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USS Nevada BB-36

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USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor

The USS Nevada in Battleship row

Battleship row was a series of deep moorings adjacent to Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, and was full of battleships with four of the ships double berthed on December 7, 1941, leaving single battleships at either end of the row. The USS Nevada was moored at the Northern end of the row of ships, to the stern of the USS Arizona.

As the Japanese aerial attack began, the USS Arizona was hit by torpedoes, and the Nevada was strafed. The aerial photo shows the Nevada on the extreme left, next to the smoking Arizona. Ford Island is at the lower portion of the photo.

The crew of the Nevada was ordered to Battle Stations and her machine guns went into action. “One and possible two torpedo-bombers were hit, and the rest gave Nevada a wide berth: but one torpedo tore a hole in her side, 45 by 30 feet,” The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War, (p63). Since she already had steam up the decision was made to get underway. As she made her way down the channel she came under attack again, sustaining additional damage which caused more leaks in her hull and fires on her superstructure.

USS Nevada along Ford Island

Being the only battleship to get underway, the Nevada became a source of encouragement to those who saw her pass by. With heroic efforts the crew fought flooding and fires as she went. Although in serious trouble, the battleship continued down the length of Ford Island, until ordered not to leave the harbor for fear of blocking the narrow entry channel. Photo to the right shows the smoking Nevada on her journey down the channel after being hit by bombs.

USS Nevada damage

She anchored off Hospital Point and was later towed across the harbor where she finally sank. She had been hit by one or more torpedoes and by five or more bombs. More than fifty of the Nevada’s officers and sailors had been killed in the raid and many more wounded. Photo on the left shows bomb damage to her deck.


Fortunately for salvage efforts, the Nevada had sunk in fairly shallow water. However, it was with substantial effort that she was re-floated on February 12, 1942. She returned to active duty in late 1942, after extensive repair work and modernization, and was involved in many campaigns that followed, in both the Pacific and Atlantic, until the end of WWII.

U.S. Navy photographs, National Archives Collection.

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Damage report on USS Nevada
Enclosure C to
CINCPAC action report Serial 0479
February 15, 1942

"Nevada struck by one or more aircraft torpedoes and by at least five bombs and two near misses. Each of the near misses caused rupturing of the hull on the port and starboard bows, respectively. One bomb hit in way of foremast caused explosion and fire damage which wrecked the vertical area extending from the second deck to the bridge. Several bomb hits wrecked the forecastle from side to side forward of No. 1 turret, and this damage extended down to the second deck. Fragments from a bomb hit amidships caused considerable local damage to the mainmast, stack, and other structure, and caused many casualties to 5-inch gun crews. The photo shows the USS Nevada (BB-36) afire off the Ford Island seaplane base, on December 7, 1941."