Webster

The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Evolution of the Iowa Class


I am still busy, but I was taking a break from studying and was doing a bit of surfing and ran across this article and thought it was very neat and it had a lot of pics I have never seen before.  I hope to continue blogging over the weekend of all goes well:)  I still would like to see one of those ships to be recommissioned but with the lethality of today's missiles I am not sure that the battleships would survive and the swarm of missiles that the Chinese  opposing force would launch.  I am a student of History and I see parallels between the Iowa's and another famous ship that represented a country and a navy during the Prewar Years.
 The "Mighty" Hood
H.M.S Hood flew the flag and was the embodiment of the British Empire during the prewar years and unfortunately by the time WWII rolled around, the Hood was very obsolete.  She was due for upgrades in Armor, fire control systems and anti-aircraft defenses in the late 1930's, but the bean counters put off the upgrades that would have most likely saved the ship when she fought the Bismark in the Battle of the Denmark Strait and was destroyed by an explosion that was endemic of the British Battle Cruisers.  The British knew of the flaw since Jutland but never fixed the problem.

From the time that USS Iowa was laid down in 1940 until today, the Iowa class battleships have been around for 78 years. During that time, the ships underwent many changes to help them adapt to the type of conflict they were engaged in. In this article, I gathered a number of photos from those years and organized them into this collection. They help to show how these warships looked throughout their long and illustrious careers.

Iowa Class Battleships From 1940 to Present

USS Iowa
September 30, 1940. Workers lay out the bottom hull plates for the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) about one month into her construction. Iowa would be the leadship for a new class of battleship design was free of the limitations imposed by the Second London Naval Treaty.
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1941. The ceremonial driving of the first rivet for the battleship USS Missouri.
Iowa class battleship
December 7, 1942. The Battleship USS New Jersey slides down the ways on the one year anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. The day that saw the loss of many battleship of the United States Navy now sees one of its most powerful take to the water.
USS Wisconsin
1943. The hull of the USS Wisconsin (BB-64) looks like she is ready to take to the water. In a few months she would finally slide down the ways during her christening on December 7, 1943.
Iowa class battleship
November 1944. USS Wisconsin (BB-64) ties up to the hulk of the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB-37) while stopping at Pearl Harbor. Wisconsin was 304′ longer than Oklahoma and displaced almost twice as much. Oklahoma was sunk at Pearl Harbor three years earlier. Now it was Wisconsin’s turn to go on the offensive as she headed to the front lines.
September 2, 1945. Swarms of aircraft fly over the battleship Missouri (BB-63) during the surrender to the Allies by the Empire of Japan.
uss missouri
April 5, 1946. USS Missouri anchored off of Istanbul, Turkey. She brought home the body of the Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Munir Ertegun. She is accompanied by the Turkish battlecruiser Yavuz, formally the battlecruiser SMS Goeben of the Imperial German Navy.
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May 24, 1947. USS Iowa (BB-61) anchored in San Francisco Bay.
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June 1948. USS New Jersey being moved from the New York Navy Yard to the Bayonne Shipyard in New Jersey for decommissioning. The dome shaped structures adorning her are covers for her 40mm anti-aircraft guns.
uss missouri
Summer 1949. USS Missouri tied up to the pier at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Photos like this really show off just how amazingly large these leviathans truly were.

October 21, 1950. USS Missouri fires a salvo into Chong Jin, Korea. Missouri was the first battleship to arrive off of Korea and she quickly set to work pummeling targets of opportunity. The firepower of the battleships was devastating to North Korean and Chinese forces.
November 10, 1951. USS New Jersey (BB-62) unleashes a broadside into the region surrounding the 38th Parallel during the Korean War. A haze of smoke in the background marks the location of a previous salvo.
uss wisconsin
April 1952. USS Wisconsin is used to test the lifting power of the largest drydock available to the United States Navy, AFDB-1. AFDB-1, named Artisan was first used during the Second World War. It was one of the only floating drydocks capable of handling an Iowa class battleship. She was moved to Guam to serve as a forward repair base during the Korean War.
uss new jersey
1953. New Jersey lends her firepower during the Korean War. Judging by the elevation of her 16″ guns, she is firing at extreme range. The Iowa class were capable of sending a 2,700lb shell to just over 42,345 yards (24.05 miles).
iowa class battleships
June 7, 1954. All four battleships of the Iowa class steam together as Battleship Division 2. This was the only time that all four sisters were together. The ships (from nearest to farthest) are USS Iowa, USS Wisconsin, USS Missouri, and USS New Jersey.
uss new jersey
1955. USS New Jersey takes on fuel from the fleet oiler USS Mississinewa (AO-144) along with the destroyer USS Bordelon (DDR-881). New Jersey was operating in the Mediterranean Sea at this time.
uss wisconsin
May 1956. USS Wisconsin steams to port with a chunk of her bow missing. On the sixth of May, she had collided with the destroyer USS Eaton (DD-510). Wisconsin was repaired by replacing her damaged bow with that of her never finished sister, USS Kentucky (BB-66).
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June 13, 1957. USS Iowa at Hampton Roads, Virginia. She was there to take part in the International Naval review.
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1958. USS Wisconsin cruising off of Hampton Roads. This was one of the last cruises she would conduct before being decommissioned later that year.
iowa class battleships
February 6, 1959. The sixth ship of the Iowa class, USS Kentucky (BB-66) is towed up the Chesapeake Bay on her way to the scrappers. Her deck is littered with unused material including 5″ gun barrels and their turrets. Kentucky and her sister, Illinois (BB-65), were both cancelled during construction.

iowa class battleships

1962. Three Iowa class battleships mothballed at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. From back to front: USS Iowa, USS New Jersey, and USS Wisconsin. New Jersey was originally stored at Bayonne, New Jersey but had been moved to Philadelphia the previous year.
uss missouri

July 4, 1963. USS Missouri continues sit in mothballs at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Missouri was mothballed on the West Coast while her sisters were on the East Coast.
uss missouri
April 10, 1964. Despite her mothballed status, Missouri served as the location of the memorial service that honored General Douglas MacArthur following his passing.
iowa class battleships
April 1965. The battleships New Jersey (Left) and Iowa (Right) tied up together at Philadelphia. Wisconsin had been temporarily moved to another location at the time.
iowa class battleships
1966. Though she as not a battleship, the fast combat support ship USS Sacramento (AOE-1) was very much related to the Iowa class. Before scrapping, the boilers and turbines of the sixth Iowa class battleship USS Kentucky were removed. Half of the power plant would be placed into USS Sacramento while the other half would go to her sister USS Camden (AOE-2).
iowa class battleships
April 1967. Three of the Iowa class sisters tied up together in mothballs. From left to right: USS Wisconsin (BB-64), USS New Jersey (BB-62), and USS Iowa (BB-61).
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September 11, 1968. USS New Jersey cruising off of Hawaii before she would head for Vietnam. In interesting feature of this photograph is the 40mm gun tubs just forward of the 5″ guns. These were used as swimming pools by the crew. New Jersey was the only one of her sisters to have such a lavish feature!

March 1969. USS New Jersey (BB-62) fires a shell into South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. During the war, New Jersey performed brilliantly. During her brief time off Vietnam, she fired 5,688 rounds of 16 inch shells, and 14,891 rounds of 5-inch shells.
uss missouri
March 19, 1970. The battleship Missouri is mothballed at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She is accompanied by several other ships including the cruisers Roanoke (CL-145) and Worcester (CL-144). Perhaps one of the few images showing America’s last battleships alongside its last light cruisers.

uss missouri uss new jersey

July 1974. A large assortment of mothballed ships at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. USS Missouri is at the bottom of the photo while her sister USS New Jersey can be seen farther up. Following her tour of service off Vietnam, New Jersey was decommissioned and placed at here.

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1976. The battleship Missouri still quietly moored at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

iowa class battleships
1978. USS Iowa (Right) and USS Wisconsin (Left) mothballed at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Iowa was mothballed from 1958 until 1984. Wisconsin was mothballed from 1958 until 1988. They are accompanied by the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La (CVS-38).

uss wisconsin
April 1980. Years of neglect are apparent in this photo taken from the bow of USS Wisconsin.
iowa class battleships
1981. The Iowa class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) and USS New Jersey (BB-62) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Due to her being reactivated for service in Vietnam, New Jersey looks very different from Missouri. 

December 28, 1982. The USS New Jersey is recommissioned at Long Beach California with President Ronald Regan in attendance. The Iowa class had finally returned to service thirteen years after being decommissioned.
uss iowa
June 17, 1983. USS Iowa (BB-61) undergoing modernization at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Yard to prepare for her recommissioning. Following her modernization, she would finally be recommissioned on April 28, 1984.

July 1, 1984. With a thunderous roar, USS Iowa demonstrates her firepower by firing all nine of her 16″/50 as well as six of her 5″/38 guns. The blast of her main guns is easily seen o the water surrounding them.
USS Iowa
November 19, 1985. USS Iowa (BB-61) uses all of her 212,000 shaft horsepower during a full power run in the Chesapeake Bay. She is kicking up an unbelievable amount of water in her wake.

December 30, 1986. USS New Jersey (BB-62) fires all of its 16″ guns during a spectacular firepower demonstration.
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October 17, 1987. The Battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) leads the aircraft carriers Coral Sea (CV-43) and Saratoga (CV-60) plus their respective battlegroups into Augusta Bay, Sicily.
uss new jersey
1988. Tugboats guide USS New Jersey into Port Jackson. New Jersey had arrived in Sydney to take part in the Australian Bicentennial.
uss missouri
February 1, 1989. USS Missouri having her hull scrapped and other work done while in drydock. Her outer four bladed screws are 18.25′ in diameter while her inner five blades screws are 17′ in diameter. Couple with the powerful 212,000 shaft horsepower turbines, the Iowa class could exceed 32 knots.
uss wisconsin
1990. USS Wisconsin steaming alongside the carrier USS Saratoga (CV-60) during their 1990-1991 deployment in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
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January 18, 1991. USS Wisconsin uses her 5″/58 secondary guns to pound targets ashore during the Gulf War. Wisconsin spent eight months in the Persian Gulf. During that time, she fired 319 16″ shells, 881 5″ shells, and 5,200 20mm rounds in addition to her 24 cruise missiles.
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August 1992. The battleship New Jersey is tied up to the same pier at USS Hornet (CVS-12) at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

September 1993. The mothballed battleships USS Iowa (BB-61) and USS Wisconsin (BB-64) tied up together at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. I remembered seeing them there while we were driving in the Northeas.

iowa class battleships
October 30, 1995. A photo of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard along with a wide assortment of warships. Among the battleships Iowa and Wisconsin can be seen at the right. I was on that bridge when I saw the ships and I almost wrecked,  I knew what they were and so wanted to stop...but couldn't.


June 22, 1998. Crowds gather as USS Missouri enters the channel leading to Pearl Harbor. She was being moved to Pearl Harbor to serve as a museum ship. The location that saw the entrance of the United States into World War II would now host the vessel that saw its end.
uss new jersey
November 11, 1999. The battleship USS New Jersey is towed up the Delaware river towards the Philadelphia Shipyard. She would go on to be restored and converted into a floating museum.
uss wisconsin
December 12, 2000. USS Wisconsin located at her new home in Norfolk, Virginia.

uss missouri

January 31, 2003. The battleship Missouri watches over the USS Arizona. In the background, nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) enters Pearl Harbor.

April 16, 2004. In celebration of the ship’s 60th anniversary of her commissioning, sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)  man the rails aboard USS Wisconsin.

uss missouri

January 7, 2010. Workers work early in the morning to prepare USS Missouri for her undocking later that day. Missouri had undergone an 18 million dollar overhaul aimed at preserving her so that future generations could continue to visit her.

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May 25, 2015. The crew renders honors aboard the USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) as they pass the battleships Arizona and Missouri.

August 30, 2016. Iowa fires her secondary guns in salute to the assault carrier USS America (LHA-6) as she arrives at Los Angeles Harbor.  Though it might not look like it, at full load the Iowa (58,000 tons) displaced roughly 13,000 more tons than USS America (44,971 tons).From harbingers of war to the setting for peace. From World War II to the Gulf War. From instruments of destruction to tools of education. The Iowa class battleships have seen plenty of change throughout the years. Thanks to the dedicated people who maintain them today, we will ensure that they remain around for another 78 years.

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