USS South Carolina (BB-26)

Uss south carolina bb.jpg
USS South Carolina (BB-26)
History
United States
Name:South Carolina
Namesake:State of South Carolina
Builder:William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia
Yard number:346
Laid down:18 December 1906
Launched:11 July 1908
Sponsored by:Frederica Ansel
Commissioned:1 March 1910
Decommissioned:15 December 1921
Struck:10 November 1923
Identification:Hull symbol: BB-26
Fate:Sold for scrap, 24 April 1924
General characteristics
Class and type:South Carolina-class battleship
Displacement:
  • 16,000 long tons (16,257 t) (standard)
  • 17,617 long tons (17,900 t) (full load)
Length:
Beam:80 ft 3 in (24 m)
Draft:24 ft 6 in (7 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion:
Speed:18.5 kn (21 mph; 34 km/h)
Range:6,950 nmi (7,998 mi; 12,871 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement:869
Armament:
Armor:

USS South Carolina (BB-26), the lead ship of her class of dreadnought battleships, was the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the eighth state. She was also the first American dreadnought; though she did not incorporate turbine propulsion like HMS Dreadnought, South Carolina's design included revolutionary aspects as well, primarily the superfiring arrangement of her main battery. The ship was laid down in December 1906 and launched in July 1908 before being commissioned into the US Atlantic Fleet in March 1910.

South Carolina spent much of her career in the Atlantic and Caribbean patrolling the eastern coast of the United States. She made two trips to Europe in 1910 and 1911 and participated in a visit by a German cruiser squadron in 1912. In 1913–14, she frequently patrolled the coast of Mexico to protect American interests during the Mexican Revolution, and in April 1914 she took part in the United States occupation of Veracruz. After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, South Carolina trained sailors for the rapidly expanding wartime navy, and in late 1918, she was assigned to convoy escort duty. An accident with her propellers in September kept her from active service for the remainder of the conflict. In 1919, she made four trips to bring American soldiers back from Europe. Midshipmen training cruises followed in 1920–21, but the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 cut her career short. She was broken up for scrap as part of the arms limitation treaty, starting in mid-1924.

Design

Line-drawing of the South Carolina class

South Carolina was 452 ft 9 in (138 m) long overall and had a beam of 80 ft 3 in (24 m) and a draft of 24 ft 6 in (7 m). She displaced 16,000 long tons (16,257 t) as designed and up to 17,617 long tons (17,900 t) at full combat load. The ship was powered by two-shaft vertical triple-expansion engines rated at 16,500 ihp (12,304 kW) and twelve coal-fired Babcock & Wilcox boilers, generating a top speed of 18.5 kn (34 km/h; 21 mph). The ship had a cruising range of 5,000 nmi (9,260 km; 5,754 mi) at a speed of 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph). She had a crew of 869 officers and men.[1]

The ship was armed with a main battery of eight 12-inch (305 mm)/45[A] caliber Mark 5 guns in four twin gun turrets on the centerline, which were placed in two superfiring pairs forward and aft. The secondary battery consisted of twenty-two 3-inch (76 mm)/50 guns mounted in casemates along the side of the hull. As was standard for capital ships of the period, she carried a pair of 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes, submerged in her hull on the broadside. The main armored belt was 12 in (305 mm) thick over the magazines, 10 in (254 mm) over the machinery spaces, and 8 in (203 mm) elsewhere. The armored deck was 1.5 to 2.5 in (38 to 64 mm) thick. The gun turrets had 12 inch thick faces, while the supporting barbettes had 10 inch thick armor plating. Ten inch thick armor also protected the casemate guns. The conning tower had 12 inch thick sides.[1]