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Aircraft Carriers






Torpedo Boats

Liberty Ships

Foreign Warships

Warships Associated With
World War II in the Pacific



Iowa class

USS Missouri
USS Missouri, Long Beach, CA
(Photo by U.S. Navy, 1984)

Name:USS Missouri (BB-63)
Location:Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Long Beach, California
Owner:United States Navy
Condition:Good, altered

Displacement:45,000 tons standard / 57,500 tons full load
Length:888 feet
Width:108 feet
Machinery:4 sets, General Electric Turbines, 8-Babcock & Wilcox Boilers
Fuel Oil Capacity:7,620 tons
Maximum Speed:33 knots
Armament:9 16-inch/50 caliber guns; 20 5-inch 38 caliber guns; Various combinations of 40 mm and 20 mm antiaircraft guns
Crew:2,700 wartime

Builder:New York Naval Shipyard
Launched:January 29, 1944
Commissioned:June 11, 1944


USS Missouri (BB-63) was built by the New York Naval Shipyard. She was laid down on January 6, 1941, and launched on January 29, 1944. USS Missouri was commissioned on June 11, 1944.

USS Missouri is one of four Iowa class battleships completed by the United States during World War II. The Iowa class battleships were built and designed without any of the treaty limitations that governed the previous North Carolina and South Dakota class of battleships. Iowa class battleships were the largest and fastest battleships completed by the United States during the war. Like previous fast battleships, Iowa class battleships were designed to provide air protection for the carriers and surface protection in the event of an attack by Japanese surface units.

USS Missouri is now in Long Beach, California undergoing reactivation by States Navy. USS Missouri retains little of her World War II integrity.

Role of the Battleship in World War II

The first modern battleship had its inception with the launching of HMS Dread nought by Great Britain in 1906. HMS Dreadnought was the world's first all big-gun, fast, heavily armoured capital ship and her launching made all the major ships in all other navies obsolete. The design features of HMS Dreadnought were rapidly copied by other navies and by 1914 the modern big gun heavily armoured battleship dominated naval warfare.

Battleships fought their first and only decisive action of World War I in the Battle of Jutland in May 1916. Although the British fleet won the day and forced the Germans to retire to the safety of their ports, the German design and construction of battleships was shown to be superior. After the Battle of Jutland the Germans never again risked their battleships in open conflict with His Majesty's fleet but turned instead to unrestricted submarine warfare.

After the end of World War I the battleship continued to dominate naval strategy. In an effort to reduce the expenditures required to fund new battleships the United States, Britain, France, Japan and Italy agreed to a moratorium on new battleship construction in 1922 at the Washington Naval Conference. As a result of this agreement, new American battleships in construction were broken up and scrapped. No new battleships were built until 1936 when USS North Carolina was authorized by the Congress.

During these years the nature of naval power was changing as a result of the perfection of the airplane and the introduction of a new capital ship utilizing this new weapon--the aircraft carrier. Supporters of air power argued that the battleship as the principal capital ship of the navy was obsolete because of the long reach of naval aircraft. This view was strengthened early in World War II when the British carried out a carrier strike on the Italian battle fleet at Taranto on November 11, 1940. Subsequent Japanese carrier strikes on the American battlefleet at Pearl Harbor and airstrikes from land based aircraft on the British ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse confirmed the new order of naval strategy.

While the rise of the aircraft carrier forever altered naval strategy it did not totally eclipse the importance of the battleship. In both the Atlantic and the Pacific, old American battleships carried out extensive bombardments on enemy held shores while new generations of fast American battleships escorted aircraft carriers and provided then with a dense thicket of antiaircraft fire when necessary. Both old and new American battleships saw heavy service during the war providing cover for other ships and eventually bombarding the Japanese home islands in 1945. When the war in the Pacific ended on September 2, 1945, the surrender of the Japanese was signed on board the battleship USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Harbor. Although replaced by the aircraft carrier as the principal capital ship of the navy, the battleship saw important and useful service during World War II and contributed to the eventual American victory.

Loss of Historic Integrity

USS Missouri was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 because she was the site of the signing of the instrument of Japanese surrender in World War II and because she was the last battleship completed by the United States.

In 1984 the United States Navy began the reactivation of USS Missouri. The ship was moved from her port in Bremerton, Washington, to Long Beach, California. The modernization of USS Missouri involves the complete alteration of the historic fabric of the ship. Details concerning this modernization can be found in Appendix A of this report. When USS Missouri emerges from this refit and joins the Navy as an active ship she will no longer be representative of a World War II Iowa class battleship. USS Missouri will be a modern navy ship designed in the 1980s and an active part of the fleet.

Due to the loss of historic integrity USS Missouri cannot be recommended for designation as a National Historic Landmark.


No Author, USS Missouri (BB-63) Reactivation and Modernization. No place of Publication: United States Navy, no date.

McMahon, William E. Dreadnought Battleships and Battle Cruisers. Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1978.

Pater, Alan F. United States Battleships--The History of America's Greatest Fighting Fleet. Beverly Hills, California: Monitor Book Company, 1968.

Stern, Rob. US Battleships in Action Part 2. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc. 1984.

Appendix A


  1. Crude Oil in (143) Tanks
  2. Aft Boat Crane and Support Equipments
  3. (20) 40MM Guns and (20) Gun Directors
  4. Pole Mast and Platform
  5. Tri-Pod Mast on Aft Stack
  6. (40) Freon Expansion Air Conditioning Units
  7. (4) 5"/38 Gun Mounts
  8. (80) CO-2 Boat/Liferaft Racks
  9. Obsolete Galley Equipments
  10. Obsolete Sanitary Facilities
  11. Chain Bunks and Racks
  12. AN/SPS-8 Radar Equipment
  13. AN/SPS-6 Radar Equipment
  14. (2) Gasoline Tanks AFT 1st Platform Deck
  15. (2) Ship Speed Indicating Pit-Swords
  16. Vent Duct and Air-Intakes Aft Main Deck
  17. Chlorination Water System
  18. 20MC Radar Control Ann. System
  19. 21MC Capt. Command Ann. System
  20. 22MC Elex. Control Ann. System
  21. 24MC Flag Command Ann. System
  22. L.P. Air Compressors


  1. Conversion Fuel system to Navy Distillate (SWLIN 26190)
  2. Provide modern Fire Fighting system AFFF, PKP, HALON (55591)
  3. Replace Chlorination Water system with Bromine (53191)
  4. Upgrade Damage Control, Repair and Unit Patrol Stations (67091, 2, 3)
  5. Upgrade Work Shops, Tool and Equipment Issue (66591)
  6. Upgrade and provide new Storerooms (67095, 6, 7)
  7. Modernize crew Sanitary, Messing and Berthing facilities (65591, 2)
  8. Modernize Laundry, Dry cleaning facilities Modernize Medical, Dental facilities (65291)
  9. Install new Heat, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems (51491)
  10. Install new Training and Entertainment TV Systems (43491)
  11. Install 400 Line Dial Telephone system (43291)
  12. Install (3) 100KW frequency changes for 400HZ electrical power (31491)
  13. Install (8) TOMAHAWK Cruise Missile Launcher Systems (72392)
  14. Install (4) HARPOON Cruise Missile Launcher Systems (72192)
  15. Install (4) Close in Weapon Systems (CIWS) (48191)
  16. Install (8) Super Rapid Bloom Rocket Launchers (SRBOC) (47491)
  17. Install AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System (47191)
  18. Install AN/SLQ-25 NIXIE Decoy Systems (47391)
  19. Install AN/SPS-49 Air Search Radar System (45291)


USS Missouri USS Missouri USS Missouri

USS Missouri USS Missouri USS Missouri

(click on the above photographs for a more detailed view)

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Last Modified: Fri, Aug 25 2000 12:00:00 pm PDT

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