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United States' Tennessee /California Class Battleships

Photos

BB-43 USS Tennessee gunnery practice in 1920s:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee gunnery practice in 1920s
US Naval Historical Center, NH-84665
BB-43 USS Tennessee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in February 1921:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in February 1921
US Naval Historical Center, NH-2230
BB-43 USS Tennessee's gunnery practice target in 1925:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee's gunnery practice target in 1925
US Naval Historical Center, NH-80540
BB-43 USS Tennessee in the 1930s:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee in the 1930s
US Navy photo, 80-G-456336
BB-43 USS Tennessee in the 1930s:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee in the 1930s
US Navy photo, NH-97316
BB-43 USS Tennessee and USS West Virginia on December 10, 1941:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee and USS West Virginia on December 10, 1941
US Naval Historical Center, NH-50770

BB-43 USS Tennessee bombarding Okinawa on April 1, 1945:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee bombarding Okinawa on April 1, 1945
US Naval Historical Center, NH-84665

BB-43 USS Tennessee in heavy seas in 1945:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee in heavy seas in 1945
US Navy photo, NH-10442
BB-43 USS Tennessee after modernization on May 12, 1943:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee after modernization on May 12, 1943
US National Archives, 19-N-45068

BB-43 USS Tennessee in Buckner Bay, Okinawa on July 17, 1945:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee in Buckner Bay, Okinawa on July 17, 1945
US Navy photo, 80-G-326899

BB-43 USS Tennessee in heavy seas in 1945:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee in heavy seas in 1945
US Navy photo, NH-10443
BB-43 USS Tennessee after modernization on May 21, 1943:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee after modernization on May 21, 1943
US National Archives, 19-N-45071

BB-43 USS Tennessee in heavy seas in 1945:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee in heavy seas in 1945
US Navy photo, NH-10440
BB-43 USS Tennessee bombarding Guam on July 19, 1944:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee bombarding Guam on July 19, 1944
US Navy photo, 80-G-K-14224

BB-43 USS Tennessee in heavy seas in 1945:
United States' BB-43 USS Tennessee in heavy seas in 1945
US Navy photo, NH-10441
BB-44 USS California being launched at Mare Island Navy Yard, California on November 20, 1919:
United States' BB-44 USS California being launched at Mare Island Navy Yard, California on November 20, 1919
US Naval Historical Center, NH-55016
BB-44 USS California holding a Christmas party for disadvantaged kids in December 1921:
United States' BB-44 USS California holding a Christmas party for disadvantaged kids in December 1921
US Naval Historical Center, NH-81424
BB-44 USS California in 1921:
United States' BB-44 USS California in 1921
US Naval Historical Center, NH-55023
BB-44 USS California in 1921:
United States' BB-44 USS California in 1921
US Naval Historical Center, NH-82114
BB-44 USS California in the 1930s:
United States' BB-44 USS California in the 1930s
US Naval Historical Center, NH-61483
BB-44 USS California with Admiral Leigh inspecting his flagship in 1932:
United States' BB-44 USS California with Admiral Leigh inspecting his flagship in 1932
US Naval Historical Center, NH-55553
BB-44 USS California during night firing practice with her 5" guns:
United States' BB-44 USS California during night firing practice with her 5 inch guns
US Naval Historical Center, NH-55030
BB-44 USS California in 1938:
United States' BB-44 USS California in 1938
US Naval Historical Center, NH-80528
BB-44 USS California after the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor:
United States' BB-44 USS California after the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor
US Navy photo, NH-64474

BB-44 USS California being refloated in March 30, 1943:
United States' BB-44 USS California being refloated in March 30, 1943
US Navy photo, NH-55036
BB-44 USS California's crew abandoning ship after the Japanese attack was over on December 7, 1941:
United States' BB-44 USS California's crew abandoning ship after the Japanese attack was over on December 7, 1941
US Navy photo, NH-97399

BB-44 USS California in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Washington:
United States' BB-44 USS California in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Washington
US Navy photo, 80-G-211831
BB-44 USS California listing to port on December 7, 1941:
United States' BB-44 USS California listing to port on December 7, 1941
US Naval Historical Center, NH-55016

BB-44 USS California in Puget Sound in January 1944:
United States' BB-44 USS California in Puget Sound in January 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-55016
BB-44 USS California's torpedo damage in April 1942:
United States' BB-44 USS California's torpedo damage in April 1942
US Navy photo, 80-G-32917

BB-44 USS California bombarding Guam in July 1944:
United States' BB-44 USS California bombarding Guam in July 1944
US Navy photo, 80-G-K-1896

Design

Had a larger bridge and smaller funnels than the New Mexico class.1

Aircraft

In 1924 three Vought UO-1 floatplanes were carried.4 In 1938 the Curtiss SOC Seagull was the standard aircraft.4 In late 1940 they were replaced by the Vought Kingfisher.4

In September 1945 the USS California received three Curtiss SC-1 Seahawks.4

The Tennessee class had two catapults.1,4

Ships

BB-43 USS Tennessee

  • Manufacturer: New York Navy Yard1,3,4, Westinghouse1,3
  • April 30, 1919: Launched.1,2,3,4
  • June 3, 1920: Commissioned.4
  • September 16, 1920: Commissioned.3
  • June 17, 1921: Arrived in San Pedro, California and joined Battleship Division 5.4
  • 1925: Went to Australia and New Zealand.4
  • Summer 1931: Joined Battleship Division 4.4
  • 1932: Joined Battleship Division 3.4
  • June 1935: Joined Battleship Division 2.4
  • September 1937: Became flagship.4
  • 1940: Refit at Puget Sound.4
  • August 12, 1940: Arrived at Pearl Harbor.4
  • December 7, 1941: Minor damage during attack at Pearl Harbor.1,2
  • December 20, 1941: Sailed to Puget Sound for repairs.4
  • Early 1942: Cage mast replaced by small controls.1
  • February 25, 1942: Joined TF1 in San Francisco.4
  • August 1, 1942: Sailed with USS Hornet to Pearl Harbor but went back to Puget Sound for modernization.4
  • September 19424, 19423, 1943: Rebuilt.1,3,4 Blister added around hull which added to stability and torpedo protection.1,4 Cage masts and funnels replaced by superstructure similar to the South Dakota class.1,4 Newer secondary updated.1 Had 40 40 mm guns.1
  • May 1943: Went to San Pedro.4
  • May 31 1943: Joined by USS Portland went to Alaska.4
  • August 1, 1943: Fired 60 rounds of 14" shells on Kiska during pre-invasion bombardment.4
  • August 15, 1943: Bombarded Kiska during invasion.4
  • August 31, 1943: Arrived in San Francisco.4
  • November 1943: Arrived at Pearl Harbor.4
  • November 3 - 20, 1943: Gilbert Islands.1,4 Member of TG.53.4.4 Bombarded Betio.4
  • November 22, 1943: Fired on Japanese submarine I35 with 5" guns.4
  • December 3, 1943: Left Pearl Harbor and sailed to San Francisco.4
  • January 13, 1944: Left the West Coast for Pearl Harbor with TU.53.5.1.4
  • January 31 - February 2, 1944: With TG.53.5 bombarded Kwajalein1, Majuro, Namur, and Roi.4 Eniwetok.1,2
  • February 17, 1944: Bombarded Engebi.4
  • February 22, 1944: Bombarded Parry Island.4
  • March 20, 1944: Bombarded Kavieng, New Ireland.4
  • April 16, 1944: Returned to Pearl Harbor.4
  • June 14, 1944: Bombarded Saipan as part of TG.52.17 Fire Support Group 1.1,4
  • June 15, 1944: Bombarded Tinian.4 Hit by shore batteries.4
  • June 22, 1944: Did repairs at Eniwetok.4
  • July 31, 1944: Supported landings on Guam.1,4
  • September 20, 1944: Bombarded Palau.1,4
  • October 19, 1944: Supported landings on Leyte.1,4
  • October 24 -25, 1944: Surigao Strait.1,4
  • October 29, 1944: Went to Ulithi.4
  • Puget Sound for refit.4
  • February 16 - March 7, 1945: Supported landings on Iwo Jima with TF.54.1,4 Fired 1,370 rounds of 14" shells.4
  • March 26 - April 12, 1945: Supported landings on Okinawa.1,4
  • April 12, 1945: Hit by kamikaze.4
  • May 1, 1945: Went to Ulithi for repairs.4
  • June 9, 1945: Returned to Okinawa.4
  • Covered mine sweeping operations off Ryuku Islands.4

BB-44 USS California

  • Manufacturer: Mare Island Navy Yard1,3,4, General Electric1,3
  • November 20, 1919: Launched.1,2,3,4
  • August 10, 1921: Commissioned.4
  • September 15, 1921: Commissioned.3
  • Summer 1921: Joined Pacific Fleet as Flagship.4
  • 1925: Visited Australia and New Zealand.4
  • 1929 - 1930: Refit.4
  • 1940: Moved to Pearl Harbor.4
  • December 7, 1941: Sunk during attack at Pearl Harbor.1
  • March 25, 1942: Refloated.4
  • June 7, 1942: Left Pearl Harbor for Puget Sound Navy Yard.4
  • 1942, June 1942 - January 19444: Rebuilt.1,3,4
  • May 1944: Recommissioned.1
  • May 5, 1944: Sailed to join Pacific Fleet.4
  • June 1944: Supported landings at Saipan.1,4 Member of TG52.17.4 Hit by shore battery.4
  • July 18 - August 9, 1944: Supported landings at Guam and Tinian.1,4 Member of TG53.5.4
  • August 25, 1944: Collided with USS Tennessee.4 Repaired at Expiritu Santo.4
  • October 17 - November 20, 1944: Supported landings at Leyte.1,4
  • October 24 -25, 1944: Surigao Strait.1,4
  • November 27, 1944: Damaged by aircraft fire.4
  • January 6, 1945: Hit by kamikaze.4 44 killed and 155 wounded.4
  • January 23, 1945: Headed to Puget Sound for repairs.4
  • Iwo Jima.1
  • June 15 - July 21, 1945: Supported Okinawa campaign.1,4
  • October 15, 1945: Left Japan.4
  • December 7, 1945: Arrived in Philadelphia.4

 

Usage

Pearl Harbor

The USS California was damaged by two torpedoes and a bomb which set her on fire at Pearl Harbor.3,4 To save the ship the magazines were flooded.4 Hatches and doors were left open which resulting in her filling with water and settling on the bottom of the harbor.3 150 of California's crew were killed and wounded.4

The USS Tennessee was damaged during the attack but wasn't sunk.3 She was hit by two bombs.4

Surigao Strait

On the night of October 24/25, 1944 the USS Tennessee and USS California were part of the force covering the strait.4 The Japanese battleship Yamashiro was sunk.4

Specifications

  Tennessee Class
Crew 1,0834, 2,2001,3
Displacement 32,000 tons1, 32,300 tons2,4
Displacement - Loaded 33,1904, 35,190 tons3
Physical Characteristics  
Length 624'1,3,4
190.2 m4
Length - Water Line 600'1,3,4
182.9 m4
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam 97' 5"4, 108'1, 110'3
29.7 m4
Draft / Height 30' 2"4, 30' 6"1
9.2 m4
Draft / Height - Full Load  
Performance  
Speed 21 knots1,3,4
Range  
Range at 10 knots 8,000 nautical miles4
Armament 14" triple mounts: 41,4
14" L/50 Mk IV: 123
5": 121, 224
5" L/38: 163
3": 44
Anti-Aircraft 5": 121
Torpedo Tubes 21": 24
Aircraft 04, 31
Armor  
Barbettes 13"4
Belt 13.5"4, 14"1,3
Belt - Aft 8"3
Bulkheads 13"4
Conning Tower 16"3
Deck - Ends 3"3
Funnel - Bases 9 - 15"3
Turrets 9 - 18"3, 18"1,4
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 84
Shafts 41,3,4
Turbines Turbo Electric1
HP 26,8003,4, 30,0001
Oil 1,900 tons4
  USS Tennessee class 1943
Crew 2,3752,4
Displacement 34,858 tons2,4
Displacement - Loaded 40,345 tons2,4
Physical Characteristics  
Length 624'2
190.2 m2
Length - Water Line 600'2
182.88 m2
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam 114'2,4
34.74 m4, 34.75 m2
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Full Load 33' 1"2
10.08 m2
Performance  
Speed 20.5 knots2,4
Range at 15 knots 12,100 nautical miles2
Armament 14 triple mounts: 44
14" L/50 triple mounts: 42
5" twin mounts: 64
5" L/38 twin mounts: 82
Anti-Aircraft 40 mm quad mounts: 102,4
20 mm: 404, 432
Aircraft 34
Armor  
Deck +2"4
Deck Over Magazine +3"2,4
Turret Tops Replaced 7 - 7.25"4
Engines  
Boilers Bureau Express: 82,4
Shafts 42
Turbines  
HP 29,5002,4
Oil 3,328 tons3, 4,353 tons4, 4,700 tons2
  USS Tennessee
Crew  
Displacement 32,300 tons3
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam  
Draft / Height 30' 4"3
Draft / Height - Full Load 35'3
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Aircraft 33
Armor  
Belt  
Turrets  
Engines  
Boilers Babcock and Wilcox3
Shafts  
Turbines Westinghouse3,4
HP  
Oil  
  USS California
Crew  
Displacement 32,600 tons3
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam  
Draft / Height 30' 6"3
Draft / Height - Full Load 35' 6"3
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Aircraft 43
Armor  
Belt  
Turrets  
Engines  
Boilers Bureau Express: 83
Shafts  
Turbines General Electric3,4
HP  
Oil  
  USS California 1944
Crew  
Displacement 37,000 tons1
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Full Load  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5" L/38 twin mounts: 81
40 mm: 561
40 mm quad mounts: 142
20 mm twin mounts: 402
Aircraft  
Armor  
Belt  
Turrets  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  

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. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
  4. Battleships of World War Two an International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site