The battleship USS Arizona is a name that resonates through history; her legacy tainted by an unfortunate ending, but one of the most feared battleships of her time. Wargaming is dedicated to remembering her memory in both her decades of service and final moments.
USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class super-dreadnought battleship, laid down at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1914, launched in 1915, and commissioned in 1916. When completed, she was the most powerful ship in the United States Navy with an armament of twelve 14-inch Mk 3 main guns in four triple mounts, twenty-two 5-inch Mk 15 guns in single mounts, and two 21-inch Mk 3 torpedo tubes.
Arizona first set sail in April, 1917, the same month the United States entered World War I. Eight of the five-inch guns were reassigned to merchant ships crossing the Atlantic, while she acted as a gunnery training ship. Despite seeing no action during the war, she escorted President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference following Germany's surrender.
USS Arizona leaving New York City to escort President Woodrow Wilson
After the war, Arizona patrolled the Caribbean, the U.S. East Coast, and Europe. She soon received her first overhaul, losing six of the five-inch guns but gaining an updated Fire Control System. In August 1920, she served as the flagship for Battleship Division 7. Following assignment to the Pacific Fleet, she underwent extensive modernization and continued to patrol, plus make "show of flag" port visits, and assisted relief efforts after the 1933 Long Beach earthquake.
Her final refit occurred at the Puget Sound Naval Yard, with her armament upgraded to 12 14-inch guns, 10 Mk 15 5-inch guns, eight Mk 11 5-inch guns and eight .50 caliber anti-aircraft machine guns. In 1940, she was ordered to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a show of force to counter Japanese aggression.
In 1932, Arizona participated in a simulation of a successful aerial naval attack on Pearl Harbor.
On December 7, 1941, Japanese air forces attacked Pearl Harbor. Although general quarters was sounded and her men fought to hold off aircraft, Arizona was struck by a bomb hit. The bomb penetrated the decks and detonated the powder magazine, causing a massive explosion. As a result, Arizona sunk with 1,177 of her crew trapped aboard.
USS Arizona after sustaining the crippling blow to her bow
Efforts were made to salvage Arizona, but she could never be refloated. Her legacy was to remain at port, forever the grave of the sailors and marines onboard. In an act of defiance, her guns were given to other battleships and later saw action against the Japanese at Okinawa and Iwo Jima onboard USS Nevada.
Surviving crew from the Arizona are allowed internment on board if they wish, so that they may be entombed with their comrades.
Wargaming honors Arizona through donations to help preserve the wall of the Arizona Memorial, striving to preserve the legacy of those who perished.
Kansas native Tim St. Arnold studied History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with minors in Anthropology and Political Science. At Wargaming, he's able to put his passions for military history and gaming to work as a researcher. Look for him on the seas of World of Warships as WG_Admiralty!