The battleships “South Carolina” an:l “Michigan,” now being built by the Cramps and the New York Shipbuilding Company respectively, are of particular interest, because they were the first of our battleships to be designed after the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese war, and therefore embody the experience gathered during the naval operations of that great conflict. The most marked departure from the battleships which preceded them is seen in the complete elimination of the intermediate and secondary batteries which, in our earlier ships, consisted of a large number of 5-inch, 6- inch, 7-inch, or 8-inch guns. The customary number of guns in the main battery has been doubled, so that instead of four 12-inch, the new ships carry eight such guns mounted in four turrets. A numerous battery of small rapid-fire guns is retained, as a defense against torpedo- boat attack. In length and displacement the new vessels are approximately the same as the “Connecticut,” though their beam is 4 feet greater and they have half a knot more speed. In general appearance they will differ greatly from any of our other battleships. The most noticeable novelty will be the four 12- inch gun turrets mounted in pairs on the axial line of the ship, two forward and two aft of the superstructure. Since the displacement of the ships was limited by act of Congress to 16,000 tons, it became necessary, in order to save weight, to reduce the freeboard of the ship by the depth of one deck (say about 8 feet) from the after end of the superstructure to the stern. The two turrets of each pair are mounted in close proximity to each other, one pair of guns being given sufficient command to fire across the roof of the turret of the adjoining pair. Experiments carried out on a full-sized scale have shown that there is no blast interference, and this being the case, all of the 12-inch guns are available for training through a maximum arc of fire of 270 degrees. It is possible to fire four guns ahead or astern, and eight on each broadside. The forward guns have a command of 24 feet and 32 feet respectively, and the after pair of 24 and 16 feet respectively. It is unfortunate that our naval constructors did not have more displacement at command, so that they could have carried the after four guns to the same height as the forward Guns, and have given the ships a higher freeboard and engine power sufficient to bring their speed up to that of the latest “Dreadnought” type, say 20 to 21 knots . The armor protection has been carefully worked out, its most important element being a water-line belt 11 inches thick, 8 feet wide, and over 300 feet in length. The casemate armor above this will be nearly 300 feet long, 8 feet in width, and By Captain Alfred T. Mahan, U.S.N. interesting account of the change from Sail to Steam Power in our Navy, with many anecdotes and personal reminiscences. 3 3 3 Price, - $2.25 net HARPER&BROTHERS, Publishers from S to 10 inches in thickness. With this is associated triangular athwartship armor 10 inches thick, fitted at the after end of the armor belt between the protective deck and the extension of the flat protective deck There will be an athwartship armor bulkhead 10 inches thick, extending entirely across the ship at the forward end of the belt. Other armor bulkheads will connect with the outside casemate plating. The advantage of carrying all of the 12-inch guns on the center line of the ship is seen in the fact that the “South Carolina” and “Michigan” have the same broadside fire as the ' “Dreadnought,” which is of more than 1 2,000 tons greater displacement.
This article was originally published with the title "First-Class Battleships “South Carolina” and “Michigan”"