21 December 2014, Great Britain's Royal Sovereign class Battleships
The Royal Sovereign class battleships were constructed during World War I and a few of them saw action at the Battle of Jutland. They never went under the extensive refits between the wars that the other battleships did. Towards the end of the war they were relegated to reserve or training status.
HMS Royal Sovereign with the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean:
Imperial War Museum, A-11795
11 December 2014, Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth class Battleships
Built and used during World War I the Queen Elizabeth class battleships underwent refits several times between the wars and were used extensively in the Atlantic and Mediterranean up until late 1944 when some of them transitioned to the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
HMS Valiant underway:
Imperial War Museum, A-19832
7 December 2014, Germany's P Class Battlecruisers
The P class were to be used as long distance raiders but were never started.
7 December 2014, 73rd Anniversary
Today is the 73rd Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. I'm not a member of the generation that would remember what they were doing at the time of the attack or when they first heard of it, but has always been forefront in my mind when thinking about World War II.
The attack was quit audacious but when looking back on it one realizes that the commander on the scene poorly executed the attack. This of course helped the United States in the early months of the war as there was quite a lot of oil that wasn't destroyed and there had been a slight chance that follow up raids might have gotten more ships including a carrier.
Once that sleeping giant had been awoken the American people came together probably like no other time in our history and went to war. War is a terrible terrible business, but if the Germans and or the Japanese had won the world would have been subject to extreme tyranny that could only be imagined.
So let us not forget Pearl Harbor and all the people that lost their lives.
BB-44 USS California's crew abandoning ship after the Japanese attack was over on December 7, 1941:
US Navy photo, NH-97399
7 December 2014, Germany's Scharnhorst Class Battlecruisers
Two of the Scharnhorst class were built before World War II. They operated closely together and were in many of the same places together.
KMS Scharnhorst with the KMS Gneisenau (right) in 1941:
US Naval Historical Center, NH-42203
6 December 2014, Germany's Bismarck Class Battleships
The Bismarck class battleships were good battleships but were poorly executed. Wasted in a foray into the Atlantic the Bismarck was lost. Since there wasn't much of a German navy the Tirpitz spent most of the war sitting in fjords in Norway. Churchill's obsession with the Tirpitz did needlessly tie up British capital ships and air resources.
KMS Tirpitz during trials in March 1941:
US Naval Historical Center, NH-59668
5 December 2014, Germany's H Class Battleships
Hitler had a dream of being able to go toe to toe against the British Navy so a rush program of ships construction was started. Six of them were to the be the H class battleships. Construction was started but when Hitler started World War II construction was stopped and the materials used for other weapons.
23 November 2014, United States' Alaska Class Battlecruisers
After the treaty restrictions were no longer binding the United States thought it would want a heavy cruiser with 12" guns. More closely identifiable as a battlescruiser the Alaska class ships arrived almost too late to be in World War II. Only two were finished in time.
Here's an overhead view comparing the Alaska class with the Iowa class.
CB-1 USS Alaska in port with the USS Missouri and USS Croatan:
US Navy, 80-G-K-190547
22 November 2014, United States' Montana Class Battleships
Sometimes it's interesting to consider the "what-ifs." What if the Montana class had proceeded and they were built? Would they have even been finished by the end of the war? What ships wouldn't have been built because of them? How might they have done in combat? Needless to say we'll never find out as they were never built.
A model of the BB-67 USS Montana at the New York Navy Yard on October 7, 1944:
US Navy, USN-144964
21 November 2014, United States' Iowa Class Battleships
The Iowas were built for speed so that they could keep up with the fast carriers.
BB-62 USS New Jersey in the Pacific in 1945:
US Navy, 80-G-K-15383
16 November 2014, United States' South Dakota Class Battleships
The next series of battleships were the four sisters of the South Dakota class. Smaller than the North Carolina class it was specially designed to be more compact to be able to have more protection.
BB-59 USS Massachusetts in Casco Bay, Maine in January 1943. Taken from USS Alabama:
US Navy, 80-G-K-416
15 November 2014, United States' North Carolina Class Battleships
A newer and better design was the North Carolina class which was to be better than the Japanese Kondo class battleships. Both were used as convoy escorts in the Atlantic but were later used primarily in the Pacific.
BB-55 USS North Carolina off the east coast on April 17, 1942:
US Naval Historical Center, NH-80988
14 November 2014, United States' Colorado /California Class Battleships
The Colorado class mounted 16" guns, otherwise very similar to the predicessor designs of American battleships.
If the Japanese could have only forseen an opponent that could make a floating drydock that could repair a battleship near the front, the Japanese might never have started a war with the United States.
BB-48 USS West Virginia in dry dock at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides:
US Navy, 80-G-314220