U.S. Navy Battleships - USS New York (BB 34)
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Displacement: 27,000 tons
Speed: 21.05 knots
Armament: Ten 14" guns; twenty-one 5" guns; four 21" torpedo tubes
Class: New York
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The fifth New York (BB-34) was laid down 11 September 1911 by
Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York; launched 30 October 1912:
sponsored by Miss Elsie Calder; and commissioned 15 April 1914,
Captain Thomas S. Rodgers in command.
Ordered south soon after commissioning, New York was flagship
for Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher, commanding the fleet occupying
and blockading Vera Cruz until resolution of the crisis with
Mexico in July 1914. New York then headed north for fleet
operations along the Atlantic coast as war broke out in Europe.
Upon the entry of the United States into the war, New York
sailed as flagship with Battleship Division 9 commanded
by Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman to strengthen the British Grand
Fleet in the North Sea, arriving Scapa Flow 7 December 1917.
Constituting a separate squadron in the Grand Fleet, the
American ships joined in blockade and escort missions and by
their very presence so weighted the Allies' preponderance of
naval power as to inhibit the Germans from attempting any major
fleet engagements. New York twice encountered U-boats.
During her World War I service, New York was frequently visited
by royal and other high-ranking representatives of the Allies,
and she was present for one of the most dramatic moments of the
war, the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet in the Firth of
Forth 21 November 1918. As a last European mission, New York
joined the ships escorting President Woodrow Wilson from an
ocean rendezvous to Brest en route the Versailles Conference.
Returning to a program which alternated individual and
fleet exercises with necessary maintenance, New York trained in
the Caribbean in spring 1919, and that summer joined the Pacific
Fleet at San Diego, her home port for the next 16 years. She
trained off Hawaii and the West Coast, occasionally returning to
the Atlantic and Caribbean for brief missions or overhauls. In
1937, carrying Admiral Hugh Rodman, the President's personal
representative for the coronation of King George VI of England,
New York sailed to take part in the Grand Naval Review of 20 May
1937 as sole U.S. Navy representative.
For much of the following three years, New York trained Naval
Academy midshipmen and other prospective officers with cruises
to Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean, and in mid-1941 she joined
the Neutrality Patrol. She escorted troops to Iceland in July
1941, then served as station ship at Argentia, Newfoundland,
protecting the new American base there. From America's entry
into World War II, New York guarded Atlantic convoys to Iceland
and Scotland when the U-boat menace was gravest. Submarine
contacts were numerous, but the convoys were brought to harbor
New York brought her big guns to the invasion of North Africa,
providing crucial gunfire support at Safi 8 November 1942. She
then stood by at Casablanca and Fedhala before returning home
for convoy duty escorting critically needed men and supplies to
North Africa. She then took up important duty training gunners
for battleships and destroyer escorts in Chesapeake Bay,
rendering this vital service until 10 June 1944, when she began
the first of three training cruises for the Naval Academy,
voyaging to Trinidad on each.
New York sailed 21 November for the West Coast, arriving San
Pedro 6 December for gunnery training in preparation for
amphibious operations. She departed San Pedro l2 January 1945,
called at Pearl Harbor, and was diverted to Eniwetok to survey
screw damage. Nevertheless, despite impaired speed, she joined
the Iwo Jima assault force in rehearsals at Saipan. She sailed
well ahead of the main body to join in pre-invasion bombardment
at Iwo Jima 16 February. During the next three days, she fired
more rounds than any other ship present; and, as if to show what
an old-timer could do, made a spectacular direct 14"-hit on an
enemy ammunition dump.
Leaving Iwo Jima, New York at last repaired her propellers at
Manus, and had speed restored for the assault on Okinawa, which
she reached 27 March 1945 to begin 76 consecutive days of
action. She fired pre-invasion and diversionary bombardments,
covered landings, and gave days and nights of close support to
troops advancing ashore. She did not go unscathed; a kamikaze
grazed her 14 April, demolishing her spotting plane on its
catapult. She left Okinawa 11 June to regun at Pearl Harbor.
New York prepared at Pearl Harbor for the planned invasion of
Japan, and after war's end, made a voyage to the West Coast
returning veterans and bringing out their replacements. She
sailed from Pearl Harbor again 29 September with passengers for
New York, arriving 19 October. Here she prepared to serve as
target ship in Operation Crossroads, the Bikini atomic tests,
sailing 4 March 1946 for the West Coast. She left San Francisco
1 May, and after calls in Pearl Harbor and Kwajalein, reached
Bikini 15 June. Surviving the surface blast 1 July and the
underwater explosion 25 July, she was taken into Kwajalein and
decommissioned there 29 August 1946. Later towed to Pearl
Harbor, she was studied during the next two years, and on 8 July
1948 was towed out to sea some 40 miles and there sunk after an
eight-hour pounding by ships and planes carrying out full-scale
battle maneuvers with new weapons.
New York received 3 battle stars for World War II service.
Updated: 30 July 2009