A whole afternoon on 'Wisky'
Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 7 Nov 2009 14:15
Well the Battleship Wisconsin to be precise but affectionately called Wisky - to be explained later.
I had always had a childhood wish to walk the decks of a battleship. Born too late to have the opportunity to see one at home, the USA is the only place that seems to have saved any from the scrapyard. In fact Wisconsin is currently still on the reserve list, unlike her remaining Iowa class sisters that are now floating museums located in various States around the USA. She is kept in a relative state of readiness with constant humidity conditions prevailing below decks ready to be brought back into service should the need arise, which quite frankly is unlikely. In fact she will shortly be de-listed again and handed over to the people of Norfolk to remain as the focal point of the Nauticus Centre here in Norfolk. But as the Navy currently 'own' the ship visitors are free to walk the decks and talk to the 'Docents', who are experts on the ship, giving their time free.
Launched in the last years of WW2 as one of the very distinctive Iowa class battleships she did see active service in the war but never engaged any other ship directly. Her main use seems to have been to lob 1 ton shells over distances of up to 30miles at various targets in the Middle & Far East including the 6 day war. For these engagements she proudly wears various motifs on her 16" gun turrets. She enjoyed a new lease of life in the Reagan years, being brought back into service at a cost of 380 millon dollars - no wonder he was such a popular president! She is a ship from a bygone era.To a warship enthusiast she is hallowed territory, to an eco warrior she is a 45,000 ton floating nightmare, that would have left a carbon footprint visible from outer space!
Nikki being shown round the foredeck by a friendly fire hydrant Phil eyes up some new anchor chain for Ajaya
A 16"shell with the powder charges on the rack behind - ouch! The officers dining hall viewed through a porthole
5" gun turrets on each side The control bridges
And finally - that name - Wisky. See below.........
A collision with an accompanying ship in trials off the east coast caused damage to the bows of the new battleship. The bow section of the sistership USS Kentuky which was in build was 'borrowed' and fitted to the Wisconsin in a record 48 hours enabling the ship to enter the war.