Montana: Come Aboard the Navy's Last Battleship (It Died on the Drawing Board)

Robert Farley

Robert Farley

Security,

It would have been glorious--but obsolete. 

Montana: Come Aboard the Navy's Last Battleship (It Died on the Drawing Board)

Nevertheless, the Montanas would have been the favorites in any scrum; they could throw more weight, hit harder, and hit more accurately than any of the competitors.

In the early 1940s, the U.S. Navy still expected to need huge, first rate battleships to fight the best that Japan and Germany had to offer. The North Carolina, South Dakota, and Iowa class battleships all involved design compromises. The Montanas, the last battleships designed by the U.S. Navy (USN), would not.

(This first appeared several years ago.)

Origins of the Design:

The interwar system of naval treaties allowed the United States to restart battleship construction in the late 1930s. The first designs (the North Carolina and South Dakota classes) complied with the restrictions of the treaties, which limited battleship size to 35,000 tons.  An escalator clause kicked in after Japan failed to renew its treaty obligations, allowing the construction of the 45,000 Iowa class, which would use the extra displacement to carry slightly heavier guns, and more importantly to add five knots of speed.

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