Friday, January 02, 2009

BB 64: USS Wisconsin

The Iowa-class battleship USS Wisconsin is moored in Norfolk harbor. There are short tours of the foredeck, on which you can inspect the battleship's teak deck, a couple of 16" shells, and the massive turrets.

The Wisconsin's guns are trained on downtown Norfolk.

This is a 16" high explosive shell. These shells are invariably described as weighing more than a VW beetle. A VW is obviously not very dense.

Our docent was a gregarious Navy veteran who served on the USS Salem, CA-135, a heavy cruiser. The most interesting story he told involved the only battle damage every sustained by the Wisconsin, in Korea. A Chinese 125mm (?) field artillery piece managed to store a hit on the battleship, wounding two sailors and "ruining part of the beautiful teak deck". The captain then flattened the artillery position with a volley from the battleship's 16" guns. An escorting destroyer commented on this disproportionate retaliation by sending the captain of the Wisconsin the message, "temper, temper" in Morse code.

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