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    Titanic Titans of the Seas: Inside the Legacy of the Iowa-Class Battleships

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    The Iowa-class battleships, colossal giants of the United States Navy, are synonymous with American naval might.

    These vessels—USS Iowa, USS New Jersey, USS Missouri, and USS Wisconsin—held dominion over the seas from World War II to the Gulf War.

    It’s no surprise that these behemoths, with their nine 16-inch guns capable of hurling a 2,700-pound shell over 23 nautical miles, have captivated military tech enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

    As museum exhibits across the U.S., they beckon visitors to walk their decks and delve into a powerful maritime legacy.

    USS Iowa was designed under the “escalator clause” of the Second London Naval Treaty.

    She was a marvel of engineering, slightly exceeding her intended 45,000-long-ton displacement at 47,825 long tons, outfitted for speed and firepower to confront formidable adversaries like the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Kongō class.

    Despite never clashing with Japanese battleships in direct combat during World War II, the Iowas were instrumental in other naval operations.

    One might wonder, as seapower enthusiasts often do, about the outcome of a hypothetical battle between the Iowas and Japan’s largest battleships, the Yamato and Musashi, which boasted 18-inch guns.

    However, the Iowas proved their mettle in various other combat actions, offering crucial naval gunfire support in the Pacific Theater.

    One cannot speak of the Iowas without mentioning the USS Missouri, the vessel where Japan’s formal surrender was signed on September 2, 1945.

    The battleship USS MISSOURI (BB-63) lies at anchor in a Persian Gulf region port during Operation Desert Storm.

    Their combat prowess was not solely a relic of the past, as demonstrated during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

    The Wisconsin and Missouri collaborated to launch a total of 1,078 16-inch shells towards Iraqi targets.

    An intriguing anecdote from the same conflict involved a group of Saddam Hussein’s troops surrendering to the Pioneer UAV operated by the Mighty Mo amid the initial shelling on February 24, 1991.

    The drone was instrumental in pinpointing targets for the formidable battlewagons, marking the first known instance in history of enemy forces surrendering to a drone on a battlefield.

    Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri, and Wisconsin were officially decommissioned for the last time in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1991 respectively. Subsequently, all four battleships have been transformed into museum ships.

    Relevant articles:
    The Navy’s Iowa-Class Battleships are the Best Battleships Ever, The National Interest
    Yamato | Japanese battleship, britannica.com
    Best Battleship Ever? I Present to You the Iowa-Class USS Wisconsin, The National Interest
    Fact Sheet – Battleship USS Iowa Museum, Battleship USS Iowa

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