The "Latest" Battleship!


Being something of a battleship buff, I was interested to try identifying the "latest battleship" in the American navy that was targeted by the the Nazi saboteurs. The picture of the model used was quite blurry, but it appeared to me to most resemble the USS Florida (BB-30), as rebuilt in the 1920s with a single stack. The model, however had a tripod foremast rather than the basket mast of the rebuilt Florida. Florida was hardly the latest battleship in the American fleet, having been commissioned in 1911 and scrapped in 1931. Her sister ship, the USS Utah, however, was converted into a training and target ship and sunk by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 1941 December 7.

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Just a note, while this movie was in production, the USS Iowa (BB 61) was being built at the Brooklyn Navy, which is across the East River from Manhattan. The Iowas were the latest and sadly the last class of Battle ships constructed by the United States. So I can't discuss the pictures and models used in the movie, in fact there was a modern battleship being built in Brooklyn in 1941.

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There was also a planned successor class to the Iowa class: the Montana-class battleships. These giants were slower but larger (too large to transit the Panama Canal), better armored, and had superior firepower (four triple turrets vs Iowa’s three).


Five were approved for construction by Congress in 1939 but were cancelled in favor of more urgently needed aircraft carriers, amphibious and anti-submarine vessels before any keels were laid.


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I liked to think the ship in the film (though what we see looks wrong) would have been the USS North Carolina BB-55, built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, launched June 1940, commissioned in New York April 1941. It was the first new US battleship built in sixteen years.

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