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USS Maine BB-10 - History

USS Maine BB-10 - History


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USS Texas Second Class Battleship

(Second Class Battleship: dp. 6,315 (n.); l. 308'10"; b. 64'1", dr. 22'6" (mean), s. 17 k., cpl. 392; a.2 12", 6 6", 12 6-pars., 6 1-pars., 4 37mm., 4 14" tt.;cl. Texas)

The first Texas was laid down on 1 June 1889 at Portsmouth, Va., by the Norfolk Navy Yard; launched on 28 June 1892, sponsored by Miss Madge Houston Williams; and commissioned on 15 August 1895, Capt. Henry Glass in command.

Assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron, the warship cruised the eastern seaboard of the United States. In February 1897, she left the Atlantic for a brief cruise to the Gulf coast ports of Galveston and New Orleans. She resumed Atlantic coast duty in March of 1897 and remained so employed until the beginning of 1898. At that time, she visited Key West and the Dry Tortugas en route to Galveston for a return visit which she made in mid-February. Returning to the Atlantic via the Dry Tortugas in March, the warship arrived in Hampton Roads on the 24th and resumed normal duty with the North Atlantic Squadron.

Early in the spring, war between the United States and Spain erupted over conditions in Cuba and the supposed Spanish destruction of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. By 18 May, Texas was at Key West, Fla., readying to prosecute that war.

On the 21st, she arrived off Cienfuegos, Cuba, with the Flying Squadron to blockade the Cuban coast. After a return to Key West for coal, Texas arrived off Santiago de Cuba on the 27th. She patrolled off that port until 11 June on which day she made a reconnaissance mission to Guantanamo Bay. For the next five weeks, she patrolled between Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo Bay. On 16 June, the warship joined Marblehead for a bombardment of the fort on Cayo del Tore in Guantanamo Bay. The two ships opened fire just after 1400 and ceased fire about an hour and 15 minutes later, having reduced the fort to impotency.

On 3 July, she was steaming off Santiago de Cuba when the Spanish Fleet under Admiral Cervera made a desperation attempt to escape past the American Fleet. Texas immediately took four of the enemy ships under fire. While the battleship's main battery pounded Vizcava and Colon, her secondary battery joined lowa and Gloucester in battering two torpedo-boat destroyers. The two Spanish destroyers fell out of the action quickly and beached themselves, heavily damaged. One by one, the larger enemy warships also succumbed to the combined fire of the American Fleet. Each, in turn, sheered off toward shore and beached herself. Thus Texas and the other ships of the Flying Squadron annihilated the Spanish Fleet.

The defeat of Cervera's Fleet helped to seal the doom of Santiago de Cuba. The city fell to the besieging American forces on the 17th, just two weeks after the great American naval victory. The day after the surrender at Santiago, Spain sought peace through the good offlces of the French government. Even before the peace protocol was signed in Washington, D.C., on 12 August, American ships began returning home. Texas arrived in New York on 31 July and remained in nearby waters until late November.

At that time, she moved south to Hampton Roads where she arrived on 2 December. The warship resumed her peacetime routine patrolling the Atlantic coast of the United States. Though her primary field of operations once again centered on the northeastern coast, she also made periodic visits to such places as San Juan, P.R., and Havana, Cuba, where her crew could view some of the results of their own ship's efforts in the recent war.

Texas went out of commission briefly in 1901 for repairs at the Norfolk Navy Yard but was commissioned again on 3 November 1902. She served as flagship for the Coast Squadron until 1905 and remained in that organization after its commander shifted his flag. By 1908, she had become station ship at Charleston, S.C. On 15 February 1911, her name was changed to San Marcos to allow the name Texas to be assigned to Battleship No. 36. On 10 October 1911, her name was struck from the Navy list. She was subsequently sunk as a target in Tangier Sound in Chesapeake Bay.


USS Maine BB-10 - History

Departed for gunnery tests off the Virginia Capes. Further gunnery tests continued out of
Newport News until Oct. 14. Then moved to the ranges off Culebra Island and further sea
trials off Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Departed Tompkinsville, New York for torpedo trials off Cape Henry, Virginia. After which
Maine participated in Fleet exercises and battle practice off Cuba and Florida.

Arrived off the U.S. east coast and engaged in battle practice off Martha's Vineyard,
Massachusetts.

Departed the Boston Naval Shipyard after post cruise repairs. Stayed in New York for a
short period then engaged in training off Cuba and Florida.

Arrived at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. While there was visited by
Prince Louis of Battenberg (Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten,
later 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma) and the Governor of Maryland.

Arrived at San Francisco, California. Maine was detached from the Fleet and entered the
Mare Island Naval Shipyard for repairs. Following repairs sailed for the Philippines
touching at Honolulu, Hawaii and Apra Harbor, Guam.

Departed Manila to return to the U.S. Touching at Singapore and Aden, then sailing through
the Suez Canal arriving at Port Said, Egypt on Sept. 10. The next day sailed from Port Said
and touched at Naples, Italy and returned to the U.S.

Departed Portsmouth for trials. Maine conducted trials and exercises off the U.S. east coast
and also underwent a repair period at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard followed by more
exercises.

Arrived at the New York Naval Shipyard and was placed in reserve and was used as
a receiving ship.

Departed New York for Fleet exercises off Newport, Rhode Island Hampton Roads,
Virginia.

Departed from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard following repairs for a training cruise
which included visits to Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, Mobile, Alabama,
Key West, Florida and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Departed New York, Maine was used for training engineers, seaman and armed guards
for merchant ships for the rest of the First World War.

Departed Hampton Roads, Virginia for exercises and practice off Cuba and the Virgin
Islands, then returned to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for repairs on Apr. 5, 1919.

Departed Philadelphia and embarked midshipmen at Annapolis, Maryland for a training
cruise in the Caribbean. Touching at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and
the Canal Zone. Then moved back to the U.S. east coast.

Arrived at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Maine remained in reserve until
decommissioned.


MAINE BB 10

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Maine Class Battleship
    Keel Laid February 15 1899 - Launched July 27 1901

Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.

Postmarks

This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
 
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.


Loss of Maine

At 9:40 on the evening of February 15, the harbor was lit by a massive explosion that ripped through the forward section of Maine as five tons of powder for the ship's guns detonated. Destroying the forward third of the ship, Maine sank into the harbor. Immediately, assistance came from the American steamer City of Washington and the Spanish cruiser Alfonso XII, with boats circling the burning remains of the battleship to collect the survivors. All told, 252 were killed in the blast, with another eight dying ashore in the days that followed.


USS Maine BB-10 - History

Prior to 17 July 1920 US battleships were designated "Battleship X", abbreviated "B-X" in this list, i.e. Missouri was "Battleship 11" or "B-11". The two early second-class battleships were not numbered. On 17 July 1920 new designations were implemented the battleships were redesignated "BB-X", keeping their original numbers, i.e. Missouri became "BB 11". Ships which had been discarded prior to this date, and ships which were assigned auxiliary designations (IX-series) on this date, never officially had "BB-X" numbers assigned. However, the BB-series designations are almost always used to identify all of these ships.

At the start of the predreadnought era the US Navy was small, weak and generally obsolete by the end of the era it was one of the world's major naval forces. The design of US predreadnoughts paralleled this shift in role and position, going from small, weak and outdated ships to large, powerful and modern ships. However, US predreadnoughts were generally a bit behind foreign ships in adopting new advances. The last class of predreadnoughts was completed after HMS Dreadnought had entered service, rendering them instantly obsolete.

A few of the early predreadnought saw service during the Spanish-American War, and performed well during terribly one-sided battles. However, the engagements showed that much better fire control was needed, as hit percentages were pitifully low.

Aside from the Spanish-American War engagements, US predreadnoughts saw no combat. They spent much of their time in reserve or mobilization fleets, and as training ships. In 1907-1909 most of the predreadnoughts then in service, except the earliest (least-seaworthy) ships, participated in the round the world cruise of the Great White Fleet. Ships cruising with the Fleet were Kearsarge, Kentucky, Illinois, Alabama, Maine, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Louisiana, Vermont, Minnesota and Kansas . It had been intended that Nebraska , Wisconsin , Mississippi and Idaho would join the Fleet in 1908, giving a total force of 20 ships. However, the latter pair of ships was found to be deficient and thus did not cruise with the Fleet. Nebraska and Wisconsin did join the cruise, but Alabama and Maine had developed problems and were forced to drop out when the additional ships joined.

In 1909-1911 the entire predreadnought fleet was put through a modernization program, to make the already-obsolete ships as useful as possible. They received new cage masts in place of their military pole masts, superstructures were reduced to a bare minimum, conning towers were enlarged, new fire controls were fitted, the secondary batteries reduced, and safety improvements were made in the main turrets. In addition the fleet was repainted from white-and-buff to plain gray.

During WWI these ships served mainly as training ships, operating primarily in the Chesapeake Bay area. They also conducted a limited number of convoy escort missions. During the war their secondary batteries were greatly reduced or even removed entirely, both to improve seaworthiness by removing low-level casemates, and to provide guns for merchant ships. Postwar they were assigned to the Cruiser-Transport Force and outfitted as troop transports to bring troops home from Europe.

All predreadnoughts surviving into the 1920's were stricken and scrapped under the terms of the Washington Treaty.


Maine second class battleship
Displacement: 6,682 tons normal 7,180 tons full load
Dimensions: 319 x 57 x 21.5 feet/97.2 x 17.4 x 6.6 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 4 135 psi boilers, 1 shaft, 9,000 ihp, 17 knots
Crew: 374
Armor: Harvey & NS: 6-12 inch belt, 1-4 inch deck, 12 inch barbettes, 8 inch turrets, 10 inch CT
Armament: 2 dual 10"/30cal, 6 6"/40cal, 7 6-pound, 8 1-pound, 4 14" torpedo tubes (above water)

Concept/Program: One of two large warships authorized on 1886. Was originally classified as an armored cruiser (numbered ACR-1), but in 1894 was given the more appropriate classification of second class battleship. The ship had a protracted building period, and as a result was totally obsolete when finally completed. Her most significant contribution was providing the US Navy with experience in construction and operation of large capital ships. Her accidental sinking was a major cause of the Spanish-American War.

Design: The design is often considered to be based on the Brazilian Riachuelo , although the ships were quite different in details, and even in general arrangement. In general Maine was typical of mid-1880's designs. The main turrets were en echelon , rather than on the centerline the forward turret was to starboard, the aft turret to port both were projected beyond the hull by a considerable distance. This arrangement severely restricted her ability to fire on a broadside.

DANFS History

Built by New York Navy Yard Laid down 17 October 1888, launched 18 November 1889, commissioned 17 September 1895.

Operated in the Atlantic and along the east coast through 1897. Arrived at Havana, Cuba, 25 January 1898 to represent US interests during unrest in Cuba. Sunk by an internal explosion, probably caused by unstable and deteriorating powder, or by spontaneous combustion of coal, 15 February 1898 252 killed.

Hulk raised 2 February 1912, towed to sea, and scuttled 16 March 1912.

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Texas second class battleship
Displacement: 6,153 tons normal 6,665 tons full load
Dimensions: 309 x 64 x 22.5 feet/94.1 x 19.5 x 8.7 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 4 150 psi boilers, 1 shaft, 8,600 ihp, 17 knots
Crew: 392 (508 wartime)
Armor: Harvey & NS: 6-12 inch belt, 2-3 inch deck, 12 inch citadel, 1-12 inch turrets, 1.5-12 inch CT
Armament: 2 single 12"/35cal, 2 6"/35cal, 12 6-pound, 6 1-pound, 4 37 mm, 4 14 inch torpedo tubes (above water)

Concept/Program: The second of the two large warships authorized in 1866. Was originally classified as a battleship, but in 1894 was given the more appropriate classification of second class battleship. The design was relatively weak from the start, and ship had a protracted building period as a result she was totally obsolete when finally completed. A much-needed complete redesign was proposed in 1889 but was rejected. Provided valuable experience in construction and operation of large capital ships, and participated in the Spanish-American War, but was in and out of reserve for most of her career.

Design: Designed by Barrow Shipbuilding, UK. The ship was small and outdated from the start. The main turrets were en echelon , rather than on the centerline the forward turret was to port, the aft turret to starboard. This arrangement severely restricted her ability to fire on a broadside. Both turrets were supported and protected by a common citadel or redoubt, rather than separate barbettes. Originally the 12" guns had fixed loading positions, but this was later revised to all-round loading. The armor protected a relatively small area of the hull.

DANFS History

Built by Norfolk Navy Yard. Laid down 1 June 1889, launched 28 June 1892, commissioned 15 August 1896.

Decommissioned 27 January 1896, probably for repairs or overhaul recommissioned 20 July 1896. Operated in the Atlantic and along the east coast through 1898. Served in the Caribbean during the Spanish-American War. Participated in the Battle of Santiago, 3 July 1898 received no significant damage. Decommissioned at Norfolk Navy Yard 3 November 1900 for repairs and overhaul recommissioned 3 November 1902.

Served with coast defense forces, 1902-1905, then as a station ship at Charleston from 1908. Decommissioned to reserve 11 Jan 1908, but recommissioned 1 September 1908. Renamed San Marcos 15 February 1911, sunk as a target 22 March 1911, stricken 11 October 1911.

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Indiana class battleships
Displacement: 10,288 tons normal 11,688 tons full load
Dimensions: 351 x 69 x 24 feet/107 x 21.1 x 7.3 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 6 160 psi boilers, 2 shafts, 9,000 ihp, 15 knots
Crew: 473 (586-636 wartime)
Armor: Harvey & NS: 4-18 inch belt, 2.75-3 inch deck, 6-17 inch barbettes, 2-15 inch turrets, 5-8 inch intermediate battery, 7-10 inch CT
Armament: 2 dual 13"/35cal, 4 dual 8"/35cal, 4 6"/40cal, 6 1-pound, 6 18 inch torpedo tubes (above water) ( Massachusetts : also 2 3")

Concept/Program: The first US battleships that can be considered truly "modern". Designed as "coastline battleships", but had limited seagoing capability, despite low freeboard. This class attempted too much on a limited displacement, but were still useful ships and a major step towards a more modern navy.

Design: Was of typical predreadnought layout, with the main turrets fore aft on the centerline. The 8" intermediate battery was in turrets, two per side, fore and aft. Freeboard was quite low, but the ships could operate even in heavy seas, although they could not fight in those conditions. Were relatively slow.

Modernization: During 1905-1909 the ships underwent limited modernization as part of fleet-wide improvements. The 6" guns, most of the 6-pound guns, and the torpedo tubes were removed, 12 3"/50cal were added, cage mainmasts were installed, and the ships were reboilered with 8 new boilers.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Were obsolete by the early 1900's, and served mainly as training ships after that time, but were not finally discarded until the post-WWI fleet downsizing.

DANFS History

Built by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, PA. Laid down 7 May 1891, launched 28 February 1893, commissioned 20 November 1895.

Operated around New England through 1898. Served in the Caribbean during the Spanish-American War. Participated in the Battle of Santiago, 3 July 1898 received no damage. Postwar operated with the fleet, then made one Naval Academy training cruise. Decommissioned to reserve 29 December 1903.

Recommissioned as a Naval Academy training ship 9 January 1906. Decommissioned to reserve 23 May 1914. Recommissioned as a gunnery training ship 24 May 1917. Decommissioned 31 January 1919 renamed Coast Battleship Number 1 29 March 1919. Designated IX (no number) 17 July 1920. Sunk as bombing target 1 November 1920. The sunken hulk was sold for scrapping 19 March 1924.

DANFS History

Built by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia. Laid down 25 June 1891, launched 10 June 1893, commissioned 10 June 1896.

Overhauled at New York Navy Yard 30 November 1896 to February 1897, then operated in the Atlantic and along the east coast. Served in the Caribbean during the Spanish-American War. Was at Guantanamo Bay during the Battle of Santiago, but returned to Santiago at the conclusion of the battle. Operated with the fleet postwar made one Naval Academy training cruise. Overhauled at New York Navy Yard mid-1904 to January 1905, then returned to the fleet. Decommissioned to reserve 8 January 1906.

Underwent modernization refit in 1906, while in reserve. Recommissioned to reserve as a training ship 2 May 1910. Made three cruises 1910-1912, but was mostly inactive after 1912. Decommissioned to reserve 23 May 1914. Recommissioned as a gunnery training ship 9 June 1917 served as a target ship from June 1918 into 1919.

Renamed Coast Battleship Number 2 28 March 1919 decommissioned 31 March 1919. Designation BB 2 assigned 17 July 1920. Stricken for disposal 22 November 1920. Loaned to the War Department scuttled off Pensacola for use as artillery target 6 January 1921. The sunken hulk was returned to the Navy 20 February 1925 was offered for sale as scrap but was not sold. The hulk was declared the property of the state of Florida 15 November 1956.

DANFS History

Built by Union Iron Works, San Francisco. Laid down 19 November 1891, launched 26 October 1893, commissioned 15 July 1895.

Served briefly on Pacific Station. Dispatched to the US east coast shortly after Maine blew up departed San Francisco 19 March 1898, arrived Florida 24 May 1898, via Cape Horn. Served in the Caribbean during the Spanish-American War. Participated in the Battle of Santiago, 3 July 1898 received no damage. Returned to the Pacific postwar, and operated in the Far East.

Grounded 28 June 1900 in Chinese waters refloated 5 July 1900 and repaired at Kure, Japan. Returned to the US for overhaul 1901 returned to Asian waters 1903. Returned to the US in 1906 and decommissioned to reserve 27 April 1906.

Recommissioned 29 August 1911 but remained mostly inactive in reserve reduced to commissioned reserve 16 September 1914. Placed in full commission 2 January 1915 reduced to commissioned reserve 11 February 1916. Placed in full commission 7 April 1917. Decommissioned to reserve 12 June 1919. Recommissioned for ceremonial duties 21 August 1919 decommissioned 4 October 1919.

Designation BB 3 assigned 17 July 1920 redesignated IX 22 1 July 1921. Rendered incapable of service under the Washington Treaty reclassified as a naval relic 4 January 1924. Loaned to the state of Oregon as a museum 25 June 1925, moored at Portland.

Voluntarily returned to Navy by the state of Oregon 17 February 1941 for "coastal or other defense use." Deemed useless by the Navy and stricken for disposal 2 November 1942. Sold for scrapping 7 December 1942, partially scrapped (cut down to the main deck and the interior gutted), but returned to the Navy September 1943 for use as an explosives storage hulk at Guam. Was not assigned a name or designation when returned.

Drifted to sea during typhoon 14-15 November 1948 and given up as lost, but was relocated 8 December 1948 and towed to port. Sold for scrapping 15 March 1956, resold, and subsequently scrapped at Kawasaki, Japan.

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Iowa battleship
Displacement: 11,410 tons normal 12,647 tons full load
Dimensions: 362.5 x 72 x 24 feet/110.5 x 22 x 7.3 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 5 160 psi boilers, 2 shafts, 11,000 ihp, 16 knots
Crew: 486 (654 wartime)
Armor: Harvey: 4-14 inch belt, 2.75-3 inch deck, 12.5-15 inch barbettes, 15-17 inch turrets, 4-8 inch intermediate battery, 10 inch CT
Armament: 2 dual 12"/35cal, 4 dual 8"/35cal, 6 4"/40cal, 20 6-pound, 4 1-pound, 4 14 inch torpedo tubes (above water)

Concept/Program: A vastly improved battleship, designed as a "seagoing coastline battleship" was the first truly seagoing US battleship. However, her main armament was relatively weak, and she became outdated quite quickly.

Design: Similar to the Indiana class in general arrangement. Had very high freeboard for better seakeeping. Main and intermediate battery arrangement was the same as the previous class, but the guns were 12", rather than 13", and light guns were entirely different. The armor was somewhat thinner, and she was slightly faster.

Modernization: In 1909 the ship underwent limited modernization as part of fleet-wide improvements. Most of the 6-pound guns were removed, four 4" guns were added, and a cage mainmast was installed. The torpedo tubes had been previously removed.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Obsolete by the early 1900's, and served mainly as a training ship after that time, but not finally discarded until the post-WWI fleet downsizing.

Iowa
ex- Seagoing Coastal Battleship Number 1
B-4 - IX 6
Photos: [ Iowa as completed], [During the Spanish-American War].

DANFS History

Built by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia. Laid down 5 August 1893, launched 28 March 1896, commissioned 16 June 1897. Joined the fleet in the Caribbean for Spanish American War service immediately after shakedown. Participated in the Battle of Santiago, 3 July 1898 received no damage. Transferred to the Pacific postwar, but returned to the Atlantic in 1902. Decommissioned to reserve 30 June 1903. Recommissioned 23 December 1903 and operated in the north Atlantic. Reduced to commissioned reserve 6 July 1907 decommissioned to reserve 23 July 1908. Recommissioned as a training ship 2 May 1910. Decommissioned to reserve 27 May 1914.

Placed in reduced commission as a receiving ship 28 April 1917 later served as a training ship and guardship. Decommissioned 31 March 1919 renamed Coast Battleship Number 4 30 April 1919. Designation IX 6 assigned 17 July 1920 converted to a radio controlled target ship. Sunk by gunfire 23 March 1923, stricken 27 March 1923.

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Kearsarge class battleships
Displacement: 11,540 tons normal 12,850 tons full load
Dimensions: 375.5 x 72 x 23.5 feet/114.4 x 22 x 7.2 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 5 boilers, 2 shafts, 10,000 ihp, 16 knots
Crew: 558 (686-690 wartime)
Armor: Harvey: 5-16.5 inch belt, 2.75-3 inch deck, 12.5-15 inch barbettes, 15-17 inch turrets, 6-11 inch intermediate battery, 2-10 inch CT
Armament: 2 dual 13"/35cal, 2 dual 8"/35cal, 14 5"/40cal, 20 6-pound, 8 1-pound, 4 18 inch torpedo tubes (above water)

Concept/Program: A new, slightly larger battleship design, more heavily armed than the previous class, but not very successful. Freeboard was much higher than previously, but there were a number of design flaws which limited the value of these ships. Both ships participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, but were the oldest ships to do so, and were very poorly regarded during the cruise.

Design: General arrangement was typical of predreadnoughts, with the main turrets on the centerline fore and aft. The 8" intermediate turrets were built in a two-level arrangement atop the 13" turrets the entire assembly rotated together. This arrangement provided the same 8" firepower on the broadside as did previous arrangements, but with half as many 8" guns. In all other respects, however, the arrangement was a complete failure, because the 8" and 13" guns interfered with each other when firing, and it proved impossible to devise a workable firing sequence. There were very heavy secondary and light batteries in broadside mountings. The armor was quite heavy, but the main belt was almost entirely submerged, limiting its value. The ships were bad rollers and very bad gun platforms, and were relatively slow. They were the first US battleships to make extensive use of electrical auxiliary equipment.

Modernization: During 1909-1911 the ships underwent modernization as part of fleet-wide improvements. Most of the 6-pound guns were removed, four additional 5" were added, cage foremasts and mainmasts were fitted, and the ships were reboilered. The torpedo tubes had been removed previously. By 1919 all but 8 of the 5" had been removed, and 2 3 inch AA had been added.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Reduced to training and subsidiary duties by 1915, and were discarded in the post-WWI fleet reductions.

DANFS History

Was the only battleship not named for a state named by an act of Congress to honor the Kearsarge of Civil War fame. Built by Newport News SB&DD, VA. Laid down 30 June 1896, launched 24 March 1898, commissioned 20 February 1900.

Operated with the Atlantic Fleet. Suffered minor damage and 10 fatalities in a powder explosion 13 April 1906. Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Decommissioned for modernization at Philadelphia Navy Yard 4 September 1909 apparently placed in reserve upon completion of modernization recommissioned 23 June 1915.

Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1915-1916. Reduced to commissioned reserve 4 February 1916 as a training ship for the Massachusetts and Maine Naval Militias. Operated as a training ship for engineers and armed guard crews during WWI, then as a Naval Academy training ship in 1919.

Decommissioned for conversion to a crane ship at Philadelphia Navy Yard 10 May 1920. Assigned designation IX 16 17 July 1920 additional name Crane Ship Number 1 assigned 5 August 1920. During the conversion the ship was completely stripped and gutted all armament, machinery, superstructure, etc. removed very large bulges, a 250 ton rotating crane, and a small superstructure were fitted displacement was 10,000 tons. Date of conversion completion not known.

Redesignated AB 1 15 April 1939. Name Kearsarge cancelled 6 November 1941 thereafter known as Crane Ship Number 1 (AB 1). Operated on the east coast until 1945, then at San Francisco 1945-1948, and at Boston thereafter. Stricken for disposal 22 June 1955 sold for scrapping 9 August 1955.

DANFS History

Built by Newport News SB&DD, VA. Laid down 30 June 1896, launched 24 March 1898, commissioned 15 May 1900.

Deployed to Asiatic Station upon completion operated in the Far East until 1904. Overhauled at New York Navy Yard May-October 1904, then operated with the Atlantic Fleet. Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909.

Decommissioned to reserve 28 August 1909, modernized at Norfolk Navy Yard 1910 but not recommissioned. Placed in commissioned reserve 4 June 1912 decommissioned to reserve 31 May 1913. Recommissioned 23 June 1915 as a training ship for the New York and Maine Naval Militias, then participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1915-1916. Served as a recruit training ship during WWI, then as a Naval Academy training ship postwar.

Decommissioned 29 May 1920. Designation BB 6 assigned 17 July 1920. Stricken for disposal 27 May 1922, sold for scrapping 23 March 1923 under the Washington Treaty.

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Illinois class battleships
Displacement: 11,565 tons normal 12,250 tons full load
Dimensions: 374 x 72 x 23.5 feet/114 x 22 x 7.2 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 8 boilers, 2 shafts, 10,000 ihp, 16 knots
Crew: 536 (690-713 wartime)
Armor: Harvey: 5.5-16.5 inch belt, 2.75-5 inch deck, 10-15 inch barbettes, 3-14 inch turrets, 2-10 inch CT
Armament: 2 dual 13"/35cal, 14 6"/40cal, 16 6-pound, 6 1-pound, 4 18 inch torpedo tubes (above water)

Concept/Program: A completely new design, although no larger than the previous class. These ships were much better than any of the previous classes, and were generally successful.

Design: Typical predreadnought arrangement. Had very high freeboard forward for good seakeeping. Speed was still only 16 knots the two funnels were side-by-side, giving the appearance of only one funnel in profile. The main battery was in modern British-style turrets. The heavy 8" intermediate battery previously fitted in US battleships was not included. The 6" secondary battery was in casemates midships and in sponsons forward.

Modernization: During 1909-1912 the ships underwent modernization as part of fleet-wide improvements. All but 4 of the 6-pound guns were removed, four 3"/50cal were added, cage foremasts and mainmasts were fitted, and Illinois was reboilered. The torpedo tubes had been removed previously. By 1919 all but 8 of the 6" had been removed, and 2 3 inch AA had been added.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Reduced to training and subsidiary duties by 1912 and were discarded in the post-WWI fleet reductions.

Illinois
B-7 - BB 7 - IX 15
Photos: [ Illinois as completed].

DANFS History

Built by Newport News SB&DD, VA. Laid down 10 February 1897, launched 4 October 1898, commissioned 16 September 1901.

Operated in European waters through 1903, then in the Atlantic Fleet. Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Decommissioned for modernization at Boston Navy Yard 4 August 1909 placed in commissioned reserve 15 April 1915 placed in full commission 2 November 1912. Operated as a Naval Academy training ship during the summers of 1913-1914. Decommissioned to reserve 1919.

Designation BB 7 assigned 17 July 1920. Loaned to the state of New York 25 October 1921 redesignated IX 15 26 June 1922. Reduced to a stationary floating armory and drill ship at New York Navy Yard during 1924, under the terms of the Washington Treaty. Renamed Prairie State 8 January 1941. Served as a stationary training ship during WWII, then as an accommodations ship postwar.

Stricken for disposal 21 December 1956, sold 18 May 1956, and scrapped at Baltimore.

DANFS History

Built by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, PA. Laid down 1 December 1896, launched 18 May 1898, commissioned 16 October 1900.

Operated with the Atlantic Fleet. Overhauled at Philadelphia Navy Yard September-December 1904. Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1908, but dropped out of the cruise in 1908 due to mechanical problems completed an independent world cruise after repairs at Mare Island Navy Yard. Reduced to commissioned reserve 3 November 1908 decommissioned for modernization at New York Navy Yard 17 August 1909. Recommissioned to commissioned reserve 17 April 1912 placed in full commission 25 July 1912.

Reduced to commissioned reserve 10 September 1912 as a naval militia training ship. Decommissioned to reserve 31 October 1913 placed in commissioned reserve 1 July 1914. Recommissioned 22 January 1917 as a recruit training ship served as a Naval Academy training ship postwar.

Was inactive after August 1919. Decommissioned 7 May 1902, stricken for disposal 15 September 1921 and transferred to the War Department for use as a target. Sunk as a bombing target 27 September 1921. The sunken hulk was sold for scrapping 19 March 1924.

DANFS History

Built by Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA. Laid down 9 February 1897, launched 26 November 1898, commissioned 4 February 1901.

Operated mainly along the west coast of North and South America 1901-1903, then on Asiatic Station, 1903-1906. Decommissioned at Puget Sound Navy Yard 15 November 1906, probably for overhaul recommissioned 1 April 1908. Joined the cruise of the Great White Fleet in 1908. Remained in the Atlantic following the cruise. Modernized at Portsmouth Navy Yard March-June 1909.

Reduced to commissioned reserve early 1910 briefly active 1912 but returned to commissioned reserve. Decommissioned to reserve 31 October 1913. Recommissioned to commissioned reserve 1915 as a Naval Academy training ship placed in full commission 23 April 1917. During WWI served as an engineering training ship.

Decommissioned 15 May 1920. Designation BB 9 assigned 17 July 1920. Stricken for disposal 1 July 1921, sold for scrapping 26 January 1922 under Washington Treaty.

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Maine class battleships
Displacement: 12,846 tons normal 13,700 tons full load
Dimensions: 394 x 72 x 24 feet/120 x 22 x 7.2 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 12 boilers ( Maine : 24), 2 shafts, 16,000 ihp, 18 knots
Crew: 561 (779-813 wartime)
Armor: KC & Harvey: 5.5-11 inch belt, 2.75-4 inch deck, 8-12 inch barbettes, 11-12 inch turrets, 2-10 inch CT
Armament: 2 dual 12"/45cal, 16 6"/50cal, 6 3"/50cal, 8 3 pound, 6 1-pound, 2 18 inch torpedo tubes (submerged)

Concept/Program: A significant improvement upon previous classes introduced several new features to US battleship designs. Generally successful, although rapidly made obsolete by the dreadnoughts.

Design: Were considerably faster than previous designs, as a response to the perceived threat of Russian fast battleships. Were the first US battleships to use high-velocity main guns, and the first with KC armor, which allowed equal protection with thinner armor. As with the previous class, there was no 8" intermediate battery. The 6" guns were arranged as in the previous class. The ships were unfortunately rather wet, despite high freeboard.

Modernization: During 1909-1911 the ships underwent modernization as part of fleet-wide improvements cage foremasts and mainmasts were fitted, and Maine was reboilered. By 1919 all but 8 of the 6" and all of the 3" had been removed, and 2 3 inch AA had been added.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Reduced to training and subsidiary duties by 1915 and were discarded in the post-WWI fleet reductions.

DANFS History

Built by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, PA. Laid down 15 February 1899, launched 27 July 1901, commissioned 29 December 1902.

Operated in the Atlantic and in European waters. Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1908, but dropped out of the cruise in 1908 due to mechanical problems completed an independent world cruise after repairs at Mare Island Navy Yard. Decommissioned for modernization at Portsmouth Navy Yard 31 August 1909 completed and recommissioned 15 June 1911.

During WWI served as a Naval Academy, armed guard, and engineering training ship. Decommissioned 15 May 1920. Designation BB 10 assigned 17 July 1920. Sold for scrapping 22 January 1922 under the Washington Treaty.

DANFS History

Built by Newport News SB&DD, VA. Laid down 7 February 1900, launched 28 December 1901, commissioned 1 December 1903.

Operated with the Atlantic Fleet. Suffered significant damage and 36 fatalities in a powder explosion 13 April 1904 repaired at Newport News. Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Underwent partial modernization 1909. Decommissioned to reserve for full modernization at Boston 1 May 1910 recommissioned and completed 1 June 1911.

From 1912 to 1917 was assigned as a training ship, primarily for the Naval Academy, and was decommissioned to reserve when not needed for that function was in reserve for the following periods: 9 September 1912 to 16 March 1914, 2 December 1914 to 15 April 1915, 18 October 1915 to 2 May 1916, late 1916 to 23 April 1917. During WWI served as an engineering and gunnery training ship for US recruits, foreign crews, and armed guards. Postwar operated as a transport.

Decommissioned 8 September 1919. Designation BB 11 assigned 17 July 1920. Stricken for disposal 1 July 1921, sold for scrapping 26 January 1922 under the Washington Treaty.

DANFS History

Built by Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA. Laid down 22 April 1899, launched 18 May 1901, commissioned 4 October 1904.

Served on Asiatic Station 1905-1907. Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Modernized 1909. During 1909-1913 served mainly as a training ship for the New York Naval Militia, but was also active with the fleet. Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914. Served as a Naval Academy training ship during the summers of 1914, 1915 and 1916 was reduced to commissioned reserve during the winters of 1914-1915, 1915-1916, and 1916-1917. Placed in full commission 23 April 1917.

Served as a training ship throughout WWI. Reduced to commissioned reserve 7 January 1919. Designation BB 12 assigned 17 July 1920. Decommissioned 31 May 1922, stricken for disposal 14 August 1922, sold for scrapping 24 March 1923 under the Washington Treaty.

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Virginia class battleships
Displacement: 14,948 tons normal 16,094 tons full load
Dimensions: 441 x 76 x 24 feet/134.5 x 23.25 x 7.24 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 12 boilers ( Virginia, Georgia : 24 boilers), 2 shafts, 19,000 ihp, 19 knots
Crew: 812
Armor: KC & Harvey: 6-11 inch belt, 1.5-3 inch deck, 6-10 inch barbettes, 6-12 inch turrets, 4-12 inch secondary battery, 2-9 inch CT
Armament: 2 dual 12"/40cal, 4 dual 8"/45cal, 12 6"/50cal, 12 3"/50cal, 12 3-pound, 4 21 inch torpedo tubes (submerged)

Concept/Program: Significantly larger, more capable battleships in general all capabilities were improved as compared to the previous class. Unfortunately they were completed just as the dreadnoughts came into existence, so they were instantly obsolete.

Design: Essentially an enlarged and improved version of the previous class. These ships re-introduced the 8" intermediate battery unfortunately half the 8" guns were in unworkable double-level turrets, as in Kearsarge . The other four 8" guns were in independent turrets, as in Indiana . The 6" secondary battery was placed in casemates. These ships reached 19 knots, one knot better than the previous class.

Modernization: During 1909-1910 the ships underwent modernization as part of fleet-wide improvements cage foremasts and mainmasts were fitted, and the 3-pound guns were removed. By 1919 all of the 6" and four of the 3" had been removed, and 2 3 inch AA had been added Virginia and Georgia had been reboilered with 12 boilers.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Reduced to reserve or training duties by 1916 and were discarded in the post-WWI fleet reductions.

DANFS History

Built by Newport News SB&DD, VA. Laid down 21 May 1902, launched 6 April 1904, commissioned 7 May 1906.

Served with the Atlantic Fleet. Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Modernized at Norfolk Navy Yard February-June 1909. Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914. Reduced to commissioned reserve for overhaul at Boston Navy Yard 20 March 1916 completed and placed in full commission 27 August 1917. Served as a gunnery training ship during WWI, and briefly as an escort served as a transport postwar.

Was inactive after July 1919. Designation BB 13 assigned 17 July 1920. Decommissioned 13 August 1920, stricken for disposal 12 July 1922. Transferred to the War Department as a target 6 August 1923 sunk as a bombing target 5 September 1923.

DANFS History

Built by Moran Brothers, Seattle, WA. Renamed prior to launch. Laid down 4 July 1902, launched 7 October 1904, commissioned 1 July 1907.

Joined the cruise of the Great White Fleet in 1908. Remained in the Atlantic after the cruise. Underwent partial modernization prior to full modernization. Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914 and 1916. Reduced to commissioned reserve late 1916 placed in full commission 3 April 1917. During WWI operated as a training ship for armed guard crews, and as an escort served as a transport postwar.

Returned to the Pacific in 1919. Decommissioned 2 July 1920. Designation BB 14 assigned 17 July 1920. Stricken for disposal 12 July 1922, rendered incapable of service 9 November 1923, sold for scrapping 30 November 1923 under the Washington Treaty.

DANFS History

Built by Bath Iron Works, ME. Laid down 31 August 1901, launched 11 October 1904, commissioned 4 September 1906.

Operated with the Atlantic Fleet. Suffered minor damage and 10 fatalities in a powder explosion 15 July 1907. Refitted at Philadelphia Navy Yard late 1907, then participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Modernized 1910. Operated mainly as a training and ceremonial ship, 1911-1913. Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914.

Overhauled late 1914-early 1915 spent most of 1915 in training and ceremonial duties. Decommissioned 27 January 1916 as a receiving ship at Boston. Recommissioned for WWI service 6 April 1917 operated with the fleet, as a merchant gunnery crew training ship, and as a convoy escort during WWI. Served as a troop transport postwar, then transferred to the Pacific, and operated in ceremonial duties. Was inactive after 20 July 1919. Decommissioned 15 July 1920, stricken for disposal 12 July 1922, sold for scrapping 1 November 1923 under the Washington Treaty.

DANFS History

Built by Fore River SB, Quincy, MA. Laid down 2 April 1902, launched 10 November 1904, commissioned 12 May 1906.

Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Decommissioned for modernization at Boston Navy Yard 2 May 1910 completed and recommissioned 15 July 1911. Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914. Served as a training ship during WWI, and as a transport postwar.

Decommissioned 6 August 1920. Designation BB 16 assigned 17 July 1920. Stricken for disposal 12 July 1922. Transferred to the War Department as a target sunk as bombing target 5 September 1922.

DANFS History

Built by Fore River SB, Quincy, MA. Laid down 1 May 1902, launched 17 May 1904, commissioned 19 February 1906.

Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Modernized 1909. Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1913-1914. Reduced to commissioned reserve 15 May 1915. Placed in full commission 27 May 1917 participated in antisubmarine patrols and trials. Operated as a transport postwar, then transferred to the Pacific in 1919.

Decommissioned 30 June 1920. Designation BB 17 assigned 17 July 1920. Stricken for disposal 12 July 1922, rendered incapable of service 4 October 1923. Sold for scrapping 1 November 1923 under the Washington Treaty.

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Connecticut class battleships
Displacement: 16,000 tons normal 17,666 tons full load
Dimensions: 456 x 77 x 24.5 feet/139.1 x 23.4 x 7.5 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 12 250 psi boilers, 2 shafts, 16,500 ihp, 18 knots
Crew: 827 (881-896 wartime)
Armor: KC & Harvey: 6-11 inch belt (BB 20-22, 25: 7-9 inch), 1.5-3 inch deck, 6-10 inch barbettes (BB 25: 6-11 inch), 8-12 inch turrets, 3.75-7 inch intermediate batteries, 2-9 inch CT
Armament: 2 dual 12"/45cal, 4 dual 8"/45cal, 12 7"/45cal, 20 3"/50cal, 12 3-pound, 4 21 inch torpedo tubes (submerged)

Concept/Program: By far the best of the US predreadnoughts. However, they were completed at the same time as HMS Dreadnought , so they were obsolete upon completion. Even so, they formed the core of the US battle fleet until new dreadnoughts joined the fleet in significant numbers. The ships were ordered in three groups: BB 18-19 in 1902, BB 20-22 in 1903, and BB 25 in 1904. The 1903/1904 ships are sometimes considered a separate class, due to differences in armoring details, but were otherwise identical to the 1902 group.

Design: An enlarged and improved edition of the previous design. The speed was one knot lower, but the armament was heavier. For the first time in US predreadnought design, they were truly good sea boats. The 8" intermediate battery was in four turrets, as in Indiana , the previous double-level arrangement having been abandoned. The secondary battery was increased to 7" this seemed justified, in that the 7" was a more powerful weapon than the 6", but still must faster-firing than the big 8". Unfortunately the splashes of 7" and 8" shells were indistinguishable for fire-control purposes, reducing the value of both batteries a more uniform battery of turreted 7" or 8" would have been better.

Variations: BB 20-22 had thinner belt armor, but a larger area was protected BB 25 continued this alteration, and had slight differences in the armoring of her barbettes.

Modernization: During 1909-1910 the ships underwent modernization as part of fleet-wide improvements cage foremasts and mainmasts were fitted, and the 3-pound guns were removed. By 1919 all of the 7" and all but four of the 3" had been removed, and 2 3 inch AA had been added.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Reduced to reserve or training duties during WWI and were discarded in the post-WWI fleet reductions.

DANFS History

Built by New York Navy Yard. Laid down 30 March 1903, launched 29 September 1904, commissioned 29 September 1906.

Was the flagship of the Great White Fleet during the world cruise, 1907-1909. Modernized 1910 remained active with the fleet through 1916. Reduced to commissioned reserve as a receiving ship at Philadelphia Navy Yard, 1916. Restored to full commission 3 October 1916. Served as a Naval Academy and armed guard training ship during WWI as a transport postwar, then as a Naval Academy training ship.

Designation BB 18 assigned 17 July 1920. Transferred to the Pacific in 1921 as flagship of the fleet auxiliary force. Decommissioned 1 March 1923, sold for scrapping 1 November 1923 under the Washington Treaty, officially stricken 10 November 1923, after she had been sold.

DANFS History

Built by Newport News SB&DD, VA. Laid down 7 February 1903, launched 27 August 1904, commissioned 2 June 1906.

Operated with the Atlantic Fleet, then participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Modernized 1910. Cruised to European waters, then made three cruises off Mexico, including participation in operations at Vera Cruz, 1914. Reduced to commissioned reserve as a training ship late 1915 made summer training cruises but was otherwise inactive.

Placed in full commission 1917 as a gunnery and engineering training ship also made one trip as an escort, and served as a transport postwar. Designation BB 19 assigned 17 July 1920. Decommissioned 20 October 1920, sold for scrapping 1 November 1923 under the Washington Treaty, officially stricken 10 November 1923, after she had been sold.

DANFS History

Built by Fore River SB, Quincy, MA. Laid down 21 May 1904, launched 31 August 1905, commissioned 4 March 1907.

Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Modernized at Boston Navy Yard April-July 1910. Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914. Briefly in reserve, 1 October 1916 to 21 November 1916. Served as an engineering training ship during WWI, and as a transport postwar. Transferred to the Pacific in 1919.

Decommissioned 30 June 1920. Designation BB 20 assigned 17 July 1920. Stricken for disposal 10 November 1923, sold for scrapping 30 November 1923 under the Washington Treaty.

DANFS History

Built by New York SB, Camden, NJ. Laid down 10 February 1904, launched 12 August 1905, commissioned 18 April 1907.

Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Overhauled at Philadelphia Navy Yard 1909, then modernized at Norfolk Navy Yard 1910 apparently remained mostly inactive through 1912. Operated as a Naval Academy training ship 1912, then overhauled at Philadelphia Navy Yard 21 December 1912 to 5 May 1913.

Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914. Overhauled at Philadelphia Navy Yard 30 September 1916-July 1917. Operated as a training ship for engineers and as a convoy escort during WWI served as a troopship postwar. Overhauled at Philadelphia Navy Yard 29 June 1919 to 17 May 1920. Operated as a Naval Academy training ship at times during 1920-1921. Designation BB 21 assigned 17 July 1920.

Decommissioned 16 Decemeber 1921, stricken 24 August 1923, scrapped at Philadelphia Navy Yard under the Washington Treaty.

DANFS History

Built by Newport News SB&DD, VA. Laid down 27 October 1903, launched 8 April 1905, commissioned 9 March 1907.

Participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909. Modernized 1909, then operated with the Atlantic Fleet. Reduced to commissioned reserve November 1916. Placed in full commission 6 April 1917 as an engineering and gunnery training ship. Seriously damaged by a mine 29 September 1918 repaired at Philadelphia Navy Yard through February 1919. Operated as a transport postwar, then as a training ship, mainly for the Naval Academy. Designation BB 22 assigned 17 July 1920.

Decommissioned and stricken for disposal 1 December 1921 and partially scrapped at Philadelphia Navy Yard under the Washington Treaty remaining hulk sold for scrap 23 January 1924.

DANFS History

Built by New York SB, Camden, NJ. Laid down 1 May 1905, launched 30 June 1906, commissioned 19 March 1908.

Completed too late to participate in the cruise of the Great White Fleet. Operated with the Atlantic Fleet saw varied duty in US and European waters, and in the Caribbean. Modernized 1910 or 1911. Participated in operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914-1915. Overhauled 1917. During WWI operated as a gunnery and engineering training ship, and briefly as an escort postwar served as a transport.

Overhauled 1919-1920, then served with the fleet. Designation BB 25 assigned 17 July 1920. Decommissioned 21 May 1921, sold for scrapping 1 November 1923 under the Washington Treaty, officially stricken 10 November 1923, after she had been sold.

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Mississippi class second class battleships
Displacement: 13,000 tons normal 14,049 tons full load
Dimensions: 382 x 77 x 25 feet/116.4 x 23.5 x 7.5 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 8 250 psi boilers, 2 shafts, 10,000 ihp, 17 knots
Crew: 744 (804 wartime)
Armor: KC & Harvey: 7-9 inch belt, 3 inch decks, 6-10 inch barbettes, 8-12 inch turrets, 3.75-7 inch intermediate battery, 9 inch CT
Armament: 2 dual 12"/45cal, 8 8"/45cal, 8 7"/45cal, 12 3"/50cal, 6 3-pound, 2 1-pound, 2 21 inch torpedo tubes (submerged)

Concept/Program: An attempt to build Connecticut class features into a ship displacing 3,000 tons less not a success. Completed after HMS Dreadnought , so were instantly obsolete. Due to their obsolescence and problems with the design, they were sold in 1914, after only six years of service.

Design: Essentially a cut-down Connecticut design, giving up one knot of speed, four 7" guns, eight 3" guns, two torpedo tubes, and some freeboard. The resulting ships were too slow, and rolled very badly. Originally there was no mainmast.

Modernization: Cage mainmasts were fitted in 1909, and during 1911 the ships underwent limited modernization as part of fleet-wide improvements as part of this modernization cage foremasts were fitted.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Sold in 1914 to pay for a new dreadnought.

DANFS History

Built by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia. Laid down 12 May 1904, launched 30 September 1905, commissioned 1 February 1908.

Operated in the Caribbean and cruised up the Mississippi River in 1909. Modernized 1911 landed troops in Cuba 1912. Reduced to commissioned reserve 1 August 1912. Placed in full commission 30 December 1913 as an aviation station ship at Pensacola modified to support seaplanes. Served as a seaplane support ship during operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914.

Decommissioned, stricken, and transferred to Greece 21 July 1914 at Newport News renamed Lemnos and served as a coast defense ship. Decommissioned 1932 and hulked as a training ship disarmed as accommodation ship 1937. Sunk by German aircraft at Salamis, 23 April 1941. Hulk salvaged 1951 and scrapped.

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Idaho
B-24
Photos: [None available].

DANFS History

Built by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, PA. Laid down 12 May 1904, launched 9 December 1905, commissioned 1 April 1908.

Operated with the Atlantic Fleet. Cruised up the Mississippi in 1911. Reduced to commissioned reserve 27 October 1913 returned to full commission May 1914 as a Naval Academy training ship.

Decommissioned, stricken, and transferred to Greece 30 July 1914 at Villefrance, France renamed Kilkis and served as a coast defense ship. Decommissioned to reserve 1932 hulked as a training ship 1935. Sunk by German aircraft at Salamis, 23 April 1941. Hulk salvaged 1951 and scrapped.


Contents

The delivery of the Brazilian battleship Riachuelo in 1883 and the acquisition of other modern armored warships from Europe by Brazil, Argentina and Chile the House Naval Affairs Committee, Hilary A. Herbert, stated to Congress: "if all this old navy of ours were drawn up in battle array in mid-ocean and confronted by Riachuelo it is doubtful whether a single vessel bearing the American flag would get into port." [6] These developments helped bring to a head a series of discussions that had been taking place at the Naval Advisory Board since 1881. The board knew at that time that the U.S. Navy could not challenge any major European fleet at best, it could wear down an opponent's merchant fleet and hope to make some progress through general attrition there. Moreover, projecting naval force abroad through the use of battleships ran counter to the government policy of isolationism. While some on the board supported a strict policy of commerce raiding, others argued it would be ineffective against the potential threat of enemy battleships stationed near the American coast. The two sides remained essentially deadlocked until Riachuelo manifested. [7]

The board, now confronted with the concrete possibility of hostile warships operating off the American coast, began planning for ships to protect it in 1884. The ships had to fit within existing docks and had to have a shallow draft to enable them to use all the major American ports and bases. The maximum beam was similarly fixed, and the board concluded that at a length of about 300 feet (91 m), the maximum displacement would be about 7,000 tons. A year later the Bureau of Construction and Repair (C & R) presented two designs to Secretary of the Navy William Collins Whitney, one for a 7,500-ton battleship and one for a 5,000-ton armored cruiser. Whitney decided instead to ask Congress for two 6,000-ton warships, and they were authorized in August 1886. A design contest was held, asking naval architects to submit designs for the two ships: armored cruiser Maine and battleship Texas. It was specified that Maine had to have a speed of 17 knots (31 km/h 20 mph), a ram bow, and a double bottom, and be able to carry two torpedo boats. Her armament was specified as: four 10-inch (254 mm) guns, six 6-inch (152 mm) guns, various light weapons, and four torpedo tubes. It was specifically stated that the main guns "must afford heavy bow and stern fire." [8] Armor thickness and many details were also defined. Specifications for Texas were similar, but demanded a main battery of two 12-inch (305 mm) guns and slightly thicker armor. [9]

The winning design for Maine was from Theodore D. Wilson, who served as chief constructor for C & R and was a member on the Naval Advisory Board in 1881. He had designed a number of other warships for the navy. [10] The winning design for Texas was from a British designer, William John, who was working for the Barrow Shipbuilding Company at that time. Both designs resembled the Brazilian battleship Riachuelo, having the main gun turrets sponsoned out over the sides of the ship and echeloned. [11] The winning design for Maine, though conservative and inferior to other contenders, may have received special consideration due to a requirement that one of the two new ships be American–designed. [12]

Congress authorized construction of Maine on 3 August 1886, and her keel was laid down on 17 October 1888, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She was the largest vessel built in a U.S. Navy yard up to that time. [13]

Maine ' s building time of nine years was unusually protracted, due to the limits of U.S. industry at the time. (The delivery of her armored plating took three years and a fire in the drafting room of the building yard, where Maine ' s working set of blueprints were stored, caused further delay.) In the nine years between her being laid down and her completion, naval tactics and technology changed radically and left Maine ' s role in the navy ill-defined. At the time she was laid down, armored cruisers such as Maine were intended to serve as small battleships on overseas service and were built with heavy belt armor. Great Britain, France and Russia had constructed such ships to serve this purpose and sold others of this type, including Riachuelo, to second-rate navies. Within a decade, this role had changed to commerce raiding, for which fast, long-range vessels, with only limited armor protection, were needed. The advent of lightweight armor, such as Harvey steel, made this transformation possible. [14]

As a result of these changing priorities, Maine was caught between two separate positions and could not perform either one adequately. She lacked both the armor and firepower to serve as a ship-of-the-line against enemy battleships and the speed to serve as a cruiser. Nevertheless, she was expected to fulfill more than one tactical function. [15] In addition, because of the potential of a warship sustaining blast damage to herself from cross-deck and end-on fire, Maine ' s main-gun arrangement was obsolete by the time she entered service. [11]

General characteristics Edit

Maine was 324 feet 4 inches (98.9 m) long overall, with a beam of 57 feet (17.4 m), a maximum draft of 22 feet 6 inches (6.9 m) and a displacement of 6,682 long tons (6,789.2 t). [16] She was divided into 214 watertight compartments. [17] A centerline longitudinal watertight bulkhead separated the engines and a double bottom covered the hull only from the foremast to the aft end of the armored citadel, a distance of 196 feet (59.7 m). She had a metacentric height of 3.45 feet (1.1 m) as designed and was fitted with a ram bow. [18]

Maine ' s hull was long and narrow, more like a cruiser than that of Texas, which was wide-beamed. Normally, this would have made Maine the faster ship of the two. Maine ' s weight distribution was ill-balanced, which slowed her considerably. Her main turrets, awkwardly situated on a cut-away gundeck, were nearly awash in bad weather. Because they were mounted toward the ends of the ship, away from its center of gravity, Maine was also prone to greater motion in heavy seas. While she and Texas were both considered seaworthy, the latter's high hull and guns mounted on her main deck made her the drier ship. [19]

The two main gun turrets were sponsoned out over the sides of the ship and echeloned to allow both to fire fore and aft. The practice of en echelon mounting had begun with Italian battleships designed in the 1870s by Benedetto Brin and followed by the British Navy with HMS Inflexible, which was laid down in 1874 but not commissioned until October 1881. [20] This gun arrangement met the design demand for heavy end-on fire in a ship-to-ship encounter, tactics which involved ramming the enemy vessel. [11] The wisdom of this tactic was purely theoretical at the time it was implemented. A drawback of an en echelon layout limited the ability for a ship to fire broadside, a key factor when employed in a line of battle. To allow for at least partial broadside fire, Maine ' s superstructure was separated into three structures. This technically allowed both turrets to fire across the ship's deck (cross-deck fire), between the sections. This ability was limited as the superstructure restricted each turret's arc of fire. [8]

This plan and profile view show Maine with eight six-pounder guns (one is not seen on the port part of the bridge but that is due to the bridge being cut away in the drawing). Another early published plan shows the same. In both cases the photographs show a single extreme bow mounted six-pounder. Careful examination of Maine photographs confirms that she did not carry that gun. Maine ' s armament set up in the bow was not identical to the stern which had a single six-pounder mounted at extreme aft of the vessel. Maine carried two six-pounders forward, two on the bridge and three on the stern section, all one level above the abbreviated gun deck that permitted the ten-inch guns to fire across the deck. The six-pounders located in the bow were positioned more forward than the pair mounted aft which necessitated the far aft single six-pounder.

Propulsion Edit

Maine was the first U.S. capital ship to have its power plant given as high a priority as its fighting strength. [21] Her machinery, built by the N. F. Palmer Jr. & Company's Quintard Iron Works of New York, [22] was the first designed for a major ship under the direct supervision of Arctic explorer and soon-to-be commodore, George Wallace Melville. [23] She had two inverted vertical triple-expansion steam engines, mounted in watertight compartments and separated by a fore-to-aft bulkhead, with a total designed output of 9,293 indicated horsepower (6,930 kW). Cylinder diameters were 35.5 inches (900 mm) (high-pressure), 57 inches (1,400 mm) (intermediate-pressure) and 88 inches (2,200 mm) (low-pressure). Stroke for all three pistons was 36 inches (910 mm). [17]

Melville mounted Maine ' s engines with the cylinders in vertical mode, a departure from conventional practice. Previous ships had had their engines mounted in horizontal mode, so that they would be completely protected below the waterline. Melville believed a ship's engines needed ample room to operate and that any exposed parts could be protected by an armored deck. He therefore opted for the greater efficiency, lower maintenance costs and higher speeds offered by the vertical mode. [24] [25] Also, the engines were constructed with the high-pressure cylinder aft and the low-pressure cylinder forward. This was done, according to the ship's chief engineer, A. W. Morley, so the low-pressure cylinder could be disconnected when the ship was under low power. This allowed the high and intermediate-power cylinders to be run together as a compound engine for economical running. [ clarification needed ]

Eight single-ended Scotch marine boilers provided steam to the engines at a working pressure of 135 pounds per square inch (930 kPa 9.5 kgf/cm 2 ) at a temperature 364 °F (184 °C). On trials, she reached a speed of 16.45 knots (30.47 km/h 18.93 mph), failing to meet her contract speed of 17 knots (31 km/h 20 mph). She carried a maximum load of 896 long tons (910,000 kg) of coal [26] in 20 bunkers, 10 on each side, which extended below the protective deck. Wing bunkers at each end of each fire room extended inboard to the front of the boilers. [17] This was a very low capacity for a ship of Maine ' s rating, which limited her time at sea and her ability to run at flank speed, when coal consumption increased dramatically. Maine ' s overhanging main turrets also prevented coaling at sea, except in the calmest of waters otherwise, the potential for damage to a collier, herself or both vessels was extremely great.

Maine also carried two small dynamos to power her searchlights and provide interior lighting. [27]

Maine was designed initially with a three-mast barque rig for auxiliary propulsion, in case of engine failure and to aid long-range cruising. [28] This arrangement was limited to "two-thirds" of full sail power, determined by the ship's tonnage and immersed cross-section. [29] The mizzen mast was removed in 1892, after the ship had been launched, but before her completion. [28] Maine was completed with a two-mast military rig and the ship never spread any canvas. [30]

Armament Edit

Main guns Edit

Maine ' s main armament consisted of four 10-inch (254 mm)/30 caliber Mark II guns, which had a maximum elevation of 15° and could depress to −3°. Ninety rounds per gun were carried. The ten-inch guns fired a 510-pound (231 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,000 feet per second (610 m/s) to a range of 20,000 yards (18,000 m) at maximum elevation. [31] These guns were mounted in twin hydraulically powered Mark 3 turrets, the fore turret sponsoned to starboard and the aft turret sponsoned to port. [32]

The 10" guns were initially to be mounted in open barbettes (the C & R proposal blueprint shows them as such). During Maine ' s extended construction, the development of rapid-fire intermediate-caliber guns, which could fire high-explosive shells, became a serious threat and the navy redesigned Maine with enclosed turrets. Because of the corresponding weight increase, the turrets were mounted one deck lower than planned originally. [30] [33] Even with this modification, the main guns were high enough to fire unobstructed for 180° on one side and 64° on the other side. [17] They could also be loaded at any angle of train initially the main guns of Texas, by comparison, with external rammers, could be loaded only when trained on the centerline or directly abeam, a common feature in battleships built before 1890. [11] By 1897, Texas ' turrets had been modified with internal rammers to permit much faster reloading.

The en echelon arrangement proved problematic. Because Maine ' s turrets were not counterbalanced, she heeled over if both were pointed in the same direction, which reduced the range of the guns. Also, cross-deck firing damaged her deck and superstructure significantly due to the vacuum from passing shells. [34] Because of this, and the potential for undue hull stress if the main guns were fired end-on, the en echelon arrangement was not used in U.S. Navy designs after Maine and Texas. [11] [34]

Secondary and light guns Edit

The six 6-inch (152 mm)/30 caliber Mark 3 guns were mounted in casemates in the hull, two each at the bow and stern and the last two amidships. [22] Data is lacking, but they could probably depress to −7° and elevate to +12°. They fired shells that weighed 105 pounds (48 kg) with a muzzle velocity of about 1,950 feet per second (590 m/s). They had a maximum range of 9,000 yards (8,200 m) at full elevation. [35]

The anti-torpedo boat armament consisted of seven 57-millimeter (2.2 in) Driggs-Schroeder six-pounder guns mounted on the superstructure deck. [22] They fired a shell weighing about 6 lb (2.7 kg) at a muzzle velocity of about 1,765 feet per second (538 m/s) at a rate of 20 rounds per minute to a maximum range of 8,700 yards (7,955 m). [36] The lighter armament comprised four each 37-millimeter (1.5 in) Hotchkiss and Driggs-Schroeder one-pounder guns. Four of these were mounted on the superstructure deck, two were mounted in small casemates at the extreme stern and one was mounted in each fighting top. [22] They fired a shell weighing about 1.1 pounds (0.50 kg) at a muzzle velocity of about 2,000 feet per second (610 m/s) at a rate of 30 rounds per minute to a range about 3,500 yards (3,200 m). [37]

Maine had four 18-inch (457 mm) above-water torpedo tubes, two on each broadside. In addition, she was designed to carry two 14.8 long tons (15.0 t) steam-powered torpedo boats, each with a single 14-inch (356 mm) torpedo tube and a one-pounder gun. Only one was built, but it had a top speed of only a little over 12 knots (22 km/h 14 mph) so it was transferred to the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island, as a training craft. [b] [38]

Armor Edit

The main waterline belt, made of nickel steel, had a maximum thickness of 12 inches (305 mm) and tapered to 7 inches (178 mm) at its lower edge. It was 180 feet (54.9 m) long and covered the machinery spaces and the 10-inch magazines. It was 7 feet (2.1 m) high, of which 3 feet (0.9 m) was above the design waterline. It angled inwards for 17 feet (5.2 m) at each end, thinning to 8 inches (203 mm), to provide protection against raking fire. A 6-inch transverse bulkhead closed off the forward end of the armored citadel. The forward portion of the 2-inch-thick (51 mm) protective deck ran from the bulkhead all the way to the bow and served to stiffen the ram. The deck sloped downwards to the sides, but its thickness increased to 3 inches (76 mm). The rear portion of the protective deck sloped downwards towards the stern, going below the waterline, to protect the propeller shafts and steering gear. The sides of the circular turrets were 8 inches thick. The barbettes were 12 inches thick, with their lower portions reduced to 10 inches. The conning tower had 10-inch walls. The ship's voicepipes and electrical leads were protected by an armored tube 4.5 inches (114 mm) thick. [39]

Two flaws emerged in Maine ' s protection, both due to technological developments between her laying-down and her completion. The first was a lack of adequate topside armor to counter the effects of rapid-fire intermediate-caliber guns and high-explosive shells. This was a flaw she shared with Texas. [34] The second was the use of nickel-steel armor. Introduced in 1889, nickel steel was the first modern steel alloy armor and, with a figure of merit of 0.67, was an improvement over the 0.6 rating of mild steel used until then. Harvey steel and Krupp armors, both of which appeared in 1893, had merit figures of between 0.9 and 1.2, giving them roughly twice the tensile strength of nickel steel. Although all three armors shared the same density (about 40 pounds per square foot for a one-inch-thick plate), six inches of Krupp or Harvey steel gave the same protection as 10 inches of nickel. The weight thus saved could be applied either to additional hull structure and machinery or to achieving higher speed. The navy would incorporate Harvey armor in the Indiana-class battleships, designed after Maine, but commissioned at roughly the same time. [40] [41]

Maine was launched on 18 November 1889, sponsored by Alice Tracey Wilmerding, the granddaughter of Navy Secretary Benjamin F. Tracy. Not long afterwards, a reporter wrote for Marine Engineer and Naval Architect magazine, "it cannot be denied that the navy of the United States is making rapid strides towards taking a credible position among the navies of the world, and the launch of the new armoured battleship Maine from the Brooklyn Navy Yard . has added a most powerful unit to the United States fleet of turret ships." [42] In his 1890 annual report to congress, the Secretary of the Navy wrote, "the Maine . stands in a class by herself" and expected the ship to be commissioned by July 1892. [13]

A three-year delay ensued, while the shipyard waited for nickel steel plates for Maine ' s armor. Bethlehem Steel Company had promised the navy 300 tons per month by December 1889 and had ordered heavy castings and forging presses from the British firm of Armstrong Whitworth in 1886 to fulfil its contract. This equipment did not arrive until 1889, pushing back Bethlehem's timetable. In response, Navy Secretary Benjamin Tracy secured a second contractor, the newly expanded Homestead mill of Carnegie, Phipps & Company. In November 1890, Tracy and Andrew Carnegie signed a contract for Homestead to supply 6000 tons of nickel steel. [43] Homestead was, what author Paul Krause calls, "the last union stronghold in the steel mills of the Pittsburgh district." The mill had already weathered one strike in 1882 and a lockout in 1889 in an effort to break the union there. Less than two years later, came the Homestead Strike of 1892, one of the largest, most serious disputes in U.S. labor history. [44]

A photo of the christening shows Mrs. Wilmerding striking the bow near the plimsoll line depth of 13 which lead to many comments (much later of course) that the ship was "unlucky" from the launching.

Maine was commissioned on 17 September 1895, under the command of Captain Arent S. Crowninshield. [45] On 5 November 1895, Maine steamed to Sandy Hook Bay, New Jersey. She anchored there two days, then proceeded to Newport, Rhode Island, for fitting out and test firing of her torpedoes. After a trip, later that month, to Portland, Maine, she reported to the North Atlantic Squadron for operations, training manoeuvres and fleet exercises. Maine spent her active career with the North Atlantic Squadron, operating from Norfolk, Virginia along the East Coast of the United States and the Caribbean. On 10 April 1897, Captain Charles Dwight Sigsbee relieved Captain Crowninshield as commander of Maine. [46]

In January 1898, Maine was sent from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba, to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban War of Independence. Three weeks later, at 21:40, on 15 February, an explosion on board Maine occurred in the Havana Harbor ( 23°08′07″N 082°20′3″W  /  23.13528°N 82.33417°W  / 23.13528 -82.33417  ( USS Maine ) ). [48] Later investigations revealed that more than 5 long tons (5.1 t) of powder charges for the vessel's six- and ten-inch guns had detonated, obliterating the forward third of the ship. [49] The remaining wreckage rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbor.

Most of Maine ' s crew were sleeping or resting in the enlisted quarters, in the forward part of the ship, when the explosion occurred. The 1898 US Navy Surgeon General Reported that the ship's crew consisted of 355: 26 officers, 290 enlisted sailors, and 39 marines. Of these, there were 261 fatalities:

  • Two officers and 251 enlisted sailors and marines either killed by the explosion or drowned
  • Seven others were rescued but soon died of their injuries
  • One officer later died of "cerebral affection" (shock)
  • Of the 94 survivors, 16 were uninjured. [50] In total, 260 [51] men lost their lives as a result of the explosion or shortly thereafter, and six more died later from injuries. [51] Captain Sigsbee and most of the officers survived, because their quarters were in the aft portion of the ship. Altogether there were 89 survivors, 18 of whom were officers. [52] The City of Washington, an American merchant steamship, aided in rescuing the crew.

The cause of the accident was immediately debated. Waking up President McKinley to break the news, Commander Francis W. Dickins referred to it as an "accident." [53] Commodore George Dewey, Commander of the Asiatic Squadron, "feared at first that she had been destroyed by the Spanish, which of course meant war, and I was getting ready for it when a later dispatch said it was an accident." [54] Navy Captain Philip R. Alger, an expert on ordnance and explosives, posted a bulletin at the Navy Department the next day saying that the explosion had been caused by a spontaneous fire in the coal bunkers. [55] [56] Assistant Navy Secretary Theodore Roosevelt wrote a letter protesting this statement, which he viewed as premature. Roosevelt argued that Alger should not have commented on an ongoing investigation, saying, "Mr. Alger cannot possibly know anything about the accident. All the best men in the Department agree that, whether probable or not, it certainly is possible that the ship was blown up by a mine." [56]

Yellow journalism Edit

The New York Journal and New York World, owned respectively by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, gave Maine intense press coverage, employing tactics that would later be labeled "yellow journalism." Both papers exaggerated and distorted any information they could obtain, sometimes even fabricating news when none that fitted their agenda was available. For a week following the sinking, the Journal devoted a daily average of eight and a half pages of news, editorials and pictures to the event. Its editors sent a full team of reporters and artists to Havana, including Frederic Remington, [57] and Hearst announced a reward of $50,000 "for the conviction of the criminals who sent 258 American sailors to their deaths." [58]

The World, while overall not as lurid or shrill in tone as the Journal, nevertheless indulged in similar theatrics, insisting continually that Maine had been bombed or mined. Privately, Pulitzer believed that "nobody outside a lunatic asylum" really believed that Spain sanctioned Maine ' s destruction. Nevertheless, this did not stop the World from insisting that the only "atonement" Spain could offer the U.S. for the loss of ship and life, was the granting of complete Cuban independence. Nor did it stop the paper from accusing Spain of "treachery, willingness, or laxness" for failing to ensure the safety of Havana Harbor. [59] The American public, already agitated over reported Spanish atrocities in Cuba, was driven to increased hysteria. [60]

William Randolph Hearst's reporting on Maine whipped up support for military action against the Spanish in Cuba regardless of their actual involvement in the sinking. He frequently cited various naval officers saying that the explosion could not have been an on-board accident. He quoted an "officer high in authority" as saying "The idea that the catastrophe resulted from an internal accident is preposterous. In the first place, such a thing has never occurred before that I have ever heard of either in the British navy or ours." [61] Hearst's sources never had to be specifically named because he just needed them to support the narrative that the explosion was caused by an attack by the Spanish. [ clarification needed ] [ citation needed ]

Spanish–American War Edit

Maine ' s destruction did not result in an immediate declaration of war with Spain, but the event created an atmosphere that precluded a peaceful solution. [62] The Spanish investigation found that the explosion had been caused by spontaneous combustion of the coal bunkers, but the Sampson Board ruled that the explosion had been caused by an external explosion from a torpedo.

The episode focused national attention on the crisis in Cuba. The McKinley administration did not cite the explosion as a casus belli, but others were already inclined to go to war with Spain over perceived atrocities and loss of control in Cuba. [63] [64] Advocates of war used the rallying cry, "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!" [65] [66] [67] [68] The Spanish–American War began on April 21, 1898, two months after the sinking.

In addition to the inquiry commissioned by the Spanish government to naval officers Del Peral and De Salas, two Naval Courts of Inquiry were ordered: The Sampson Board in 1898 and the Vreeland board in 1911. In 1976, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover commissioned a private investigation into the explosion, and the National Geographic Society did an investigation in 1999, using computer simulations. All investigations agreed that an explosion of the forward magazines caused the destruction of the ship, but different conclusions were reached as to how the magazines could have exploded. [64] [69]

1898 Del Peral and De Salas inquiry Edit

The Spanish inquiry, conducted by Del Peral and De Salas, collected evidence from officers of naval artillery, who had examined the remains of the Maine. Del Peral and De Salas identified the spontaneous combustion of the coal bunker, located adjacent to the munition stores in Maine, as the likely cause of the explosion. The possibility that other combustibles, such as paint or drier [ clarification needed ] products, had caused the explosion was not discounted. Additional observations included that:

  • Had a mine been the cause of the explosion, a column of water would have been observed.
  • The wind and the waters were calm on that date and hence a mine could not have been detonated by contact, but only by using electricity, but no cables had been found.
  • No dead fish were found in the harbor, as would be expected following an explosion in the water.
  • Munition stores do not usually explode when a ship is sunk by a mine.

The conclusions of the report were not reported at that time by the American press. [70]

1898 Sampson Board's Court of Inquiry Edit

In order to find the cause of the explosion, a naval inquiry was ordered by the United States shortly after the incident, headed by Captain William T. Sampson. Ramón Blanco y Erenas, Spanish governor of Cuba, had proposed instead a joint Spanish-American investigation of the sinking. [71] Captain Sigsbee had written that "many Spanish officers, including representatives of General Blanco, now with us to express sympathy." [72] In a cable, the Spanish minister of colonies, Segismundo Moret, had advised Blanco "to gather every fact you can, to prove the Maine catastrophe cannot be attributed to us." [73]

According to Dana Wegner, who worked with U.S. Admiral Hyman G. Rickover on his 1974 investigation of the sinking, the Secretary of the Navy had the option of selecting a board of inquiry personally. Instead, he fell back on protocol and assigned the commander-in-chief of the North Atlantic Squadron to do so. The commander produced a list of junior line officers for the board. The fact that the officer proposed to be court president was junior to the captain of Maine, Wegner writes, "would indicate either ignorance of navy regulations or that, in the beginning, the board did not intend to examine the possibility that the ship was lost by accident and the negligence of her captain." [ This quote needs a citation ] Eventually, navy regulations prevailed in leadership of the board, Captain Sampson being senior to Captain Sigsbee. [74]

The board arrived on 21 February and took testimony from survivors, witnesses, and divers (who were sent down to investigate the wreck). The Sampson Board produced its findings in two parts: the proceedings, which consisted mainly of testimonies, and the findings, which were the facts, as determined by the court. Between the proceedings and the findings, there was what Wegner calls, "a broad gap", where the court "left no record of the reasoning that carried it from the often-inconsistent witnesses to [its] conclusion." Another inconsistency, according to Wegner, was that of only one technical witness, Commander George Converse, from the Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island. Captain Sampson read Commander Converse a hypothetical situation of a coal bunker fire igniting the reserve six-inch ammunition, with a resulting explosion sinking the ship. He then asked Commander Converse about the feasibility of such a scenario. Commander Converse "simply stated, without elaboration, that he could not realize such an event happening". [75]

The board concluded that Maine had been blown up by a mine, which, in turn, caused the explosion of her forward magazines. They reached this conclusion based on the fact that the majority of witnesses stated that they had heard two explosions and that part of the keel was bent inwards. [64] The official report from the board, which was presented to the Navy Department in Washington on 21 March, specifically stated the following:

"At frame 18 the vertical keel is broken in two and the flat keel is bent at an angle similar to the angle formed by the outside bottom plating. . In the opinion of the court, this effect could have been produced only by the explosion of a mine situated under the bottom of the ship at about frame 18, and somewhat on the port side of the ship." (part of the court's 5th finding)

"In the opinion of the court, the Maine was destroyed by the explosion of a submarine mine, which caused the partial explosion of two or more of her forward magazines." (the court's 7th finding) and

"The court has been unable to obtain evidence fixing the responsibility for the destruction of the Maine upon any person or persons." (the court's 8th finding). [76]

1911 Vreeland Board's Court of Inquiry Edit

In 1910, the decision was made to have a second Court of Inquiry. Besides the desire for a more thorough investigation, this would also facilitate the recovery of the bodies of the victims, so they could be buried in the United States. The fact that the Cuban government wanted the wreck removed from Havana harbor might also have played a role: it at least offered the opportunity to examine the wreck in greater detail than had been possible in 1898, while simultaneously obliging the now-independent Cubans. Wegner suggests that the fact that this inquiry could be held without the threat of war, which had been the case in 1898, lent it the potential for greater objectivity than had been possible previously. Moreover, since several of the members of the 1910 board would be certified engineers, they would be better qualified to evaluate their findings than the line officers of the 1898 board had been. [77]

Beginning in December 1910, a cofferdam was built around the wreck and water was pumped out, exposing the wreck by late 1911. Between 20 November and 2 December 1911, a court of inquiry headed by Rear Admiral Charles E. Vreeland inspected the wreck. They concluded that an external explosion had triggered the explosion of the magazines. This explosion was farther aft and lower powered than concluded by the Sampson Board. The Vreeland Board also found that the bending of frame 18 was caused by the explosion of the magazines, not by the external explosion. [64] After the investigation, the newly located dead were buried in Arlington National Cemetery and the hollow, intact portion of the hull of Maine was refloated and ceremoniously scuttled at sea on 16 March 1912. [78]

1974 Rickover investigation Edit

Admiral Hyman G. Rickover became intrigued with the disaster and began a private investigation in 1974, using information from the two official inquiries, newspapers, personal papers, and information on the construction and ammunition of Maine. He concluded that the explosion was not caused by a mine, and speculated that spontaneous combustion was the most likely cause, from coal in the bunker next to the magazine. He published a book about this investigation in 1976 entitled How the Battleship Maine Was Destroyed. [79]

In the 2001 book Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy and the Spanish–American War, Wegner revisits the Rickover investigation and offers additional details. According to Wegner, Rickover interviewed naval historians at the Energy Research and Development Agency after reading an article in the Washington Star-News by John M. Taylor. The author claimed that the U.S. Navy "made little use of its technically trained officers during its investigation of the tragedy." The historians were working with Rickover on a study of the Navy's nuclear propulsion program, but they said that they knew no details of Maine ' s sinking. Rickover asked whether they could investigate the matter, and they agreed. Wegner says that all relevant documents were obtained and studied, including the ship's plans and weekly reports of the unwatering of Maine in 1912 (the progress of the cofferdam) written by William Furgueson, chief engineer for the project. These reports included numerous photos annotated by Furgueson with frame and strake numbers on corresponding parts of the wreckage. Two experts were brought in to analyze the naval demolitions and ship explosions. They concluded that the photos showed "no plausible evidence of penetration from the outside," and they believed that the explosion originated inside the ship. [80]

Wegner suggests that a combination of naval ship design and a change in the type of coal used to fuel naval ships might have facilitated the explosion postulated by the Rickover study. Up to the time of the Maine ' s building, he explains, common bulkheads separated coal bunkers from ammunition lockers, and American naval ships burned smokeless anthracite coal. With an increase in the number of steel ships, the Navy switched to bituminous coal, which burned at a hotter temperature than anthracite coal and allowed ships to steam faster. Wegner explains that anthracite coal is not subject to spontaneous combustion, but bituminous coal is considerably more volatile and is known for releasing the largest amounts of firedamp, a dangerous and explosive mixture of gases (chiefly methane). Firedamp is explosive at concentrations between 4% and 16%, with most violence at around 10%. In addition, there was another potential contributing factor in the bituminous coal: iron sulfide, also known as pyrite, was likely present. The presence of pyrites presents two additional risk factors, the first involving oxidation. Pyrite oxidation is sufficiently exothermic that underground coal mines in high-sulfur coal seams have occasionally experienced spontaneous combustion in the mined-out areas of the mine. This process can result from the disruption caused by mining from the seams, which exposes the sulfides in the ore to air and water. The second risk factor involves an additional capability of pyrites to provide fire ignition under certain conditions. Pyrites derive their name from the Greek root word pyr, meaning fire, as they can cause sparks when struck by steel or other hard surfaces. Pyrites were used to strike sparks to ignite gunpowder in wheellock guns, for example. The pyrites could have provided the ignition capability needed to create an explosion. A number of bunker fires of this type had been reported aboard warships before the Maine ' s explosion, in several cases nearly sinking the ships. Wegner also cites a 1997 heat transfer study which concluded that a coal bunker fire could have taken place and ignited the ship's ammunition. [81]

1998 National Geographic investigation Edit

In 1998, National Geographic magazine commissioned an analysis by Advanced Marine Enterprises (AME). This investigation, done to commemorate the centennial of the sinking of USS Maine, was based on computer modeling, a technique unavailable for previous investigations. The results reached were inconclusive. National Geographic reported that "a fire in the coal bunker could have generated sufficient heat to touch off an explosion in the adjacent magazine [but] on the other hand, computer analysis also shows that even a small, handmade mine could have penetrated the ship's hull and set off explosions within". [82] The AME investigation noted that "the size and location of the soil depression beneath the Maine 'is more readily explained by a mine explosion than by magazine explosions alone'". [69] The team noted that this was not "definitive in proving that a mine was the cause of the sinking" but it did "strengthen the case". [69]

Some experts, including Admiral Rickover's team and several analysts at AME, do not agree with the conclusion. [69] Wegner claims that technical opinion among the Geographic team was divided between its younger members, who focused on computer modeling results, and its older ones, who weighed their inspection of photos of the wreck with their own experience. He adds that AME used flawed data concerning the Maine ' s design and ammunition storage. Wegner was also critical of the fact that participants in the Rickover study were not consulted until AME's analysis was essentially complete, far too late to confirm the veracity of data being used or engage in any other meaningful cooperation. [83]

2002 Discovery Channel Unsolved History investigation Edit

In 2002, the Discovery Channel produced an episode of the Unsolved History documentaries, entitled "Death of the U.S.S. Maine". It used photographic evidence, naval experts, and archival information to argue that the cause of the explosion was a coal bunker fire, and it identified a weakness or gap in the bulkhead separating the coal and powder bunkers that allowed the fire to spread from the former to the latter. [84]

False flag operation conspiracy theories Edit

Several claims have been made in Spanish-speaking media that the sinking was a false flag operation conducted by the U.S. [85] [86] and those claims are the official view in Cuba. [87] The Maine monument in Havana describes Maine ' s sailors as "victims sacrificed to the imperialist greed in its fervor to seize control of Cuba", [88] which claims that U.S. agents deliberately blew up their own ship. [89]

Eliades Acosta was the head of the Cuban Communist Party's Committee on Culture and a former director of the José Martí National Library in Havana. He offered the standard Cuban interpretation in an interview to The New York Times, but he adds that "Americans died for the freedom of Cuba, and that should be recognized." [87] This claim has also been made in Russia by Mikhail Khazin, a Russian economist who once ran the cultural section at Komsomolskaya Pravda, [90] and in Spain by Eric Frattini, a Spanish Peruvian journalist in his book Manipulando la historia. Operaciones de Falsa Bandera. Del Maine al Golpe de estado de Turquía. [91]

Operation Northwoods was a series of proposals prepared by Pentagon officials for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962, setting out a number of proposed false flag operations that could be blamed on the Cuban Communists in order to rally support against them. [92] [93] One of these suggested that a U.S. Navy ship be blown up in Guantanamo Bay deliberately. In an echo of the yellow press headlines of the earlier period, it used the phrase "A 'Remember the Maine' incident". [93] [94]

For several years, the Maine was left where she sank in Havana harbor, but it was evident she would have to be removed sometime. It took up valuable space in the harbor, and the buildup of silt around her hull threatened to create a shoal. In addition, various patriotic groups wanted mementos of the ship. On 9 May 1910, Congress authorized funds for the removal of the Maine, the proper interment in Arlington National Cemetery of the estimated 70 bodies still inside, and the removal and transport of the main mast [ clarification needed ] to Arlington. Congress did not demand a new investigation into the sinking at that time. [95]

The Army Corps of Engineers built a cofferdam around the Maine and pumped water out from inside it. [5] By 30 June 1911, the Maine ' s main deck was exposed. The ship forward of frame 41 was entirely destroyed a twisted mass of steel out of line with the rest of the hull, all that was left of the bow, bore no resemblance to a ship. The rest of the wreck was badly corroded. Army engineers dismantled the damaged superstructure and decks, which were then dumped at sea. About halfway between bow and stern, they built a concrete and wooden bulkhead to seal the after-section, then cut away what was left of the forward portion. Holes were cut in the bottom of the after-section, through which jets of water were pumped, to break the mud seal holding the ship, then plugged, with flood cocks, which would later be used for sinking the ship. [96]

The Maine had been outfitted with Worthington steam pumps. After lying on the bottom of Havana harbor for fourteen years these pumps were found to be still operational, and were subsequently used to raise the ship. [97] [ page needed ]

On 13 February 1912, the engineers let water back into the interior of the cofferdam. Three days later, the interior of the cofferdam was full and Maine floated. Two days after that, the Maine was towed out by the tug Osceola. The bodies of its crew were then removed to the armored cruiser North Carolina for repatriation. During the salvage, the remains of 66 men were found, of whom only one, Harry J. Keys (an engineering officer), was identified and returned to his home town the rest were reburied at Arlington National Cemetery, making a total of 229 Maine crew buried there. [98] On 16 March, the Maine was towed four miles from the Cuban coast by Osceola, escorted by North Carolina and the light cruiser Birmingham. She was loaded with dynamite as a possible aid to her sinking. [99] Flowers adorned Maine's deck, and an American flag was strung from her jury mast. [99] At 5pm local time, with a crowd of over 100,000 persons watching from the shore, her sea cocks were opened, and just over twenty minutes later, Maine sank, bow first, in 600 fathoms (3,600 ft 1,100 m) of water, to the sound of taps and the twenty-one gun salutes of Birmingham and North Carolina. [100] [101]

In 2000, the wreck of Maine was rediscovered by Advanced Digital Communications, a Toronto-based expedition company, in about 3,770 feet (1,150 m) of water roughly 3 miles (4.8 km) northeast of Havana Harbor. The company had been working with Cuban scientists and oceanographers from the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, on testing underwater exploration technology. The ship had been discovered east of where it was believed it had been scuttled according to the researchers, during the sinking ceremony and the time it took the wreck to founder, currents pushed Maine east until it came to rest at its present location. Before the team identified the site as Maine, they referred to the location as the "square" due to its unique shape, and at first they did not believe it was the ship, due to its unexpected location. The site was explored with an ROV. According to Dr. Frank Muller-Karger, the hull was not oxidized and the crew could "see all of its structural parts". [102] The expedition was able to identify the ship due to the doors and hatches on the wreck, as well as the anchor chain, the shape of the propellers, and the holes where the bow was cut off. Due to the 1912 raising of the ship, the wreck was completely missing its bow this tell-tale feature was instrumental in identifying the ship. The team also located a boiler nearby, and a debris field of coal. [102]


Part I: Garish Marble

The week before I started my job at the Naval Historical Foundation, my wife and I took a trip to New York City. We were thrilled to once again see all the sights Gotham has to offer. One particular destination, however, stood out above all others. I plotted it for months. While my wife pined for the interesting shops and vittles around Manhattan, I couldn’t wait to get to the southwest tip of Central Park at Columbus Square. Resting at the entrance to Merchant’s Gate is the Maine Monument, a 44-foot tall structure dedicated to the 260 men who died 116 years ago. Was it Spanish treachery, American imperialism, or a fire in her coal bunkers? I hoped my visit would shed some light on the answer. Walking out of our hotel on 57 th street, we hooked a right on Broadway and caught our first glimpse.

The monument was gorgeous.

It was the first time I truly stopped and looked at it. The monument was always there in my previous trips to New York. Casually walking by it at a distance, it was always something to be admired. I never felt the need to truly study it until I began a career in naval history seven years ago. I made a point this time to stop with the other onlookers and tourists nearby. In Warholian fashion, my wife grabbed our camera and started snapping.

At the Maine Monument in NYC

I have seen many monuments and statues dedicated to the fallen men and women of the United States Armed forces around the country. Gettysburg. Antietam. Iowa Point. This particular one was striking. The first thing you notice is the very top of the monument’s tower. Constructed of Maine granite, the tower tells the story of the ship synonymous with the cause of American involvement with the Spanish American War. Sitting atop the tower is the focal point of the monument, a series of figures cast in bronze from the Maine’s salvaged guns. It depicts a woman riding a seashell chariot with three sea horses. The woman, Columbia Triumphant, is its central message. It is clear that victory against the Spanish WOULD BE secured through the heroic sacrifice of the Maine (represented by the youth at the prow of the ship at its base). The names of the 260 men lost in Havana Harbor are inscribed above figures representing the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Centrally scrawled along the tower’s front is this message:

TO THE VALIANT SEAMEN WHO PERISHED IN THE MAINE
BY FATE UNWARNED, IN DEATH UNAFRAID

The surprise sinking of the ship proved the political nudge needed to declare War on Spain. It was the perfect blend of nationalism and controversy newspapers and yellow journalists at the time craved. In the days and weeks that followed, newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer pitted against each other to craft the perfect headlines and sensationalized stories about the Maine, its sinking, and the necessity to go to war. Half-based truths were enough to make the streets of the United States run red in the late winter of 1898. Americans wanted swift vengeance for those lost on the Maine and the helpless Cubans suffering at the hands of their colonial possessors. The myth that illustrator Frederick Remington received a telegram from Hearst stating, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war,” is as repudiated and studied as the sinking itself.

Either way, it worked. Hearst and Pulitzer sold countless papers and got the war they desperately wanted. Most historians today do not directly credit jingoistic journalism as the mere cause that forced the hand of President McKinley in April. Their efforts and the public opinion it sparked were a contributing factor, regardless of its direct influence. The government chose to fight based on economic grounds, while the American public felt it was the newest crusade in the Gilded Age fight for moralism and religious fervor.

Further research on the monument itself indicates a clear victor in the memory of the Maine and her vanquished crew: William Randolph Hearst. According to the NYC Parks website, Hearst took it upon himself to raise public funds for a monument with the National Maine Monument Fund. Public subscription proved successful. Several years and countless donations later, Hearst and the public gathered enough money to erect a monument. It was commissioned in 1901 to H. Van Buren Magonigle and Attillio Picciriilli. Proceedings from the United Spanish War Veterans indicate initial fundraising reached over $143,000, a dollar value of over three million today.

The timing of its completion was perfect. The monument came about just one year before the outbreak of the First World War. Foreign suspicion and a xenophobic view of world affairs in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries made monuments like the Maine a figurehead of the era.

The monument was dedicated on 30 May 1913 to a host of government officials and naval regalia. According to an annual report by the Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, a series of ceremonies were held along Central Park West, followed by a military parade that included a Cuban band, soldiers and sailors of the NY National Guard, and a detachment from the cruiser Cuba. Rear Admiral Charles D. Sigsbee, commanding officer of the Maine in 1898, also spoke at the ceremony.

Ex-President and gunboat diplomat Howard Taft was also among the honored speakers and attendees there. The introduction to his speech before the crowd spells out the memory of the Maine and its respected place in history today:

“The Monument we dedicate to-day is an enduring witness of three facts. The first is the gratitude that our country feels toward the men who went down on the Maine, in that they gave up their lives in her service. The second is the birth of a new people and the founding of a new nation through our disinterested aid and sacrifice. The third is the expansion of this nation into a wider sphere of world usefulness and greater responsibility among the nations than ever before in its history.”

This does not mean the monument came without disdain or controversy. A small portion to Volume 46 of the Literary Digest in 1913 conveys the feeling felt by some in the art world after the monument’s erection. Included in the document is a list of central complaints:

“Some say the color of the pink marble is too garish some, the figure at the top is dwarfed by those at the base others, that it is badly placed.”

A representative of the Fine Arts Federation reported to The Evening Post a rather curious interpretation of the monument:

“The first consideration in designing a monument should be bulk, mass, composition-detail comes second [. . .] You must take the whole from a distance, and if you get the impression that it is well balanced, then the designer has won his most important point. And that is where this monument has failed.”

The anonymous poster concludes his review of the monument as “clumsy and badly drawn.” It was the Federation after all that led protests against the monument. Leon Dabo, a prominent tonalist landscape painter, stated the monument was architecturally and constructively “cheap” and “therefore bad,” comparing the pink stone to “ice cream.”

Protest and disagreement of the aesthetics within the art community faded. The monument remains. For a student of naval history and its correlation to American memory, it is a beacon of both questions and answers to one of America’s most significant maritime disasters.

Other monuments to the Maine exist. Notable examples include those in Key West and Havana. Yet the one I visited in October 2013 is by far the most striking example of why the ship that lost so many still deserves attention and contemplation today.


44c. "Remember the Maine!"

There was more than one way to acquire more land. If the globe had already been claimed by imperial powers, the United States could always seize lands held by others. Americans were feeling proud of their growing industrial and military prowess. The long-dormant Monroe Doctrine could finally be enforced. Good sense suggested that when treading on the toes of empires, America should start small. In 1898, Spain was weak and Americans knew it. Soon the opportunity to strike arose.

Involvement in Cuba

Cuba became the nexus of Spanish-American tensions. Since 1895, Cubans had been in open revolt against Spanish rule. The following year, Spain sent General Valeriano Weyler to Cuba to sedate the rebels. Anyone suspected of supporting independence was removed from the general population and sent to concentration camps. Although few were summarily executed, conditions at the camps led over 200,000 to die of disease and malnutrition. The news reached the American mainland through the newspapers of the yellow journalists. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer were the two most prominent publishers who were willing to use sensational headlines to sell papers. Hearst even sent the renowned painter Frederick Remington to Cuba to depict Spanish misdeeds. The American public was appalled.

The Maine Sinks

In February 1898, relations between the United States and Spain deteriorated further. Dupuy de Lôme , the Spanish minister to the United States had written a stinging letter about President McKinley to a personal friend. The letter was stolen and soon found itself on the desk of Hearst, who promptly published it on February 9. After public outcry, de Lôme was recalled to Spain and the Spanish government apologized. The peace was short-lived, however. On the evening of February 15, a sudden and shocking explosion tore a hole in the hull of the American battleship Maine , which had been on patrol in Havana harbor . The immediate assumption was that the sinking of the Maine and the concomitant deaths of 260 sailors was the result of Spanish treachery. Although no conclusive results have ever been proven, many Americans had already made up their minds, demanding an immediate declaration of war.

McKinley proceeded with prudence at first. When the Spanish government agreed to an armistice in Cuba and an end to concentration camps, it seemed as though a compromise was in reach. But the American public, agitated by the yellow press and American imperialists, demanded firm action. " Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain !" was the cry. On April 11, 1898, McKinley asked the Congress for permission to use force in Cuba. To send a message to the rest of the world that the United States was interested in Cuban independence instead of American colonization, Congress passed the Teller Amendment , which promised that America would not annex the precious islands. After that conscience-clearing measure, American leaders threw caution to the wind and declared open warfare on the Spanish throne.


Watch the video: Sinking of the USS Maine (December 2022).

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