At noon, when battleship New Mexico - flag and guide of the San Fabian Fire Support, carrying important passengers - was bombarding the shore around San Fernando, she was crashed on the port wing of her navigating bridge by a Japanese
plane already in flames. Rear Admiral Weyler and the Royal Navy observer, Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, who were on the starboard side, were not hurt. Lieutenant General Herbert Lumsden (Winston Churchill’s personal liason officer at General
MacArthur’s headquarters) Captain R. W. Fleming the battleship’s commanding officer, his communications officer, an aide to General Lumsden, and Time Magazine correspondent William Chickering, all on the port wing of the bridge, were
instantly killed.
" (History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XIII, The Liberation of the Philippines by Samuel Eliot Morison, Little, Brown and Company 1984, at page 105)

New Mexico had just returned to Hagushi anchorage from replenishment at Kerama after sunset 12 May when, as the largest ship in the roadstead, she was attacked by two kamikazes which had tailed a returning C.A.P. The first attacker was
thrown off by a 5-inch shell burst directly under, which lifted it clear of the mastheads. Its bomb exploded, making the stack look like a giant blowtorch. The second, although several times hit, crashed the gun deck and tore into the stack.
Casualties were heavy: 54 killed or missing and 119 wounded; but efficient work by damage control had all fires quenched in 21 minutes. With the help of the crew of repair ship Oceanus the battleship was able to carry on until 28 May, when she
was ordered to Guam for repairs.
”(History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XIV, Victory in the Pacific by Samuel Eliot Morison, Little, Brown and Company 1984, at pages 269-270)
The United States was a relative newcomer to the concept of maintaining a blue water navy with ships equal to European counterparts in the age of steam driven battleships. The primary drivers from moving from a coastal protection fleet of inferior
vessels to a competitive fleet of modern warships capable of power projection was the Spanish American War and the election of Theodore Roosevelt as President. A series of very capable predreadnought battleships were produced for the USN. The
United States was the first power to authorize an all big gun battleship with the
South Carolina and Michigan but due to infighting and politics, they were not laid down until after the Royal Navy, spurred by Jacky Fisher, stole a march on the world by
HMS Dreadnought in record time. With the USN, as well as the other navies of the world, the Royal Navy was the yardstick with which their navies were measured. The USN built eight battleships with the main armament of 12-inch guns in
four classes of battleships. From the very first
South Carolina the USN used superfiring 12-inch gun turrets to maximize firepower, culminating in the Wyoming Class with six centerline 12-inch gun turrets, while the RN didn’t adopt the superfiring
turret until
HMS Neptune of 1909, while still clinging to wing turrets. None of the Royal Navy battleships carrying 12-inch guns in five classes with a total of ten battleships,  had all of their turrets on centerline.

When the USN was constructing the two ships of the
Wyoming Class, there were rumors that the RN was upping the ante in designing battleships around a new 13.5-inch gun. At the Newport Conference of 1908 it was proposed that future battleships
should have ten 14-inch guns and some felt that the
Utah Class should have eight 14-inch guns instead of ten 12-inch guns. The idea of going to the 14-inch gun stymied by penny pinching because battleships with 14-inch guns instead of 12-inch guns
would have to be larger and hence, more expensive and reliance on an untested gun design, which had not been designed, would be risky, so the USN continued with 12-inch guns for the time being. However, on August 26, 1908 as a result of the
Newport Conference, the Secretary of the Navy, Victor Metcalf did ask the Bureau of Construction and Repair (C&R) to prepare sketches for ships armed with eight and ten 14-inch guns. C&R decided to develop a design for a ship with twelve 12-inch
guns (
Wyoming Class) because its members were skeptical about a 14-inch gun design. The Bureau of Ordnance (BuOrd) chimed in that although the RN might by working on a design for a 13.5-inch gun, their new battleships laid down still mounted
12-inch/50 guns. It came as no surprise that Teddy Roosevelt jumped in with an inquiry about the 14-inch gun battleships on September 15, 1908. Two days later Metcalf sent the President the specifications and noted that there were no drydocks large
enough in the US for the ten gun version. C&R prepared three designs, one with eight 14-inch guns, one with ten 14-inch guns nd one with twelve 12-inch guns. Although some drydocks could handle two of the designs only the drydocks at Puget
Sound and Pearl Harbor could take the ten 14-inch gun design. The General Board feared significant delays if ships were approved for an undesigned 14-inch gun, so on December 30, 1908 the design with twelve 12-inch guns was chosen and became
Wyoming Class, which were authorized by Congress as Battleship 1910 on March 3, 1909.
By April 21, 1909 the General Board had come down to two possibilities for Battleship 1911, the class to follow the Wyoming and Arkansas. One was a design with ten 14-inch guns and the other was a modified Wyoming, as the idea of eight 14-inch
guns had been dropped. There was a brief flirtation with twelve 14-inch guns but that was dropped in 1910. In the meantime a prototype 14-inch gun was being developed, which was tested in January 1910. The test fires were very successful and the
Navy was certain that it had a new top of the line weapon. The modified
Wyoming design was out the window but this was kept secret until March 29, 1910. The first two 14-inch gun battleships for the USN, New York and Texas, were authorized by
Congress on June 24, 1910. The layout for the new class followed that used by the British for the
Orion Class with five twin gun turrets, two forward, two aft and one amidships that could only be used on broadside fire. A bigger challenge than the
move to 14-inch guns came with deciding on the best power plant. By now turbine engines in battleships, pioneered by
HMS Dreadnought of 1905 was the selection of every navy. However, the turbines of the time were notoriously inefficient at
speed and the USN needed their battleships to have a longer range than other navies, except Japan, to deal with the distances of the Pacific. It was estimated that the
New York Class would need a power plant producing 32,000 horsepower to reach 21-
knots. This was compared to the
Wyoming Class, which had 28,000 horsepower to reach the same speed. The initial plans for the New York looked at using two Curtis turbines or four Parsons turbines. The Navy looked at the fuel economy of two
earlier battleships. The two ships of the
Delaware Class were intentionally given different power plants in order to contrast the benefits of turbine engines versus reciprocating engines. Delaware was given traditional reciprocating engines, while
North Dakota had Curtis turbines. At cruising speed the North Dakota was 30% less economical than the Delaware and hence had a far shorter range. She could not steam to Manila without refueling, unlike Delaware, which could make the
voyage without refueling. The USN was already eyeing Japan as the most likely enemy and range was very important. It was estimated that
New York with turbines would have a range of 5,606 nm at 12-knots but a New York with reciprocating engine
would have a range of 7,060 nm at 12-knots. The reciprocating engines allowed
New York to reach 21-knots with only 28,100 horsepower as opposed to the 32,000 horsepower calculated for a turbine equipped New York to reach that speed.
Reciprocating engines it would be.

Having chosen the design for Battleship 1911, it was time to consider the desired qualities for the Battleship 1912 design, which would include two ships. The Navy was not happy with the amidship 14-inch gun turret on
New York and Texas.
Specifically it was the P turret amidship. That turret was handicapped by its limited arcs of fire and the armor required for this turret. The desired characteristics of the Battleship 1912 were the use of oil fuel, an All or Nothing armor scheme and a
compact armament scheme with only four turrets, using either twin or triple gun turrets. Congress had been getting more concerned with jumps in size and cost with every new design, so the Navy was looking for a standard design to minimize cost
jumps. When the Democratic Party gained control of the House of Representatives in 1910, they didn’t want any battleships to be built at all. The All or Nothing armored scheme would have the heaviest armor where it mattered the most and little or no
armor in areas that were not critical. In the design for Battleship 1912 it was decided to use double 14-inch gun turrets for B and X turrets and a triple gun arrangement for A and Y turrets, which were the lower end turrets, so Battleship 1912 would
have the same broadside as the
New Yorks but one gun more than them for end on fire. Battleship 1912 became the USS Oklahoma BB-37 and USS Nevada BB-36. Both were laid down in 1912 with Oklahoma laid down first on October 26, 1912 at
New York Shipbuilding in Cambridge, New Jersey, while
Nevada was laid down on November 4, 1912 at the Fore River Yard in Quincey, Massachusetts. Both were launched in 1914 and commissioned in 1916. Their length was 583-feet overall and
575-feet at the waterline, with a beam of 95-feet 2.5-inches. The design displacement was 27,500-tons with a full load of 28,400-tons. Armament consisted of ten 14-inch/45 guns (2x3, 2x2), twenty-one 5-inch/51 secondary guns and two 21-inch
submerged torpedo tubes. The triple guns were connected to each other with a sleeve, so they couldn’t be independently elevated. This was a weight saving measure. The All or Nothing armor scheme had a 13.5-inch belt tapering to 8-inches. The belt
extended 8.5-feet under the water line. Turrets had a maximum armor of 18-inches with barbettes with 13-inches. The conning tower had 16-inches, uptake protection of 13-inches, armored bulkheads 13 to 8-inches, plus the two armored decks,
totaling 4.5-inches. Twelve Yarrow boilers supplied the steam to Curtis turbines in
Nevada and reciprocating engines in Oklahoma to develop 26,291 horsepower on trials for a maximum speed of 20.9-knots. Endurance was 5,195 nm at 12-knots. The
original design endurance was figured to be 8,000 nm at 10-knots. Complement was 55 officers, 809 crewmen.
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
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
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.
BB-40 was the name ship for the new Battleship 1915 design. The keel was laid down on October 14, 1915 at the New York Navy Yard as the USS California BB-40. When Battleship 1916 ships were ordered, one was to be built at Mare Island outside
of San Francisco, California and lobbying started to name the Mare Island battleship the
USS California, BB-44. On December 8, 1915 Daniels announced that BB-44 at Mare Island would indeed by named USS California and that BB-40 under
construction at New York Navy Yard would be named
USS New Mexico. The now USS New Mexico was launched on April 23, 1917 and completed on May 20, 1918. The New Mexico went beyond Daniels mandate of a repeat Arizona. The Navy
finally got the drier clipper bow, although the official reason was improved anchor handling. At the forefoot of the cutwater was a bulb to improve water flow.  Secondary guns were moved to the superstructure, eliminating often unworkable hull
casemate positions. She was the first USN battleship to be completed with an anti-aircraft battery in the form of four 3-inch high angle guns. The end armored bulkheads and the lower armored deck had their thickness increased by half an inch over that
Arizona. The main guns were changed to 14-inch/50. However, the greatest impact of the USS New Mexico came with her propulsion. Just as a decade earlier the greatest impact of HMS Dreadnought was the switch to turbine machinery over
reciprocating engines, the
New Mexico had a new form of power plant. The turbine direct drive engine, with which previous battleships in every navy with turbine engines had been equipped, was a mixed blessing. The turbine functioned most
effectively at a high speed and yet propellers were far more efficient with a far lower rate of revolutions. In direct drive turbines, the turbine and proper turned at the same rate. In effect the turbine and propeller worked against each other in efficiency.
USS New Mexico turbo-electric drive was chosen as an experiment by Secretary Daniels on November 10, 1914. Mississippi and Idaho retained the direct drive turbines. The turbines in a turbo-electric drive generated electricity for electric motors
that controlled the speed of the propellers. To place the ship in reverse all that would be needed was to reverse the polarity of the electric motors. The turbo-electric drive proved to be cheaper, more economical and required smaller space, allowing for
more armor and increased subdivision. To contrast the fuel efficiency between turbo-electric drive with direct drive, the
New Mexico would use 187-tons of fuel oil for a day of steaming at 17-knots. In Mississippi the direct drive engines used 226-tons
of fuel oil and in
Idaho it was 245-tons of fuel oil to obtain the same results. The down side was that the accessibility to the turbo-electric drives was too limited causing problems for replacement.

USS New Mexico BB-40 had an overall length of 624-feet 6-inches (190.2m) and a waterline length of 600-feet (182.9m), the same as Arizona. Beam was 97-feet 4.5-inches (29.7m) and hull depth of 46-feet 3-inches with a draught of 30-feet (9.1m).
Design displacement was 32,000-tons with a full load of 33,000-tons. The armament was twelve 14-inch/50 main guns, twenty-two 5-inch/51 secondary guns, four 3-inch/50 high angle anti-aircraft guns (increased to eight in 1921) and two submerged
21-inch torpedo tubes. On February 7, 1918 it was ordered to delete all hull casemates so those casemates in
New Mexico and Idaho were plated over leaving fourteen secondary guns, and only Mississippi was completed with twenty-two secondary
guns. The armor belt was 13.5-inches tapering to 8-inches. Turrets had a maximum armor of 18-inches with 13-inches on the barbettes, 16-inches on the conning tower, 9-inches on the funnel uptake, 13.5 to 8-inch armored bulkheads and two
armored decks totaling 5.5-inches. Nine Babcock & Wilcox boilers provided steam to two turbines which generated electricity for two electric motors that developed 31,197 horsepower on trial for a maximum speed 21.08-knots. Endurance was 5,120
nm at 12-knots. Complement was 58 officers and 1026 crewmen. Originally only two Battleship 1915 ships were authorized but the sale in 1914 of the predreadnought battleships,
Mississippi and Idaho to Greece, provided sufficient funds to authorize a
third ship in the class. One month after the original approval for two ships on June 30, 1914, the third ship was authorized in a supplemental authorization. After commissioning and work ups the
New Mexico undertook a voyage to Europe from January
15 to February 27, 1919 escorting President Woodrow Wilson back to the US after the Paris Peace Conference. She was then designated as flagship of the Pacific Fleet and arrived at San Pedro, California on August 9, 1919. She was part of Battleship
Division 4. After this she exercised with the Atlantic Fleet in the Caribbean, visited South American ports and in 1925cruised to Australia and New Zealand.
With the Washington Treaty of 1922 the USN was out of the battleship construction and was limited by the treaty on what modifications that it could undertake on existing battleships. The treaty authorized additional protection from air and submarine
attacks. This opened the door for more deck armor and armored hull blisters. It also specifically forbid increasing gun calibre and belt armor. However, there were many ambiguities and loopholes in the treaty that every country used in some manner. At
first the General Board was not interested in jumping into an extensive modernization program. The first program introduced was to increase the gun elevation of the main guns to increase their range. Great Britain had basically done this during World War
One. Contracts to do this for
Florida and Utah were signed in December 1922 and in January 1923 Congress authorized and funded increasing the gun elevation for BB-30 through BB-42.  On February 26, 1923 the British 1st Lord of the Admiralty
whined that for the USN to increase their gun elevation to would breach the treaty. Not wanting to restart an arms race with Great Britain, Congress backed down and rescinded the authorization. In the meantime the General Board considered numerous
designs involving the addition of a torpedo bulge, additional deck armor or both. However, their first major step was to get the turbo-electric machinery that were destined for installation of canceled construction into storage for future use. Machinery,
armor plate, equipment, fittings, almost anything that could be used in rebuilding existing ships or future construction were stored. Another part of the modernization program was in the arena of aircraft. Every four turret battleship was scheduled to
receive a catapult on the quarterdeck and one on X turret. Original plans were for every battleship to carry one spotting aircraft, two fighters and one torpedo bomber. The torpedo bomber requirement was later dropped because they couldn’t be
recovered. On May 22, 1922
USS Maryland was the first to receive catapults with Nevada and Oklahoma quickly following. Although Mississippi and Idaho received their catapults in 1924, New Mexico didn’t get hers until early 1926. By 1927 they
carried two UO-1 observation planes and one FU-1 fighter. The fighters were landed the next year.

Priority and reconstruction and modernization was given to the old coal burning battleships, as they had the lowest survivability. They were all refitted with oil burning machinery. Second in priority was completion of the
Lexington and Saratoga, New
was in the 3rd priority, the modernization of the substandard oil burners BB-36 through 42. The Tennessee BB-43 was considered the standard. The three ships of the New Mexico Class were not authorized reconstruction until FY31. Because of
their comparatively late start, the
New Mexicos received the most comprehensive modernization. The New Mexico was rebuilt at the Philadelphia Navy Yard from March 5, 1931 to January 22, 1933. The main guns had their elevation increased to 30
degrees. Their armored decks received more armor. The main armored deck received another two inches of armor for a total of 5.5-inches and the splinter shield deck received another 1.25-inch of armor for a total of 2.75-inches. When you consider
that the total protection of the armored decks was a combined 8.25-inches, that is a big jump in deck protection. The ships were also given torpedo bulges and a second armored torpedo bulkhead internally. The beam increased to 106-feet 2-inches (32.35
m). The power plant was also changed.
New Mexico received more powerful Westinghouse turbo-electric drive machinery, which also replaced the direct drive systems in Mississippi and Idaho. The New Mexico received four White-Forster boilers while
the other two received six Bureau Expresss small tube boilers. Displacement increased to 36,157-tons full load. It was anticipated that the new power plant would provide 40,000 horsepower and would provide a top speed of 21.3-knots with the increased
displacement. In fact
New Mexico achieved 21.8-knots on a displacement of 36,985-tons. Visually, the most striking change provided by the modernization was the tower forward superstructure, inspired by HMS Rodney and Nelson. The gun directors
were lower with the secondary director superimposed with the secondary director. The funnel was heightened. Ship controls and searchlights were placed below the level of the funnel cap to avoid smoke interference. The ships now carried three O3U
floatplanes. After the reconstruction
New Mexico returned to the Pacific Fleet as flagship and part of Battleship Division 3. She was replaced as flagship by Idaho in 1937. SOC Seagull replaced the O3U aircraft in 1937 and in turn were replaced by OS2U
Kingfishers in 1941.
In the summer of 1941 the three New Mexicos were transferred from the Pacific Fleet to the Atlantic Fleet for service in the Neutrality Patrol. By August she was part of TG 1.1.2 guarding the Denmark Strait against German raiders. She was kept there
because of fear that the
Tirpitz might try a breakout. From October 28 to November 7 she escorted Convoy TF14 to Great Britain. Four more 3-inch HA guns were added pending the availability of new 1.1-inch quadruple AA guns (Chicago Pianos) and
two open deck positions on the shelter deck were removed. The USN had been looking at improving the AA capabilities of the older battleships since the King Board of 1940-1941. This would replace 5-inch/25 guns with the DP 5-inch/38 on a one for
one basis, add four more 5-inch/38 guns and six quadruple 1.1-inch AA gun mounts. By 1941 the Board looked at providing eight twin 5-inch/38 guns for each ship. The first step would be to add four Chicago Pianos on each ship. In anticipation the
New Mexicos had their forward and aft 3-inch/50 gun tubs raised to the 02 level. New Mexico went to Norfolk in December to install the four 1.1-inch mounts before her transfer to the Pacific. While there she also received eight 20mm Oerlikons, SC
radar and Mark 3 radar. Early in the war the
New Mexicos were urgently need to protect Hawaii and escort convoys so there was little consideration to put them into the dockyard for refits. After Pearl Harbor they were quickly transferred back to the
Pacific as there were minimal battleships to take the place of the devastated Pearl Harbor battleships. In October 1942 the
New Mexico had four 5-inch/51 guns and aft secondary directors removed and added two quadruple 40mm Bofor mounts, Bofor
directors and six more 20mm Oerlikons. In 1943 the catapult on X turret was landed.

From her arrival back in the Pacific until March 1943 her main missions were escorting convoys to Fiji and patrols in the southwest Pacific. In May 1943 she joined TG.16.22. The first planned real action for
New Mexico came on May 17, 1943 to seize
Adak, Alaska. On July 22, 1943 the
New Mexico, Mississippi, Idaho, Pennsylvania  and the rebuilt Tennessee supported the reacquisition of Kiska, Alaska. New Mexico soldiered on until October 1943 when she went to Puget Sound for a refit. Here her
1.1-inch guns were replaced with quadruple 40mm Bofor mounts and two additional twin Bofor mounts were added. At this time
New Mexico carried 24 20mm Oerlikons. New Mexico returned to Pearl Harbor on October 25, 1943. She was assigned to
TF.52 to support Landings in the Gilbert Islands. As flagship of the bombardment force TG.52.2 she provided shore bombardment on the seizure of Makin Island on November 20. Early on November 24 the SG radar of
New Mexico picked up a blip
and a destroyer was ordered to investigate. The blip was the submarine
I-175, which slipped through the screen and torpedoed the escort carrier, USS Liscome Bay. The carrier blew up and New Mexico, 1500 yards away, was showered by fragments.
On December 5
New Mexico returned to Pearl Harbor. The start of 1944 saw the battleship conducting a series of bombardment missions in the Marshall Islands, as part of TG.52.8. On January 31 and February 1 it was Kwajalein and Ebeye, and on
March 20 it was Kavieng.
New Mexico then retired to Sydney, Australia. In May she was in the Solomon Islands training for operations against the Mariana Islands. As part bombardment force TG.52.10 she bombarded Saipan, Tinian, and Guam from
June 14 to June 18, 1944.
New Mexico remained in the Marianas until August. She sailed for Bremerton, Washington for a refit. The refit lasted from August 18 until October 26, 1944.
By the end of 1944 New Mexico carried ten quadruple 40mm Bofors and forty 20mm Oerlikons. By November 1922 New Mexico was operating off Leyte and Samar in the Philippine Islands. She was part of TG.77.2 for convoy cover. Then she
became part of TF.77.12 providing bombardment support for landings on Mindoro until December 17. Luzon is the main island in the Philippines and General MacArthur chose the beaches in the Lingayen Gulf as the invasion point.
New Mexico was
part of TG.77.2 which was to provide bombardment support for the landings. At 17:12 on January 4 as the force was traversing the area off of Panay and Mindoro Islands, all of the lookouts and radar failed to detect a twin engine kamakaze.
was the only ship in the force to open anti-aircraft fire. It crashed into the deck of the escort carrier, Ommaney Bay. Fire grew and aircraft ordnance started exploding. The carrier sank at 20:00. On entering the gulf on January 6, a kamikaze
struck the bridge of the ship, killing the commander and 29 others. Ninety were wounded. However, she remained on station until January 18, 1945. She went back to Pearl Harbor for repairs and then steamed to Ulithi to support the invasion of
Okinawa as part of TF.54. On March 26 the bombardment of Okinawa started. On March 31 she splashed an attacking kamikaze. On April 12 the Japanese launched a huge kamikaze strike. At 15:48 a Val dove for the ship but was brought down.
was hit by a second kamikaze on May 12, 1945 on the starboard amidships. She continued on station until May 28 when she went to Leyte for repairs. New Mexico was repaired and witnesses the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on
September 2, 1945. She left to return to the US on September 6 and arrived at Boston, Massachusetts on October 17, 1945. The
New Mexico was decommissioned on July 19, 1946 and was stricken on February 25, 1947 USS New Mexico BB-40 was
sold for scrap to Lipsett, Inc. Of New York City on October 13, 1947 and was towed to Newark, New Jersey where the breaking up of the ship started on November 24.
(History from: Battleships of World War Two, An International Encyclopedia by M.J. Whitley, Arms and Armour Press 1998; History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume VII, Aleutians, Gilberts and Marshalls by
Samuel Eliot Morison, Little, Brown and Company 1984;
History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XIII, The Liberation of the Philippines by Samuel Eliot Morison, Little, Brown and Company 1984; History of
United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XIV, Victory in the Pacific
by Samuel Eliot Morison, Little, Brown and Company 1984; U.S. Battleships, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman, United States Naval
Institute 1985)

The Orange Hobby USS New Mexico BB-40 1944 - When I first looked at the Orange Hobby HMS Royal Oak in 1:700 scale, I was amazed at the detail that Orange Hobby packed into that kit. When Free Time Hobbies ran a preorder sale on the
Orange Hobby USS New Mexico, I quickly signed up. With their latest release in 1:700 scale, the USS New Mexico BB-40 1944 fit, Orange Hobby has surpassed the stratospheric standard that they set with their Royal Oak. You get almost
everything with this kit. It can be built in waterline format or full hull format, because
Orange Hobby includes the lower hull piece in the kit. The resin parts are very clean, requiring minimal to no clean up. Five brass photo-etch frets, some with relief-
etched parts, outfit the model. You get turned brass 14-inch barrels, 5-inch barrels and pole masts. They even throw in a decal sheet for ship’s flags and markings for the Kingfishers. If you are interested in the warships of the USN during World War
Two, acquisition of the
Orange Hobby 1:700 scale USS New Mexico BB-40, 1944 fit, is a must. My only question about the kit is the quantity of Oerlikons shown in the instructions. My reference stated that New Mexico carried forty Oerlikons at the
end of 1944 and yet the instructions show forty-two Oerlikons on the model. But why quibble over two Oerlikons? I’ll go with the
Orange Hobby instructions. Speaking of instructions, I'll have to state that the kit is somewhat marred by confusing
About the only thing that you have to do with the hull halves is remove the casting stalks at their sterns. They are far easier to remove with a sanding wheel than with a hobby knife. The upper hull seems to have even more detail than the Orange Hobby
Royal Oak
. The hull sides are absolutely superb! From the graceful clipper bow with its anchor notch near the top, the hull detail continues aft with one fine detail after another. The torpedo bulge running from abreast A barbette to aft of Y barbette is
crisp with a prominent top shelf. Along the line of the torpedo bulge are vertical strakes running from the edge of the forecastle or main deck to the shelf at the top of the blister. The two plated over secondary casemate positions at bow and the stern are
packed with detail. Almost the entire length of the hull are plated over port holes and torpedo bulge top shelf access doors. Fine open chocks line the deck edges. At the bow there are the 0 231hull side anchor hawse, some small fittings and at the port
bow, what appears to be a boat boom. The lower hull piece emphasizes the lines of the torpedo bulge. Other details on the lower hull are two bilge keels on each side, cutwater forefoot at the forward tip of the slightly bulbous lower bow and armor belt
lines at the stern.
The deck detail is even more plentiful. However, I do have a gripe. The deck planks do not have butt end detail. With the high quality of Orange Hobby models, I am rather surprised that they don’t include this feature that is frequently found on 1:700
scale kits from other manufacturers. The forecastle starts with a slightly raised metal deck in which are three very nice deck anchor hawse. A triangular shaped anchor chain run plate runs from the deck hawse past the forward Oerliko tub to the locater
holes for the windlasses. Nice chain locker entrance fittings are between the windlass positions and the forward Oerlikon tub. This tub is not symmetrical and holds two Oerlikon pedestals with a single Oerlikon base plate, pedestal and splinter shield
immediately in front of the tub. Anchor chain is cast as part of the chain run plates. Other forecastle detail at the bow include the jack staff locater, single bollards and twin bollard fittings, as well as the previously mentioned open chocks at deck edge.
Details in the area between the anchor gear and A barbette includes cable reels and deck access hatches. Clustered around B barbette are two Oerlikon positions with splinter shields, and deck access hatches. On the side of B barbette are vertical cables
with junction boxes, as well as single carley rafts. The bulkheads of the 01 level have three deeply inset 5-inch/51 positions on each side, interspersed with numerous doors, boxes, and cables. Above this level is the splinter shielding for the 5-inch/25 HA
guns. This has very fine support ribbing on the exterior. Just before the deck break is a fine Bofor tub on each side. The shelter deck starts with three Oerlikons protected by the splinter shield and a fourth raised Oerlikon tub. Clustered about them are
deck access hatches, ready ammunition lockers and a cable reel. Centerline are wells for the forward superstructure assembly and the funnel. Running from the superstructure to the deck break are numerous ready ammunition lockers for Oerlikons and
the 5-inch/25 guns, deck access hatches, mushroom ventilators, a large deck house, a small deck house and the base houses for two Bofor tub positions. On the aft face of the deck break the bulkhead has single and double doors and deck houses on
either side of the well for the aft superstructure assembly. Between the deck break bulkhead and the well for X barbette are Oerlikon positions with splinter shielding, boat chocks, twin bollards and deck access hatches. There are also numerous locater
squares or circles for Bofor tubs, AA director towers, and various ventilators. On either side of the X barbette well are the last two Oerlikon positions behind splinter shields. Details running past Y barbette to the stern include more twin bollards, deck
access hatches, mushroom ventilators of different sizes, pivot plate for the catapult and flag staff base.
There are twenty runners of smaller resin parts. The Largest of the parts are the turrets, funnel, and parts of the superstructure. The largest (Q) runner has the four main gun turrets, and superstructure levels. The turrets have nice crown, forward face
and side detail. Superstructure parts have support gussets underneath the platforms, detailed bulkhead doors with hinge and door detail, flag bag, and Oerlikon pedestals and Bofor splinter shielding on the bridge deck. The bridge/chart house has nicely inset
windows and and upper brow with directors on the crown. The second largest (K)  runner has the funnel with steam pipes with joint bands, smaller side pipes, searchlight platforms with support gussets and horizontal bands. Five other parts share this
runner. Two are levels of the aft superstructure, optional solid resin catapult (use the photo-etch catapult, detailed main mast, and long fitting forward of A turret. The runner labeled A has underwater gear of the four propeller shafts with support struts and
the rudder. B runner has detailed deck winches, different ventilators, Oerlikon director towers, and motorized dinghies. C runner has eight parts. These are two Bofor tubs, two anchors, two platforms, a level for the aft superstructure and an optional solid
aircraft crane. As with the catapult, I advise using the optional brass photo-etch crane that is attached to a separate resin turntable. D runner has a level for the forward superstructure with Oerlikon pedestals and ready ammunition lockers, searchlights,
signal lamps, small radar dishes and two parts (D1 and D2), which I can’t find in the instructions. They look like booms but I couldn’t find neither an appropriate drawing nor part number. E runner has a detailed conning tower with vision ports and crown
detail, funnel cap with grate, two Oerlikon galleries with gun pedestals, two more searchlights, and deck machinery. F runner has parts mostly for the forward superstructure. They include a forward Oerlikon tub, superstructure levels and platforms. G
runner has a detailed platform that fits between the funnel and forward superstructure, forward superstructure level, fore mast and 5-inch/25 gun platforms with fuse setting equipment. There are two H runners. One has detailed Bofor platforms and guns
and the other has paravanes and the 5-inch/25 gun blocks. There are two I runners with more Bofor mounts and guns. There are two J runners, each with carley rafts. L runner has parts for the 5-inch/51 positions. M runner has the Kingfisher parts. N
runner has the X turret crown Oerlikon tub, director “ears” for turret sides, and a couple of other parts. There are three X runners that have large mushroom ventilators. There is some minor flas on some of the parts but nothing that will require more than
minimal clean up.
There are five brass photo-etch frets that come with the kit. On each fret the parts are numbered, corresponding to the number used in the instructions. Two are of medium size and there are small. Fret A is one of the medium sized frets. Most of the
fret contains custom cut railing for specific locations on the model. However, other parts on A fret are: the Kingfisher propeller; crane rigging, Bofor tub ammo racks; cable reel frames; yardarms; hawse covers; leadsman platforms; funnel platform and
struts; other smaller parts. This fret also has relief-etched accommodation ladders. Fret B is the other medium sized fret. It has open grid carley bottoms, Oerlikon shields and rig, Bofor gun tops and barrels, inclined ladders, doors that be posed open or
closed, main search radar array, davits and other small parts. Fret C contains nothing but vertical ladders of different sizes. Fret D has the Oerlikons, Oerlikon gallery base pillars, propellers, aircraft cradle, support gussets, DF loops, and other small
parts. Fret E has the optional brass catapult and crane. I suggest using the brace parts in your build because the open lattice work of the brass assembly is far superior in appearance to the sold resin optional parts. Orange Hobby also supplies turned brass
parts for the 14-inch guns, 5-inch guns and pole masts. The 14-inch barrels have hollow muzzles. Also included is a decal sheet. It is fairly basic with four sizes of flag, the jack and decals for the Kingfisher. The blue is too light but could represent faded

I believe that the instructions are confusing.
Orange Hobby crammed too much information into too few pages. This is especially emphasized in the build of the superstructures. If they had expanded the instructions two to four pages, they could have
presented more detailed steps in superstructure assembly. As they are, they show drawings of the fully assembled superstructures with letters of the parts shown like a totem pole.  The instructions are four back printed pages, Assembly steps are
designated with a light gray letter that can be difficult to see on the white paper. There is no rhyme or reason to this lettering as letters are not in sequence. Resin parts are designated by a light gray box with an alpha-numeric designation that matches the
alpha-numeric designation on the resin runner, printed above a light gray box with a white Re printed in the box. Brass photo-etch parts use the alpha-numeric designation referring to the fret letter and part number on that fret printed with a white Pe on a
black square. It is easier to pick up the designations for the photo-etch. All of the designations are so concentrated that I couldn’t find some of the parts after multiple searches. However, you can make up your own mind after looking at the photographs
of the instructions. Turned brass parts are designated Me. Page one has a photo of the assembled model and assembly modules for the lower aft superstructure, Oerlikons, main gun turrets, deck break bulkhead assembly, forecastle assembly, carley raft
assembly, aircraft crane assembly, and running gear assembly for the lower hull. Page two has assembly modules for the catapult, 5-inch/25s, paravane assembly, forward shelter deck assembly, 5-inch/51 assembly, Bofor assembly, X turret assembly,
and quarterdeck assembly. Page three has only three modules showing assembly of the area between the deck break and X turret, and two on the mid to aft shelter deck assembly. Page four has modules on assembling the platform between the funnel
and forward superstructure, lower aft superstructure area assembly, funnel, forward superstructure, aft superstructure and conning tower. Page five has modules on Oerlikon gun galleries, and two modules on the final attachment of subassemblies. Page
six is a parts laydown sheet. Page seven has port and starboard profiles of
New Mexico in her 1944 dazzle camouflage pattern with USN color designations. Page eight does the same thing with a plan and also has drawings of the Kingfisher.
I haven’t seen every 1:700 scale model warship kit released in 2020 but of the kits that I have seen, the Orange Hobby 1:700 scale USS New Mexico BB-40 1944 fit ranks at the top. The only real gripe that I have about the parts is the lack of butt end
detail on the deck planking. The instructions definitely could be better, as they are too concentrated, making them hard to follow. In spite of this, I still rank this kit as Best of the Year.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama