USS Arkansas BB-33 - History

USS Arkansas BB-33 - History


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USS Arkansas BB-33

Arkansas

III

(Battleship No. 33: dp. 27,243; 1. 562'; b. 93'1 1/2"; dr. 28'6"; s. 21.05 k.; cpl. 1,036; a. 12 12", 215", 2 21" tt.; cl. Wyo)

The third Arkansas (Battleship No. 33) was laid down on 25 January 1910 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 14 January 1911; sponsored by Miss Nancy Louise Macon; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 September 1912, Capt. Roy C. Smith in command.

The new battleship took part in a fleet review by President William H. Taft in the Hudson River off New York City on 14 October, and received a visit from the Chief Executive that day. She then transported President Taft to the Panama Canal Zone for an inspection of the unfinished isthmian waterway. After putting the inspection party ashore, Arkansas sailed to Cuban waters for shakedown training. She then returned to the Canal Zone on 26 December to carry President Taft to Key West, Fla.

Following this assignment, Arkansas joined the Atlantic Fleet for maneuvers along the east coast. The battleship began her first overseas cruise in late October 1913, and visited several ports in the Mediterranean. At Naples, Italy, on 11 November 1913, the ship celebrated the birthday of the King of Italy.

Earlier in October 1913, a coup in Mexico had brought to ower a dictator, Victoriano Huerta. The way in which Huerta ad come to power, however, proved contary to the idealism of President Woodrow Wilson, who insisted on a representative government, rather than a dictatorial one, south of the AmericanMexican border. Mexico had been in turmoil for several years, and the United States Navy maintained a force of ships in those waters ready to protect American lives.

In a situation where tension exists between two powers, incidents are bound to occur. One such occurred at Tampico in the spring of 1914, and although the misunderstanding was quickly cleared up locally, the prevailing state of tension produced an explosive situation. Learning that a shipment of arms for Huerta was due to arrive at Veracruz, President Wilson ordered the Navy to prevent the landing of the guns by seizing the customs house at that port.

While a naval force under Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo was already present in Mexican waters, the President directed that the Atlantic Fleet, under Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger, proceed to Veracruz. Arkansas participated in the landings at Veracruz, contributing a battalion of four companies of bluejackets, a total of 17 officers and 313 enlisted men under the command of Lt. Comdr. Arthur B. Keating. Among the junior officers was Lt. (jg.) Jonas H. Ingram, who would be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at Veracruz, as would Lt. John Grady, who commanded the artillery of the 2d Seaman Regiment.

Landing on 22 April, Arkansas's men took part in the slow, methodical street fighting that eventually secured the city. Two Arkansas sailors, Ordinary Seamen Louis 0. Fried and William L. L. Watson, died of their wounds on 22 April. Arkansas's battalion returned to the ship on 30 April, and the ship remained in Mexican waters through the summer before setting course on 30 September to return to the east coast. During her stay at Veracruz z, she received calls from Capt. Franz von Papen, the German military attache to the United States and Mexico, and Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock, on 10 and 30 May 1914, respectively.

The battleship reached Hampton Roads, Va., on 7 October, and after a week of exercises, Arkansas sailed to the New York Navy Yard, for repairs and alterations. She then returned to the Virginia capes area for maneuvers on the Southern Drill Grounds. On 12 December, Arkansas returned to the New York Navy Yard for further repairs.

She was underway again on 16 January 1915, and returned to the Southern Drill Grounds for exercises there from 19 to 21 January. Upon completion of these, Arkansas sailed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for fleet exercises. Returning to Hampton Roads on 7 April, the battleship began another training period in the Southern Drill Grounds. On 23 April, she headed to the New York Navy Yard for a two-month repair period. Arkansas then left New York on 25 June bound for Newport, R.I. She conducted torpedo practice and tactical maneuvers in Narragansett Bay through late August.

Returning to Hampton Roads on 27 August, the battleship engaged in maneuvers in the Norfolk area through 4 October, then sailed once again to Newport. There, Arkansas carried out strategic exercises from 5 to 14 October. On 15 October, the battleship arrived at the New York Navy Yard for drydocking. Underway on 8 November, she returned to Hampton Roads. After a period of routine operations, Arkansas went back to Brooklyn for repairs on 19 October. The ship sailed on 5 January 1916 for Hampton Roads. Pausing there only briefly, Arkansas pushed on to the Caribbean for winter maneuvers.

She visited the West Indies and Guantanamo Bay before returning to the United States on 12 March for torpedo practice off Mobile Bay. The battleship then steamed back to Guantanamo Bay on 20 March and remained there until mid-April. On 15 April, the battleship was once again at the New York Navy Yard for overhaul.

On 6 April 1917, the United States entered World War I on the side of the Allied and Associated Powers. The declaration of war found Arkansas attached to Battleship Division 7 and patrolling the York River in Virginia. For the next 14 months,

Arkansas carried out patrol duty along the east coast and trained gun crews for duty on armed merchantmen.

In July 1918, Arkansas received orders to proceed to Rosyth, Scotland to relieve Delaware (Battleship No. 28). Arkansas sailed on 14 July. On the eve of her arrival in Scotland, the battleship opened fire on what was believed to be the periscope wake of a German U-boat. Her escorting destroyers dropped depth charges, but scored no hits. Arkansas then proceeded without incident and dropped anchor at Rosyth on 28 July.

Throughout the remaining three and one-half months of war, Arkansas and the other American battleships in Rosyth operated as part of the British Grand Fleet as the 6th Battle Squadron.

The armistice ending World War I became effective on 11 November. The 6th Battle Squadron and other Royal Navy units sailed to a point some 40 miles east of May Island at the entrance of the Firth of Forth. Arkansas was present at the internment of the German High Seas Fleet in the Firth of Forth on 21 November 1918.

The American battleships were detached from the British Grand Fleet on 1 December. From the Firth of Forth, Arkansas sailed to Portland, England, thence out to sea to meet the transport George Washington, with President Wilson on board. Arkansas-along with other American battleships escorted the President's ship into Brest, France, on 13 December 1918. From that French port, Arkansas sailed to New York City, where she arrived on 26 December to a tumultuous welcome. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels reviewed the assembled battleship fleet from the yacht Mayflower.

Followin an overhaul at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Arkansas joined the fleet in Cuban waters for winter maneuvers. Soon thereafter, the battleship got underway to cross the Atlantic. On 12 May 1919, she reached Plymouth, England; thence she headed back out in the Atlantic to take weather observations on 19 May and act as a reference vessel for the flight of the Navy Curtiss (NC) flying boats from Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, to Europe.

Her role in that venture completed, Arkansas proceeded thence to Brest, where she embarked Admiral William S. Benson, the Chief of Naval Operations, and his wife, on 10 June, upon the admiral's return from the Peace Conference in Paris, before departing for New York. She arrived on 20 June 1919.

Arkansas sailed from Hampton Roads on 19 July 1919, assigned to the Pacific Fleet. Proceeding via the Panama Canal, the battleship steamed to San Francisco, where, on 6 September 1919, she embarked Secretary of the Navy and Mrs. Josephus Daniels. Disembarking the Secretary and his wife at Blakely Harbor, Wash., on the 12th, Arkansas was reviewed by President Wilson, on the 13th, the Chief Executive having embarked in the famed Oregon (Battleship No. 3). On 19 September 1919, Arkansas entered the Puget Sound Navy Yard for a general overhaul. Resuming her operations with the fleet in May 1920, Arkansas operated off the California coast. On 17 July 1920, Arkansas received the designation BB-33 as the ships of the fleet received alphanumeric designations. That September, she cruised to Hawaii for the first time. Early in 1921, the battleship visited Valparaiso, Chile, manning the rail in honor of the Chilean president.

Arkansas's peacetime routine consisted of an annual cycle of interspersed with periods of upkeep or overhaul. The battleship's schedule also included competitions in gunnery and engineering and an annual fleet problem. Becoming flagship for the Commander, Battleship Force, Atlantic Fleet, in the summer of 1921, Arkansas began operations off the east coast that August.

For a number of years, Arkansas was detailed to take midshipmen from the Naval Academy on their summer cruises. In 1923, the battleship steamed to Europe, visiting Copenhagen, Denmark (where she was visited by the King of Denmark on 2 July 1923); Lisbon, Portugal; and Gibraltar. Arkansas conducted another midshipman training cruise to European waters the following year, 1924. In 1925, the cruise was to the west coast of the United States. During this time, on 30 June 1925, Arkansas arrived at Santa Barbara, Calif, in the wake of an earthquake. The battleship, along with McCawley (DD-276) and Eagle 34 (PE-34) landed a patrol of bluejackets for policing Santa Barbara, and established a temporary radio station ashore for the transmission of messages.

Upon completion of the 1925 midshipman cruise, Arkansas entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for modernization. Her coalburning boilers were replaced with oil-fired ones. Additional deck armor was installed, a single stack was substituted for the original pair, and the after cage mast was replaced by a low tripod. Arkansas left the yard in November 1926 and, after a shakedown cruise along the eastern seaboard and to Cuban waters, returned to Philadelphia to run acceptance trials. Resu ing her duty with the fleet soon thereafter, she operated from Maine to the Caribbean; on 5 September 1927, she was present at ceremonies unveiling a memorial tablet honoring the French soldiers and sailors who died during the campaign at Yorktown in 1781.

In May 1928, Arkansas again embarked midshipmen for their practice cruise along the eastern seaboard and down into Cuban waters. During the first part of 1929, she operated near the Canal Zone and in the Caribbean, returning in May 1929 to the New York Navy Yard for overhaul. After embarking midship- men at Annapolis, Arkansas carried out her 1929 practice cruise to Mediterranean and English waters, returning in August to operate with the Scouting Fleet off the east coast.

In 1930 and 1931, Arkansas was again detailed to carry out midshipmen's practice cruises; in the former year she visited Cherbourg, France; Kiel, Germany; Oslo, Norway; and Edinburgh, Scotland; in the latter her itinerary included Copenhagen, Denmark; Greenock, Scotland; and Cadiz, Spain, as well as Gibraltar. In September 1931, the ship visited Halifax, Nova Scotia. In October, Arkansas participated in the Yorktown Sesquicentennial celebrations, embarking President Herbert Hoover and his party on 17 October and taking them to the exposition. She later transported the Chief Executive and his party back to Annapolis on 19 and 20 October. Upon her return, the battleship entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she remained until January 1932.

Upon leaving the navy yard, Arkansas sailed for the west coast, calling at New Orleans, La., en route, to participate in the Mardi Gras celebration. Assigned duty as flagship of the Training Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, Arkansas operated continuously on the west coast of the United States into the spring of 1934, at which time she returned to the east coast.

In the summer of 1934, the battleship conducted a midshipman in lymouth, England; Nice, France; Naples, going to Annapolis in August, where she manned the rail for lt as he passed on board the yacht Nourmalhal, and was present for the International Yacht Race. Arkansas' cutter defeated the cutter from the British light cruiser HMS Dragon for the Battenberg Cup, and the City of Newport
Cup.

In January 1935, Arkansas transported the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, to Culebra for a fleet landing exercise, and in June conducted a midshipman practice cruise to Europe, visiting Edinburgh, Oslo (where King Haakon VII of Norway visited the ship), Copenhagen, Gibraltar and Funchal on the island of Madeira. After disembarking Naval Academy midshipmen at Annapolis in August 1935, Arkansas proceeded to New York k. There she embarked reservists from the New York area and conducted a Naval Reserve cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia in September. Upon completion of that duty, she underwent repairs and alterations at the New York Navy Yard that October.

In January 1936, Arkansas participated in Fleet Landing Exercise No. 2 at Culebra, and then visited New Orleans for the Mardi Gras festivities before she returned to Norfolk for a navy yard overhaul which lasted through the spring of 1936. That summer she carried out a midshipman training cruise to Portsmouth England; Goteborg, Sweden; and Cherbourg, before she returned to Annapolis that August. Steaming thence to Boston, the battleship conducted a Naval Reserve training cruise before putting into the Norfolk Navy Yard for an overhaul that October.

The following year, 1937, saw Arkansas make a midshipman practice cruise to European waters, visiting ports in Germany and England, before she returned to the east coast of the United States for local operations out of Norfolk. During the latter part of the year, the ship also ranged from Philadelphia and Boston to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Cuban waters. During 1938 and 1939, the pattern of operations largely remained as it had been in previous years, her duties in the Training Squadron largely con- her to the waters of the eastern seaboard.

The outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939 found Arkansas at Hampton Roads, preparing for a Naval Reserve cruise. She soon got underway and transported seaplane moorings and aviation equipment from the naval air station at Norfolk to Narragansett Bay for the seaplane base that was to be established there. While at Newport, Arkansas took on board ordnance material for destroyers and brought it back to Hampton Roads.

Arkansas departed Norfolk on 11 January 1940, in company with Texas (BB-35) and New York (BB-34), and proceeded thence to Guantanamo Bay for fleet exercises. She then participated in landing exercises at Culebra that February, returning via St. Thomas and Culebra to Norfolk. Following an overhaul at the Norfolk Navy Yard (18 March to 24 May), Arkansas shifted to the Naval Operating Base (NOB), Norfolk, where she remained until 30 May Sailing on that day for Annapolis, the battleship, along with Texas a, New York, conducted a midshipman training cruise to Panama and Venezuela that summer. Before the year was out, Arkansas would conduct three V-7 Naval Reserve training cruises, these voyages taking her to Guantanamo Bay, the Canal Zone, and Chesapeake Bay.

Over the months that followed, the United States gradually edged toward war in the Atlantic; early the following summer after the decision to occupy Iceland had been reached, Arkansas
accompanied the initial contingent of marines to that place. That battleship, along with New York, and the light cruiser Brooklyn (CL-40) provided the heavy escort for the convoy. Following this
assignment, Arkansas sailed to Casco Bay, Maine, and was pres- cruise to Italy, and to Gibraltar, returning prceeding thence to Newport, R. I there when the Atlantic Charter conferences took place on board Augusta (CA-31) between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. During the conference, the battleship provided accommodations for the Under Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, and Mr. Averell Harriman, from 8 to 14 August 1941.

The outbreak of war with the Japanese attack upon the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor found Arkansas at anchor in Casco Bay, Maine. One week later, on 14 December, she sailed to Hvalfjordur, Iceland. Returning to Boston, via Argentia, on 24 January 1942, Arkansas spent the month of February carrying out role exercises in Casco Bay in preparation for her role le as an escort for troop and car go transports. On 6 March, she arrived at Norfolk to begin overhaul. Underway on 2 July, Arkansas conducted shakedown in Chesapeake Bay, then proceeded to New York City, where she arrived on 27 July.

We battleship sailed from New York on 6 August, bound for Greenock, Scotland. Two days later, the ships paused at Halifax, Nova Scotia, then continued on through the stormy North Atlantic. The convoy reached Greenock on the 17th, and Arkansas returned to New York on 4 September. She escorted another Greenock-bound convoy across the Atlantic, then arrived back at New York on 20 October. With the Allied invasion of North Africa, American convoys were routed to Casablanca to support the operations. Departing New York on 3 November, Arkansas covered a troop convoy to Morocco, and returned to New York on 11 December for overhaul.

On 2 January 1943, Arkansas sailed to Chesapeake Bay for gunnery drills. She returned to New York on 30 January and began loading supplies for yet another transatlantic trip. The battleship made two runs between Casablanca and New York City from February through April. In early May, Arkansas was drydocked at the New York Navy Yard, emerging from that period of yard work to proceed to Norfolk on 26 May.

Arkansas assumed her new duty as a training ship for midshipmen, based at Norfolk. After four months of operations in Chesapeake Bay, the battleship returned to New York to resume tier role as a convoy escort. On 8 October, the ship sailed for Bangor, Ireland. She was in that port throughout November, and got underway to return to New York on I December. Arkansas then began a period of repairs on 12 December. Clearing New York for Norfolk two days after Christmas of 1943, Arkansas closed the year in that port.

The battleship sailed on 19 January 1944 with a convoy bound for Ireland. After seeing the convoy safely to its destination, the ship reversed her course across the Atlantic and reached New York on 13 February. Arkansas went to Casco Bay on 28 March for I gunnery exercises, before she proceeded to Boston on 11 April for repairs.

On 18 April, Arkansas sailed once more for Bangor, Ireland. Upon her arrival, the battleship began a training period to prepare for her new role as a shore bombardment ship. On 3 June, Arkansas sailed for the French coast to support the Allied invasion of Normandy. The ship entered the Baie de la Seine on 6 June, and took up a position 4,000 yards off "Omaha" beach. At 0552, Arkansas's guns opened fire. During the day, the venerable battleship underwent shore battery fire and air attacks; over ensuing days she continued her fire support. On the 13th, Arkansas shifted to a position off Grandcamp les Bains.

On 25 June 1944, Arkansas dueled with German shore batteries off Cherbourg, the enemy repeatedly straddling the battleship but never hitting her. Her big guns helped support the Allied attack on that key port, and led to the capture of it the following day. Retiring to Weymouth, England, and arriving there at 2220, the battleship shifted to Bangor, on 30 June.

Arkansas stood out to sea on 4 July, bound for the Mediterranean. She passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and anchored at Oran, Algeria, on 10 July. On the 18th, she got underway, and reached Taranto, Italy, on 21 July. The battleship remain there until 6 August, then shifted to Palermo, Sicily, on the 7th.

On 14 August, Operation "Anvil" the invasion of the southern French coast between Toulon and Cannes, began. Arkansas provided fire support for the initial landings on 15 August, and continued her bombardment through 17 August. After stops at Palermo and Oran, Arkansas set course for the United States. On 14 September, she reached Boston, and received repairs and alterations through early November. The yard period completed on 7 November, Arkansas sailed to Casco Bay for three days of refresher training. On 10 November, Arkansas shaped a course south for the Panama Canal Zone. After transiting the canal on 22 November, Arkansas headed for San Pedro, Calif. On 29 November, the ship was again underway for exercises held off San Diego. She returned on 10 December to San Pedro.

After three more weeks of pre parations, Arkansas sailed for Pearl Harbor on 20 January 1945 One day after her arrival there, she sailed for Ulithi, the major fleet stagin area in the Carolines, and continued thence to Tinian, where she arrived on 12 February. For two days, the vessel held shore bombardment practice prior to her participation in the assault on Iwo Jima.
At 0600 on 16 February, Arkansas opened fire on Japanese strong points on Iwo Jima as she lay off the island's west coast. The old battlewagon bombarded the island through the 19th, and remained in the fire support area to provide cover during the evening hours. During her time off the embattled island, Arkansas shelled numerous Japanese positions, in support of the bitter struggle by the marines to root out and destroy the stubborn enemy resistance. She cleared the waters off Iwo Jima on 7 March to return to Ulithi. After arriving at that atoll on the 10th, the battleship rearmed, provisioned, and fueled in preparation for her next operation, the invasion of Okinawa.

Getting underway on 21 March, Arkansas began her preliminary shelling of Japanese positions on Okinawa on 25 March, some days ahead of the assault troops which began wading ashore on 1 April. The Japanese soon began an aerial onslaught, and Arkansas fended off several kamikazes. For 46 days, Arkansas delivered fire support for the invasion of Okinawa. On 14 May, the ship arrived at Apra Harpor, Guam, to await further assignment.

After a month at Apra Harbor, part of which she spent in drydock, Arkansas got underw on 12 June for Leyte Gulf. She anchored there on the 16th, and remained in Philippine waters until the war drew to a close in August. On the 20th of that month, Arkansas left Leyte to return to Okinawa, and reached Buckner Bay on 23 August. After a month spent in port, Arkansas embarked approximately 800 troops for transport to the United States as part of the "Magic Carpet" to return American servicemen home as quickly as possible. Sailing on 23 September, Arkansas paused briefly at Pearl Harbor en route, and ultimately reached Seattle on 15 October. During the remainder of the year, the battleship made three more trips to Pearl Harbor to shuttle soldiers back to the United States.

During the first months of 1946, Arkansas lay at San Francisco. In late April the ship got underway for Hawaii. She reached Pearl Harbor on 8 May, and stood out of Pearl Harbor on 20 May, bound for Bikini Atoll, earmarked for use as target for atomic bomb testing in Operation "Crossroads." On 25 July 1946, the venerable battleship was sunk in Test "Baker" at Bikini. Decommissioned on 29 July 1946, Arkansas was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 August 1946.

Arkansas received four battle stars for her World War II service.


Primary Batteries

Reload time: 12 to 10 seconds

Reload time: 12 to 9 seconds

Secondary Batteries

Reload Time: 9 to 7 seconds

Anti-Aircraft Guns

Torpedo Launchers

Aircraft Catapults (Interceptors)

The Arkansas represents a leap forward from firepower from the Royal Sovereign. Dealing 26k dmg when maxed (30K with flags) and a similar reload speed makes her a very competitive ship against even top tier ships. Arkansas is also particularly dangerous when compared to Texas and Grosser Kurfust when employed in a hit and run fashion as she can fire 8 of her 12 guns when turning tail and running, which makes her both hard to hit but capable of dealing 20K or so damage every 8-9 seconds. Her only real downsides are the mediocre AA and slow speed that is only outdone by the Rodney. Her HP, while high at over 185K, leaves much to be desired as it is larger than the Royal but is slower, making enemy hits and accumulation of damage much more common.

The Arkansas can be obtained through the Daily Rewards during the 14th day.


USS Arkansas (BB 33) Battleship

The fourth “Arkansas” named vessel, the USS Arkansas (BB-33) had the longest, most illustrious service history compared to the other vessels of the same name. A Wyoming-class dreadnought battleship, Arkansas served before the Great War, during both worlds wars, and two operations after World War II. Winning many awards during its service, including the American Campaign medal and the World War II Victory medal, Arkansas served with distinction. Arkansas’s end was one to be remembered, being a target for BAKER.

Right after commissioning, Arkansas participated in a fleet review in October of 1912, for President William Howard Taft. After President Taft came aboard Arkansas, it transported him to the Panama Canal, which was under inspection. Then Arkansas went on its shakedown cruise. Completing the cruise Arkansas was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and participated in fleet maneuvers off the east coast of the United States.

In early 1914, there was an international incident with Mexico which ended up in the American occupation of Veracruz. Arkansas was used in the occupation and contributed four companies of naval infantry. Two of the crewmen were killed in the fighting while John Grady and Jonas H. Ingram, officers aboard Arkansas, received the Medal of Honor for their actions during the occupation.

After the Occupation of Veracruz, Arkansas returned to its normal duties with the Atlantic Fleet patrolling off the east coast and participating in maneuvers with the fleet. Arkansas next big assignment did not come until 1917.

It was on April 6, 1917, that the United States declared war on Germany and entered into the First World War. At that point Arkansas was assigned to Battleship Division 7 stationed in Virginia. After training the crew for fourteen months, Arkansas was sent to Britain to relieve USS Delaware (BB-28) which was assigned to operate with the Grand Fleet in the 6 th Battle Squadron. Taking Delaware’s place, Arkansas saw no action as both the British and German fleets had given up direct confrontations. When the Armistice with Germany was sign on November 11, 1918, The Grand Fleet, a combination of British, French, and American ships, including Arkansas, took part of escorting the High Seas Fleet, the German Fleet, to Scapa Flow, a bay north east of Scotland, where it was scuttled.

Returning from the war on December 26, 1918, Arkansas and the rest of the fleet underwent a Naval Review for the Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. After which Arkansas was attached to the Atlantic Fleet, where it patrolled off the east coast, underwent trainings and cruises, and went on goodwill missions to other countries, having many high level delegates aboard, like President Arturo Alessandri Palma of Chile and King Christian X of Denmark. In August 1921, Arkansas became the flagship of the Commander, Battleship Force, in the Atlantic fleet. Arkansas also participated in Midshipmen cruises, taking Navy Cadets out for training. Arkansas continued to do these operations throughout the inter-war period in the Atlantic Ocean.

With the entry into the Second World War, the United States and Arkansas prepared for battle. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Arkansas was station at Cisco, Main patrolling in the North Atlantic. Throughout most of the war, Arkansas stayed with the Atlantic Fleet and patrolled of the east coast as well as England. Arkansas first battle during the war was on D-Day, where it brought support fire to the army forces landing at Omaha Beach. In January of 1945, Arkansas was transferred to the Pacific Fleet, where it helped the Marine forces on both Iwo Jima in February, and Okinawa in April. After giving support to troops on Okinawa, Arkansas remained in the area, staying in the Philippines until August when it got word that Japan had surrendered.

Post World War II Operations:

After the war, Arkansas participated in Operation Magic Carpet bringing around 3,200 men back to the continental United States from the Pacific. In April of 1946, Arkansas got orders to go to Bikini Atoll to be used for Operation Crossroads. On July 25, 1946, during the operation Arkansas was sunk by the underwater nuclear test BAKER, completing its final mission.

For more information, as well as to see items from the USS Arkansas (BB-33) and a video of Operation Crossroads, please come visit the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.


USS Arkansas (BB-33)

The battleship USS Arkansas (BB-33) was the third ship of the U.S. Navy to bear the state’s name, the prior vessels being a wooden-hulled steamer during the American Civil War, and an 1890s single-turret monitor that was renamed Ozark in 1909 and used as an instruction ship. The battleship Arkansas participated in both world wars and received four battle stars for service in World War II.

The Arkansas’s keel was laid on January 25, 1910, in Camden, New Jersey. The USS Arkansas was launched on January 14, 1911, and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1912. Measuring 562 feet by ninety-three feet, the Arkansas was designed for a crew of 1,594. It was armed with twelve twelve-inch guns with a 16,000-yard range. The top speed was twenty-one knots.

In December 1912, the USS Arkansas transported President Howard Taft to the Panama Canal Zone and then departed for crew training, later joining the U.S. Atlantic fleet. In April 1914, the Arkansas was ordered to Veracruz, Mexico, by President Woodrow Wilson. The Arkansas put ashore 330 men in four companies who participated in street-to-street fighting following the ascension to power of the Mexican dictator Victoriano Huerta. Four years of peacetime duties along the East Coast and the Caribbean followed.

With the 1917 entry of the United States into World War I, the Arkansas performed patrol duties along the East Coast and then in July joined the Sixth Battle Fleet of the British Grand Fleet, based in Roslyth, Scotland. Besides a brief attempt to engage a German U-boat, the Arkansas saw no action during these remaining months of the war. The Arkansas was present at the surrender of the German Fleet at the Firth of Forth on November 21, 1918. In April 1919, a silver service set was presented to the ship from the State of Arkansas by Daisy Dalony on behalf of Governor Charles Brough. The silver set now resides at the Governor’s Mansion, on loan from the U.S. Navy.

Following the end of the war, the Arkansas performed escort duties for President Wilson’s visit to Brest, France. In July 1919, the Arkansas was assigned to the U.S. Pacific fleet. An earthquake in Santa Barbara, California, in June 1925, drew the Arkansas, which put medical corpsman and military patrols ashore to assist in recovery efforts.

During these peacetime years, until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Arkansas served primarily as a training ship. At the outbreak of World War II, the Arkansas performed convoy escort duties. During the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach, the Arkansas was 4,000 yards off shore, fighting German shore batteries and attacks by aircraft. On June 25, the Arkansas repeated bombardment duties against German artillery at Cherbourg, France. By this time, it was the oldest battleship in active combat duty in the U.S. Navy.

Moving to the Mediterranean, the Arkansas provided fire support for the invasion of the southern French coast near Cannes before traveling back to the United States for repair. In November 1944, the Arkansas moved to the Pacific Ocean for preparations for attacks on Japanese-held islands, ultimately participating in the bombardment of Iwo Jima beginning on February 16, 1945, followed by forty-six days of bombardment at Okinawa beginning on March 25, 1945, where the crew had to fight off numerous kamikaze attacks. At war’s end, the Arkansas participated in Operation Magic Carpet, making repeated trips from Nakagusuku Bay and Hawaii, carrying thousands of soldiers home to the mainland United States.

Because of its age, the Arkansas was selected for the atomic naval tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It survived the airborne atomic explosion of “Test Able” on July 1, 1946, but sank on July 25, 1946, during the second “Baker” test, a submerged detonation from ninety feet below the water surface. The Arkansas now rests in 170 feet of water in the Bikini Atoll lagoon, where it is often inspected by recreational deep sea divers.

For additional information:
Gibbons, Tony. Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships: A Technical Directory of All the World’s Capital Ships from 1860 to the Present Day. New York: Salamander Books, 1983.

Hanley, Ray, and Steven Hanley. Arky: The Saga of the USS Arkansas. Little Rock: Butler Center Books, 2015.

Newhart, Max. American Battleships: A Pictorial History of BB-1 to BB-71. Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories Pub., 1995.

Watts, J. Carter. “USS Arkansas.” Arkansas Democrat Sunday Magazine, February 2, 1986, pp. 3, 11, 12.

Willmott, H. P. Battleship. London: Cassell Books, 2002.

Erik E. Weems
Eureka Springs
, Arkansas


ARKANSAS BB 33

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Wyoming Class Battleship
    Keel Laid 25 January 1910 - Launched 14 January 1911

Naval Covers

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Postmarks

This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
 
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USS ARKANSAS (BB-33)

Length Overall: 562'
Extreme Beam: 93'3"
Normal Displacement: Tons: 26,000
Mean Draft: 28'6"
Designed Complement: Off.: 58
Enl.: 1005
Armament:
Main:
(12) 12"/50
Secondary:
(21) 5"/51
Torpedo tubes: (2) 21" submerged
1918
Main:
(12) 12"/50
Secondary:
(16) 5"/51
(2) 3"/50 AA
Torpedo tubes: (2) 21" submerged
1921
Main:
(12) 12"/50
Secondary:
(16) 5"/51
(8) 3"/50 AA
Torpedo tubes: (2) 21" submerged
1926
Main:
(12) 12"/50
Secondary:
(16) 5"/51
(8) 3"/50 AA
1941
Main:
(12) 12"/50
Secondary:
(14) 5"/51
(8) 3"/50 AA
1942
Main:
(12) 12"/50
Secondary:
(6) 5"/51
(8) 3"/50 AA
1944
Main:
(12) 12"/50
Secondary:
(6) 5"/51
(10) 3"/50 AA
Armor : Belt: 11"
Turrets: 12"
Deck: 3" (aft)
Conning Tower: 11 1/2"
Designed Speed: 20.5
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,000
Engines: Manufacturer: Parsons (NYSB)
Type: Turbine, direct drive
Screws: 4
Boilers: Manufacturer: BW
No.: 12
Fuel (coal): 2699 (plus 400 tons of auxiliary fuel oil)
Drive: TD

The third ARKANSAS (Battleship No. 33) was laid down on 25 January 1910 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Co. launched on 14 January 1911 sponsored by Miss Nancy Louise Macon and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 September 1912, Capt. Roy C. Smith in command. The new battleship took part in a fleet review by President William H. Taft in the Hudson River off New York City on 14 October, and received a visit from the Chief Executive that day. She then transported President Taft to the Panama Canal Zone for an inspection of the unfinished isthmian waterway. After putting the inspection party ashore, ARKANSAS sailed to Cuban waters for shakedown training. She then returned to the Canal Zone on 26 December to carry President Taft to Key West, Fla.

Following this assignment, ARKANSAS joined the Atlantic Fleet for maneuvers along the east coast. The battleship began her first overseas cruise in late October 1913, and visited several ports in the Mediterranean. At Naples, Italy, on 11 November 1913, the ship celebrated the birthday of the King of Italy.

Earlier in October 1913, a coup in Mexico had brought to power a dictator, Victoriano Huerta. The way in which Huerta had come to power, however, proved contrary to the idealism of President Woodrow Wilson, who insisted on a representative government, rather than a dictatorial one, south of the American-Mexican border. Mexico had been in turmoil for several years, and the United States Navy maintained a force of ships in those waters ready to protect American lives.

In a situation where tension exists between two powers, incidents are bound to occur. One such occurred at Tampico in the spring of 1914, and although the misunderstanding was quickly cleared up locally, the prevailing state of tension produced an explosive situation. Learning that a shipment of arms for Huerta was due to arrive at Veracruz, President Wilson ordered the Navy to prevent the landing of the guns by seizing the customs house at that port.

While a naval force under Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo was already present in Mexican waters, the President directed that the Atlantic Fleet, under Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger, proceed to Veracruz. ARKANSAS participated in the landings at Veracruz, contributing a battalion of four companies of bluejackets, a total of 17 officers and 313 enlisted men under the command of Lt. Comdr. Arthur B. Keating. Among the junior officers was Lt. (jg.) Jonas H. Ingram, who would be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at Veracruz, as would Lt. John Grady, who commanded the artillery of the 2d Seaman Regiment.

Landing on 22 April, ARKANSAS's men took part in the slow, methodical street fighting that eventually secured the city. Two ARKANSAS sailors, Ordinary Seamen Louis O. Fried and William L. Watson, died of their wounds on 22 April. ARKANSAS's battalion returned to the ship on 30 April, and the ship remained in Mexican waters through the summer before setting course on 30 September to return to the east coast. During her stay at Veracruz, she received calls from Capt. Franz von Papen, the German military attache to the United States and Mexico, and Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock, on 10 and 30 May 1914, respectively.

The battleship reached Hampton Roads, Va., on 7 October, and after a week of exercises, ARKANSAS sailed to the New York Navy Yard, for repairs and alterations. She then returned to the Virginia Capes area for maneuvers on the Southern Drill Grounds. On 12 December, ARKANSAS returned to the New York Navy Yard for further repairs.

She was underway again on 16 January 1915, and returned to the Southern Drill Grounds for exercises there from 19 to 21 January. Upon completion of these, ARKANSAS sailed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for fleet exercises. Returning to Hampton Roads on 7 April, the battleship began another training period in the Southern Drill Grounds. On 23 April, she headed to the New York Navy Yard for a two-month repair period. ARKANSAS then left New York on 25 June bound for Newport, R.I. She conducted torpedo practice and tactical maneuvers in Narragansett Bay through late August.

Returning to Hampton Roads on 27 August, the battleship engaged in maneuvers in the Norfolk area through 4 October, then sailed once again to Newport. There, ARKANSAS carried out strategic exercises from 5 to 14 October. On 15 October, the battleship arrived at the New York Navy Yard for drydocking. Underway on 8 November, she returned to Hampton Roads. After a period of routine operations, ARKANSAS went back to Brooklyn for repairs on 19 October. The ship sailed on 5 January 1916 for Hampton Roads. Pausing there only briefly, ARKANSAS pushed on to the Caribbean for winter maneuvers.

She visited the West Indies and Guantanamo Bay before returning to the United States on 12 March for torpedo practice off Mobile Bay. The battleship then steamed back to Guantanamo Bay on 20 March and remained there until mid-April. On 15 April, the battleship was once again at the New York Navy Yard for overhaul.

On 6 April 1917, the United States entered World War I on the side of the Allied and Associated Powers. The declaration of war found ARKANSAS attached to Battleship Division 7 and patrolling the York River in Virginia. For the next 14 months, ARKANSAS carried out patrol duty along the east coast and trained gun crews for duty on armed merchantmen.

In July 1918, ARKANSAS received orders to proceed to Rosyth, Scotland to relieve DELAWARE (Battleship No. 28). ARKANSAS sailed on 14 July. On the eve of her arrival in Scotland, the battleship opened fire on what was believed to be the periscope wake of a German U-boat. Her escorting destroyers dropped depth charges, but scared no hits. ARKANSAS then proceeded without incident and dropped anchor at Rosyth on 28 July.

Throughout the remaining three and one-half months of war, ARKANSAS and the other American battleships in Rosyth operated as part of the British Grand Fleet as the 6th Battle Squadron.

The armistice ending World War I became effective on 11 November. The 6th Battle Squadron and other Royal Navy units sailed to a point some 40 miles east of May Island at the entrance of the Firth of Forth. ARKANSAS was present at the internment of the German High Seas Fleet in the Firth of Forth on 21 November 1918.

The American battleships were detached from the British Grand Fleet on 1 December. From the Firth of Forth, ARKANSAS sailed to Portland, England, thence out to sea to meet the transport GEORGE WASHINGTON, with President Wilson on board. ARKANSAS- along with other American battleships-escorted the President's ship into Brest, France, on 13 December 1918. From that French port, ARKANSAS sailed to New York City, where she arrived on 26 December to a tumultuous welcome. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels reviewed the assembled battleship fleet from the yacht MAYFLOWER.

Following an overhaul the Norfolk Navy Yard, ARKANSAS joined the fleet in Cuban waters for winter maneuvers. Soon thereafter, the battleship got underway to cross the Atlantic. On 12 May 1919, she reached Plymouth, England thence she headed back out in the Atlantic to take weather observations on 19 May and act as a reference vessel for the flight of the Navy Curtiss (NC) flying boats from Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, to Europe.

Her role in that venture competed, ARKANSAS proceeded thence to Brest, where she embarked Admiral William S. Benson, the Chief of Naval Operations, and his wife, on 10 June, upon the admiral's return from the Peace Conference in Paris, before departing for New York. She arrived on 20 June 1919.

ARKANSAS sailed from Hampton Roads on 19 July 1919, assigned to the Pacific Fleet. Proceeding via the Panama Canal, the battleship steamed to San Francisco, where, on 6 September 1919, she embarked Secretary of the Navy and Mrs. Josephus Daniels. Disembarking the Secretary and his wife at Blakely Harbor, Wash., on the 12th, ARKANSAS was reviewed by President Wilson on the 13th, the Chief Executive having embarked in the famed OREGON (Battleship No. 3). On 19 September 1919, ARKANSAS entered the Puget Sound Navy Yard for a general overhaul. Resuming her operations with the fleet in May 1920, ARKANSAS operated off the California coast. On 17 July 1920, ARKANSAS received the designation BB-33 as the ships of the fleet received alphanumeric designations. That September, she cruised to Hawaii for the first time. Early in 1921, the battleship visited Valparaiso, Chile, manning the rail in honor of the Chilean president.

ARKANSAS's peacetime routine consisted of an annual cycle of training interspersed with periods of upkeep or overhaul. The battleship's schedule also included competitions in gunnery and engineering and an annual fleet problem. Becoming flagship for the Commander, Battleship Force, Atlantic Fleet, in the summer of 1921, ARKANSAS began operations off the east coast that August.

For a number of years, ARKANSAS was detailed to take midshipmen from the Naval Academy on their summer cruises. In 1923, the battleship steamed to Europe, visiting Copenhagen, Denmark (where she was visited by the King of Denmark on 2 July 1923) Lisbon, Portugal and Gibraltar. ARKANSAS conducted another midshipman training cruise to European waters the following year, 1924. In 1925, the cruise was to the west coast of the United States. During this time, on 30 June 1925, ARKANSAS arrived at Santa Barbara, Calif. in the wake of an earthquake. The battleship, along with MCCAWLEY (DD-276) and EAGLE 34 (PE- 34) landed a patrol of bluejackets for policing Santa Barbara, and established a temporary radio station ashore for the transmission of messages.

Upon completion of the 1925 midshipman cruise, ARKANSAS entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for modernization. Her coal- burning boilers were replaced with oil-fired ones. Additional deck armor was installed, a single stack was substituted for the original pair, and the after cage mast was replaced by a low tripod. ARKANSAS left the yard in November 1926 and, after a shake- down cruise along the eastern seaboard and to Cuban waters, returned to Philadelphia to run acceptance trials. Resuming her duty with the fleet soon thereafter, she operated from Maine to the Caribbean on 5 September 1927, she was present at ceremonies unveiling a memorial tablet honoring the French soldiers and sailors who died during the campaign at Yorktown in 1781.

In May 1928, ARKANSAS again embarked midshipmen for their practice cruise along the eastern seaboard and down into Cuban waters. During the first part of 1929, she operated near the Canal Zone and in the Caribbean, returning in May 1929 to the New York Navy Yard for overhaul. After embarking midshipmen at Annapolis, ARKANSAS carried out her 1929 practice cruise to Mediterranean and English waters, returning in August to operate with the Scouting Fleet off the east coast.

In 1930 and 1931, ARKANSAS was again detailed to carry out midshipmen's practice cruises in the former year she visited Cherbourg, France Kiel, Germany Oslo, Norway and Edinburgh, Scotland in the latter her itinerary included Copenhagen, Denmark Greenock, Scotland and Cadiz, Spain, as well as Gibraltar. In September 1991, the ship visited Halifax, Nova Scotia. In October ARKANSAS participated in the Yorktown Sesquicentennial celebrations, embarking President Herbert Hoover and his party on 17 October and taking them to the exposition. She later transported the Chief Executive and his party back to Annapolis on 19 and 20 October. Upon her return, the battleship entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she remained until January 1932.

Upon leaving the navy yard, ARKANSAS sailed for the west coast, calling at New Orleans, La., en route, to participate in the Mardi Gras celebration. Assigned duty as flagship of the Training Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, ARKANSAS operated continuously on the west coast of the United States into the spring of 1994, at which time she returned to the east coast.

In the summer of 1934, the battleship conducted a midshipman practice cruise to Plymouth, England Nice, France Naples, Italy, and to Gibraltar, returning to Annapolis in August proceeding thence to Newport, R. I., where she manned the rail for President Franklin D Roosevelt as he passed on board the yacht NOURMALHAL, and was present for the International Yacht Race. ARKANSAS' cutter defeated the cutter from the British light cruiser HMS Dragon for the Battenberg Cup, and the City of Newport Cup.

In January 1935, ARKANSAS transported the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, to Culebra for a fleet landing exercise, and in June conducted a midshipman practice cruise to Europe, visiting Edinburgh, Oslo (where King Haakon VII of Norway visited the ship), Copenhagen, Gibraltar and Funchal on the island of Madeira. After disembarking Naval Academy midshipmen at Annapolis in August 1935, ARKANSAS proceeded to New York. There she embarked reservists from the New York area and conducted a Naval Reserve cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia in September. Upon completion of that duty, she under went repairs and alterations at the New York Navy Yard that October,

In January 1936, ARKANSAS participated in Fleet Landing Exercise No. 2 at Culebra, and then visited New Orleans for the Mardi Gras festivities before she returned to Norfolk for a navy yard overhaul which lasted through the spring of 1996. That summer she carried out a midshipman training cruise to Portsmouth, England Goteborg, Sweden and Cherbourg, before she returned to Annapolis that August. Steaming thence to Boston, the battleship conducted a Naval Reserve training cruise before putting into the Norfolk Navy Yard for an overhaul that October.

The following year, 19937, saw ARKANSAS make a midshipman practice cruise to European waters, visiting ports in Germany and England, before she returned to the east coast of the United States for local operations out of Norfolk. During the latter part of the year, the ship also ranged from Philadelphia and Boston to St., Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Cuban waters. During 1938 and 1939, the pattern of operations largely remained as it had been in previous years, her duties in the Training Squadron largely confining her to the waters of the eastern seaboard.

The outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939 found ARKANSAS at Hampton Roads, preparing for a Naval Reserve cruise. She soon got underway and transported seaplane mooring and aviation equipment from the naval air station at Norfolk to Narragansett Bay for the seaplane base that was to be established there. While at Newport, ARKANSAS took on board ordnance material for destroyers and brought it back to Hampton Roads.

ARKANSAS departed Norfolk on 11 January 1940, in company with TEXAS (BB-35) and NEW YORK (BB-34), and proceeded thence to Guantanamo Bay for fleet exercises. She then participated in landing exercises at Culebra that February, returning via St. Thomas and Culebra to Norfolk. Following an overhaul at the Norfolk Navy Yard (18 March to 24 May), ARKANSAS shifted to the Naval Operating Base (NOB), Norfolk, where she remained until 30 May. Sailing on that day for Annapolis, the battleship, along with TEXAS and NEW YORK, conducted a midshipman training cruise to Panama and Venezuela that summer. Before the year was out, ARKANSAS would conduct three V-7 Naval Reserve training cruises, these voyages taking her to Guantanamo Bay, the Canal Zone, and Chesapeake Bay.

Over the months that followed, the United States gradually edged toward war in the Atlantic early the following summer, after the decision to occupy Iceland bad been reached, ARKANSAS accompanied the initial contingent of marines to that place. That battleship, along with New York, and the light cruiser BROOKLYN (CL-40) provided the heavy escort for the convoy. Following this assignment, ARKANSAS sailed to Casco Bay Maine, and was present there when the Atlantic Charter conferences took place on board AUGUSTA (CA-31) between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. During the conference, the battleship provided accommodations for the Under Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, and Mr. Averell Harriman from 8 to 14 August 1941.

The outbreak of war with the Japanese attack upon the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor found ARKANSAS at anchor in Casco Bay, Maine. One week later, on 14 December, she sailed to Hvalfjordur, Iceland. Returning to Boston, via Argentia, on 24 January 1942, ARKANSAS spent the month of February carrying out exercises in Casco Bay in preparation for her role as an escort for troop and cargo transports. On 6 March, she arrived at Norfolk to begin overhaul. Underway on 2 July, ARKANSAS conducted shakedown in Chesapeake Bay, then proceeded to New York City, where she arrived on 27 July.

The battleship sailed from New York on 6 August, bound for Greenock, Scotland. Two days later, the ships paused at Halifax, Nova Scotia, then continued on through the stormy North Atlantic. The convoy reached Greenock on the 17th, and ARKANSAS returned to New York on 4 September. She escorted another Greenock-bound convoy across the Atlantic, then arrived back at New York on 20 October. With the Allied invasion of North Africa, American convoys were routed to Casablanca to support the operations. Departing New York on 3 November, ARKANSAS covered a troop convoy to Morocco, and returned to New York on 11 December for overhaul.

On 2 January 1943, ARKANSAS sailed to Chesapeake Bay for gunnery drills. She returned to New York on 30 January and began loading supplies for yet another transatlantic trip. The battleship made two runs between Casablanca and New York City from February through April. In early May, ARKANSAS was drydocked at the New York Navy Yard, emerging from that period of yard work to proceed to Norfolk on 26 May.

ARKANSAS assumed her new duty as a training ship for midshipmen, based at Norfolk. After four months of operations in Chesapeake Bay, the battleship returned to New York to resume her role as a convoy escort. On 8 October, the ship sailed for Bangor, Ireland. She was in that port throughout November, and got underway to return to New York on 1 December. ARKANSAS then began a period of repairs on 12 December. Clearing New York for Norfolk two days after Christmas of 1943, ARKANSAS closed the year in that port.

The battleship sailed on 19 January 1944 with a convoy bound for Ireland. After seeing the convoy safely to its destination, the ship reversed her course across the Atlantic and reached New York on 13 February. ARKANSAS went to Casco Bay on 28 March for gunnery exercises, before she proceeded to Boston on 11 April for repairs.

On 18 April, ARKANSAS sailed once more for Bangor, Ireland. Upon her arrival, the battleship began a training period to prepare for her new role as a shore bombardment snip. On 3 June, ARKANSAS sailed for the French coast to support the Allied invasion of Normandy. The ship entered the Baie de la Seine on 6 June, and took up a position 4,000 yards off "Omaha" beach. At 0552, ARKANSAS's guns opened fire. During the day, the venerable battleship underwent shore battery fire and air attacks over ensuing days she continued her fire support. On the 13th, ARKANSAS shifted to a position off Grandcamp les Bains.

On 25 June 1944, ARKANSAS dueled with German shore batteries off Cherbourg, the enemy repeatedly straddling the battleship but never hitting her. Her big guns helped support the Allied attack on that key port, and led to the capture of it the following day. Retiring to Weymouth, England, and arriving there at 2220, the battleship shifted to Bangor, on 30 June.

ARKANSAS stood out to sea on 4 July, bound for the Mediterranean. She passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and anchored at Oran, Algeria, on 10 July. On the 18th, she got underway, and reached Taranto, Italy, on 21 July. The battleship remained there until 6 August, then shifted to Palermo, Sicily, on the 7th.

On 14 August, Operation "Anvil" the invasion of the southern French coast between Toulon and Cannes, began. ARKANSAS provided fire support for the initial landings on 15 August, and continued her bombardment through 17 August. After stops at Palermo and Oran, ARKANSAS set course for the United States. On 14 September, she reached Boston, and received repairs and alterations through early November. The yard period completed on 7 November, ARKANSAS sailed to Casco Bay for three days of refresher training. On 10 November, ARKANSAS shaped a course south for the Panama Canal Zone. After transiting the canal on 22 November, ARKANSAS headed for San Pedro, Calif. On 29 November, the ship was again underway for exercises held off San Diego. She returned on 10 December to San Pedro.

After three more weeks of preparations, ARKANSAS sailed for Pearl Harbor on 20 January 1945. One day after her arrival there, she sailed for Ulithi, the major fleet staging area in the Carolines, and continued thence to Tinian, where she arrived on 12 February. For two days, the vessel held shore bombardment practice prior to her participation in the assault on Iwo Jima.

At 0600 on 16 February, ARKANSAS opened fire on Japanese strong points on Iwo Jima as she lay off the island's west coast. The old battlewagon bombarded the island through the 19th, and remained in the fire support area to provide cover during the evening hours. During her time off the embattled island, ARKANSAS shelled numerous Japanese positions, in support of the bitter struggle by the marines to root out and destroy the stubborn enemy resistance. She cleared the waters off Iwo Jima on 7 March to return to Ulithi. After arriving at that atoll on the 10th, the battleship rearmed, provisioned, and fueled in preparation for her next operation, the invasion of Okinawa.

Getting underway on 21 March, ARKANSAS began her preliminary shelling of Japanese positions on Okinawa on 25 March, some days ahead of the assault troops which began wading ashore on 1 April. The Japanese soon began an aerial onslaught, and ARKANSAS fended off several kamikazes. For 46 days, ARKANSAS delivered fire support for the invasion of Okinawa. On 14 May, the ship arrived at Apra Harbor, Guam, to await further assignment.

After a month at Apra Harbor, part of which she spent in drydock, ARKANSAS got underway on 12 June for Leyte Gulf. She anchored there on the 16th, and remained in Philippine waters until the war drew to a close in August. On the 20th of that month, ARKANSAS left Leyte to return to Okinawa, and reached Buckner Bay on 23 August. After a month spent in port, ARKANSAS embarked approximately 800 troops for transport to the United States as part of the "Magic Carpet" to return American servicemen home as quickly as possible. Sailing on 23 September, ARKANSAS paused briefly at Pearl Harbor en route, and ultimately reached Seattle on 15 October. During the remainder of the year, the battleship made three more trips to Pearl Harbor to shuttle soldiers back to the United States.

During the first months of 1946, ARKANSAS lay at San Francisco. In late April the ship got underway for Hawaii. She reached Pearl Harbor on 8 May, and stood out of Pearl Harbor on 20 May, bound for Bikini Atoll, earmarked for use as target for atomic bomb testing in Operation "Crossroads." On 25 July 1946, the venerable battleship was sunk in Test "Baker" at Bikini. Decommissioned on 29 July 1946, ARKANSAS was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 August 1946.


USS ARKANSAS BB-33

History


The battleship USS Arkansas was the third ship of the United States Navy to bear the name of the 25th state. The construction of the vessel was authorized by the United States Congress on March 3, 1909, and the keel laid January 10, 1910 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. The Arkansas was launched January 14, 1911, and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1912, with Captain Roy C. Smith in command.

In December, 1912, the USS Arkansas transported President William Howard Taft to the Panama Canal Zone, then departed for crew training and ship shakedown, returning to ferry Pres. Taft to Key West, Florida. The Arkansas then joined the US Atlantic fleet and participated in a Mediterranean tour in 1913.

The commissioning of the USS Arkansas was indirectly responsible for the creation of the official state flag of of Arkansas, in which the Pine Bluff chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored a contest for designs, the winning version presented in 1913 to the officers and men of the Arkansas.

In April 1914, the Arkansas was ordered to Veracruz, Mexico, by President Woodrow Wilson to participate in the military conflict there and to provide protection for US citizens under threat following the ascension to power of the Mexican dictator Victoriano Huerta. The Arkansas put ashore 330 men in four companies who participated in street fighting, with two casualties and two Arkansas' officers later awarded Medals of Honor for their actions.

In October the Arkansas returned to the US naval station at Hampton Roads, Virginia, where the ship remained for four years of patrol duties along the East Coast and the Caribbean.

When the United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917, the Arkansas was attached to US Battleship Division Seven. In July 1918 the Arkansas was sent to Scotland to support the British Navy, becoming a part of the British Grand Fleet, assigned to the Sixth Battle Squadron. The Arkansas was among the ships present at the internment of the German High Seas Fleet in the Firth of Forth on November 21, 1918.

Following the armistice that ended the war, the Arkansas performed escort duties for Pres. Wilson's visit to Brest, France, and from there was sent to New York City, and then to the Norfolk, Virginia navy yard for repairs. In July 1919 the Arkansas was assigned to the US Pacific fleet, and sailed for San Francisco, California.

Following an earthquake in Santa Barbara, California, in June 1925, the Arkansas put medical corpsman and military patrols ashore to assist in recovery efforts there. During these peacetime years until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Arkansas served primarily as a patrol and exercise training ship, receiving regular modernization upgrades and tours that included the West Coast, Hawaii, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Following the outbreak of World War II, the Arkansas participated in regular convoy escort duties, frequently crossing the Atlantic to Europe and North Africa.

During the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, the Arkansas covered the landings from 4,000 yards off shore, fighting with German shore batteries and undergoing attacks by aircraft. On June 25th, the Arkansas repeated bombardment duties against German artillery at Cherbourg, France. By this time the USS Arkansas was the oldest Battleship in active combat duty in the United States Navy.

The Arkansas then moved to the Mediterranean, and on August 14th participated in Operation Anvil, the invasion of the southern French coast between Toulon and Cannes, providing fire support for two days. From there the Arkansas traveled to the United States for repair and rest. In November, 1944, the Arkansas moved to San Diego, California, for preparations for attacks on Japanese strongholds in the Pacific Ocean.

On February 16th, 1945, the Arkansas began bombardment on the Japanese held island of Iwo Jima. She continued fire through the 19th. The Arkansas then moved off to the Ulithi atoll in the Caroline Islands for rearming and provisions. She was at the Japanese island of Okinawa on March 25th, where she performed 46 days of bombardment work while fighting off numerous kamikaze attack.

At the war's end, the Arkansas participated in "Magic Carpet," the program to get US military men back to the United States as quickly as possible. The Arkansas made trips from Nakagusuku Bay and Hawaii, carrying thousands of soldiers.

In January 1946, the Arkansas was stationed to San Francisco, California. Because of her age, the Arkansas was selected for the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands for the purpose of observing nuclear effects on naval craft. Along with an assortment of other aged ships and captured Japanese vessels, the Arkansas was subjected to the airborne atomic explosion of "Test Able" on July 1, which she survived. The "Arky" sank on July 25, 1946, during the second nuclear test, called "Baker" which was a submerged detonation from 90 feet below the water surface. The Arkansas now rests upside down in 170 feet of water in the Bikini Atoll lagoon, where it is often inspected by recreational deep sea divers.

The USS Arkansas received four battle stars for her World War II service.


Contents

Arkansas was laid down on 25 January 1910 at New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey. She was launched on 14 January 1911, after which fitting-out work was effected. The ship was completed by September 1912, and was commissioned into the US Navy on 17 September at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, under the command of Captain Roy C. Smith. ΐ] The ship was 562 feet 6 inches (171.45 m) long overall and had a beam of 93 ft 2 in (28.40 m) and a draft of 28 ft 7 in (8.71 m). She displaced 26,000 long tons (26,000 t) as designed and up to 27,243 long tons (27,680 t) at full combat load. The ship was powered by four-shaft Parsons steam turbines and twelve coal-fired Babcock & Wilcox boilers rated at 28,000 shaft horsepower (21,000 kW), generating a top speed of 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h 23.6 mph). The ship had a cruising range of 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km 9,200 mi) at a speed of 10 kn (19 km/h 12 mph). Α]

The ship was armed with a main battery of twelve 12 inch/50 Mark 7 [lower-alpha 2] guns in six twin gun turrets on the centerline, two of which were placed in a superfiring pair forward. The other four turrets were placed aft of the superstructure in two superfiring pairs. The secondary battery consisted of twenty-one 5-inch /51 guns mounted in casemates along the side of the hull. The main armored belt was 11 in (279 mm) thick, while the gun turrets had 12 in (305 mm) thick faces. The conning tower had 11.5 in (292 mm) thick sides. Α]

Modifications [ edit | edit source ]

In 1925, Arkansas was modernized in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. ΐ] Her displacement increased significantly, to 26,066 long tons (26,484 t) standard and 30,610 long tons (31,100 t) full load. Her beam was widened to 106 ft (32 m), primarily from the installation of torpedo bulges, and draft increased to 29 ft 11.75 in (9.1377 m). Her twelve coal-fired boilers were replaced with four White-Forster oil-fired boilers that had been intended for the ships cancelled under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty performance remained the same as the older boilers. The ship's deck armor was strengthened by the addition of 3.5 in (89 mm) of armor to the second deck between the end barbettes, plus 1.75 in (44 mm) of armor on the third deck on the bow and stern. The deck armor over the engines and boilers was increased by .75 in (19 mm) and 1.25 in (32 mm), respectively. Five of the 5-inch guns were removed and eight 3-inch /50 anti-aircraft guns were installed. The mainmast was removed to provide space for an aircraft catapult mounted on one of the amidships turrets. Β]


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Dreadnought battleship of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class. Laid down at Newport News Shipbuilding in November 1907, launched in January 1909, and completed in April 1910. Wikipedia

Built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation for the United States Navy, notable for being the first American class of oil-burning dreadnoughts. Commissioned in 1916, Oklahoma served in World War I as a part of Battleship Division Six, protecting Allied convoys on their way across the Atlantic. Wikipedia

Dreadnought battleship of the United States Navy, the second member of the, her only sister ship being. Laid down at the Fore River Shipyard in December 1907, was launched in November 1908, and commissioned into the US Navy in April 1910. Wikipedia

Class of three dreadnought battleships built for the United States Navy in the late 1910s. The class comprised three ships:, the lead ship, , and. Wikipedia

The Delaware-class battleships of the United States Navy were the second class of American dreadnoughts. Waived, which allowed designers at the Navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair to correct what they considered flaws in the preceding and produce ships not only more powerful but also more effective and rounded overall. Wikipedia

The Colorado-class battleships were a group of four United States Navy super-dreadnoughts, the last of its pre-Treaty battleships. Designed during World War I, their construction overlapped the end of that conflict and continued in its immediate aftermath. Wikipedia

The Tennessee class consisted of two super-dreadnought battleships— and —built for the United States Navy in the late 1910s, part of the "standard" series. In most respects a repeat of the preceding, with the primary improvements being a significantly strengthened underwater protection system, and increased elevation of the main battery guns to allow them to fire at much greater ranges. Wikipedia

The lead vessel of the four fast battleships built for the United States Navy in the 1930s. The first American battleships designed after the Washington treaty system began to break down in the mid-1930s, the South Dakotas were able to take advantage of a treaty clause that allowed them to increase the main battery to 16 in guns. Wikipedia

The lead ship of the of dreadnought battleships built for the United States Navy in the 1910s. Part of the standard series of twelve battleships built in the 1910s and 1920s, and were developments of the preceding. Wikipedia

The Florida-class battleships of the United States Navy comprised two ships: and. Launched in 1910 and 1909 respectively and commissioned in 1911, they were slightly larger than the preceding design but were otherwise very similar. Wikipedia

The fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the eighth state. Also the first American dreadnought though she did not incorporate turbine propulsion like, South Carolinas design included revolutionary aspects as well, primarily the superfiring arrangement of her main battery. Wikipedia

A, later reclassified as a heavy cruiser, sometimes known as "Swayback Maru" or "Old Swayback". She had the (unofficial) distinction of having taken part in more combat engagements than any other ship in the World War II Pacific Fleet. Wikipedia

The second of two s built for the United States Navy between her keel laying in October 1916 and her commissioning in August 1921. Part of the standard series of twelve battleships built in the 1910s and 1920s, and were developments of the preceding. Wikipedia

The second of four fast battleships built for the United States Navy in the 1930s. Escalator clause that allowed increasing the main battery to 16 in guns, but refusal to authorize larger battleships kept their displacement close to the Washington limit of 35000 LT. A requirement to be armored against the same caliber of guns as they carried, combined with the displacement restriction, resulted in cramped ships, a problem that was exacerbated as wartime modifications that considerably strengthened their anti-aircraft batteries significantly increased their crews. Wikipedia


USS Arkansas (BB-33) Day 1

US Navy Operation Neptune 1944-06-06 Coast of Normandy On 3 June, Arkansas sailed for the French coast to support the Invasion of Normandy. The ship entered the Baie de la Seine on 6 June and took up a position 4,000 yd (3,600 m) off "Omaha" beach. At 0552, Arkansas' guns opened fire. During the day, the venerable battleship underwent shore battery fire and air attacks over ensuing days, she continued her fire support.

On 13 June, Arkansas shifted to a position off Grandcamp les Bains. VCS-7, a US Navy Spotter Squadron flying Supermarine Spitfire VBs and Seafire IIIs, was one of the units which provided targeting coordinates and fire control. On 25 June, Arkansas dueled with German shore batteries off Cherbourg, the enemy repeatedly straddling the battleship but never hitting her. Her big guns helped support the Allied attack on that key port and led to the capture of it the following day. Retiring to Weymouth, England, and arriving there at 2220, the battleship shifted to Bangor on 30 June.


USS Arkansas Silver Service

Crewmen examining the silver service presented to the battleship USS Arkansas by the State of Arkansas. Daisy Dalony made the presentation on behalf of Arkansas governor Charles H. Brough on April 23, 1919.

Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Historical Center

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