Tuesday, October 29, 2013

USS Iowa BB53: The battleship that almost was.

BB53 would have been the third battleship to carry the name of USS Iowa. Her keel was laid but her construction was never finished.

General Characteristics/Statistics:
Class: South Dakota
Name: USS Iowa BB53
Operator: United States Navy
Builder: Newport News Shipping and Drydock Company
Preceded by: Colorado Class
Succeeded by: North Carolina Class
Type: Battleship
Displacement: 43,200 tons standard/47,000 tons full
Length: 684 feet
Beam: 105 feet
Draft: 33 feet
Speed: 23 knots
Shaft Horsepower: 60,000
Engine Manufacturer: G.E.
Engine Type: Turbine, electric drive
Screws: 4
Compliment: 1351
Armament: 12 x 16 inch/50 caliber, 16 x 6 inch/53 caliber guns, 4 x 3 inch/50 caliber guns, 2 x 21 inch torpedo tubes
Armor: Belt: 8-13.5 inch, Barbettes: 13 inch, Turret face: 18 inch, Turret sides: 9-10 inch, Turret top: 5 inch, Turret rear: 9 inch, Conning tower: 11.5 inch, Decks: 3.5 inch


April 30, 1919 - USS Iowa BB4 was renamed to Coast Battleship No. 4 to free her name for one of the six new South Dakota Class Battleships to be constructed.

May 17, 1920 - Keel laid down.

1920 to 1922 - Work progressed on the ship.

February 8, 1922 - At 31.8% complete work was suspended.

August 17, 1923 - Construction was cancelled in accordance with the terms of the Washington Treaty limiting Naval armaments.

November 8, 1923 - Sold for scrap.

The main guns were transferred to the U.S. Army to replace existing heavier guns as coastal batteries. The secondary guns were transferred to other U.S. Navy ships in the fleet.

It would be another 20 years before the next USS Iowa is launched.

Previous articles:
USS Iowa 1868 - 1883
USS Iowa, BB4
USS Iowa, BB4: A Service of Silver, A Tribute to the USS Iowa

Info source:
Wikipedia: USS Iowa BB53
Combie.net: USS Iowa BB53

USS Iowa, BB4: A Service of Silver, Tribute to the USS Iowa

On display at the Iowa State Historical Building in Des Moines is the 40 piece silver silver service designed for and used on the USS Iowa BB4.

Previous articles:

USS Iowa, BB4

USS Iowa, BB4 was the second U.S. Navy ship so named for the state of Iowa. The men who served on her served their ship and the United States with distinction and honor. BB4 lived up to her namesake and made the people of Iowa proud. A model of the USS Iowa BB4 is on display at the State Historical Building in Des Moines, Iowa.

General Characteristics/Statistics:
Name: USS Iowa (BB-4): Battleship No. 4
Type: Pre-dreadnought battleship
Operator: United States Navy
Builder: William Cramp and Sons
Cost: $3 million
Maiden Voyage: Atlantic Coast
Preceded by: Indiana Class
Succeeded by: Kearsarge Class
Displacement: 11,346 long tones, 11,528 ft
Length: 360 ft
Beam: 72.1 ft
Draft: 24 ft
Installed Power: 11,000 ihp
Propulsion: 2 Vertical reciprocating steam engines with 2 screws
Compliment: 727 officers and men
Armament: 4 x 12 inch /35 guns, 8 x 8 inch /35 guns, 6 x 4 inch/40 guns, 20 x 6 pounders, 4 x 1 pounders, 4 x 14 inch torpedo tubes
Armor: belt: 4-14 inch, barbettes: 12.5-15 inch, main turrets: 15-17 inch, secondary turret: 4-8 inch, conning tower: 10 inch

August 5, 1893 - Keel is laid.

March 28, 1896 - Completed and launched.

June 16, 1897 - Commissioned.

1898 - USS Iowa is put in service and assigned to the Atlantic Fleet with Captain Robley D. "Fighting Bob" Evans in command.

May 28, 1898 - Ordered to blockade duty of of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish American War.

June 2, 1898 - USS Iowa was part of a squadron of warships that participated in Sampson's Blockade.

July 3, 1898 - USS Iowa was the first to fire on escaping Spanish ships in the Battle of Santiago. The Iowa along with 4 other U.S. Navy ships chased the Spanish cruisers. During the battle a fire broke out on Iowa's lower decks, possible from enemy fire. Fireman Robert Penn extinguished the blaze and was later awarded the Medal of Honor. The USS Iowa also helped rescue Spanish officers and crew from the ships the U.S. Navy fleet fired on and either ran aground or sunk. One of the captured officers was Spanish Captain Don Antonio Eulate. Captain Eulate tried to offer his sword to Captain Evans as a gesture of surrender. Captain Evans declined and returned the sword to Captain Eulate. They were prisoners of war until a prisoner exchange took place.

August 20, 1898 - USS Iowa arrived in New York City. While being towed  by four tug boats a hawser broke and the Iowa came very near to colliding with cruiser, Chicago. A new hawser was hurriedly run out to Iowa's bow and attached avoiding the collision.

September 1, 1898 - USS Iowa's engineering crew are honored in New York for their incredible work and keeping the ship operating during the Battle of Santiago.

October 12, 1898 - USS Iowa departs New York City for the Pacific. She sailed though the Straights of Magellan at Cape Horn.

December 17, 1898 - USS Iowa was stationed in Valparaiso, Chile.

December 26, 1898 - USS Iowa was stationed in Callao, Peru. The crew of the Iowa and another U.S. Navy ship gave on board, self created performances for audiences.

February 7, 1899 - USS Iowa arrived in San Francisco, California. While in port the crew presented Captain Evans with a different sword with the inscription: "To our hero-Too just to take a fallen foes- We give this sword instead." Captain Evans thanked the crew for their bravery and respect in a published reply.

June 11, 1899 - USS Iowa entered dry dock in Bremerton, Washington for a refit.

For the next 2 years USS Iowa served in the Pacific Squadron under the command of Captain Goodrich. She performed training cruises, drills and target practice.

August 1, 1900 - British cruiser HMS Phaeton narrowly avoided colliding with Iowa during dense fog near Victoria, British Columbia Canada.

1900 to 1902 - At some point during these years a manhole plate of a boiler blew. The determined action of five crewmen saved the ship from further disaster.

1902 - USS Iowa left the Pacific to become the flagship of the South Atlantic Squadron.

February 1903 - Arrived in New York.

June 30, 1903 - Decommissioned.

December 23, 1903 - Recommissioned and joined the North Atlantic Fleet Squadron.

January 25, 1905 - Five of the USS Iowa's crew: Fireman 1st Class Frederick Behne, Seaman 1st Class Heinrich Behnke, Fireman 1st Class DeMetri Corahorgi, Watertender Patrick Bresnahan, Boilermaker Edward Floyd and Chief Watertender Johannes J. Johannessen  received the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions when the manhole plate of a main boiler blew open.

June 23, 1905 - USS Iowa was service in the newly built floating dry dock Dewey.

June 30, 1905 - USS Iowa participated in the John Paul Jones ceremonies.

1905 to 1907 - USS Iowa remained in the North Atlantic.

1906 to 1907 - Future Admiral Raymond A Spruance served on the USS Iowa.

July 6, 1907 - USS Iowa is placed in reserve.

July 23, 1908 - USS Iowa is decommissioned in Philadelphia.

May 2, 1910 - USS Iowa is recommissioned and a new "cage"mainmast is installed. She served as an at sea training ship of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet for Naval Academy Midshipmen.

May 30, 1911 - USS Iowa helped rescue passengers from the sinking Ward liner Merida after it collided with the United Fruit Company's steamship Admiral Farragut in dense fog. All 319 of Merida's passengers remained alive.

1911 to 1914 - USS Iowa made training cruises to Northern Europe.

October 10 to 15, 1912 - USS Iowa participated in the Naval Review at Philadelphia.

May 27, 1914 - Decommissioned in Philadelphia.

April 28, 1917 - USS Iowa is place on limited commission. She served as a receiving ship in Philadelphia for six months.

1917 to 1918 - USS Iowa was sent to Hampton Roads for the duration of World War I. She served as a training vessel for men who served on other ships in the fleet. She also assigned to guard duty at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay.

March 31, 1919 - USS Iowa is decommissioned for the final time.

April 30, 1919 - USS Iowa was renamed to Coast Battleship No. 4 to free her name for one of the six new South Dakota Class Battleships under construction at the time.

1919 to 1920 - As Coast Battleship No.4 she became the first radio controlled target ship to be used in a fleet exercise. At the Philadelphia Navy Yard workers removed the ships guns, sealed compartments and installed water pumps to slow the sinking process and enable a longer target session.

1920 - She ran trials off Chesapeake Bay with Battleship Ohio serving as control ship.

April 1922 - Coast Battleship No. 4 returned to active service to Hampton Roads, Virginia to take part in gun fire exercises with the mine layer Shawmut as a control ship.

March 23, 1923 - Coast Battleship No. 4 traveled through the Panama Canal to take part in combined fleet maneuvers. This was the ships final voyage to the Pacific Ocean. High ranking Navy officials, members of congress and newspaper correspondents sailed to Panama on the USS Henderson to watch the experimental firing. First the Iowa was hit with 5 inch batteries of the USS Mississippi from 8,000 yards away. Next she was pounded by thirty 14 inch shells fired from a greater distance. Finally she was bombarded by a salvo of 3 dozen heavier projectiles and she sank in the Gulf of Panama.

Photo's not taken by the author:

Photos of model of USS Iowa BB4 taken by author at the State Historical Building in Des Moines, Iowa:

Previous article:
USS Iowa 1868 - 1883

Info source:
Wikipedia: USS Iowa BB4
U.S. Navy Ships: USS Iowa Battleship #4