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NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive

BB-48 USS WEST VIRGINIA
1933 - 1941

Radio Call Sign: November - Echo - Delta - Golf

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1920 - 1932
Pearl Harbor Attack
Pearl Harbor Repair & Rebuild / 1942 - April 1943
Reactivation / May 1943 - 1945
1946 - 1959


Colorado Class Battleship: Displacement 32,600 Tons, Dimensions, 624' (oa) x 97' 4" x 31' 4" (Max). Armament 8 x 16"/45 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, 28,900 SHP; Turbines with Electric Drive, 4 screws. Speed, 21 Knots, Crew 1080.

Operational and Building Data: Laid down by Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, VA, April 12, 1920. Launched November 19, 1921. Commissioned December 1, 1923. Decommissioned January 9, 1947. Stricken March 1, 1959.
Fate: Sold August 2, 1959 and broken up for scrap.
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BB-48 West Virginia112k Under refit at Puget Sound Naval Yard, 21 August 1933. The small circular platforms on her foremast had been erected for her Mark 19 anti-aircraft directors, which were connected in the unusual anti-aircraft range-finder shown. This range finder could be turned both horizontally and vertically.
About 1940, Mark 19's in the fleet were enclosed in small armored boxes and provided with steroscopic range finders. It is these enclosed directors that appear in photos of the battleships at Pearl Harbor.
Note also the wire connecting the roof of the 20 foot range-finder atop the pilot house to the foremast itself, with the range "clock" (concentration dial) for communicating the range to other ships. A similar clock was mounted on the mainmast. Both could be rotated so they could be viewed by other ships not exactly in line ahead.
Photo and text courtesy of U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman.
BB-48 West Virginia212k Under refit at Puget Sound Naval Yard, 21 August 1933.The structure atop each mast contained, from top to bottom, the main battery director, the main battery spotters and fire controls, and a pair of sceondary battery directors, which obtained their ranges from small armored range-finders below the Mark 19 platform. Visible on the bridge wing are a perlous, a small signalling light, and a 24-inch signalling searchlight with flaf lockers at the rear.
Note also the roof of the conning tower, with its array of periscopes. Initally, the front of the conning tower was allocated for ship control. The rear half was an armored fire control tower, served by special spotting glasses.
At the time of this photo, U.S. battleships were just being fitted with eight 0.50 calibre water cooled machine guns, each as a antistrafing measure. Note the large "Es" for engineering & presumably tactical excellence, on the ship's after funnel and on the signal birdge side abeam the machine guns, and the ship's number (48) atop her # 2 turret, in white.
Photo and text courtesy of U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman.
BB-38 Pennsylvania134kIdentifiable ships in this photo possibly at Puget Sound circa 1933 are, from left to right:
U.S. Crane Ship No. 1 ex-Kearsarge (BB-5), & Seaplane Tender Jason (AV-2), one of the Colorado class battleships, [possibly the West Virginia (BB-48)] in the dry dock and a Pennsylvania class along the pier.
The aircraft carrier in the photo is the Saratoga (CV-3) (note the "SARA" on the flight deck aft).
USN Photo courtesy of Pieter Bakels. Photo & partial text I.d. courtesy of Chris Hoehn & David C. Nilsen.
BB-48 West Virginia50kThe West Virginia (BB-48) about to make a statement with all her main turrets trained to starboard during exercises. USN photo courtesy of Pieter Bakels.
BB-48 West Virginia44kPhoto believed to be of a Damage Control party and the tools of their trade aboard the West Virginia (BB-48) during the 1930s.USN photo courtesy of Pieter Bakels.
BB-48 West Virginia51kCaptain Harold R. Stark was the Commanding Officer of West Virginia (BB-48) from 1933 to 1934. Photograph taken circa 1926-34. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 93280. Collection of Admiral Harold R. Stark.
BB-48 West Virginia83kStarboard view, location unknown, circa 1934.Courtesy of Darryl Baker.
BB-48 West Virginia141kPort side view, in New York City Harbor, circa 1934.Courtesy of Darryl Baker.
BB-48 West Virginia143kOil on canvas painting by the artist James Flood entitled "West Virginia (BB-48) - 1930's" depicts the battleship sailing under the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo and partial text courtesy of oldgloryprints.com
BB-48 West Virginia336kThe West Virginia (BB-48) sailing under the Brooklyn Bridge. The above painting by the artist James Flood was inspired by this photo. USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri.
BB-48 West Virginia232kStarboard side view, in San Francisco Harbor with the San Franciso - Oakland Bay Bridge being built, circa 1934.Courtesy of Darryl Baker.
BB-48 West Virginia107kThe West Virginia (BB-48) underway in San Francisco sails past Acatraz Island, circa. 1934.Courtesy of Darryl Baker.
BB-48 West Virginia112kIn San Francisco Bay, California, circa 1934.Photo # 80-G-1027204, now in the collections of the National Archives.
BB-48 West Virginia237kWest Virginia (BB-48) officers and CinCus staff pose in the officers' wardroom, circa 1934-36. Among those posing for the photo is future RADM Frederick J. Bell. At the time Bell was a LT serving as Flag Secretary and Operations Officer to VADM Thomas T. Craven, (first row, 3rd on the left, who looks remarkably like Admiral Husband E. Kimmel). When Craven returned to shore duty in 1935, Bell remained on the WV as Main Battery Assistant and Tactical Officer until 1936. Bell later went on to command the destroyer Grayson during the WW II, earning the Navy Cross during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in Aug 42. Bell is in the back row, extreme right. From the estate of RADM Frederick J. Bell. Submitted by Tom Lane.
BB-48 West Virginia223kWest Virginia (BB-48) officers and CinCus staff pose under one of the ship's 16"/45 gun turrets, circa 1934-36. Among those posing for the photo is future RADM Frederick J. Bell, in the back row, 3rd from right. From the estate of RADM Frederick J. Bell. Submitted by Tom Lane.
BB-48 West Virginia248k The West Virginia (BB-48) in a 1935 photo of the ship's 4th division. The author's father is in the first row, 6th photo.From the collection of Capt. TC Edrington III PhD, USN - Courtesy daughter Kyra Larn and son Thomas C. IV.
BB-48 West Virginia91k 23 August 1935 photo in her final pre-war configuration.USN photo.
BB-48 West Virginia351kOct. 1935, starboard view, with the Hawaiian mountains in the background.U.S. Navy Photograph submitted by Ron Titus, courtesy of Ingersoll-Rand. Corp. Photo i.d. courtesy of Jesse P. Mannix.
BB-48 West Virginia47kVice Admiral William D. Leahy, USN,Commander, Battleships, Battle Force, U.S. Fleet on board his flagship, West Virginia (BB-48), off Long Beach, California, September 1935. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 49862. Collection of Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, USN. Photo submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Battleship Row1.8mVery large (1.8m.b) 1936 photo of Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor. Among the ships in the harbor are:
On the far left two New Orleans (CA-32) class heavy cruisers. Neither ship can be positively identified, but I believe the outer one (the one furthest from the camera) to be either New Orleans (CA-32), Quincy (CA-39), or Vincennes (CA-44).
The battleships from left to right: Colorado (BB-45), or West Virginia (BB-48), outboard of Idaho (BB-42), Nevada (BB-36), outboard of Mississippi (BB-41), New Mexico (BB-40), outboard of Maryland (BB-46) or California (BB-44).
On the far right is the Hospital ship Relief (AH-1) with two unidentified ships ahead and to her port side.
Text courtesy of David Johnston, (USNR) & Aryeh Wetherhorn (USNR). Photo courtesy of Edward Cwalinski, submitted by Barry Litchfield.
BB-48 West Virginia1.1mHeaving homeward-painting by R.C. Patterson. The West Virginia (BB-48) is shown leading a column in staggered formation. Feb. 1938. USNI photo courtesy of Pieter Bakels.
BB-48 West Virginia450kOil on canvas painting by the artist Wayne Scarpaci showing The West Virginia (BB-48) leading the Battlefleet into San Fransisco Bay in 1939. The piece is entitled "Pacific Battleline". The painting is form the collection of Sterling Supply Co Huntington WV artbywayne.com
BB-48 West Virginia137kThe crew of the West Virginia (BB-48) line the rails during exercises in 1939. In the background are a heavy crusier of the Pensacola (CA-24) class, a 4 stack destroyer and a smaller craft. USN photo # 80-G-466161 courtesy of interwarnavy.org via Bill Gonyo. Photo added 12/22/08.
Colorado class68k West Virginia (BB-48), Maryland (BB-46) and the Colorado (BB-45) (in the rear) at Pearl Harbor, circa 1939-40. USN photo by Albert Weigandt & submitted by James D. Card, QMCS (SW/AW).
BB-38 Pennsylvania & Colorado class119kPennsylvania (BB-38) & or Colorado (BB-45), Maryland (BB-46) & or West Virginia (BB-48) at 1010 dock sometime after returning to Pearl Harbor, circa 1939-40. USN photo by Albert Weigandt & submitted by James D. Card, QMCS (SW/AW). Partial text courtesy of DANFS. Photo i.d. courtesy of Tom Bateman.
BB-48 West Virginia250kAerial view underway, 9 February 1939. National Archives Photograph # 80-G-466161.
BB-48 West Virginia65k West Virginia (BB-48) inboard profile, 1939. Photo and text courtesy of U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman.
BB-48 West Virginia43kUndated, pre-war color portrait of West Virginia (BB-48) entering what might be San Francisco.Copyright & courtesy of Harold Monk.
BB-48 West Virginia281k Late 1930's - early 1940 photo of the West Virginia (BB-48) by George Winstead. USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri.
BB-48 West Virginia163kOff to the races as the crew of the West Virginia (BB-48) compete during maneuvers in Hawaii in 1940. Photographer: Carl Mydans, courtesy of time.com. via / images.google.com & Life.
BB-40 New Mexico & family242kBetween 9 & 13 Sep 1940 the Arizona (BB-39) was under way with other ships of the US Fleet for simulated fleet engagement.
Pictured here is a New Mexico (BB-40 / 42) class battleship in the van with other battleships of the Pacific Fleet and a carrier air group, led by the Air Group Commander in a Curtiss SBC Helldiver.
The aircraft following are:
A torpedo squadron of eighteen Douglas TBD-1s;
A bombing squadron of eighteen Northrop BT-1s;
A scouting squadron eighteen Curtiss SBCs;
A fighting squadron of eighteen Grumman F2F-1s or F3F-3s from either the Yorktown (CV-5) or F3F-2s from the Enterprise (CV-6), plus possibly nine additional aircraft.
The Yorktown and Enterprise were the only two carriers whose bombing squadrons were equipped with the Northrop BT-1.
The text for the photo reads:
"The Navy uses enormous amounts of rubber. At least seventy-five tons of rubber, enough to makes 17,000 tires, are used in the construction of each of these battleships. Tons more are needed for the naval planes that are making history over the world. Medical and communication requirements--and countless other needs of the Navy--are met."
Photograph # LC-USE64 - DC-000944 & partial text courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
Aircraft i.d. & text & timeline courtesy of Alan Moore via the following sources: Airplane i.d.: Yorktown Class Carriers (Warship Pictorial No. 9) by Steve Wiper, Tucson, AZ: Classic Warships Publishing, 2000. & That Gallant Ship: U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-5) by Robert Cressman, Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories Pub Co, 1985. Timeline from Battleship Arizona: An Illustrated History by Paul Stillwell, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991.
BB-39 Arizona534kBetween 9 & 13 Sep 1940 the Arizona (BB-39) was under way with other ships of the US Fleet for simulated fleet engagement. She is pictured here in company with other ships of the Pacific Fleet taken during Fleet Ops. and at least one carrier air group.Scanned from: "The Fleet Today" by Kendall Banning. Funk & Wagnalls Company, N.Y. and London, 1942. Submitted by Pieter Bakels. Text & photo i.d. courtesy of Alan Moore via Battleship Arizona: An Illustrated History by Paul Stillwell, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991.
BB-39 Arizona367kColumn Right!
Arizona (BB-39), New Mexico (BB-40) & West Virginia (BB-48) and other ships of the Pacific Fleet taken during Fleet Ops in October 1940.
This photo is more than likely from the LIFE issue of 28 Oct 1940: "The Navy: LIFE Goes into Action with the U.S. Fleet".
One of the introductory paragraphs reads as follows:
"To show itself to the American people, the U.S. Navy has co-operated with LIFE in this issue. LIFE photographers and reporters examined naval schools, ammunition depots, bases, destroyers, battleships, the War College, etc. Finally a LIFE crew sailed on the U.S. Fleet maneuvers last month off Pearl Harbor in mid-Pacific."
Scanned from: "The Fleet Today" by Kendall Banning. Funk & Wagnalls Company, N.Y. and London, 1942. Submitted by Pieter Bakels. Text & photo i.d. courtesy of Alan Moore via Battleship Arizona: An Illustrated History by Paul Stillwell, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991 & "The Navy: LIFE Goes into Action with the U.S. Fleet". Life. New York: Time, Inc., Vol 9 No 18 (28 Oct 1940). p23.

USS WEST VIRGINIA BB-48 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
On Board Decmber 7 1941

Contact Name: Mike Mullins
Address: 275 Main St. Apt 406, Watertown, MA 02472
Phone: (508) 335-6996
E-mail: usswestvirginia.org


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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