Japanese and US battleships in World War II
Above are lists of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and United States Navy (USN) battleships that participated, as combatants, in World War II. It can be difficult to sort these ships from other, former battleships that for one reason or another were not used in the war as battleships. Some former battleships were reduced to hulks used as barracks or targets or training platforms. Of course, it is common knowledge that the USS Arizona lies on the bottom of Pearl Harbor, but few people know that the former USS Utah, which was no longer a battleship on December 7, also is a war grave on the bottom of Pearl. Another example of a non-combatant battleship is the USS Wyoming, which served as a gunnery training platform during the war. Since I have never found lists comparing the actual battleship strengths of the IJN and the USN, I created these.
Despite the canonical reverence given to the theory of Alfred Mahan —that battleships were the determinants of victory in war— by all the world's naval colleges at the start of the war, battleships were obsolescent. They were used as anti-aircraft gun platforms to protect aircraft carriers and used for shore bombardment. There were only two battleship-to-battleship battles in the Pacific War, the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal and the Battle of Surigao Strait. Most of the IJN battleships, including the two most powerful battleships ever built, the Yamato and the Musashi, were destroyed by carrier-based aircraft.
Note: This page was originally a blog entry. It is reproduced here as a separate page for the convenience of students of the Pacific War.
- Genghis Lapointe
February 16, 2015