|On June 9, 1911 the General Board issued the desired characteristics for Battleship 1913. The main gun count would jump to twelve 14-inch guns with twenty-two 5-inch/51, elimination of the stern chaser found in Nevada, a 21-knot top speed and the
same All or Nothing armor scheme used in the Nevadas. C&R wanted to repeat the Nevada design but the General Board wanted ships superior to the Nevada. C&R completed the first design on January 19, 1912 but it was rejected in part because it
reduced the armor belt by an inch. Politically, Battleship 1913 had a tough row to hoe. President Roosevelt wanted two battleships a year and his successor Howard Taft continued the policy. However, the House controlled by the democrats did not want
to authorize any battleships. The Senate was in favor of two. The final compromise was to authorize one Battleship 1913, which was authorized on August 22, 1912 and would become USS Pennsylvania BB-38 to be ordered in February 1913 and would
be equipped to serve as the Fleet Flagship. The General Board was considering characteristics for Battleship 1914, which would primarily take the characteristics of Pennsylvania with more internal subdivision and the possible use of a 6-inch gun
secondary. However, they were in no rush because they were aiming at more radical improvements for Battleship 1915. The Secretary of the Navy asked for three battleships but Congress would only authorize one. On March 4, 1913 BB-39 that would
become USS Arizona was authorized. It was the same design as the Pennsylvania but had a smaller conning tower and flat uptake propulsion. To speed up construction it was decided to build the Arizona at the New York Navy Yard, which eliminated
the bidding process. She was ordered on June 24, 1913 for completion in September 1916. USS Pennsylvania BB-38 was laid down on October 27, 1913 at the Newport News Yard, launched April 16, 1915 and completed on June 12, 1916. Arizona
was laid down on March 16, 1914, launched on June 19, 1915 and completed October 17, 1916. Length was 608-feet overall and 600-feet at the waterline. Beam was 97-feet and hull depth 46-feet. Design displacement was 31,400-tons with a full load of
32,440-tons. Armament was twelve 14-inch/45 main guns, twenty-two 5-inch/51 secondary guns and two 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes. The armor belt was 13.5-inches tapering to 8-inches with a depth of 9.75-feet below the waterline at its
deepest. Turrets had a maximum armor of 18-inches with 13-inches on the barbettes, 16-inches on the conning tower, 13-inches on the funnel uptake, 13 to 8-inch armored bulkheads and two armored decks totaling 5-inches. Twelve Babcock & Wilcox
boilers provides the engines with power for 29,366 horsepower on trials for a maximum speed of 21.05-knots. Endurance jumped over the Nevada with a range of 6,070 nm at 12-knots and the same design endurance of 8,000 nm at 10-knots.
Complement was 55 officers and 860 crewmen. The Pennsylvania became the standard USN battleship design, which was followed in future designs.
For some time the General Board had wanted to use a Clipper Bow on US battleships. A clipper bow with an upwards sheer would greatly reduce taking water on the forecastle. However, with each design they were told by C&R that in order to prevent
loss of speed, the hull would have to be lengthened by at least 20-feet. With Battleship 15 the General Board could incorporate the clipper bow but the ground shifting change they really wanted was a jump to 16-inch guns. The Bureau of Ordnance had
proposed a 16-inch gun as early as November 6, 1911 but the Secretary of the Navy was afraid of spurring on other navies so on February 12, 1912 he restricted BuOrd to blueprints only. However, on October 22, 1912 he approved the construction of a
prototype 16-inch/45 gun under the designation “Type Gun, 45 calibres”. The design of the gun was done in 1913 and it was test fired very successfully in August 1914. By this time the HMS Queen Elizabeth with her 15-inch guns was in operation and
the USN knew the characteristics of the German 15-inch gun. Japan and Italy were also suspected of developing 15-inch guns. The report on the 16-inch gun in comparison to the German 15-inch gun, stated, “...far exceeds it in power and energy per
ton of gun. The Bureau believes our gun to be the most powerful in existence.” (U.S. Battleships, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman, United States Naval Institute 1985, at page 118) In May 1913 the General Board issued
characteristics that wanted Battleship 1915 to have ten 16-inch guns, 6-inch secondaries, increased protection, eight torpedo tubes, anti-aircraft armament of four 3-inch HA and four 37mm guns, the clipper bow and other improvements. The
improvements would add 8,000-tons over the Pennsylvania. The nemesis to this big jump was Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels. Because of the leap in costs with a 16-inch gunned new battleship, he would only support development of an
improved Pennsylvania. Daniels ordered that Battleship 1915 duplicate Battleship 1914, Arizona. Although a design using the Arizona design and could carry four twin gun 16-inch guns, Daniels would not rely on an untested gun and vetoed this proposal.
On December 10, 1913 the General Board proposed ships of around 35,500-tons with separate main gun slides so that they could independently elevate, more armor, 6-inch secondary guns and eight submerged torpedo tubes. Again Daniels said NO! The
General Board tried one more time with a 16-inch gun design. Daniels mandated that Battleship 1915 would be a duplicate of the Arizona, except that separate gun slides could be incorporated.