That’s one good looking battlewagon

Here we see the North Carolina-class battleship USS Washington (BB-56) maneuvering off Oahu, Hawaii, in mid-1943 during the height of the War in the Pacific. Taken by a USS Yorktown (CV-10) photographer in beautiful original color.

(NHHC: 80-G-K-15103) Click to big up.

I always liked the North Carolina-class profile with their twin thin stacks. They look a lot like really big cruisers. The follow-on SoDaks, with their stubby hull and single fat stack and the Iowas with their twin fat stacks don’t have the same “feeling” of speed to me, even though they were actually faster.

For reference, at their 46,000-ton heaviest, the 728-foot Washington could make 26.8-knots on a 121,000 hp Babcock &Wilcox/GE plant.

The South Dakotas, at 44,519-tons with a 130,000 hp plant could still hit 27.5-knots on a tighter 680-foot hull.

In contrast, the behemoth Iowas, with a 58,000-ton full load (post-1980s modernization) were still able to pull down 30+ even in their advanced age largely due to their very impressive 212,000 total shaft horsepower– almost twice that of Washington and her sistership North Carolina, proving them to be the king of the “fast battleship” concept. This fact, that they were the only battleships with the speed required for post- VJ Day operations based on fast aircraft carrier task forces, left them still in the U.S. inventory after 1962 when the six low-mileage dreadnoughts of the North Carolina and South Dakota-classes were scrapped or, in the case of half of them, donated as museum ships while the Iowas of the same era went on to another three decades on the Naval List.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

One response to “That’s one good looking battlewagon”

  1. Ed Foster says :

    Imagine an Iowa class, re-engined with a pair of surplus Seawolf reactors, the 5″ 38’s replaced with Oto Melara 76.2mm’s, a decent rocket assisted, GPS guided 16 inch AA shell, the odd Goalkeeper 30mm mounted high on the superstructure, 2 inches of heavy hydrogen shielding against neutron radiation, and an Admiral and his staff aboard a considerably safer ride than the floating target of a Blue Ridge command ship.

    All of a sudden, the complaints about huge crews and obscene operating costs become null and void. The Iowas were designed from day one as flagships (“An Admiral weighs 50 tons”}, and in addition to far more survivable command ship, the Marine Corps gets an over the horizon salvo of devastating, unstoppable 16 inch shells at a cost of $500 per projectile. 260 16 inch shells for the cost of one Harpoon.

    And the down side is…………. I can’t think of one.

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