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StealthJester
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: March 19th, 2019, 12:57 am
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Greetings!

Excellent observation - yes, those "pillbox" type turrets are outdated by this time. In my timeline, the US Navy is undergoing a transitional period in design similar to the one which occurred in real history - for example; the Kearsarge class (laid down 1896) used the older style turrets while the succeeding Illinois class (laid down 1896-97) were the first US capital ships with "modern" turrets.

In this timeline, the Ohio class will be the last to use the older turret design - part of the abandonment of the "old standard" of naval architecture of the 1880's and 1890's.

Cheers!
Stealthjester


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StealthJester
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: March 24th, 2019, 5:04 am
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Topeka class (US):
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Essentially enlarged versions of the highly successful Syracuse class of protected cruisers, the Topeka class were a quantum leap in design over their predecessors the Montpeliers. Designed at BuC&R by then Assistant Chief Richard Tallmadge’s team, the new armored cruisers were fully equal to foreign designs in every way but speed.

The Topeka class was 384 feet long overall – longer than any US battleship in service or building at that time – with a 64 foot beam and a nominal draft of 22 feet. They displaced 9,253 tons normal and 9,906 tons full load. They were armed with four 10”/40 Mk.4’s in twin turrets fore and aft and a secondary battery of four 8”/40 Mk.1’s in four single turrets at the superstructure corners. A tertiary battery of eight 6”/40 Mk.3 guns in casemates and eight 6-pounders completed the weapon suite. Two 5,350 horsepower four-cylinder triple expansion engines powering twin shafts propelled these ships to a rated speed of 18 knots with maximum range around 5,500 nautical miles. Armor comprised a 5” belt, a 2.5” deck, 5” main and secondary turrets with 10” barbettes, 4” casemates, and a 6” conning tower. Crew complement was 542.

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Four ships; Topeka (ACR-5), Indianapolis (ACR-6), Trenton (ACR-7), and Pierre (ACR-8) were laid down in 1893 and ’94, and commissioned between 1896 and ’97. They were split between the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets from the beginning and led very active service lives – seeing action in the Central American Crisis, the Western Pacific War, and even the War of the Americas where both Indianapolis and Pierre were lost. All four underwent a major refit between 1912 and 1914 where they received new guns and oil burning boilers. Some consideration was given to installing turbines in place of the reciprocating engines but the idea was dropped due to cost, the major reconstruction which would be required, and the general obsolescence of the type (their role largely superseded by battlecruisers by that time). In 1929, the two survivors were retired and after remaining in ordinary for several years, were scrapped beginning in 1933.

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Stealthjester


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StealthJester
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: March 25th, 2019, 12:15 am
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Hartford class (US):
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The next class of US armored cruiser built on the basic design of the Topeka class, but was larger, faster, and more heavily armed. Authorized in 1895, two ships were built to this design: Hartford (ACR-9), and Carson City (ACR-10) and were the first major US Navy vessels built on the West Coast – Hartford at Mare Island Naval Yard, California, and Carson City at Puget Sound Naval Yard in Washington.

The Hartford class was 406 feet long overall, with a 64.5 foot beam and a nominal draft of 23 feet. They displaced 11,530 tons normal and 12,366 tons full load. They were armed with four 10”/40 Mk.5’s in twin turrets fore and aft and a secondary battery of six 8”/40 Mk.2’s in single turrets amidships. A heavier tertiary battery of twelve 6”/40 Mk.5 guns in casemates and eight 6-pounders along with two submerged 18” torpedo tubes completed the weapon suite. A triple-shaft propulsion system powered by three four-cylinder triple expansion engines produced a total of 15,100 horsepower giving the ships a maximum rated speed of 19 knots – which was exceeded slightly in service – USS Hartford recording a speed of 20.3 knots during trials. Range was equivalent to contemporary US battleships at 6,500 nautical miles. Armor comprised a 6” belt, a 3” deck, 6” main and secondary turrets with 10” barbettes, 5” casemates, and a 7” conning tower. Crew complement was 640.

Hartford commissioned in 1899 and Carson City in 1900. After commissioning, both ships spent their entire service life in the Pacific Fleet where they were among the most powerful members for the next seven years. But as HMS Dreadnought rendered all existing battleships obsolete, so too did HMS Invincible render armored cruisers obsolete. Still, the relatively new ships were too valuable to retire early, and like their older siblings served in the US Navy through the late Teen's.
In 1916 both were temporarily decommissioned for an extensive refit which would have converted them to oil-burners and replaced their primary and secondary guns. At this point Peru stepped forward and offered to buy both ships. As the Peruvians were by this time allies of the US and served to counter the powerful CSA-backed Chilean government – the sale was approved and after the ships were refit, were transferred to the Peruvian Navy. Renamed Manco Capac (ex-Hartford) and Atahualpa (ex-Carson City), the cruisers were the most powerful in Peru’s fleet for many years before being retired and scrapped in the 1940’s.

Next up: US protected cruisers 1890-1900

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Stealthjester


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StealthJester
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: March 31st, 2019, 1:16 am
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Syracuse class (US):
[ img ]

The first major warships designed by BuC&R’s Assistant Chief Richard Tallmadge the Syracuse class represented a major advance over the pioneering Albany class of protected cruisers. They utilized a completely new, more hydrodynamic hull design for greater speed and modern military masts and superstructure, while retaining the old-style “pillbox” turrets for their main weapons. Authorized in late 1889, a total of eight ships were built to this design. The first six; Syracuse, Detroit, Portland, White Plains, Medford and Akron were built for the US Navy and the last two; Invicto and Triunfante, were built in US shipyards for the Armada Mexicana (Mexican Navy). The US ships were assigned the prefixes CR-5 to CR-10 under the classification system adopted in 1891 while still building. The Invicto class ships were temporarily assigned the hull numbers CR-11 and CR-12 until transferred to the AM where they were re-classed as C-1 and C-2 under the system adopted in 1903.

The Syracuse class was 345 feet long overall, with a 55 foot beam and a nominal draft of 19 feet. They displaced 7,345 tons normal and 7,880 tons full load. They were armed with six 8”/40 Mk.1’s in two twin turrets fore and aft and two single turrets amidships. Eight 6”/40 Mk.4’s in hull casemates, eight 6-pounders, and four 18” torpedo tubes in single deck-mounts completed the weapon suite. Two four-cylinder triple expansion engines producing a total of 15,230 horsepower pushed these ships to a rated speed of 20 knots – often exceeded in service; USS White Plains (CR-8) reaching 21.7 knots in very calm seas off Nantucket in 1902. Range was a respectable 4,800 nautical miles. The armor scheme was typical for a protected cruiser of that era and comprised a 2” deck, 4” turrets with 4” barbettes, 4” casemates, and a 3” conning tower. Crew complement was normally 450 officers and men.

The first three Syracuse class ships were laid down in 1890 and commissioned in 1893. The last three were laid down a year later and commissioned in 1894, while the two Invicto class ships were laid down in 1893 and commissioned with the Armada Mexicana in 1896.
The US ships saw action in the Central American Crisis and the Western Pacific War – where USS Syracuse (CR-5) was sunk in 1908 in the last major battle of the conflict. Commonly known as the Detroit class after the loss of the class ship, the five survivors continued to serve into the early Teens. USS Medford (CR-9) was lost to a grounding incident on Washington’s notorious Cape Flattery in November of 1911 (her wreck site has since become a tourist attraction – although little is left after over a century exposed to the elements). Rapidly becoming obsolete with the development of true “heavy” cruisers, the four remaining ships of this class were not modernized and were decommissioned in 1914 (Detroit, White Plains, and Akron), and 1915 (Portland). All four were scrapped by 1920.

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The two Mexican ships had a quieter, albeit longer, service life. NRM Triunfante was damaged in August of 1900 during the Central American Crisis, but otherwise served in routine patrols and training exercises. Both cruisers were extensively rebuilt from 1918-20 – given new guns, oil-fired boilers and reduced superstructures with tripod fore and pole main masts. NRM Invicto was heavily damaged in late 1923 during a confrontation with Confederate ships shortly after the outbreak of the War of the Americas when she came to the aid of a US convoy in the Gulf of Mexico. Although her captain, Roberto Medina, was court-martialed for jeopardizing Mexican neutrality (Mexico did not enter the War until early 1925) he was honored in the US for his actions – becoming one of the only foreigners to be awarded the Navy Cross. Medina later immigrated to the US where he became a popular quest lecturer at the Annapolis Naval Academy. Invicto was dry-docked in Veracruz following the incident and repair work was begun, only to be abandoned as the AM diverted resources to construction of new ships. Ironically decommissioned within days of Mexico formally declaring war on the CSA, Invicto was broken up shortly thereafter, but her sister soldiered on alone for the next twelve years. Triunfante was finally decommissioned in 1937 and sold off for scrapping soon after.

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Stealthjester


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StealthJester
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: April 8th, 2019, 12:30 am
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Los Angeles class (US):
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The Syracuse class was followed by the Los Angeles class of six ships which were authorized in mid-1893 and represented another advance in design over their predecessors. They featured modern “gun-house” style turrets on a flush-deck hull without the tumblehome which had been a feature of most previous US cruisers. They also represented a trend toward more heavily armed cruisers as well as belt armor for the first time in a US protected cruiser type. Many in the Navy felt they should instead be classed as armored cruisers or First Class Protected Cruisers in the British fashion but because of their 8” main armament as opposed to the 10” guns carried by US armored cruisers and their higher speeds, they retained the protected cruiser designation nearly their entire service lives. The new ships also highlighted a growing gap between cruisers and smaller combatants such as TBD’s and directly led to the first “scout” cruiser classes entering service during the following decade.

The Los Angeles class was 375 feet long overall, with a 60 foot beam and a nominal draft of 21 feet. They displaced 8,440 tons normal and 8,975 tons full load. Armament consisted of eight 8”/40 Mk.2’s in two twin turrets fore and aft and four single turrets amidships, twelve 6”/40 Mk.4’s in hull casemates, eight new 4”/40 rapid-fire guns in open mounts on the superstructure, and four 18” torpedo tubes in twin deck-mounts amidships. Triple shafts propelled these ships to a rated speed of 22 knots and their triple-expansion engines produced 16,030 total horsepower. Range dropped from the Syracuse class to 4,500 nautical miles, which became the primary complaint about this otherwise well-designed class. In addition to the 2” belt armor, the ships were protected by 2” deck armor, with 5” main turrets and barbettes, 4” casemates, and a 3” conning tower. Crew averaged 455.

Los Angeles, Seattle, and Great Falls commissioned during 1897 and Minneapolis, Allentown, and Plymouth the following year. After entering service they served in all the conflicts the US was involved in through the beginning of the 20th Century. The class was assigned to coastal patrol duties during the Western Pacific war, however, due to their perceived short range.

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During 1918-21, all six were extensively refit with new 8” and 6” 45-caliber guns, new oil-burning boilers (which also improved their range), and modern tripod masts and superstructure. In addition, under the new classification system adopted by the USN in 1921, the class received heavy cruiser (CA-same hull number) designations.
During the War of the Americas the class was heavily involved in the fighting – particularly in the first half of the conflict. USS Los Angeles (CA-13) was in San Diego harbor when the Confederacy bombed the naval yard at the beginning of the conflict and was severely damaged – only returning to duty in early 1927. Two members of this class were lost during 1924 while the US was still on the defensive in the Pacific; USS Great Falls (CA-15) in March and USS Allentown (CA-17) in September. USS Minneapolis (CA-16) was torpedoed late in the War by the Confederate submarine E.41, but managed to limp back to port. After the armistice, the four survivors were caught up in the peacetime draw-down of forces. Deemed obsolete, they were retired; Los Angeles and Minneapolis in 1928, and Seattle and Plymouth by the end of 1930 and subsequently sold for scrapping by the mid ‘30’s.

Ogden class (US):
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After the failure of the Avenger class of torpedo gunboats in both design and concept was widely accepted, debate raged in the Navy Department on what to do. A sizable faction pressed for additional torpedo boats which would be relatively inexpensive and quick to produce, but Secretary of the Navy Nathaniel Wilcox had received reports from Great Britain on the success of the pioneering Daring and Havock classes of TBD’s and directed that BuC&R undertake the design of similar vessels.
Using the experimental Falcon class of torpedo boats as a starting point – the design of the new ships proceeded quickly and was authorized for construction by June of 1892. Although US torpedo boats had been named for birds of prey the new class took their names from Navy rolls of personnel who had died in the line of duty or otherwise had contributed to the Navy. Thus on April 3, 1893, the keel for USS Ogden (TBD-1) was laid down in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Five sister-ships were laid down by the end of the year and all six commissioned during 1896.

The Ogden class was 165 feet long overall, with a 20 foot beam and a nominal draft of 6.5 feet. They displaced 335 tons normal and 368 tons full load. Armament consisted of two 6-pounders amidships and two 3-pounder guns on the bridge roof forward and a raised platform aft. Two 18” torpedo tubes on the quarter-deck flanked a deck-house storing eight reload Mk.4 torpedoes. Two 3,125 horsepower quad-expansion engines drove twin shafts giving these ships a top speed of 24 knots. Range was 2,000 nautical miles on 75 tons of coal and crew complement was 45.

Ogden, Jamison, Smyth, Washburn, Yarbrough, and Matheson served primarily in the Gulf Fleet based in Hispaniola following their commissioning and were successful in service – forcing the CSN to eventually field TBD’s of their own and were well-liked by their crews – although cramped conditions aboard were a common complaint. This led to a significant increase in size for succeeding classes. Like their predecessors, the Osprey and Falcon classes, these ships were considered experimental but were not on limited duty and thus saw action in the Central American Crisis and Western Pacific War – where two of the class; USS Jamison and USS Matheson were lost. After the latter conflict ended in 1908, the remaining four ships served in the peacetime fleet for a further eight years before decommissioning in late 1916.

Westcott class (US):
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The follow-on class of US torpedo boat destroyers was designed to address that class’s primary deficiency – namely too small a hull without adequate space for equipment and armament. Authorized in 1893 the Westcott class of six ships was very similar to the Ogden class but was longer with deeper draft and was nearly 65% heavier in full load displacement, but was more successful. Laid down in 1894, the ships were launched during 1896 and joined the fleet by late 1897. The new class consisted of the Westcott, Teller, Paige, Jefferson, Barker, and Holcomb. They carried hull numbers TBD-7 to TBD-12.

The Westcott class was 197 feet long overall, with a 20 foot beam and a nominal draft of 7 feet. They displaced 540 tons normal and 605 tons full load. Armament consisted of six 6-pounders located fore and aft and two mounts each port and starboard. Torpedo armament was the same as in the Ogden class – two single 18” torpedo tubes amidships with ten reloads. Two quad-expansion engines producing a total of 9,420 horsepower propelled these ships to a rated speed of 25 knots. Larger coal bunkers increased range to 3,000 nautical miles. Normal crew complement was 64.

Westcott and her sisters were also stationed primarily with the Gulf Fleet after entering service and saw limited action in the Central American Crisis. During the Western Pacific War they were forward based in the Hawaiian Islands and were used primarily as patrol craft. In the February 11th, 1908, battle off Oahu, all six ships engaged the Confederate protected cruisers Daphne and Achilles, sinking the former and severely damaging the latter with repeated torpedo attacks. USS Paige was sunk and the other five ships were damaged to varying degrees; Teller and Holcomb seriously. They were eventually repaired, however, and re-joined the fleet by the beginning of 1909.
The five surviving ships were re-classed as destroyers (DD prefix – same hull numbers) under the 1918 revision to the USN’s classification scheme but were not refit as a cost-saving measure. Decommissioned in 1921, they were declared surplus and were transferred to the Peruvian Navy the following year.

Richardson class (US):
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The Richardson class was the last group of US torpedo boat destroyers to utilize the original Ogden class design. The first “production” class of TBD’s built for the Navy a total of twelve were authorized in early 1894. They were built in two batches; Richardson, Hughes, Nielson, Hamlin, Carlson, and Davis were laid down in 1895 and Blakely, Chadwick, Mosley, Adamson, Ross and Leavitt a year later. They were longer and heavier than the Westcott’s and were characterized by a long low deck-house aft of the funnels which served as torpedo stowage. Design speed remained 25 knots but range was improved. They carried hull numbers TBD-13 to TBD-24.

The Richardson class was 225 feet long overall, with a 22 foot beam and a nominal draft of 7 feet. They displaced 685 tons normal and 767 tons full load. Armament consisted of two new 3”/45 Mk.1’s fore and aft and two 6-pounders amidships – all in single mounts. Three 18” torpedo tubes – one to port and starboard and the third on a swivel mount located on the quarter-deck were carried – along with twelve reload torpedoes. Two quad-expansion engines producing a total of 10,070 shaft horsepower were installed and range was 3,300 nautical miles on 184 tons of coal. Normal crew complement was 76.

Commissioned between 1898 and 1899, these ships were split between the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets for most of their careers and saw their first action in the Western Pacific War during which USS Hamlin (TBD-16) was sunk. Re-classed as destroyers (DD prefix – same hull numbers) in 1918, four; Richardson, Hughes, Nielson, and Mosley were decommissioned in 1922, but the seven remaining ships participated in the War of the Americas – primarily as harbor and coastal patrol craft with two; USS Chadwick (DD-20) and USS Adamson (DD-22) lost during the conflict. After the war ended Carlson, Davis, Blakely, Ross and Leavitt were decommissioned by the end of 1928 and all had been broken up by 1931.

Henley class (US):
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The Henley class entered service at the turn of the 20th Century so it was fitting that they are considered by naval historians as the first “modern” US destroyers. Utilizing a new, more hydrodynamic hull design allowing higher speeds and improved range, these ships were among the most heavily armed TBD’s in the world and were among the first to carry twin torpedo launchers. Six of these advanced ships were authorized in 1896; Henley, Gardiner, Branson, Houghton, Mercer and Keating. They were assigned hull numbers TBD-25 to TBD-30.

The Henley class was 258 feet long overall, with a 23 foot beam and a nominal draft of 7.5 feet. They displaced 852 tons normal and 938 tons full load. Armament consisted of two 3”/50 Mk.2’s fore and aft and six 6-pounders in single mounts amidships. Two twin 18” torpedo tubes were carried – one swivel mount between the second and third funnel and the second on the quarter-deck, twelve Mk.4 torpedoes were carried as reloads. Rated speed was 26 knots on twin shafts produced by two 5,200 horsepower four-cylinder quad-expansion engines like previous US types, but in reality the era of the reciprocating engine was coming to an end – the Henley class would be the last US destroyers powered by them. Range was 4,000 nautical miles on 195 tons of coal. Normal crew complement was 90.

Laid down during 1897, the six members of this class were launched in 1899 and commissioned the following year and so missed the Central American Crisis. Still relatively new at the outbreak of the Western Pacific war all six were deployed to the theater as escort and patrol vessels. They quickly proved the soundness of their design – accounting for no less than ten Confederate torpedo boats without loss to themselves. In 1918 they were re-classed as destroyers and entered a two-year refit which saw their coal-fired boilers replaced with oil-burning types and their 18” torpedo launchers swapped out for twin 21” Mk.3 tubes which limited available reloads to eight due the larger dimensions of the Mk.3. In addition, they received hydrophones and depth-charges enabling them to carry out ASW missions.
The oldest destroyers still considered front-line units when the War of the Americas broke out in 1923; the Henley class was used primarily as convoy escorts, where they often encountered Confederate submarines. Again, they racked up an impressive total – sixteen CSN submarines were confirmed destroyed by Henley class ships to no losses – although USS Branson (DD-27) was severely damaged by a torpedo from CSS G.20 in 1926 and was only saved by the arrival of other US ships and the Herculean efforts of her crew.
On the whole considered “lucky” ships, the Henley’s were easily the most popular of the early US destroyer force and remained in service until the early ‘30’s, when they were finally retired in 1932. Two of these ships escaped the cutter’s torch and became museum ships – USS Gardiner (DD-36) in Bremerton, Washington, and USS Mercer (DD-29) in Boston, Massachusetts.

Next up: Confederate warships 1891-1900.

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Stealthjester


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eswube
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: April 8th, 2019, 8:20 pm
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Nice series!

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Hood
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: April 9th, 2019, 7:54 am
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Very nice additions, good to see this AU growing.

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StealthJester
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: April 14th, 2019, 10:23 pm
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Missouri Class (CSA):
[ img ]

Although revolutionary when commissioned, by 1890, the CSN’s Virginia class battleships had been outclassed by the US’s Wisconsin and Pennsylvania classes in most respects. James Baldwin, the new Confederate Secretary of the Navy, wanted to try and leapfrog the US again. When intelligence on the new Michigan class reached the CSA, Baldwin knew a larger, more advanced design would be necessary, so again the CSN turned to the Royal Navy for inspiration. The first true “pre-dreadnoughts” the Royal Sovereign class was entering service around this time and the last member; HMS Hood, was of particular interest. Hood differed from her sisters in that the main guns were installed in turrets rather than open barbettes which did result in a lower freeboard, but this was deemed acceptable. The British ships were also armed with 13.5”/30 main guns – larger than the 12” guns US capital ships carried.
Eleven British 13.5”/30 Mk.III guns were purchased – enough to arm the two ships planned plus three spares. Additional design assistance was sought, but unlike the earlier Virginias’ the new Missouri and Kentucky would be built in the CSA. At this time there was only one shipyard in the Confederacy capable of building ships of this size – Norfolk Naval Shipyard – and orders were placed early in 1890. The keel for CSS Missouri (B-3) was laid down June of that year, and CSS Kentucky (B-4) in March of 1891.

The Missouri class was dimensionally almost identical to the Royal Sovereigns’ at 380 feet in length, a beam of 70 feet, and a 28 foot maximum draft. They displaced 12,430 tons normal and 13,020 tons full load. The four turret-mounted 13.5” guns in twin turrets fore and aft were backed by ten Tredegar Mk.IV 6”/40 guns behind armored gun-ports amidships, eight 6-pounders in the upper superstructure, and three submerged 18” torpedo tubes. Two four-cylinder triple expansion engines producing a total of 10,320 horsepower drove these ships to a design speed of 17 knots – again faster than even the new US Michigan class. Range was 5,000 nautical miles on 1,330 tons of coal. Armor consisted of a 14” belt, 3” deck, 15” main turrets and barbettes, 6” secondary gun-ports and an 11” conning tower. Crew complement was 677.

Arguably the most powerful warships in the Americas when they commissioned, the new battleships were both the heaviest and longest warships in the New World at that time. Their displacement wouldn’t be exceeded until the US Ohio class entered service at the end of the decade, and their length wouldn’t be bested by another American battleship until the Vermont class entered service in 1902.
The new ships almost immediately faced their baptism of fire when the Spanish-Confederate War broke out in 1895 – Missouri barely completed trials before being posted to the Caribbean and construction was rushed on Kentucky to allow her to enter service in April of 1896 rather than fall as originally scheduled. Both ships were thus at the pivotal battle of the Surigao Strait where they engaged in a two-hour duel with the Spanish battleship Pelayo which saw all three ships damaged – Pelayo severely. Kentucky’s damage was serious enough to send her back to the CSA for repair, but Missouri remained battle worthy and accompanied the reorganized First Battle Squadron during the rest of 1896 and into 1897. At San Juan, Puerto Rico, Missouri’s accurate shooting was solely responsible for destroying the Spanish cruisers Lepanto and Reina Mercedes and along with the armored cruisers Furious and Dauntless (until she was damaged) largely responsible for the eventual Spanish defeat.
After the War, both ships continued to serve in the Gulf Squadron based in Mobile and participated in the Central American Crisis performing shore bombardment duties. By the time of the Western Pacific War in 1906, however, both ships were considered obsolete and Kentucky in particular was showing her age (a result of her hasty completion and lingering effects of her earlier battle damage). Relegated to second-line duties in 1906, the pair served largely as coastal defense vessels and saw no combat.
Following the armistice in 1908, Missouri became a training ship and was converted to oil-burning boilers in 1915. Kentucky’s deteriorating condition, however, led to her being placed in reserve pending a thorough inspection. The costs of reconstructing the battleship proved prohibitive and she remained in ordinary for another six years before being sold for scrap in 1921. Missouri meanwhile had been stripped of armament and converted to a depot/crane ship – renamed Ouachita to release the name for a new battleship – and served in this capacity for another twenty years until – completely worn out – she was decommissioned and expended as a target in 1940.

Next: Confederate armored cruisers.

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StealthJester
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: April 20th, 2019, 11:03 pm
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Furious Class (CSA):
[ img ]

Originally proposed in 1888 as counters to the US Montpelier class, the first Confederate armored cruisers went through a number of design changes before it was decided to enlist the aid of a British shipbuilder for the class ship – which would serve as a model for her home-built sisters (a similar arrangement would later see the Japanese battlecruiser Kongo built in the UK and her sisters in Japan). J & G Thompson, Clydebank, was eventually chosen and the keel for what would become CSS Furious (AC-1) was laid down in May of 1890. By the time she was launched in September of 1892, her sister-ships CSS Dauntless (AC-2), and CSS Audacious (AC-3) had been laid down in Charleston and Galveston, respectively. Furious commissioned with the CSN in 1893 while Dauntless and Audacious commissioned in 1895.

The Furious class was 360 feet long overall, had a beam of 65 feet and a 25 foot draft. They displaced 7,860 tons normal and 8,350 tons full load. They were armed with two Tredegar Mk.I 9.2”/40 guns fore and aft (modeled on similar British weapons) and were the last major Confederate vessels to use open barbettes. The secondary battery consisted of twelve Mk.IV 6”/40’s in four twin “stacked” and four single casemates. Additionally, the ships carried eight 6-pounders and two submerged 18” torpedo tubes. They were powered by two triple-expansion engines producing a total of 14,320 horsepower giving the new cruisers a top speed of 20 knots. Range was 5,500 nautical miles. Armor consisted of a 6” belt, 3” deck, 9” main barbettes, 5” casemates and a 5” conning tower. Crew numbered 480.

Commissioned in the months before the outbreak of the Spanish-Confederate War, all three ships of this class were heavily involved in the fighting and proved to be well-designed and effective warships – their only significant shortcoming was their open main weapon barbettes – as Dauntless proved at the Battle of San Juan where her forward 9.2” gun was put out of action by a direct hit by a Spanish shell. Post-battle analysis showed that had the shell struck at a steeper angle it may have penetrated into the handling room below deck and likely would have touched off the forward magazine – destroying the ship.
Despite this, however, all three served as active combatants for the next nineteen years, albeit in coastal defense roles during the Western Pacific War. In 1916, the class was withdrawn from service and placed in reserve. Furious and Dauntless were sold off for scrapping by 1918, but Audacious was converted between 1919 and 1921 as the Confederate Navy’s first submarine tender. Renamed CSS Gazelle (QDS-1) the ship would serve in this capacity throughout the War of the Americas and into the postwar period – although under the Treaty of Montreal the CSN was prohibited submarines, which meant the ship underwent another less extensive rebuild during 1930, emerging as a destroyer tender and re-designated QDD-2. Gazelle served only another seven years before budgeting cutbacks saw her decommissioned and scrapped beginning in 1937.

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Stealthjester


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StealthJester
Post subject: Re: War of the Americas RebootPosted: April 27th, 2019, 5:40 am
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Courageous Class (CSA):
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The follow-on to the highly successful Furious class were designed to out-class any US cruiser then in service and were state of the art when commissioned at the beginning of the 20th Century. Showcasing the CSN’s doctrine of quality over quantity, the new Courageous class was highly respected by friend and foe alike and served for nearly thirty years as front-line units. Authorized in early 1895, three ships were built to this advanced design; Courageous (AC-4), Fearless (AC-5), and Victorious (AC-6). The first two were laid down during 1896 and the third a year later. Courageous and Fearless both commissioned in 1899 and Victorious in 1900.

The Courageous class was 410 feet long overall, had a beam of 67 feet and a 27 foot maximum draft. They displaced 10,960 tons normal and 11,700 tons full load. They were armed with four Tredegar Mk.II 9.2”/40 guns in twin turrets fore and aft, a secondary battery of four Mk.I 7.5”/40’s in single turrets and eight Mk.IV 6”/40’s in single casemates. Additionally, the ships carried eight of the new Mk.I 3”/40 anti-torpedo boat guns in deck-mounts and three submerged 18” torpedo tubes. Quad-expansion steam engines producing 16,900 horsepower maintained the 20 knot maximum speed of the earlier Furious class with an improved range of 6,000 nautical miles. Armor consisted of a 7” belt, 3” deck (average), 10” main turrets and barbettes, 9” secondary turrets, 6” casemates and a 7” conning tower. Crew complement averaged 615.

After entering service the new cruisers played important roles in the Western Pacific War; where their long range was a critical factor. Involved in nearly every major battle, the ships were formidable opponents – although one was lost; CSS Victorious was sunk off Guam in the fall of 1907. After the war the two surviving ships continued in the peacetime fleet – being refit with oil-burning boilers in 1916. With the outbreak of the War of the Americas in 1923, the pair again found themselves in the thick of things – CSS Fearless being sunk with heavy loss of life in August of 1926 during the brutal series of battles over the hotly contested Chesapeake Bay – and CSS Courageous being heavily damaged in the US air raid on Norfolk in October of the year. Repaired and returned to service only a few weeks before the end of the conflict, Courageous remained in active service only two more years before being placed in reserve. An attempt by Chile to purchase the ship fell through and she was eventually scrapped by 1931.

Cheers!
Stealthjester


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