USS Wyoming (BB 32)

The USS Wyoming (BB 32) was the name ship of the Wyoming class of battleships, and saw active service with the British Grand Fleet during the First World War and as a gunnery training ship during the Second World War.

The Wyoming was laid down on 9 February 1910, launched on 25 May 1911 and commissioned on 25 September 1912, eight days after her sister ship Arkansas. In December she became the flagship of Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger, commander of the Atlantic Fleet. She soon settled into a standard peacetime existence, mixing training duties, oversees trips and ceremonial visits to home and foreign ports. The Wyoming was undergoing regular repairs when the US Navy landed at Veracruz, and didn't reach the city until Mexican city until 18 May 1914, one month after the invasion. She remained off Veracruz into the autumn of 1914, before standard peacetime activities resumed.

In November 1917, after the American entry into the First World War, the Wyoming was chosen as one of the four battleships that were to operate with the British Grand Fleet, where they formed the 6th Battle Squadron. The Wyoming, New York, Delaware and Florida came together as Battleship Division 9 in November 1917, and reached Scapa Flow on 7 December 1917.

By this point the main excitement in the naval war was long past, but the Wyoming did take part in a number of operations. In February she escorted a convoy to Stavanger, coming under attack from a German U-boat in the North Sea. On 30 June-2 July 1918 she helped guard Allied minelayers as they created the North Sea Mine Barrage, an enormous minefield designed to prevent German U-boats leaving the North Sea. Finally, on 21 November the Wyoming was one of four American battleships present when the German High Seas Fleet sailed into the Firth of Forth.

In the inter-war years the Wyoming performed a fairly standard mix of duties, including training cruises, transporting VIPs and visits to overseas ports. She also served as the flagship of the Atlantic fleet. 

The Wyoming was one of the American battleships sacrificed under the terms of London Naval Treaty of 1930. In 1931 she was converted into a training ship, losing her side armour, the anti-torpedo blisters and three of her six main turrets. Her designation was changed from BB-32 to AG-17, indicating that she was now a 'miscellaneous auxiliary'. 

The Wyoming was used in a number of different training roles. She was used as a gunnery training ship, for midshipmen training and in amphibious assault exercises. In November 1941 she became a dedicated gunnery training ship, and was at sea off Norfolk Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

The Wyoming served as a gunnery training ship until the summer of 1945. She spent most of the war years in Chesapeake Bay, where she began known as the 'Chesapeake Raider'. During this period she underwent another refit, this time losing her remaining three 12-inch turrets. They were replaced with twin 5in guns, giving her a rather unusual appearance, with the smaller gun turrets sitting on the bases of the old main guns. By the end of the war the Wyoming bristled with guns of many calibres, as well as a number of different types of radar, and she used more ammunition that any other ship in the US Navy. Around 35,000 gunners were trained on her during the war years.

In June 1945 the Wyoming underwent one final change of role, when she was selected to take part in research into the best way to deal with kamikaze aircraft. She formed a key part of this unit (originally named Composite Task Force 69, then the Operational Development Unit), throughout 1946, taking part in research on a number of new fire control mechanisms.

The Wyoming was decommissioned on 1 August 1947, and sold for scrap later in the year.

Displacement (standard)

26,000t

Displacement (loaded)

27,243t

Top Speed

20.5kts

Range

8,000nm at 10kts

Armour – belt

11in-9in

 - lower casemate

11in-9in

 - upper casemate

6.5in

 - barbette

11in

 - turret faces

12in

 - coning tower

11.5in

Length

562ft

Width

93ft 2in

Armaments

Twelve 12in guns in six twin turrets
Twenty one 5in guns
Two submerged beam 21n torpedo tubes

Crew complement

1,063

Laid down

9 January 1910

Launched

25 May 1911

Completed

25 September 1912

Fate

Stricken 1947

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 September 2011), USS Wyoming (BB 32) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_uss_wyoming.html

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