USS Wisconsin (BB-64) Battleship
- Published on Feb 3, 2016
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This video is by Thomas Winters. This video was taken from USS MacDonough (DDG-39) during Operation Desert Shield & Operation Desert Storm.
On 7 August, Wisconsin and her battle group were ordered to deploy in defense of Kuwait for Operation Desert Shield, and they arrived in the Persian Gulf on 23 August. On 15 January 1991, Operation Desert Storm commenced operations, and Wisconsin found herself serving alongside her younger sister Missouri, just as she had done in Korea forty years previously. Both Wisconsin and Missouri launched Tomahawk Missile attacks against Iraq; they were among the first ships to fire cruise missiles during the 1991 Gulf War. Wisconsin served as the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) strike commander for the Persian Gulf, directing the sequence of launches that marked the opening of Operation Desert Storm and firing a total of 24 of her own TLAMs during the first two days of the campaign. Wisconsin also assumed the responsibility of the local anti-surface warfare coordinator for the Northern Persian Gulf Surface Action Group.
Wisconsin, escorted by Nicholas, relieved Missouri on 6 February, then answered her first combat call for gunfire support since March 1952. The most recently recommissioned battleship sent 11 shells across 19 mi (31 km) of space to destroy an Iraqi artillery battery in southern Kuwait during a mission called in by USMC OV-10 Bronco aircraft. Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) as a spotter in combat for the first time, Wisconsin pounded an Iraqi communications compound on 7 February. Her main guns lobbed 24 shells on Iraqi artillery sites, missile facilities, and electronic warfare sites along the coast. That evening she targeted naval sites with her 16 in (410 mm) guns, firing 50 rounds which severely damaged or sunk 15 Iraqi boats, and destroyed several piers at the Khawr al-Mufattah marina. In response to calls for fire support from US and coalition forces, Wisconsin's turrets boomed again on 9 February, blasting bunkers and artillery sites, and shelling Iraqi troop positions near Khafji after the Iraqis were ousted from the city by Saudi and Qatari armor. On 21 February, one of Wisconsin's UAVs observed several trucks resupplying an Iraqi command post; in response, Wisconsin trained her 16 in (410 mm) guns on the complex, leveling or heavily damaging 10 of the buildings. Wisconsin and Missouri alternated positions on the gun line, using their 16 in (410 mm) guns to destroy enemy targets and soften defenses along the Kuwait coastline for a possible amphibious assault.
On the night of 23 February, Missouri and Wisconsin turned their big guns on Kuwait's Faylaka Island to support the US-led coalition ground offensive to free Kuwait from the Iraqi occupation forces.
The next day, Wisconsin answered two separate call fire support missions for coalition forces by suppressing Iraqi troops barricaded in a pair of bunkers. After witnessing the effects of Wisconsin's strike against the Iraqi positions an elated Saudi marine commander commented over the radio, "I wish we had a battleship in our navy."
Both Wisconsin and Missouri passed the million-pound mark of ordnance delivered on Iraqi targets by the time president George H. W. Bush ended hostilities on 28 February. With one last salvo from her big guns, Wisconsin fired the last naval gunfire support mission of the war, and thus was the final battleship in world history to see action. Wisconsin remained in the Persian Gulf after the cease-fire took effect, and returned home on 28 March 1991. During the eight months Wisconsin spent in the Persian Gulf, she had flown 348 UAV hours, recorded 661 safe helicopter landings, steamed 46,000 nmi (53,000 mi; 85,000 km), fired 319 16 in (410 mm) rounds, 881 5-inch (130 mm) rounds, 5,200 20 mm Phalanx CIWS rounds., and launched 24 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Since all four remaining battleships were decommissioned and stricken following the Gulf War, this was the last time that United States battleships actively participated in a war.
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