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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
 
South Jersey


  Between the world wars, 1919-1939, international treaties guaranteed naval superiority for Great Britain and the United States, including a moratorium on new warship construction for 10 years. During the 1930s, countries that felt unfairly constrained by treaties - Germany and Japan - abandoned their obligations. Battleship evolution secretly leaped forward.

As tensions rose, American naval theorists envisioned a war with Japan for the Pacific and its sea lanes. Japan’s four frontline battleships, the Kongo (-class), Haruna, Kirishima and Hiei, were not only faster than U.S. battleships - but outgunned them as well. America’s response was to build the Iowa class - the Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois and Kentucky. The latter two were delayed during construction in favor of aircraft carrier production, then scrapped.

After Japanese carrier-borne bombers incapacitated most of the Pacific Fleet battleline at anchor in Pearl Harbor, aircraft carriers bypassed battleships in naval strategy.

The New Jersey was intended to form into a ‘special strike force’ of several Iowas supported by carriers and destroyers - and operate in Japanese-held waters dotted with hostile air bases. It was carefully crafted to seek an encounter with the Japanese Navy’s main battle force on its own terms and engage it victoriously. The New Jersey was made to use its superior speed and ‘Firepower for Freedom.’

Main armament


How a heavyweight changed its punch


USS New Jersey facts



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