NOTE: This is a re-post of Murdoc’s 2005 Pearl Harbor post “This Is Not A Drill!”
One of my favorite naval stories has always been that of the USS Nevada’s attempted sortie during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. A detailed account ran in SEA CLASSICS magazine in the early 1980s, but, alas, I seem to have misplaced my copy. About twenty years ago.
Although already hit several times, the Nevada managed to get underway and head for the open sea. The following four pictures are from the Naval Historical Center’s USS Nevada during the Pearl Harbor Attack. Be sure to check it out for more pics of the Nevada making a run for it.
Here’s the Nevada just getting underway:
Notice the tank farm in the background. It’s not burning. That was a blunder.
Here’s another shot of the run:
As the Nevada made for the harbor entrance, many Japanese planes pulled away from their assigned targets and took shots at her. She took a pounding, and if she would have sunk in the channel it would have been a disaster. If she would have made it to sea and then been sunk she would have been a total loss. As it was, she was beached intentionally before making it out of the harbor. Here she is in the mud off Hospital Point:
This was the main picture in that great SEA CLASSICS article from my childhood.
The damage to the ship was tremendous. 50 Nevada sailors were killed and 109 more wounded. Here’s a shot of the forward deck (looking back at the forward turrets and main superstructure) on 12 Dec:
The Nevada was a wreck, but she rejoined the fleet a year later in December 1942. The old girl, already an aging matriarch by the time of the attack, still had a lot of fight left in her. Her sister Oklahoma had been destroyed at Pearl, and there was a little matter of payback.
Here’s the Nevada off Utah Beach on D-Day, 1944:
Here she is pounding Iwo Jima in 1945:
The previous two pics are from NavSource Online.
Deciding that two World Wars weren’t enough for one ship, the Navy decided to nuke the Nevada in 1946. A fleet of obsolete US and captured enemy ships was assembled at Bikini atoll in the South Pacific. They painted the Nevada bright orange and put her at the middle of the fleet. Two A-bombs later, there she sat. They towed her home for tests before sinking her in gunfire and torpedo tests in 1948.
For more on the Nevada’s ordeal on the morning of 7 December, 1941, see Nevada’s Heroic Run on HistoryNet.