Nothing Can Stop Iowa: The Navy’s GOAT Battleship


The ASU Iowa can certainly lay claim to the title of the most historic and powerful battleship to ever sail for many reasons. Longevity would definitely be a big reason why. Nicknamed the “Big Stick,” the battleship USS Iowa earned its nickname by serving valiantly and earning 11 battle stars during World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War. Iowa helped aircraft carriers do their job, supported amphibious landings, and destroyed enemy positions with her big guns. He even accompanied the USS Missouri during the Japanese surrender ceremony that ended World War II.

A presidential battleship

Iowa was the lead ship of her class. The 45,000 ton battleship was laid down and then commissioned in 1943 at the New York Navy Yard. Associated with U.S. Presidents, Iowa transported President Franklin D. Roosevelt to and from the Casablanca Conference in Morocco which took place in 1943.

Iowa records a substantial amount of service in World War II

Then it was to the Pacific to face the Japanese. Iowa played a role in the Marshall, Mariana, and Okinawa campaigns, as well as the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf. It also bombed the Japanese islands Honshu and Hokkaido. Iowa bombed many islands during the Pacific War. It then supported carrier operations in 1945.

Not shy in battle

Iowa was decommissioned in 1949, but quickly responded to the alarm for more combat. She reappeared in the Korean War two years later and later served as the flagship of the Seventh Fleet. Then he sailed off Europe until another retirement in 1958. But Iowa wasn’t over. He came out of retirement in 1984 with new weapons to oversee the demise of the Soviet Union at the twilight of the Cold War. The battleship was decommissioned in 1990.

Powerful engines and armament

Iowa had nearly 3,000 sailors. Powered by four engines and four propellers, it produced 212,000 horsepower and 33 knots. It sported nine 16-inch guns and 20 five-inch guns.

He could survive under fire

During World War II she sank the light cruiser Katori off Truk Island in 1944. In March 1944 she was hit by two Japanese shells. A 6 inch projectile blew up the second turret and the 5 inch round hit the hull. But Iowa recovered from this enemy attack as it caused only light damage. He then retaliated against kamikaze attacks and destroyed several Japanese aircraft.

The 887-foot battleship threatened enemy land positions during the Korean War. He supported ground troops and harassed North Korean supply lines. It also protected aircraft carriers. After this war, she participated in several European missions until her dismantling in 1958.

Back for more in the Reagan era

In 1984, Iowa got its biggest upgrade to become a modernized missile carrier. It was equipped with sixteen Harpoon anti-ship missiles, thirty-two Tomahawk cruise missiles and four Phalanx close-in weapons systems. The ship retained her nine sixteen-inch guns. Over the next few years, she patrolled the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Iowa had a run of bad luck in 1989 when her second 16-inch gun turret caught fire after an explosion. This tragedy killed 47 sailors. Despite the damage, Iowa continued to patrol until her final retirement in 1990.

An Iowa-class battleship firing. Image: Creative Commons.

Iowa-class

Image: Creative Commons.

Iowa had an enviable fight record. It turned out to be a versatile ship. He may also have suffered damage and continued to smoke. The battleship was overtaken by the aircraft carrier in importance during World War II, but Iowa and her sister ships evolved well into a more modern role with the addition of missiles in the 1980s. Iowa became later a museum ship based in San Pedro, California, and will be remembered as the pride of Hawkeye State.

Now as 1945 Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. EastwoodPhD, is the author of Humans, Machines and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an emerging threat expert and former US Army infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.

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