USS Tennessee at Pearl Harbor

By: J. Owen

No torpedoes hit the USS Tennessee. The primary reason for her lucky fate was her location inboard of West Virginia. The West Virginia protected USS Tennessee by taking seven torpedo hits.

Tennessee was a Tennessee class battleship.  She weighed 33,190 tons with a length of 624 ft.

Early on in the Pearl Harbor attack, two 800lb armor piercing bombs that were dropped on the Tennessee. She was incredibly fortunate that the bombs did not detonate and cause major damage. Greater damage came from fires and debris from nearby ships.

On December 7th, 1941, Tennessee’s stern was only 75 feet from Arizona’s bow. When the terrible explosion occurred on Arizona, the smoke and flaming debris including burning powder poured onto Tennessee. That caused fires and on her stern. 

Similarly, the fires from the West Virginia were spreading and the men of Tennessee were fighting those fires as best as they could. they were also helping the wounded crew of the West Virginia.

One bomb caused an explosion that sent shrapnel to the West Virginia that mortally wounded her commanding officer Captain Bennion.

Japanese pilots had difficulty bombing Tennessee further because of the smoke produced by Arizona.

Battleship Row with smoke on USS Tennessee

Aerial View of Battleship Row. Smoke is covering USS Tennessee.


The Casualties & Survivors of the USS Tennessee

As mentioned, USS Tennessee did not suffer as much as other ships at Pearl Harbor. Therefore, the number of casualties on the Tennessee was low and the survivor rate was high.

USS Tennessee Heroes


USS Tennessee Survivors

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