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Union Irons Works; San Francisco, California

 

Aft ViewFrom this page, you will be able to see plans of the USS Oregon, the famed Spanish-American War battleship.

On June 30, 1890, Congress authorized the building of three heavily armored and armed battleship. The ships, at the request of Congress were mainly to be used for coastal defense, but did possess adequate stability in the event of extended journeys for offensive operations.

The Indiana class of battleships were the first United States warships to mount the main battery on the centerline. The second class battleships Maine and Texas had their main batteries offset port and starboard. These were the last ships to have that arrangement as it was found that the full weight of the main battery could not be brought to one side.

 

Above: The USS Oregon arrives in New York harbor with the U.S. Fleet after seeing combat in Cuba. This image is from a stereo card that was popular in that time.

The USS Indiana and USS Massachusetts were built by Cramp Shipyards of Philadelphia, and the USS Oregon was built by Union Iron Works of San Francisco. Between the two builders, there were minor differences in the class. The Indiana and Massachusetts had rounded after bridges, whereas the Oregon had a concave after bridge. Also the Oregon's 13" turrets were powered by hydraulic mechanisms and the Indiana's and Massachusetts' turrets were powered by steam mechanisms. When the Indiana class of battleships were completed, they represented the entry of the United States as a possessor of a first class navy.

Many historians will say that the Indiana's were mediocre battleships if that. While this may be true, the performance of Indiana's, particularly the Oregon, during the Spanish-American War was excellent. One must remember that the United States was new to the arena of capital ship construction. The lessons learned enabled ship builders to improve each design and build more effective battleships. This eventually resulted in the superior design of the USS Iowa (BB 61) class.

 

Dry Dock

Courtesy: The Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing

The USS Oregon in the New York shipyard receiving a much needed overhaul and hull scrapping after seeing action in the waters off Santiago de Cuba.

 

Builder Trial Results

Modifications to the USS Oregon

 

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