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Sunday Battleship Blogging: USS Mississippi


USS Mississipi, second ship of the New Mexico class, carried 12 14″ guns, displaced 32000 tons, and could make 21 knots. Mississipi was one of twelve “standard type” battleships, designed with a similar armor scheme, speed, and main armament in order to operate together. Commissioned in 1917, Mississippi was not deployed with the Grand Fleet because of oil shortages created by the German U-boat campaign.

Like most US battleships, Mississippi was modernized during the interwar period. Mississippi and her sisters were rebuilt with a citadel superstructure somewhat similar to that of HMS Rodney. This arrangement was more useful (and aesthetically pleasing) than the tripod mast reconstructions adopted in earlier ships. Mississippi was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in early 1941, and was escorting convoys during the Pearl Harbor attack. After the attack Mississippi rejoined the Pacific Fleet, undergoing an overhaul that increased her anti-aircraft armament.

Mississippi’s war record was similar to that of other battleships of her vintage. She escorted convoys, acted as a reserve force, and bombarded islands in preparation for Marine assaults. The most exciting part of her service came on the morning of October 24 when she, along with five other battleships, participated in the destruction of HIJMS Yamashiro. Mississippi, lacking the most modern radar (she was equipped with Mark 3 radar, the same type used by USS Washington at Guadalcanal), fired only one salvo at Yamashiro, less than a minute before Admiral Oldendorf issued a cease-fire order. Yamashiro quickly sank from torpedo and gun damage.

Hit by a kamikaze in January 1945, Mississippi participated in most of the actions at the close of the Pacific War. After the war she was converted into a gunnery training ship and given a new designation, AG-128. Mississippi was more fortunate than her sisters and half-sisters, who found themselves either at the bottom of Bikini Atoll, at the scrapping yard, or in reserve. In late 1952 she was equipped with Terrier surface-to-air missiles for testing purposes. For the next four years she carried out tests of missiles, before decommissioning in 1956. She was sold for scrap in November of that year.

Trivia: Which Admiral at Jutland was honored by having his name given to a “battleship”?

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