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United States' Iowa class battleships

Photos

BB-61 USS Iowa at Bayonne, New Jersey on March 29, 1943:
United States' BB-61 USS Iowa at Bayonne, New Jersey on March 29, 1943
US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH-53264

BB-61 USS Iowa during the Marshalls Operations on January 24, 1944:
United States' BB-61 USS Iowa during the Marshalls Operations on January 24, 1944
US Navy, 80-G-235080
BB-61 USS Iowa with Task Force 38 in December 1944:
United States' BB-61 USS Iowa with Task Force 38 in December 1944
US Navy, 80-G-K-15631
BB-62 USS New Jersey in the Atlantic or Caribbean doing training:
United States' BB-62 USS New Jersey in the Atlantic or Caribbean doing training
US Navy, NH-45486
BB-62 USS New Jersey during a storm in the Pacific on November 8, 1944:
United States' BB-62 USS New Jersey during a storm in the Pacific on November 8, 1944
US Navy, 80-G-291047
BB-62 USS New Jersey in the Pacific in 1945:
United States' BB-62 USS New Jersey in the Pacific in 1945
US Navy, 80-G-K-15383
BB-63 USS Missouri during her shakedown cruise with a K-Type Blimp in August 1944:
United States' BB-63 USS Missouri during her shakedown cruise with a K-Type Blimp in August 1944
US Navy, 80-G-K-4576

BB-63 USS Missouri right before being hit by a kamikaze Zero off Okinawa on April 11, 1945:
United States' BB-63 USS Missouri right before being hit by a kamikaze Zero off Okinawa on April 11, 1945
US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH-62696
BB-63 USS Missouri during her shakedown cruise night firing in August 1944:
United States' BB-63 USS Missouri during her shakedown cruise night firing in August 1944
US Navy, 80-G-K-4549

BB-63 USS Missouri right before being hit by a kamikaze Zero off Okinawa in April 1945:
United States' BB-63 USS Missouri right before being hit by a kamikaze Zero off Okinawa in April 1945
Imperial War Museum, NYF-70679
BB-63 USS Missouri during her shakedown cruise in August 1944:
United States' BB-63 USS Missouri during her shakedown cruise in August 1944
US Navy, 80-G-47015

BB-63 USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay with Mt. Fuji off in the distance on August 30, 1945:
United States' BB-63 USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay with Mt. Fuji off in the distance on August 30, 1945
US Navy, 80-G-490436
BB-63 USS Missouri during her shakedown cruise in August 1944:
United States' BB-63 USS Missouri during her shakedown cruise in August 1944
US Navy, 80-G-K-4575

BB-63 USS Missouri with General Yoshijiro signing the surrender documents on September 2, 1945:
United States' BB-63 USS Missouri with General Yoshijiro signing the surrender documents on September 2, 1945
Imperial War Museum, A-30427A
BB-64 USS Wisconsin during her shakedown cruise on May 30, 1944:
United States' BB-64 USS Wisconsin during her shakedown cruise on May 30, 1944
US Navy, 80-G-443313
BB-64 USS Wisconsin alongside the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor on November 11, 1944:
United States' BB-64 USS Wisconsin alongside the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor on November 11, 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-78940
BB-64 USS Wisconsin in the Pacific in December 1944:
United States' BB-64 USS Wisconsin in the Pacific in December 1944
US Navy, 80-G470324

Design

The Iowa class battleships were similar to the South Dakota class but made longer to have higher speed, to be with the fast carrier task forces, and could carry a larger 16" gun.

The cost to build each of the Iowa class was more than $100 million each.

Treaty Restrictions

The United States invoked a clause from the 1936 London Treaty that would allow them to build a 45,000 ton battleship. Design work started in 1937 to counter Japanese designs.

Aircraft

The Iowa class battleships had two catapults to launch their floatplanes.

Armament

The 16" guns could fire a 2,700 lb AP shell 42,000 yards. Well trained gun crews could fire 2 rounds per minute.

Armor Maximum Range to Penetrate
8" 33,600 yards
10" 38,000 yards
12" 38,000 yards
16" 28,200 yards

Ships

BB-61 USS Iowa

  • Manufacturer: New York Navy Yard, G.E.
  • August 1942, August 27, 1942: Launched.
  • February 1943, February 22, 1943: Commissioned.
  • August 1943: Became operational.
  • August 1943: Escorted Atlantic convoys.
  • 1943: Carried President Roosevelt to Casablanca conference.
  • January 1944: Kwajalein. Marshall Islands. Damaged by Japanese artillery.
  • February 1944: Truk raid. Marianas.
  • March 1944: Palau.
  • Hollandia.
  • June 1944: Marianas. Philippine Sea.
  • Palau.
  • October 1944: Leyte Gulf.
  • 1944 - 1945: Pacific Raids.
  • April 1945: Okinawa.
  • May 1945: Kyushu.
  • July 1945: Bombarded Hokkaido and Honshu. Tokyo.

BB-62 USS New Jersey

  • Manufacturer: Philadelphia Navy Yard, Westinghouse
  • December 7, 1942: Launched.
  • May 23, 1943: Commissioned.
  • December 1943: Became operational.
  • January 1944: Kwajalein. Marshall Islands.
  • February 1944: Truk raid. Marianas.
  • March 1944: Palau.
  • June 1944: Marianas. Philippine Sea.
  • October 1944: Leyte Gulf. Was flag ship.
  • December 1944: Mindoro. Luzon.
  • 1944 - 1945: Pacific Raids.
  • February 1945: Iwo Jima.
  • March 1945: Inland Sea of Japan.
  • April 1945: Okinawa.
  • 1945: Fifth Fleet flagship.

BB-63 USS Missouri

  • Manufacturer: New York Navy Yard, G.E.
  • January 29, 1944: Launched.
  • June 11, 1944: Commissioned.
  • December 1944: Became operational.
  • February 1945: Iwo Jima.
  • March 1945: Inland Sea of Japan.
  • April 1945: Okinawa.
  • May 1945: Kyushu.
  • July 1945: Hokkaido. Honshu. Tokyo.
  • 1945: Pacific Raids.
  • September 2, 1945: Japanese surrender ceremony held onboard.

BB-64 USS Wisconsin

  • Manufacturer: Philadelphia Navy Yard, Westinghouse
  • December 7, 1943: Launched.
  • April 16, 1944: Commissioned.
  • September 1944: Became operational.
  • Leyte.
  • December 1944: Mindoro. Luzon.
  • 1944 - 1945: Pacific Raids.
  • February 1945: Iwo Jima.
  • March 1945: Inland Sea of Japan.
  • April 1945: Okinawa.
  • May 1945: Kyushu.
  • July 1945: Hokkaido. Honshu. Tokyo.

BB-65 USS Illinois

  • Manufacturer: Philadelphia Navy Yard
  • August 11, 1945, August 12, 1945: Cancelled with 22% completed.

BB-66 USS Kentucky

  • Manufacturer: Norfolk Navy Yard
  • February 17, 1945: Suspended with 69.2% completed.
  • January 20, 1950: Launched.

Usage

The Iowas were the only American battleships that could keep up with the fast carrier groups in the Pacific.

 

Specifications

  Iowa Class
Crew 1,921, 2,700
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 45,000 tons , 48,110 tons
Displacement - Loaded 52,000 tons, 57,540 tons
Length 887' 3", 890'
270.43 m
Length - Water Line 860', 861' 3"
262.13 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 861' 3"
Beam 108', 108' 2", 108' 3"
32.96 m
Draft / Height 29'
8.84 m
Draft / Height - Full Load 36'
Performance  
Speed 32.5 knots, 33 knots
Range at 15 knots 15,000 nautical miles
Armament 16" L/50: 9
16" triple turrets: 3
5" twin mounts: 10
5" L/38: 20
Anti-Aircraft 40 mm: 80
50 mm quad mounts: 20
20 mm: 49, 50
Aircraft 3
Armor  
Barbettes 17.3"
Belt 12.2", 19"
Bulkheads 11.2"
Deck - Main 5"
Sides 16"
Turrets 17", 18"
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 8, 12
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared
General Electric geared
HP 200,000, 212,000
Oil 7,621 tons
  USS Iowa
Crew 1,921
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 48,110 tons, 48,500 tons
Displacement - 1943 48,425 tons
Displacement - Loaded 57,450 tons, 57,540 tons
Length 887', 887' 2", 887' 3"
270.43 m
Length - Water Line 859' 5", 860'
262.13 m
Beam 108' 2"
32.96 m, 32.97 m
Draft / Height 28' 8"
Draft / Height - Full Load 36' 2", 38'
11.02 m, 11.58 m
Performance  
Speed 32.5 knots, 33 knots
Range at 15 knots 15,000 nautical miles
Range - 1945 - 12 knots 18,000 nautical miles
Range - 1945 - 17 knots 15,900 nautical miles
Range - 1945 - 29.6 knots 5,300 nautical miles
Armament 16", 40.6 cm: 9
16" L/50: 9
16" L/50 Mark 7: 9
5", 127 mm: 20
5" L/38 twin turrets: 10
5" L/38 Mark 12: 20
Anti-Aircraft 40 mm: 60
40 mm quad mounts: 80
20 mm: 49, 60
Anti-Aircraft - February 1943 40 mm L/56: 60
20 mm L/70: 60
Anti-Aircraft - December 1944 40 mm L/56: 80
20 mm L/70: 52
Anti-Aircraft - 1945 40 mm quad mounts: 19
20 mm: 52
Aircraft 3
Vought Kingfisher: 3
Armor  
Barbette 11.6" - 17.3"
Belt 12.1", 12.2"
31 cm
Belt - Lower 12.1"
Belt - Main 12.1"
Bulkheads 11.3"
Deck 1.5" - 4.7", 7.3"
3.8 cm - 12 cm
Deck - Armor 6"
Deck - Weather 1.5"
Turrets 18"
45.7 cm
Turrets - Front 19.7"
Turrets - Rear 12"
Turrets - Side 9.5"
Turrets - Top 7.25"
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 8
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared
General Electric 4 sets
HP 212,000, 230,000
Oil 7,621 tons
  USS Missouri
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement - 1945 38,988 tons
Displacement - Loaded - 1942 45,216 tons
Length 887' 3"
Length - Water Line 860'
Beam 108' 2"
Draft / Height - Full Load 37' 9"
Performance  
Speed 33 knots
Range - 1945 - 12 knots 18,000 nautical miles
Range - 1945 - 17 knots 15,900 nautical miles
Range - 1945 - 29.6 knots 5,300 nautical miles
Armament 16" L/50 Mark 7: 9
5" L/38 Mark 12: 20
Anti-Aircraft - June 1944 40 mm L/56: 80
20 mm L/70: 49
Anti-Aircraft - November 1945 40 mm L/56: 80
20 mm L/70: 43
Anti-Aircraft - 1945 20 mm: 49
Armor  
Barbettes 11.6" - 17.3"
Belt 12.1"
Belt - Lower 12.1"
Deck 1.25" - 4.75"
Turrets - Face 17" + 2.7"
Turrets - Rear 12"
Turrets - Side 9.5"
Turrets - Top 7.25"
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 8
Turbines General Electric geared: 4 sets
HP 230,000
  USS New Jersey
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement - Loaded - 1943 57,216 tons
Length 867' 6"
Length - Water Line 859' 10"
Beam 108' 1"
Draft / Height 28' 8"
Draft / Height - Full Load 38'
Performance  
Speed 33 knots
Range - 1945 - 12 knots 18,000 nautical miles
Range - 1945 - 17 knots 15,900 nautical miles
Range - 1945 - 29.6 knots 5,300 nautical miles
Armament 16" L/50 Mark 7: 9
5" L/38 Mark 12: 20
Anti-Aircraft - May 1943 40 mm L/56: 80
20 mm L/70: 49
Anti-Aircraft - 1945 20 mm: 41
20 mm twin mount: 8
Anti-Aircraft - August 1945 40 mm L/56: 80
20 mm L/70: 41
Armor  
Barbettes 11.6" - 17.3"
Belt 12.1"
Belt - Lower 12.1"
Deck 1.5" - 4.75"
Turrets - Face 17" + 2.7"
Turrets - Rear 12"
Turrets - Side 8.5"
Turrets - Top 7.25"
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 8
Turbines Westinghouse Geared: 4 sets
HP 230,000
  USS Wisconsin
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement - Loaded - 1942 44,800 tons
Length 887' 3"
Length - Water Line 860'
Beam 108' 2"
Draft / Height - Full Load 37' 9"
Performance  
Speed 33 knots
Range - 1945 - 12 knots 18,000 nautical miles
Range - 1945 - 17 knots 15,900 nautical miles
Range - 1945 - 29.6 knots 5,300 nautical miles
Armament 16" L/50 Mark 7: 9
5" L/38 Mark 12: 20
Anti-Aircraft - April 1944 40 mm L/56: 80
20 mm L/70: 49
Anti-Aircraft - December 1944 40 mm L/56: 80
20 mm L/70: 51
Anti-Aircraft - 1945 20 mm: 47
20 mm twin mount: 2
Armor  
Barbettes 11.6" - 17.3"
Belt 12.1"
Belt - Lower 12.1"
Deck 1.5" - 4.75"
Turrets - Face 17" + 2.7"
Turrets - Rear 12"
Turrets - Side 8.5"
Turrets - Top 7.25"
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 8
Turbines Westinghouse Geared: 4 sets
HP 230,000

Sources:

  1. US Warships of World War 2, Paul H. Silverstone, 1965
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
  5. Battleships of World War Two an International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1998
  6. US Fast Battleships 1938-91 The Iowa Class, Lawrence Burr, 2010
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site