The U.S.S. Wyoming, along with its sister ship the U.S.S. Arkansas, represented America’s fourth endeavor in the global competition to construct dreadnought-class battleships.

The Wyoming received authorization in 1909, with its construction beginning in 1910, launching in 1911, and finally, its commissioning occurring in 1912.

However, advancements in battleship design were progressing so swiftly that the Wyoming could have potentially been outdated by the time it embarked on its inaugural journey.

In its era, the Wyoming’s main armament of twelve 12-inch guns was considered remarkable and large-caliber.

However, it wasn’t as impactful when potential rival ships were equipped with fewer but significantly more powerful and longer-range weaponry, such as 13.5-inch or 15-inch guns.

Aligning with the optimal turret layout, all the turrets on the Wyoming were located on the ship’s centerline.

However, the middle two turrets were limited to firing broadside, rendering them ineffective for shooting either forwards or backwards.

Contents

Construction and Design of USS Wyoming (BB-32)

Interwar Period Service: Wyoming underwent significant modernization in 1925 and played a crucial role as a training ship during the interwar period.

The USS Wyoming (BB-32) was conceptualized as a part of America’s contribution to the extensive naval race taking place among the world’s premier naval powers in the early 20th century.

Read More: Muroc Maru – The Wooden Warship In The Desert

Its construction and design history are marked by meticulous planning and execution to make it a formidable vessel of its time.

Design Specifications

The design of the USS Wyoming was characterized by a main battery of twelve 12-inch guns, divided among six twin turrets, a feature that was quite impressive for the era.

The ship’s displacement was approximately 26,000 tons, and she had a length of 562 feet. This dreadnought also had a speed of around 20.5 knots.

Armor

The ship featured extensive armor, with belt armor reaching up to 11 inches and turret armor up to 12 inches thick, designed to provide maximum protection against enemy fire.

The armor was planned meticulously to balance protection, weight, and speed, critical elements in naval warfare.

Wyoming (BB-32) remained at Veracruz over the months that ensued, into the late autumn of 1914, before she returned northward. After conducting exercises off the Virginia capes en route, she put into the New York Navy Yard on 6 October and then underwent repairs and alterations which lasted until 17 January 1915.

Construction Timeline

Authorization: The USS Wyoming was authorized in 1909 as part of the naval expansion and modernization programs.

Keel Laying: The ship’s keel was laid down on February 9, 1910, at William Cramp and Sons in Philadelphia, marking the commencement of construction.

Read More: The Russian Monitor Novgorod – The Circle Ship

Launching: The USS Wyoming was launched on May 25, 1911, a significant milestone in her construction journey.

Commissioning: The ship was officially commissioned into the United States Navy on September 25, 1912, with Captain Frederick L. Chapin in command.

Technological Aspects

Construction: The USS Wyoming was authorized in 1909 and was constructed at William Cramp and Sons in Philadelphia.

The Wyoming, like her contemporaries, was a representation of the prevailing naval technology of the time.

She was equipped with state-of-the-art fire control systems, efficient steam turbine propulsion, and enhanced anti-aircraft and secondary armaments.

The design also focused on operational aspects like crew comfort and endurance at sea, highlighting a comprehensive approach to naval ship design.

Sister Ship

The USS Arkansas (BB-33) was the sister ship of the USS Wyoming, sharing similarities in design and construction.

Read More SS Richard Montgomery – The Time Bomb In The Thames

Both vessels were considered integral components in bolstering the United States’ naval prowess and were built parallelly to quickly augment the naval fleet.

Operational History of USS Wyoming (BB-32)

The USS Wyoming (BB-32) played an illustrious role throughout her service, exemplifying adaptability and resilience. Initially, during World War I, Wyoming was integral to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, focusing on training exercises and maritime security.

Commissioning: It was commissioned into the United States Navy on September 25, 1912.

In December 1917, she fortified the allied naval blockade against the Central Powers by joining the 6th Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, performing pivotal patrol and escort duties, though she did not encounter significant action.

Read More Fort Drum – The Concrete Battleship

After the Armistice in November 1918, Wyoming was notable for escorting President Woodrow Wilson aboard the USS George Washington to the Paris Peace Conference.

Entering the interwar period, Wyoming underwent extensive modernization in 1925, involving the replacement of her original 12-inch guns, modifications to her superstructure, and enhancements to her anti-aircraft defenses.

World War I Service: During World War I, the USS Wyoming operated in the Atlantic, primarily conducting training exercises and escorting convoys, and served with the British Grand Fleet’s 6th Battle Squadron.

Continuously maintaining operational capability and readiness, Wyoming, throughout the 1920s and 1930s, engaged in naval exercises, training maneuvers, and fleet problems, refining naval tactics and strategies of the time.

Read More The Verne Battery – The Abandoned ‘Ghost Tunnels’ Of Portland

As the winds of World War II were beginning to stir, Wyoming was converted into a training ship, symbolizing the evolving nature of naval warfare with an emphasis on training gun crews for new ships.

WWII History

Recommissioned in May, the USS Wyoming (BB-32) undertook a training voyage to Europe and the Caribbean with a cohort of midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy and NROTC cadets on board.

In August, she was redesignated AG-17, signifying her new role as a training ship, a role she would fulfill for the next five years.

World War II Service: It served predominantly as a training vessel during World War II, preparing naval gunners for service and aiding in devising tactics to combat Japanese kamikazes.

Tragically, in 1937, during an amphibious assault exercise off California, a 5″ shell exploded accidentally, causing the death of six and injuring eleven.

Later that same year, the ship made a goodwill visit to Kiel, Germany, where its crew had the opportunity to visit the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee.

As World War II broke out in Europe in September 1939, the Wyoming found herself as part of the Atlantic Naval Reserve Force.

Read More: Aircraft Carriers: Airports of the Oceans

Chesapeake Raider

By 1941, she began her conversion into a dedicated gunnery training ship. She was undertaking training operations off Platt’s Bank when news arrived of the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

As the naval war escalated across two oceans, Wyoming, nicknamed the “Chesapeake Raider”, played a critical role in training naval gunners, continuing in this capacity until January 1944.

Interwar Period Service: Wyoming underwent significant modernization in 1925 and played a crucial role as a training ship during the interwar period.

She then underwent a significant modernization at Norfolk, involving the removal of her 12″ guns and adaptation of her turrets to accommodate single and dual mounts for 5″ guns.

After resuming her training duties in April, she continued until June 30, 1945, subsequently contributing to the Operational Development Force’s efforts in creating tactics against Japanese kamikazes.

Post-war, Wyoming sustained her operations with the force until 1947 when she was ordered to Norfolk. She reached her destination on July 11 and was decommissioned on August 1.

She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on September 16 and sold for scrapping in the following month. The scrapping process initiated in New York that December, marking the end of Wyoming’s illustrious naval journey.

Breakers Yard

Following a lengthy and varied service, the USS Wyoming was decommissioned on August 1, 1947, and shortly thereafter, was sold to be dismantled for scrap, signifying the conclusion of her active duty life.

While Wyoming’s legacy may not be marked by participation in prominent naval engagements, it is profoundly intertwined with the evolution of naval warfare from the early to the middle 20th century.

Her pivotal role in training naval personnel facilitated the efficient execution of U.S. Navy operations across various war fronts.

Stern view of the Wyoming (BB-32) in dry dock, sometime between 1910 and 1915. This photo is a good view of the 5-inch 51 caliber anti-destroyer gun mounted at the extreme stern of the ship. The Wyoming (BB-32/33), New York (BB-34/35) and Nevada (BB-36/37) classes were designed and originally armed with this weapon. It was removed to it’s wet location and not mounted on following classes.
Bow view of the Wyoming (BB-32) in dry dock NO 4, Brooklyn Navy Yard on 20 November 1912.

Read More: USS George Washington Parke Custis – The Worlds First Aircraft Carrier?

Stern view of the Wyoming (BB-32) in dry dock NO 4, Brooklyn Navy Yard on 22 November 1912.
This picture of the Superdreadnought USS Wyoming was made from the Brooklyn bridge as the battleship was proceeding up the East River. It shows the vessel from the rear with eight of the twelve inch guns visible, two in each turret
Launching the USS Wyoming (BB-32) on 25 May 1911.

Read More: USS New Jersey – Black Dragon

Ship’s crew circa 1932. US Navy photo.

The USS Wyoming (BB-32) leaving New York.