Kearsarge-class battleship

Pre-dreadnought battleship class of the United States Navy / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Kearsarge-class was a group of two pre-dreadnought battleships built for the United States Navy in the 1890s. The two ships—USS Kearsarge and USS Kentucky—represented a compromise between two preceding battleship designs, the low-freeboard Indiana class and the high-freeboard USS Iowa, though their design also incorporated several improvements. Their primary advances over earlier designs consisted of new quick-firing guns and improved armor protection, but their most novel feature was their two-story gun turrets that consisted of a secondary 8-inch (203 mm) gun turret fixed to the top of their primary 13-inch (330 mm) turrets. The ships suffered from a number of problems, however, including a tertiary battery mounted too low in the hull and poorly-designed turrets, though the latter were attempted again with the Virginia class in the early 1900s, also with negative results.

Quick facts: Class overview, General characteristics...
USS Kearsarge – the lead ship of the class
Class overview
NameKearsarge class
BuildersNewport News Shipbuilding
OperatorsFlag_of_the_United_States_%281912-1959%29.svg United States Navy
Preceded byUSS Iowa
Succeeded byIllinois class
In commission1900–1920
General characteristics
TypePre-dreadnought battleship
Length375 ft 4 in (114.4 m)
Beam72 ft 2.5 in (22 m)
Draft23 ft 6 in (7.16 m)
Installed power
Speed16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Range5,070 nautical miles (9,390 km; 5,830 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
  • 38 officers
  • 548 or 549 enlisted men
  • Belt: 4–16.5 in (102–419 mm)
  • Turrets (primary): 15–17 in (381–432 mm)
  • Turrets (secondary): 6–11 in (152–279 mm)
  • Conning Tower: 10 in (254 mm)
  • Deck: 2.75 to 5 in (70 to 127 mm)

Kearsarge served as the flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron after entering service, while Kentucky was initially sent to East Asia. In 1904, Kearsarge was temporarily transferred to the European Squadron, also serving as its flagship. Both vessels returned to the North Atlantic Squadron in 1905, and in 1906, Kentucky carried marines to Cuba during unrest in the country. Both ships participated in the cruise of the Great White Fleet around the world between late 1907 and early 1908, and after their return, they were modernized between 1909 and 1911, thereafter being placed in reserve. The two ships were reactivated in mid-1915 and Kearsarge was used as a training ship, while Kentucky was sent to participate in the United States occupation of Veracruz.

After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, both ships were used as training vessels for the rapidly-expanding fleet before being decommissioned in 1920. Kentucky was quickly discarded, being struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1922 and sold for scrap the following year, but Kearsarge was converted into a crane ship. She was used in this capacity for the next twenty years, being involved in the recovery of the submarine Squalus and numerous warship construction, repair, and modernization projects. She was ultimately struck in 1955 and sold to ship breakers later that year.