USS North Carolina (BB-55)

USS North Carolina (BB-55) is the lead ship of the North Carolina class of fast battleships, the first vessel of the type built for the United States Navy. Built under the Washington Treaty system, North Carolina's design was limited in displacement and armament, though the United States used a clause in the Second London Naval Treaty to increase the main battery from the original armament of nine 14-inch (360 mm) guns to nine 16 in (410 mm) guns. The ship was laid down in 1937 and completed in April 1941, while the United States was still neutral during World War II. During this period, she operated off the eastern coast of the United States.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, North Carolina mobilized for war and was initially sent to Iceland to counter a possible sortie by the German battleship Tirpitz, though this did not materialize and North Carolina was promptly transferred to the Pacific to strengthen Allied forces during the Guadalcanal campaign. There, she screened aircraft carriers engaged in the campaign and took part in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on 24–25 August, where she shot down several Japanese aircraft. The next month, she was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine but was not seriously damaged. After repairs, she returned to the campaign and continued to screen carriers during the campaigns across the central Pacific in 1943 and 1944, including the Gilberts and Marshall Islands and the Mariana and Palau Islands, where she saw action during the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

The ship was undergoing a refit during the invasion of the Philippines but took part in the later stages of the Philippines campaign and was present when the fleet was damaged by Typhoon Cobra. She took part in offensive operations in support of the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945, including numerous attacks on Japan. Following the surrender of Japan in August, she carried American personnel home during Operation Magic Carpet. North Carolina operated briefly off the east coast of the United States in 1946 before being decommissioned the next year and placed in reserve. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1960, the ship was saved from the breaker's yard by a campaign to preserve the vessel as a museum ship in her namesake state. In 1962, the North Carolina museum was opened in Wilmington, North Carolina.

USS North Carolina NYNY 11306-6-46
North Carolina underway on 3 June 1946.
History
United States
Name: North Carolina
Namesake: State of North Carolina
Ordered: 1 August 1937
Builder: New York Naval Shipyard
Laid down: 27 October 1937
Launched: 13 June 1940
Commissioned: 9 April 1941
Decommissioned: 27 June 1947
Struck: 1 June 1960
Nickname(s): "Showboat"[1]
Status: Museum ship since 29 April 1962 in Wilmington, North Carolina
General characteristics
Class and type: North Carolina-class battleship
Displacement:
  • 35,000 long tons (36,000 t) (standard)
  • 44,800 long tons (45,500 t) (loaded)
Length: 728 ft 9 in (222.12 m)
Beam: 108 ft 4 in (33.02 m)
Draft: 32 ft 11.5 in (10.046 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion:
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 17,450 nmi (32,320 km; 20,080 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 1,800
Armament:
Armor:
Aircraft carried: 3 × Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplanes
Aviation facilities: 2 × trainable catapults on her fantail

Design

North Carolina class battleship recognition drawings
Recognition drawing of the North Carolina class

The North Carolina class was the first new battleship design built under the Washington Naval Treaty system; her design was bound by the terms of the Second London Naval Treaty of 1936, which added a restriction on her main battery of guns that they be no larger than 14 inches (360 mm). The General Board evaluated a number of designs ranging from traditional 23-knot (43 km/h; 26 mph) battleships akin to the "standard" series or fast battleships, and ultimately a fast battleship armed with nine 14-inch guns was selected. After the ships were authorized, however, the United States invoked the escalator clause in the treaty that allowed an increase to 16 in (410 mm) guns in the event that any member nation refused to sign the treaty, which Japan refused to do.[2]

North Carolina was 728 feet 9 inches (222.12 m) long overall and had a beam of 108 ft 4 in (33.02 m) and a draft of 32 ft 11.5 in (10.046 m). Her standard displacement amounted to 35,000 long tons (36,000 t) and increased to 44,800 long tons (45,500 t) at full combat load. The ship was powered by four General Electric steam turbines, each driving one propeller shaft, using steam provided by eight oil-fired Babcock & Wilcox boilers. Rated at 121,000 shaft horsepower (90,000 kW), the turbines were intended to give a top speed of 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph). The ship had a cruising range of 17,450 nautical miles (32,320 km; 20,080 mi) at a speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). She carried three Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplanes for aerial reconnaissance, which were launched by a pair of aircraft catapults on her fantail. Her peace time crew numbered 1,800 officers and enlisted men, but during the war the crew swelled to 99 officers and 2,035 enlisted.[3][4]

The ship was armed with a main battery of nine 16 in /45 caliber Mark 6 guns[a] in a trio of three-gun turrets on the centerline, two of which were placed in a superfiring pair forward, with the third aft. The secondary battery consisted of twenty 5 in (127 mm) /38 caliber dual purpose guns mounted in twin turrets clustered amidships, five turrets on either side. As designed, the ship was equipped with an anti-aircraft battery of sixteen 1.1 in (28 mm) guns and eighteen .50-caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns,[b] but her anti-aircraft battery was expanded greatly during her career.[3][4]

The main armored belt was 12 in (305 mm) thick, while the main armored deck was up to 5.5 in (140 mm) thick. The main battery gun turrets had 16 in (406 mm) thick faces, and they were mounted atop barbettes that were protected with the same thickness of steel. The conning tower had 14.7 in (373 mm) thick sides. The ship's armor layout had been designed with opponents equipped with 14-inch guns in mind, but since the treaty system broke down just before construction began, her design could not be revised to improve the scale of protection to defend against heavier guns. Despite this shortcoming, the North Carolina class proved to be more successful battleships than the better-armored but very cramped South Dakota class.[3]

Modifications

North Carolina received a number of upgrades over the course of her career, primarily consisting of radar and improved anti-aircraft batteries. By November 1942, the ship had received three Mark 3 fire-control radar sets for the main battery, four Mark 4 radars for the secondary guns, a CXAM air-search radar, and an SG surface search radar. During her early 1944 refit, she received an SK air search radar in place of the CXAM and a second SG radar; her Mark 3 radars were replaced with more advanced Mark 8 sets, though she retained one of the Mark 3s as a backup. In September, the SK radar was replaced with an SK-2 set, and her Mark 4 radars were replaced with a combination of Mark 12 and Mark 22 sets. After the war, she received a secondary SR air search radar and an SCR-720 search radar.[5]

During her refit in late 1942, North Carolina's anti-aircraft battery was replaced with forty 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors guns in ten quadruple mounts, forty-six 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon autocannon in single mounts. By June 1943, her anti-aircraft armament had been increased with four more 40 mm quadruple mounts, and in November, a fifteenth mount was added atop the rear main battery turret. Two more 20 mm cannon were added by late 1944, and another eight were installed in April 1945. By the end of the war in August, her 20 mm battery had been reduced to eight twin mounts and twenty single mounts.[6]

Service history

USS North Carolina Fit out NARA 1941-04-17
Fitting-out stage, 17 April 1941

The keel for North Carolina was laid down at the New York Naval Shipyard on 27 October 1937. Her completed hull was launched on 13 June 1940 and the ship was commissioned into the fleet on 9 April 1941. The ship's first commanding officer was Captain Olaf M. Hustvedt. North Carolina embarked on her shakedown cruise in the Caribbean Sea and spent the rest of the year working up while the United States remained neutral during World War II. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December, North Carolina began extensive battle training to prepare for combat in the Pacific War.[7]

Her first operation came in April 1942, when she was deployed to Naval Station Argentia on 23 April as part of a force intended to block a potential sortie by the German battleship Tirpitz if she attempted to break out into the convoy lanes of the North Atlantic. Tirpitz remained in Norway, however, and North Carolina was quickly replaced by the battleship South Dakota, allowing North Carolina to get underway for the Pacific in mid-1942. She passed through the Panama Canal on 10 June in company with the aircraft carriers Wasp and Long Island and nine destroyers. On 15 June, North Carolina was assigned to Task Force (TF) 18, centered on Wasp, along with four cruisers and nine destroyers, under the command of Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes.[8]

Guadalcanal campaign

North Carolina was sent to join the Guadalcanal campaign as part of TF 16, which also included the aircraft carrier Enterprise, the heavy cruiser Portland, the light cruiser Atlanta, and six destroyers.[9] The unit was part of TF 61, commanded by Vice Admiral Frank Fletcher, and sent to cover the landing of the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal to seize the airfield being constructed there by the Japanese. TF 61 also included the carriers Saratoga and Wasp. North Carolina covered Enterprise on the first day of the invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi on 7 August, and thereafter remained in company with Enterprise to protect the carrier from Japanese air attacks. Fear of Japanese land-based torpedo bombers prompted Fletcher to withdraw the carrier groups the next day. The initial landing met little resistance, but a Japanese cruiser squadron attacked the invasion fleet on the night of 9 August, inflicting a major defeat on Allied naval forces in the Battle of Savo Island.[7][10] The Navy briefly considered forming a surface combat force to counter the Japanese cruisers that would have been centered on North Carolina, with five heavy and one light cruiser and four destroyers, but it was determined that the need to protect the carrier task forces was too great to strip away their heavy units.[11]

In this role, she participated in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on 24–25 August. American forces had detected a group of Japanese carriers on the 24th and immediately launched attacks from Saratoga that sank the light carrier Ryūjō. A Japanese counterattack struck the American fleet, and North Carolina was the first to detect it, shortly after 16:00, using her air search radar.[12] The Japanese initially concentrated on Enterprise, and North Carolina contributed her anti-aircraft fire to her defense. Enterprise increased speed to 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph), causing North Carolina to drop back, ultimately falling to around 4,000 yards (3,700 m) astern. A group of seven Aichi D3A dive bombers attacked North Carolina at 16:43 but they all missed. North Carolina emerged from the battle unscathed, though one man was killed by a strafing aircraft. Enterprise was hit by three bombs but aircraft from Wasp severely damaged the seaplane tender Chitose in return.[13][14][15]

North Carolina's anti-aircraft claimed to have shot down between 7 and 14 aircraft,[7] though evaluation of the gunners' effectiveness is mixed. The historian Richard B. Frank noted that the Japanese lost a total of eighteen D3As and credited Enterprise's Grumman F4F Wildcat fighters with half of them, with the rest shot down by the ships, "with the lion's share to gunners aboard Enterprise.[16] The naval analyst Norman Friedman highlighted the effectiveness of the 5-inch guns aboard Enterprise and North Carolina, but noted that the ship had difficulty tracking targets with her fire control radar, owing to a combination of rapid maneuvering to avoid attacks, excessive vibration from steaming at high speed, and the number of friendly and hostile aircraft aloft. Contemporary observers took an optimistic view of the ship's performance; her captain credited her with shooting down five to seven aircraft, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, noted that her 5-inch fire was particularly effective in dissuading Japanese attacks.[17]

USS North Carolina front starboard view NARA 19LCM-BB55-4899-42
North Carolina in Pearl Harbor in November 1942 for repairs

While Enterprise withdrew for repairs, North Carolina was transferred to TF 17 to cover Saratoga, along with Atlanta and a pair of destroyers.[18] The ships operated off Guadalcanal for the next several weeks, during which time Japanese submarines attempted to torpedo North Carolina twice. The first, on 6 September, passed some 300 yd (270 m) off her port side, but the second, from the submarine I-19 on 15 September, was far more destructive. I-19 had fired a spread of six torpedoes at Wasp in TF 18, two or three of which hit. Two of the Long Lance torpedoes continued on to the ships of TF 17, some 5 nautical miles (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) away. One hit the destroyer O'Brien, and a fourth hit North Carolina. The hit on North Carolina struck the ship 20 ft (6.1 m) below the waterline on her port side and tore a 32-by-18-foot (9.8 by 5.5 m) hole in the plating. Five men were killed in the attack, but the torpedo inflicted little serious damage, apart from the shock of the blast that disabled the forward turret. Flooding occurred and North Carolina took on a list of 5.5 degrees to port, but this was quickly corrected with counter-flooding and she was able to remain on station with Saratoga, cruising at a speed of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph). The other two ships were not so lucky, with Wasp being scuttled that evening and O'Brien eventually foundering a month later when her hull finally buckled from the damage.[19][20][21] After withdrawing from the area, North Carolina was detached to Pearl Harbor to make repairs, which lasted from 30 September to 17 November.[22]

After returning to the South Pacific, North Carolina resumed screening Saratoga and Enterprise, which had also completed repairs by this time. The American fleet had been strengthened by North Carolina's sister ship Washington, which served as the flagship of Rear Admiral Willis Lee.[23] The two battleships were grouped together as TF 64 under Lee's command.[24] The ships covered convoys carrying soldiers and supplies to the Solomon Islands for the rest of 1942 and into 1943 as the Guadalcanal campaign ground on.[7] These operations included covering a group of seven transports carrying elements of the 25th Infantry Division to Guadalcanal from 1 to 4 January 1943. During another of these convoy operations later that month, the battleships, which by this time had been reinforced by the battleship Indiana, were too far south to be able to reach the American cruiser force during the Battle of Rennell Island at the end of the month.[25][26]

North Carolina returned to Pearl Harbor in March for a refit that lasted for more than a month and included the installation of radars and improved fire control equipment.[7] On returning to the South Pacific, she joined the battleship group of TF 36, now commanded by Rear Admiral Arthur C. Davis and consisting of Indiana and Massachusetts. The battleship and carrier groups covered amphibious assault forces during Operation Cartwheel, the campaign to isolate the Japanese stronghold at Rabaul, in late June and early July. They did not see action during the campaign, as fighting was limited to both sides' light forces.[27] In September, she made another trip to Pearl Harbor to make preparations for the attack on the Gilbert Islands.[7]

Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign

USS North Carolina (BB-55) underway in the Gilbert islands, November 1943
North Carolina underway during the Gilberts campaign

For the assault on the Gilberts, the fleet was organized into TF 50, which was divided into several task groups (TG). The ship sortied on 10 November, once again in company with Enterprise as part of TG 50.2 to support the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign, which began with assaults on Makin, Tarawa, and Abemama. The group also included Massachusetts and Indiana and a pair of light carriers and six destroyers. North Carolina covered the carriers while they raided the islands beginning on 19 November. On 8 December, North Carolina was detached to form TG 50.8 with the other battleships of the fleet—Massachusetts, Indiana, South Dakota, and Washington—again under Lee's command. The ships bombarded the island of Nauru while the fleet prepared for the next operation in the campaign in the Marshalls. North Carolina then escorted the carrier Bunker Hill during a series of strikes on Kavieng on the island of New Ireland in late December.[7][28]

On 6 January 1944, TF 58, the fast carrier task force, was created under the command of Rear Admiral Marc Mitscher; North Carolina continued in her role as an escort for the fleet's carriers with the unit as part of TG 58.2. During the Battle of Kwajalein, North Carolina initially remained with the carriers during the pre-invasion bombardment, but was then detached to close with the island and join the bombardment group targeting Roi-Namur, which also included Washington, Indiana, and Massachusetts. During the attack, she sank a cargo ship in the harbor. After the islands were conquered in four days of heavy fighting, TF 58 departed to raid Truk, which had been Japan's primary staging area in the central Pacific. By this time, North Carolina had been transferred to TG 58.3. The attack, codenamed Operation Hailstone, inflicted serious damage, sinking or destroying 39 ships, destroying 211 aircraft and damaging another 104 planes.[7][29]

With the Marshalls and Gilberts secured, the fast carrier task force embarked on a series of raids in the central Pacific to prepare for the upcoming attack on the Mariana Islands. The fleet sortied from Majuro, its new base in the Marshalls, in late March to begin the first attack on Palau and Woleai, conducted from 31 March to 1 April. During these operations, North Carolina shot down a Japanese aircraft. The fleet then sailed south to support the US Army's landing at Hollandia during the New Guinea campaign from 13 to 24 April. Another attack on Truk followed on 29–30 April; North Carolina shot down another Japanese aircraft during the attack. Two of her Kingfishers were sent to rescue a downed pilot who had crashed off the reef; one of them capsized on landing and the second was unable to take off with the additional weight from the first plane's crew and the pilot they had gone to pick up, so the submarine Tang picked up the men instead. On 1 May, North Carolina and six other battleships organized as TG 58.7 bombarded Pohnpei, destroying Japanese artillery batteries, anti-aircraft guns, and damaging the airfield on the island. TF 58 then returned to its bases in Majuro and Eniwetok on 4 May; from there, North Carolina departed to Pearl Harbor for repairs to her rudder.[7][30]

Mariana and Palau Islands campaign

USS North Carolina (BB-55) firing broadside c1944
North Carolina firing a broadside, c. 1944

After completing repairs, North Carolina rejoined the fleet at Majuro while it was preparing for the attack on the Marianas. On arriving, she returned to TG 58.7, which was distributed between the four carrier task groups. She and the rest of TF 58 sortied on 6 June to launch the first assault in the campaign, targeting the island of Saipan. In addition to screening the carriers, North Carolina also bombarded the island to cover the minesweepers as they cleared paths to the invasion beach. She shelled Tanapag Harbor, sank several small vessels, and destroyed several supply dumps. On 15 June, the marines went ashore and a Japanese counterattack struck the fleet, though all but two of the aircraft were shot down by the carriers' combat air patrol; of those two, North Carolina shot one down. The landing was a breach of Japan's inner defensive perimeter that triggered the Japanese fleet to launch a major counter-thrust with the 1st Mobile Fleet, the main carrier strike force.[7][31]

As the Japanese fleet approached, North Carolina and the rest of TF 58 steamed to meet it on 18 June, leading to the Battle of the Philippine Sea on 19–20 June. North Carolina and the other battleships, with four cruisers and thirteen destroyers, were deployed some 15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi) west of the carrier groups to screen the likely path of approach. The Japanese launched their aircraft first, and as they probed the American fleet's defenses, North Carolina and Washington were the first battleships to open fire on the attacking Japanese aircraft. During the action, which was fought primarily by the carriers, the US fleet inflicted serious losses on the Japanese, destroying hundreds of their aircraft and sinking three carriers. In the course of the battle, North Carolina shot down two Japanese aircraft. North Carolina remained on station off the Marianas for the next two weeks before being detached for an overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.[7][32]

Later operations

USS North Carolina (BB-55) in heavy seas, December 1944
North Carolina in heavy seas in December 1944

Repairs lasted through October, keeping North Carolina from participating in much of the Philippines campaign, and she rejoined the fleet at its new forward base at Ulithi on 7 November. There, she joined TG 38.3, the fast carrier task force having passed from Fifth Fleet to Third Fleet command and accordingly being renumbered from 50-series to 30-series designations. The carriers then embarked on a series of strikes on Japanese positions on Leyte, Luzon, and the Visayas to support Army operations ashore. During these operations, North Carolina shot down a kamikaze suicide aircraft. The attacks continued into mid-December and intensified during the invasion of Mindoro on 15 December. Three days later, the fleet was cruising off the Philippines when it was hit by Typhoon Cobra. North Carolina was not seriously damaged, but three destroyers were sunk in the storm.[7][33]

After returning to Ulithi, the fast carrier task force began a series of strikes on targets on Formosa, the coast of French Indochina, occupied China, and the Ryuku Islands in January 1945. North Carolina remained in TG 38.3 for the operation, and her carrier group struck northern Formosa on 3–4 January, but poor weather hampered flight operations. Further attacks struck targets on Luzon on 6 and 7 January to destroy reserves of kamikazes there. On 10 January, the carrier groups entered the South China Sea to strike targets in French Indochina on the assumption that significant Japanese naval forces were present, but only merchant ships and a number of minor warships were caught and sunk there. During these raids, other elements of the Allied fleet invaded Lingayen Gulf on Luzon.[34]

In February, she escorted carriers during attacks on the Japanese island of Honshu to disrupt Japanese air forces that might interfere with the planned invasion of Iwo Jima in the Bonin Islands. Fifth Fleet had re-assumed command of the fast carrier task force by this point, and North Carolina was now part of TG 58.4. The fleet sortied from Ulithi on 10 February, and after conducting training exercises off Tinian on the 12th, refueled at sea on 14 February and continued on north to launch strikes on the Tokyo area two days later. The raids continued through 17 February and the next day, the fleet withdrew to refuel and TG 58.4 was sent to hit other islands in the Bonin chain to further isolate Iwo Jima. During the preparatory bombardment for that attack, North Carolina, Washington, and the heavy cruiser Indianapolis were detached from the task group to reinforce TF 54, the assault force for the invasion; she remained on station during the marine assault and provided fire support as they fought their way across the island through 22 February. The next day, the carrier groups reassembled and refueled on 24 February for further operations against the Japanese mainland.[7][35]

After leaving Iwo Jima, the fleet resumed air attacks on the Home Islands to prepare for the next amphibious assault on Okinawa in the Ryukus. The first of these, on 25 and 26 February, hit targets in the Tokyo area, followed by another attack on Iwo Jima the next day. The fleet refueled on 28 February and on 1 March raided Okinawa, thereafter returning to Ulithi on 4 March.[36] While in Ulithi, the fleet was reorganized and North Carolina was transferred to TG 58.3. The fleet sortied on 14 March for additional attacks on Japan; the ships refueled on 16 March on the way and they launched their aircraft two days later to hit targets on Kyushu. The attacks continued into the next day, causing significant damage to Japanese facilities on the island and sinking or damaging numerous warships. The task groups withdrew to refuel and reorganize on 22 March, as several carriers had been damaged by kamikaze and air attacks. The carriers Wasp and Franklin were badly damaged by bombs, and North Carolina was assigned to the group of ships tasked with escorting them back to Ulithi for repairs.[37]

USS North Carolina (BB-55) underway at sea on 3 June 1946 (NH 97267)
North Carolina off New York in June 1946

Carrier raids on the Home Islands and the Ryukus continued after the landing on Okinawa on 1 April. When North Carolina returned to the fleet, she was assigned to TG 58.2. Five days later, North Carolina shot down three kamikazes. In the furious anti-aircraft barrage, another ship accidentally hit North Carolina with a 5-inch shell, killing three and wounding forty-four. On 7 April, the Japanese launched a major air–naval counterattack on the landing centered on the battleship Yamato, which was largely defeated by the carriers, though North Carolina shot down one Japanese bomber. Another major kamikaze attack struck the fleet on 11 April. She shot down two more on 17 April, and two days later she was sent to support infantry attacks on Okinawa before departing for another overhaul at Pearl Harbor.[7][38]

North Carolina returned to the fleet in Leyte Gulf in late June before it embarked on another series of attacks on Japan on 1 July. By this time, the fast carrier task force had been transferred to Third Fleet, so the battleship joined TG 38.3. The air attacks began on 10 July, with over a thousand aircraft hitting airfields around Tokyo. The strikes continued for more than a week, until a typhoon approached and forced the fleet to withdraw to avoid it on 19 July. During these operations, one of her Kingfishers picked up a downed pilot in Tokyo Bay under heavy fire. Following the Japanese surrender on 15 August, North Carolina contributed men for the initial occupation force and entered Sagami Bay on 27 August with the rest of the fleet. She thereafter patrolled the coast until 5 September, when she steamed into Tokyo Bay to reembark the men. The next day, she was assigned to TF 11 along with the three New Mexico-class battleships, a pair of light carriers, and a squadron of destroyers to return to the United States. From there, she sailed south to Okinawa to take on men bound for home as part of Operation Magic Carpet.[7][39]

She transited the Panama Canal on 8 October and arrived in Boston on 17 October. There she underwent an overhaul in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and thereafter conducted training operations off the east coast, including a training cruise for midshipmen from the US Naval Academy in the Caribbean in mid-1946.[7] North Carolina was the only American treaty battleship to see any significant service after the end of the war.[3]

Decommissioning and battleship memorial

USS North Carolina (Battleship)
U.S.S. North Carolina
USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial
LocationWilmington, North Carolina
Coordinates34°14′11″N 77°57′15″W / 34.23639°N 77.95417°WCoordinates: 34°14′11″N 77°57′15″W / 34.23639°N 77.95417°W
Built1941
ArchitectBrooklyn Navy Yard
NRHP reference #82004893
Significant dates
Added to NRHP10 November 1982
Designated NHL14 January 1986[40]

The ship was decommissioned on 27 June 1947 in New York and placed in reserve.[7] While she was out of service, the Navy considered several plans to modernize or convert the ship for other purposes. The first series of studies in 1954 revolved around improving the ship's speed to 31 knots (57 km/h; 36 mph), which would require a significant reduction in displacement and a much more powerful propulsion system. The displacement issue could be solved by the removal of the rear turret, but there was not enough room in the hull to place a power plant necessary to reach the desired speed. The Navy also evaluated a proposal to convert North Carolina into a helicopter carrier; the plan would have involved removing all of her main and secondary guns (though the forward turret would be retained to keep the ship balanced properly) in exchange for a flight deck and facilities for twenty-eight helicopters and a battery of sixteen 3-inch (76 mm) guns. The Navy ultimately decided that a new, purpose-built helicopter carrier would be cheaper and so the project was abandoned.[41]

She remained in the Navy's inventory until she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 June 1960, slated to be broken up for scrap.[7] A North Carolina man, James Craig, founded a campaign to save the vessel modeled on the Battleship Texas Commission that had successfully acquired the old battleship Texas for preservation as a museum ship. Craig led a campaign to raise the $250,000 necessary to prepare a site to host the ship, to tow her there, and work to prepare her for visitors. With the help of the WRAL TV station, which broadcast a "Save Our Ship" advertisement campaign, Craig was able to secure more than $330,000 for the project. Next were considerations of the site to be used; three cities were considered: Southport, Morehead City, and Wilmington. The latter was selected, since it was further inland and thus more protected from hurricanes.[42]

On 6 September 1961, North Carolina was transferred to the state.[7] The ship was towed out of Bayonne, New Jersey, bound for Wilmington, by a group of nine tugboats on 25 September.[42] After her berth was completed and repairs to the ship effected, she was formally opened on 29 April 1962.[7] In 1964, a Kingfisher that had crashed in British Columbia, Canada, during the war and then subsequently salvaged was donated to the museum. The battleship was declared a National Historic Landmark on 10 November 1982; the application noted that the ship was in excellent condition and remained in its wartime configuration.[43][44][45]

Work to maintain the ship and improve the facility is an on-going effort. In 1998, the museum's operators ran Operation Ship Shape, a donation drive to secure funds to make repairs to the vessel, including the ship's teak deck, which was replaced with teak from Myanmar. Funds from the campaign were also allocated to repair the ship's hull, which by the early 2000s had deteriorated significantly; in some places, corrosion had reduced the thickness of the hull plating from its original 0.625-to-0.75-inch (15.9 to 19.1 mm) thickness to as thin as 0.15 inches (3.8 mm). After considering moving the ship to a drydock for the work, which would have been prohibitively expensive, the ship's caretakers decided to use the same method used to refurbish the battleship Alabama: erect a cofferdam around the hull and pump it dry. In addition to replacing damaged hull plates, the hull will also receive a new coat of paint to better protect it from the elements. Repairs to the ship's hull are expected to begin in late 2019. In 2018, a walkway was erected around the ship to allow visitors to view the ship from all sides, with funding provided by the SECU Foundation. The walkway sits atop the cofferdam necessary for the ship's repairs.[44][46][47]

Footnotes

Notes

  1. ^ /45 refers to the length of the gun in terms of calibers. A /45 gun is 45 times long as it is in bore diameter.
  2. ^ In the context of small arms, caliber refers to the bore diameter; in this case, a .50-caliber machine gun is a half-inch in diameter.

Citations

  1. ^ Sneed, Brandon (13 November 2010). "Saving the Battleship North Carolina". Our State. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  2. ^ Friedman 1985, pp. 244–265.
  3. ^ a b c d Gardiner & Chesneau, p. 97.
  4. ^ a b Friedman 1985, p. 447.
  5. ^ Friedman 1985, p. 276.
  6. ^ Friedman 1985, pp. 276–277.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t DANFS.
  8. ^ Rohwer, pp. 160, 172.
  9. ^ Frank, p. 173.
  10. ^ Rohwer, pp. 183, 185–186.
  11. ^ Hornfischer, p. 123.
  12. ^ Hornfischer, p. 115.
  13. ^ Frank, pp. 174–184.
  14. ^ Friedman 2014, pp. 233–234.
  15. ^ Rohwer, p. 191.
  16. ^ Frank, p. 184.
  17. ^ Friedman 2014, pp. 233–245.
  18. ^ Hornfischer, p. 118.
  19. ^ Frank, pp. 248–250.
  20. ^ Rohwer, pp. 194–195.
  21. ^ Hornfischer, pp. 133–134.
  22. ^ Friedman 1985, p. 277.
  23. ^ Frank, p. 503.
  24. ^ Hornfischer, p. 383.
  25. ^ Rohwer, p. 224.
  26. ^ Frank, p. 548.
  27. ^ Rohwer, p. 258.
  28. ^ Rohwer, pp. 289, 292.
  29. ^ Rohwer, pp. 303, 306.
  30. ^ Rohwer, pp. 318–319, 321.
  31. ^ Rohwer, p. 335.
  32. ^ Y'Blood, pp. 68, 79.
  33. ^ Rohwer, p. 377.
  34. ^ Rohwer, pp. 380, 383.
  35. ^ Rohwer, pp. 393–394.
  36. ^ Rohwer, p. 393.
  37. ^ Rohwer, pp. 399–400.
  38. ^ Rohwer, pp. 407–408, 410.
  39. ^ Rohwer, pp. 421–422, 428–429, 431.
  40. ^ "USS North Carolina (Battleship)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2007.
  41. ^ Friedman 1985, pp. 397–401.
  42. ^ a b Sneed.
  43. ^ Butowsky.
  44. ^ a b Robertson.
  45. ^ Nationl Register Digital Assets.
  46. ^ Hotz.
  47. ^ Buckland.

References

External links

A Glorious Way to Die

A Glorious Way to Die: The Kamikaze Mission of the Battleship Yamato, April 1945 is a 1981 military history book by Russell Spurr about the suicide mission of the Japanese battleship Yamato against the American Pacific Fleet during the Battle of Okinawa near the end of World War II. Yamato was the largest battleship in the world, and Japan sacrificed her in a final, desperate attempt to halt the Allied advance on the Japanese archipelago. The book was published in 1981 in the United States by Newmarket Press, and in the United Kingdom by Sidgwick & Jackson.Spurr, a British journalist and editor of the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review, interviewed Japanese and Americans involved with Yamato's last mission, and drew on Japanese naval documents and records to write the book. He tells the story from both the Japanese and American points of view.

A Glorious Way to Die was generally well received by critics and historians. American author and journalist Charles Kaiser wrote in The New York Times that the book's strength is "its ability to re-create the fear the Japanese engendered with their desperation tactics", which resulted in American perception that they were all prepared to fight to the death. A reviewer in the Canadian journal Pacific Affairs commended Spurr's "well-balanced treatment of historical evidence and his workmanship in reconstructing the tragic event", and said that the book "deserves wide reading".

Battle 360°

Battle 360°, also written as Battle 360, is an American documentary television series that originally aired from February 29 to May 2, 2008 on History. The program focuses on the World War II-era aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. The show was produced by Flight 33 Productions.Battle 360° makes extensive use of computer animation to depict the story of the Enterprise. The animation is combined with documentary footage, interviews of Enterprise crew members and military historians, and voice-over narration.

The series was written by Tony Long and Samuel K. Dolan, and produced by Brian Thompson, Samuel K. Dolan and Tim Evans. It is narrated by Wally Kurth. Military historians providing commentary included Alan Pietruszewski, First Sergeant William Bodette, Martin K. A. Morgan, Jonathan Parshall, and producer and story editor Samuel K. Dolan. The 3D graphics are by Crazybridge Studios, with additional graphics by Radical 3D; the visual effects supervisor is Steffen Schlachtenhaufen. The executive producers were Louis C. Tarantino and Douglas J. Cohen, and the associate producer was Ryan Hurst.

On February 29, 2008, the first episode of Battle 360° had 1.8 million viewers. This was the second best viewer total for a History channel series premiere, behind Ice Road Truckers.The series original run was broadcast with limited commercial interruptions because of its sponsorship by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, whose founder, Jack Taylor, served on the Enterprise as a fighter pilot during World War II.

Patton 360°, a spin-off series of Battle 360°, premiered on April 10, 2009 on the same channel.

Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is a steel vertical-lift bridge in North Carolina. It carries US 17/US 76/US 421 across the Cape Fear River between Brunswick County and New Hanover County. It also carried U.S. Route 74 until that designation was shifted to the Isabel S. Holmes Bridge. It features a lift span that can be raised 135 feet (41 m). The lift span is 408 feet (124 m) long.

David Doyle (writer)

David Doyle is an American writer on historic military vehicles, hardware, aircraft and warships, who has written over 100 books, published with a variety of publishers. Since 2015, he also sells through his own website.

John Rowan (United States Navy)

Captain John J. Rowan (September 6, 1919 – October 6, 2012) was an American Navy captain.

Most decorated US Naval vessels of World War II

This list catalogs the most honored US Naval vessels of the Second World War. It is placed in descending order of earned Battle Stars; descending accorded unit recognitions; descending ship size by type; and ascending hull number. It contains only vessels that earned fifteen or more Battle Stars for World War II service.

Honors awarded that are not listed may include:Honors awarded by countries other than the United States (e.g., Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, British Admiralty Pennant)

Honors awarded to all units for serving active duty during World War II; including active duty before US entry in the war (e.g., American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal)

Honors awarded to vessels for campaigns other than World War II service (e.g. Korean War service, Vietnam War service).

National Museum of the United States Navy

The National Museum of the United States Navy, or U.S. Navy Museum for short, is the flagship museum of the United States Navy and is located in the former Breech Mechanism Shop of the old Naval Gun Factory on the grounds of the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., United States.

The U.S. Navy Museum is one of ten official Navy museums, and is part of the Naval History & Heritage Command, the official history program of the United States Navy.

National Register of Historic Places listings in New Hanover County, North Carolina

This list includes properties and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places in New Hanover County, North Carolina. Click the "Map of all coordinates" link to the right to view a Google map of all properties and districts with latitude and longitude coordinates in the table below.

New Hanover County, North Carolina

New Hanover County is one of 100 counties located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 202,667. Though the second-smallest county in land area, it is one of the most populous, as its county seat, Wilmington, is one of the state's largest cities. The county was created in 1729 as New Hanover Precinct and gained county status in 1739.New Hanover County is included in the Wilmington, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area, which also includes neighboring Pender County.

Olaf M. Hustvedt

Vice Admiral Olaf Mandt Hustvedt (23 June 1886 – 22 December 1978) was a senior officer of the United States Navy. He saw service in World War I and World War II, operating in both the Battle of the Atlantic and the Pacific War. During his 36-year career, he distinguished himself as an expert in naval ordnance and as a battleship commander.

Oscar C. Badger II

Oscar Charles Badger II (June 26, 1890 – November 30, 1958) was an admiral of the United States Navy who served in both World Wars, and, as a junior officer, received the Medal of Honor.

Type A Cipher Machine

In the history of cryptography, 91-shiki ohbun-injiki (九一式欧文印字機) ("System 91 Printing Machine") or Angōki Taipu-A (暗号機 タイプA) ("Type A Cipher Machine"), codenamed Red by the United States, was a diplomatic cryptographic machine used by the Japanese Foreign Office before and during World War II. A relatively simple device, it was quickly broken by western cryptographers. The Red cipher was succeeded by the "Purple" machine ("97-shiki ōbun inji-ki") which used some of the same principles. Parallel usage of the two systems assisted in the breaking of the Purple system.

The Red cipher should not be confused with the Red naval code, which was used by the Imperial Japanese Navy between the wars. The latter was a codebook system, not a cipher.

U.S. Route 117

U.S. Route 117 (US 117) is a north–south United States highway that runs for 114 miles (183 km) from Wilmington to Wilson, entirely in the state of North Carolina.

U.S. Route 76

U.S. Route 76 (US 76) is an east–west U.S. highway that travels for approximately 548 miles (882 km) from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

USS North Carolina

USS North Carolina may refer to:

USS North Carolina (1820) was a ship of the line launched in 1820 and sold in 1867

USS North Carolina (ACR-12) was a Tennessee-class cruiser launched in 1906 and escorted troop transports during World War I and sold for scrap in 1930

USS North Carolina (BB-52) was a South Dakota-class battleship, laid down but soon canceled by the Washington Naval Treaty in 1920

USS North Carolina (BB-55) is a North Carolina-class battleship launched in 1940; decommissioned in 1947 and a museum ship in Wilmington, North Carolina

USS North Carolina (SSN-777) is a Virginia-class submarine commissioned in 2008 and currently in serviceSee also

CSS North Carolina

United States Navy

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. It has the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.

The U.S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which was established during the American Revolutionary War and was effectively disbanded as a separate entity shortly thereafter. After suffering significant loss of goods and personnel at the hands of the Barbary pirates from Algiers, the U.S. Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 for the construction of six heavy frigates, the first ships of the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Navy played a major role in the American Civil War by blockading the Confederacy and seizing control of its rivers. It played the central role in the World War II defeat of Imperial Japan. The U.S. Navy emerged from World War II as the most powerful navy in the world. The 21st century U.S. Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in strength in such areas as the Western Pacific, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. It is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward deployments during peacetime and rapidly respond to regional crises, making it a frequent actor in U.S. foreign and military policy.

The Navy is administratively managed by the Department of the Navy, which is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Navy. The Department of the Navy is itself a division of the Department of Defense, which is headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the most senior naval officer serving in the Department of the Navy.

United States Navy in World War II

The United States Navy grew rapidly during World War II from 1941–45, and played a central role in the war against Japan. It also assisted the British Royal Navy in the naval war against Germany and Italy. The largest amphibious invasion of all time was the invasion of France in June 1944. The combatant warships were 79 percent British or Canadian, 17 percent American, and the remainder were from other allies.The U.S. Navy grew slowly in the years prior to World War II, due in part to international limitations on naval operations in the 1920s. Battleship production restarted in 1937, commencing with the USS North Carolina (BB-55). The navy was able to add to its fleets during the early years of the war while the US was still neutral, increasing production of vessels both large and small, deploying a navy of nearly 350 major combatant ships by December 1941 and having an equal number under construction.The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) sought naval superiority in the Pacific by sinking the main American battle fleet at Pearl Harbor, which was tactically centered around its battleships. The December 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor did knock out the battle fleet, but it did not affect the three U.S. aircraft carriers, which were not present at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. These became the mainstay of the rebuilt fleet.

Naval doctrine had to be changed quickly. The United States Navy (like the IJN) had followed Alfred Thayer Mahan's emphasis on concentrated groups of battleships as the main offensive naval weapons. The loss of the battleships at Pearl Harbor forced Admiral Ernest J. King, the head of the Navy, to place a primary emphasis on the small number of aircraft carriers.The U.S. Navy grew tremendously as the United States was faced with a two-front war on the seas. It achieved notable acclaim in the Pacific Theater, where it was instrumental to the Allies' successful "island hopping" campaign. The U.S. Navy fought six great battles with the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN): the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the Battle of Okinawa.By war's end in 1945, the United States Navy had added nearly 1,200 major combatant ships, including twenty-seven aircraft carriers, eight "fast" battleships, and ten prewar "old" battleships totaling over 70% of the world's total numbers and total tonnage of naval vessels of 1,000 tons or greater.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington is a port city and the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, United States.

With a population of 119,045 in 2017, it is the eighth most populous city in the state. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that includes New Hanover and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which has a population of 263,429 as of the 2012 Census Estimate.

Wilmington was settled by the English along the Cape Fear River. The city was named after Spencer Compton who was the earl of Wilmington. Its historic downtown has a 1.75-mile (2.82 km) Riverwalk, developed as a tourist attraction in the late 20th century. In 2014 Wilmington's riverfront was ranked as the "Best American Riverfront" by readers of USA Today. It is minutes away from nearby beaches. The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Wilmington as one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. City residents live between the river and the ocean, with four nearby beach communities: Fort Fisher, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, all within half-hour drives from downtown Wilmington.

In 2003 the city was designated by the US Congress as a "Coast Guard City". It is the home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter.

The World War II battleship USS North Carolina is held as a war memorial; moored across from the downtown port area, the ship is open to public tours. Other attractions include the Cape Fear Museum, and the Wilmington Hammerheads United Soccer Leagues soccer team. The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) provides a wide variety of programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and adult learners, in addition to cultural and sports events open to the community.

Wilmington is the home of EUE Screen Gems Studios, the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside California. "Dream Stage 10," the facility's newest sound stage, is the third-largest in the US. It houses the largest special-effects water tank in North America. After the studio's opening in 1984, Wilmington became a major center of American film and television production. Numerous movies in a range of genres and several television series have been produced here, including Maximum Overdrive, Iron Man 3, Fox's Sleepy Hollow, One Tree Hill, Dawson's Creek and NBC's Revolution.

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