Information on:

Battleship North Carolina

1 Battleship Road

When the keel of north carolina was laid in october of 1937, she was the first battleship to be constructed in sixteen years. She became the first of ten fast battleships to join american fleet in world war ii. North carolina (bb 55) and her sister ship, washington (bb 56), comprised the north carolina class. Following them were the south dakota class - south dakota (bb 57), indiana (bb 58), massachusetts (bb 59), and alabama (bb 60) - and the iowa class - iowa (bb 61), new jersey (bb 62), missouri (bb 63), and wisconsin (bb 64).

At the time of her commissioning on 9 april 1941, she was considered the world's greatest sea weapon. Armed with nine 16-inch/45 caliber guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts, north carolina proved a formidable weapons platform. Her wartime complement consisted of 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men, including about 100 marines.

During world war ii, north carolina participated in every major naval offensive in the pacific area of operations and earned 15 battle stars. In the battle of the eastern solomon's in august of 1942, the battleship's anti-aircraft barrage helped save the carrier enterprise, thereby establishing the primary role of the fast battleship as protector of aircraft carriers. One of her kingfisher pilots performed heroically during the strike on truk when he rescued ten downed navy aviators on 30 april 1944. In all, north carolina carried out nine shore bombardments, sank an enemy troopship, destroyed at least 24 enemy aircraft, and assisted in shooting down many more. Her anti-aircraft guns helped halt or frustrate scores of attacks on aircraft carriers. She steamed over 300,000 miles. Although japanese radio announcements claimed six times that north carolina had been sunk, she survived many close calls and near misses with one hit when a japanese torpedo slammed into the battleship's hull on 15 september 1942. A quick response on the part of the crew allowed the mighty ship to keep up with the fleet. By war's end, the ship lost only ten men in action and had 67 wounded.

After serving as a training vessel for midshipmen, north carolina was decommissioned 27 june 1947 and placed in the inactive reserve fleet in bayonne, new jersey, for the next 14 years.  In 1958 the announcement of her impending scrapping led to a statewide campaign by citizens of north carolina to save the ship from the scrappers torches and bring her back to her home state. The save our ship (sos) campaign was successful and the battleship arrived in her current berth on 2 october 1961.  She was dedicated on 29 april 1962 as the state's memorial to its world war ii veterans and the 10,000 north carolinians who died during the war.


brian carlson

Friday, June 15, 2018
took my 3 y/o and had a blast. Spent a few hours on the ship exploring every nook and cranny. The whole ship seems explorable, and has something to offer at every age. I'm looking forward to returning with my 6 y/o to see what stuff he can discover. They're doing a great job maintaining this historic ship, and the price is appropriate for what you receive, especially with the knowledge that you're paying to keep history alive! Update: brought my 6 y/o out and he loved it as well.


Friday, July 13, 2018
Been half a dozen times, and it's a new experience each time. The North Carolina is an amazing piece of history. The tickets were $14 a person at the time of this review, which is well worth the money. My wife and I spent 3 hours touring the ship. Plenty of cool trinkets at the gift shop when you leave. Highly recommend visiting the "Showboat" if you're anywhere near Wilmington.

Jodi Hodges

Saturday, July 14, 2018
We went for the full VIP tour. It took about 4 hours but it was such a great experience. Our guide was so knowledgeable and we got to learn some really cool stuff you only learn on the guided tour. A word of warning: wear tennis shoes and be prepared to be really hot if you go in the summer, there is no AC in the ship. There are lots of narrow steep steps but as long as you are able to maneuver those, it is something you must visit when in the area.

Brant Preas

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
If you enjoy history and in particularly naval and World War II this is the place for you. The curators have painstakingly preserved as much of the ship as possible while also being mindful of some necessities of today. They also have a gift shop and additionally the ship provides great views of downtown Wilmington. So glad that we went and saw this living piece of history.

Kate Marchetto

Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018
This was a great experience. My husband is a Navy vet, so it was a weird throwback for him (apparently not much changed in 40 years of ship design...), but our toddler had a blast exploring, climbing, and jumping on gratings. The tour was well organized, the ship was well maintained, and we had a lot of fun! Absolutely recommend!

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