Military Wiki
USS Michigan (BB-27)
Career (United States)
Ordered: 3 March 1905
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 17 December 1906
Launched: 26 May 1908
Commissioned: 4 January 1910
Decommissioned: 11 February 1922
Fate: sold for scrap
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: South Carolina-class battleship
Displacement: 16,000 tons
Length: 452.8 ft (138.0 m)
Beam: 80.3 ft (24.5 m)
Draft: 24.5 ft (7.5 m)
Speed: 18.5 kn (21.3 mph; 34.3 km/h)
Complement: 51 officers, 818 men
Armament: 8 × 12 in (300 mm)/45 cal guns (4x2), 22 × 3 in (76 mm) (22x1), 4 × 1 pounders (37 mm (1.5 in)) (4x1), 2 × .30 cal (7.62 mm) machine guns (2x1), 2 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes (2x1)
Armor: Belt:11 - 9 in over mach and 12 - 10 in over mag (both 8 ft (2 m) wide tapering uniformly from top to bottom). 10 - 8 in forward of forward magazine. 60 lb NS from belt forward (frame 8 to 17) and after from belt to stern (Frame 81 aft)
Casemates: 8 - 10 in
Barbettes:10 - 8 in
Turrets: 12 in / 2.5 in NS / 8 inch
Decks: 50 lb NS + 30 lb over mag, 30 lb structural + 30 lb structural over mach; 70 lb NS + 30 lb forward of Forward mag over forward belt; 40 lb NS + 20 lb to bow; 80 lb NS +30 lb abaft belt; 100 lb NS + 20 sloping to stern.

USS Michigan (BB-27), a South Carolina-class battleship, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 26th state. She was the first battleship in the world to be commissioned with superimposed, or superfire type turrets.

Michigan was laid down on 17 December 1906 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, New Jersey. She was launched on 26 May 1908 sponsored by Mrs Frank W. Brooks, Jr., daughter of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Truman Newberry, delivered to the United States Government on 1 September 1909, and commissioned on 4 January 1910, Captain N. R. Usher in command.

Pre-World War I[]

Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, Michigan conducted shakedown off the East Coast and in the eastern Caribbean Sea until 7 June 1910. Standing out of New York Harbor on 29 July, the battlewagon then steamed along the New England and Middle Atlantic coasts on maneuvers. On 2 November, she departed Boston, Massachusetts, for a training cruise to western Europe. After visiting the Isle of Portland in England, she arrived Cherbourg, France on 8 December. She sailed on 30 December for the Caribbean, touched Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on 10 January 1911, and reached Norfolk, Virginia on 14 January.

Michigan operated along the Atlantic Coast until standing out from the Virginia Capes on 15 November 1912 for a cruise to the Gulf of Mexico. After visiting Pensacola, Florida, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Galveston, Texas, she arrived Veracruz, Mexico on 12 December. She headed for home two days later, and reached Hampton Roads on 20 December. She operated along the East Coast until departing Quincy, Massachusetts on 6 July for the Gulf coast of Mexico to protect American interests endangered by civil strife in Mexico. The battleship anchored off Tampico on 15 July, and remained alert off the Mexican coast until sailing for New York City on 13 January 1914, reaching Brooklyn Navy Yard on 20 January.

She began a run from Norfolk to Guacanayabo Bay, Cuba on 14 February, and returned to Hampton Roads on 19 March. Underway again on 16 April she joined American forces at Veracruz. Reaching that troubled Mexican city on 22 April, she landed a battalion of Marines as part of the main occupation force, then operated off the Mexican coast, heading home on 20 June and entered the Delaware Capes on 16 April.

World War I[]

Crew of the Michigan, 1918

Michigan next put to sea on 11 October and from that time until the eve of America's entry into World War I, operated out of various ports on the Eastern Seaboard. Assigned to Battleship Force 2 on 6 April 1917, she escorted convoys, trained recruits, and engaged in fleet maneuvers and battle practice. The battleship suffered two notable accidents. In September 1916 a twelve-inch gun of her second turret burst while being fired. On 15 January 1918, while steaming in formation with the fleet off Cape Hatteras, Michigan's foremast, of lattice construction, buckled and was carried away over the port side as the ship lurched violently in the trough of a heavy sea. Six men were killed and 13 injured, five seriously, in this accident. Michigan proceeded to Norfolk where the next day she transferred her casualties to Solace. On 22 January, she entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for repairs. Early in April, she resumed operations off the East Coast and trained gunners in Chesapeake Bay until World War I ended.

Inter-war period[]

Ordered to duty with the Cruiser and Transport Force in late December 1918, the battleship made two voyages to Europe - from 18 January – 3 March, and 18 March-16 April 1919 - returning 1,052 troops to the United States. During this period, the crew was briefly allowed to unionize, an action against naval policy that saw Clark Daniel Stearns stripped from command of the ship.

Following overhaul at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in May–June, Michigan resumed training exercises in the Atlantic until 6 August, when she was placed in limited commission at Philadelphia Navy Yard. She next put to sea on 19 May, sailing to Annapolis, Maryland, to embark midshipmen for a training cruise through the Panama Canal to Honolulu, Hawaii, arriving there on 3 July. The cruise continued to major West Coast naval bases and Guantanamo Bay before the battleship returned home in September. She returned to Philadelphia on 5 September, and was placed in ordinary until sailing on 4 April 1921 for the Caribbean. Returning to Hampton Roads on 23 April, she reached Annapolis on 18 May to begin her second midshipmen training cruise. She got underway on 4 June for Europe, visiting Kristiania, Norway; Lisbon, Portugal; and Gibraltar; and returning to Hampton Roads on 11 August. The veteran battleship put to sea on 31 August to make her final cruise up the Delaware River to Philadelphia, arriving on 1 September. Michigan decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on 11 February 1922 and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 10 November 1923. In accordance with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, she and four other battleships were scrapped by the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1924. Materials from their hulls were sold to four different foundries.


  1. Conway, 1985, p.112-113


  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  • New York Times, 2 September 1909, "The Michigan Delivered"
  • Conway's All the world's fighting ships 1906-1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. 1985. ISBN 0-87021-907-3. 

External links[]

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