USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)

USS Pennsylvania, 31 May 1934
USS Pennsylvania under way off New York City, 31 May 1934
United States
Namesake:Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Ordered:22 August 1912
Builder:Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
Laid down:27 October 1913[1]
Launched:16 March 1915[1]
Sponsored by:Elizabeth Kolb
Commissioned:12 June 1916
Decommissioned:29 August 1946
Struck:19 February 1948
Honors and
8 battle stars and 1 Navy Unit Commendation
Fate:Sunk off Kwajalein Atoll after atomic bomb testing on 10 February 1948
General characteristics [2]
Class and type:Pennsylvania-class battleship
Displacement:31,400 long tons (31,900 t)[3]
Length:608 ft (185 m)[3]
Beam:97.1 ft (29.6 m)[3]
Draft:28.9 ft (8.8 m)[3]
Installed power:32,000 shp (24,000 kW)
  • 4 × Curtiss ungeared/Westinghouse geared turbines
  • As Built:
  • 12 × Babcock boilers
  • By World War II:
  • 1 × Bureau Express and 5 × White-Forster boilers
  • 4 × shafts
Speed:21 kn (24 mph; 39 km/h)[4]
Range:9,288 nmi (10,688 mi; 17,201 km) at 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h)
Capacity:Fuel oil: 2,322 tons (694,830 US gal (2,630,200 L)) normal[4]
Sensors and
processing systems:
CXAM-1 RADAR from 1940[5]
  • As built:
  • Belt: 14 in (360 mm) (amidships); 8 in (200 mm) (aft)
  • Deck: 3 in (76 mm) (ends)
  • Turrets: 9 to 15 in (230 to 380 mm)
  • Conning Tower: 16 in (410 mm)
  • Funnel Base: 9 to 15 in (230 to 380 mm)
  • By World War II: As above, but
  • Deck: 6 in (150 mm)
  • Amidships (4 in (100 mm) upper, 2 in (51 mm) lower)
Aircraft carried:2 × floatplanes
Aviation facilities:2 × catapults
Notes:Fuel consumption: 90 tons per day at 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h)
USS Pennsylvania during visit to Australia in 1925
Pennsylvania's after 14-inch (356 mm) turrets early in her career.
An aerial view of Pennsylvania.

USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) was the lead ship of the Pennsylvania class of United States Navy super-dreadnought[7] battleships. She was the third Navy ship named for the state of Pennsylvania.

She was laid down on 27 October 1913, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia.[1] She was launched on 16 March 1915, sponsored by Elizabeth Kolb of Philadelphia, and commissioned on 12 June 1916, with Captain Henry B. Wilson in command.[1]

World War I

Upon commissioning, Pennsylvania was attached to the Atlantic Fleet. On 12 October 1916, she became flagship of Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, when Admiral Henry T. Mayo shifted his flag from Wyoming to Pennsylvania.[8] In January 1917, Pennsylvania steamed for Fleet maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea. She returned to her base at Yorktown, Virginia, on 6 April, the day of the American declaration of war against Germany. She did not sail to join the British Grand Fleet since she burned fuel oil rather than coal, and tankers could not be spared to carry additional fuel to the British Isles. In the light of this circumstance, only coal-burning battleships were selected for this mission. Based at Yorktown, she kept in battle trim with Fleet maneuvers, tactics, and training in the areas of the Chesapeake Bay, intervened by overhaul at Norfolk and New York City, with brief maneuvers in Long Island Sound.

While at Yorktown, on 11 August 1917, Pennsylvania manned the rail and rendered honors as Mayflower, with President Woodrow Wilson aboard, stood in and anchored. At 12:15, President Wilson returned the call of Commander, Battle Force, aboard Pennsylvania and was given full honors.[8]