Brooklyn Navy Yard - Photo #123 - Other Ships

Photo:  US Navy photo 80-G-469991 LCDR H. Bristol, NARA
USS Missouri off Guam, May 1945. Like the Iowa which came before it, the Missouri was 887 feet long: about three football fields; at 887 feet, these were the longest battleships ever built (the Japanese Yamoto-class battleships were 862 feet but weighed 73,000 tons compared to Iowa-class ships' 58,460 tons)*. Like the Iowa and the North Carolina, the Missouri was built at Brooklyn Navy Yard and, according to [2], it was built on the same New-Deal constructed shipways (No.2) as those two ships, and so has a significant New Deal pedigree.

Kamikaze attack
Kamikaze attack on USS Missouri near Okinawa 11 April 1945 - click image to enlarge. Source: [10].
I couldn't help wondering how the Missouri could have been "launched from the very same ways" as the Iowa, when the Missouri's keel was laid down January 6, 1941, whereas the Iowa wasn't launched until August 27, 1942. Thousands of sources agree about this, but not one of them mentions where the Missouri's keel was laid down, nor which shipways it was launched from. The vital clue appears in a well-researched work of historical fiction[3]:
Soon it came to be known that the parts they were inspecting were for the battleship Missouri, whose keel had been laid almost a year before Pearl Harbor in Dry Dock 4. Later, the Missouri's hull had been floated across Wallabout Bay to the building ways: vast iron enclosures whose zigzagging catwalks evoked the Coney Island Cyclone.[3,p.48]

The Missouri was launched January 29, 1944, and saw combat in several campaigns in the Pacific, surviving a kamikaze[10] attack (right) and earning eight WWII battle stars. It is best known as the site of the Japanese surrender that ended World War II on September 2, 1945. The Missouri remained in service until 1992 and is now a museum ship at Pearl Harbor[6]. It was the last American battleship ever built and the last to be decommissioned.

* Thanks to John Brodtson for pointing out that the oft-repeated claim that the Iowa and the Missouri were the "largest warships ever made" is not totally accurate. They were the longest battleships. At least 12 aircraft carriers were/are longer, and nine of them heavier, as were the two Yamato-class battleships[9].

USS Missouri catapault-launched seaplane
Onboard seaplane[7]
USS Missouri catapault-launched seaplane
Recovering seaplane[8]
If you click the Enlarge button and look at the upper left corner of the top image, you'll see a pair of catapult-launched Vought OS2U Kingfisher seaplanes[7,8] used for reconnaissance.

As noted HERE, catapult float planes were shot into the air from the catapult and then landed on the water, from which they were retrieved by a shipboard crane as shown in the second photo. Both photos at left were taken on the Missouri in 1944.

  1. USS Missouri (BB-63), Wikipedia (accessed 14 June 2018).
  2. New York Navy Yard Shipworker, Brooklyn NY, Vol.III, No.10, January 29, 1944.
  3. Egan, Jennifer, Manhattan Beach, Scribner (2017). A novel about the Brooklyn Navy Yard in World War II.
  4. USS Missouri (BB-63), 1944-1998, Selected Views, Naval History and Heritage Command.
  5. BB-63 USS Missouri, Navsource Online (accessed 14 June 2018).
  6. Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI. The catapults and float planes were removed some time after World War II (see 2019 Google Maps image).
  7. Twilight of catapult aviation after WWII, Part 1,, 7 May 2017, accessed 21 October 2019, author "jwh1975"; detailed history and description of catapult-launched Naval aircraft with many photos.
  8. Vought OS2U Kingfisher, Wikipedia, accessed 21 October 2019.
  9. List of longest naval ships (table including type, length, displacement, status and operator), Wikipedia, accessed 28 December 2020: The Yamato-class battleships (Yamato and Musashi) were heavier than the Missouri but not as long. The Yamato and Musashi were sunk by US carrier-based aircraft in 1945 and 1944, respectively.
  10. Odachi, Kazuo, Memoirs of a Kamikaze, Tuttle Publishing (2020). Image of kamikaze attack on USS Missouri, p.129.