U.S. Navy Battleships - USS Nevada (BB 36)
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Displacement: 27,500 tons
Speed: 20.5 knots
Armament: Ten 14" guns; twenty-one 5" guns; four 21" torpedo tubes
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The second Nevada (BB-36) was laid down 4 November 1912 by the
Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, Mass.; launched 11 July
1914; sponsored by Miss Eleanor Anne Seibert, niece of Governor
Tasker L. Oddie of Nevada and descendant of Secretary of the
Navy Benjamin Stoddert; and commissioned 11 March 1916, Capt.
William S. Sims in command.
Nevada joined the Atlantic Fleet at Newport 26 May 1916 and
operated along the east coast and in the Caribbean until World
War I. After training gunners out of Norfolk, she sailed 13
August 1918 to serve with the British Grand Fleet, arriving
Bantry Bay, Ireland 23 August. She made a sweep through the
North Sea and escorted the transport George Washington,
President Woodrow Wilson embarked, during the last day of her
passage into Brest, France, before sailing for home 14 December.
Nevada served in both Atlantic and Pacific Fleets in the period
between the wars. In September 1922 she represented the United
States in Rio de Janeiro for the Centennial of Brazilian
Independence. From July to September 1925, she participated in
the U.S. Fleet's goodwill cruise to Australia and New Zealand,
which demonstrated to our friends down under, and to the
Japanese, our ability to make a self-supported cruise to a
distance equal to that to Japan. Modernized at Norfolk Naval
Shipyard between August 1927 and January 1930, Nevada served in
the Pacific Fleet for the next decade.
On 7 December 1941, Nevada was moored singly off Ford Island,
and had a freedom of maneuver denied the other eight battleships
present during the attack. As her gunners opened fire and her
engineers got up steam, she was struck by one torpedo and two,
possibly three, bombs from the Japanese attackers, but was able
to get underway. While attempting to leave harbor she was struck
again. Fearing she might sink in the channel, blocking it, she
was beached at Hospital Point. Gutted forward, she lost 50
killed and 109 wounded.
Refloated 12 February 1942, Nevada repaired at Pearl Harbor and
Puget Sound Navy Yard, then sailed for Alaska where she provided
fire support for the capture of Attu 11 to 18 May. In June she
sailed for further modernization at Norfolk Navy Yard, and in
April 1944 reached British waters to prepare for the Normandy
Invasion. In action from 6 to 17 June, and again 25 June, her
mighty guns pounded not only permanent shore defenses on the
Cherbourg Peninsula, but ranged as far as 17 miles inland,
breaking up German concentrations and counterattacks. Shore
batteries straddled her 27 times, but failed to diminish her
Between 15 August and 25 September, Nevada fired in the invasion
of Southern France, dueling at Toulon with shore batteries of
13.4-inch guns taken from French battleships scuttled early in
the war. Her gun barrels were relined at New York, and she
sailed for the Pacific, arriving off Iwo Jima 16 February 1945
to give Marines invading and fighting ashore her massive gunfire
support through 7 March.
On 24 March, Nevada massed off Okinawa with the mightiest naval
force ever seen in the Pacific, as pre-invasion bombardment
began. She pounded Japanese airfields, shore defenses, supply
dumps, and troop concentrations through the crucial operation,
although 11 men were killed and a main battery turret damaged
when she was struck by a suicide plane 27 March. Another two men
were lost to fire from a shore battery 5 April. Serving off
Okinawa until 30 June, from 10 July to 7 August she ranged with
the 3rd Fleet which not only bombed the Japanese home islands,
but came within range for Nevada's guns during the closing days
of the war.
Returning to Pearl Harbor after a brief occupation duty in Tokyo
Bay, Nevada was surveyed and assigned as a target ship for the
Bikini atomic experiments. The tough old veteran survived the
atom-bomb test of July 1946, returned to Pearl Harbor to
decommission 29 August, and was sunk by gunfire and aerial
torpedoes off Hawaii 31 July 1948.
Nevada received 7 battle stars for World War II service.
Updated: 30 July 2009