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Complete Guide to American Battleships

Complete Guide to American Battleships


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In the late 1880s, the US Navy commenced building its first steel battleships, USS Texas and USS Maine. These were soon followed by seven classes of pre-dreadnoughts (Indiana to Connecticut). Beginning with the South Carolina-class which entered service in 1910, the US Navy embraced the "all-big-gun" dreadnought concept which would govern battleship design moving forward. Refining these designs, the US Navy developed the Standard-type battleship which embraced five classes (Nevada to Colorado) that possessed similar performance characteristics. With the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty in 1922, battleship construction halted for over a decade.

Developing new designs in the 1930s, the US Navy focused on building classes of "fast battleships" (North Carolina to Iowa) that would be capable of operating with the fleet's new aircraft carriers. Though the centerpiece of the fleet for decades, battleships were quickly eclipsed by the aircraft carrier during World War II and became supporting units. Though of secondary importance, battleships remained in the inventory for another fifty years with the last leaving commission in the 1990s. During their active service, American battleships took part in the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Gulf War.

USS Texas (1892) & USS Maine (ACR-1)

USS Texas (1892), prior to 1898. Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Command
  • USS Texas (1892)
  • USS Maine (ACR-1)

Commissioned: 1895

Main Armament: 2 x 12" guns (Texas), 4 x 10" guns (Maine)

Indiana-class (BB-1 to BB-3)

USS Indiana (BB-1). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Indiana (BB-1)
  • USS
  • USS Oregon (BB-3)

Commissioned: 1895-1896

Main Armament: 4 x 13" guns

Iowa-class (BB-4)

USS Iowa (BB-4). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Iowa (BB-4)

Commissioned: 1897

Main Armament: 4 x 12" guns

Kearsarge-class (BB-5 to BB-6)

USS Kearsarge (BB-5). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Kearsarge (BB-5)
  • USS

Commissioned: 1900

Main Armament: 4 x 13" guns

Illinois-class (BB-7 to BB-9)

USS Illinois (BB-7). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS
  • USS
  • USS

Commissioned: 1901

Main Armament: 4 x 13" guns

Maine-class (BB-10 to BB-12)

USS Maine (BB-10). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Maine (BB-10)
  • USS Missouri (BB-11)
  • USS Ohio (BB-12)

Commissioned: 1902-1904

Main Armament: 4 x 12" guns

Virginia-class (BB-13 to BB-17)

USS Virginia (BB-13). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Virginia (BB-13)
  • USS Nebraska (BB-14)
  • USS Georgia (BB-15)
  • USS
  • USS

Commissioned: 1906-1907

Main Armament: 4 x 12" guns

Connecticut-class (BB-18 to BB-22, BB-25)

USS Connecticut (BB-18). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Connecticut (BB-18)
  • USS
  • USS
  • USS Kansas (BB-21)
  • USS Minnesota (BB-22)
  • USS New Hampshire (BB-25)

Commissioned: 1906-1908

Main Armament: 4 x 12" guns

Mississippi-class (BB-23 to BB-24)

USS Mississippi (BB-23). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Mississippi (BB-23)
  • USS Idaho (BB-24)

Commissioned: 1908

Main Armament: 4 x 12" guns

South Carolina-class (BB-26 to BB-27)

USS South Carolina (BB-26). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS
  • USS

Commissioned: 1910

Main Armament: 8 x 12" guns

Delaware-class (BB-28 to BB-29)

USS Delaware (BB-28). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS
  • USS

Commissioned: 1910

Main Armament: 10 x 12" guns

Florida-class (BB-30 to BB-31)

USS Florida (BB-30). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS
  • USS Utah (BB-31)

Commissioned: 1911

Main Armament: 10 x 12" guns

Wyoming-class (BB-32 to BB-33)

USS Wyoming (BB-32). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Wyoming (BB-32)
  • USS Arkansas (BB-33)

Commissioned: 1912

Main Armament: 12 x 12" guns

New York-class (BB-34 to BB-35)

USS New York (BB-34). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS New York (BB-34)
  • USS Texas (BB-35)

Commissioned: 1913

Main Armament: 10 x 14" guns

Nevada-class (BB-36 to BB-37)

USS Nevada (BB-36). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Nevada (BB-36)
  • USS Oklahoma (BB-37)

Commissioned: 1916

Main Armament: 10 x 14" guns

Pennsylvania-class (BB-38 to BB-39)

USS Pennsylvania (BB-38). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
  • USS Arizona (BB-39)

Commissioned: 1916

Main Armament: 12 x 14" guns

New Mexico-class (BB-40 to BB-42)

USS New Mexico (BB-40). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS New Mexico (BB-40)
  • USS Mississippi (BB-41)
  • USS Idaho (BB-42)

Commissioned: 1917-1919

Main Armament: 12 x 14" guns

Tennessee-class (BB-43 to BB-44)

USS Tennessee (BB-43). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Tennessee (BB-43)
  • USS California (BB-44)

Commissioned: 1920-1921

Main Armament: 12 x 14" guns

Colorado-class (BB-45 to BB-48)

USS Colorado (BB-45). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Colorado (BB-45)
  • USS Maryland (BB-46)
  • USS Washington (BB-47)
  • USS West Virginia (BB-48)

Commissioned: 1921-1923

Main Armament: 8 x 16" guns

South Dakota-class (BB-49 to BB-54)

South Dakota-class (1920). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS South Dakota (BB-49)
  • USS Indiana (BB-50)
  • USS Montana (BB-51)
  • USS North Carolina (BB-52)
  • USS Iowa (BB-53)
  • USS Massachusetts (BB-54)

Commissioned: Entire class cancelled due to Washington Naval Treaty

Main Armament: 12 x 16" guns

North Carolina-class (BB-55 to BB-56)

USS North Carolina (BB-55). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS North Carolina (BB-55)
  • USS Washington (BB-56)

Commissioned: 1941

Main Armament: 9 x 16" guns

South Dakota-class (BB-57 to BB-60)

USS North Carolina (BB-55). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS South Dakota (BB-57)
  • USS Indiana (BB-58)
  • USS Massachusetts (BB-59)
  • USS Alabama (BB-60)

Commissioned: 1942

Main Armament: 9 x 16" guns

Iowa-class (BB-61 to BB-64)

USS Iowa (BB-61). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Iowa (BB-61)
  • USS New Jersey (BB-62)
  • USS Missouri (BB-63)
  • USS Wisconsin (BB-64)

Commissioned: 1943-1944

Main Armament: 9 x 16" guns

Montana-class (BB-67 to BB-71)

Montana-class (BB-67 to BB-71). Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Center
  • USS Montana (BB-67)
  • USS Ohio (BB-68)
  • USS Maine (BB-69)
  • USS New Hampshire (BB-70)
  • USS Louisiana (BB-71)

Commissioned: Cancelled, 1942

Main Armament: 12 x 16" guns