The greatest threat to Iowa’s battleship legacy has never been seen!

The USS Iowa faces its biggest tһгeаt yet!

The incident involving the USS William D. Porter (DD-579) mistakenly firing a torpedo at the USS Iowa (BB-61) is a notable and rather unusual event in U.S. naval history.

At the time of the incident, the USS Iowa was transporting President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the Atlantic to Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria, for a conference with Allied leaders in Tehran and Cairo.

The USS William D. Porter, a Fletcher-class destroyer, was among the ships assigned to escort the Iowa on this critical mission.

The USS Iowa (BB-61) is a remarkable example of American naval engineering and military history, representing the peak of battleship design when she was launched. She is the lead ship of the Iowa-class battleships.

Design Specifications:

The Iowa was designed primarily for speed and firepower, with the intention of outmatching any enemy battleship while being fast enough to operate with aircraft carrier task forces. She stretched 887 feet in length and displaced about 57,000 tons when fully loaded.

Her main battery consisted of nine 16-inch (406mm) guns arranged in three triple turrets, capable of firing shells up to 24 miles. This firepower was complemented by twenty 5-inch guns, and anti-aircraft guns.

Iowa's Battleship Legacy. USS Iowa BB-61 was one of four… | by Iowa Culture  | Iowa History | Medium

USS Iowa before her launch in 1942.

The Iowa’s armor was formidable, with belt armor up to 12.1 inches thick and turret faces up to 17 inches thick, designed to withstand gunfire from other battleships. Her engines were capable of propelling her at speeds in excess of 33 knots, making her one of the fastest battleships ever built.

Commissioned in February 1943, the USS Iowa’s service history spans several decades, reflecting her versatility and adaptability. During World War II, she served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, performing a variety of roles from escorting convoys to bombarding enemy shore positions.

In November 1943, the USS Iowa was entrusted with a mission of utmost secrecy and importance: to safely transport President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the treacherous waters of the Atlantic to North Africa.

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The president was scheduled to attend the Tehran Conference, an unprecedented meeting with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. The conference was crucial for planning the Allied strategy for the ongoing war in Europe and Asia, making Roosevelt’s safe passage a matter of international significance.

Iowa Class Battleships Asbestos Exposure | Navy Veterans & Mesothelioma |
USS Iowa in a floating drydock, December 1944.

To ensure the president’s security, a convoy was assembled, including the USS William D. Porter, a Fletcher-class destroyer launched in 1942. The Porter, like the Iowa, was a product of America’s wartime industrial surge, designed to escort larger ships, conduct anti-submarine warfare, and provide gunfire support for amphibious landings.

Her assignment to the presidential convoy was a testament to the Navy’s confidence in her capabilities and her crew’s proficiency. However, this mission would prove to be an unexpected test of the crew’s readiness and decision-making under pressure.

On November 14, 1943, as the convoy made its way across the Atlantic, the crew of the William D. Porter engaged in a series of training exercises. These drills were standard practice, designed to ensure readiness and efficiency in the face of enemy action. The exercises ranged from gunnery drills to torpedo launching procedures, the latter of which would become the focus of an extraordinary blunder.

The objective was to simulate an attack on a high-value target, in this case, the USS Iowa, to test the crew’s ability to respond swiftly and accurately. The drill was intended to be a controlled demonstration with no torpedoes actually being fired.

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