USS TENNESSEE

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The USS Tennessee battleship was built at the New York Navy Yard.  The contract was awarded on 12/28/1915 and her keel was laid 05/14/1917.  Launch date was 04/30/1919 and was fully commissioned on 06/03/1920 then delivered for action on 09/16/1920.


Original Statistics:
Her Length Overall was 624 feet, Waterline Length 600 feet and Extreme Beam 114 feet.
Light Displacement was 32,300 tons with Full Displacement of 40,354 tons.
The USS Tennessee was pushed by 4 Propellers, fired by Steam Turbines, 8 boilers, 4 shafts, producing 26,800 hp and speed of 20 knots.  Maximum Navigational Draft was 34 feet.

Armament consisted of 4x3 14 inch / 50, 8x2 5 inch / 38, 10 x 4 40 mm, 43x1 20mm, 2-21 inch tt; 3 planes.

General population was 2129 Enlisted and 114 OfficersA contingent of roughly 200 Marines were also aboard.

She operated in the Atlantic, in the Cuba area for a year and then transferred to the U.S. Pacific coast, where she was based for nearly two decades.  As a unit of the Battleship Force, she participated in regular training and fleet exercises, winning the "E" for excellence in gunnery during the mid-1920s.  In 1925 the USS Tennessee transited the Pacific to visit New Zealand and Australia.  As tensions with Japan rose, her base was moved forward to Pearl Harbor in 1940.

On December 7, 1941, USS Tennessee was one of eight battleships present when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  Moored inboard of the USS West Virginia (BB-48). she was hit by two bombs, which damaged two of her four gun turrets and was scorched by burning oil from the sunken USS Arizona.  In late December after temporary repairs, the USS Tennessee steamed to the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Washington State for an overhaul.  From February through August of 1942 she operated off the West Coast of the United States then briefly went to Pearl Harbor before returning to
Puget Sound for extensive
modernization, greatly increased beam and retro fitting.


With her apperance completely changed and her weapons, combat systems and protection considerably enhanced, the USS Tennessee emerged from the shipyard on May 12, 1943.  She almost immediately moved up to the Aleutian Island area where her 14 inch guns bombarded Kiska when that island was invaded in August.  During the next year, from November 1943 into September 1944, she participated in bombardments of Tarawa, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, New Ireland, Saipan (where she was damaged by Japanese counter-fire), Guam, Tinian, Anguar and Pelieu.  In October, her big guns pounded the Leyte invasion area as U.S. forces returned to the Philippines, and on the night of October 24 through 25, she helped sink the Japanese battleship Yamashiro in the Battle of Surigao Strait.

After an overhaul stateside, the Tennessee supported the Iwo Jima operations in February and March 1945, firing nearly 1,400 fourteen inch and over 6,000 five inch shells at targets on the small, but fiercely defended island.  Beginning in late March and into April, she bombarded Okinawa.  Hit by a suicide plane on April 12, the Tennessee remained in action until May 1, 1945 when she went to Ulithi for repairs, then returned to Okinawa to continue her gunfire support during June and July.  In July and August she operated in the waters off China.  Following Japan's surrender, the battleship took part in the occupation effort before returning to the United States via the Cape of Good Hope, arriving at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, early December 1946.  Through the next year, she underwent the "mothballing" process and was decommissioned February 14, 1947.  USS Tennesse was part of the Atlantic Reserve fleet for twelve more years and was sold for scrapping in July 1959.