Montana class battleship

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The Montana-class battleships of the United States Navy were planned as successors to the Iowa class, being slower but larger, better armored, and having superior firepower. Five were approved for construction during World War II, but changes in wartime building priorities resulted in their cancellation in favor of the Essex-class aircraft carriers before any Montana-class keels were laid.

With an intended armament of 12 16-inch (406 mm) guns and a greater anti-aircraft capability than the preceding Iowa-class, as well as a thicker armor belt, the Montanas would have been the largest, the best-protected, and the most heavily-armed battleships put to sea by the United States. They would have been the only US Navy battleship class to have rivaled the Empire of Japan's Yamato-class battleships in terms of armor, weaponry, and displacement.[6]

Preliminary design work for the Montanas began before the US entry into World War II. The first two vessels were approved by Congress in 1939 following the passage of the Second Vinson Act. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor delayed construction of the Montana class. The success of carrier combat at the Battle of Coral Sea and, to a greater extent, the Battle of Midway, diminished the value of the battleship. Consequently, the US Navy chose to cancel the Montana-class in favor of more urgently needed aircraft carriers, amphibious and anti-submarine vessels; though orders for the Iowas were retained as they were fast enough to escort the new Essex-class aircraft carriers.[7] The Montana class was the last US Navy battleship to be designed but their keels were never laid; the four completed Iowa-class battleships were the last to be commissioned.[8]

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