USS Oklahoma (BB 37)

USS Oklahoma (BB 37) was a Nevada class battleship that helping protect American convoys crossing the Atlantic late in the First World War, but was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and never returned to service.

The Oklahoma was laid down in 1912, launched in 1914 and commissioned on 2 May 1916, right in the middle of the First World War, although a year before the American entry into the war.

Even after the American entry into the war in 1917 the Oklahoma remained in home waters training off the east coast for another year, before on 13 August she sailed for Bantry Bay, Ireland, where she served alongside the Nevada on convoy protection duties. Although there were no clashes with the main ships of the German High Seas Fleet after Jutland, they did put to sea on a regular basis, and there was always a chance that the Germans might attempt to break out of the North Sea and attack the large American troop convoys crossing the Atlantic.

Normal peacetime duties followed, interrupted by a major refit between September 1927 and July 1929. This saw the Oklahomagain anti-torpedo bulges, thicker horizontal armour, new boilers, and tripod masts in place of the earlier cage masts. The secondary guns were raised up from their position in casemates to a new higher position on the next deck up.

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor:
USS Maryland and
USS Oklahoma

On 7 December 1941 the Nevada was moored outside the Maryland in position F-5 on battleship row at Pearl Harbor. She was hit by three torpedoes early in the attack and capsized before any effective countermeasures could be taken. Two more torpedoes hit while she was turning over. Her masts prevented her from turning completely over, and she ended the day with part of her starboard side still above the water. Four hundred and fifteen of her crew were killed during the attack. A number made it to the Maryland where they helped man the anti-aircraft guns, while a significant number were rescued from within the hull.

USS Oklahoma (BB-37), December 1943
USS Oklahoma (BB-37), December 1943

Work on salvaging the Oklahoma began in March 1943. By the end of the year she had entered dry dock, but it was decided not to repair her (possibly because she had reciprocal expansion engines instead of turbines). She was decommissioned on 1 September 1944 and sold for scrap on 5 December 1946, but she sank for a second and final time on 17 May 1947 while being towed from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



8,000nm at 10kts

Armour – belt


 - deck


 - turret faces

18in or 16in

 - turret sides


 - turret top


 - turret rear


 - barbettes


 - coning tower


 - coning tower top





95ft 6in


Ten 14in guns in two 3-gun and two 2-gun turrets
Twenty one 5in guns
Two 21in submerged beam torpedo tubes

Crew complement


Laid down

 26 October 1912


 23 March 1914


 2 May 1916


 7 December 1941

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 September 2011), USS Oklahoma (BB 37) ,

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