[SIZE=3][*******#3e3e3e][FONT=Arial]Below: California and Tennessee as rebuilt – these ships with their twelve, 14”-gun main battery could take any IJN battleship in the fleet with the possible exception of Yamato, and maybe the Nagato- that would be a closer match. They were vastly superior to the 14" armed Kongo class IJN battle cruisers and Fuso class BBs[/FONT][/COLOR][*******#3e3e3e][FONT=Arial].
[*******#3e3e3e][FONT=Arial][SIZE=3]Below: West Virginia with its main battery of 8 16”guns was superior to all the IJN BBs, even the Nagato, and would have an even chance against the Yamato.
[*******#3e3e3e][FONT=Arial][SIZE=3]Here are some details of the rebuild of the West Virginia[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]
[*******black][FONT=Verdana]“…West Virginia's reconstruction followed the same pattern as that for the Tennessee and California. The ship wascompletely *****ped of superstructure down to the second deck, leaving only the four turrets and their barbettes in place. Her side armor was repaired and huge two-section bulges were added to the hull, increasing her beam from 97 feet to 114 feet and providing not only increased stability and torpedo protection but also a solid under structure for mounting eight twin 5” dual purpose mountswell-spaced for good anti-aircraft coverage. The armor around the original uptakes was removed and the second deck armor was increased to 7” and 5” over the magazine and engine room spaces. The turret tops received new 7.5” armored plates originally built for the USS Iowa class ships which brought the turretweight up to 958 tons. New longitudinal and transverse watertight bulkheads were added to both the main and second decks.
The superstructure of the ship was completely rebuilt into an all-welded compact and narrow structure resembling that built into the South Dakota classbattleships with close attention paid to ensuring the best possible arcs offire for the 5” and other anti-aircraft weapons. The main difference from the South Dakota's superstructure was the inclusion of the primary control bridge within the forward fire control tower just below the forward fire controldirector for the 16” guns rather than as a separate bridge forward of thetower. This provided excellent all-around aerial visibility and also solved some wave-guide problems with the new SG surface search radar sets. The flag bridge and forward lookout stations were mounted just below the primary con.The original armored conning tower was removed and replaced with a smaller 9 foot diameter structure removed from Brooklyn class cruisers that had been refitted. This conning tower only had 5” armor and was located just behindturret 2, and beneath the forward center line quad 40 mm mount. As with the South Dakota's, the funnels were faired into a single structure on the aft sideof the forward fire control tower and the mainmast was rebuilt as a second smaller fire control tower aft of the stack.
West Virginia's old main battery fire control directors were removed and replaced with Mark 34 units revamped for 16” guns that had been made available by the conversion of Cleveland class cruisers into light aircraft carriers.These directors were coupled with the standard Mark 8 radar and associated equipment including remote power controls for the main battery turrets.
For the secondary battery, four Mark 37 fire control towers were fitted with their associated Mark 12/22 fire control radars. (These radars were excellent,and could actually be used as fire controls for the main battery in an emergency.) Air search capability was provided by the SK-2 system. The 10 new quad 40 mm batteries were served by the Mark 57 gun fire control system. West Virginia also carried some 58 20 mm singles and one twin 20 mm, even being equipped witha navalized version of the Army's “Thunderbolt” quad .50 cal. mount, which was apparently being evaluated at the time.
While the reconstruction had taken advantage of every opportunity to reduce weight, it was felt necessary to reduce the main battery rounds for the 16” MkII Mod 5 guns to 90 rounds per gun in order to ensure a reserve of stability.
This refit cost around $20 million and produced an excellent almost new ship, ideally suited for the role she would fulfill in the Pacific. West Virginia emerged from her refit weighing in at 40,950 tons full load, some 7000 tons heavier than she had been at Pearl Harbor. West Virginia returned to combat in October of 1944, providing shore bombardment for the invasion of Leyte, flying the same flag she had flown on December 7, 1941. She was flagship of Battleship Division 4 under Rear Admiral Theodore Ruddock and captained by Captain Herbert V. Wiley and joined the ships of Battleship Divisions 2 and 3 for the night action at Surigao Strait.”[/FONT][/COLOR]