The Iowa-class battleship was a class of four battleships built for and used by the United States Navy during World War II, and the last to be built by the United States. Six were originally planned, but production on the last two was cancelled after the war ended.
The Iowa-class was a third-generation battleship class, like the preceding North Carolina-class and South Dakota-class ships. They were designed as fast battleships, which meant that the vessels were designed primarily for speed, but without sacrificing firepower or armor. Construction of the Iowa-class began in 1940 and ended with the completion of USS Missouri in 1944. The two ships meant to follow, USS Illinois and USS Kentucky, were cancelled before they were completed.
The Iowa-class' main weapons were nine 16 inch guns, which could propel a 2,700 lb shell over 23 miles. They were also armed with twenty 5 inch guns, eighty 40 mm Bofors AA guns, and fifty 20 mm Oerlikon AA guns, as well as numerous 12.7 mm Browning M2HB heavy machine guns.
The four Iowa-class ships were mainly used in the Pacific Theater, where they provided fire support and coastal bombardment for operations including the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Marshall Islands Campaign. They were also used in the Korean, Vietnam and First Gulf Wars for coastal bombardment.
Ships in class
- USS Iowa (BB-61)
- USS New Jersey (BB-62)
- USS Missouri (BB-63)
- USS Wisconsin (BB-64)
- USS Illinois (BB-65) (incomplete)
- USS Kentucky (BB-66) (incomplete)
- McMurtrie, Francis E. (Editor) Jane's Fighting Ships of World War 2. Tiger Books International. ISBN 0517679639 Page 259.