Was the USS Missouri ever hit?
While operating with carriers Task Force 58 on the 11th of April, Missouri came under attack from a kamikaze that struck the side of the vessel below the main deck.
The impact shattered the aircraft, throwing gasoline on the deck that rapidly ignited.
However, quickly the fire became stomped out by her crew.
As a result, of the attack she endured superficial damage and the battleship remained on station. Two crewmen became wounded on the 17th of April when another kamikaze clipped the stern crane and crashed in the ship’s wake.
Kamikaze Pilots WW2 : An Analysis Of The Data
Missouri left Task Force 58 on 5 May to return to Ulithi; in the course of her operations off Okinawa, she claimed five aircraft shot down and another probable kill, along with partial credit for another six aircraft destroyed
During World War 2, the main Japanese islands were shelled by a Naval force for the first time in history, by none other than the USS Missouri. In 1945, the she took out strategic targets such as the Nippon Steel Company, which had been producing a significant chunk of Japan’s steel.
Just a couple of years later, the Missouri set out again to serve in the Korean war and here, did something similar; she took out a major steel factory [iron works].
Though the Korean War is an almost forgotten war for today’s generation, largely being overshadowed by World War 2 and the Vietnam War, it was actually Missouri‘s busiest, embarking on 2 tours. Considering that Missouri’s three magazines only held 1,220 16-inch projectiles, the fact that Missouri fired a total of over 7,000 16-inch projectiles over the Korean War is incredible.
The Missouri’s effort in Korea, while unnoticed by most, overshadows the 400 projectiles she fired in WWII and the 700 in the Gulf War.
Furthermore, the Missouri is capable of firing more than just 16-inch rounds, as when also counting 5-inch rounds, the total number of projectiles she fired is closer to 19,000 in that war.
The Missouri evolved over the decades of her service, improving and adjusting to developments in Naval warfare. During WW2, there weren’t enough beds for everybody to sleep on, and had to resort to “hot racking”, a system in which one person slept in a bed or rack then when they went to work, a crewmate slept in the same rack.
By the Korean War, Missouri’s crew size dropped a bit as they removed the 20 millimeter guns on board.
Decades later, in the Gulf War, the crew size dropped dramatically down to about 1600 due to the removal of all the entire aircraft guns, the quad forties, and four of the five inch gun mounts and the addition of Harpoon Missile Launchers.
The defense mechanisms of Missouri are impressive. On the front of the turrets, it’s almost 19 inches solid steel, consisting of a two-inch plate and a 17-inch solid cast. At Missouri’s conning tower, where the pilot watches conditions and relays commands, there’s a 17.3-inch solid cast.
There’s an armored box as well, that protects all of the vitals of the ship. This protective box contains all the engine and boiler rooms, medical equipment, and everything else necessary to keep the ship afloat and crew safe. This box is made of solid steel armor over six inches on the top, and then it tapers down the sides to protect everything in a series of watertight compartments.
The Missouri is also completely self-sufficient, as they can make anything they need, with the exception of ammo.
There’s huge machine shops on board, and a 25-inch lathe to make all sorts of machinery parts. They can repair anything they need. There’s a post office, two barber shops, a brig, and the laundry. Anything you could need to run a city, Missouri has. She also has launch pads for helicopters.
Back in World War II, the Missouri was capable of launching small aircraft as well. Just like a little catapult, the planes would be launched into the sky and when they returned, they’d land in the water next to the ship, which would then pick them up with a crane and put them back on deck. By the Korean War, the Navy switched to helicopters. We have pictures of them landing the helicopters in Korea on turns one and two, which is quite neat to see.
To fire Missouri’s guns each turn is a little different, different sizes, between 77 and about 110 men per turret, average out around 94.
Despite needing around 100 people to fire, Missouri’s max efficiency firing rate is only a round every 30 seconds per gun.
A significant upgrade Missouri got over the years was to the type of fuel its engines used. The Navy shifted from the stuff that is currently leaking out of the Arizona, for example, to an upgraded Marine diesel fuel. The upgraded fuel burns a little cleaner, a little more refined, but requires a 600-pound steam plant that releases high-temperature steam.