List of battleships of the United States Navy

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This list of battleships of the United States Navy consists of all ships with the hull classification symbol "BB". A number of these were started but never completed. All battleships have now been retired from service with the U.S. Navy.

American battleships can be roughly divided into five types: coastal defense, pre-dreadnought, dreadnought, standard, and fast.[1]

Late 1800s–1900s[edit]

Maine and Texas were part of the "New Navy" program of the 1880s. They, and BB-1 to BB-4 were authorized as "coast defense battleships".[2] The next group, BB-5 Kearsarge through BB-25 New Hampshire, followed general global pre-dreadnought design characteristics and entered service between 1900 and 1909. The definitive American predreadnought was the penultimate class of the type, the Connecticut class, sporting the usual four-gun array of 12" weapons, a very heavy intermediate and secondary battery, and a moderate tertiary battery. They were good sea boats and heavily armed and armored for their type. The final American pre-dreadnought class, the Mississippi-class second-class battleships, were a poorly thought out experiment in increasing numbers regardless of quality, and the USN quickly wished to replace them, doing so in 1914, selling them to Greece to pay for a new super-dreadnought battleship, the new USS Idaho (BB-42).

The dreadnoughts, BB-26 South Carolina through BB-35 Texas, commissioned between 1910 and 1914, uniformly possessed twin turrets, introduced the superimposed turret arrangement that would later become standard on all battleships, and had relatively heavy armor and moderate speed (19–21 knots). Five of the ten ships favored the more mature vertical triple expansion (VTE) propulsion over fuel-inefficient but faster direct-drive turbines. The ships possessed 8 (South Carolina class), 10 (Delaware and Florida) or 12 (Wyoming class) 12" guns, or 10 (New York class) 14" guns. The dreadnoughts gave good service, the last two classes surviving through World War II before being scrapped. However, they had some faults that were never worked out, and the midships turrets in the ten and twelve-gun ships were located near boilers and high-pressure steam lines, a factor that made refrigeration very difficult and problematic in hot climates. One of their number, Texas (BB-35), is the last remaining American battleship of the pre–World War II era and the only remaining dreadnought in the world.

Next came the twelve Standards, beginning with BB-36 Nevada. The last ship commissioned was BB-48 West Virginia (BB-49 through 54 were also Standards, but were never commissioned, and scrapped under the Washington Naval Treaty), commissioned over the period 1914 to 1920. Oklahoma (BB-37) was the last American battleship commissioned with triple expansion machinery; all the other Standards used either geared steam turbines (Nevada, the Pennsylvanias, Idaho and Mississippi) or turbo-electric propulsion (New Mexico, Tennessee through West Virginia). The Standards were a group of ships with four turrets, oil fuel, a 21-knot top speed, a 700 yard tactical diameter at top speed, and heavy armor distributed on the "All or Nothing" principle. Armament was fairly consistent, starting with ten 14" guns in the Nevadas, twelve in the Pennsylvanias, New Mexicos and Tennessees, and eight 16" guns in the Colorados.

Mid to late 1900s[edit]

After the 1930s "builders holiday," the USN commissioned ten more battleships of an entirely new style, the so-called fast battleship. These ships began with BB-55 North Carolina and the last ship laid down was BB-66 Kentucky (the last completed ship was BB-64 Wisconsin). These ships were a nearly clean break from previous American design practices. All ten ships were built to a Panamax design (technically post-Panamax, as they exceeded normal Panamax beam by two feet, but they were still able to transit the canal). They were fast battleships, and could travel with the aircraft carriers at cruising speed (their speed was not intended for that role, but rather so they could run down and destroy enemy battlecruisers). They possessed almost completely homogenous main armament (nine 16" guns in each ship, the sole difference being an increase in length from 45 to 50 calibers with the Iowa class vessels), very high speed relative to other American designs (28 knots in the North Carolina and South Dakota classes, 33 in the Iowa class), and moderate armor. The North Carolinas were of particular concern, as their protection was rated as only "adequate" against the 16" superheavy weapon. They had been designed with, and armored against, a battery of three quadruple 14" guns, then changed to triple 16" guns after the escalator clause in the Second London Naval Treaty had been triggered. Secondary in these ships was almost homogenous as well: Except for South Dakota, configured as a flagship, the other nine ships of this group sported a uniform 20-gun 5" secondary battery (South Dakota deleted two 5" mounts to make room for flag facilities). Visually, the World War II ships are distinguished by their triple-turret arrangement and the massive columnar mast that dominates their superstructure. The last ship, Wisconsin (BB-64), commissioned in 1944 (Wisconsin was approved last; however, Missouri commissioned 3 months later, due to delays from additional aircraft carrier construction). Missouri (BB-63), famous for being the ship on which the Japanese instrument of surrender was signed, was the last battleship in the world to decommission on 31 March 1992. Seven of these ten ships are still in existence. South Dakota, Washington and Indiana were scrapped, but the remainder are now museum ships. There was intended to be another class of five of these ships, the Montana class (BB-67 Montana through BB-71 Louisiana), but they were canceled before being laid down in favor of a greater number of aircraft carriers. The Montana class ships would have been built to a 60,000-ton post-Panamax design, and carried a greater number of guns (12x 16") and heavier armor than the other ships; otherwise they would have been homogenous with the rest of the World War II battleships.

In October 2006, the last battleships, (USS Iowa and USS Wisconsin), were stricken from the Naval Registry.

Ship list[edit]

(s) indicates ship was second class battleship (relative to other US battleships of the era).
(n) indicates ship never entered service.
(p) indicates ship is preserved.
By hull number Pictures By name
USS Maine
USS Wisconsin (BB-9)
USS New Jersey (BB-16)
USS South Carolina (BB-26)
USS Florida (BB-30)
USS New York (BB-34)
USS New Mexico (BB-40)
USS Maryland (BB-46)
USS North Carolina (BB-55)
USS Iowa (BB-61) in 1984

Except for Kearsarge, named by an act of Congress, all U.S. Navy battleships have been named for states, and each of the 48 contiguous states has had at least one battleship named for it except Montana; two battleships have been authorized to be named Montana but both were canceled before construction started. Alaska and Hawaii did not become states until 1959, after the end of battleship building, but the "battlecruiser" or Large Cruiser USS Alaska (CB-1) was built during World War II and her sister USS Hawaii (CB-3) was begun but never completed. The pre-dreadnoughts USS Zrinyi (formerly the Austrian SMS Zrínyi), USS Radetzky (formerly the Austrian SMS Radetzky), and USS Ostfriesland (formerly the German SMS Ostfriesland), taken as prizes of war after World War I, were commissioned in the US Navy, but were not assigned hull classification symbols.

No American battleship has ever been lost at sea, though USS Maine (ACR-1) exploded in port, and four battleships were sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Of these, only USS Arizona (BB-39) and USS Oklahoma (BB-37) were permanently destroyed as a result of enemy action. Several other battleships have been sunk as targets, and the USS Utah (BB-31), demilitarized and converted into a target and training ship, was permanently destroyed at Pearl Harbor. The hulk of the Oklahoma was salvaged and was lost at sea while being towed to the mainland for scrapping. Two American built pre-Dreadnought battleships, the USS Mississippi (BB-23) and her sister USS Idaho (BB-24) were sunk by German bombers in 1941 during their WWII invasion of Greece. The ships had been sold to Greece in 1914 and renamed to Kilkis and Lemnos respectively.

Battleship classes[edit]

Coast defense types[edit]

USS Texas
USS Maine

USS Texas[edit]

  • Displacement: 6,682 tons
  • Armament: 2 × 12 in (305 mm) (2x1 en echelon); 6 × 6 in (152 mm) (6x1); 12 x 6 pounders (2.7 kg) (12x1); 6 x 1 pounders (6x1); 4 then 2 (fore and aft tubes removed 1897) x 14 inch (356 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Ships in class: 1
  • Commissioned: 15 August 1895
  • Decommissioned (as USS San Marcos): 1 February 1911
  • Fate: Sunk as a target in Tangier Sound in Chesapeake Bay.

USS Maine[edit]

  • Displacement: 6,682 tons
  • Armament: 4 × 10 in (250 mm) (2x2 en echelon); 6 × 6 in (152 mm) (6x1); 7 x 6 pounders (57 mm) (7x1); 8 x 1 pounders (0.5 kg) (8x1); 4 × 14 in (350 mm) surface torpedo tubes
  • Speed: 17 knots
  • Ships in class: 1
  • Commissioned: 17 September 1895
  • Fate: Sunk by explosion 15 February 1898

USS Oregon

Indiana class[edit]

  • Displacement: 10,288 tons
  • Armament: 4 × 13 in (330 mm) (2x2), 8 × 8 in (203 mm) (4x2), 4 × 6 in (152 mm) (4x1), 20 x 6-pounders (20x1), 6 x 1-pounders (6x1), 4 Gatling guns (4x1), 6 × 18 in (457 mm) surface torpedo tubes
  • Speed: 15 knots
  • Ships in class: 3: USS Indiana, USS Massachusetts, and USS Oregon
  • Commissioned: 20 November 1895 (Indiana)
  • Decommissioned: 4 October 1919 (Oregon)
  • Fate: Indiana and Massachusetts sunk as targets; Oregon preserved as memorial 1936, scrapped 1956

Pre-dreadnought types[edit]

USS Iowa[edit]

USS Iowa
  • Displacement: 11,346 tons
  • Armament: 4 × 12 in (305 mm) (2x2), 8 × 8 in (203 mm) (4x2), 6 × 4 in (102 mm) guns (6x1), 20 x 6-pounders (20x1), 4 x 1-pounders (4x1), 4 × 14 in (356 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Speed: 17 knots
  • Commissioned: 16 June 1897
  • Decommissioned: 31 March 1919
  • Fate: sunk as bombing target 1923


USS Kentucky

Kearsarge class[edit]

  • Displacement: 11,540 tons
  • Armament: 4 × 13 in (330 mm) (2x2), 4 × 8 in (203 mm) (2x2), 14 × 6 in (152 mm) (14x1), 20 x 6-pounders (20x1), 8 x 1-pounders (8x1), 4 x 30-caliber machineguns
  • Speed: 15 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS Kearsarge and USS Kentucky
  • Commissioned: 20 February 1900 (Kearsarge)
  • Decommissioned: 29 May 1920 (Kentucky)
  • Fate: Kentucky scrapped 1924; Kearsarge converted to Crane Ship AB-1 on 5 August 1920, scrapped 1955
USS Alabama

Illinois class[edit]

  • Displacement: 11,565 tons
  • Armament: 4 × 13 in (330 mm) (2x2), 14 × 6 in (152 mm) (14x1), 16 x 6 pounders (2.7 kg) (16x1), 6 x 1 pounders (454 g) (6x1), 4 torpedo tubes
  • Speed: 17 knots
  • Ships in class: 3: USS Illinois, USS Alabama, and USS Wisconsin
  • Commissioned: 16 October 1900 (Alabama)
  • Decommissioned 15 May 1920 (Illinois, Wisconsin)
  • Fate: Illinois transferred to New York Naval Militia 1921, renamed Prairie State 1941, scrapped 1956; Alabama sunk as target 1921; Wisconsin scrapped 1922.
USS Maine

Maine class[edit]

  • Displacement: 12,500 tons
  • Armament: 4 × 12 in (305 mm) (2x2), 16 × 6 in (152 mm) (16x1), 6 × 3 in (76 mm) (6x1), 8 x 3-pounder guns (8x1), 6 x 1-pounders (6x1), 3 x .30-caliber machine guns (3x1), 2 × 18 in (457 mm) submerged torpedo tubes
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Ships in class: 3: USS Maine, USS Missouri, and USS Ohio
  • Commissioned: 29 December 1902 (Maine)
  • Decommissioned: 31 May 1922 (Ohio)
  • Fate: All scrapped 1922
USS New Jersey

Virginia class[edit]

  • Displacement: 15,000 tons
  • Armament: 4 × 12 in (305 mm) (2x2), 8 × 8 in (203 mm) (4x2), 12 × 6 in (152 mm) guns (12x1), 24 1-pounders (24x1), 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor: Belt 11 inches; Turret 12 inches; Deck 3 inches
  • Speed: 19 knots
  • Ships in class: 5: USS Virginia, USS Nebraska, USS Georgia, USS New Jersey, and USS Rhode Island
  • Commissioned: 19 February 1906 (Rhode Island)
  • Decommissioned: 13 August 1920 (Virginia)
  • Fate: Virginia and New Jersey sunk as targets, remainder sold for scrap, 1923

Connecticut class[edit]

  • Displacement: 16,000 tons
  • Armament: 4 × 12 in (305 mm) (2x2), 8 × 8 in (203 mm) (4x2), 12 × 7 in (178 mm) (12x1), 10 × 3 in (76 mm) (10x1), 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Ships in class: 6: USS Connecticut, USS Louisiana, USS Vermont, USS Kansas, USS Minnesota, and USS New Hampshire
  • Commissioned: 2 June 1906 (Louisiana)
  • Decommissioned: 1 March 1923 (Connecticut)
  • Fate: Scrapped 1923-24
USS Mississippi

Mississippi class[edit]

  • Displacement: 13,000 tons
  • Armament: 4 × 12 in (305 mm) (2x2), 8 × 8 in (203 mm) (4x2), 8 × 7 in (178 mm) (8x1), 12 × 3 in (76 mm) (12x1), 6 x 3 pounder gun (6x1), 2 x 1-pounder Mark 6 (2x1), 6 x .30-caliber machine guns (6x1), 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 17 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS Mississippi and USS Idaho
  • Commissioned: 1 February 1908 (Mississippi)
  • Fate: Decommissioned 30 July 1914 and sold to Greece. Kilkis (ex-Mississippi) and Limnos (ex-Idaho) sunk by German bombers in April 1941.


Dreadnought era[edit]

USS Michigan

South Carolina class[edit]

  • Displacement: 16,000 tons
  • Armament: 8 × 12 in (305 mm) guns (4x2), 22 × 3 in (76 mm) (22x1), 2 x 3 pounder (2x1), 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS South Carolina and USS Michigan
  • Commissioned: 4 January 1910 (Michigan)
  • Decommissioned: 11 February 1922 (Michigan)
  • Fate: Scrapped 1924
USS Delaware

Delaware class[edit]

  • Displacement: 20,380 tons
  • Armament: 10 × 12 in (305 mm) (5x2), 14 × 5 in (127 mm) (14x1), 22 × 3 in (76 mm) (22x1), 2 x 3 pounder (2x1) guns, 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS Delaware and USS North Dakota
  • Commissioned: 4 April 1910 (Delaware)
  • Decommissioned: 22 November 1923 (North Dakota)
  • Fate: Delaware scrapped 1924; North Dakota converted to target ship 1924, scrapped 1931
USS Utah

Florida class[edit]

  • Displacement: 21,800 tons
  • Armament: 10 × 12 in (305 mm) (5x2), 16 × 5 in (127 mm) (16x1), 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS Florida and USS Utah
  • Commissioned: 31 August 1911 (Utah)
  • Decommissioned: 16 February 1931 (Florida)
  • Fate: Florida scrapped in 1932, Utah became target ship (AG-16) in 1931, sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941
USS Arkansas

Wyoming class[edit]

  • Displacement: 27,200 tons
  • Armament: 12 × 12 in (305 mm) (6x2), 21 × 5 in (127 mm) (21x1), two 3-inch (3x1), 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 20.5 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS Wyoming and USS Arkansas
  • Commissioned: 17 September 1912 (Arkansas)
  • Decommissioned: 1 August 1947 (Wyoming)
  • Fate: Wyoming became a training ship (AG-17) in 1931, scrapped in 1947. Arkansas sunk at Operation Crossroads in 1946
USS Texas (BB-35)

New York class[edit]

  • Displacement: 27,200 tons
  • Armament: 10 × 14 in (356 mm) (5x2), 21 5-inch (21x1), two 3-inch (2x1), 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS New York and USS Texas
  • Commissioned: 12 March 1914 (Texas)
  • Decommissioned: 21 April 1948 (Texas)
  • Fate: New York sunk as target 1948; Texas preserved as a memorial 1948 however "Texas" was recovered and still floats today.


Standard type[edit]

USS Oklahoma

Nevada class[edit]

  • Displacement: 27,500 tons
  • Armament: 10 × 14 in (356 mm) (2x3, 2x2), 21 × 5 in (127 mm) (21x1), 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:13.5in Belt / 3in Deck
  • Speed: 20 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS Nevada and USS Oklahoma
  • Commissioned: 11 March 1916 (Nevada)
  • Decommissioned: 29 August 1946 (Nevada)
  • Fate: Nevada sunk as target 1948; Oklahoma sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941, raised and stripped of salvageable parts, sunk in route to scrapping 1947
USS Arizona

Pennsylvania class[edit]

  • Displacement: 31,400 tons
  • Armament: 12 × 14 in (356 mm) (4x3), 22 × 5 in (127 mm) (22x1), 4 × 3 in (76 mm) (4x1), 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS Pennsylvania and USS Arizona
  • Commissioned: both in 1916
  • Fate: Pennsylvania sunk after Operation Crossroads in 1946, Arizona destroyed at Pearl Harbor in 1941, designated as a memorial.
USS Idaho

New Mexico class[edit]

  • Displacement: 32,000 tons
  • Armament: 12 × 14 in (356 mm) (4x3), 14 × 5 in (127 mm) (14x1), 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Ships in class: 3: USS New Mexico, USS Mississippi, and USS Idaho
  • Commissioned: 18 December 1917 (Mississippi)
  • Decommissioned: 17 September 1956 (Mississippi)
  • Fate: New Mexico & Idaho scrapped 1947; Mississippi converted to trials ship (AG-128) 1946, scrapped 1956

Tennessee class[edit]

USS California
  • Displacement: 32,000 tons
  • Armament: 12 × 14 in (356 mm) (4x3), 14 × 5 in (127 mm) (14x1), 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS Tennessee, and USS California
  • Commissioned: 3 June 1920 (Tennessee)
  • Decommissioned: 14 February 1947 (both)
  • Fate: sold for scrap 1959

Colorado class[edit]

USS Maryland
  • Displacement: 32,600 tons
  • Armament: 8 × 16 in (406 mm) (4x2), 12 × 5 in (127 mm) (12x1), 8 × 3 in (76 mm) (8x1), 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Armor:13.5in Belt / 3.5in Deck
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Ships in class: 4: USS Colorado, USS Maryland, USS Washington, and USS West Virginia
  • Commissioned: Maryland in 1921, Colorado and West Virginia in 1923, Washington not completed and sunk as target
  • Fate: Remaining three decommissioned 1947 and sold for scrap 1959.

South Dakota class (1920)[edit]


Fast battleships[edit]

USS Washington

North Carolina class[edit]

  • Displacement: 35,000 tons
  • Armament: 9 × 16 in (406 mm) (3x3), 20 × 5 in (127 mm) (10x2), 16 x 1.1 inch AA (4x4)
  • Armor: 12in Belt / 7in Deck
  • Speed: 28 knots
  • Ships in class: 2: USS North Carolina and USS Washington
  • Commissioned: 1941
  • Fate: North Carolina preserved as memorial 1965; Washington scrapped 1962
USS Massachusetts

South Dakota class[edit]

  • Displacement: 38,000 tons
  • Armament: 9 × 16 in (406 mm) (3x3), 20 (16 on South Dakota) x 5 inch (10 or 8 x 2), up to 40 x 40mm AA (17x4), up to 76 x 20 mm AA (76x1), 3 aircraft
  • Armor: 12in Belt / 7.5in Deck
  • Speed: 27 knots
  • Ships in class: 4: USS South Dakota, USS Indiana, USS Massachusetts, and USS Alabama
  • Commissioned: 1942
  • Fate: South Dakota and Indiana scrapped 1960; Alabama preserved as memorial 1964; Massachusetts preserved as memorial 1965
USS Missouri (1980s refit)[3]

Iowa class[edit]

USS Montana (artist impression)

Montana class[edit]

  • Displacement: 65,000 tons
  • Armament: 12 × 16 in (406 mm) (4x3), 20 × 5 in (127 mm) (10x2), undesignated number of 40 mm and 20 mm
  • Armor: 16in Belt / 8.2in Deck
  • Speed: 28 knots
  • Ships in class: 5: USS Montana, USS Ohio, USS Maine, USS New Hampshire, and USS Louisiana
  • Fate: All canceled in 1943 before being laid down

Battleship museums[edit]

See: U.S. Navy Museum#Battleship museums

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Battleships. an illustrated design history by Norman Friedman: ISBN 0-87021-715-1
  2. ^ U.S. Warships of World War I by Paul Silverstone p.29
  3. ^ http://www.ussmissouri.com

External links[edit]