US Navy photo 80-G-469991 LCDR H. Bristol, NARA
USS Missouri off Guam, May 1945. Like the Iowa
which came before it, the
was 887 feet long: about three football fields; at 887 feet,
these were the longest battleships ever built (the Japanese Yamoto-class
battleships were 862 feet but weighed 73,000 tons compared to Iowa-class
ships' 58,460 tons)*. Like the Iowa
and the North Carolina
was built at Brooklyn Navy Yard and, according to [2
], it was built on the same New-Deal constructed
shipways (No.2) as those two ships, and so has a significant New Deal
Kamikaze attack on USS Missouri near Okinawa 11 April 1945
- click image to enlarge. Source: .
I couldn't help wondering how the Missouri could have been "launched from
the very same ways" as the Iowa
, when the Missouri
's keel was
laid down January 6, 1941, whereas the Iowa
wasn't launched until
August 27, 1942. Thousands of sources agree about this, but not one of them
's keel was laid down, nor
which shipways it was launched from. The vital clue appears in a
well-researched work of historical fiction[3
Soon it came to be known that the parts they were inspecting were for the
battleship Missouri, whose keel had been laid almost a year before
Pearl Harbor in Dry Dock 4. Later, the Missouri's hull
had been floated across Wallabout Bay to the building ways: vast iron
enclosures whose zigzagging catwalks evoked the Coney Island Cyclone.[3,p.48]
The Missouri was launched January 29, 1944, and saw combat in several
campaigns in the Pacific, surviving a kamikaze
attack (right) and earning eight WWII battle stars. It is best known as the
site of the Japanese surrender that ended World War II on September 2, 1945.
The Missouri remained in service until 1992 and is now a museum ship
at Pearl Harbor. It was the last American
battleship ever built and the last to be decommissioned.
If you click the Enlarge button and look at the upper left corner of the top
image, you'll see a pair of catapult-launched Vought OS2U Kingfisher
] used for
As noted HERE,
catapult float planes were shot into the air from the catapult and then
landed on the water, from which they were retrieved by a shipboard crane as
shown in the second photo. Both photos at left were taken on
the Missouri in 1944.
USS Missouri (BB-63), Wikipedia (accessed 14 June 2018).
- New York Navy Yard Shipworker,
Brooklyn NY, Vol.III, No.10, January 29, 1944.
- Egan, Jennifer, Manhattan Beach,
Scribner (2017). A novel about the Brooklyn Navy Yard in World War II.
Missouri (BB-63), 1944-1998, Selected Views, Naval History and Heritage
BB-63 USS Missouri, Navsource Online (accessed 14 June 2018).
Missouri Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI. The catapults and float planes
were removed some time after World War II (see 2019
Google Maps image).
of catapult aviation after WWII, Part 1,
wwiiafterwwii.wordpress.com, 7 May 2017,
accessed 21 October 2019, author "jwh1975"; detailed history and description
of catapult-launched Naval aircraft with many photos.
OS2U Kingfisher, Wikipedia, accessed 21 October 2019.
of longest naval ships (table including type, length, displacement,
status and operator), Wikipedia, accessed 28 December 2020:
Yamato-class battleships (Yamato
were heavier than the Missouri but not as long.
The Yamato and Musashi were sunk by US carrier-based aircraft in 1945 and
- Odachi, Kazuo, Memoirs
of a Kamikaze, Tuttle Publishing (2020). Image of kamikaze attack on
USS Missouri, p.129.