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History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk => Military (and other) History => Topic started by: besilarius on October 14, 2019, 03:12:37 PM

Title: USS Nevada
Post by: besilarius on October 14, 2019, 03:12:37 PM
USS Nevada (BB-36) wearing her last paint job. Designated as the target ship for "Able" test, she was painted a bright red color to help distinguish her from the other ships. Her color was supposed to allow the bombardier to accurately drop the nuke on her.

However, the bomb was off by 1700 yards and Nevada survived. The second test, "Baker" detonated another nuclear bomb underneath the water. Nevada was damaged, but survived again.

She was then towed to Pearl Harbor to be thoroughly examined and then decommissioned. After this, she was expended as a target. The battleship Iowa (BB-61) and two other warships pummeled Nevada for over an hour. However, Nevada still tenaciously refused to sink. Finally, a torpedo was used to send her to the bottom.

Despite Pearl Harbor, two nuclear bombs, and a bombardment by other battleships, Nevada would not go down quietly.

Now, here's one for the braintrust, an old sea story:
there is a very good possibility that when she was finally sunk, she may have been sunk with a fortune in silver in her engine room. It was placed there during her rebuild after Pearl Harbor, to replace her corroded copper electrical bus bars, as at the time, copper was in critically short supply. As such, the navy withdrew some two million dollars (in 1942 money) of silver bullion from the US Mint, and had it melted down and rolled out into bus bars. They were then painted to conceal their nature from most of the crew. The chief engineer was given the task of inspecting them frequently to make sure people were not "scraping off a poke for shore leave". However, there was no mention of their recovery prior to the atomic bomb tests...in fact, except for the paint, most everything was left in working condition to judge the overall effect of the bombs on the ship (should she survive). The entire ship was flooded by the wave that engulfed her after the first blast, so if the bars were still present, they would have been too contaminated to recover afterward. It is also possible that they were forgotten about entirely. Sadly, at this point, we will never know, as she sits in some 2 miles of water off Hawaii, and the bus bars would be in the deepest bowels of the ship.