Step aboard the USS Wisconsin — the last US battleship to fire its guns in combat

The USS Wisconsin.

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The USS Wisconsin.
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Daniel Brown/Business Insider

The USS Wisconsin, which was one of the last battleships the US ever built, saw combat in World War II, the Korean War, and even the Gulf War.

Nicknamed “The Wisky,” the Wisconsin provided cover for the invasion of Iwo Jima, was struck by a 155 mm shell during the Korean War, and launched eight of the 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the opening salvo of the Persian Gulf War.

After being commissioned and decommissioned three times, the Wisconsin was finally put to rest in 1991.

It’s now on permanent display at the Nauticus museum in Norfolk, Virginia – and we recently took a tour of it.

Check it out below:


Originally commissioned in 1944, the Wisconsin is over 887 feet long …

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… over 108 feet wide, and nearly 40 feet tall.

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The Wisky had a displacement of 58,000 tons when fully loaded, and it was powered by four geared Westinghouse turbines that brought it to more than 38 mph.


Now, let’s go aboard.

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Daniel Brown/Business Insider

Here’s a shot from the bow.

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And a short video from the stern that also shows the helicopter pad.


The Wisconsin’s two port and starboard bow anchors are each 1,080 feet long and weigh 30,000 pounds.

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This short video gives a close-up of one the anchor chains.


This is Mike Hodges, a Navy veteran who served on the Wisky in the 1950s and now volunteers on the ship.

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He told us about the main guns in this short video below.


The 16-inch guns, six of which are seen off the bow below, fired 1,900-pound and 2,700-pound projectiles up to 23 miles away.

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Used to bombard shores and take out surface targets, they could fire two rounds a minute. The shot below is of the three 16-inch guns off the stern.

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Here’s a shot of two of the Wisky’s starboard-side 5-inch guns, which fired 55-pound projectiles up to 9 miles away.

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This video below shows where the Wisky was hit by a 152 mm shell during the Korean War. The strike wounded three soldiers.


And here are two of the 40 mm saluting batteries, which are mostly used for ceremonial purposes.

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Numerous weapons were added to the Wisky after it was recommissioned for the third time in 1988, such as the Harpoon missile system seen below.

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As were eight Tomahawk box launchers, two of which are seen below.

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And the Mk 36 Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasure Chaff and Decoy Launching Systems seen below, which were used to thwart incoming missiles.

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The Wisky was also fitted with four Close-In Weapons System after its last commissioning, but they have since been removed.


The ship is steered from this command center located in the tower.

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And around the corner is the captain’s chair, which faces the bow.

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This short video gives a closer look.


Here’s a shot of the galley, which also acted as a medical center during battle.

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Next to the galley is the captain’s quarters seen in the short video below.


Down on the lower level is a 350-foot walkway called Broadway, which connects the eight boilers rooms, the berthing areas, and other mechanical rooms.

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Here’s a shot of one of the berthing areas.

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The World War II crew size of 134 officers and 2,400 enlisted sailors changed to 65 officers and 1,501 enlisted sailors during the Gulf War.


And this short video gives a closer look.

For more information about the Wisconsin, visit the Nauticus’ website here or the crewmember association’s website here.