The USS Washington was an American battleship launched in 1940; she was the first battleship launched in the United States since
1921. In the early 1942, the USS Washington and other twenty American warships were the first ones to be equipped with fully
operational radar devices (1). These were an important advantage for the
United States Navy due to the widespread lack of radar systems on the warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
The ships of the North Carolina class were gifted with excellent maneuvering and equipped with not less excellent antiaircraft
armament and underwater protection. Overwater protection was however inferior to that installed in British ships;
while these were reinforced to withstand impacts from 406-millimeter projectiles, the ships of the North Carolina class were armored to
whitstand calibers up to 356 millimeters. On the other hand their armament was powerful, and in a fight one to one, the battleship
Kirishima (of the Kongo class) had no chance against the USS Washington; surpassed in both artillery power and firing control technology,
the obsolete super-dreadnought was unable to hit the USS Washington and resulted sunk after seven minutes.
The USS Washington and her sister spent the largest part of the Second World War escorting aircraft carriers. They were acceptable
designs but not brilliant ones. The subsequent designs for the South Dakota class would include a shorter hull, increased protection
to match the British standard and a single funnel to improve the firing arcs of the antiaircraft artillery. The USS Washington was
decommissioned in 1947 and finally scrapped in 1961, while her sister was preserved as a museum ship near Wilmington, North Carolina.
(1) The CXAM-1 radar installed on the USS Washington had a detection range depending on aircraft number, size and altitude. Surface
ships were more difficult to detect due to ground clutter, and required shorter ranges. The CXAM-1 was theoretically able to detect
single aircraft at 50-100 miles and large ships at 14 miles.
Class: North Carolina (2 units - North Carolina (BB-55), Washington (BB-56))
Length: 222.6 meters
Beam: 33 meters
Draught: 10.7 meters
Displacement (standard): 37186 tonnes
Propulsion: 4 x shaft, 4 x steam turbine General Electric, 8 x boiler Babcock and Wilcox, 121000 horsepower
Speed: 28 knots (52 kilometers/hour)
Range: 17450 nautical miles (32280 kilometers) at 15 knots
Complement: 1880 when built, 2339 in 1945
Armament (as built): 9 x 406-millimeter 45-caliber cannon, 20 x 127-millimeter 38-caliber cannon, 16 x 28-millimeter 75-caliber cannon,
12 x 12.7-millimeter machine gun, 3 x aircraft
Armament (in 1945): 9 x 406-millimeter 45-caliber cannon, 20 x 127-millimeter 38-caliber cannon, 60 x 40-millimeter cannon,
56 x 20-millimeter cannon, 3 x aircraft
Armor: 19-305 millimeters in belt, 37 millimeters in upper deck, 92-105 millimeters in main deck,
292-406 millimeters in barbettes, 178-406 millimeters in main turrets, 50 millimeters in secondary turrets,
99-406 millimeters in conning tower