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March 28, 2005
Cabin Fever Successfully Averted

BB-55, the USS North Carolina...

BB-55 Turrets 1 & 2
[Click to view large image - 1024x680, 600KB]

[More photos to follow.]

Can you say "behemoth?" I knew you could.

'Twas a beautiful day in Wilmington, where the "Showboat" is permanently moored. It rained until I got there, was sunny and breezy while I was there, and began raining in earnest when I got back to my SUV for the drive home. Excellent timing on my part, if I do say so myself.

I think I can now return for a while to my hermit-like ways. I'll have to get out again when baseball season starts, of course, but in the meantime I've had my recommended quarterly allowance of sun and fresh air.

[Just kidding, Mom.]

While touring the ship, I had a remarkable encounter, the details of which I will relate tomorrow.

If the technical details of battleship design really float your boat (sorry about that...) then I haven't seen anything better than Norman Friedman's work, U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History, which really gets into the specifics of how our battlewagons were conceived, designed and built.

The book begins in the pre-Dreadnought era, covering ships such as the infamous USS Maine, continuing with the first true battleship in the US Navy, the USS Indiana (BB-1) of 1895, and carries on through to the USS Iowa (BB-61) and the sister ships of her class, USS New Jersey, USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin.

As a History Guy (I think that's an official title...) I found it particularly interesting to see how the 1922 Washington Treaty, which limited the numbers and sizes of battleships, influenced ship design in the interwar period.

[USS North Carolina was designed and built just as Japan began ignoring the Washington Treaty, making her the first of the U.S. WW2-era "fast battleships" to mount the deadly 16" guns, but among the last to have artificial limits constraining her overall size.]

Copiously illustrated, this book is a must-have for serious students of U.S. naval history.

Posted by Russ at 09:19 PM, March 28, 2005 in North Carolina

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The Iowa class battleship Kentucky, BB-66, was sleeker. None of that clutter above the deck


Posted by: George Turner at March 29, 2005 11:45 PM