Japanese and US battleships in World War II

The 12 IJN battleships combatant in WWII
Commissioned Name Main guns Fate
1913 Kongo 8 x 14" Sunk 1944
1914 Hiei 8 x 14" Sunk 1942
1915 Kirishima 8 x 14" Sunk 1942
1915 Haruna 8 x 14" Sunk 1945*
1915 Fuso 12 x 14" Sunk 1944
1917 Yamashiro 12 x 14" Sunk 1944
1918 Ise 12 x 14" Sunk 1945*
1918 Hyuga 12 x 14" Sunk 1945*
1921 Mutsu 8 x 16" Sunk 1943**
1920 Nagato 8 x 16" Survived, marginally
1941 Yamato 9 x 18" Sunk 1945
1942 Musashi 9 x 18" Sunk 1944
*These ships were sunk in shallow water in home harbors by aircraft
in a mopping-up operation July 24 through July 28.
**Sunk in harbor by internal explosion.
The 23 USN battleships combatant in WWII
Commissioned Hull Name Main guns
1912 BB-33 USS Arkansas 12 x 12"
1914 BB-34 USS New York 10 x 14"
1914 BB-35 USS Texas 10 x 14"
1916 BB-36 USS Nevada 10 x 14"
1916 BB-38 USS Pennsylvania 12 x 14"
1918 BB-40 USS New Mexico 12 x 14"
1917 BB-41 USS Mississippi 12 x 14"
1919 BB-42 USS Idaho 12 x 14"
1920 BB-43 USS Tennessee 12 x 14"
1921 BB-44 USS California 12 x 14"
1923 BB-45 USS Colorado 8 x 16"
1921 BB-46 USS Maryland 8 x 16"
1923 BB-48 USS West Virginia 8 x 16"
1941 BB-55 USS North Carolina 9 x 16"
1941 BB-56 USS Washington 9 x 16"
1942 BB-57 USS South Dakota 9 x 16"
1942 BB-58 USS Indiana 9 x 16"
1942 BB-59 USS Massachusetts 9 x 16"
1942 BB-60 USS Alabama 9 x 16"
1943 BB-61 USS Iowa 9 x 16"
1943 BB-62 USS New Jersey 9 x 16"
1944 BB-63 USS Missouri 9 x 16"
1944 BB-64 USS Wisconsin 9 x 16"
No USN battleships were sunk by enemies after December 7, 1941.

     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
gnghs.com