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NAME

USS. NORTH CAROLINA (BB.55)

CLASS

BATTLESHIP 

ENT/SERVICE

APRIL 9th 1941

BUILT

NEW YORK NAVY YARD / AMERICA

WEIGHT

35,000 TONS

LENGTH

728 FEET

WIDTH

108 FEET

SPEED

28 KNOTS

PROPELLERS

4

ENGINES

4 - GEARED STEAM TURBINES - 121,000 HP

GUNS

9 - 16 INCH / 20 - 5 INCH / VARIOUS ANTI AIRCRAFT

ARMOR

12 INCH SIDE / 5 INCH DECK / 16 INCH TURRET FACES


There were six 35,000-ton battleships built for the US Navy with North Carolina and Washington entering service in 1941. South Dakota, Indiana, Massachusetts and Alabama followed in 1942. Although almost identical to the first two ships, these four became known as South Dakota class as they had a slightly modified design. All six ships were built to comply with the Washington Treaty limits of 1922. This was the first new design of American battleship since the 32,000-ton Colorado class of 1923. As US forces set out to retake the Pacific Islands occupied by the Japanese, all six battleships were used for shore bombardment and to provide protection for aircraft carriers and troopships.

USS South Dakota

Throughout 1942, North Carolina supported landings at the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, Tulagi and the Eastern Solomon Islands. During the latter battle, her crew shot down between 7 and 14 Japanese aircraft. On September 15th 1942, while escorting the US carrier Saratoga, North Carolina was hit by one torpedo from a Japanese submarine killing six of her crew. Following extensive repairs at Pearl Harbor, she returned to the war against Japan in time to supported operations at the Gilbert Islands in 1943. Throughout 1944, North Carolina provided cover for US carriers at the Marshal Islands, Caroline Islands, Mariana's, New Guinea and the Philippians. In 1945, she supported carrier attacks at Formosa, Ryukyus, Honshu and Okinawa.

USS North Carolina

As US forces closed in on Japan, North Carolina along with all other available Allied warships began bombarding the Japanese mainland. The US Government believed an invasion of Japan at that time would have led to a tremendous loss of life. In an attempt to end the war without invading Japan, American bombers dropped the first uranium atomic bomb on Hiroshima August 6th 1945 and the second more powerful plutonium bomb on Nagasaki August 9th. This forced the Japanese to agree to an unconditional surrender August 14th.

USS North Carolina guns

North Carolina went through a period of inactivity after the war before being decommissioned June 27th 1947. She was struck from the navy list June 1st 1960 and handed over to the people of North Carolina to be moored at Wilmington as a museum. The other five sister battleships were also decommissioned in 1947. Washington was sold for scrap in 1961, South Dakota followed in 1962 and Indiana in 1964. Massachusetts has been berthed at Fall River since 1965 to serve as a memorial for those who died in the war. Alabama was awarded to the state of Alabama in 1964 to serve as a museum berthed at Mobile Bay.

Below, USS North Carolina as a museum at Wilmington
USS North Carolina as a museum
Below, USS Alabama as a museum at Mobile Bay
USS Alabama as a museum

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