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NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive

BB-56 USS WASHINGTON
1938 - 1941
Construction - Shakedown

Radio Call Sign: November - India - Delta - Charlie

To Additional Pages

January - August 1942 / War in the Atlantic
September - December 1942 / Guadalcanal & Fourth Battle of Savo / Island
January 1943 - September 1945 / War in the Pacific
Post WW-II


North Carolina Class Battleship: Displacement 35,000 Tons, Dimensions, 728' 9" (oa) x 108' 4" x 35' 6" (Max). Armament 9 x 16"/45 20 x 5"/38AA, 16 x 1.1" 12 x 0.5", 3 AC. Armor, 12" Belt, 16" Turrets, 1 1/2" Main Deck, +5 1/2" Armored (2nd) deck, +3/4" Third Deck, 16" Conning Tower. Machinery, 115,000 SHP; G.E. Geared Turbines, 4 screws. Speed, 27 Knots, Crew 1880.

Operational and Building Data: Laid down by Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard, June 14, 1938. Launched June 1, 1940. Commissioned May 15, 1941. Decommissioned June 27, 1947. Stricken June 1, 1960.
Fate: Sold, June 1, 1961 and broken up for scrap.
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North Carolina Class92kModel of the North Carolinan class (BB-55 / 56) without her propulsion system and skegs, 30 May 1937. Photo from National Archives & Record Administration (NARA), Record Group (RG-19N) Box 33. Courtesy of Dan Treadwell.
North Carolina Class94kModel of the North Carolinan class (BB-55 / 56) with her propulsion system and skegs, 30 May 1937. Photo from National Archives & Record Administration (NARA), Record Group (RG-19N) Box 33. Courtesy of Dan Treadwell.
BB-55170k Rush plans for new U.S. Battleships. Washington, D.C., 23 June 1937. Scene in Construction and Repair Division of the U.S. Navy Department where plans for the two new 35,000 ton battleships are being rushed to completion. Work on the ships will get underway in four to six months, Charles Edison, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, announced. One will be built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the other at Philadelphia.Photo # LC-DIG-hec-22916 & text courtesy of the Harris & Ewing Collection.
BB-55145k New battleship design board. Washington, D.C., 8 October 1937. A special advisory board on battleship plans, which was recently named by Secretary of the Navy Swanson, held their initial meeting at the Navy Department today. The board will be charged with obtaining for the Navy Department the advice of outstanding experts in the principal fields of Naval construction to use in completing the designs of the two new battleships of the North Carolinan class (BB-55 / 56) In the photograph, left to right, (sitting): W.F. Gibbs, President of Gibbs and Cox, Inc.; Assistant Secretary of the Navy Charles Edison; and Admiral Joseph Strauss, U.S.N. Standing, left to right: John F. Metton, President, N.Y. Shipbuilding Corp.; Joseph W. Powell, United Shipyards Inc.; and Professor William Hovgaard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Photo # LC-DIG-hec-23466 photo & text courtesy of the Harris & Ewing Collection.
BB-551.23kKeel laying at Brooklyn Navy Yard, NY. Lt Gov. William P Horton driving 2nd rivet, 27 October 1937.
Four other photos appear in this five photo PDF of the Keel laying at Brooklyn Navy Yard, NY.
NARA (National Archives Record Administration) photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
BB-55476k17 Photo PDF of thr turret mock up of the North Carolina class battleships. NARA (National Archives Record Administration) photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
BB-56 Washington 136k Commemorative postal cover marking the keel laying of the Washington (BB-56), 14 June 1938. Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
BB-55184kNavy opens bids for battle wagons. Washington, D.C., 2 November 1938. The Navy opened bids today on construction of three 35,000 ton battleships today, all bids specified that the dreadnaughts be completed within 52 months. The guns, armor plate, and other accessories to be furnished by the Government cost an estimated 15,000,000 dollars per ship. The ships are the first of that size to be built in 15 years. Seated, left. Admiral William Leahy, Chief of Naval Operations, and Sec. of the Navy Claude Swanson, right. Standing - left- Rear Admiral William G. Du Bose, Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair and right- Rear Admiral Charles Conard, Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Photo # LC-DIG-hec-25307 & text courtesy of the Harris & Ewing Collection.
BB-56 Washington 112k After months of preparation, the first step in the actual construction is reached as the keel is laid 14 June 1938 by a high Navy official (Rear Admiral Luther E. Gregory C.E.C. USN Ret.), and work upon the shipways begins. Thousands of men will work out on the shipways, while thousands of others in the shops and offices will helps them fulfill their tasks. USN photo & text courtesy of usswashington.com & submitted by Mike Green.
BB-56 Washington 188k The Washington (BB-56) is seen on 6 January 1939 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The progress on the double and triple bottoms can be seen and the bulkheads for machinery space No. 2 have been erected. Framing for the tunnel of the twin skeg stern is also visible. USN photo courtesy of Mike Green from "Iowa Class Battleships-Their Design, Weapons & Equipment" by Robert Sumrall.
BB-551.5k Rammer and Hydraulic Drive Assembly, General Arangement Plan # 216402 for Battleships of the North Carolina Class (BB-55 / 56), dated 26 September 1939. USN photo courtesy of Pieter Bakels.
BB-56 Washington 66k Washington (BB-56) under construction at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard. USN photo.
BB-56 Washington 43k Invitation to the Launching of the Washington (BB-56), 1 June 1940. USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri.
BB-56 Washington 208k Getting ready for launching, her bow area not dressed yet with festive bunting. A. P. wire photo courtesy of San Francisco Examiner via David S. Smith.
BB-56 Washington 211k All dressed up with some place to go; the day of the launching. A. P. wire photo courtesy of San Francisco Examiner via David S. Smith.
BB-56 Washington 80k The begining of the launching ceremony for the first battleship built in the U.S. in almost twenty years, crowds gather around the Washington (BB-56) at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard on 1 June 1940. She is the 1st battleship built and launched by the USN since West Virginia (BB-48) in November 1921. USN photo.
BB-56 Washington 246k With her upper bow wrapped in bunting and lower bow with poppet & packing, the Washington (BB-56) starts her slides down the ways at Leauge Island, Phila, Pa., 1 June 1940. USN photo courtesy of Brian Kroenung.
BB-56 Washington 113k Christened and sponsored by a charming lady, she slides down the ways into the Delaware River, and the second stage is completed. USN photo & text courtesy of usswashington.com & submitted by Mike Green.
BB-56 Washington 219k Waterborne is Washington (BB-56). A. P. wire photo courtesy of San Francisco Examiner via David S. Smith.
BB-56 Washington 37k Washington (BB-56) slides down the ways, 1 June 1940. Phila, Pa. USN photo.
BB-56 Washington 126k Commemorative postal cover marking the launching of the Washington (BB-56), 1 June 1940. USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri.
BB-56 Washington 72k Finally, a tremendous turret, machined from start in the Turret Shop and carried to the ship by barge, is swung into place. USN photo & text courtesy of usswashington.com & submitted by Mike Green.
BB-56 Washington 157k Who looking at who doing what? Officers and crew line the deck of the uncommissioned Washington (BB-56) while the overhead crane plies her business. A. P. wire photo courtesy of San Francisco Examiner via David S. Smith.
BB-56 Washington 66k The mighty warship, now virtually completed, goes into drydock for fitting-out, where last-minutes adjustments and improvements are made. USN photo & text courtesy of usswashington.com & submitted by Mike Green.
BB-56 Washington 72k The Washington (BB-56) (with a British battleship in the background), is seen here in a pre-commissioning photo at Philadelphia Navy Yard and illustrates the design for the North Carolinan class (BB-55 / 56) . The ship has not been fitted with main battery directors or with 1.1-inch machine guns. Note, too, that the after main battery director station has not yet been braced against vibration. Photo & text courtesy of Mike Green & U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman.
BB-56 Washington 123k May 3, 1941: JUST IN CASE; With May 15th set as commissioning day the giant Washington's (BB-56), 35,000 ton battleshipnears completion at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Already finished and open for business, which we hope it won't get, is the Operating Room of the ship's hospital. A. P. wire photo courtesy of San Francisco Examiner via David S. Smith & Tommy Trampp.
Photo added 07/02/13.
BB-56 Washington 74k Undated bow view of the Washington (BB-56) fitting out at the Philadelphia Navy Yard prior to her 15 May 1941 commissioning. USN photo courtesy of Mike Green.
BB-56 Washington 94k Undated photo of the Washington (BB-56) at Philadelphia Navy Yard. The ship has been commissioned as evidenced by the Union Jack at her bow, but has not yet been fitted with light weight A.A armament, fire control directors, or search radars. The date of this photo may be her commissioning day, 15 May 1941, as the flag at the main mast is either that of the Secretary of the Navy or the Under Secretary of the Navy. The only difference in these two flags is the color, which is impossible to tell in this B/W photo. Contributed by Mike Green / USN photo.
BB-56 Washington 565k NAVY TARS HEAR SECRETARY'S MESSAGE - Standing under the aft guns of the battleship Washington (BB-56) at her commissioning today, officers and men of the crew heard Navy Secretary Frank Knox declare: "It is a marvelous thing to be called to duty on one of the two greatest battleships plying the ocean, both of them flying the flag of the United States." AP Wirephoto courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
BB-56 Washington 62k Finally, the ship is made spick and span, and at a colorful ceremony, she is commissioned by a high-ranking Navy official while her Captain and crew stand at attention. USN photo & text courtesy of usswashington.com & submitted by Mike Green.
BB-56 Washington 67k Port Bow, off the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, 29 May 1941. National Archives # 19-N-24147
BB-56 Washington 221k Departing Philadelphia Navy Yard for her shakedown cruise, 29 May 1941. Contributed by Joe Radigan / USN photo.
BB-56 Washington 48k Washington (BB-56) off the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, 29 May 1941. She is painted in the Measure 1 camouflage scheme. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # 19-N-24148 now in the collections of the National Archives.
Washington 95k Washington (BB-56) as built. Drawing courtesy of Jean Secardin. (Please contact him for permission to use any of his drawings @perso.wanadoo.fr/ww2.

WASHINGTON BB-56 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:Howard Wright
Address:N/A
Phone: 248-253-1825
E-mail: USSWash@USSWashington.com


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.
U.S.S.Washington Web page

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This page is created and maintained by Michael Mohl
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