Thursday, July 10, 2008

North Carolina Vacation 3 - The Battleship North Carolina

On July 5th we visited the BB-55 Battleship North Carolina Memorial.

The 16 inch 3 gun turrets never fail to impress.

The Battleship with a commissioned time in service of only 6 years served with great honor during World War 2, playing a role in almost every one of the Pacific campaigns and earning 15 battle stars.

The ship sank one Japanese troopship and downed at least 24 Japanese planes, as well as participated in 9 pre-invasion bombardments and even bombarded the Japanese mainland, as proudly displayed on her kill board:

10 crewmen were lost in action during the war and 67 wounded. The ship survived a torpedo hit by the Japanese submarine I-19, after which the inadequate antiaircraft armanment was upgraded with more 20mm Oerlikon guns and 40 mm Bofors cannon.

Here's one of the Oerlikons:

And a Bofors quadruple mount:

The memorial also has one Vought Kingfisher aircraft on the stern, one of only 7 of these aircraft in existence worldwide.

The Kingfisher detachment on North Carolina performed quite heroically, picking up downed pilots, including picking up downed airmen under fire in Tokyo Bay.

The after decommissioning, the citizens of North Carolina preserved her, payign the navy $300,000 to keep her as a memorial and she has been proudly at rest, located across the bay from Wilmington ever since, serving not only as a memorial but an educational site for all her visitors to learn about her role in the war and the lives of the crew who sailed her and made her so effective. With so many of the ships from World War Two sent to the scrapyard, her existence is a great display of America's proud history of seapower, well worthy of preservation.

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