37 Photographs of the Historic USS Pennsylvania Battleship

1916 photo of the Pennsylvania (BB-38) in New York’s East River. historyinfotos

The USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) was the lead ship of the Pennsylvania class of the United States super-dreadnought battleships. She was launched on March 16, 1915, sponsored by Elizabeth Kolb of Philadelphia, and commissioned (placed on the active duty list) on June 12, 1916, with Captain Henry B. Wilson at the helm.

During World War I, the Pennsylvania was attached to the Atlantic Fleet, whose mission was to organize, man, train, and equip Naval Forces for assignment to Unified Command Combatant commanders. On October 12, 1916, she became the flagship of Commander in Chief, Admiral Henry T. Mayo.

At the time of the Japanese Pearl Harbor Attack on December 7, 1941, Pennsylvania was in dry-dock in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. She was one of the first ships in the harbor to open fire as Japanese dive and torpedo bombers attacked. The Pennsylvania was damaged but not destroyed. Destroyers Cassin and Downes, just in front of the Pennsylvania in the dry-dock, were seriously damaged by bomb hits. During the attack, 15 men stationed on the Pennsylvania were killed, 38 wounded. She underwent repairs until March 30, 1942.

On April 23, 1943, Pennsylvania left for Alaska to contribute to the Aleutian Campaign. On May 11-12, she engaged in a shore bombardment of Holtz Bay, Attu, and Chichagof Harbor, in support of infantry landings. On May 14, the Pennsylvania conducted a bombardment mission of Holtz Bay in support of an infantry attack. On August 15, assault troops landed on the beaches if Kiska without opposition. By the evening of August 16, it became apparent that the Japanese had evacuated the island under the cover of fog.

In 1944 and 1945, the Pennsylvania traveled throughout the Pacific Theater, providing support at Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan-Tinian, Guam, Peleliu, Angaur, Leyte, Lingayen, Santiago Island, Wake, and Okinawa. During the Guam campaign, the Pennsylvania fired more ammunition than any other warship in history during a single campaign. She earned the nickname “Old Falling Apart” because she expelled so many metal casings she looked like she was falling apart.

During the Guam campaign, the Pennsylvania fired more ammunition than any other warship in history during a single campaign. She earned the nickname “Old Falling Apart” because she expelled so many metal casings she looked like she was falling apart.

After World War II, The USS Pennsylvania was used as a target ship during the July 1946, Operation Crossroads atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll. She remained in Kwajalein Lagoon for radiological and structural studies until February 10, 1948, when she was sunk of Kwajalein. She was taken off the Naval Vessel Register on February 19, 1948.

During her five years of World War II service, the USS Pennsylvania traveled 146,052 miles and fired 6,854 14-inch rounds, 31,678 5-inch shells, and 97,327 anti-aircraft battery rounds. She received 8 Service Stars and was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, the World War I Victory Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Medal.

Stern of the Pennsylvania (BB-38) sometime before launching at Newport News Shipyard. THe USS Pennsylvania was launched on March 16, 1915. historyinfotos
Miss Elizabeth Kolb of Germantown, Pennsylvania (BB-38), 16 March 1915 christens the USS Pennsylvania. historyinfotos
Pennsylvania (BB-38) launching at Newport News Shipyard on 16 March 1915. historyinfotos
Captain Henry Braid Wilson was Pennsylvania’s (BB-38) first commanding officer in 1916. He commanded the Atlantic Fleet’s patrol forces during the First World War and was responsible for the safe transport of troops and supplies to Europe. For his outstanding service, Wilson was awarded both the Navy and War Department Distinguished Service Medals. Rear Admiral Henry Braid Wilson was Commander-in-Chief U.S. Atlantic Fleet and later the Battle Fleet commander following WW I. historyinfotos
Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken on the ship’s quarter deck, looking forward at her after 14-inch gun turrets and “basket” mainmast, circa late 1918. It was published in about 1919 by A.M. Simon, 324 E. 23rd St., New York City, as one of ten images in a “Souvenir Folder” concerning Pennsylvania. Note the canvas covers on the turret faces. historyinfotos
1) Halftone reproduction of a photograph of the interior of the Pennsylvania’s (BB-38) wheelhouse, showing a binnacle, steering wheel, and an engine order telegraph. Taken circa 1916-1918, it was published in about 1919 by A.M. Simon, 324 E. 23rd St., New York City, as one of ten images in a “Souvenir Folder” concerning Pennsylvania. historyinfotos
“A Sack race”. Recreation on board a battleship, circa 1916-1917. This ship is either Pennsylvania (BB-38) or Arizona (BB-39). history in Fotos
1916 photo of the Pennsylvania (BB-38) in New York’s East River. historyinfotos
The Pennsylvania (BB-38) follows other battleships during maneuvers. The first three ships in the background are Nevada (BB-36), Oklahoma (BB-37), and Arizona (BB-39) in that order. However, the photo pre-dates the 1925 Australia/ New Zealand tour since Oklahoma lacks the enlarged lookout stations on the cage masts. historyinfotos
1920’s photo of the Pennsylvania (BB-38) firing a broadside. historyinfotos
Broadside of Mississippi (BB-41) viewed from the Pennsylvania’s (BB-38) front turrets. historyinfotos
Chaplain distributing the ship’s newspaper to sailors and Marines of her crew, circa 1918. Almost all the Sailors present are wearing knitted “watch” caps. historyinfotos
Circa 1919 photo of the Pennsylvania (BB-38) at anchor. Note the training markings painted on her top fore and aft 14-inch gun turret side. historyinfotos
In 1922 Vice Adml. Hilary P. Jones was appointed Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet. He is seen here aboard the Pennsylvania(BB-38) on 23 June 1921. historyinfotos
Looking out 5-Inch gun port of the Pennsylvania (BB-38), Ca. 1918. Note the caption says 7″ inch gun”. historyinfotos
Pennsylvania (BB-38) in 1935 with two Vought 03U-3’s.The center aircraft is 2-0-11, the 11th AC in Observation Squadron Two with the one on the right the Command AC for CinCUs.historyinfotos
Sailors scrubbing the deck of battleship Pennsylvania (BB-38). historyinfotos
The Pennsylvania (BB-38) in Panama Canal, in Gaillard cut, near Cucaracha slide going north, 24 March 1924. historyinfotos
United States Marines and Sailors posing on unidentified ship {likely either the Pennsylvania (BB-38) or Arizona (BB-39), in 1918. historyinfotos
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