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What-If: The 19 April 1989 Turret Explosion Sinks The USS IOWA?


Stray Bullets Raining On Down
So, on the 19th of April, 1989, the No.2 Turret on the USS Iowa exploded, killing 47 sailors and destroying the turret. Now, thanks to the effort of firefighters and a bit of good luck, the fire didn't shed and no further damage was done.

But what if it had spread? What if through bad luck or some other misfortune the fire had cooked off the Iowa's magazine and she had blown up like the Hood? Or merely suffered such extensive damage that she sunk in a more steady manner? What would the consequences for the US Navy, the USA itself and wider events be?


Connoisseur of the Miscellaneous
Published by SLP
Nu Yawk
The Iowas were already on thin ice. Basically, their entire reason for being reactivated was more to quickly get a ship you could plop lots of Tomahawk box launchers on than anything else (even their 16 inch gunfire was secondary-there was serious consideration of leaving the guns decommissioned when plans were made.) With the USSR on its last legs and more ships with VLS systems in service, the USN was going to have some very expensive, very-crew intensive, inefficent ships on their hands that would have been the first victims of any reductions. OTL was probably the best case scenario for them as they lasted just long enough to serve in the Gulf War.

So I can see this being an earlier nail in the coffin for the class as a whole.