So like any salty sea dog, I have a number of illustrations upon my skin in the best traditions of Danish kings and scurvy-ridden members of Neptune’s realm. One I had applied this week I thought was kind of unique. While I have sea monkeys, dragons and the like, I always wanted a ship in a bottle as well, and finally figured out just which ship I wanted in a glass.
Recognize the battleship? Of course, it was the first “warship” I fell in love with– the battleship game piece from Monopoly! I remember, um, borrowing it from the game set at my grandfather’s at about age 6 and keeping it as a good luck charm in my pocket daily for years. As a reference, Parker Brothers has used roughly the same piece since 1937 and it appeared in both the strategy games Conflict and Diplomacy as well over the years.
Anachronistic when introduced in the Depression, the piece is closest to the Navy’s earliest 1890s-era pre-dreadnoughts of the Indiana and Iowa classes, with main battery turret guns forward and aft, a tall mast forward, and two funnels.
As all of those vessels had left the fleet in the 1920s– replaced by actual dreadnoughts– they were conspicuously old-fashioned even when Monopoly first debuted.
Kind of like myself.
Artwork by John Hamilton from his publication, “War at Sea.” Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Gallery:
“Believed to detail the first naval gunfire bombardment of the Japanese mainland on July 14, 1945, by Task Unit 34.8.1. (TU 34.8.1) ships included the battleships: USS South Dakota (BB-57), USS Indiana (BB-58), Massachusetts (BB-59) along with the heavy cruisers: USS Quincy, USS Chicago, and nine destroyers.”
The tale of U.S. battleships at sea in WWII is often focused on the bookends of Pearl Harbor vets and the Iowa-class, with the four ships of the South Dakota class often forgotten (although two endure as floating museum ships), so it is nice to see them remembered.
Here is a Kodachrome of the actual event:
Bombardment of Kamaishi, Japan, 14 July 1945: The U.S. Navy battleship USS Indiana (BB-58) fires a salvo from her forward 16″/45 guns at the Kamaishi plant of the Japan Iron Company, 400 km north of Tokyo. A second before, USS South Dakota (BB-57), from which this photograph was taken, fired the initial salvo of the first naval gunfire bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands. The superstructure of USS Massachusetts (BB-59) is visible directly behind Indiana. The heavy cruiser in the left center distance is either USS Quincy (CA-71) or USS Chicago (CA-136). Due to the Measure 22 camouflage, the cruiser is probably Quincy, as Chicago is only known to have been painted in Measure 21.
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 21
Here we have the USS Indiana
USS Indiana (Battleship No. 1) was the lead ship of her class and the first battleship in the United States Navy comparable to foreign battleships of the time. Authorized in 1890 and commissioned five years later, she was a small battleship, though with heavy armor and ordnance. The ship 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.
Indiana served in the Spanish–American War (1898) as part of the North Atlantic Squadron. She took part in both the blockade of Santiago de Cuba and the battle of Santiago de Cuba, which occurred when the Spanish fleet attempted to break through the blockade. Although unable to join the chase of the escaping Spanish cruisers, she was partly responsible for the destruction of the Spanish destroyers Pluton and Furor. After the war she quickly became obsolete—despite several modernizations—and spent most of her time in commission as a training ship or in the reserve fleet, with her last commission during World War I as a training ship for gun crews. She was decommissioned for the third and final time in January 1919 and was shortly after reclassified Coast Battleship Number 1 so that the name Indiana could be reused. She was sunk in shallow water as a target in aerial bombing tests in 1920 and her hulk was sold for scrap in 1924.
Displacement: 10,288 tons standard
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)
9,738 ihp (7.262 MW) (trials)
15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph) (design)
15.6 kn (28.9 km/h; 18.0 mph) (trials)
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
4 × 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)
Tower: 10 in (250 mm)
8″ turrets: 6 in (150 mm)
Deck: 3 in (76 mm)