There were dozens of battleships throughout the war, so choosing the greatest is difficult, but the Iowa class stands out.
Image: Creative Commons.
“During WWII, they sent over 60 battleships to the front lines. The United States contributed 23 of these vessels. Despite being some of the largest capital ships ever constructed, battleship-on-battleship combat was uncommon during the war. The era of the big-gun battle waggon was nearly over by the time the war ended.
It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of U.S. Navy battleships in WWII, even though they were the only force whose ships were shot in anger after 1945 and supplied Fire support for naval landings in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean.
Many great battleships participated in the war, making it difficult to choose the best. But can immediately cross names like Yamato, Musashi, Bismarck, Tirpitz, and the Prince of Wales. Despite their cutting-edge technology and lethal armament, the vessels sank to the ocean floor. There is no place on the GOAT list for failures, and those ships stink.
The finest examples of warships are those open to the public today.
When she entered duty during World War II, she was one of the oldest battleships in the world. The USS Texas (BB-35), which had been launched in 1912, performed escort and blockade duty in the Atlantic Ocean during World War I, and in April 1917, while defending the merchant freighter Mongolia, it fired on a surfaced German U-boat, marking the first time American forces had engaged in combat.
It was BB-35’s job to transport Lend-Lease supplies to the U.K. during the war. Supporting the Allied invasion of North Africa during Operation Torch was a component of Task Group 34.8. Lt. General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first “Voice of Freedom” broadcast pleaded with Vichy French forces not to fight the Allied landings and was transmitted from the USS Texas.
Assistance with the Normandy invasion and the Initial invasion of southern France during Operation Dragoon, they sent the USS Texas to the Pacific to aid in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa invasions.
Since 1948, the USS Texas has served as a museum ship, and it is still the only battleship that saw action in both world wars that is still afloat. She was top-notch.
The USS Alabama (BB-60), the fourth and final battleship of the 35,000-ton South Dakota class, served on the East Coast in late 1942 and early 1943. After that, she was sent to the North Atlantic to protect against German naval threats. In August of 1943, she was sent to the Pacific, where she took part in the fighting to seize the Gilbert Islands.
Then, during the Marianas and Marshall Islands landings, as well as the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf battles, BB-60 contributed artillery fire. She actively participated in the war’s last campaigns, including assaults on Japan’s home islands. Finally, after the war, the USS Alabama participated in Operation Magic Carpet, returning around 700 service members to their homes in the United States.
Nevertheless, she was rescued and now serves as the ship of a museum (the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park) in Mobile Bay, where she was originally planned for dismantlement. Interestingly, BB-60 (and other preserved WWII battleships) were used as cannibals when the United States Navy reactivated its four Iowa-class battleships. The USS Alabama has also been used as a stand-in for the USS Missouri in several films, most notably Under Siege (1992). (BB-64).
The USS Iowa (BB-61) was commissioned in 1943 as the flagship of the last class of U.S. Navy battleships to be built. Since she was a “quick battleship,” she was vital to the war effort by escorting aircraft carrier task forces, hitting shore fortifications, and giving artillery support for landings on enemy-held islands. The battleship participated in the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay and later fired on industrial targets on the Japanese home islands.
She served again in the military during the Korean War and again in the 1980s after World War II ended. In addition to her 11 battle stars, she was known as the “Battleship of Presidents” and the “Big Stick” because she housed three U.S. presidents.
“From what I have seen and heard, Iowa is a “delightful ship,” and having served with the Navy for many years, I know, and you know, what that implies,” stated President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the warship he used to travel to the Tehran Conference with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.
Despite being 1,200 miles inland, the Battleship USS Iowa Museum in San Pedro, near the Port of Los Angeles, is a fitting tribute to the state of Iowa, the ship’s home.
The USS New Jersey (BB-62), often known as the “Big J” or the “Black Dragon,” is the second battleship in the Iowa class and one of the most highly decorated vessels in Navy history. In terms of size, she was also a formidable battleship.
She saw her first action with the Fifth Fleet under the command of Adm. Raymond A. Spruance, for which she was purpose-built as a flagship. They first put 16-inch guns of the BB-62 were first put to use on Saipan and Tinian after providing fire support during the landings on the Marshall Islands in January 1944. During the war of the Philippine Sea, she guarded American aircraft carriers, where her anti-aircraft fire, combined with that of other screening cruisers, proved nearly impregnable.
The USS New Jersey was the only American battleship to offer gunfire support during the Vietnam War. Nine of BB-62’s combat stars were from WWII, with the remaining four coming from Korea, three from Vietnam, and three from the conflicts in Lebanon and the Persian Gulf.
In Camden, New Jersey, just over the river from Philadelphia, you may visit the Battleship New Jersey Monument and Museum, which honours the ship’s history and serves as a museum.
The USS Missouri (BB-63), the fourth and final ship in the Iowa-class battleships, would have been at the top of this list regardless of whether or not she had ever fired her guns in anger on September 2, 1945, when the Empire of Japan formally surrendered, marking the end of World War II. The entire globe watched the 23-minute surrender ritual.
Yet, the USS Missouri was awarded three battle stars for her participation in the fight, two Combat Action Ribbons, numerous additional commendations and honours for her service in the Gulf War, and five more battle stars for her participation in the Korean War. She joined the bombing of Okinawa and favoured the assault on Iwo Jima. Later, during the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, the “Mighty Mo,” as she was nicknamed, fired the first Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi targets.
The USS Missouri participated in the “voyage to remembrance” on the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks, December 7, 1991. During that ceremony, former President George H.W. Bush visited BB-63; he was the first sitting president to do so since the arrival of Harry Truman in September 1947.
All four Iowa-class battleships, the largest ever built for the U.S. Navy, were converted to museum ships in the same year, marking the official end of the battleship era. The USS Missouri, for example, had a suitable retirement in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which was nearly as good as it could have been. She is the vessel on which the United States’ involvement in World War II concluded.
USS Texas battleship. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Image: Creative Commons.
Image: Creative Commons.
Image: Creative Commons.