldn't you have a neat, clean, easily identifiable Zero there? But look as you might, there is no tail on that aircraft. Which tells me it was shot off. This photo is too bad to be a good fake.

any more views - I'd like to have someone who really understands photography (pre-digital) go over the picture. It's obviously not a digital fake.

more feedback - While I personally believe that this picture is genuine, this defense of it is completely false. Having never heard of a completely enclosed quad-40 mount, I set forth to widen my technical knowledge in the local university library and on the web. I found this:

it is a wider-angle picture taken from almost exactly the same spot at a different time and place, but it is absolutely certain that the enclosed mount is twin 5inch 38s.
it is a wider-angle picture taken from almost exactly the same spot at a different time and place, but it is absolutely certain that the enclosed mount is twin 5inch 38s.

more feedback - see picture below of quad 40's - this purports to show a machine gun from the Zero attached to a gun. There are no 5" gunhouses that far aft - this set is approximately parallel to the rear of the aft turret. Also, the aftmost gunhouses were NOT on the main deck. The Iowa class had three of its gunhouses, including the aftmost, two decks above that. This weapon is too low on the ship to be the aftmost gunhouse.

feedback from Steve who believes it to be a real shot. - Look closely at the picture and cross referencing it to a model of the Missouri the 5 inch C38 turret in the picture is obviously S6, not sure of the US numbering, the suggestion that this turret is on the main deck is wrong, look carefully at S6 and the railings at the aft end of the gun deck are visible to the right of the turret, there were no rails at the side of the gun deck as the turret is perched right on the edge of the deck. Also look closely at the hose to the left and forward of S6, this is leading down from the gun deck to the deck below, upper deck, so this gun is definitely not on the upper deck, it is just an illusion that it is further aft and on the deck. The picture was taken, I think, from the foremost AA director tub, which is located just forward of the aft funnel. This position is higher than the gun, but not much, so if the barrels of S6 were in maximum depression, as they may be if aimed at the zero, they would probably be out of sight, note that the barrels of the two quad 40s are in depression so it obvious to assume S6 is also the same.

On 11 April she was hit by a Kamikaze on the starboard side abreast No. 3 turret, which caused slight structural damage, and on the 16th she was near-missed by a Kamikaze which crashed into the sea just astern of the ship causing slight shock and splinter damage. On 5 May Missouri was detached to Ulithi, arrived there on the 9th, and moved to Guam on the 18th where she became Flagship, 3rd Fleet. By 27 May she was back in action off Okinawa with TF38 and then screened carrier strikes against Kyushu on 2, 3 and 8 June, bombarding shore targets on the latter date. She returned to Leyte on 13 June and sailed again on 8 July for further strikes against targets in Japan. This mix of carrier strikes and shore bombardments by the battleships and cruisers occupied them for the remainder of the war. The official surrender was signed aboard Missouri on 2 September 1945 in Tokyo Bay. On 6 September she was relieved as Flagship by South Dakota and next day sailed for home to arrive in New York on 28 September. Missouri remained in commission after the war, and was refitted at New York from 23 September 1947 to 10 March 1948. By 1948-9 she was employed on training duties, the only US battleship now in service. On 17 January 1950 she suffered an embarrassing incident when she went aground off Hampton Roads and remained fast for two weeks. On 19 August 1950 she sailed for Korean waters, and from her base in Japan made three sorties to provide fire-support for UN troops: 14 September - 1 November; 5 November - 24 January 1951 and 28 January - 19 March. Returning home, she was refitted at Norfolk Navy Yard from 18 October 1951 to 30 January 1952. She made a second trip to Korea, arriving at Yokosuka on 17 October 1952, and again carrying out bombardments until relieved as Flagship, 7th Fleet, by New Jersey on 6 April 1953. She was under overhaul at Norfolk from 20 November 1953 to 2 April 1954. Thereafter she was employed on training duties until paying off at Puget Sound on 26 February 1955 to join the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Bremerton. She remained inactive until 1984 when she was selected for service again and left under tow for Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 14 May of that year. Work was begun on 1 October and she recommissioned on 10 May 1986. During this period of service Missouri saw action again in the Gulf War of 1991, making her first bombardment on 4 February, operating off Kuwait City. With the ending of the 'Cold War', she and her sisters were again redundant, and on 31 March 1992 she paid off and was moved into dry dock at Puget Sound on 16 September to begin in-activation refit. Although stricken on 12 January 1995, and preserved as a memorial.

Wisconsin in the western Pacific, circa December 1944 - August 1945. 80-G-470324
Wisconsin in the western Pacific, circa December 1944 - August 1945. 80-G-470324
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Wisconsin worked-up in the West Indies before moving to the Pacific, passing through the Panama Canal on 24 September 1944 and joining the Pacific Fleet on 2 October. She reached Ulithi on 9 December to join the 3rd Fleet. Her first operation was in support of the landings in the Philippines, leaving Ulithi with TG38.2 on 11 December to attack targets at Luzon. On the 30th a second sortie was made in support of the landings at Luzon and the battleship formed part of the cover for the fast carriers during strikes on Formosa, the Pescadores and Nansei Shoto 3-22 January 1945, the ships returning to Ulithi on the 25th. In February, now with the 5th Fleet, Wisconsin operated with TG58.2 during a strike against targets around Tokyo on 16 February, then moved to Iwo Jima on the 17th to soften up that island for the landings scheduled to begin on the 19th. On the 25th islands off Honshu were attacked. On 14 March she sailed from Ulithi with TG58.4 in support of the Okinawa campaign, targets at Kobe and Kure being hit. By the 24th Wisconsin had begun shore bombardment of Okinawa and remained committed to this task until May, arriving at Leyte on 18 June for repairs and replenishment. Now back with the 3rd Fleet, she sailed with TG38.4 from Leyte on 1 July to screen further carrier strikes on Japan, and bombarded shore targets from the 16th. These strikes continued until the end of hostilities, the ship arriving in Tokyo Bay on 6 September. She got back to San Francisco on 15 October, and then moved to the Atlantic where she carried out peacetime cruising and cadet training until paid off at Norfolk on 1 July 1948. She was recommissioned again on 3 March 1951 to take part in the Korean War, relieving New Jersey as Flagship 7th Fleet at Yokosuka on 21 November 1951. She made several tours to the war zone from her base in Japan, providing fire-support until 19 March 1952. She was hit by shore batteries on 15 March but suffered little damage. On 1 April she was relieved by Iowa and sailed for home, being used for training duties until paid off again on 8 March 1958. (On 7 May 1956 off Virginia, she was in collision with the destroyer Eaton and the bow of Kentucky was used to make repairs). Wisconsin was recommissioned again on 22 October 1988 and saw action during the Gulf War, firing her guns in anger on 7 February 1991, for the first time since the Korean War. The end of the 'Cold War' saw the ship paid off again, on 30 September 1991, to join the Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia. She was stricken on 12 January 1995.

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