Battleships of the 20th century

American Battleships

USS Virginia BB-13


USS Virginia


USS Virginia, was the fifth ship of the Navy to be named the USS Virginia, named after the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Hull #



Laid down: 21 May 1902

Launched: 6 April 1904


7 May 1906

Sister Ships

Virginia Class

BB-13 USS Virginia

BB-14 USS Nebraska

BB-15 USS Georgia

BB-16 USS New Jersey

BB-17 USS Rhode Island

History Highlight

Overhauled at the Boston Navy Yard in the autumn of 1918, Virginia spent the remainder of hostilities engaged in convoy escort duties, taking convoys well over half-way across the Atlantic. She departed New York on 14 October 1918 on her first such mission, covering a convoy that had some 12,176 men embarked. After escorting those ships to longitude 22 degrees west, she put about and headed for home.

That proved to be her only such wartime mission, however, because the armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, the day before Virginia set out with a France-bound convoy, her second escort run into the mid-Atlantic. After leaving that convoy at longitude 34 degrees west, Virginia put about and headed for Hampton Roads.

The cessation of hostilities meant the return of the many troops that had been engaged in fighting the enemy overseas. With additional messing and berthing facilities installed to permit her use as a troopship, Virginia departed Norfolk eight days before Christmas of 1918. Over the ensuing months, she conducted five round-trip voyages to Brest, France, and back. Reaching Boston on Independence Day 1919, ending her last troop lift, Virginia ended her transport service, having brought some 6,037 men back from France.


13 August 1920

Final Disposition

Sunk as bombing target

Virginia and her sistership New Jersey were taken to a point three miles  off the Diamond Shoals lightship, off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and anchored there on 5 September 1923. The "attacks" made by Army Air Service Martin bombers began shortly before 0900. On the third attack, seven Martins flying at 3,000 feet, each dropped two 1,100 pound bombs on Virginia - only one of them hit. That single bomb, however, "completely demolished the ship as such." An observer later wrote: "Both masts, the bridge; all three smokestacks, and the upperworks disappeared with the explosion and there remained, after the smoke cleared away, nothing but the bare hull, decks blown off, and covered with a mass of tangled debris from stem to stern consisting of stacks, ventilators, cage masts, and bridges."

Within one-half-hour of the cataclysmic blast that wrecked the ship, her battered hulk sank beneath the waves. Her sistership ultimately joined her shortly thereafter. Virginia's end, and New Jersey's, provided far-sighted naval officers with a dramatic demonstration of air power and impressed upon them the "urgent need of developing naval aviation with the fleet." As such, the service performed by the old pre-dreadnought may have been her most valuable.

Related Info

General characteristics


14,980 tons (15,220 t)


441.3 ft (134.5 m)


76.3 ft (23.4 m)


23.8 ft (7.3 m)


19 knots (22 mph/35 km/h)


916 officers and enlisted


4 12-inch (305 mm) guns

8 8-inch (203 mm) guns

12 6-inch (152 mm) guns

24 1 pounders

4 x .30-cal machine guns

4 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes

Source: Wikipedia

Related Links

USS Virginia (Battleship # 13, later BB-13)

US Navy

Maritime Quest

USS Virginia


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