Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Swansong of the Battleship: Last Hurrah in the Vietnam War

The second world war is generally thought to be the demise of the battleship . A battleship is a large warship with a tonnage of over 30,000. Thus most of the battleships weighed over 40 thousand tonnes with the heaviest being the Yamato, which displaced over 64,000 tonnes.

The role of the battleship during the Second World War was extremely limited, with the pride of operations in the naval battles going to the aircraft carrier. Thus at the end of the war most of the battleships were scrapped. The US navy however did not scrap their capital ships, but kept a few in moth balls, ready for use if the situation so warranted. After the Tonkin gulf incident, the US started a bombardment of North Vietnam.

 This was the time that the Navy decided to use the battleship again. Accordingly the USS Missouri, which was in moth balls was got ready. The ship was serviced and fitted with all electronic gadgetry including ECM. The ship sailed for the North Vietnam coast. The USS Missouri had 16 inch guns with a range of about 30 miles. The battleship was ordered to move to the Vietnam coast. Its instructions were clear. It was to bombard the North Vietnam coast with its guns. It was to target the Vietnamese naval installations and other targets of military value.

 One big aim was to demoralize the Vietnamese, but this did not happen. The long range guns of the battleship went into action, but after a few weeks the ship was withdrawn. In retrospect the battleships use was again limited an produced no decisive result. After a few weeks the ship was recalled and it sailed back to the USA.