Navy Iowa-Class Battleship USS Wisconsin Is Making a Historic 'Comeback'

USS Wisconsin Battleship Iowa-Class
March 21, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: U.S. NavyNavyUSS WisconsinIowa-ClassBattleshipMilitary

Navy Iowa-Class Battleship USS Wisconsin Is Making a Historic 'Comeback'

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of its commissioning, the iconic USS Wisconsin (BB-65) will be sailing once again, not in the waters but in the virtual seas of Wargaming's World of Warships.


Summary: To celebrate the 80th anniversary of its commissioning, the iconic USS Wisconsin (BB-65) will be sailing once again, not in the waters but in the virtual seas of Wargaming's World of Warships. This partnership with Nauticus, the maritime science center that houses the battleship as a museum, brings the historic vessel into the game as a Tier X battleship, joining its sisters USS Iowa and USS Missouri. The addition aims to provide an accurate representation of the ship's WWII configuration, complete with defensive AA guns, through a new Dockyard campaign launching in mid-April.

Historic Battleship USS Wisconsin Joins World of Warships Fleet

The United States Navy's Iowa-class battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-65) is being readied for action once again. Well, perhaps not the actual battleship – which has been preserved as a museum ship, and as of December 2009 is no longer required to be maintained for possible recall to active duty.


Rather she is heading back to sea in a virtual domain. To mark the 80th anniversary of the battleship's commissioning – which occurred on April 16, 1944 – the historic vessel will be joining the fleet in Wargming's popular massively multiplayer online (MMO) simulation World of Warships. The game's developers have partnered with Nauticus, the Norfolk, Virginia, maritime-themed science center and museum also known as the National Maritime Center.

BB-65 will debut as a Tier X battleship, joining her sisters USS Iowa (BB-61) and USS Missouri (BB-63). The developers strived to make the warship in the game as accurate as possible, focusing on how the ship appeared and operated during the Second World War, including with its defensive AA guns. The playable warship will be obtainable via a new Dockyard campaign in mid-April, where players can earn various awards.

"At Wargaming, we're passionate about preserving naval history and honoring the legacy of these incredible vessels. Supporting ship museums is our way of ensuring that the deeds, sacrifices and achievements of past generations are never forgotten," said Artur Plociennik, regional publishing director at Wargaming. "We are honored to be a part of the USS Wisconsin's 80th-anniversary celebration and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Nauticus Museum to inspire future generations and educate them about the significance of our shared naval heritage."

Honoring the USS Wisconsin Iowa-Class Battleship 

In tandem with the dockyard in-game event, Nauticus will be hosting a celebration throughout April for the battleship's 80th Commissioning Anniversary. World of Warships has announced it will sponsor complimentary tickets for active duty and veteran service members as part of this anniversary, in addition to discounted tickets for dependents.

"We sincerely appreciate World of Warship's support of complimentary tickets for Veterans and active duty service members throughout the Battleship's 80th Anniversary month of April," said Rehn West, director of development & marketing at Nauticus. "Their support of the USS Wisconsin strengthens our connection to the local military community and this generous gesture embodies the spirit of our mission of sharing access to maritime resources to our area and beyond!"

USS Wisconsin Key Facts

As with her sister ships in the Iowa-class, BB-64 was designed as a "fast" battleship that mixed speed and firepower, which enabled her to maintain pace with a carrier strike force, while still sleek in design to be able to travel through the Panama Canal. She displaced 45,000 tons, was just under 900 feet in length, she had a crew of some 1,600 men.

Armed with a main battery of 16-inch guns that could hit targets nearly twenty-four miles away with a variety of artillery shells, the Iowa-class battle wagons were among the most heavily armed U.S. military ships ever put to see.

USS Wisconsin's main battery consisted of nine 16-inch/50 caliber Mark 7 guns in three-gun turrets, which could fire 2,700-pound (1,225 kg) armor-piercing shells some 23 miles (42.6 km). Secondary batteries consisted of twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns mounted in twin-gun dual purpose (DP) turrets, which could hit targets up to nine miles (16.7 km) away.

BB-64 was the second battleship named for the Badger State. The first ship named for Wisconsin had been BB-9, the third and final Illinois-class pre-dreadnought, which served as part of the "Great White Fleet."

When then-President Ronald Reagan called for a 600-ship U.S. Navy in the 1980s, all four Iowa-class battleships – including BB-64 – were reactivated and upgraded with new combat systems that replaced many of the ships' smaller five-inch guns with a launcher for Harpoon anti-ship missiles, thirty-two Tomahawk cruise missiles and four Phalanx close-in weapon systems (CIWS). Initially equipped with 40mm anti-aircraft guns, during the Cold War those were replaced with missiles, electronic-warfare suites, and Phalanx anti-missile Gatling gun systems.

USS Wisconsin Iowa-Class

Along with her sister Iowa-class battle wagon, USS Missouri (BB-63), USS Wisconsin actually employed the new weapons in combat operations when she was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Storm. During the campaign the two World War II-era battleships launched Tomahawk missiles at Iraqi targets and conducted naval fire missions to convince the Iraqi Army that the coalition forces would engage with an amphibious assault, tying up thousands of Iraqi units.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

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Main Image Credit: U.S. Navy.