Fast Facts – USS Texas

Miles Whittam-Seth wrote this article.

  • USS Texas was laid down in April 1911 and commissioned into the US Navy in March 1914.
  • The Texas was the first class of US dreadnought battleships to be armed with 14 Inch Guns, and she carried 10 of these weapons in twin turrets, whilst her secondary battery consisted of 21 5 Inch guns in single mounts.
  • Texas displaced 27,000 tons and was powered by two triple expansion steam engines, turning two propellers, to give a maximum speed of 21 knots.
  • After commissioning Texas was stationed on the US east coast until America entered WW I in 1917.
  • At the beginning of 1918, she sailed for Scapa Flow, to join the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet, as part of the 6thBattle Squadron, which was made up of US dreadnoughts. Service with the Grad Fleet involved convoy escort duty and occasional sorties to reinforce RN units on blockade duty in the North Sea.
  • Texas returned to the US in December 1918 and resumed duty with the Atlantic Fleet in 1919.
  • Her peacetime service consisted of Midshipmen cruises, visits to foreign ports to “show the flag”, fleet maneuvers and periods of modernization and routine maintenance. During the 1930’s Texas served with both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.
  • After the US entered WW II, by Texas initially was assigned to duty escorting troop and supply convoys. She first entered combat on November 8 1942 by providing gunfire support during Operation Torch, the Allied landings in French North Africa.
  • Throughout 1943 and the early part of 1944, Texas was back on convoy escort duty covering Trans-Atlantic convoys to Britain, Gibraltar and Casablanca. In 1944 she served as the Flagship of the Bombardment Force assigned to the landings at Omaha Beach.
  • At midday on June 6, with the Landings at Omaha in doubt, Texas closed to within 2,700m of the water’s edge and opened fire with her main guns, targeting snipers, machine gun nests and antiaircraft guns that were pouring fire on to the US troops trapped on the beach.
  • Texas remained off the French coast until June 15 1944 by which time the land battle had passed beyond the range of her main guns.
  • Ten days later, Texas returned to the French coast in company with two other US battleships to engage the coastal batteries at Cherbourg, in support of the US Army’s efforts to capture the port. A gun duel developed between Texas and batterie Hamburg, which consisted of four 240mm (9.6 Inch) guns.
  • Texas was straddled numerous times by the German gunners but only hit twice and one of those shells failed to explode. In return she scored a direct hit on one of the German guns, destroying it.
  • Texas spent the rest of the war providing gunfire support to Allied Landings in both the European and Pacific Theatres, including Southern France, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In each case She was involved in the pre-invasion bombardment and later provided “on-call” fire support after the troops had gone ashore.
  • While supporting the Okinawa landings my crew remained at General Quarters continuously for over 50 days. This meant that they remained at their battle stations for seven weeks, eating K-rations and only being allowed to shower and change clothes once every three days.
  • Texas was initially placed in reserve in 1946, but in April 1948 she was turned over to the State of Texas and became a museum ship and war memorial, where she remains to this day.

Click here to add your own text