Battleship’s Main Battery Directors

Illustration of U.S. Navy WWII battleship’s main battery directors. Source: Naval Ordnance and Gunnery, NAVPERS 16116, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Training Division, May 1944.

Main battery of directors.

Main battery directors.


“Battleship X” is the USS South Dakota

After the Battle of Santa Cruz and Guadalcanal, “Battleship X” is identified as the USS South Dakota. Source: Newsmap, U.S. Army Service Forces, Army Information Branch, October 11, 1943.


Because she was the first of a new class of battleships bearing new armament and possessing greatly increased firepower, official Navy communiques did not identify the warship which shot down 32 Jap planes during the Battle of Santa Cruz, Oct. 26, 1942, and sank three Jap cruisers off Guadalcanal Nov. 14, 1942. She was known only as the “Battleship X” until last week, when the Navy identified her as the USS South Dakota. She has three sister ships, the USS Massachusetts, the USS Indiana and the USS Alabama.

Battleship X is the USS South Dakota

Big 16-inch guns enable the South Dakota to knock off enemy ships before they can bring weapons within range.

Japanese Torpedo Bombers, Battle of Santa Cruz

These Jap torpedo bombers had visions of a second Repulse and Prince of Wales as they skimmed in toward the South Dakota. During the first enemy attack in the Battle of Santa Cruz, 20 out of 20 Jap dive bombers were shot down.

Battle of Santa Cruz, WW2, Pacific

Automatic Bofors and Oerlikon batteries of the South Dakota (center) and the carrier Enterprise (right) put up a shield of hot steel. The Enterprise and her planes accounted for 63 Jap planes during the Battle of Santa Cruz.

Quadruple Automatic 40mm Bofors

This is one of the quadruple automatic 40mm Bofors, mounted on a fast-swinging turret which brings its guns to bear on rapidly moving planes. The new battleships are covered with these 20mm Oerlikons and heavier pieces.


BB in Port

BB in Port: U.S. Navy Battleship WW2

BB in Port, All Hands Magazine, August 1944. (U.S. Navy Photo.)


Wreck of Italian Battleship Roma Discovered

The wreck of the Italian battleship Roma has been located by Italian Navy divers off the coast of Sardinia after a lenghty multi-year search. The battleship Roma was sunk by German aircraft on September 9, 1943 while underway to Malta to surrender to Allied forces. Italian Admiral Carlo Bergamini and over 1,300 sailors died when the battleship was sunk by the Luftwaffe.

Italian Navy Battleship Roma WW2

Battery of the Battleship USS California

The shining 14-inch 50-caliber main guns, “sentinels of security,” form the forward main battery of the USS California (BB-44). The USS California was sunk on Battleship Row in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, but the ship was salvaged and reconstructed to serve in the Pacific for the remainder of WWII.

Main Battery of the Battleship USS California

Source: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, November 1942.

The People of Missouri Can Take Pride

Battleship USS Missouri from All Hands, Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, October 1945.


On 29 Jan 1944, the Senator from Missouri, Harry Truman, spoke at the launching of the nation’s mightiest battlewagon, the USS Missouri. He said: “The time is surely coming when the people of Missouri can thrill with pride as the Missouri and her sister ships sail into Tokyo Bay.”

Battleship USS Missouri

MISSOURI, flanked by destroyer, steams into Tokyo Bay. Astern is the Iowa.

Eighteen months later, the Senator had become President and the Missouri was destined to play an even more dramatic role than had been anticipated either during her launching or during the months of bitter fighting when she helped devastate the Jap war machine. For it was the Missouri that was selected for the formal surrender signing.

The $100,000,000-dreadnaught is an apt symbol of the great role played by the Navy in the defeat of Japan. The equivalent of an 18-story building in height—with seven of these stories under water—the Missouri helped batter Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Tokyo area.

The Missouri, like other American capital ships, suffered from a Kamikaze hit. On 11 April a Jap suicide plane crashed into her superstructure and then hit her starboard side aft. The resulting fire was quickly extinguished and the Missouri did not even alter her course.

By the middle of July, when the Navy prepared for what was to be the final blow at Japan, Admiral Halsey chose the Missouri as flagship of the Third Fleet.

The 45,000-ton man o’ war—she is the same class as the Iowa, New Jersey and Wisconsin—is the fourth warship of her name. The first was a side-wheeled frigate completed in 1842. She was destroyed by fire while anchored in Gibraltar in 1844. The second Missouri was a Confederate iron-clad steam ram.

The third of that name, a 12,500-ton battleship, put to sea about 40 years ago and aboard was a young midshipman named Bill Halsey, today the Admiral in command of the Third Fleet. She was scrapped in 1922 under the Washington Treaty.


Your Battleship and Her Requirements

Your Battleship and Her Requirements: (Newsmap, May 1944)

U.S. Navy WW2 Battleship Poster

Continue reading Your Battleship and Her Requirements

Russian Battleship Sevastopol

Details and illustrations from a U.S. Naval Intelligence 1943 report on the Russian battleship Sevastopol:

Sevastopol Battleship Russia WW2

Russia WW2 Battleship BB Sevastopol - Silhouette Diagram and Dimensions

Russian Battleship Sevastopol - WW2 Russian Fleet



Date laid down: 1909.
Date commissioned: 1915.
Normal displacement: 23,000 tons.
Length overall: 594 feet.
Beam: 87 feet.
Maximum draft: 27 feet.
Type of machinery: Parson’s Turbines.
Horsepower: 42,000.
Number of Propellors: 4.
Type of boilers: Yarrow.
Number of boilers: 25.
Full speed: 18 knots.
Cruising speed: 16 knots with a cruising radius of 4,000 miles.
Aircraft normally carried: 2.
Launching device: 1 catapult.
Fire control: director control.
Number of searchlights: 6.


Armor: Belt 8 3/4 inches amidships; 5″ and 2″ at ends; 3″ to 4″ internal belt.
Turrets: 12″ – 10″; 8″ barbettes.
Decks: 3″.
FC towers: 10″ forward.

The armor belt is about 15 feet wide, five feet of it being below the water line, of uniform thickness; there is a second 3″ or 4″ internal belt from 11 feet inboard above the protective deck extending between it and the barbettes. The space between the main and internal belts is divided up into water tight compartments.


12 — 12″ 52 caliber guns in triple turrets with a maximum elevation of 25°, a muzzle velocity of 2644 feet per second, and a maximum range of 30,000 yards.
10 — 4.7″ 50 caliber guns in casemates with a muzzle velocity of 2624 feet per second.
6 — 4.1″ antiaircraft guns.
3 — 3.9″ antiaircraft guns.
4 — 3″ antiaircraft guns.

The port plates above each gun are in the form of a hinged flap, allowing each 12″ gun to elevate to 25° maximum.

Arcs of fire: end triple 12″ turrets is 310° central turrets, 130° on each beam; the after 4.7″ gun, 90° the other 4.7″ guns, 85°.

Main battery guns in number 2 and number 3 turrets have been replaced by guns of a “higher caliber”, reports indicate.

Number of torpedo tubes: 4 18″ submerged.


It is not believed that the modernization of this unit included an increased compartmentation of the hull as in the case of the other two units of this class. There is no evidence of external blisters having been fitted. The first stack was trunked aft, and a tripod foremast with FC top, and catapult have been fitted. Otherwise, the reconstruction does not appear to have been as extensive as on her sister ships.

This unit is reported to be most unhealthy, unsanitary and badly ventilated.

The Sevastopol proceeded from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea in 1930 in company with the overage light cruiser Profintern. Her general condition, at that time was reported to be unfit and the official explanation of her remaining in the Black Sea was that she could not face the return voyage.


The main deck level centerline disposition of the four large triple turrets is unique among existing capital ships, readily distinguishable from the air.

At long range on the surface, this vessel bears a faint resemblance to the Japanese battleship of the FUSO Class.

Russian Battleship BB Sevastopol: Main turret gun armament Russian Battleship BB Sevastopol: Stern Antiaircraft Battery Russian Battleship BB Sevastopol: Three main battery triple turrets

Arrangement of Guns on Naval Vessels

Illustation of the typical arrangement of guns on a WWII battleship, cruiser, and destroyer from Naval Ordnance and Gunnery, NAVPERS 16116, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Training Division, May, 1944:

Arrangement of guns on a battleship

Arrangement of guns on a battleship

Arrangement of guns on a cruiser

Arrangement of guns on a cruiser

Arrangement of guns on a destroyer

Arrangement of guns on a destroyer


Training Film for 16-inch Battleship Guns

Post-war training film about loading, aiming, and firing the Iowa Class 16″ guns.

(The 16″/50 Gun & Turret, Major Caliber Guns & Turrets, United States Navy Training Film, MN-9321c, 1955.)