USS Tennessee BB-43
Colored by Clifton Simmons
By Clifton Simmons
25 April 1927:  The main guns of turret #2 of Tennessee are removed for replacement.  The ship was at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard undergoing overhaul.
The forward port bow looking aft.  This photo was taken in mid 1926.  Note the lounging sailor just to the left.  This photo was most likely taken on a Sunday due to the woman on the right side of the photo.
1924.  Tennessee's #2 Vought UO-1 floatplane prepares for launching from the catapult.  Note the off-center line catapult and older style aircraft crane.  Tennessee would keep both these until her 1928 refit.  Also note the sub-caliber training device mounted atop of the center gun of main gun turret #3.
1925.  The 5-inch training machine located on Tennessee's starboard side just forward of the garbage incinerator.
1925.  The garbage incinerator on Tennessee's starboard boat deck.  Note how the smoke stack fairs into the forward stack for the engines.
17 January 1925.  The Tennessee sits in dry-dock #2, Hunters Point, California for hull upkeep.  Note the torpedo tube below the water line.  Tennessee would keep her torpedo system until a 1937 overhaul and the former torpedo rooms would be converted into small arms ammunition storage compartments.
16 June 1927.  Tennessee sits at anchor just off shore of San Francisco, California.  The planes on the stern are her new Vought FU-1’s.
12 September 1928.  Tennessee sits in dry-dock #2, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for overhaul.  During this overhaul she had all eight 3-inch guns replaced by eight 5-inch/25 caliber open mount guns, on the 02 deck just forward of the boat cranes, one on each side of the mainmast, four on 02 deck just behind the forward 5-inch guns and one each in place of the after 5-inch guns.  The ship also received a catapult on her #3 main gun turret top and her older main catapult was relocated to the aft centerline.  When the #3 turret received her catapult the FCD mounted atop of it was relocated to the top of main gun turret #2.  This overhaul all FU-1 floatplanes were removed from the ship and replaced with Vought O2U Corsairs.
May 1937.  Fresh from another overhaul Tennessee sits in Long Island Sound.  Note the white number 43 painted atop main gun turret #2.
October 1924.  Tennessee's new Vought UO-1 floatplanes sit atop her catapult.
Late 1928.  Note the lack of an aircraft crane on the stern.  When the Tennessee had a catapult installed atop main gun turret #3, the stern aircraft crane was removed, with the new one being delayed until August 1929 overhaul.  During the interim, the ship had to recover aircraft using the cranes located beside the barbette of main gun turret.
16 July 1940.  A great view of the gun shield around the starboard aft 3-inch gun.  These shields were installed at Tennessee's last overhaul before Pearl Harbor.
16 July 1940.  Another great view of the Special Tensile Steel splinter shields around Tennessee's gun deck.  Note the barrel of the 3-inch gun mounted just off the bridge wings.  This was the shield configuration Tennessee had, despite many model kit moldings that show ribs on the shields.  Tennessee never carried ribbing on any splinter shielding.
16 July 1940.  The view from the aft of the superstructure on Tennessee looking down on the boat deck mounted 5-inch guns.  Note the water containers between the gun mounts.  This was in case a bag of powder would break open the gunners mates could dip the broken bag in the water then throw it overboard.
16 July 1940.  This is the last full view, and version, of Tennessee before Pearl Harbor.  Many modelers think that Tennessee had her splinter shields ribbed for support but this was not the case.  Tennessee saw no more refits until after Pearl Harbor when she underwent repairs from damage sustained 7 December 1941.
25 April 1943.  The newly rebuilt Tennessee undergoing inclining at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
25 April 1943.  Another view of the rebuilt Tennessee.

11 January 1944.  Tennessee sits off Hunters Point, California sporting her new Ms 32 d1 camouflage scheme.
8 May 1945.  Tennessee sits beside the repair ship AJAX (AR-6) undergoing repairs to her starboard side gun mounts after a kamikaze struck the ship on 12 April 1945.
13 April 1945.  Picking up the pieces after a kamikaze strike on Tennessee.  The repair parties are inspecting the damage to the aft starboard side.  Note the bent 20 mm barrel.
This photo comes from an 11 June 1959 sales brochure announcing the sale of the “Big Five” battleships, Tennessee among them.  Here she sits at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. 
A scratchbuilt 1/96 USS Tennessee by the author can be found on
All Photo's courtesy the Clifton Simmons Collection.