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Old 09-04-2022, 09:42 AM
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Arrow Introducing The USS Montana: The Navy’s Freaky Plan For A Battleship ‘Monster’

Introducing The USS Montana: The Navy’s Freaky Plan For A Battleship ‘Monster’
By: Peter Suciu - 1945 News - 09-04-22 - 39 seconds ago.

Photo link:
Iowa-class battleship artist painting. Image Credit: Creative Commons

Meet the Montana-Class: The Navy had big dreams to build even more giant battleships than the much respected Iowa-class battleships. The Montana-class battleships could have been epic, but the Navy made the wise call to pass on building them. This is the story of why that had to happen, as told by an expert:

Influenced by reports that the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was developing a “super-battleship,” the United States Navy ordered its own massive warship, one that could be armed with 18-inch (457mm) main armament. The new warships, named the Montana-class, were authorized under the “Two Ocean Navy” building program and funded in Fiscal Year 1941.

A total of five of the ships were ordered, with the lead in her class (BB-67) to be built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard along with Ohio (BB-68); while Maine (BB-69) and New Hampshire (BB-70) were to be constructed at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn; with Louisiana (BB-71) to be built at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Displacing 60,500-tons, these were the largest warships ever ordered by the United States Navy. The ships were nearly a third larger than the preceding Iowa-class, at 920 feet in length with a beam of 121 feet, and would have been even larger than the HMS Vanguard, the last battleship to be built.

Note: [The Montana-class ended up being the last battleships ever ordered by the United States Navy, and none were ever actually built.]

Montana-Class: What Could Have Been

The program was scaled back almost as soon as it began. The 18-inch guns were replaced by the same 16-inch (406mm) guns as the Iowa-class. However, it was still anticipated that the guns could fire a projectile 42,000 yards or nearly 23 miles!

The designers essentially “supersized” the Iowa-class, but it came at a cost. The Montana-class would have required a crew of at least 2,355 personnel – and perhaps as many as 2,780 if fielded as a flagship of the fleet. The high speed of the “fast battleships” was sacrificed in favor of an additional 16-inch triple turret and much-increased armor protection. The warships wouldn’t have been fast enough to escort carriers.

That armor – which would have weighed some 21,000 tons – included bulkheads with 18-inches of plating, while the turret’s barbettes would have been protected by 21.3 inches of armor, and the decks plated up to 6-inches at their stoutest. In addition, the plans called for an outer belt extending from the armor deck to the bulged hull and an internal belt descending from the middle deck to the bottom and constituted an anti-torpedo bulkhead. The great beam would have prevented the Montana-class from traversing the Panama Canal.

The class was designed to be a “Yamato killer,” and thus capable of going toe-to-toe with the IJN’s most powerful battleships, which did in fact did have 18-inch guns and were protected by up to 26-inches of armor protection at her thickest.

It wasn’t to be – and that was likely a good thing for the United States.

[ Here is an official Photograph (but was never released for publication.]
A - Montans Class model.

After the Battle of Midway, the U.S. Navy saw the impact that the aircraft carrier had in pushing back the Japanese. That fact made it clear that the Montana-class was not the right ship for the job, and the U.S. Navy’s need for more aircraft carriers, amphibious and anti-submarine vessels resulted in a suspension of the program in May 1942 before a single keel had been laid down.

Just over a year later, on July 21, 1943, the program was formally canceled. Not a single Montana-class battleship, the most powerful U.S. Navy vessel ever designed, was ever constructed. The “Yamato killer” wasn’t needed. The IJN’s Yamato was sunk by carrier-based bombers and torpedo bombers with the loss of most of her crew on April 7, 1945. Her sister ship, Musashi, had met a similar fate the previous October.

Those who would have liked to have seen how the Montana-class might have performed will have to settle for the video game series World of Warships.

About this writer: Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.

Tags: In this article:Battleships, Iowa-class, Montana-class, Navy, NotHome, U.S. Navy
Personal note: I've seen many proposed ships and aircraft they've dug up over the
years - many good ideas - but shot down most likely because of cost or that the
necessity wasn't needed as the war ended. I'm sure there are many more concepts
that were being considered back then. But today with nukes just about anything is
not going to be nuke proof! But you have to admit they dreamt up some cool stuff
back then - but again money and time to build them fell by the wayside once the
wars ended. I've even seen some aircraft designs under consideration but once
again - pipe dreams and concepts were common during those periods. But
like anything else - its time and money needed that always shoots them down!

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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