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NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive

BB-65 ILLINOIS

Radio Call Sign: November - Bravo - Mike - Xray


Iowa Class Battleship: Displacement 45,000 Tons, Dimensions, 887' 3" (oa) x 108' 2" x 37' 9" (Max). Armament 9 x 16"/50 20 x 5"/38AA, 80 x 40mm 49 x 20mm, 3 AC. Armor, 12 1/8" Belt, 17" Turrets, 1 1/2" +6" +5/8" Decks, 17 1/4" Conning Tower. Machinery, 212,000 SHP; Westinghouse Geared Turbines, 4 screws. Speed, 33 Knots, Crew 1921.

Operational and Building Data: Laid down 6 December 1942 at Philadelphia Navy Yard and canceled 12 August 1945. Construction was 22% complete when it was halted. She was broken up on the ways.

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BB-65 Illinois 176k The keel of the fifth ship of the Iowa class (BB-61 / 66), the Illinois (BB-65), was laid down on 15 January 1945 at Philadelphia Navy Yard. By 7 July the construction had progressed this far and the ship was officially cancelled a month later, on 11 August 1945, only about 22 % complete. Nothing was done with the ship after that and the remains were finally scrapped, this starting in September, 1958.
The Illinois and her sister Kentucky BB-66 differed from the four completed ships in that their design called for an all welded construction. This would have saved weight and increased strength over a combination riveted/welded hull like was employed on the completed ships. There was thought of redesigning the hull with a "Montana class (BB-67 / 71)" type protection system for added torpedo protection. This was rejected and the two ships were being built along the regular Iowa class (BB-61 / 66) hull design.
USN photo. Partial text courtesy of U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman.
BB-65 Illinois 58k The Illinois (BB-65) at Philadelphia on 7 July 1945 with work going forward very quickly. She had been laid down a little over six months and was at this point 15 percent complete. Her starboard boiler in boiler room Number 1 peeks over the top of the transverse bulkhead. Note the overhead crane attached to the starboard boiler in her aft boiler room (Number 4). Closer to the camera, her foresection is being built up, and the triple bottom is visible in varying states of completion. The Illinois was the last of the class to be started and would be cancelled five weeks after this picture was taken. USN photo. Text courtesy of "IOWA CLASS BATTLESHIPS" by Malcom Muir, ISBN # 0-8069-8338-8, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. New York, NY 1991, submitted by Mike Green.
BB-65 Illinois 81k 1945 photo showing tapered side armor plates manufactured for the incomplete battleship Illinois (BB-65) in storage. The plates vary from 12.2" to 1" thick. USN photo courtesy of Mike Green from "BATTLESHIPS-Allied Battleships in World War Two" by William H. Garzke, Jr., Thomas G. Webb and Robert O. Dulin, Jr.
BB-65 Illinois 72k Sections of the 16" thick communications tube are shown in storage awaiting installation in the incomplete battleship Illinois (BB-65). The communication tube provided shielded access between the conning tower and the armored citadel of the battleship. USN photo courtesy of Mike Green from "BATTLESHIPS-Allied Battleships in World War Two" by William H. Garzke, Jr., Thomas G. Webb and Robert O. Dulin, Jr.
BB-65 Illinois 102k Prefabricated tank assemblies for the hull torpedo defense system awaiting installation on the incomplete battleship Illinois (BB-65) are shown in a storage area presumably at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1945. USN photo courtesy of Mike Green from "BATTLESHIPS-Allied Battleships in World War Two" by William H. Garzke, Jr., Thomas G. Webb and Robert O. Dulin, Jr.
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard102kBattleships in dry-dock; Tennessee (BB-43) & California (BB-44) taken between 8 May and 27 October 1946.
This photo comes from the U.S.Naval Institute and has an accompanying photocopy identifying all of the surrounding ships.
It does identify the two cruisers as Detroit (CL-8) (inboard) and Trenton (CL-11)(outboard). It also identifies two returned U.K. DEs: HMS Rupert (DE-96) outboard of Olympia (ex-C-6) (IX-40), and HMS Berry (DE-3) ahead of the cruisers, and visible in the California's photo (it's still wearing its British hull #--K312).
The Naval Institute photo was taken at a later date, as more of the "packaging" on the two battleships had been completed.
According to Tennessee's deck logs, she entered Drydock #5 with California on 8 May 1946.
South Dakota (BB-57) (mid-stern section visible at upper left of photo) subsequently entered Drydock #4--the 1946 "Navy Day" program from the shipyard indicates that this had taken place by 27th October of that year.

The four CLs that were scrapped in Drydock #4 at the Philadelphia NSY were: Omaha (CL-4), Cincinnati (CL-6), Raleigh (CL-7) and Marblehead (CL-12).
I have two documents from the 4th Naval District, and of course they give different completion dates for the scrapping of these ships. The first document (dated 1 Apr 46) indicates that scrapping was completed on 27 February of that year; the second document (also dated 1 April 46) gives the completion date as 10 March 1946.
(My notes also indicate that scrapping was completed at the yard on nine ex-destroyer types as of 29 March 46: Litchfield (DD-336), Pruitt (DD-347), Jouett (DD-396), Clark (DD-361), Balch (DD-363), Sampson(DD-394), Schley (DD-103), Stringham (DD-83) and Whipple (DD-217).

The remaining CLs; Detroit (CL-8), Trenton (CL-11), Richmond (CL-9), Concord (CL-10) and Memphis (CL-13) were all sold to the Patapsco Scrap Co. of Baltimore. The sales bid (B-76-47AV T) was opened on 6 December 46; the five ships were sold for $336,140 (or $67,228 each), and custody of the ships was transferred to Patapsco between 27 December 46 and 21 January 47.
Note also that the attached photo distinctly shows that both cruisers have all four funnels--I think it's an optical illusion that either of these had had any of them removed.

The "light colored objects" in front of the two cruisers might "possibly" be barbettes from the Illinois (BB-65). According to drawings in the 1945 "Gun Mount and Turret Catalog", these two items appear to be about the same diameter as the barbettes for the two BBs' Tennessee & California; 14"/50 triple gun turrets; inside diameter 31 feet, from the same source -- outside diameter would have been about 33 feet. The Illinois barbettes would have an inside diameter about 37 1/4 feet, outside diameter rather over 39 feet.
USN photo submitted by Joe Lewis, courtesy of U.S.Naval Institute. Majority text by Joe Lewis.
Chuck Haberlein contributed to the (BB-65) i.d. with text. Photo added 08/07/07.
BB-65 Illinois 73k While the Illinois (BB-65) itself was never completed, her bell was cast. It currently resides at Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is rung by members of the ROTC after the Fighting Illini football team scores. It reads "Illinois 1946". Photo & text courtesy of Robert C. Pusateri via wikipedia.org. Photo added 08/07/07.
(BB-66) Kentucky 298k Artists conception of what the Illinois (BB-65) might have looked like had it been built as an anti-aircraft /guided missile battleship following the SCB 19 conversion which was under consideration for its sister ship, the Kentucky (BB-66) as BBG-1, circa 1958. Drawing courtesy of artbywayne.com
(NISMF)371kA guest studies a painting depicting the history of battleships. The artwork was painted by George Skybeck and presented to the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association during their annual banquet at Honolulu, Hawaii, on 8 December 1991. USN photo # DN-SC-92-05391, by PHC Carolyn Harris, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.

ILLINOIS BB-65 History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The Hazegray & Underway Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

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