USS Nevada (BB-36)

From WarWiki
300px The USS Nevada.
CareerUnited States Navy Jack
Laid down:4 November 1912
Launched:11 July 1914
Commissioned:11 March 1916
Decommissioned:29 August 1946
Fate:target ship, sunk 31 July 1948
Nickname:"Cheer Up Ship"[1]
General Characteristics
Displacement:27,500 t[3]
Length:583 ft (178 m)[3]
Beam:85.3 ft (26 m)[3]
Draft:28.5 ft (8.7 m)[4] to 28.6 ft (8.8 m).[2]
Propulsion:Geared[3] Curtis turbines[4]
Speed:20.5 knots[3][4]
Complement:(as built) 864 officers and men[5] (from 1929) 1,398;[6] (from 1945) 2,220;[7]
Armament:10 × 14 in (356 mm) guns,[5] 21 × 5 in (127 mm) guns,[5][8] 2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes[4][5]

USS Nevada (BB-36), the second United States Navy ship to be named after the 36th state, was a World War I-era battleship and the lead ship of her class of two; her sister ship was the USS Oklahoma (BB-37).

The Nevada served in both World Wars: in World War I, she served with the British Grand Fleet until the end of the war; in World War II, she was one of the battleships moored in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. She was the only battleship to get underway during the attack, which was "the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal and depressing morning."[9] After being hit by at least six bombs while steaming away from Battleship Row, she was beached at Hospital Point to avoid sinking and blocking the one channel that leads out of Pearl Harbor. After being salvaged and subsequently modernized, she served as a fire-support ship for the Normandy Landings and the invasions of Southern France, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The only battleship to have seen both the attack on Pearl Harbor and the invasion of Normandy, she was described as "... steaming majestically [off Normandy] with all of [her] battle flags flying, [even though] the Japanese had sunk and written [her] off at Pearl Harbor.[10]

At the end of World War II, the Nevada was too old to be retained by the navy, so she was designated to be used in the Bikini atomic experiments of 1946. She was not sunk by the two atomic bombs that were detonated, but was damaged and made radioactive. As a result, she was decommissioned on 29 August 1946 and sunk as a target ship on 31 July 1948.


Design changes from previous classes[edit]

The Nevada class was "another graduated step in the rapidly evolving American battleship".[9] The class were the first U.S. Navy battleships to have triple gun turrets, and[11][12] they were also the first battleships in the U.S. Navy to be fired with oil instead of coal, which gave them a "huge engineering advantage."[9] Also, while previous battleships had armor of various thickness, depending on the importance of the area it was protecting, the Nevada class had maximum armor over critical areas (magazines, engines, etc.) and none over less important places; this become known as the "All or Nothing" principle, which most major navies adopted for themselves in their own battleships.[11][12][13][14] In addition, the Nevada class had 40% more armor by weight than the New York class battleships.[4]

Possible design flaws[edit]

A possible design flaw in the Nevada was that she "sported heavy armor of about 18¾ thickness but was woefully lacking in deck protection"[11] due to the prevailing belief in 1911-1913 (when she was built) that the submarine was the greatest threat to a battleship.[11] By the time of World War II, however, the greatest threat had become airplanes[13]—"the results of this were later...realized at Pearl Harbor, with Nevada's experience proving that the watertight integrity of older warships was unlikely to be satisfactory."[11][12]

Different propulsion between the Nevada and the Oklahoma[edit]

The Nevada and her sister ship, the Oklahoma, were fitted with different engines to have them 'compete' against one another: the Oklahoma received older vertical triple expansion engines, while the Nevada received Curtis steam turbines.[4][15][A 1]


The construction of the Nevada was authorized by an Act of Congress on 4 March 1911.[15] The contract to build the vessel was given to the Fore River Shipbuilding Company on 22 January 1912. The contract was for a total of $5,895,000.00 (not including the armor and armament), and the time of construction was originally to be 36 months.[15] A secondary contract was signed on 31 July 1912 for $50,000 to cover the additional cost of a geared cruising unit on each propeller shaft; this also extended the planned construction time for the battleship by five months.[15] She was laid down on 4 November 1912,[2] and was launched on 11 July 1914; it was sponsored by Miss Eleanor Anne Seibert, who was the niece of Governor Tasker Oddie of Nevada and also a descendant of the first Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Stoddert. The Nevada was commissioned on 11 March 1916, with Capt. William S. Sims becoming the first captain of the new dreadnought.[2]

World War I[edit]

After her running trials and conducting tests off Rockford, Maine,[16] Nevada joined the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in Newport, Rhode Island on 26 May 1916.[2] She operated along the east coast and in the Caribbean until the entry of the United States into World War I in 1917.[2] After training gunners, she sailed on 13 August 1918 to serve with the British Grand Fleet.[2] After a ten-day voyage, she arrived in Bantry Bay, Ireland on 23 August.[2] She first made a patrol through the North Sea, and then escorted the transport George Washington, with President Woodrow Wilson embarked, during the last day of her passage into Brest, France.[2] After the escorting duties, she sailed for home on 14 December,[2] having not fired a shot in anger during the war.[13]

Interwar years[edit]

In the time between the two world wars, Nevada served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.[2] Though she was originally equipped with twenty-one 5"/51 caliber guns to defend against enemy destroyers,[12] they were reduced to twelve in 1918,[8] due to the overly wet positions the other nine had been occupying near the bow and stern.[12][4]

Along with the Arizona, she represented the United States at the Peruvian Centennial Exposition in July 1921;[17] a year later, she returned to South America with the Maryland to represent the United States again, this time for the Centennial of Brazilian Independence, celebrated in September 1922.[2][17] Three years later, from July to September 1925, Nevada took part in the U.S. Fleet's "goodwill cruise" to Australia and New Zealand. During this cruise, the ships had only limited replenishment opportunities but still made it to Australia and back with no problem.[18] This demonstrated to these allies and the Japanese that the U.S. had the ability to make a self-supported cruise of a distance equal to that of the Imperial Japanese Navy could do.[2]


After the cruise, Nevada was modernized at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard between August 1927 and January 1930, with the exchanges of her "basket" masts for tripod masts[19] and her steam turbine from the recently stricken North Dakota.[11][4] Also, eight 5"/25 caliber guns were added,[8] a new superstructure was installed,[19] and her five-inch secondary battery was relocated.[19] The Nevada then served in the Pacific Fleet for the next eleven years.[19]

World War II[edit]

Pearl Harbor[edit]

File:USS Nevada as seen from Ford Island passing avocet prior to first beaching NHC-USNHC - NH 97397.jpg
Nevada under attack while passing by 1010 Dock during her bid for freedom, prior to being beached.

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Nevada was not moored side-by-side with another battleship off Ford Island, and so she therefore had a "freedom of maneuver [that was] denied [to the] other eight battleships present during the attack."[2] As her gunners opened fire and her engineers started to get steam up, one torpedo exploded against frame 41 about fourteen feet above the keel at 0810.[20] The innermost torpedo bulkhead held, but leaking through joints caused flooding and a list of 4 to 5 degrees.[20] Nevada corrected the list through counter-flooding and got underway at 0840,[20] her gunners already having shot down four planes.[21]


As she steamed past Ten-Ten Dock at about 0950, Nevada was struck by five bombs.[20] One exploded over the crew's galley.[20] Another struck the port director platform and exploded at the base of the stack on the upper deck.[20] Another hit near number 1 turret inboard from the port waterway and blew large holes in the upper and main decks.[20] Two struck the forecastle near frame 15.[20] One of them passed out through the side of the second deck before exploding, but the other exploded within the ship near the gasoline tank.[20] Gasoline leakage and vapors caused intense fires,[20] though those gasoline fires around turret 1 might have caused more critical damage if the main battery powder magazines had not been empty.[22] For several days prior to the attack, all of the 14-inch gun battleships had been replacing their standard weight main battery projectiles with a new heavier projectile that offered greater penetration and a larger explosive charge in exchange for a slight decrease in range.[22] All of the older projectiles and powder charges had been removed from the Nevada's magazines, and the crew took a break after loading the new projectiles in anticipation of loading the new powder charges Sunday.[22]

As bomb damage became evident, Nevada was ordered to proceed to the west side of Ford Island to prevent her from being sunk in the channel "and effectively cork the rest of the fleet in a bottle."[23] Instead, Nevada was grounded off Hospital Point at 1030.[24] However, the Nevada did manage to force three planes down before she grounded: "..."three enemy planes, probably dive bombers, were fired upon until a range of 200 yards was reached. Members of the crew observed these planes to crash, one in a cane field toward Ewa, one near the Naval Hospital and one in the channel."[21]

Over the course of the morning, the Nevada suffered a total of 60 killed and 109 wounded.[2] Two more men died aboard Nevada during salvage operations on 7 February 1942 when they were overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas from decomposing paper and meat.[25] The ship itself suffered " least six (6) bomb hits and one torpedo hit. It is possible that as many as ten bomb hits may have been received by the Nevada, as certain damaged areas [were] of sufficient size to indicate that they were struck by more than one bomb."[21]

The ordeal wasn't over quite yet for the Nevada's surviving uninjured crew, however:


Attu and D-Day[edit]

File:USS Nevada (BB-36) fires in support of Normandy.jpg
The Nevada supporting of the landings on "Utah" Beach, 6 June 1944.[12]

The Nevada was refloated on 12 February 1942 and had temporary repairs done at Pearl Harbor so that she could get to Puget Sound Navy Yard for a complete overhaul.[26] The overhaul took about a year and made the old battleship look similar in appearance to a South Dakota-class battleship.[27] The overhaul also included replacing the 5"/51 caliber guns and 5"/25 caliber guns with sixteen 5"/38 caliber guns in new twin mounts.[8] Nevada then sailed for Alaska, where she provided fire support for the capture of Attu 11 May to 18 May 1943.[2]

Nevada then departed for the Norfolk Navy Yard in June for further modernization. After this was completed, Nevada went on Atlantic convoy duty[28] until she set sail for the United Kingdom to prepare for the Normandy Invasion.[2] She reached the U.K. in April 1944.[2] She participated in the invasion from 6 June to 17 June, and again on 25 June; during this time, her guns hit permanent shore defenses on the Cherbourg Peninsula, "seem[ing] to lean back as [she] hurled salvo after salvo at the shore batteries."[29]. Shore batteries straddled her 27 times, but did not hit her.[2] Shells from the Nevada's guns ranged as far as Template:Convert inland when she was attempting to break up German concentrations and counterattacks.[2]

Nevada was the only battleship that was present at both Pearl Harbor and the Normandy Invasion.[10] VCS-7, a U.S. Navy Spotter Squadron flying Supermarine Spitfire VBs and Seafire IIIs that was embarked upon the Nevada and other ships, was one of the units which provided targeting coordinates and fire control.[30]

Southern France and Iwo Jima[edit]

File:USS Nevada (BB-36) bombarding Iwo Jima.jpg
The Nevada bombarding Iwo Jima, 19 February 1945.[31]

Nevada supported Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France, between 15 August and 25 September 1944, "dueling"[2] at Toulon with shore batteries of Template:Convert guns that had been taken from French battleships that had been scuttled early in the war.[2] She then headed to New York to have her gun barrels relined and to have her #1 turret's guns replaced with the guns that had been removed from turret #2 on the Arizona.[32] After that was completed she sailed for the Pacific, arriving off Iwo Jima on 16 February 1945[2] to "[prepare] the island for invasion with heavy bombardment."[33] She did that through 7 March.[2]

Okinawa and Japan[edit]

On 24 March 1945, Nevada joined the "mightiest naval force ever seen in the Pacific"[2] when it was off Okinawa as pre-invasion bombardment began.[2] During the bombardment, she shelled Japanese airfields, shore defenses, supply dumps, and troop concentrations. Eleven men were killed and one of her main battery turrets was damaged when she was struck by a kamikaze suicide plane on 27 March.[2] Another two men were lost to fire from a shore battery on 5 April. Until 30 June, she served off Okinawa; she then departed to join with the 3rd Fleet from 10 July to 7 August, allowing the Nevada's guns to hit the Japanese home islands during the closing days of the war.[2]

After the War[edit]

File:USS Nevada (BB-36) specs.jpg
A Division of Naval Intelligence file detailing the Nevada after her repair.

Returning to Pearl Harbor after a brief occupation duty in Tokyo Bay, Nevada was surveyed and was found to be "too old for retention in the post-war fleet."[19] As a result, she was assigned to be a target ship for the Bikini atomic experiments of July 1946,[2] where two atomic bombs were dropped to test their effectiveness against ships.[34] She was designated to be "ground zero"[35] for the first test, which was codenamed 'Able'.[36] Nevada was painted an "ugly"[36] reddish-orange for the test to "facilitate the bombers' aim".[36] When the bomb was dropped, however, the bomb was off by about 1,700 yards, with the bomb actually exploding above the light carrier Independence.[36] The "old"[2] battleship survived the second test as well, but the bombs left her damaged and radioactive.[19] As a result, she was returned to Pearl Harbor to be decommissioned on 29 August 1946.[2]

After she was thoroughly examined at Pearl Harbor,[4] her final sortie came on 31 July 1948, when she was used as a target for gunfire from the Iowa, a heavy cruiser and a destroyer, and then was finished off by an aerial torpedo hit amidships; she sank 65 miles southwest of Pearl Harbor.[37] As of 2008, the wreck of the Nevada has not yet been discovered.[38]



  1. Bonner, 100.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 Template:Cite DANFS
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The Battleship in the United States Navy, 47.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Toppan, Andrew (1995-2001). World Battleships List: US Dreadnought Battleships. Retrieved on 2008-09-04.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 The Battleship in the United States Navy, 46.
  6. Fitzsimons, Bernard, editor. "Nevada", in Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1978), Volume 18, p.1982.
  7. Fitzsimons, p.1982.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Breyer, 210
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Bonner, 101.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ryan, 90.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Pike, John (2000-2008). BB-36 Nevada class. Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Nevada Class (BB-36 and BB-37), 1912 Building Program. Naval Historical Center (2000). Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Bonner, 102.
  14. Let's say you want to "Build a Better Battleship".... Iowa Class Preservation Association (2000). Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Cox, Lt. Ormund L. (1916). "U.S.S. Nevada; Description and Trials". Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, Inc. 28: 20. Retrieved on 2008-09-05. 
  16. Nohl, Michael (2008). NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive; BB-36 USS Nevada; 1912 - 1919. NavSource Naval History. Retrieved on 2008-09-04.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Bonner, 102-103.
  18. Bonner, 103.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 USS Nevada (Battleship # 36, later BB-36), 1916-1948. Naval Historical Center (2000/2007). Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8 20.9 Wallin, 212
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Scanland, F.W. (1941). USS Nevada, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack. Naval Historical Center. Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Sabin, L.A., VADM USN "Comment and Discussion" United States Naval Institute Proceedings September 1973 p.97
  23. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bonner105
  24. Wallin, 212-213
  25. Wallin, 218
  26. Bonner, 106.
  27. USS Nevada (BB-36); U.S. Navy Battleship of World War II. (2007). Retrieved on 2008-09-03. (Scroll down to the Division of Naval Intelligence file image that is about halfway down the page; the comment is in the upper right of the image.)
  28. Battleships in the United States Navy, 51.
  29. Ryan, 198.
  30. Hill, Steven D. (May–June 1994). "Spitfires of the US Navy". Naval Aviation News. Washington, D.C.: Chief of Naval Operations. ISSN 0028-1417. OCLC 2577618.  Copy available online at The Spitfire Site. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  31. USS Nevada (Battleship # 36, later BB-36) -- Action and Miscellaneous Views. Naval Historical Center (2007). Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
  32. Pocock, Michael (2005-2008). USS Nevada (BB-36); Builder's Notes. Maritime Quest. Retrieved on 2008-09-03.
  33. CINCPOA Communique No. 264, 19 February 1945. ibiblio (1945). Retrieved on 2008-09-03.
  34. Operation Crossroads: Bikini Atoll. Naval Historical Center (2001). Retrieved on 2008-09-02.
  35. Bonner, 107.
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 Bonner, 108.
  37. Nevada. Naval Vessel Register. The Department of Defense. Retrieved on 1 September 2008.
  38. USS Nevada BB-36. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.


  1. See this book for more information on Curtis turbines (Scroll down to the bottom of the page): Ewing, James Alfred (1910). The Steam-engine and Other Heat-engines. University Press (University of California), 232.


  • Breyer, Siegfried (1973). Battleships and Battle Cruisers 1905–1970. Doubleday and Company. ISBN 0385-0-7247-0.
  • (1970) The Battleship in the United States Navy. Washington D.C.: Naval History Divison.
  • Kermit Bonner (1996). Final Voyages. Turner Publishing Company. (Google books link.)
  • Ryan, Cornelius (1959). The Longest Day; June 6, 1944. New York: Simon and Schuster. 671-20814-1.
  • Wallin, Homer N., VADM USN (1968). Pearl Harbor: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal. United States Government Printing Office.
  • Template:NVR

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at {{{1}}}. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WarWiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

See also[edit]

  • Lt. Cmdr. James H. Barry (1946). Lt. (j.g.) William S. Wyatt, USNR: USS Nevada 1916-1946. San Francisco: The James H. Barry Company.
  • Madsen, Daniel (2003). Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor. U. S. Naval Institute Press.

External links[edit]


Nevada-class battleship
Nevada | Oklahoma
List of battleships of the United States Navy