North Carolina class battleships

North Carolina class battleships

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North Carolina class battleships

The two North Carolina class battleships were the first new American battleships to be built after the 'building holiday' agreed in the Washington Naval Treaty.

The design of the North Carolina class ships evolved over some time, and changed repeatedly. This was partly because the US Navy had a decade to think about its new battleships and partly because the 35,000 ton limit imposed by the Washington Treaty was only 2,400t above the weight of the Colorodo class ships, the last US battleships completed after the First World War. Despite this limited increase in weight the new ships were expected to carry more powerful main guns and to be better armoured.

At first the US Navy's General Board wanted to follow the same design principles as on their earlier ships, focusing on firepower and armour at the cost of speed - the Colorado class had reached 21kts, the cancelled first South Dakota class would have made 23kts and the plan was to aim for a similar speed. The General Board did acknowledge that other countries were adopting a different plan, and in 1935 it examined the fast, well-armoured and well-armed ships being built overseas (many of which came in somewhat over the 35,000ton limit). After this study was complete the Board approved a design for a 30kt ship armed with nine 14in guns and armoured to resist 14in shells. At the last minute the Chief of Naval Operations rejected this design and proposed an alternative capable of 27kts and armed with 11 (later 12) 14in guns carried in three turrets. The higher speed was chosen partly because of the threat from the Japanese Kongo class battlecruisers, capable of 27.5kts, and partly because the new battleships needed to operate with the faster aircraft carriers.

Early in the design process it wasn't clear what size guns the ships would carry. During negotiations for a new naval treaty the British were pressing for the adoption of a maximum size of 14in guns in new battleships. The US Navy wasn't keen on this idea, but in October 1935 agreed to this limit as long as all signatories to the earlier Washington Treaty agreed to the new limit. In the meantime the navy began work on the design of a battleship that could be armed with either quadruple 14in turrets or triple 16in turrets. The final decision only came after Japan rejected the 14in limit in March 1937 (just as they were about to begin work on the 18in armed Yamato class). This allowed the US to evoke the 'escalator clause' in the London Treaty and adopt 16in guns for their new ships.

The armour on the North Carolinas was designed to be immune to 14in fire over the magazines at 20,000-33,000 yards. The immune zone was reduced to 21,000-27,000 yards against 16in shells. It was actually thinner than the armour on the Colorado class ships but was sloped more effectively, retaining the same amount of protection but saving weight. More weight was saved by using three triple turrets in place of the four twin turrets of the Colorado class.

More weight was saved by the use of more modern high-pressure boilers with high-speed double reduction turbines. These were lighter than the engines used on the Colorado class but provided four times more power!

The two North Carolina class ships were authorised as part of the Fiscal Year 1938 budget. North Carolina was actually laid down in October 1937 and Washington in June 1938. Both ships were launched in June 1940 and were commissioned in April and May 1941, months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Both ships entered service just before the US entry in the Second World War, but they weren't full effective until early in 1942 because of propeller vibration problems.

The North Carolina class ships were more comfortable than the second South Dakota class ships which followed, although the South Dakotas were probably more effective warships.

Neither ship was greatly modified during the war, although they did get a more powerful mix of light and medium anti-aircraft guns. Both ships ended the war with fifteen quad 40mm mountings. The North Carolina received thirty six 20mm guns in twenty single and eight twin mountings while the Washington got sixty three single, eight twin and one quad 20mm mountings for a total of 83 20mm guns.

The North Carolina supported many of the island invasions of 1943-45, performing a mix of carrier support and bombardment duties. She was also present at the battle of the Philippine Sea but as with all of the fast battleships missed the chance of surface combat. She was briefly used as a training ship for midshipmen but was decommissioned in 1947.

The Washington had a similar career, but with one major difference. On 13-14 November 1942 she became the only one of the US fast battleships to fight an enemy capital ship when she inflicted mortal damage on the battleship Kirishima (she was built as a Kongo class battlecruiser but rebuild in 1927-30 when her armour was almost doubled). She was decommissioned in 1947 and struck off in 1960.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



17,450nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

12in-6.6in on o.75in STS backing

- armour deck

5.5in-5in with 1.45in weather deck and 0.62-0.75in splinter deck

- bulkheads


- barbettes


- turrets

16in face, 7in roof, 9.8in side, 11.8in rear

- CT

14.7in-16in, 7in roof


728ft 9in


108ft 4in


Nine 16in/45 guns in triple turrets
Twenty 5in/38 guns in twin turrets
Sixteen 1.1in guns in four quad mountings
Twelve 0.5in guns
Three aircraft

Crew complement


Ships in Class

USS North Carolina BB55

Preserved 1961

USS Washington BB56

Sold 1961

The North Carolina Class Battleships: The First of the Modern U.S. Navy Battleships

After spending the time to take two days each to write two detailed articles on issues related to the novel Coronavirus 19 I needed a break. I could have started another COVID 19 article tonight but I needed a break, especially after I listened to today’s COVID 19 Task Force Press conference, which was more of a cheerleading fan rally than anything seriously informative. But I have to leave that here for now, I don’t have the emotional energy to write about it right now, after all there will be plenty of other chances to chronicle this and more.

So tonight I am going back to different classes of naval warships. This is another in a series of six articles on the battleships built under the provision of the Washington and London Naval Treaty limitations in the 1930s. I am not including the ships which were completed in the immediate aftermath of the Washington Treaty limitations. This series looks at the modern battleships that the World War II combatants would produce in the 1930s which saw service in the war. The first deal that the German Scharnhorst class and another covered the Italian Vittorio Veneto class. In between my commentary on current events, as well as the Holocaust, I plan to go back to the French Dunkerque and Richelieu classes, the British King George V class, and the United States South Dakota class. The German Bismarck, Japanese Yamato, British Vanguard and American Iowa classes will be covered in a subsequent series.I will probably write about the battleships that each of these nations planned but either did not complete or never left the drawing board, including the fantastical German ships of the various H classes.

So until tomorrow, I hope that you enjoy this.

Turret base of USS Washington being lowered into barbet

The United States finished the First World War as the rising economic and potential military power in the world. The British Empire was economically reeling beset by massive debts, heavy loss of life and an empire which was beginning to smell the fresh breezes of independence. The United States retreated into isolationism and a naïve and unfounded optimism that war could be outlawed while turning its back on the one organization that might have helped bring nations together, the League of Nations. In this environment the United States sponsored the Washington Naval Conference of 1922 which produced the Washington Naval Treaty. The treaty stipulated limitations on total battleship tonnage, main armament and the maximum tonnage allowed per ship. Ships already in existence could not be replaced until they reached the age of 20 years. A battleship “building holiday” of 10 years was mandated with the major signatories allowed to complete a few ships that were already under construction. Whole classes of new construction were cancelled and many ships under construction were scrapped on the ways or completed only to be scrapped or sunk as targets. The Royal Navy completed two ships of the Nelson Class, the United States completed the 3 ship Maryland Class using a 4 th vessel the incomplete USS Washington as a target and the Japanese were allowed to complete two ships of the Nagato Class. The Royal Navy completed the Battleship Eagle and Battle Cruisers Furious, Glorious and Courageous as Aircraft Carriers, the U.S. Navy the incomplete Battle Cruisers Lexingtonand Saratogaand the Japanese the Battle Cruiser Akagi and Battleship Kaga as carriers. The treaty limits of the Washington Conference were renewed in the London Treaty which also sought to limit the main batteries of new battleships to 14 inch guns.

North Carolina Class 16″ Gun Turret

The U.S. Navy began a study of new designs for a fast battleship class to comply with the treaty restrictions in May to July of 1935. A minimum of 35 different designs were submitted and reviewed by the Navy and also reviewed by the faculty of the Naval War College. These designed included everything from an improved version of the Standard Type which had culminated in the Maryland Class and the never built South Dakota Class.

The Type VII Design, a Return to the Standard Battleship

After a considerable amount of debate a design called the Type XVI was selected. The design originally called for twelve 14” guns mounted in three quadruple turrets. Other designs considered called for twelve 14″ guns in triple turrets. When the Japanese opted out of the treaty and the Italians began building the Vittorio Veneto Class with 15” guns the U.S. Navy officially adopted the “escalation clause”and the design was modified to mount nine 16” guns in triple turrets primarily due to the expectation that the Japanese Imperial Navy would mount larger guns in its new ships.

Initial Type XVI design with 14″ guns

The Navy worked to achieve the maximum speed, armament and protection that it could within the 35,000 ton limitations of the Washington and London Naval Treaties.There was debate among Admirals and designers as to how to solve the problem with some factions leaning toward greater speed and lighter armor and armament and others weighing in on a slightly slower ship with greater firepower and protection.

The Type XVI(modified) design original called for a main battery of twelve 14” guns in quadruple turrets, but this was changed to nine 16” guns in triple turrets. The main armor belt was 12” inclined 15 degrees with 16” armor on the turret faceplates and barbets having 16” side armor. Their conning tower was also protected by 14” armor. This gave them heavier armor than the Italian Vittorio Veneto Class. They had a lighter belt than the British King George VClass but were afforded more protection to their turrets, barbets and conning tower. Likewise, they had slightly less armor than the French Richelieu class due to the Design of the class which placed all main battery guns forward, using all or nothing armor protection. However, the design was a compromise and the armor could not have protected the ships from 16” shellfire, and there were weaknesses in the anti-torpedo defenses which were shown when North Carolina was torpedoed during the Guadalcanal campaign along with the USS Wasp.

View of USS Washington Conning Tower showing Mk 38 5″ gun directors and SG Surface Search Radar

Their top speed of 27 knots was slower than their European counterparts but their range was far superior to all being able to steam over 20,000 miles at 15 knots and 6,610 miles at 25 knots. Their top speed and ranged decreased slightly during the war with the addition of more anti-aircraft guns and sensors.

Other designs were considered in the selection process, but most of the designs considered had speeds from 27-30 knots depending on whether the designers sacrificed speed for armament and protection, or protection and firepower for speed. One design, the Type VII resembled earlier classes of battleships with a speed of only 23 knots in favor of much heavier protection on a shorter hull.

USS North Carolina BB-55

The North Carolina Class was comparable in many ways with the Japanese Nagato Class in speed, protection and armament, but they had a far greater cruising range which made them excellent for operations in the Pacific either parts of Fast Carrier task forces, the Battle Line of the Third or Fifth Fleet, or centerpieces of surface action groups.

The North Carolina’s also were superior to their contemporaries in their anti-aircraft armament as well as their electronics, radar and fire direction suites which were all continuously upgraded throughout the war.

The construction of the ships was slow due to material shortages in the late 1930s. Likewise, the design change to 16” guns from the original 14” guns, as well as labor issues which not only lengthened the time of their construction and raised their cost from $50 million to $60 million dollars each.

North Carolina during underway replenishment in the Pacific

USS North Carolina was laid down on 27 October 1937, launched on 13 June 1940 and commissioned 9 April 1941. However, it was months before she was operational due to severe longitudinal vibration of her propeller shafts which was corrected by a modified propeller design. Despite the efforts to keep to the treaty limitations the ships displaced 36,600 long tons and had a full load displacement of 44,800 long tons. By 1945 the ships full load displacement had increased to 46,700 long tons for North Carolina and 45,370 long tons for Washington.

Torpedo Damage to North Carolina

When North Carolinacompleted her shakedown cruise she was sent to the Pacific where she joined Task Force 16 and the USS Enterprise on 6 August 1942. She defended Enterprise during the Battle of the Easter Solomons on 24 August and during an 8 minute period she shot down between 7 and 14 Japanese aircraft. On 15 September she was badly damaged by a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-15which necessitated her withdraw to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

The gravity of the damage from the hit sparked great debate in the Navy regarding her protection with some wondering if too much had been sacrificed in her design, despite this no modifications were made to the ships of the Iowa class.

Upon her return to service she operated with TF 38 and TF 58 protecting the carrier task forces in their operations against the Japanese as well as with TF 34 the Fast Battleship Task Force under the command of Vice Admiral Willis Lee. Serving throughout the Pacific campaign she took part in every major operation in the Central Pacific except Leyte Gulf and against the Japanese mainland. Her Marines and Sailors took part in the initial occupation of Japan. She was decommissioned and placed in reserve on 1 June 1960 and survived scrapping to be bought by the State of North Carolina for $250,000 and turned into a memorial at Wilmington North Carolina. She remains a National Historic Landmark and is maintained by the USS North CarolinaBattleship Commission. She is exceptionally well maintained and much of the ship is open for tours.

USS Washington BB-56 on high speed run in 1945

The USS Washington was laid down 14 June 1938 launched on 1 June 1940 and commissioned 15 May 1941 though like North Carolina had propeller shaft vibrations which delayed her operational availability. She became the first U.S. Navy Battleship to take an active part in the war when she joined the British Home Fleet in March 1942 operating with the Royal Navy escorting Arctic convoys bound for the Soviet Union against possible forays of the Battleship Tirpitz and other heavy German surface units until 14 July when she returned to the United States for a brief overhaul.

Following her overhaul, Washingtonwas deployed to the South Pacific to join U.S. Forces operating against the Japanese at Guadalcanal and became the Flagship of Rear Admiral Willis Lee.During the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on the night of 14-15 November she and the USS South Dakota sailed with 4 destroyers to intercept a Japanese task force. The Japanese force led by the Battleship Kirishima included 2 heavy and 2 light cruisers as well as 9 destroyers. The Japanese hit the Americans hard early in the battle sinking 3 of the 4 American destroyers and inflicting significant topside damage to South Dakota which caused a power outage and knocked her out of the action. Washington sailed on undetected by the Japanese and opened a devastating barrage against Kirishima. Washington scored hits on Kirishima with at least 9 of her 16” shells and over 40 5” shells. Kirishima was mortally wounded. despite the best attempts of her crew to save her, she was scuttled the following day. After mauling Kirishima, Washington then drove off the other Japanese ships sparing Henderson Field from certain heavy damage.

Washington blasting Kirishima at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal 14-15 November 1942

Washington’s victim the IJN Battleship Kirishima

Washington continued operations in the South and Central Pacific until she was damaged in a collision with USS Indiana which resulted in her losing nearly 60 feet from her bow on 1 February 1944. She received temporary repairs before returning to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to receive a new bow and other modernizations returning to action in May 1944. She remained in operation against the Japanese the rest of the war. She was decommissioned in 1947 and struck from the Naval Register on 1 June 1960 and sold for scrap.

North Carolina and Washington in Reserve

Various improvements and ideas were suggested while the ships remained in reserve as some in the Navy wished to reactivate them to include lightening them to increase their speed, and conversion into Helicopter Carriers all of which were rejected. The rejection of these attempts to modernize and recommission the ships ensured their fates.

Fireworks over the North Carolina in Wilmington (US Navy Photo)

Though the North Carolina classwas a compromise design they performed admirably throughout the war. They and their brave crews are remembered in Naval History and the preservation of North Carolina has ensured that they will never be forgotten.

Design 16H-40 (unofficial designation) Early war modifications while rather limited, still led to the first major alteration on the Lion class battleship design.In August 1940 DNC pointed out that war additions had increased the total displacement of the ships by an estimated 800 tons rising it to 47.000 tons resulting in a 6 inch increase…

By February 1938 it appeared increasingly likely that the Second London Treaty’s tonnage related escalator clause will be activated soon due to Japan’s unwillingness to answer questions on its new battleship’s displacement. If the previous 35kton designs were more in line with the US North Carolina and South Dakota classes than the following ones were…

Battleships : United States battleships, 1935-1992

Ch. 1. Introduction -- Ch. 2. The North Carolina Class -- Ch. 3. The South Dakota Class -- Ch. 4. The Iowa Class -- Ch. 5. The Montana Class -- Ch. 6. The Alaska Class -- Ch. 7. Return of the Dreadnought -- Ch. 8. Conclusion -- App: A. President Roosevelt and His Navy -- App: B. Representative Battleship Arrangement -- App: C. Battleship and Battlecruiser Guns -- App: D. Preliminary Designs of North Carolina and South Dakota

Part of a three-volume set on the world's battleships, this book provides a comprehensive history of all U.S. Navy battleships and battlecruisers built, designed, or projected built since the early 1930s. It covers their design and construction, operational careers, and eventual disposition. Complete plans are presented for many classes as well as extensive technical data covering their characteristics and performance, information that is sometimes hard to find and often

contradictory. The operational careers of the ships are chronicled in detail. Incidents that challenged a ship's design adequacy, particularly from the standpoint of damage resistance, are discussed. Originally published in 1976 with the subtitle U.S. Battleships in World War II, the book has undergone significant revision. Not only has it been brought up to date with the addition of a new chapter covering the Iowa-class reactivation through 1992, but the book now

includes revelations uncovered in newly accessible material. The authors offer a complete description and analysis of the tragic turret explosion aboard the USS Iowa in April 1989, with conclusions that differ from those widely reported by the media and from those officially presented by the Navy. In an appendix, they bring to light for the first time the full extent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's involvement in the shaping of the U.S. fleet and credit him with

influencing the design, construction, and deployment of battleships and battlecruisers built during his administration. For example, they cite Roosevelt as the individual responsible for the speed and endurance of the Alaska-class battleships and the design and construction of the Alaska-class battlecruisers and for controlling the number, general characteristics, gunnery, and anti-aircraft armament of other classes as well. In addition, this massive work now offers

information about the secret development of accurate long-range major-caliber gunfire control in the period before World War II, the proposed conversion of the Iowa and Alaska ships to aircraft carriers, and the twin-skeg problems encountered by battleships. Ship histories have been updated to include details about the service of the four reactivated Iowa battleships and their recent retirements

Access-restricted-item true Addeddate 2011-05-16 16:08:40 Bookplateleaf 0010 Boxid IA138713 Boxid_2 CH114401 Camera Canon EOS 5D Mark II City Annapolis, Md. Donor bostonpubliclibrary Edition Rev. and updated ed. External-identifier urn:oclc:record:1028652426 Extramarc Columbia University Libraries Foldoutcount 0 Identifier battleshipsunite00garz Identifier-ark ark:/13960/t78s5qg1g Isbn 1557501742
9780870210990 Lccn 93043601 Ocr tesseract 4.1.1 Ocr_detected_lang en Ocr_detected_lang_conf 1.0000 Ocr_detected_script Latin Ocr_module_version 0.0.5 Ocr_parameters -l eng Openlibrary_edition OL1432090M Openlibrary_work OL3955183W Page-progression lr Page_number_confidence 81.54 Pages 426 Ppi 300 Scandate 20111007192520 Scanner Scanningcenter shenzhen Worldcat (source edition) 231645481

Battleship NORTH CAROLINA in Wilmington, NC Offers a Look at History

The Battleship North Carolina Memorial in Wilmington, NC was founded to pay homage to all North Carolinians who died in the line of service during World War II. The memorial was dedicated in 1962 and the ship became a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Administered by the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission, which was established by statutes of the State of North Carolina in 1960, the upkeep of the memorial relies largely on donations by visitors.

The USS North Carolina began its life as a battleship of the U.S. Navy. It was the first new battleship to enter the war after the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. She was the lead ship of the two-ship North Carolina class of battleships (her sister ship was the USS Washington) and the fourth Navy ship named for this southern state. She was officially launched in June 1940 and commissioned in April 1941. The USS North Carolina headed to the Pacific in June 1942, just after the Battle of Midway. She would eventually go on to participate in every major offensive in the Pacific theater of World War II.

The ship was decommissioned in 1947 and transferred to the ownership of the people of North Carolina in 1961. A year later, a fleet of tug boats pulled her to the site where she now sits in honor of the war dead of North Carolina. Visitors to the ship can view the Roll of Honor, which includes the names of more than 10,000 North Carolinians from all branches of the armed forces. The names are listed by county and all counties are represented.

In its function as a museum, the Battleship North Carolina entertains and educates visitors with a large collection of artifacts. The artifacts are either original items that were found aboard the ship or items that were donated from personal collections. Many were left intact after the ship was decommissioned and are an important part of the ship tours. Additional artifacts are from other ships named North Carolina, including an Ironclad, a Ship-of-the-Line, and an Armored Cruiser, all predecessors of the battleship that is on display.

The USS North Carolina Battleship Commission continues to collect artifacts and to embark upon restoration projects that will restore the ship to its original condition. The members of the commission are all volunteers from the area, selected by the governor of North Carolina, and include former military personnel.

The ship is open for tours all year long with shorter hours during the months between Labor Day and Memorial Day. The tour is self-guided and it generally takes about 2 hours to complete the tour. Guests may begin their tour in the Visitors Center, where they can view an orientation film about the history of the ship and her current status as a memorial. The remainder of the tour includes access to nine decks of the battleship featuring numerous rooms and compartments to explore. Admission discounts are available for groups of 10 or more and children under 5 are admitted free of charge.

Length of USN Battleships! I Hope to see North Carolina Class Battleships on legends someday!

As one who lives 2 hours away from the USS North Carolina, I fully support this!

How far is that in North Carolinas?

I wouldn’t say split. The N.Carolina and SoDak class ships where built under the Washington navel treaty allowing max tonnage of 35k while Iowa’s where built after escalators allowing a max tonnage of 45k.

I'm not sure why they didn't put the North Carolina class in from the start. Honestly, North Carolina should be the tier 7 BB for the Americans, not Iowa. If I am not mistaken, Iowa didn't really have a service history in WW2. And the only famous Iowa class ship was the USS Missouri for obvious reasons. As a matter of fact, the Iowa class did more as a post WW2 battleship, which is way past the timeline covered in this game. This is why I have enjoyed playing the Alabama (yes It's a South Dakota class) and not Iowa. Alabama seems to fit at Tier 7, where Iowa just doesn't.

North Carolina: The Battleship That Terrorized Japan

Back last month, the Battleship North Carolina kicked off a month-long event to celebrate the eightieth "birthday" of the World War II warship and will also mark the sixth anniversary of her arrival in Wilmington, N.C. It was on April 9, 1941 that the iconic vessel USS North Carolina was commissioned into the U.S. Navy.

Back last month, the Battleship North Carolina kicked off a month-long event to celebrate the eightieth "birthday" of the World War II warship and will also mark the sixth anniversary of her arrival in Wilmington, N.C. It was on April 9, 1941 that the iconic vessel USS North Carolina was commissioned into the U.S. Navy.

USS North Carolina, a History

The lead ship of a new class of battleships, North Carolina was also the first battleship to join the U.S. fleet in sixteen years. She was a new design of "fast battleships," which under the Washington Naval Treaty system limited her displacement and armament, but it resulted in a vessel that could keep up with the faster moving aircraft carriers. As part of a clause in the Second London Navy Treaty, her armament was increased from the original nine 14-inch guns to nine 16-inch guns. She also was armed with twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts.

Her wartime complement consisted of 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men, including 86 marines.

Laid down in 1937, she was completed in April 1941 and at the time of her commissioning, she was considered to be among the world's greatest sea weapons.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of that year, she was mobilized and originally sent to counter threats from German warships, notably the battleship Tirpitz, before being transferred to the Pacific where she took part in the Guadalcanal Campaign.

She went on to take part in every major naval offensive in the Pacific and earned fifteen battle stars.

USS North Carolina survived many close calls and near misses, and was hit by a Japanese torpedo in September 1942. The quick response from the crew ensured the battlewagon was able to remain operational and keep up with the fleet. By war's end, she lost just ten men in action while another sixty-seven had been wounded. Despite that fact, the Japanese claimed six times the battleship had been sunk.

Decommissioned after the war in June 1947, she remained in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey until it was announced she would be scrapped. However, a statewide campaign in North Carolina saved the ship and she was transferred to Wilmington, where she became the state's memorial to its World War II veterans and to those 11,000 North Carolinians who gave their life during the Second World War.

She arrived in North Carolina just over twenty years after being commissioned and became the Battleship North Carolina Museum in 1962.

"We're the second most visited tourist site in the state and we know that we generate a lot for Wilmington, and it's a real partnership, and we're just thrilled to be a part of the downtown community," said Michael Zalob, chairman of the Friends of the Battleship North Carolina Board of Directors.

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, several special events and tours of the mighty warship are planned over the next six months, concluding with the anniversary of USS North Carolina's arrival in Wilmington.

North Carolina class battleships - History

The North Carolinas were our first modern battleships built under the 35,000 ton treaty restrictions. They also possessed the devastating American 16" naval rifles in the standard modern 3x3 configuration, as well as ten (10) of our excellent twin 5"/38 caliber dual purpose -- antiship and antiaircraft -- gun turrets.
They had a good speed at 29 knots, which could keep up with our fast carriers in the Pacific's new carrier warfare operations.

For a time, Washington backed up the Royal Navy's King George V class battleships, attempting to deter the German superbattleship Tirpitz from striking out from its Norwegian fjord lair at our Arctic convoys to beleaguered Russia. If properly deployed by the Admiralty, it could have been in position to intercept Tirpitz and its consorts, during the disastrous Convoy PQ17 operation. And Washington probably would have destroyed Tirpitz in short order.
Both North Carolina and Washington served in the Pacific. North Carolina was torpedoed off Guadalcanal in 1942 and withdrawn from operations for repair.
Washington was with South Dakota in the Second (Naval) Battle of Guadalcanal in mid-November 1942, and once Admiral Lee finally authorized it to open fire, it quickly devastated Japanese fast battleship Kirishima which soon sank, and we won the battle. Both ships continued to serve in the Pacific, primarily for antiaircraft support and shore bombardment.

The American model company Revell has had an excellent 1:570 full hull kit out of the class for some time. Japan's Aoshima has a 1:700 waterline model. I believe China's Trumpeter has both a 1:700 and 1:350 model out, but that should be checked. And I have (a link to my) 1:1200 "2-sided model" of Washington here. The class is also among the Hasbro/Avalon Hill War At Sea Naval Miniatures (game) 1:1800 model warships roster.
And there is also a quite good, camouflaged cardboard model in Wallis Rigby's wartime book of cutout, 3-D World War II warships. (Intriguingly, the carrier in it looks like Germany's never-finished Graf Zeppelin.)

North Carolina class battleship

The APNS Commune of Seattle (BB-56) off New York City, New England on August 21st 1942.

The North Carolina-class was a group of two fast battleships, APNS Commune of Raleigh (BB-55) and APNS Commune of Seattle (BB-56), built for the American People's Navy in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The navy was originally uncertain whether the ships should be fast enough to counter the Japanese Kongō-class, which was believed by the UAPR to be capable of 26 knots (30 mph 48 km/h), or should sacrifice speed for additional firepower and armor.

Towards the end of this lengthy design period, the General Board of the American People's Navy declared that it was in favor of design "XVI-C", which called for a speed of 30 knots (35 mph 56 km/h) and a main battery of nine 16"/45-caliber Mk.VI guns. The board believed that such ships could fulfill a multitude of roles, as they would have enough protection to be put into a battle line while also having enough speed to escort aircraft carriers or engage in commerce raiding.

Both Commune of Raleigh and Commune of Seattle saw extensive service during World War II in a variety of roles in the Pacific Theatre where they escorted fast carrier task forces and conducted shore bombardments.

North Carolina class battleships - History

Collection (1939-1975) consisting of photocopies of photographs, poetry, letters, personal accounts of battles, menus, diaries, clippings, pamphlets, scrapbook, memoranda, etc., concerning the USS North Carolina Battleship and its crew.

Biographical/historical information

The USS North Carolina, known as "the Showboat", was launched in October 1937 as the first of ten North Carolina-class fast battleships. It was armed with nine 16 inch guns in three turrets and 20 5 inch, .38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts, and considered the most powerful naval ship of the era. The USS North Carolina served in the Pacific theater of the Second World War, where it operated as a mobile weapons platform tasked with protecting aircraft carriers from Japanese attacks. It was struck by a torpedo in September of 1942 and forced to return to Pearl Harbor for repairs but quickly rejoined the war effort, leading Task Force 39 in the attack on the Marshall Islands. By the end of the Second World War the North Carolina was the most decorated battleship of the conflict, participating in every major naval offensive in the Pacific theater and earning 15 battle stars. After the war, the battleship served as a training vessel for midshipmen before being decommissioned and placed in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in 1947. It was designated to be scrapped in 1960, but the citizens of North Carolina organized a fundraising campaign to bring the ship to its namesake state. It was moored in Wilmington, North Carolina and opened to the public in October of 1961.

Blaine Taylor. The Magnificent Showboat: USS North Carolina (BB-55). Accessed February 26, 2020.

Scope and arrangement

This collection contains photocopies of diaries and newspaper clippings from the Ben W. Blee collection as well as documents from Robert J. Celustka, Edward F. Cope, J.A. Halas, Charles Gilbert, and John E. Kirkpatrick. The Joe W. Stryker Papers include ship logs containing day to day operations, radio correspondence, and details concerning the torpedo strike on USS North Carolina in September 1942. The Paul Wieser Papers include a congratulatory letter to the USS North Carolina from Admiral Chester Nimitz congratulating them on their entry into Tokyo Bay in 1945, as well as a copy of "Illustrative Seamanship," a document used to train on battleship operations. The Richard C. Walker Papers discuss battleship armament and include a map of suspected Japanese gun emplacements on the island of Saipan, a target of the battleship's bombardment operations in the Pacific theater. The remainder of the collection, from the USS NC Battleship Commission Papers, contains actions reports, diaries from individual sailors, and one image of the USS North Carolina being towed into its current berth in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The original documents (now replaced with photocopies) formerly held in this collection were housed in this repository on loan until the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission had sufficient space to care for and display the materials. The originals of the photocopies here, as well as other original documents for which we don't have photocopies, are now housed with the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 20, 1980 (addition 1), 400 items Commission material (1961-1975), including correspondence, clippings, programs, and miscellaneous pertaining to memorial day ceremonies, the "sound and lights" program, and other aspects of the memorials operation. Lender: USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial. Originals were returned December 9, 1998, and photocopies were retained in their place.

August 25, 1980 (addition 2), 5 vols. Specifications and contract documents (1961-1971) for battleship memorial, Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

May 19, 1981 (addition 3), 1 vol. Charles Curtis Awkerman journal (1941-1945). Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Lt. Col. Amo F. Judd. Originals were returned to USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998, and photocopies were retained in their place.

January 10, 1983 (addition 4), 33 items Howard E. Mattson papers, including programs, menus, ship newspapers, charts, and miscellaneous items. Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Howard W. Mattson. Originals were returned the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

June 7, 1983 (addition 5), 200 items Chaplains' correspondence (1941-1945). Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998, and photocopies were retained in their place.

June 24, 1983 (addition 6), 174 items Executive officer's memos (1943-1944), intelligence file (1941, 1943), historical matter file (1945-1956), and miscellaneous materials. Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998, and some photocopies were retained in their place.

July 11, 1983 (addition 7), 177 items Administrative naval message file (1947). Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

August 29, 1983 (addition 8), 121 items Navigator's files and records, consisting of manuals, reports, memorandums, charts, orders, forms, and miscellaneous. Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

October 4, 1983 (addition 9), 1 reels Movie film of USS North Carolina. Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Original was returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

Source of acquisition

Loaned by USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial

Loaned by Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret)

Loaned by Lt. Col. Amo F. Judd

Loaned by Howard W. Mattson

Processing information

Additional Processing by Johnie Robinson in May 1979, by James D'Angina, and by Martha Elmore on September 29, 2007.

Processing completed by Joel Cook, March 2020

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Related material

For more information on the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship, see:

Joe Warren Stryker Papers (#339), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Joe W. Stryker Oral History Interview (#OH0053), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship Collection (#OH0024) Oral History Interviews with 64 individuals, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Watch the video: USS North Carolina - Guide 071 (June 2022).


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