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NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. - Among the five classes of ships NNSY built or modernized to support the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the shipyard overhauled three battleships. USS Nevada (BB-36)—which first underwent extensive refurbishment from 1926 to 1927—returned to the shipyard in 1942 to have three 14-inch guns from the USS Arizona (BB-39) and two 14-inch guns from the USS Oklahoma (BB-37), both sunk at Pearl Harbor, installed. It went on to be praised for its precise targeting in battering German concentrations at Normandy while successfully straddling counterattacks. Another battleship, USS Texas (BB-35), marked the start of a battleship modernization program at NNSY in 1925 that would last nearly a decade. Its 16-month conversion from a coal-burning to oil-powered battleship required nearly 1,000 employees to install new boilers and propellers, add deck armor and munitions, and overhaul the interior. On D-Day, Texas was a crucial contributor in the first bombardment beginning before 6 a.m. at Pointe du Hoc. Over the next half hour, Texas fired an average of one shell every eight seconds. The third battleship, USS Arkansas (BB-33) underwent a four-month overhaul at NNSY in 1942 adding antiaircraft guns to its arsenal as a corrective action from the Pearl Harbor attack. The first time Arkansas engaged in battle was at Normandy off Omaha Beach, where it remained for the next week hammering away at the German stronghold.


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