up to 4,570 nm (5260 miles) at 15 knots (17

mph) or 6,950 miles at 10 knots (11.5 mph).

Armor was identical to that of the Nevada

Class and adhered to the newly adopted

“All or Nothing” principle that was first

applied to it. In practice, this meant maximum concentration of protection of vital sections of the ship only. According to

proponents of the doctrine, armor against

mid-caliber shells was only an initiator

of the imminent explosion and a source of shrapnel and other fragments that

caused damage to the ship and the loss

of crew. The main armor plate of 343mm

(13.5 inch) thickness spanned from Bulkhead No.20 to No.127 and from a height of

the second deck, which possessed armor

76mm (3 inches) thick. Maximum strength

of the plate is maintained to 0.7m below

the waterline under normal displacement, and decreased to a final thickness

of 203mm (8 inches). The overall height of

the main armor plate was 5.3 m. The bow

and stern of the vessel were armored similarly, with the maximum thickness of

the plate being 330mm (13 inches) and its

height was reduced. Besides the aforementioned armor of the deck, there was

protection against shrapnel provided by

a 25mm (0.98 inch) plate beneath it but

above the drive train chamfered 38mm

(1.5 inch) to the armor plate. The armor

of the flue ducts to the smokestacks was

between 229mm and 381mm (9 to 15 inches), and for the command tower was

406mm (16 inches), while the turrets had

457mm (18 inches) at the front, 229mm to

An image from the construction of the battleship USS Arizona; 1915

(photo: National Archives).

254mm (9 to 10 inches) at the sides and

229mm (9 inches) at the rear, while their

roofs were 127mm (5 inches) thick. The

barbettes of the towers above the deck

armor were 330mm (13 inches) thick and

114mm (4.5 inches) below. The anti-torpedo bulkheads were 25 to 38mm thick

(0.98 to 1.5 inches) and were consistent

to period norms but provided inadequate

protection against explosions below the


Keel Laying

The keel of the 39th US Navy battleship (according to US Navy nomenclature practices

established in 1895), the second Pennsylvania class ship, was laid on the morning

of Monday, March 16, 1914 in the presence of

the Deputy Secretary of the Navy, Franklin

Delano Roosevelt, a promising 32-year-old

Democrat. He was accompanied by Captain

Albert Gleaves (1858-1937, future Rear

Admiral), the Brooklyn Shipyard supervisor, and many other dignitaries along with

the star of the day, three-year-old Henry

Williams Jr., son of a US Navy officer and

ship designer Henry Williams (1877-1973).

The young Henry Williams Jr., along with

four other boys, had the honor of driving

the first rivet into what would become the


The crew was composed of 1,087 men, including a 72-man naval infantry unit. Crew

quarters were cramped, and these were

modified later due to not only an increase

in the number of crew, but also with the

aim of improving living conditions.

(Jiří Fiala)

a huge fire engulf the affected battleships

from the deck of the USS Dobbin (AD-3)

destroyer support ship moored northeast

of Ford Island. He was later promoted twi-

ce more and from April, 1943 to May, 1944,

he commanded the destroyer USS Ammen

(DD 527, Fletcher class), which conducted

military operations in the Pacific.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt watches the laying of keel of USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on March 16, 1914. The little boy holding his hand is Henry

Williams, Jr. In December 1941, as a naval officer, he also witnessed its destruction (photo: FDR

Presidential Library & Museum).

The entire affair was widely reported on by

the press, including photographers, one of

which took a shot showing Henry Williams

Jr.’s index finger almost cramped up on the

right hand of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Henry Williams Jr. (1910 - 2000) was directly involved in the birth and demise of

the ship almost personally, when he held

the rank of Lieutenant in the US Navy

serving that fateful December morning in

1941, a member of the staff of Rear Admiral Robert A. Theobald, Commander of

the First Destroyer Fleet in Pearl Harbor.

On that day, he was tasked with securing

all documents, especially classified ones,

from the vault of the just-torpedoed light

cruiser USS Raleigh (CL 7, Omaha class).

The night after the attack, he watched

March 2022

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