USS Illinois (BB-65)

USS Illinois (BB-65) was the fifth member of the Iowa class of fast battleships. She was incomplete at the end of the Second World War, was cancelled in August 1945 and scrapped in place in the ship yard.

In the summer of 1940 the Navy Board agreed to build two more Iowa class ships under the FY41 budget. The contract for the Missouri and Wisconsin were signed on 12 June 1940 and work then began on a design for a slower battleship, with the hull number BB-65. This work would later lead to the un-built Montana class ships, but by then BB-65 had been ordered as a fifth Iowa class ship. After the unexpected fall of France, Congress was ready to fund a rapid expansion of the navy. An emergency building programme was authorised on 19 July 1940, and the secretary of the Navy decided to speed up production by ordering repeats of existing ships. Illinois (BB-65) and Kentucky(BB-66) were ordered as Iowa class ships on 9 September 1940.

The Kentucky and the Illinois would have had improved anti-torpedo protection based on work done for the Midway class aircraft carriers during 1943.

Work on the Illinois was cancelled on 11 August 1945. At first she was kept intact at the stage she had reached, and on 13 September Admiral King suggested that she be kept intact on a long term basis, to act as a possible target for nuclear tests. This idea was rejected, and the hull was broken up in place on the Philadelphia ship yard in 1958.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 October 2014), USS Illinois (BB-65) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Illinois_BB65.html

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