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Did the USS Missouri ever see combat?

Did the USS Missouri ever see combat?

Battleships

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The USS Missouri (BB-63) was an exemplar of advanced ship-building expertise during her time, belonging to the revered Iowa-class battleships. These battleships represented a significant shift in naval strategy, focusing on speed, protection, and firepower. USS Missouri, specifically designed to escort the fast aircraft carriers emerging as the core of naval fleets.

Design and Size

With a length of 887.3 feet and a beam (width) of 108.2 feet, the Missouri was a colossal vessel, ranking among the largest battleships ever constructed by the United States. Her full-load displacement, indicating the weight of the water displaced when fully loaded, reached approximately 58,000 long tons.

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Propulsion System The Missouri’s propulsion system was a marvel of engineering, reflecting the era’s technological prowess. Four high-pressure boilers and geared steam turbines powered four propeller shafts, generating an impressive 212,000 shaft horsepower. This extraordinary powerplant propelled the Missouri to a top speed of over 30 knots (approximately 35 mph), a remarkable achievement for a vessel of her size. This high speed was essential for the Missouri’s primary role of effectively escorting faster aircraft carriers.

Armament The heart of the USS Missouri’s might resided in her formidable armament. The battleship was equipped with nine massive 16-inch/50-caliber Mark 7 guns, organized into three triple turrets. These guns had the capacity to launch 2,700-pound armor-piercing shells over a remarkable range of 23 miles, delivering a devastating offensive capability. Each shell was nearly as tall as a human and possessed the penetrating power to engage and defeat enemy battleships successfully.

Complementing the primary battery, the Missouri featured secondary armaments consisting of twenty 5-inch/38-caliber guns, housed in ten twin mounts. These dual-purpose guns were effective against both surface and air targets, providing the battleship with a robust defense against enemy aircraft and smaller naval vessels.

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The USS Missouri was also equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weaponry, which underwent upgrades and enhancements over the years. During World War II, this included 20 mm and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns. Later, during her modernization in the 1980s, she was equipped with advanced missile systems.

USS Missouri’s Combat Roles and Service Before Decommissioning in 1991

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The USS Missouri (BB-63), often referred to as the “Mighty Mo,”! Enjoyed a storied and illustrious career that spanned several decades, including her service before being decommissioned in 1991. While she is perhaps best known for hosting the Japanese surrender ceremony that effectively ended World War II, her service extended far beyond that historic moment. Here, we delve into her combat roles and notable service throughout her active years:

World War II Service

  • Iwo Jima: As mentioned earlier, the USS Missouri played a crucial role in providing fire support during the Battle of Iwo Jima in February 1945. Her powerful 16-inch guns pounded Japanese fortifications on the island, aiding the successful landing of U.S. Marines.
  • Okinawa: The Battle of Okinawa, from March to May 1945, witnessed the Missouri’s significant contributions. Her guns were instrumental in suppressing enemy artillery and defending U.S. forces during the intense 82-day battle for the island.

End of World War II

  • Japanese Surrender: One of the most iconic moments in the Missouri’s history occurred on September 2, 1945, when the formal surrender documents ending World War II were signed on her deck. General Douglas MacArthur presided over the ceremony, and the Missouri was anchored in Tokyo Bay. This event marked the official end of hostilities and was a testament to the Missouri’s status as a symbol of American naval might.

Post-World War II Service

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  • Korean War: After World War II, the Missouri was placed in reserve but was recommissioned in 1950 due to the outbreak of the Korean War. She played a role in the conflict by providing naval gunfire support during the Korean War, using her formidable firepower to target North Korean and Chinese positions.

Cold War Era

  • Operation Desert Storm: The USS Missouri’s service extended into the 1990s when she was recommissioned once again in 1986. During the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) in 1991, the Missouri was a prominent presence in the Persian Gulf. Her Tomahawk missile launchers and other advanced weaponry made her a formidable force. She fired several Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi targets during the conflict, contributing to the coalition’s efforts to liberate Kuwait.

Decommissioning:

  • After a long and distinguished career, the USS Missouri was decommissioned for the final time in 1992. She was subsequently stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1995.

The USS Missouri’s combat roles and contributions spanned multiple conflicts, showcasing her adaptability and enduring significance. From World War II to the Gulf War, the Mighty Mo left an indelible mark on naval history and the defense of the United States.

Did the USS Missouri ever see combat? Did the USS Missouri ever see combat?

(BB-63) (navy.mil)