The USS Kearsarge – the lead ship of the class
|Builders:||Newport News SB&DD|
|Operators:||United States Navy|
|Preceded by:||USS Iowa|
|Succeeded by:||Illinois class|
|Built:||30 June 1896 – 24 March 1898|
|In commission:||20 February 1900 – 18 May 1920|
|Class & type:||Kearsarge-class battleship pre-dreadnought battleships|
|Displacement:||11,540 short tons (10,470 t)|
|Length:||375 ft 4 in (114.40 m)|
|Beam:||72 ft 2.5 in (22.009 m)|
|Draft:||23 ft 6 in (7.16 m)|
|Installed power:||5 boilers, 10,000 ihp (7,500 kW) (design)|
|Propulsion:||2 VTE engines, 2 propeller shafts|
|Speed:||16 kn (18 mph; 30 km/h) (design)|
|Complement:||38 officers and 548 or 549 enlisted men|
The Kearsarge-class battleships were two pre-dreadnought battleships built for the United States Navy at the beginning of the 20th century. They were designed to be used for coastal defense. Both of the ships, the USS Kearsarge and the USS Kentucky, were authorized in 1895 and commissioned in 1900. Neither ship participated in a major battle, although they participated in the Great White Fleet, the oldest ships on the cruise. Kentucky was decommissioned in 1920 and sold for scrap in 1923. Kearsarge was also decommissioned in 1920, although it was then converted into a crane ship, and served in that capacity until scrapping in 1955.
Design[edit | edit source]
General characteristics[edit | edit source]
The Kearsarge-class battleships were designed to be used for coastal defense. They had a displacement of 11,540 short tons (10,470 t), an overall length of 375 feet 4 inches (114.40 m), a beam of 72 feet 2.5 inches (22.009 m) and a draft of 23 feet 6 inches (7.16 m). Like the Indiana class, the Kearsarge class also had a very low freeboard, which resulted in her guns becoming unusable in bad weather. Kearsarge was manned by 38 officers and 548 enlisted men, while Kentucky carried 38 officers and 549 enlisted men.
Armament[edit | edit source]
The Kearsarge-class battleships had two double turrets, with two 13 in (330 mm) guns and two 8 in (200 mm) guns each, stacked in two levels. The guns and turret armor were designed by the Bureau of Ordnance, while the turret itself was designed by the Bureau of Construction and Repair. This caused the guns to be mounted far back in the turret, making the ports very large. Admiral William Sims claimed that as a result, a shell fired into the port could reach the magazines below, disabling the guns.
In addition to these guns, the battleships carried fourteen 5-inch (127 mm) guns, twenty 6-pounder (57 mm or 2.2 in) guns, eight 1-pounder (37 mm or 1.5 in) guns, four .30 in (7.6 mm) machine guns, and four 18-inch (460 mm) torpedo tubes.
Armor[edit | edit source]
The ship's waterline armor belt was 5–16.5 inches (130–420 mm) thick and the main gun turrets were protected by 15–17 inches (380–430 mm) of armor, while the secondary turrets had 6–11 inches (150–280 mm) of armor. The barbettes were 12.5–15 inches (320–380 mm) thick, while the conning tower had 10 inches (250 mm) of armor. The armor was made of harveyized steel.
Propulsion[edit | edit source]
The battleships had two 3-cylinder vertical triple-expansion steam engines and five Scotch boilers, connected to two propeller shafts. The ships were designed to produce a total of 10,000 indicated horsepower (7,500 kW) giving 16 knots (18 mph; 30 km/h). During sea trials, the indicated horse power and speed exceeded the design, producing a total of 11,674 indicated horsepower (8,705 kW) giving 16.816 knots (19.352 mph; 31.143 km/h) on the Kearsarge, and 12,179 indicated horsepower (9,082 kW) giving 16.897 knots (19.445 mph; 31.293 km/h) on the Kentucky.
Ships in class[edit | edit source]
|USS Kearsarge||BB-5||Newport News SB&DD||30 June 1896||24 March 1898||20 February 1900||Converted to a crane ship in 1920, sold for scrap on 9 August 1955|
|USS Kentucky||BB-6||Newport News SB&DD||30 June 1896||24 March 1898||15 May 1900||Sold for scrap, 24 March 1923|
USS Kearsarge (BB-5)[edit | edit source]
Kearsarge was launched on 24 March 1898, and commissioned on 20 February 1900. From 1900 to 1905 Kearsarge served as flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron, except for a short period in 1903 when she was reassigned as flagship of the European Squadron. In 1905, Maine replaced Kearsarge as flagship of the North Atlantic Fleet, although she remained with the fleet.
In 1907, the Great White Fleet was ordered by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt to circle the world, as a demonstration of the might of the United States Navy. The Kearsarge was attached to the Fourth Division of the Second Squadron. The fleet left from Hampton Roads on 16 December 1907, circled South America, passed through San Francisco, and arrived at Hawaii. From there they sailed to New Zealand and Australia, visited the Philippine Islands, Japan, China, and Ceylon before transiting the Suez Canal. The fleet split at Port Said, with Kearsarge leaving for Malta and Algiers, before reforming with the fleet at Gibraltar. She returned to Hampton Roads on 22 February.
Between 1909 and 1911 Kearsarge was modernized at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. She was recommissioned on 23 June 1915, and operated along the Atlantic coast. Until the United States joined World War I, she trained naval militia from Massachusetts and Maine. During the war she was used to train Armed Guard crews and naval engineers during cruises along the Atlantic seaboard. Kearsarge decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on either 10 May or 18 May 1920.
Kearsarge was converted into a crane ship, and was given hull classification symbol IX-16 on 17 July 1920, but it was changed to AB-1 on 5 August. Her turrets, superstructure, and armor were removed, and were replaced by a large revolving crane with a lifting capacity of 250 tons (230 tonnes), as well as 10-foot (3.0 m) blisters, which improved her stability. The crane ship was utilized often over the next 20 years, including the raising of USS Squalus in 1939. On 6 November 1941, Kearsarge was renamed Crane Ship No. 1, allowing her name to be given to Hornet (CV-12), and later to Kearsarge (CV-33). She continued her service, however, handling guns, turrets, armor, and other heavy lifts for vessels such as Indiana, Alabama, Savannah, Chicago, and Pennsylvania. She was transferred to the San Francisco Naval Shipyard in 1945, where she participated in the construction of Hornet, Boxer, and the re-construction of Saratoga. In 1948 she left the West Coast for the Boston Naval Shipyard. On 22 June 1955 her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register, and she was sold for scrap on 9 August.
USS Kentucky (BB-6)[edit | edit source]
Kentucky was launched on 24 March 1898, and commissioned on 15 May 1900. In 1900 she left for China due to the Boxer Rebellion, staying there until 1904. In 1905 she joined the North Atlantic Squadron. During the 1906 Cuban Insurrection, she carried Marines to Cuba, embarking them from Provincetown, and landing them at Havana, Cuba.
In 1907, Kentucky participated in the Great White Fleet, as part of the Fourth Division of the Second Squadron. The fleet left from Hampton Roads on 16 December 1907, circled South America, passed through San Francisco, and arrived at Hawaii. From there they sailed to New Zealand and Australia, visited the Philippine Islands, Japan, China, and Ceylon before transiting the Suez Canal. The fleet split at Port Said, with Kentucky visiting Tripoli and Algiers, before reforming with the fleet at Gibraltar. She returned to Hampton Roads on 22 February.
Between 1909 and 1911 Kearsarge was modernized at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. From 1912 to 1915 she served in the reserve, and was recommissioned at Philadelphia on 23 June 1915. Following the United States occupation of Veracruz, she sailed to Mexico, remaining at Veracruz until 1916. She arrived at New York, remaining there until the United States entered World War I. During the war, she trained several thousand men along the Atlantic coast.
In late 1918, Kentucky was overhauled at the Boston Navy Yard. She then left for exercises in Guantanamo Bay, Norfolk, and along the New England coast, and later trained United States Naval Academy midshipmen. The Kentucky was decommissioning on 29 March 1920, her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 27 May 1922, and she was sold for scrap to Dravo Corporation on 24 March 1923.
See also[edit | edit source]
- List of battleships of the United States Navy
- List of ship launches in 1898
- List of ship commissionings in 1900
- List of ship decommissionings in 1920
References[edit | edit source]
- Reilly & Scheina 1980, p. 83.
- Albertson 2007, p. 177.
- Crawford 2008, p. 12.
- Reilly & Scheina 1980, p. 94.
- Chesneau, Koleśnik & Campbell 1979, p. 141.
- Reilly & Scheina 1980, p. 92.
- Friedman 1985, p. 30-32.
- Friedman 1985, p. 17.
- Friedman 1985, p. 427.
- DANFS Kearsarge (BB-5).
- Albertson 2007, p. 26.
- Albertson 2007, p. 46.
- Albertson 2007, pp. 181–192.
- Friedman 1985, pp. 82–83.
- Newhart 1995, p. 21.
- Friedman 1985, p. 419.
- Albertson 2007, p. 179.
- NVR Crane Ship No. 1 (AB 1).
- Bauer & Roberts 1991, p. 103.
- Graff 2010, p. 54.
- Garzke & Dulin 1995, p. 72.
- Morris & Kearns 2011, p. 206.
- DANFS Kentucky (BB-6).
- NVR Kentucky (BB 6).
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Albertson, Mark (2007). They'll Have to Follow You!: The Triumph of the Great White Fleet. Tate Publishing & Enterprises. ISBN 978-1-60462-145-7. http://www.google.com/books?id=1_ApYoXy6kQC. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- Bauer, Karl Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (30 November 1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 103. ISBN 0313262020. http://www.google.com/books?id=nLgA6pC_-uwC&pg=PA103.
- Chesneau, Roger; Koleśnik, Eugène M.; Campbell, N.J.M. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5.
- Crawford, Michael J. (12 May 2008). The World Cruise of the Great White Fleet: Honoring 100 Years of Global Partnerships and Security. United States Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-945274-59-9. http://www.google.com/books?id=OVtFbZqPskgC. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- Friedman, Norman (1985). U.S. Battleships, An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-715-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=Y41Ha_3HsrYC. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- Garzke, William H., Jr.; Dulin, Robert O., Jr. (1995). Battleships: United States Battleships, 1935–1992 (2nd revised and illustrated ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 72. ISBN 1-55750-174-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=oFv4gqBwF1UC&pg=PA72.
- Graff, Cory; Puget Sound Navy Museum (16 June 2010). The Navy in Puget Sound. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-7385-8081-4. http://www.google.com/books?id=0wkh-fi9JHcC&pg=PA54.
- Morris, James Matthew; Kearns, Patricia M. (30 March 2011). Historical Dictionary of the United States Navy (2nd ed.). Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-7229-3. http://books.google.com/books?id=B7OtjJmqI1oC. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- Newhart, Max R. (1995). American Battleships: A Pictorial History of BB-1 to BB-71. Pictorial Histories Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-57510-004-3. http://www.google.com/books?id=bmKFbwVmD8oC. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- Reilly, John C.; Scheina, Robert L. (1980). American Battleships 1886–1923: Predreadnought Design and Construction. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-524-8.
- "Kearsarge". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/battlesh/bb5.htm. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Kentucky". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/battlesh/bb6.htm. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
- "Crane Ship No. 1 (AB 1)". Naval Vessel Register. United States Navy. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/AB1.htm. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- "USS Kentucky (BB 6)". Naval Vessel Register. United States Navy. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/BB6.htm. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
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