Warship Wednesday March 14

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steampunk navies of the 1880s-1930s and will profile a different ship each week.

– Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, March 14

Here we have the USS Massachusetts

USS Massachusetts (Battleship No. 2) was an Indiana-class battleship and the second United States Navy ship comparable to foreign battleships of the time. Authorized in 1890 and commissioned six years later, she was a small battleship, though with heavy armor and ordnance. The ship class also pioneered the use of an intermediate battery. She was designed for coastal defense and as a result her decks were not safe from high waves on the open ocean.

Massachusetts served in the Spanish–American War (1898) as part of the Flying Squadron and took part in the blockades of Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. She missed the decisive Battle of Santiago de Cuba after steaming to Guantánamo Bay the night before to resupply coal. After the war she served with the North Atlantic Squadron, performing training maneuvers and gunnery practice. During this period she suffered an explosion in an 8-inch gun turret, killing nine, and ran aground twice, requiring several months of repair both times. She was decommissioned in 1906 for modernization.

Although considered obsolete in 1910, the battleship was recommissioned and used for annual cruises for midshipmen during the summers and otherwise laid up in the reserve fleet until her decommissioning in 1914. In 1917 she was recommissioned to serve as a training ship for gun crews during World War I. She was decommissioned for the final time in March 1919 under the name Coast Battleship Number 2 so that her name could be reused for USS Massachusetts (BB-54). In 1921 she was scuttled in shallow water off the coast of Pensacola, Florida and then used as a target for experimental artillery. The ship was never scrapped and in 1956 it was declared the property of the state of Florida. Since 1993 the wreck has been a Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve and is included in the National Register of Historic Places. It serves as an artificial reef and diving spot.

Displacement:     10,288 long tons (10,453 t; 11,523 ST)
Length:     350 ft 11 in (106.96 m)
Beam:     69 ft 3 in (21.11 m)
Draft:     27 ft (8.2 m)

Two vertical inverted triple expansion reciprocating steam engines
4 double ended Scotch boilers later replaced by 8 Babcock & Wilcox boilers
9,000 ihp (6.7 MW) (design)
10,400 ihp (7.8 MW) (trial)


15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph) (design)
16.2 kn (30.0 km/h; 18.6 mph) (trial)

Range:     4,900 nmi (9,100 km; 5,600 mi)
Complement:     473 officers and men

4 × 13″/35 gun (2×2)
8 × 8″/35 gun (4×2)
4 × 6″/40 gun removed 1908
12 × 3″/50 gun added 1910
20 × 6-pounders
6 × 1 pounder guns
5 × Whitehead torpedo tubes

Armor:     Harveyized steel

Belt: 18–8.5 in (460–220 mm)
13″ turrets: 15 in (380 mm)
Hull: 5 in (130 mm)

Conventional nickel-steel

Tower: 10 in (250 mm)
8″ turrets: 6 in (150 mm)
Deck: 3 in (76 mm)

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