USS West Virginia BB 48
(BB-48: dp. 33,590 (f.); 1. 624'0"; b. 97'335"; dr. 30'6" (mean); s. 21.0 k., cpl. 1,407; a. 8 16", 12 5", 8 3", 4 6-pdrs., 2 21" tt.; cl. Colorado)
West Virginia (Battleship No. 48) was laid down on 12 April 1920 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. of Newport News, VA.; reclassified to BB-48 on 17 July 1920, launched on 17 November 1921, sponsored by Miss Alice Wright Mann, daughter of Issac T. Mann, a prominent West Virginian, and commissioned on 1 December lD-23, Capt. Thomas J. Senn in command
The most recent of the super-dreadnoughts," West Virginia embodied the latest knowledge of naval architecture; the water-tight compartmentation of her hull and her armor protection marked an advance over the design of battleships built or on the drawing boards before the Battle of Jutland.
In the months that followed, West Virginia ran her trials and shakedown and underwent post-commissioning alterations. After a brief period of work at the New York Navy Yard, the ship made the passage to Hampton Roads, although experiencing trouble with her steering gear while en route. Overhauling the troublesome gear thoroughly while in Hampton Roads, West Virginia put to sea on the morning of 16 June 1924. At 1010, while the battleship was steaming in the center of Lynnhaven Channel, the quartermaster at the wheel reported that the rudder indicator would not answer. The ringing of the emergency bell to the steering motor room produced no response; Capt. Senn quickly ordered all engines stopped, but the engine room telegraph would not answer—it was later discovered that there was no power to the engine room telegraph or the steering telegraph.
The captain then resorted to sending orders down to main control via the voice tube from the bridge. He ordered full speed ahead on the port engine; all stop on the starboard. Efforts continued apace over the ensuing moments to steer the ship with her engines and keep her in the channel and, when this failed, to check headway from the edge of the channel. Unfortunately, all efforts failed; and, as the ship lost headway due to an engine casualty, West Virginia grounded on the soft mud bottom. Fortunately, as Comdr. (later Admiral) Harold 1?. Stark, the executive officer, reported: ". not the slightest damage to the hull had been sustained."
The court of inquiry, investigating the grounding, found that inaccurate and misleading navigational data had been supplied the ship. The legends on the charts provided were found to have indicated uniformly greater channel width than actually existed. The findings of the court thus exonerated Capt. Senn and the navigator from any blame.
After repairs had been effected, West Virginia became flagship for the Commander, Battleship Divisions, Battle Fleet, on 30 October 1924, thus beginning her service as an integral part of the "backbone of the fleet"—as the battleships were regarded. She soon proved her worth under a succession of commanding officers—most of whom later attained flag rank. In 1925, for example, under Capt. A. J. Hepburn, the comparative newcomer to battleship ranks scored first in competitive short range target practices. During Hepburn's tour, West Virginia garnered two trophies for attaining the highest merit in the category.
The ship later won the American Defense Cup— presented by the American Defense Society to the battleship obtaining the highest merit with all guns in short-range firing—and the Spokane Cup, presented by that city's Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the battleship's scoring the highest merit with all guns at short range. In 1925, West Virginia won the Battle Efficiency Pennant for battleships—the first time that the ship had won the coveted "Meatball." She won it again in 1927, 1932, and 1933.
During this period, West Virginia underwent a cycle of training, maintenance, and readiness exercises, taking part in engineering and gunnery competitions
and the annual large-scale exercises, or "Fleet Problems." In the latter, the Fleet would be divided up into opposing sides, and a strategic or tactical situation would be played out, with the lessons learned becoming part and parcel of the development of doctrine that would later be tested in the crucible of combat.
During 1925, the battleship took part in the joint Army-Navy maneuvers to test the defenses of the Hawaiian Islands and then cruised with the Fleet to Australia and New Zealand. In fleet exercises subsequent to the 1925 cruise, West Virginia ranged from Hawaii to the Caribbean and the Atlantic, and from Alaskan waters to Panama.
In order to keep pace with technological developments in ordnance, gunnery, and fire control—as well as engineering and aviation—the ship underwent modifications designed to increase the ship's capacity to perform her designed function. Some of the alterations effected included the replacement of her initial 3-inch antiaircraft battery with 5-inch/25-caliber dual-purpose guns; the addition of platforms for .50-caliber machine guns at the foremast and maintop, and the addition of catapults on her quarterdeck, aft, and on her number III, or "high" turret.
In the closing years of the decade of the 1930's, however, it was becoming evident to many that it was only a matter of time before the United States became involved in yet another war on a grand scale. The United States Fleet thus came to be considered a grand deterrent to the country's most probable enemy— Japan. This reasoning produced the hurried despatch of the Fleet to Pacific waters in the spring of 1939 and the retention of the Fleet in Hawaiian waters in 1940, following the conclusion of Fleet Problem XXI in April.
As the year 1941 progressed, West Virginia carried out a schedule of intensive training, basing on Pearl Harbor and operating in various task forces and groups in the Hawaiian operating area. This routine continued even through the unusually tense period that began in late November and extended into the next month. Such at-sea periods were usually followed by in-port upkeep, with the battleships mooring to masonry "quays" along the southeast shores of Ford Island in the center of Pearl Harbor.
On Sunday, 7 December 1941, West Virginia lay moored outboard of Tennessee (BB-43) at berth F-6 with 40 feet of water beneath her keel. Shortly before 0800, Japanese planes, flying from a six-carrier task force, commenced their well-planned attack on the Fleet at Pearl Harbor. West Virginia took five 18-inch aircraft torpedoes in her port side and two bomb hits— those bombs being 15-inch armor-piercing shells fitted with fins. The first bomb penetrated the superstructure deck, wrecking the port casemates and causing that deck to collapse to the level of the galley deck below.
Four casemates and the galley caught fire immediately, with the subsequent detonation of the ready-service projectiles stowed in the casemates.
The second bomb hit further aft, wrecking one Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane atop the "high" catapult on Turret III and pitching the second one on her top on the main deck below. The projectile penetrated the 4-inch turret roof, wrecking one gun in the turret itself. Although the bomb proved a dud, burning gasoline from the damaged aircraft caused some damage.
The torpedoes, though, ripped into the ship's port side, only prompt action by Lt. Claude V. Ricketts, the assistant fire control officer who had some knowledge of damage control techniques, saved the ship from the fate that befell Oklahoma (BB-37) moored ahead. She, too, took torpedo hits that flooded the ship and caused her to capsize.
Instances of heroic conduct on board the heavily damaged battleship proliferated in the heat of battle. The ship's commanding officer, Capt. Mervyn S. Bennion, arrived on his bridge early in the battle, only to be struck down by a bomb fragment hurled in his direction when a 15-inch "bomb" hit the center gun in TennesSee's Turret II, spraying that ship's superstructure and West Virginia's with fragments. Bennion, hit in the abdomen, crumpled to the deck, mortally wounded, but clung tenaciously to life until just before the ship was abandoned, involved in the conduct of the ship's defense up to the last moment of his life. For his conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, Capt. Bennion was awarded a Medal of Honor, posthumously.
West Virginia was abandoned, settling to the harbor bottom on an even keel, her fires fought from on board by a party that volunteered to return to the ship after the first abandonment. By the afternoon of the following day, 8 December, the flames had been extinguished. The garbage lighter, YG-17, played an important role in assisting those efforts during the Pearl Harbor attack, remaining in position alongside despite the danger posed by exploding ammunition on board the battleship.
Later examination revealed that West Virginia had taken not five, but six, torpedo hits. With a patch over the damaged areas of her hull, the battleship was pumped out and ultimately refloated on 17 May 1942. docked in Drydock Number One on 9 June, West Virginia again came under scrutiny, and it was discovered that there had been not six, but seven torpedo hits.
During the ensuing repairs, workers located 70 bodies of West Virginia sailors who had been trapped below when the ship sank. In one compartment, a calendar was found, the last scratch-off date being 23 December. The task confronting the nucleus crew and shipyard workers was a monumental one, so great was the damage on the battleship's port side. Ultimately, however, West Virginia departed Pearl Harbor for the West coast and a complete rebuilding at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Wash.
Emerging from the extensive modernization, the battleship that had risen, Phoenix-like, from the destruction at Pearl Harbor looked totally different from the way she had appeared prior to 7 December 1941. Gone were the "cage" masts that supported the threetier fire-control tops, as well as the two funnels, the open mount 5-inch/26's and the casemates with the single-purpose 5-inch/61's. A streamlined superstructure now gave the ship a totally new silhouette, dual purpose 5-inch/38-caliber guns, in gunhouses, gave the ship a potent antiaircraft battery. In addition, 40-millimeter Bofors and 20-millimeter Oerlikon batteries studded the decks, giving the ship a heavy "punch" for dealing with close-in enemy planes.
West Virginia remained at Puget Sound until early July 1944. Loading ammunition on the 2d, the battleship got underway soon thereafter to conduct her sea trials out of Port Townsend, Wash. She ran a full power trial on the 6th, continuing her working-up until the 12th. Subsequently returning to Puget Sound for last-minute repairs, the battleship headed for San Pedro and her post-modernization shakedown.
World War II Database
ww2dbase USS West Virginia, a 32,600-ton Colorado class battleship built at Newport News, Virginia, was commissioned in December 1923, the last battleship completed for the United States Navy for nearly two decades. During the 1920s and 1930s, she served in the U.S. Fleet, taking part in "Fleet Problems" and other exercises as part of the continuing effort to develop tactics and maintain the Navy's combat readiness. With much of the rest of the Fleet, she deployed to New Zealand and Australia in 1925 in an important demonstration of the Navy's trans-Pacific strategic "reach".
ww2dbase West Virginia's base was moved to Pearl Harbor in 1940, and she was there on 7 December 1941, when the Japanese attacked with an overwhelming force of carrier aircraft. In that raid, the battleship was hit by two bombs and at least seven torpedoes, which blew huge holes in her port side. Skillful damage control saved her from capsizing, but she quickly sank to the harbor bottom. More than a hundred of her crew were lost. Salvaged and given temporary repairs at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, in April 1943 West Virginia steamed to the West Coast for final repair and modernization at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.
ww2dbase The battleship emerged from the shipyard in July 1944 completely changed in appearance, with a wider hull, and massively improved anti-aircraft gun battery. West Virginia arrived in the Pacific combat zone in October, and soon was participating in pre-invasion bombardment of Leyte, in the Philippines. On 25 October, as a force of Japanese battleships and smaller vessels attempted to make a night attack on the landing area, she was one of the ships that stopped them in the Battle of Surigao Strait, the last time in World history when battleships engaged battleships with their big guns.
ww2dbase Subsequently, West Virginia took part in operations to capture Mindoro, Lingayen Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, using her sixteen-inch guns to support U.S. ground forces. On 1 April 1945, while off Okinawa, she was hit by a Japanese Kamikaze plane but was able to remain in action, continuing her bombardment duties there into June. After Japan's capitulation, West Virginia supported the occupation effort until mid-September. She participated in Operation "Magic Carpet" during the last part of 1945, bringing home veterans of the Pacific war. Inactive after early 1946, she was decommissioned in January 1947. Following twelve years in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, USS West Virginia was sold for scrapping in August 1959.
ww2dbase Source: Naval Historical Center
Last Major Revision: Jan 2005
Battleship West Virginia (BB-48) Interactive Map
West Virginia Operational Timeline
|1 Dec 1923||West Virginia was commissioned into service.|
|16 Jul 1944||USS Mississippi and USS West Virginia departed Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the latter after extensive repairs and modernization following damage received in the Pearl Harbor Attack.|
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Visitor Submitted Comments
1. Maya says:
21 Apr 2010 03:55:58 PM
This is some very good information. I'm doing a finals project on the battleships of pearl harbor and this information helped me to understand more about the USS WEST VIRGINIA.
2. Sherry Lyles says:
14 Oct 2010 11:48:14 AM
Can you tell me if you have a Earl Christensen on your list for the West Virgina at the time of the bombing and if so what was his rank. He was a survior if that helps. He has passed and is my sons name sake so we are looking for information about him.
3. Steve Sparks says:
1 Jan 2011 09:13:09 AM
I'm writing a story about my father's WWII Naval service, including stationed on the USS West Virgina on December 7, 1941. I want to find out where he was, either on liberty or on the ship during the attack, and any other records about his service at the time. Vernon H. Sparks 328-41-29 Cox. USS West Virginia
4. Courtney Tucker says:
9 Jan 2012 06:16:54 AM
Lt. Charles F. Shea (USNR)who died January 6, 2012, at age 95, lived in Fabius N.Y., 20 miles south of Syracuse all his life. He had been school district clerk, town councilman, supervisor, county legislator, county economic development director and a member and officer of many local and county organizations. The Shea family store on Main St. was the center of community activity for more than 80 years. He was born in Fabius on November 20, 1916, the son of Michael G. and Jessie Saunders Shea. After graduating from Fabius Central School in 1934, he attended Central City Business Institute and Cazenovia Seminary Junior College before graduating from Syracuse University in January 1942. Mr. Shea was immediately accepted into the U.S.N.R. and served in the U.S. Navy until the end of World War II aboard the USS West Virginia (BB48) with the U.S. South Pacific Fleet in action at Leyte, including the Battle of Suriago Straits, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. He left the Navy in 1946 as a senior grade lieutenant (USNR).
5. Anonymous says:
4 Feb 2015 10:59:31 AM
6. Robert Fox Col USA (Ret) says:
8 Apr 2015 07:20:13 AM
I am writing a little family history for my grandchildren and am researching my fathers Navy career. His name is Lloyd W Fox (USN Ret) Aviation Machinist's Mate Chief (ACMM, ADC) USNR F-6 and his Naval Service Record indicates he served on the USS West Virginia, was schooled @ Pensacola Fl and in Memphis Tenn re aviation skills and served most of his career in the Pacific Theater. Could you provide me any information re his military career and especially his service dates with & battles fought aboard the USS West VA in WW-II. He entered the service on 6 June 1928 at Pensacola, FL and retired with 20 yrs svc. Thanks
Much - R Fox
7. John Laird says:
6 Jan 2016 07:03:35 AM
I am trying to reach Sherry Lyles who posted about Earl Christensen. She can reach me at [email protected]
8. Roger K. Smith says:
2 Feb 2016 12:26:32 PM
My father, Raymond E. Smith, FC1c, was on board the USS West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He chose not to share with us all that happened to him that day. I would dearly love to hear from anyone who might have known him. He was mistakenly reported KIA, but my grandparents received a cable on Christmas Eve that he was alive. He died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1998.
9. Bernie Hutson says:
14 Sep 2016 02:09:49 PM
My step-dad that raised me was an Ariel gunner on the USS West Virginia from 1944 to wars end. I miss the stories he told me. He passed away in 1997 his name was R.B.Roberson. If anyone knew him personally I would love to hear from you.
10. Robert E. Bristol Jr. says:
6 Feb 2018 04:06:11 PM
Looking for information about my Step Father, Phillip Cecil York.
Any info would be appreciated
11. JRW says:
7 Nov 2018 05:07:01 PM
As written by Roger Smith above, My father too was aboard the USS W. Va. the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack. My grandparents also were informed he was KIA. He also did not talk about that day. He retired from the Navy in 1966 after 35 years of service.
12. Anonymous says:
16 Jan 2019 06:50:10 AM
you guys should probably think about siting your publish date and stuff so people can site your source.
13. Mike Weiss says:
25 Jul 2020 08:01:07 PM
My Grandfather was a Chief Petty Officer on the West Virginia and was there during the attack. I have several artifacts that were aboard and recovered after she was raised.
All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.
USS West Virginia BB 48 - History
110 x 115 x 55
4 x 40mm
Built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Virginia. Laid down April 12, 1920. Launched November 17, 1921 sponsored by Miss Alice Wright Mann. Commissioned December 1, 1923 with Captain Thomas J. Senn in command.
After a brief period of work at the New York Navy Yard, the ship made the passage to Hampton Roads, although experiencing trouble with her steering gear while en route and grounded. After repairs, West Virginia became flagship for the Commander, Battleship Divisions, Battle Fleet, on October 30, 1924 and participated in fleet exercises and was modernized. During 1941, West Virginia was based at Pearl Harbor and underwent intensive training.
On December 7 1941, West Virginia was moored at berth F-6 in Pearl Harbor with 40' of water beneath her keel outboard from USS Tennessee BB-43. During the first wave of the Japanese surprise attack against Pearl Harbor and Oahu, shortly before 8:00am, West Virginia sustained five torpedo hits on her port side plus two bomb hits by 15" armor-piercing shells fitted with fins.
The torpedoes impacted the port side. Immediate action by Lieutenant Claude V. Ricketts, the assistant fire control officer who had some knowledge of damage control techniques, saved the ship from capsizing.
The first bomb penetrated the superstructure deck, wrecking the port casemates and causing that deck to collapse to the level of the galley deck below. Four casemates and the galley caught fire immediately, with the subsequent detonation of the projectiles stowed in the casemates.
The second bomb hit further aft, wrecking one Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane atop the "high" catapult on Turret III and pitching the second one on her top on the main deck below. The projectile penetrated the four inch (102 mm) turret roof, wrecking one gun in the turret itself. Although the bomb was a dud, burning gasoline from the damaged aircraft caused some damage.
Instances of heroic conduct on board the heavily damaged battleship proliferated in the heat of battle. The ship's commanding officer, Captain Mervyn S. Bennion, arrived on his bridge early in the battle, only to be struck down by a bomb fragment hurled in his direction when a 15 inch (381 mm) bomb hit the center gun in Tennessee's Turret II, spraying that ship's superstructure and West Virginia's with fragments. Bennion, hit in the abdomen, crumpled to the deck, mortally wounded, but clung tenaciously to life until just before the ship was abandoned, involved in the conduct of the ship's defense up to the last moment of his life. For his conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, Captain Bennion earned a Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously. Afro-American, Dorie Miller, a cook, helped carry Captain Bennion to a safer place and then manned an antiaircraft gun, despite having no previous experience, and shot down at least one airplane, for which he was awarded a Navy Cross. Sailors in a motor launch rescue a survivor from the water alongside the sunken West Virginia (BB-48) during or shortly after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor.
West Virginia was abandoned, settling to the harbor bottom on an even keel, her fires fought from on board by a party that volunteered to return to the ship after the first abandonment. By the afternoon of the following day, 8 December, the flames had been extinguished. The garbage lighter YG-17 played an important role in assisting those efforts during the Pearl Harbor attack, remaining in position alongside despite the danger posed by exploding ammunition on board the battleship.
Later examination revealed that West Virginia had taken not five, but six, torpedo hits. With a patch over the damaged area of her hull, the battleship was pumped out and ultimately refloated on 17 May 1942. Docked in Drydock Number One on 9 June, West Virginia again came under scrutiny, and it was discovered that there had been not six, but nine torpedo hits.
Salvage and Repair
During the ensuing repairs, workers located 70 bodies of West Virginia sailors who had been trapped below when the ship sank. In one compartment, a calendar was found, the last scratch-off date being 23 December. The task confronting the nucleus crew and shipyard workers was a monumental one, so great was the damage on the battleship's port side. Ultimately, however, West Virginia departed Pearl Harbor for the west coast and a complete rebuilding at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton.
Emerging from the extensive modernization, the battleship that had risen from the destruction at Pearl Harbor looked totally different from the way she had appeared prior to 7 December 1941. Gone were the "cage" masts that supported the three-tier fire-control tops, as well as the two funnels, the open-mount 5 in (127 mm) / 25 caliber guns and the casemates with the single-purpose 5" / 51 caliber guns. A streamlined superstructure now gave the ship a totally new silhouette dual-purpose 5" / 38 caliber guns, in gunhouses, gave the ship a potent antiaircraft battery. In addition, 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikon batteries for anti-aircraft defense.
West Virginia remained at Puget Sound until early July 1944. Loading ammunition on 2 July, the battleship got underway soon thereafter to conduct her sea trials out of Port Townsend, Washington. She ran a full power trial on 6 July, continuing her working-up until 12 July. Subsequently returning to Puget Sound for last-minute repairs, the battleship headed for San Pedro, California, and her post-modernization shakedown.
Finally ready to rejoin the Fleet from which she had been away for two years, West Virginia sailed for the Hawaii on 14 September. Escorted by two destroyers, she made landfall on Oahu on 23 September and the departed for Manus, in company with the fleet carrier Hancock (CV-19), West Virginia, as a unit of Battleship Division (BatDiv) 4, reached Seeadler Harbor on 5 October. The next day, she again became a flagship when Rear Admiral Theodore Ruddock shifted his flag from Maryland (BB-46) to the "Wee Vee" as Commander, BatDiv 4.
Battle of Leyte Gulf
Underway on 12 October to participate in the invasion of the Philippine Islands, West Virginia sailed as part of Task Group (TG) 77.2, under the overall command of Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf. On 18 October, the battle line passed into Leyte Gulf, West Virginia steaming astern of California (BB-44).
At 16:45, California cut loose a naval mine with her paravanes West Virginia successfully dodged the horned menace, it being destroyed a few moments later by gunfire from one of the destroyers in the screen. On 19 October, West Virginia steamed into her assigned station in San Pedro Bay at 07:00 to stand by off shore and provide shore bombardment against targets in the Tacloban area of Leyte. Retiring to sea that evening, the battleship and her consorts returned the next morning to lay down heavy gunfire on Japanese installations in the vicinity of the town of Tacloban.
On the 19th, West Virginia's gunners sent 278 16 inch (406 mm) and 1,586 five inch (127 mm) shells against Japanese installations, silencing enemy artillery and supporting the UDT (underwater demolition teams) preparing the beaches for the assault that came on 20 October. On the latter day, enemy planes made many appearances over the landing area. West Virginia took those within range under fire but did not down any.
On 21 October, as she was proceeding to her fire support area to render further gunfire support for the troops still pouring ashore, West Virginia touched bottom, slightly damaging three of her four screws. The vibrations caused by the damaged blades limited sustained speeds to 16 knots&mdash18 in emergencies.
For the next two days, West Virginia, with her augmented antiaircraft batteries, remained off the beachhead during the daylight hours, retiring to seaward at night, providing antiaircraft covering fire for the unfolding invasion operations. Meanwhile, the Japanese, seeing that American operations against Leyte were on a large scale, decided to strike back. Accordingly, the enemy, willing to accept the heavy risks involved, set out in four widely separated forces to destroy the American invasion fleet.
Four carriers and two "hybrid" battleship-carriers (Ise and Hyūga) sailed toward the Philippine Sea from Japanese home waters a small surface force under Admiral Kiyohide Shima headed for the Sulu Sea two striking forces consisting of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers sortied from Lingga before separating north of Borneo. The larger of those two groups, commanded by Admiral Takeo Kurita, passed north of the island of Palawan to transit the Sibuyan Sea.
American submarines Darter (SS-227) and Dace (SS-247) drew first blood in what would become known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 29 October when they sank, respectively, two of Kurita's cruisers, Maya and Atago. Undeterred, Kurita continued the transit, his force built around the giant battleship Musashi.
The smaller of the two forces, under Admiral Shoji Nishimura, turned south of Palawan and transited the Sulu Sea to pass between the islands of Mindanao and Leyte. Shima's forces obediently followed Nishimura's, heading for Leyte Gulf as the southern jaw of a pincer designed to hit the assemblage of amphibious ships and transports unloading off the Leyte beachhead.
Detailed to deal with the force heading in his direction, Admiral Oldendorf accordingly deployed his sizable force&mdashsix battleships, eight cruisers, and 28 destroyers&mdashacross the northern end of Surigao Strait.
At 22:36 on 24 October 1944, the American PT boats deployed in the strait and its approaches made radar contact with Nishimura's force, conducting a harassing attack that annoyed, but did not stop, the oncoming enemy. Well into the strait by 03:00 on 25 October, Nishimura took up battle formation when five American destroyers launched a well-planned torpedo attack. Caught in the spread of torpedoes, the battleship Fus? took hits and dropped out of the formation other spreads of "fish" dispatched a pair of Japanese destroyers and crippled a third.
Fus?'s sistership Yamashiro, meanwhile, had taken one hit and was slowed down, only to be hit again within 15 minutes' time. Fus? herself, apparently ravaged by fires ignited by the torpedo hits, blew up with a tremendous explosion at 03:38.
West Virginia meanwhile, was leading the battle line of USS Maryland, USS Mississippi, USS Tennessee BB-43, USS California, USS Pennsylvania four of these ships, like West Virginia, veterans of Pearl Harbor. From 00:21 on 25 October, the battleship had picked up reports on the PT boat and destroyer attacks finally at 03:16, West Virginia's radar picked up Nishimura's force at a range of 42,000 yards (38 km) and had achieved a firing solution at 30,000 yards (33 km). She tracked them as they approached in the pitch black night.
At 03:52, West Virginia unleashed her eight 16 inch (406 mm) guns of the main battery at a range of 22,800 yards (25 km), striking the leading Japanese battleship with her first salvo. Of the first six salvos West Virginia fired, five had struck the target and in all she fired 16 salvoes in the direction of Nishimura's ships as Oldendorf crossed the T of the Japanese fleet and thus achieved the tactical mastery of a situation that almost every surface admiral dreams of. At 04:13, the "Wee Vee" ceased fire the Japanese remnants proceeded in disorder down the strait from whence they had come. Several burning Japanese ships littered the strait West Virginia had contributed to Yamashiro's demise, thus avenging her own crippling in the Pearl Harbor attack.
USS Artisan (ABSD-1), a floating drydock, holds the West Virginia so that repairs could be made.
USS Artisan (ABSD-1), a floating drydock, holds the West Virginia so that repairs could be made.
West Virginia had thus taken part in the last naval engagement fought by line-of-battle ships and, on 29 October, departed the Philippines for Ulithi, in company with Tennessee and Maryland. Subsequently heading for Espiritu Santo, in the New Hebrides, after Admiral Ruddock had shifted his flag back from West Virginia to Maryland, the former underwent a period of upkeep in the floating drydock ABSD-1, for her damaged screws.
The "Wee Vee" returned to the Philippines, via Manus, on 26 November, resuming her patrols in Leyte Gulf and serving as part of the antiaircraft screen for the transports and amphibious ships. At 11:39 on 27 November, West Virginia's antiaircraft guns splashed a kamikaze and assisted in downing others while on duty the next day.
Rear Admiral Ruddock shifted back on board on 30 November, West Virginia maintaining her operations off Leyte until 2 December, when the battleship headed for the Palau Islands. The battlewagon was then made the flagship for the newly formed TG 77.12 and proceeded toward the Sulu Sea to cover the landings made by the Southwest Pacific Force on the island of Mindoro. Entering Leyte Gulf late on the evening of 12 December, West Virginia transited the Surigao Strait on 13 December and steamed into the Sulu Sea with a carrier force to provide cover for the transports in TG 78.3.
She subsequently covered the retirement of the transports on 16 December, later fueling in Leyte Gulf before she returned to Kossol Roads, Palaus, at mid-day on 19 December. There, West Virginia spent the Christmas of 1944.
There was more work to be done, however, for the battleship, as the "return" to the Philippines continued apace. On New Year's Day, Rear Admiral Ingram C. Sowell relieved Rear Admiral Ruddock as Commander, BatDiv 4, and the ship got underway for Leyte Gulf as part of TG 77.2.
Entering the gulf during the pre-dawn hours of 3 January, West Virginia proceeded into the Sulu Sea. Japanese air opposition, intensifying since the early part of the Philippine campaign, was becoming more deadly. West Virginia's men observed a Yokosuka P1Y Frances crashed in USS Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) at 17:12 on 4 January. Fires and explosions ultimately forced the abandonment of the "jeep carrier", her survivors being picked up by other ships in the screen. Burns (DD-588) dispatched the blazing CVE with torpedoes.
Taking on board survivors from Ommaney Bay from the destroyer Twiggs (DD-591), West Virginia entered the South China Sea on the morning of the following day, 5 January 1945, defending the carriers during the day from Japanese air attacks. Subsequently, the battleship moved close inshore with the carriers outside to carry out a bombardment mission on San Fernando Point. West Virginia hammered Japanese installations ashore with her 16 inch (406 mm) rifles.
Kamikazes, however, kept up their attacks in the face of heavy antiaircraft barrages and combat air patrol (CAP) fighters. Losses among Allied shipping continued to mount kamikazes claimed damage to HMAS Australia and the battleships California and New Mexico (BB-40) on the 5th. West Virginia participated in putting up volumes of antiaircraft fire during those attacks, emerging unscathed herself.
West Virginia, took on board another group of survivors: the crew of the high-speed minesweeper Hovey (DMS-11) which had been sunk by a Japanese torpedo on 6 January. Before she could transfer the escort carrier's and minesweeper's sailors elsewhere, though, she had to carry out her assigned tasks first. Accordingly, West Virginia's 16 inch (406 mm) rifles again hammered Japanese positions ashore at San Fabian on 8 January and 9 January, as troops went ashore on the latter day. It was not until the night of 9 January that the battleship finally transferred her passengers off the ship.
After providing call fire support all day on 10 January, West Virginia patrolled off Lingayen Gulf for the next week before proceeding to an anchorage where she replenished her ammunition. During her shore bombardment tours off San Fabian, West Virginia had proved herself most helpful, covering UDT operations, destroying mortar positions, entrenchments, gun emplacements, and leveling the town of San Fabian. In addition, "Wee Vee" destroyed ammunition dumps, railway and road junctions, and machine gun positions and warehouses. During that time, the ship expended 395 16 inch (406 mm) shells and over 2,800 5 in (127 mm) projectiles. Underway again at 07:07 on 21 January, West Virginia commenced call-fire support duties at 08:15, operating in readiness for cooperation with the United States Army units ashore in the vicinity of the towns of Rosario and Santo Tomas. After a few more days of standing ready to provide call-fire support when needed, West Virginia anchored in Lingayen Gulf on 1 February.
Subsequently, as part of TG 77.2, West Virginia protected the shipping arriving at the Lingayen beachheads and stood ready to provide call-fire for the Army when needed. She later departed Lingayen Gulf, her duty completed there, on 10 February, bound for Leyte Gulf. Before her departure, she received 79 bags of United States mail, the first she had received since the day before Christmas.
After touching first at San Pedro Bay, Leyte, West Virginia arrived at Ulithi on 16 February, reporting for duty with the 5th Fleet upon arrival. Ordered to prepare in all haste for another operation, the battleship provisioned and refueled with the highest priority. The ship completed loading some 300 tons of stores by 04:00 on 17 February. At 07:30 on the 17th, West Virginia got underway, bound for Iwo Jima in company with the destroyers Izard (DD-589) and McCall (DD-400). As she headed off to Iwo Jima to join TF 51, West Virginia received a Bravo Zulu "well-done" from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz for the manner in which she had readied herself for her new duty after being released from the Seventh Fleet such a short time before.
West Virginia sighted Iwo Jima at a range of 82 miles (132 km) at 09:07 on 19 February. As she drew nearer, she saw several ships bombarding the isle from all sides and the initial landings of the Battle of Iwo Jima taking place. At 11:25, she received her operations orders, via dispatch boat and, 20 minutes later, proceeded to her fire support station off the volcanic sand beaches. At 12:45, her big guns bellowed to lend support to the marines ashore. Gun positions, revetments, blockhouses, tanks, vehicles, caves and supply dumps came under her heavy guns. On 21 February, the ship returned and, at 08:00, commenced her support duties afresh.
Her 16 inch (406 mm) shells sealed caves, destroyed antiaircraft gun positions and blockhouses one salvo struck an ammunition or fuel dump, explosions occurring for about two hours thereafter. On 22 February, a small-caliber shell hit the battleship near turret II, wounding one enlisted man. That same day, another significant event occurred ashore&mdashthe United States Marine Corps took Mount Suribachi, the prominent landmark on one end of Iwo Jima. From their position offshore, West Virginia's sailors could see the flag flying from the top.
For the remainder of February, West Virginia continued her daily fire-support missions for the marines ashore. Again, Japanese positions felt the heavy blows of the battleship's 16 inch (406 mm) shells. She hit troop concentrations and trucks, blockhouses, trenches, and houses. During the course of that time spent off the beaches on 27 February, she spotted a Japanese shore battery firing upon Bryant (DD-665). West Virginia closed the range and, when about 600 yards (550 m) from shore, opened fire with her secondary 5 in (127 mm) battery, silencing the enemy guns.
Replenishing her depleted ammunition stocks early on 28 February, West Virginia was back on the line again that afternoon, firing continuous night harassing and interdiction rounds, silencing enemy batteries with air bursts from her secondary batteries. For the first three days of March, West Virginia continued her fire-support missions, primarily off the northeastern shore of Iwo Jima. Finally, on 4 March, the ship set sail for the Caroline Islands, reaching Ulithi on 6 March.
Joining TF 64 for the invasion of Okinawa, West Virginia sailed on 21 March, reaching her objective four days later on 25 March. In fire support section one, West Virginia spent the ensuing days softening up Okinawa for the American landings slated to commence on 1 April. At 10:29 on 26 March, lookouts reported a gun flash from shore, followed by a splash in the water some 6,000 yards (5.5 km) off the port bow. Firing her first salvoes of the operation, West Virginia let fly 28 rounds of 16 inch (406 mm) gunfire against the pugnacious Japanese batteries.
The following day, the "Wee Vee" fought against enemy air opposition, taking a "Frances" under fire at 05:20. The twin-engined bomber crashed off the battleship's port quarter, the victim of West Virginia's anti-aircraft guns. Over the days that followed, enemy opposition continued in the form of suicide attacks by Japanese planes. Naval mines, too, began making themselves felt one sank the minesweeper Skylark (AM-68), 3,000 yards (2.7 km) off West Virginia's port bow at 09:30 on 28 March.
After taking on ammunition at Kerama Retto, the island seized to provide an advance base for the armada massing against Okinawa, West Virginia sailed for Okinawa to give direct gunfire support to the landings. Scheduled to fire at 06:30, the battleship headed for her assigned zone off the Okinawa beaches. While en route, though, at 04:55, she had to back down all engines when an unidentified destroyer stood across her bow, thus avoiding a collision.
As she prepared to commence her bombardment, West Virginia spotted a Japanese plane off her port quarter her antiaircraft batteries tracked the target and opened fire, downing the enemy aircraft 200 yards (180 m) away. Four more enemy planes passed within her vicinity soon thereafter, and West Virginia claimed one of them.
Finally, at 06:30, West Virginia opened fire as landing craft dotted the sea as far as the eye could reach, all heading for the shores of Okinawa. West Virginia's sailors, some 900 yards (820 m) off the beaches, could see the craft heading shoreward like hundreds of tadpoles at 08:42, lookouts reported seeing some of the first troops going ashore. The battle for Okinawa was underway.
West Virginia continued her bombardment duties throughout the day, on the alert to provide counter-battery fire in support of the troops as they advanced rapidly inland. There appeared to be little resistance on 1 April, and West Virginia lay to offshore, awaiting further orders. At 19:03, however, an enemy plane brought the war down on West Virginia.
The battleship picked up three enemy planes on her radar and tracked them as they approached flak peppered the skies but still they came. One crossed over the port side and then looped over and crash-dived into West Virginia, smashing into a superstructure deck just forward of secondary battery director number two. Four men were killed by the blast, and seven were wounded in a nearby 20 millimeter gun gallery. The bomb carried by the plane broke loose from its shackle and penetrated to the second deck. Fortunately, it did not explode and was rendered harmless by the battleship's bomb disposal officer. Although her galley and laundry looked hard-hit, West Virginia reported her damage as repairable by ship's force and carried on, rendering night illumination fire to the marines ashore.
West Virginia buried her dead at sea in the wake of the kamikaze attack of 1 April and resumed her gun-fire support duties soon thereafter. In the course of her tour off shore in early April, she shot down an Aichi D3A "Val" on 6 April.
In early April, the Japanese attempted to strike at the invasion fleet in a last gasp offensive formed around the super-battleship Yamato. On the night of 7 April and 8 April, West Virginia steamed north and south in the waters west of Okinawa ready to intercept and engage the Japanese surface force headed her way. The next morning, Commander, TF 68, reported that most of the ships in that enemy force had been sunk including Yamato, whose last sortie had been made with enough fuel to get her to Okinawa but not to return, Thus, the Japanese Navy's largest kamikaze perished many miles short of her objective.
For West Virginia, however, her duties went on, providing illumination and counterbattery fire with both main and secondary batteries and giving her antiaircraft gunners a good workout due to the heavy presence of many suiciders. Her TBS crackled with reports of ships under attack and damaged. Zellars (DD-777), Tennessee, USS Salt Lake City (CA-25), Stanly (DD-478), and others, were victims of kamikaze attacks.
Her shore bombardments elicited nothing but praise from those enjoying the benefits of the ship's firing one spotter reported on April 14, 1945: "You're shooting perfectly, you could shoot no better, no change, no change," and, "Your shooting is strictly marvelous. I cannot express just how good it is." She delivered sterling support fire for the 6th Marine Division upon that occasion later, she continued in that fine tradition for the 10th Army and the XXIVth Army Corps.
West Virginia continued fire support for the Army until 20 April, at which point she headed for Ulithi, only to turn back to Okinawa, hurriedly recalled because Colorado (BB-45) suffered damage when a powder charge exploded while she was loading powder at Kerama Retto. Returning to Hagushi beach, West Virginia fired night harassment and interdiction fire for the Tenth Army and the XXIVth Army Corps. Ultimately, West Virginia sailed for Ulithi, in company with San Francisco (CA-38) and Hobson (DD-464), reaching her destination, this time without a recall, on 28 April.
Returning to Okinawa after a brief sojourn at Ulithi, West Virginia remained in support of the Army and the Marines on the embattled island into the end of June. On 1 June, she sent her spotting plane aloft to locate a troublesome enemy blockhouse reportedly holding up an Army advance. A couple of rounds hurled in the enemy's direction produced no results she had to settle for obliterating some of the enemy's motor transport and troop concentrations during the day instead. The next day, 2 June, while in support of the Army's XXIVth Corps, West Virginia scored four direct hits and seven near-misses on the blockhouse that had been hit the day before.
West Virginia then operated off the southeast coast of Okinawa, breaking up Japanese troop concentrations and destroying enemy caves. She also disrupted Japanese road traffic by scoring a direct hit on a road intersection and blasted a staging area. On 16 June, she was firing an assignment for the 1st MarDiv off southwestern Okinawa when her spotting plane, a Vought OS2U Kingfisher, took hits from Japanese antiaircraft fire and headed down in flames, her pilot and observer bailing out over enemy-held territory. Within a short time, aided by Putnam (DD-757) and an LCI, West Virginia closed and blasted enemy guns in an attempt to rescue her plane crew who had "dug in for the day" to await the arrival of the rescuers. The attempt to recover her aircrew, however, was not successful. Loaned a Kingfisher from Tennessee, West Virginia kept up her gunfire support activities for the balance of June.
Shifting to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, at the end of June, the battleship reached her destination on 1 July, escorted by Connolly (DE-306). There, on the morning of 5 July, she received her first draft of replacements since Pearl Harbor in 1944. After loading ammunition, West Virginia commenced training in the Philippine area, an activity she carried out through the end of July.
3 August for Okinawa, West Virginia reached Buckner Bay on 6 August, the same day that "Little Boy", the first atomic bomb, was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. Three days later, "Fat Man", a second bomb, obliterated the greater part of the city of Nagasaki. Those two events hastened Japan's collapse. On 10 August, at 21:15, West Virginia picked up a garbled report on radio that the Japanese government had agreed to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, provided that they could keep the Emperor of Japan as their ruler. The American ships in Buckner Bay soon commenced celebrating the indiscriminate use of antiaircraft fire and pyrotechnics (not only from the naval vessels in the bay but from Marines and soldiers ashore) endangered friendly planes. Such celebrations, however, proved premature. At 20:04 on 12 August, West Virginia sailors felt a heavy underwater explosion soon thereafter, at 20:58, the battleship intercepted a radio dispatch from Pennsylvania reporting that she had been torpedoed. West Virginia sent over a whaleboat at 00:23 on 13 August with pumps for the damaged Pennsylvania.
The war ended on 15 August 1945. West Virginia drilled her landing force in preparation for the upcoming occupation of the erstwhile enemy's homeland and sailed for Tokyo Bay on 24 August as part of TG 35.90. She reached Tokyo Bay on the last day of August and was thus present at the time of the formal surrender on 2 September 1945. For that occasion, five musicians from West Virginia's band were transferred temporarily to USS Missouri to play at the ceremonies. West Virginia (BB-48) earned five battle stars for her World War II service.
During September 1945, West Virginia remained in Tokyo Bay. On 14 September, she received on board 270 passengers for transportation to the west coast of the United States. She got underway at midnight on 20 September bound for Okinawa as part of TG 30.4. Shifting to Buckner Bay on 23 September, the battleship sailed for Pearl Harbor soon thereafter, reaching her destination on 4 October.
There, the crew painted ship and kept on board only those passengers slated for transportation to San Diego, California. Bound for that port on 9 October, West Virginia moored at the Navy Pier at San Diego at 13:28 on 22 October. Two days later, Rear Admiral I. C. Sowell hauled down his flag as Commander, BatDiv 4.
On Navy Day, 25,554 visitors (more the next day) came on board the ship. Three days later, on 30 October, she got underway for Hawaiian waters to take her place as part of Operation Magic Carpet returning veteran soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen home to the states. After one run between San Diego and Pearl Harbor, West Virginia made another, the second time embarking Rear Admiral William W. Smith, who broke his flag in the battleship for the return voyage to San Francisco, California.
After making yet another run between the West Coast and Hawaii, West Virginia reached San Pedro, California, on 17 December. There, she spent Christmas debarking her third draft of passengers. The veteran battlewagon upped-anchor on 4 January 1946 and sailed for Bremerton. She reached her destination on 12 January and commenced inactivation soon thereafter, shifting to Seattle, Washington, on 16 January, where she moored alongside sistership Colorado.
During late February 1946, West Virginia was decommissioned and on January 9, 1947 placed in reserve as part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Officially, struck from the Naval Registry on March 1, 1959.
On August 24, 1959 sold for scrap to the Union Minerals and Alloys Corp. of New York, New York.
Several parts of the ship were saved from scrapping: the main mast and ship's bell. On May 11, 1963 the mast was presented to West Virginia University and is displayed on the campus as a memorial. The ship's bell was donated to the West Virginia State Museum.
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Sinking of the USS West Virginia
Smoke coming from the USS West Virginia
On the morning of December 7, 1941, bombs exploded near the USS Arizona (BB-39), signifying the start of the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. West Virginia was moored at berth F-6 alongside the USS Tennessee (BB-43) and was one of the first battleships struck during the attack. West Virginia suffered significant damage during the attack, initially from seven Type 91 aerial torpedoes that struck her port side, and two Type 99 bombs.
As she took on water from the two holes extended between two sets of frames, her plight gave rise to one of the greatest stories of heroism from that devastating morning. Messman Third Class Doris Miller became a national hero when he helped move the mortally wounded Captain Bennion to safety and then man an anti-aircraft machine gun on which he had no prior training.
Miller survived the attack, and the battleship was later refloated. Within her hull, repair workers found the remains of 66 sailors who had perished during the attack.
USS West Virginia (BB-48)
USS West Virginia (BB-48) was the fourth dreadnought battleship of the Colorado class, though because Washington was cancelled, she was the third and final member of the class to be completed. The Colorado class proved to be the culmination of the standard-type battleship series built for the United States Navy in the 1910s and 1920s the ships were essentially repeats of the earlier Tennessee design, but with a significantly more powerful main battery of eight 16-inch (406 mm) guns in twin-gun turrets. West Virginia was built between her keel laying in 1920 and her commissioning into the Navy in 1923. The ship spent the 1920s and 1930s conducting routine training exercises, including the typically-annual Fleet Problems, which provided invaluable experience for the coming war in the Pacific.
West Virginia was moored in Battleship Row on the morning of 7 December 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into World War II. Badly damaged by torpedoes, the ship sank in the shallow water but was later refloated and extensively rebuilt over the course of 1943 and into mid-1944. She returned to service in time for the Philippines Campaign, where she led the American line of battle at the Battle of Surigao Strait on the night of 24–25 October. There, she was one of the few American battleships to use her radar to acquire a target in the darkness, allowing her to engage a Japanese squadron in what was the final action between battleships in naval history.
After Surigao Strait, the ship remained in the Philippines to support troops fighting during the Battle of Leyte in 1944 and then supported the invasion of Lingayen Gulf in early 1945. The ship also took part in the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa later that year, providing extensive fire support to the ground forces invading those islands. During the latter operation, she was hit by a kamikaze that did little damage. Following the surrender of Japan, West Virginia took part in the initial occupation and thereafter participated in Operation Magic Carpet, carrying soldiers and sailors from Hawaii to the mainland United States before being deactivated in 1946. She was decommissioned in 1947 and assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet, where she remained until 1959 when she was sold to ship breakers and dismantled.
- ↑ /45 caliber refers to the length of the gun in terms of caliber. The length of a /45 caliber gun is 45 times its bore diameter.
- ↑Friedman, p. 137.
- 123Gardiner & Gray, p. 118.
- 12Friedman, p. 445.
- ↑Nofi, pp. 124, 133.
- ↑Nofi, p. 169.
- 12Friedman, p. 207.
- ↑Friedman, pp. 354.
- ↑Wallin, p. 233.
- ↑Wallin, pp. 233.
- ↑Rohwer, p. 122.
- ↑Hone, p. 56.
- ↑Pearl Harbor Identifications.
- days to die at Pearl Harbor: Families weren’t told about sailors trapped inside sunken battleship
- ↑Wallin, p. 238.
- ↑Friedman, pp. 357, 375.
- ↑Gardiner & Chesneau, p. 92.
- ↑Rohwer, p. 366.
- ↑Wilmott, p. 47.
- 12Wilmott, pp. 73, 110.
- ↑Tully, pp. 24.
- ↑Tully, p. 152.
- ↑Tully, pp. 194, 201.
- ↑Tully, pp. 208.
- ↑Rohwer, pp. 375.
- ↑Rohwer, p. 404.
- ↑"USSWV". West Virginia Departmeint of Arts, Culture, and History . Retrieved 18 April 2020 .
- ↑Martin, p. 34.
- ↑Charleston Daily Mail.
World War II
On the morning of January 10th 1941, West Virginia was moored at Battleship Row, Tennessee was alongside the Battleship. Japanese Bombers with tired or drunk pilots bombarded the American Battleships, but sunk none.
It's crew, so as Tennessee's, saw Yamato and Musashi up the North, Fusō, Shinano and Kaga on the West and Kongo, Atago, Maya, Takao, Chōkai, Myōkō, Haguro, Kumano, Suzuya, Tone and Chikuma on the East, they were not circling to attack but the Americans thought that they were to attack although they were only protecting them from German Aircraft Carriers (Such as Graf Zeppelin) and KMS Bismarck and the Monsun Gruppe on the south.
The Pacific Chase
Half of the American ships, including West Virginia, chased the Yamato, Musashi, Shinano, Myoko and Kaga to the West Kaiju Island Coastline, where the Japanese shifted course to Hong Kong and the Americans didn't know about the Godzillian Buildings nearby, and thought they were Japanese Buildings, Maryland and Pennsylvania shot some neutral costal turrets but Arizona, West Virginia, Colorado and some other ships noticed about the shape of the coastline and when they saw GNOS GBS Southern and GNOS GBS Northern from the distance.
The Godzillian Megaships shot down Pennsylvania while Maryland was damaged from the blast from Pennsylvania. The rest of the American Ships and their crew did nothing but watched as the burning Maryland backed up while listing a 3 degree angle.
Origins of West Virginia's design Current Design
The Spared American Ships were taken to Kaiju Island where they are modified, but West Virginia was given to have a differed design by modifying it more than the rest of the ships, it was then given a camouflage, so as the other ships.
Post World War II
After the Brandenburg Bombing Campaign and the end of World War II, USS West Virginia was kept by the Godzillians while the Americans were given back the other ships in 1942, West Virginia was kept all the way till 1945, where it was finally given back to the Americans and just in time for the Naval Games of 1945.
Naval Games (1945)
West Virginia was mildly damaged when "fighting" with the German battleship Tirpitz, which was also mildly damaged. Tirpitz caught fire when it was attacked by USS Midway's planes. The Yamato and Musashi of the Imperial Japanese Navy were only spectator ships where they would only stay silent and do nothing and the viewers cheer.
USS Missouri, "Mighty Mo", entered the War Games soon after and dealt with minor torpedo hits, but still afloat while West Virginia scored multiple hits on Tirpitz, only SI of Tirpitz's Secondary Turret was damaged as it was using AP shells, classified as "AP-NWG", which had a smaller caliber than the other ships. No one used their main guns as they had a large caliber.
The West Virginia and the other ships participated in destroying a 1:1 scale replica of a Takao-class Cruiser
Godzillian-American Naval Division
While the Americans had plans on scrapping it, the Godzillians had a much more better idea.
They created the Godzillian-American Naval Division (GAND) which the Godzillian Armored Cruise Ship Godzillia, the Gojira-class Battleship Godzilla and the ships which stayed neutral when entering Kaiju Island were in the Division.
USS West Virginia and the other ships still remain active and in operation to guard Trade Routes and/or protect the Suez Canal
World War PhotosUSS West Virginia (BB-48) Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 Battleships USS West Virginia and Tennessee USS West Virginia (BB-48) approaching drydock at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard on 8 June 1942 massive damage to hull plating inflicted by several Japanese Type 91 torpedoes
USS West Virginia (BB-48) in the ABSD floating drydock at Espiritu Santo November 1944 2 USS West Virginia photographed before the war USS West Virginia (BB-48) in drydock No. 1 at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard 17 June 1942 Battleship USS West Virginia BB-48
Battleship USS West Virginia BB-48 off the Puget Sound Navy Yard Washington 2 July 1944 USS West Virginia, Pearl Harbor on 30 April 1943 2 USS West Virginia 1934 Battleship USS West Virginia BB-48 during battle fleet maneuvers November 1929, bow view
Battleship USS West Virginia BB-48 – Pearl Harbor Navy Yard 9 September 1942 USS West Virginia 20 April 1943 USS West Virginia broadside Battleship USS West Virginia BB-48 off the Puget Sound Navy Yard 2 July 1944
USS West Virginia in floating drydock ABSD 1 off Aessi Island 13 November 1944 Battleship USS West Virginia in drydock No 1 at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard 11 June 1942 USS West Virginia in the ABSD floating drydock at Espiritu Santo November 1944 Battleship USS West Virginia Pearl Harbor on 30 April 1943
USS West Virginia off the Puget Sound Navy Yard Washington 2 July 1944 following reconstruction Battleship USS West Virginia – Panama Canal 7 March 1927 USS West Virginia underway off Pearl Harbor 30 April 1943 Battleship USS West Virginia bow 1934
USS West Virginia in Gatun Locks Panama 1930 Battleship USS West Virginia BB-48 starboard Battleship USS West Virginia BB-48 stern view Sailors Rescue Survivor from USS West Virginia (BB-48) at Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941
- Myron J. Smith – Mountaineer Battlewagon. U.S.S. West Virginia (BB-48), Warship Series 1
- Robert J Martin -USS West Virginia (BB-48)
- S. Battleships in Action, Part 1 – Robert C. Stern, Don Greer Squadron/Signal Publications Warships No. 3
- U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History – Norman Friedman Naval Institute Press 1985
- The Age of the Battleship 1890-1922
- US Navy Dreadnoughts 1914-45 – Osprey New Vanguard 208
- Philip Kaplan – Battleships The First Big Guns, Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives (Images of War)
- Peter Hore – Battleships Lorenz Books 2005
- Battleships: United States Battleships, 1935-1992 – Naval Institute Press 1995
- Stanley Sandler – Battleships: An Illustrated History of Their Impact
- Ian Sturton – All the World’s Battleships: 1906 to the Present Conway Maritime Press 2000
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USS West Virginia BB 48 - History
The fourth and final ship of the Colorado Class Battleship , USS West Virginia (BB-48) was laid down at Newport News Shipbuilding on April 12, 1920. Construction moved forward and on November 19, 1921, it slid down the ways with Alice W. Mann, daughter of West Virginia coal magnate Isaac T. Mann, serving as sponsor. After another two years of work, West Virginia was completed and entered commission on December 1, 1923, with Captain Thomas J. Senn in command.
: Displacement 32,600 Tons, Dimensions, 624' (oa) x 97' 4" x 31' 4" (Max). Armament 8 x 16"/45 14 x 5"/51, 4 x 3"/50AA 2 x 21" tt.Armor, 13 1/2" Belt, 18" Turrets, 3 1/2" + 1 1/2" Decks, 16" Conning Tower. Machinery, 28,900 SHP Turbines with Electric Drive, 4 screws. Speed, 21 Knots, Crew 1080. Operational and Building Data: Laid down by Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, VA, April 12, 1920.
Launched November 19, 1921. Commissioned December 1, 1923. Decommissioned January 9, 1947. Stricken March 1, 1959. Fate: Sold August 2, 1959 and broken up for scrap.
USS West Virginia (BB-48) - Pearl Harbor:
On the morning of December 7, 1941, West Virginia was moored along Pearl Harbor's Battleship Row, outboard of USS Tennessee (BB-43), when the Japanese attacked and pulled the United States into World War II. In a vulnerable position with its port side exposed, West Virginia sustained seven torpedo hits (six exploded) from Japanese aircraft. Only rapid counter-flooding by the battleship's crew prevented it from capsizing. The damage from the torpedoes was exacerbated by two armor-piercing bomb hits as well as a massive oil fire started following the explosion of USS Arizona(BB-39) which was moored aft. Severely damaged, West Virginia sank upright with little more than its superstructure above the water. In the course of that attack, the battleship's commander, Captain Mervyn S. Bennion, was mortally wounded. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his defense of the ship.
USS West Virginia (BB-48) - Rebirth:
In the weeks after the attack, efforts to salvage West Virginia commenced. After patching the massive holes in the hull, the battleship was refloated on May 17, 1942 and later moved to Drydock Number One. As work commenced 66 bodies were found trapped in the hull. Three located in a storeroom appear to have survived until at least December 23.
After extensive repairs to the hull, West Virginia departed for Puget Sound Navy Yard on May 7, 1943. Arriving, it underwent a modernization program that dramatically altered the battleship's appearance. This saw the construction of a new superstructure which included trunking the two funnels into one, a greatly enhanced anti-aircraft armament, and elimination of the old cage masts. In addition, the hull was widened to 114 feet which precluded it from passing through the Panama Canal. When complete, West Virginia looked more similar to the modernized Tennessee-class battleships than those from its own Colorado-class.
Rebuilt view 1944.
WEST VIRGINIA BB 48
This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.
- Colorado Class Battleship
Keel Laid April 12 1920 - Launched November 17 1921
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