The United States Navy began building battleships at the close of the 19th Century with the commissioning of the Battleship U.S.S. Maine and ending with the U.S.S. Wisconsin. A total of 64 were completed and served during the past century. At present, there are no active duty battleships serving in any navy in the world.


U.S.S. Maine

The USS Maine and USS Texas were the first US battleships built for the "steel navy". They were authorized as second-class battleships in 1886. The Maine was commissioned in 1895 and was later reclassified as an armored cruiser. The Maine was armed with four 10 " guns mounted in two off- center turrets. She was 324 ft long and at 6,682 tons was slightly larger than the Texas. The Maine was sent to Havana in February of 1898 to protect the lives of U.S. citizens living in Cuba. On the night of February 15, 1898 the Maine blew-up and sank killing 266 of her crew. The immediate reaction was that Spain had destroyed the ship and within weeks, the U.S. was at war with Spain. An investigaton of the wreck could not determain the exact cause of the explosion and opinions differ to this day as to the cause. The wreck of the Maine was later raised and resunk off the coast of Cuba where she remains to this day.


U.S.S. Arizona

The USS Arizona was commissioned in 1916 and served in World War I. She was 608 feet long and was 32,600 tons. The Arizona was sunk on December 7, 1941 when the Japaneese attacked Pearl Harbor, HI. A memorial now rests across her hull in tribute to the 1103 men who died when she exploded and sank.



U.S.S. Wisconsin (BB 64)

 The USS Wisconsin was the fourth of the Iowa Class battleships built near the end of World War II. She was commissioned in 1944 in time to serve for a year in the Pacific campaign. The Wisconsin was retired in the early 1950's but recommissioned during the 1980's in time for the Persian Gulf War. She is currently out of commission in Norfolk, VA and is due to be opend to the public for tours at the end of 2000.