Designed after the U.S. Atlantic Fleet's 1907-09 World cruise, the two Wyomings were nearly twenty-percent larger than their immediate predecessors, with more extensive armour protection. They had two more twelve-inch guns, for a total of a dozen, mounted in six twin turrets, the largest number of individual turrets in any U.S. "all-big-gun" battleship. A flush-deck hull, raking in an essentially straight line from a high bow to a rather lower stern, allowed the amidships five-inch secondary battery to be located higher (and therefore dryer) than in earlier ships. This same general arrangement would be repeated in the next class, the New York of 1911, though with a change to fourteen-inch guns. The Wyoming class were the last U.S. battleships to be driven by direct drive steam turbines.
Their coal-fired boilers allowed both Wyoming and Arkansas to operate with the British Grand Fleet in the then-oil-deprived North Sea during World War I. Before the war, they served in the Atlantic Fleet and afterwards in both the Atlantic and Pacific, with modernization following in 1925-27. That work gave them broader beams, greater displacement and thicker deck armour. New oil-burning boilers and newer gunfire controls produced a change in silhouette to a single smokestack and only one "basket" mast. Some of their five-inch guns were remounted in the superstructure.
In 1931, Wyoming was converted to a training ship, with her armour and six of the twelve-inch guns removed. Arkansas was also largely employed on training service, though she formally remained a battleship. The two ships served through World War II. Arkansas, refitted with a new tripod foremast, performed escort and training duties in 1941-44 and conducted shore bombardment at Normandy, Southern France, Iwo Jima and Okinawa after that. Wyoming was a gunnery training ship throughout the conflict. In 1944, she lost all her big guns, and later her "basket" foremast. Now carrying more dual-purpose five-inch gun mounts, she was better suited for urgently needed anti-aircraft training. In 1945-47, she was also employed as an experimental gunnery ship and then scrapped. Arkansas was sunk as a target in the July 1946 Bikini atomic bomb tests.