Nation: Role for a Relic

Nothing in the U.S. arsenal packs the concentrated firepower of the old World War II battleships. With their 20 deadly accurate five-inchers and nine 16-in. guns—twice as big as any still active in the Navy—they can rain 2,400-lb. projectiles at the rate of 27 a minute on coastal targets 25 miles away. In an age of nuclear weapons, such firepower seemed puny a decade ago when the last of the mighty battlewagons, the 45,000-ton Wisconsin, left the Navy. Last week the Defense Department allocated $800,000 for preliminary de-mothballing of the New Jersey, one of the nation's four remaining inactive battleships, in...

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