book cover
Cover Page




Aircraft Carriers






Torpedo Boats

Liberty Ships

Foreign Warships

Warships Associated With
World War II in the Pacific


This theme study has been prepared for the Congress and the National Park System Advisory Board in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Public Law 95-348, August 18, 1978. The purpose of the theme study is to evaluate surviving World War II warships that saw action in the Pacific against Japan and to provide a basis for recommending certain of them for designation as National Historic Landmarks.

During the course of this study more than 40 surviving warships and merchantmen dating from World War II were identified and visited. Twenty-five of these were found likely to meet the criteria of the National Historic Landmarks Program and are represented by inventory forms in this study. A twenty-sixth ship, USS Missouri, is written up because it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but is not likely to meet the criteria because of substantial changes made to her since listing.

These vessels include most of the major types and classes of warships to see service from 1941 to 1945. The theme study is organized by classes because this is the best way to organize and describe the types of ships that saw service in the war. Many of these classes, especially for the destroyers and submarines, represent the development of warship design theory that evolved as a result of the hard lessons learned in battle against the Japanese during the war. Because of this, many of these classes are individually important and represent either an interim or final point in warship design. Included in this study are aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, minesweepers, and a number of other types such as Liberty Ships, and PT Boats. One German submarine is included in this theme study for several reasons: first, it is the only surviving one of its type anywhere; second, it relates to War in the Pacific in that the German submarine threat had to be defeated in order to shift strategic emphasis to the Pacific theater.

The American battle fleet that fought against Japan in World War II was made up of many of these types of ships, each performing her specialized mission and supporting general fleet operations. The battle fleet in the Pacific provided an attack capability that destroyed Japan's warships and merchant marine and spearheaded the amphibious attacks that threatened the home islands with invasion. The success of the fleet was dependent upon the successful operation of its many component ships, each performing a specialized mission to accomplish the overall objective of defeating Japan. These 26 ships represent the elements of a World War II battle fleet in the Pacific that will best enable future generations of Americans to appreciate the magnitude and complexity of naval power that eventually won the war against Japan in 1945.

USS Pampanito
USS Pampanito in 1945


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

ParkNet Home