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The Indiana class was a class of three pre-dreadnought battleships launched in 1893. These were the first battleships built by the United States Navy comparable to contemporary European ships, such as the British HMS Hood. Authorized in 1890 and commissioned between November 1895 and April 1896, these were relatively small battleships with heavy armor and ordnance that pioneered the use of an intermediate battery. Specifically intended for coastal defense, their freeboard was insufficient to deal well with the waves of the open ocean. The turrets lacked counterweights, and the main belt armor was placed too low to be effective under most conditions.
USS Indiana – the lead ship of the class
|Operators||United States Navy|
|Preceded by||USS Texas|
|Succeeded by||USS Iowa|
|In commission||20 November 1895 – 4 October 1919|
|Displacement||10,288 long tons (10,453 t; 11,523 short tons) (standard)|
|Beam||69 ft 3 in (21.11 m) (wl)|
|Draft||27 ft (8.2 m)|
|Complement||32 officers 441 men|
The ships were named Indiana, Massachusetts, and Oregon and were designated Battleship Number 1 through 3. All three served in the Spanish–American War, although Oregon—which was stationed on the West Coast—had to cruise 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km; 16,000 mi) around South America to the East Coast first. After the war, Oregon returned to the Pacific and participated in the Philippine–American War and Boxer Rebellion, while her sister ships were restricted to training missions in the Atlantic Ocean. After 1903, the obsolete battleships were decommissioned and recommissioned several times, the last time during World War I when Indiana and Massachusetts served as training ships, while Oregon was a transport escort for the Siberian Intervention.
In 1919, all three ships were decommissioned for the final time. Indiana was sunk in shallow water as an explosives test target a year later and sold for scrap in 1924. Massachusetts was scuttled off the coast of Pensacola in 1920 and used as an artillery target. The wreck was never scrapped and is now a Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve. Oregon was initially preserved as a museum, but was sold for scrap during World War II. The scrapping was later halted and the stripped hulk was used as an ammunition barge during the battle of Guam. The hulk was finally sold for scrap in 1956.