The six battleships of the South Dakota class were slower but more heavily armed and armored contemporaries of the Lexington class battle cruisers. All were laid down in 1920 and 1921, only to be suspended under the terms of the Naval Limitations Treaty in February 1922 when they were between 11% and 38% completed. All six remained on the building ways until October-November 1923, when they were sold for scrapping.
Like the Lexington class, the South Dakota's were large ships, with a designed displacement nearly a third greater than their immediate predecessors. These were classic U.S. Navy battleships, well protected against gunfire and torpedoes, heavily armed, but relatively slow, intended to prevail in a big-gun slugging match with an enemy battleline. Their main battery represented a fifty-percent increase in number of guns (twelve versus eight), and these 16" guns were of a somewhat more powerful type than those fitted to previous U.S. battleships. After cancellation of their ships, some of these weapons were employed for seacoast defense. Armor and boilers from the South Dakota class were also recycled for use in modernizing older battleships.
The six South Dakota class battleships were being constructed at five locations:
South Dakota class design characteristics:
This page features all our images related to the South Dakota class battleship design and provides links to what views we have of the individual ships under construction.