70 Years Ago Today: Black Dragon Pays a Visit to the 38th Parallel

A break from Warship Wednesday to celebrate both the USMC’s birthday and the below event.

Here we see the Iowa-class battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) firing a full broadside salvo of nine 16″/50cal guns during naval gunfire support against enemy targets in Korea, purportedly adjacent to the 38th Parallel. Smoke from shell explosions is visible ashore, in the upper left. The photo is dated 10 November 1951.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. 80-G-435681

New Jersey, which like the rest of her class except for Missouri, had been placed into reserve in the late 1940s as a money-saving measure, was the first battleship reactivated for the Korean War. She arrived in Japan on 12 May 1951 and became the flagship of the Seventh Fleet under ADM Harold Martin, and reached the east coast of Korea five days later to start the first of her two tours of duty during that conflict.

During this first tour, New Jersey fired three times the number of 16-inch shells than she had in all of World War II. Let that one sink in.

For a deeper dive, including period footage of battlewagons at play off the Korean peninsula, check out this 1952 Navy film. 

She would end her first Korean tour on 22 November 1951, relieved by her sister ship Wisconsin, fresh from mothballs.

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