Military Wiki

The formation of ships in Battleship Row. (USS Vestal not shown)

Battleship Row was the grouping of seven U.S. battleships in port at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when the Japanese attacked on 7 December 1941.[1] These ships bore the brunt of the Japanese assault. They were moored next to Ford Island when the attack commenced. The ships were Arizona, California, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia. A repair ship (former coal ship), Vestal, was also present, moored next to Arizona.[1]


Japanese planes attacking Battleship Row, as seen from the southwest. Ford Island is in the center of the picture, and Battleship row is behind the island

Arizona, California, Oklahoma, and West Virginia were sunk during the attack. Arizona suffered the most serious damage and loss of life, an explosion in a forward magazine breaking the hull in two. Of the other four, only Nevada had serious damage.[1] Pennsylvania was in dry dock, making attack difficult, and as a result was relatively undamaged. Vestal was also damaged. Following the attack, operations immediately commenced to refloat and repair the damaged ships. Battleship Row was not visible from Hickam Field because of the thick black smoke. The first to be completed was Nevada on April 19, 1942. By the end of the war, all except Arizona and Oklahoma had returned to service. Six surviving ships were decommissioned soon after the war was over. Nevada and Pennsylvania were expended in atomic bomb tests in the Pacific.[1] The rest were scrapped in the late 1950s. Oklahoma was eventually refloated but not repaired, and capsized and sank while being towed back to the mainland for scrapping. Arizona's hulk remains a memorial, one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island.[1]

An aerial view of Battleship Row moorings on the southern side of Ford Island, three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In upper left is the sunken California, with smaller vessels clustered around her. Diagonally, from left center to lower right are: Maryland, lightly damaged, with the capsized Oklahoma outboard. A barge is alongside Oklahoma, supporting rescue efforts.[1] Tennessee, lightly damaged, with the sunken West Virginia outboard. Arizona, sunk, with her hull shattered by the explosion of the magazines below the two forward turrets. Note dark oil streaks on the harbor surface, originating from the sunken battleships.

Utah was in port at Pearl Harbor, but was not moored with the rest of the battleships. However, she was still sunk within a few minutes of the battle.[1]

The ships that were attacked[]

  • Arizona: hit by an armor-piercing bomb, exploded; total loss. 1,177 dead.
  • Oklahoma: hit by five torpedoes, capsized; total loss. 429 dead. Refloated November 1943; capsized and lost while under tow to the mainland May 1947.
  • West Virginia: hit by two bombs, seven torpedoes, sunk; returned to service July 1944. 106 dead.
  • California: hit by two bombs, two torpedoes, sunk; returned to service January 1944. 100 dead.
  • Nevada: hit by six bombs, one torpedo, beached; returned to service October 1942. 60 dead.
  • Tennessee: hit by two bombs; returned to service February 1942. 5 dead.
  • Maryland: hit by two bombs; returned to service February 1942. 4 dead (including floatplane pilot shot down).
  • Pennsylvania (Kimmel's flagship):[2] in drydock with Cassin and Downes, hit by one bomb, debris from USS Cassin; remained in service. 9 dead.

See also[]


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).