U.S.S. Arizona, BB-39
When ship was designed it
was a new style of battlewagon for its time. Officially the battlewagon was
listed as BB-39 or battleship number thirty-nine. It was the second of two
battleships that were classified as the “
” class type of battleships. You can best use the word battleship for this
class and onwards in time for large ship development. The “battle wagon” was
a term that was now fading away. Battleships were named after a State so both
was now properly represented in the United States Navy.
She was built in the New
York Ship Yard where she was launched in 1915 and was officially commissioned on
October 17, 1916. The ship weighed in at 32,600 tons and was 612 feet long, 106
feet wide. The architecture of the ship gave it a low bridge location and with a
superstructure of two tall cage masts.
As time passed naval
advancements required the
to be upgraded. The battle ship was re-commissioned in 1931 after three years
of many new improvements. She sailed with new engines powered by new boilers
the top speed of 21 knots. She was also equipped with new guns and tall
observation masts. The cage type structures had been removed being replaced with
tri-pod structures. The superstructure and profile of the battleship had in
effect been raised. The battleship had two aircraft catapults one on each gun
turret on the rear of the ship. The types of seaplanes that were carried onboard
were the Grumman “Duck” of which three were carried when under sail.
In March of 1931 the
hosted the President of the
for an official trip. Herbert Hoover traveled on the battleship for a visit to
Puerto Rico along with the
. The history I have does not tell me what the visit was all about but it does
fit the President properly to be sailed around in a mighty battleship like the
. Battleship One; think about it.
In August of 1931 the
battleship was sailed to join the Pacific Fleet. The battleship would remain in
service in the Pacific until the end of its service. She was docked in a
California Navy Base until 1940 when the Pacific Fleet was then harbored at
. By 1940 the battleship was armed with twelve 14inch main guns grouped three
each in four different turrets. Two turrets were in the front of the ship and
two were facing the rear. Her secondary armament was twelve 5inch guns which
could be used on sea and air targets.
At the time of the attack on
Pearl Harbor, the
was considered an old battleship. Though she never saw combat before December
7, 1941, she helped train many thousands of American sailors who called the
On the day of the attack the
Arizona was docked by Ford Island with the USS Vestal moored right next to the
battleship on the outside of a double row of warships. The ship was attacked by
B5N “Kate’s flying around ten thousand feet who were attacking with armor
piercing bombs rather than the Kate’s that were gliding across the top of the
water in the harbor delivering torpedoes. One of two bombs that hit the ship
found the forward magazines full of explosives. When the room of munitions
detonated the ships bottom and sides were blown out sinking the ship quickly
sinking bow first. The heavy superstructure then collapsed forward into the
gutted forward section.
On the day of the attack the
battleship did not have very many anti-aircraft guns in place because the entry
of aviation into Naval warfare had not been taken into consideration at the
conception of the
. However the ship was scheduled to have 1.1inch guns mounted along both sides
of the ships enclosed in metal tubs for protection. During the attack the ship
was only able to muster a few fifty caliber guns before the ship was fatally
hit. Yet everyman on that battleship including the cooks were manning their
stations as best they could. They fought together as a crew until the very last
The Japanese pilot that led
the flight of “Kate’s” that attacked “Battleship Row” was Commander
Mitsuo Fuchida. It was his Kate armed with one 800kg armor piercing bomb that
tore through the deck of the
and detonated in the forward ship’s magazine. In the first attack there were
a total of forty Kate’s armed with Mark 91, “Long Lance” torpedoes.
Torpedo Specialist Maruyama was carrying a torpedo in the first wave that would
. Also in the first wave were forty-nine Kate’s armed with 800kg armor
piercing bombs. Commander Mitsuo Fuchida leading the flight of Kate’s over the
battleships carried one of the 800kg bombs that would sink the
. In the second wave of the attack there were fifty-four Kate’s armed with one
250kg and six 60kg bombs each. They used these attacks to “pattern bomb” an
area. They could have carried the heavier weapons and done more damage than
their carpet-bombing. None in the second wave carried torpedoes or the 800kg
armor piercing bombs.
The submerged hull of the
once proud battleship is now a tomb for 1,100 sailors; her crew that were unable
to escape. The remains of the battleship is now a
where it sank those many decades in the past now. Never forget those who died
first, within the first few minutes of the Second World War.
Please review the other seventy aviators that we
have worked with and interviewed in the Print Directory.
Here you will find Bomber pilots, Navy and
Marines Aces, Canadians, French, German, and Japanese pilots.
To Main Directory
This is our Main Directory.
To Our: Hobby
research, writings and artwork are by Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette.
one is permitted to republish any part of this story with out my personal
call or e-mail me for any use of this story.
do not mind sharing, just call or e-mail and ask for permission.
Ernie Hamilton Boyette
Arthur Moore Drive
Cove Springs, Florida 32043