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NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive

BB-43 USS TENNESSEE
1917 - 1921

Radio Call Sign: November - India - Delta - November

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1922 - 1941
Pearl Harbor Attack
Puget Sound Rebuild / 1942 - May 1943
June 1943 - 1945
1946 - 1959


Tennessee Class Battleship: Displacement 32,300 Tons, Dimensions, 624' (oa) x 97' 4" x 31' (Max). Armament 12 x 14"/50 14 x 5"/51, 4 x 3"/50AA 2 x 21" tt. Armor, 13 1/2" Belt, 18" Turrets, 3 1/2" +1 1/2" Decks, 16" Conning Tower. Machinery, 26,800 SHP; Turbines with electric drive, 4 screws. Speed, 21 Knots, Crew 1083.

Operational and Building Data: Laid down by New York Naval Ship Yard, May 14, 1917. Launched April 30, 1919. Commissioned June 3, 1920. Decommissioned February 14, 1947. Stricken March 1, 1959.
Fate: Sold July 16, 1959 and broken up for scrap.
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Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
Bids950kNavy Yards Bid For U.S. Dreadnoughts.Image and text provided by University of North Texas; Denton, TX.
Photo from El Paso Herald.(El Paso, Tex.) 1901-1931, 17 November 1915, HOME EDITION, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-43 Tennessee 1.70k Tennessee (BB-43) view from bow looking stern-ward, 6 October 1917. Photo No. 3444, Brooklyn Navy Yard Archive - courtesy National Archive and Records Administration, Northeast Region - NYC, Record Group 181 via flickr.com.
BB-43 Tennessee 118k Tennessee (BB-43) under construction at New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn N.Y., 1 October 1918. In this view looking forward, the small plating can be seen rising in the stern area, the cylinders are the armored barbettes of the main battery; and forward of the second barbette, the slanting, side structures are the armored stack uptakes. USN photo and text courtesy of Warships in Profile, Volume 2, by John Wingate, Profile Publications LTD, Windsor, Berkshire, U.K.
BB-43 Tennessee815kThe Tennessee (BB-43), a Naval Marvel, Ready to Join Our Sea Forces
Superdreadnought, Scheduled to Take the Water This Week, Largest and Latest of Floating Fortresses - The Sixth Ship of Her Name, She Will Be the Queen of the Fleet
Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.
Photo from The Sun. (New York, [N.Y.]) 1916-1920, 27 April 1919, Section 7 Magazine Section, Image 75, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-43 Tennessee 3.55k Text accompanying photo reads: "Miss Helen Roberts, sponsor for the Tennessee (BB-43), and daughter of Governor A. H., Roberts of Tennessee, her maids of honor & guests at the Tennessee's launching.
Miss Roberts is Standing Between Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt and Her Father."

"The U.S. super-dreadnought Tennessee (BB-43), MOST POWERFUL NAVAL BATTLE UNIT BUILT IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Gliding Down the Ways of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Into the East River at the First Public Launching at This Navy Yard Since Early in 1917, More Than 25,000 People Attending.
The Tennessee,Will Displace 32, 600 Tons. It Is 624 Feet in Length, 97 Feet in Breadth, with a Mean Draft of 30 Feet 6 Inches. It Will Have an Indicated Horsepower of 28,000 and a Speed of Twenty-one Knots an Hour. Its Crew Will Consist of Fifty-eight Officers, 1,024 Men. It Will Be Exclusively Oil Burning and Electrically Driven, with an Armament of Twelve 14-Inch Guns and Fourteen 6- Inch Guns. The Tennessee, Though Named for a Bone-Dry State, Was Christened with Champagne, Over the Protest of Governor A. H., Roberts of Tennessee, Elected on a Prohibition Ticket."
Photo by Times Wide World Photo, & text courtesy of N.Y. Times,, 4 May 1919, Page 2, courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
BB-43 Tennessee 124k 30 April 1919, Miss Helen Lenore Roberts, daughter of the governor of Tennessee christens the battleship Tennessee (BB-43). USN photo courtesy of Myron J. Smith Jr, from his book "Volunteer State Battlewagon", from Pictorial Histories Publishing, Missoula, Montana.
BB-43 Tennessee 155k The champagne flies against the side of the Tennessee (BB-43) as Miss Helen Lenore Roberts christens the battleship.Digital ID # ggbain 28726v, LC-B2-4903-14. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, from the George Grantham Bain Collection.
BB-43 Tennessee607kWorld's Greatest Battleship Is Launched In Navy Yard Here as 100,000 Persons Cheer
Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.
Photo from The Evening World. (New York, N.Y.) 1887-1931, 30 April 1919, Final Edition - Extra, Image 3, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-43 Tennessee405kThe launching of the Tennessee (BB-43) at the New York Navy Yard on April 30. Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation
Photo by The Sun. (New York [N.Y.]) 1916-1920, 11 May 1919, Section 5 Pictorial Section, Image 50, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-43 Tennessee 122k Text accompanying photo reads: "The U.S. super-dreadnought Tennessee (BB-43), largest battle unit of the sea so far designed for any navy in the world now approaching completion in the Brooklyn Navy Yard." Photo by Underwood & Underwood, courtesy of memory.loc.gov. Text courtesy of N.Y. Times 7 December 1919, Page 7.
BB-43 Tennessee 672k PRIZE U.S. SUPERDREADNOUGHT NEARS COMPLETION Image and text provided by University of Utah, Marriott Library.
Photo from The Ogden Standard. (Ogden City, Utah) 1913-1920, 03 January 1920, LAST EDITION - 4 P.M., Image 4, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-43 Tennessee21kThe fighting top with which the new Tennessee (BB-43) is equipped. Uncle Sam's new super-dreadnought, one of the largest and most powerful afloat, is soon to be placed in commission at the Brooklyn navy yard.Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo by New-York Tribune.(New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, 11 April 1920, Image 53 courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-43 Tennessee 646k Volunteer State Lives Up to Name in Manning Tennessee (BB-43)
Newest Superdreadnought Gets Native Born Crew in Most Remarkable Recruiting Campaign in Naval History.
Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.
Photo from The Sun and the New York Herald. (New York [N.Y.]) 1920-1920, 11 April 1920, Section 7 Magazine Section, Image 75, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Richard Henry Leigh 141k Admiral Richard Henry Leigh, then a Captain, was the Commanding Officer for the battleship Tennessee (BB-43) when she was commissioned on 3 June 1920 and continued as her commander until 1921. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress via Bill Gonyo.
BB-43 Tennessee 743k The Battleship Tennessee (BB-43) with secondary armament.Image and text provided by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA.
Photo from Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, 3 June 1920, NIGHT EXTRA FINANCIAL, Image 10, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-43 Tennessee 80k Recruiting poster for the Tennessee (BB-43). USN photo courtesy of Myron J. Smith Jr, from his book "Volunteer State Battlewagon", from Pictorial Histories Publishing, Missoula, Montana.
BB-43 Tennessee 22.57k Tennessee (BB-43) dockside sometime shortly after her commissioning. Digital ID # ggbain 30527v, LC-B2-5198-13. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, from the George Grantham Bain Collection.
BB-43 Tennessee 93k Men and women gather on the deck of the Tennessee (BB-43) sometime shortly after her commissioning. Digital ID # ggbain 30524v, LC-B2-5198-13. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, from the George Grantham Bain Collection.
BB-43 Tennessee 103k Tennessee (BB-43) completing after launching at Brooklyn. Outline of armor belt can be seen below the lower line of ports. The Battleship in the background is probably the Nevada (BB-36). USN photo and text courtesy of Warships in Profile, Volume 2, by John Wingate, Profile Publications LTD, Windsor, Berkshire, U.K.
BB-43 Tennessee 791k A cloud of smoke trails behind the Tennessee (BB-43) while at full power, 21.9 knots as she heads for N.Y. after conducting trials in Long Island Sound from 15 to 23 October 1920. Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III. Partial text courtesy of DANFS.
BB-43 Tennessee 38k Tennessee (BB-43) forward main battery, 14in/50 guns, during construction 30 August 1920. USN photo and text courtesy of Warships in Profile, Volume 2, by John Wingate, Profile Publications LTD, Windsor, Berkshire, U.K.
BB-43 Tennessee 41k One of Tennessee's (BB-43) 5in/51 guns in its case-mate 30 August 1920, starboard side looking aft. Shutters for the gun are secured to the bulkhead just forward of the gun. USN photo and text courtesy of Warships in Profile, Volume 2, by John Wingate, Profile Publications LTD, Windsor, Berkshire, U.K.
BB-43 Tennessee 33k Tennessee's (BB-43) flag locker aft, 12 October 1920. There was storage furnished for 150 signal flags. The canvas covered objects around the mainmast are searchlights. USN photo and text courtesy of Warships in Profile, Volume 2, by John Wingate, Profile Publications LTD, Windsor, Berkshire, U.K.
BB-43 Tennessee 26k Control tower, bridge, forward main battery director and foremast on Tennessee (BB-43), 12 October 1920. The three level observation and fire control tops on the foremast were first used by the USN on Tennessee. USN photo and text courtesy of Warships in Profile, Volume 2, by John Wingate, Profile Publications LTD, Windsor, Berkshire, U.K.
BB-43 Tennessee 365k THE WORLD'S BIGGEST BATTLESHIP, your Uncle Sam's super-dreadnought Tennessee (BB-43), as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge a week ago Friday as she put out to sea on her trial trip. She is 630 feet long, of 32,500 tons, .53,000 horsepower, burns oil, of which she can carry 1,900 tons, cost over $22,000,000, and is the first ship to recruit her personnel in the state after which she is named. Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC. & censored by Tom Kermen.
Photo from New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, 24 October 1920, Image 54 & 55, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-43 Tennessee 237k Foreground is definitely Tennessee (BB-43). In the middle is Idaho (BB-42) (darker camouflage note also the fantail catapult) and upper right is Arizona (BB-39), less certain but based on main mast platforms verses the New Mexico (BB-40). Middle background is New York (BB-34) (navigation bridge not over hanging conning tower). The far left background is the Texas (BB-35) (blunt bow, 2 funnels).
The aircraft is a Naval Aircraft Factory / Curtiss / Canadian Aeroplane Ltd F-5L.
The date of Mr. Kreisman's photo has to be 1920-1921. By 1922 all 14' and 16" gunned BB's (except New York and Texas as the 5th turret did not leave enough deck space) had been fitted with a compressed air catapult on the stern. The presence of a stern A/C catapult on only one of the three 1916 program BB's suggest this early in the introduction of this equipment but late enough for the turret top fly-off platforms to have been removed from all ships present. In 1919 the Battle Fleet shifted its base to San Pedro in California where it remained based until shifted to Pearl Harbor. The Texas and New York were assigned to that fleet until they returned east for modernization in 1925. This would suggest that the photo was taken some where in the Pacific. The rich flora onshore suggest a tropical climate and the enclosed by would lead me to guess Panama or Gitmo. If the 1920 or 1921 Fleet problem was conducted in Atlantic waters could explain an Atlantic based aircraft with a Pacific based Fleet.
Photo courtesy of Lance Kreisman via Fabio Pen~a.
Photo & text i.d. courtesy of Chris Hoehn, Alan Moore & Richard Jensen.
Aircraft i.d. courtesy of Alan Moore via Larkins, William T. US Navy Aircraft 1921-1941/US Marine Corps Aircraft 1914-1959. [The image came from the USMC aircraft section, pg(9).] Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 1995. (originally published as US Marine Corps Aircraft 1914-1959, copyright 1959, and US Navy Aircraft 1921-1941, copyright 1961).
BB-43 Tennessee 915k After fitting out, Tennessee (BB-43) conducted trials in Long Island Sound from 15 to 23 October 1920. While Tennessee was at New York, one of her 300-kilowatt ship's-service generators blew up on 30 October , "completely destroying the turbine end of the machine" and injuring two men. Undaunted, the ship's force, navy yard craftsmen, and manufacturers' representatives labored to eliminate the "teething troubles" in Tennessee's engineering system and enabled the battleship to depart New York on 26 February 1921 for standardization trials at Guantanamo. She next steamed north for the Virginia Capes and arrived at Hampton Roads on 19 March. Tennessee carried out gunnery calibration firing at Dahlgren, Va., and was drydocked at Boston before full-power trials off Rockland, Maine. After touching at New York, she steamed south; transited the Panama Canal; and, on 17 June, arrived at San Pedro, Calif., her home port for the next 19 years.
A tug boat taking a target barge out for the Tennessee (pictured behind the barge) while conducting gunnery calibration firing at Dahlgren, Va.
Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III. Partial text courtesy of DANFS.
BB-43 Tennessee 869k Tennessee (BB-43) is pictured in Boston Dry Dock, March, 1921. Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III.
BB-43 Tennessee 673k Port side view at dock, probably in Boston, Mass., 1921. Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III.
BB-43 Tennessee 581k FULL SPEED AHEAD
First trial trip of the U.S. Battleship Tennessee (BB-43) off the coast of Maine. This is Uncle Sam's largest and latest pet.
Image and text provided by Oklahoma Historical Society.
Photo & text by The Daily Ardmoreite.(Ardmore, Okla.) 1893-current, 12 June 1921, HOME EDITION, Image 11, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
PDF added 03/26/14.
BB-43 Tennessee 738k Chugging along at full power, 21.9 knots during trials. Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III.
BB-43 Tennessee 744k Full Power Trials at Rockland, ME., circa May 1921. Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III.
BB-43 Tennessee 329k A Tennessee (BB-43) class battleship firing a broadside. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via flickr.com.
(BB-43/44) 1.20k Black & white in color photo of Tennessee (BB-43) underway at high speed with its background possibly enshrouded from her fumes from her aft main battery during target practice; her main forward battery is trained out to starboard, taken during her full power trials. USNI Photo Navy Recruiting Bureau, N.Y. Photo courtesy of Pieter Bakels & Tim Muir.
BB-43 Tennessee 552k Swabbies swabbing. Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III.
BB-43 Tennessee 729k Work detail preparing for drydocking. Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III.
BB-43 Tennessee 589k In the Panama Canal, June 1921. Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III.
BB-43 Tennessee 858k In the Gatun Lock of the Panama Canal, June 1921. Photo from the James R. Nehez, Sr. collection, courtesy of James R. Nehez, III.
BB-43 Tennessee 540k Battleship Tennessee (BB-43), Giant Of Yank Navy, Drops Anchor In Harbor at San Pedro
Image and text provided by Oklahoma Historical Society.
Photo & text by The Morning Tulsa Daily World. (Tulsa, Okla.) 1919-1927, 03 July 1921, FINAL EDITION, SECTION B, Image 24, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.

USS TENNESSEE BB-43 History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The Hazegray & Underway Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Bud Galow
Address: 521 Inman Terrace, Willow Grove, PA 19090-3613
Phone: (215) 784-9885
E-mail:budgalow@comcast.net
Mail to USS Tennessee Reunion Association can be sent to: P.O. Box 1174, Willow Grove, PA 19090-0704

Note About Contacts.

The contact listed, Was the contact at the time for this ship when located. If another person now is the contact, E-mail me and I will update this entry. These contacts are compiled from various sources over a long period of time and may or may not be correct. Every effort has been made to list the newest contact if more than one contact was found.


Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway Battleship Pages By Andrew Toppan.

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