The next addition of battleships to our navy consisted of the three vessels of the “Alabama” class, namely, the “Alabama,” “Wisconsin,” and “Illinois.” These vessels were built respectively at the. Cramps' shipyard, at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, and at Newport News. In one respect they hark back to the “Iowa,” for, like her, they have a good freeboard, being provided with a forecastle deck with a height of about 20 feet above the water-line, this freeboard being continued to the aftermost main turret, where it is reduced by the height of one deck to a freeboard of about 13 feet. The displacement is about the same as that of trie “Kearsarge” class, and with 11,207 horse-power they developed on trial about 17 knots. The armor plan is similar to that of the “Kearsarge,” consisting of a waterline belt extending from the after main turret to the bow, 16% inches thick amidships, 4 inches at the bow. Above this is a wall of armor, extending to the upper deck amidships, which is 5 % inches in thickness, and on the main deck this armor is pierced to carry eight 6-inch guns in casemates. Two 6-inch guns are mounted in casemates in the bow, and on the upper deck in casemates are carried four other 6-inch guns, twoon each broadside. The main battery consists of four 13-inch guns, carried in turrets of 14-inch armor, above barbettes of 15-inch armor. In the armament of these ships the government made a rather surprising departure from the previous battleships of our navy, by discarding the 8-inch gun altogether. In the six battleships which preceded them the 8-l.nch gun was, perhaps, the most striking characteristic of the armament, serving to distinguish our battleships from those of other navies, in which Displacement, 11,540 tons. Speed, 16.9 knots. Bunker Capacity, 1,591 tons. Armor: Belt, 16).2 inches to 4 inches ; turrets, 15 inches to 17 inches ; barbettes, 15 inches ; deck: flat, inches, slopes, 3 inches to 5 inches. Batteries: Four 13-inch B. L.; four 8-inch B. L.; fourteen 5-inch R. F.; twenty 6-pounders ; eight l-pounders ; foul' Colts ; two 3-inch field guns. Torpedo Tubes,4. Complement, 589. FIRST.CLASS BATTLESHIP “KENTUCKY.” SISTER SHIP “ KEARSARGE.' Copyright by Loeffler. Displacement, 11,552 tons. Speed, 17.2 knots. Bunker Capacity, 1,310 tons. Armor: Belt, 16).2 inches to 4 inches ; turrets, 14 inches; barbettes, 15 inches ; deck : fiat, inches, slopes, 3 inches to 4 inches. Batteries : Four 13-inch B. L.: fourteen 6-inch R. F.; sixteen 6-pounders; six l-pounders; four Colts; two 3-inch field guns. Torpedo Tubes,4. Complement, 590. FIRST-CLASS BATTLESHIP “ALABAMA.” ALSO “ WISCONSIN “ AND “ILLINOIS." Copyright 1907 by Loeffler. Displacement, 12,500 tons. Speed, 18 knots. Bunker Capacity, 2,00 tons. Armor (Krupp): Belt, 11 inches to 4 inches; turrets, 12 inches to 11 inches ; barbettes, 12 inches ; deck: fiat, inches, slopes, 3 inches to 4 inches. Armament: Four 12-inch 4O-caliber, sixteen 6-inch 50-caliber R. F.; six 3-inch R. F.; eight 6-pounders: six l-pounders ; two Colts ; two 3-inch field guns. Torpedo Tubes, 2 submerged. Complement, 551. FIRST-CLASS BATTLESHIP “OHIO.” ALSO “MAINE” AND “MISSOURI." the usual plan was to carry four main 12-inch or 13- inch guns, and a secondary battery of 6-inch guns. But the United States battleships, in addition to the main and secondary batteries, mounted a powerful intermediate battery of 8-inch pieces. The disappearance of the 8-inch gun was greatly regretted by a majority of the officers of our navy, and its reappearance, later, in the “Georgia” class was hailed with profound satisfaction. The “Alabama” class, also, are readily distinguished from otheK battleships of the navy, by the fact that the boilers are placed fore and aft, and the two elliptical smokestacks are placed side by side, an arrangement which had been followed in the battleships of the “Royal Sovereign” class of the British navy
This article was originally published with the title "The First-Class Battleship “Alabama”—Class of Three Ships"