Navy & Ships Military History

The U.S. Navy and the navies of other world powers have long and proud histories and traditions to respect and honor that history. This is expressed in museums that include preserved and restored ships as well as Internet sites that present images and narratives to bring the ships and the service of their crews directly to you.

This page lists naval history resources and ships which have been turned into museums or historical parks. lists web sites for active duty and decommissioned ships at the linked page. And be sure to check the archives of naval Military Organizations many of which contain photos and historical information.

Pearl Harbor map on 7 December 1941
Pearl Harbor map on 7 December 1941. Click map for larger version.

Some of the greatest Naval operations of all time took place during World War II in the Pacific Theater of Operations. pages of information on the Campaigns and Battles of WW II are found at the linked page.

Today in WW II: 11 Oct 1939 Letter signed by Albert Einstein is delivered to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging the United States to rapidly develop the atomic bomb before Germany does, the inspiration for the Manhattan Project.  More 
11 Oct 1942 Battle of Cape Esperance: US and Japanese naval forces clash off northwest coast of Guadalcanal. US victory opens supply lines for Allies, prevents Japanese reinforcement.
11 Oct 1942 Wave of relentless Luftwaffe air attacks against Malta begins, continuing for 17 days with heavy losses of British and German planes and pilots.
Visit the World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Navy & Ships Military History

The U.S. Navy has a network of military museums, open to the public, at the linked page. For a list of over 250 Maritime and Naval Museums in Britain and Ireland, click the link.

Military History -- Ships
The Historic Naval Ships Association Visitor's Guide is a comprehensive web site giving the location and details of a large number of preserved ships in locations around the world. Listed by location, name, and type from battleships to patrol boats.
The Naval Historical Center has compiled this page of Frequently Asked Questions and answers about the Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941. The page has a timeline narrative of the attack itself plus lots of links to in-depth material about the attack and events surrounding it.
Submarine S-51 Sunk, Sept 1925 presents the history of a sub which sank tragically in an accident at sea in 1925. For even more details, see On the Bottom: The Raising of the U.S. Navy submarine S-51 .
Battleship.Org is the home of the Iowa Class Preservation Association, a group of individuals who share a love for battleships. They support an effort to find a permanent home for the last four battleships in the world - the USS Iowa, USS New Jersey, USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin.
Mighty Mo is sponsored by the USS Missouri Memorial Association, dedicated to preserve the memory of the USS Missouri (BB 63), the fourth ship and second battleship to bear the name of the "Show me" state. She is now docked in Hawaii as part of a permanent museum and memorial.
The South Dakota Class battleship USS Alabama (BB 60) was built at the Norfolk, Virginia Navy Yard and commissioned on 16 August 1942. After distinguished service in both the North Atlantic and the Pacific during WW II, she was decomissioned in 1947 and later towed to Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, AL where she resides today.
Battleship USS Massachusetts (BB 59) has welcomed visitors of all ages for over 30 years to Battleship Cove, Fall River, MA. Our historic naval ships, military exhibits, and related memorabilia tell the stories of brave sailors and their proud fighting days long ago. Walk where these sailors fought, man the guns they used to defend our freedom, or try on a Navy bunk for size!
Battleship New Jersey Historical Museum Society is working to prepare a permanent site for the New Jersey, one of the mightiest and most distinguished warships ever to sail the seas.
Battleship USS North Carolina is open every day of the year. Explore nine decks of this maritime giant as you get in touch with World War II and our proud Naval heritage by exhibits such as Through Their Eyes: The Battleship Crew Remembers World War II.
Battleship Texas (BB-35) is the last of the "Dreadnoughts" and the only surviving U.S. Naval vessel to have been in both World Wars. When the U.S.S.. TEXAS was commissioned in 1914, she was the most powerful weapon in the world.
The American Merchant Marine Veterans remind us that during WW II 820 merchant ships were sunk or damaged, with a loss of over 6.700 brave mariners, and another 700 were taken as POW's. Those brave acts and losses are documented here along with many links to other related resources.
The Naval Historical Center is the official history program of the United States Department of the Navy. The web site covers wars and conflicts, ships and Navy aviation, traditions, documents and photo archives and much more.
USS LST Ship Memorial, Inc. maintains LST-325 as a floating memorial and tribute to all the LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank), amphibious vessels designed to land battle-ready tanks, troops and supplies directly onto enemy shores. LST-325 served the US Navy in World War II and the 1950s, then was transferred to the Greek Navy. In November 2000 LST-325 sailed under its own power 6,500 miles from Crete to Mobile, AL. LST-325 participates in WW II memorial and reenactment events from her homeport in Evansville. 840 LST Drive, Evansville, IN 47713. 812-435-8678.
Patriots Point Ship Display & Museum. A "must see" for anyone who is interested in naval history. On display are the aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown (CV-10), the destroyer USS Laffey (DD-724), submarine USS Clamagore (SS-343), and the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham along with over 20 aircraft. 40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464-4377. 803-884-2727
USS Mohawk CGC (WPG-78) is being restored at Memorial Park in Key West, FL as a floating museum honoring the veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic from 1941 to 1945. Original artifacts and displays to go onboard are being sought -- contact the group if you can help. Visit the website or the USS Mohawk CGC blog for more information.
USS Nautilus is the highlight of The Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Connecticut, the United States Navy's official submarine museum. The mission of the museum is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the history of the United States Submarine Force.
United States Naval & Shipbuilding Museum and USS Salem (CA 139), the world's only preserved heavy cruiser.
Project Liberty Ship. Dedicated to the preservation of the Liberty Ship John W Brown as a living memorial to the men and women of American industry who built the great Liberty Fleet and to the merchant seamen and Naval Armed Guards who sailed the ships across all the oceans of the world.
SS Jeremiah O'Brien National Liberty Ship Memorial. This vessel was launched in 1943 and is one of two fully-restored operating survivors of 2,710 World War II Liberty Ships. It is the only ship that participated in the 1944 Normandy invasions that returned to take part in the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994. Pier 32 San Francisco, CA. (Thanks to Stephen Smith for this suggestion.)
SS Lane Victory is a museum and memorial sponsored by The US Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II.
The sinking of the USS Indianapolis was one of great disasters of WW II Naval History, occurring in the Pacific two weeks before the end of the war and just after the ship delivered the first atomic bomb to the 509th Composite Group B-29 command at Tinian. The Navy's delay in discovering that the ship was missing and mounting a rescue left the survivors at the mercy of the shark-infested sea. This official U.S. Navy site has extensive details and photographs of the event and its aftermath. This USS Indianapolis organization site, commemorates the sinking, provides surrounding details including first-person stories and the aftermath of investigations and search for justice. Note: See also the book review "In Harms Way" and the publisher's web site with much more information about the sinking.
The Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. Join thousands of others in boarding the fleet of ships at the museum, and enter a unique time machine that takes you back into history, on the very ships which made that history. 46th Street and 12th Avenue, New York, NY 10036. 212-245-2533
The USS Lexington Museum. Preserves the last World War II Essex Class aircraft carrier to leave US Navy service. Located in Corpus Christi Bay at 2914 North Shoreline Boulevard, just across the Harbor Bridge from downtown Corpus Christi. Mailing Address: PO Box 23076, Corpus Christi, TX 78403. 361-888-4873
The Naval Museum of Manitoba promotes the history of Canada's Navy, especially as it pertains to those Manitobans who have served with the Navy.
"My Coast Guard Life During World War II" is James C. Wynens' personal memoir of his service stateside and then on Loran duty in the Pacific.
The Queen Mary. Now retired to Long Beach Harbor, California the Queen Mary was used as a troop ship during WW II and performed magnificently in that role. On board the QM there is an extensive area devoted to that part of her history with recreations of shipboard conditions during those jam-packed crossings along with many photos, equipment displays, and other information. Look at the history topic on their website. For example, "July 25 - 30, 1943 Carried the greatest number of souls on a floating vessel: 15,740 troops, 943 crew. Total: 16,683".
The SS President Coolidge luxury liner had been in regular commercial trans-pacific services before World War II and sailed for the War Department several times before 26 October 1942 when she struck an American mine near Espiritu Santo and sank in 20 fathoms of water. This web site has the ship's history and extensive underwater photography of the wreck and its last cargo including jeeps and trucks that can still be seen in the hold. Thanks to Mick O'Farrell for this suggestion.
U-boat Net is the web's most comprehensive source for the history of the German U-boat war of 1939-1945. This site has everything: list of boats, crews, battles and other operations, the losses ultimate fate of each U-boat, books, movies and much more. has a five part series titled "S130 The Last Survivor," a documentary about Kriegsmarine Scnelleboot S130, the last remaining World War II U-Boat. The documantary is free to download from the website. As a video podcast, they drop straight into iTunes. On the site, use the Search Box to find "S130 The Last Survivor."
Museum-Ship Bauru. This US built destroyer has become a museum of the role of Brazil's Navy in WW II. Besides the ship itself, with its original facilities and weapons, there are models, paintings, photographs and reproductions of newspaper headlines of the times of World War II. Av. Alfredo Agache, s/ n. Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tel.: 253-9236 Fax: 216-6191
K-19 and Other Ships in Peril is the subject of this web page from National Geographic. It covers the history of K-19, and the Cold War politics and mechanical malfunctions that led to the Russian nuclear submarine disaster in the summer of 1961. The interactive site offers director's commentary, K-19's schematic, movie stills, selected profiles of U.S. and Russian subs, a sunken submarine map, an exploration of the evolution of submarine technology and much more.