USS Louisiana (BB-19)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Louisiana.
Louisiana
Louisiana
Career (United States)
Name: USS Louisiana
Namesake: State: Louisiana
Ordered: 7 February 1903
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Company
Laid down: 7 February 1903
Launched: 27 August 1904
Sponsored by: Juanita Lalande
Commissioned: 2 June 1906
Decommissioned: 20 October 1920
Struck: 10 November 1923
Fate: Sold November 1, 1923 and broken up for scrap.
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: Connecticut-class battleship
Displacement: 16,000 tons (14,500 tonnes)
Length: 454.3 ft (138.5 m)
Beam: 76.9 ft (23.4 m)
Draft: 24.5 ft (7.5 m)
Speed: 18 kn (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Complement: 827 officers and men
Armament:
  • 4 × 12 in (300 mm)/45 cal guns
  • 8 × 8 in (200 mm)/45 cal guns
  • 12 × 7 in (180 mm)/45 cal guns
  • 20 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 cal guns
  • 12 × 3 pounders (47 mm (1.9 in))
  • 2 × 1 pounders (37 mm (1.5 in))
  • 4 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes
Armor:
  • Belt: 6–11 in (152–279 mm)
  • Barbettes: 6–10 in (152–254 mm)
  • Turret Main: 8–12 in (203–305 mm)
  • Turret secondary: 7 in (178 mm)
  • Conning tower: 9 in (229 mm)

USS Louisiana (BB-19) was a Connecticut-class battleship of the United States Navy. She was the third ship to carry her name.

Louisiana was laid down on 7 February 1903 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company of Newport News, Virginia; launched on 27 August 1904; sponsored by Miss Juanita LaLande and commissioned on 2 June 1906, Captain Albert R. Couden in command.

Design[edit]

One of the bow 12-inch (300 mm) main guns being installed at the New York Navy Yard on January 31, 1906.

The design that evolved into the Connecticut-class battleship was conceived on March 6, 1901 when Secretary of the Navy John Davis Long asked the Board on Construction for a study of future battleship designs. When this was completed, different bureaus supported different designs.[2]

The Board on Construction favored a ship on which 6-inch (150 mm) and 8-inch (200 mm) guns would be replaced by 24 newly designed 7-inch (180 mm) guns, which were the most powerful guns with shells that could be handled by one person.The shell for the 7-inch guns weighed 165 lb (75 kg), whereas a shell for the 6-inch gun weighed about 100 lb (45 kg), and the shell for the 8-inch gun weighed about 250 lb (110 kg). These 250 lb (110 kg) shells could only be moved by "power or several men", making the 7-inch gun "the largest [gun] capable of really rapid fire in the context of existing technology". In addition, the ships would mount twenty-four 3-inch (76 mm) anti-torpedo boat guns.[2] The main armor would be thinner overall because it would be distributed over the entire length. The Board's favored design would result in a ship weighing 15,560 long tons (15,810 t) displacement.[3]

The Bureau of Construction and Repair, however, proposed a modified Virginia-class battleship with sixteen 8-inch guns, twelve in turrets and four in casemates; the casemate guns were later eliminated, leaving twelve 8-inch, twelve 6-inch, and eight 3-inch guns on a ship of 15,860 long tons (16,110 t). This design was later rejected because the reduction in anti-torpedo boat guns was too drastic.[3]

Although one of the two designs had been rejected, the debate did not end. In November, the Board decided on a different plan, with eight 8-inch guns mounted in four waist turrets and 12 7-inch guns. This arrangement was chosen because the 8-inch gun could penetrate medium armor on battleships, and the 7-inch gun was capable of rapid fire. The new design also had heavier armor and a thicker belt than the first design. Two ships of this plan, Connecticut and Louisiana, were authorized on July 1, 1902, and three more were added on March 2, 1903: Vermont, Kansas, and Minnesota. New Hampshire was authorized on April 27, 1904.[3] The long gap was the result of the two Mississippi-class battleships that were built between Minnesota and New Hampshire; the Mississippi were a congressional attempt to "prune back the growth of battleship size and cost" by severely limiting their displacements. As they had to cut down the Connecticut design by about 20%, the designs were not very successful, and the ships were sold about six years after being commissioned.[4]

Pre-World War I[edit]

Following her shakedown off the New England coast, Louisiana sailed 15 September for Havana in response to an appeal by Cuban President Estrado Palma for US help in suppressing an insurrection. The new battleship carried a peace commission, composed of Secretary of War William Howard Taft and Assistant Secretary of State Robert Bacon, which arranged for a provisional government of the island. Louisiana stood by while this government was set up and then returned the commission to Fortress Monroe, Virginia.

Louisiana embarked President Theodore Roosevelt at Piney Point, Maryland on 8 November for a cruise to Panama to inspect work on the construction of the Panama Canal. Returning she briefly visited Puerto Rico, where the President studied the administration structure of the newly installed American colonial government there, before debarking him at Piney Point on 26 November.

In 1906–1907, Louisiana visited New Orleans, Havana, and Norfolk, Virginia; maneuvered out of Guantánamo Bay: and engaged in battle practice along the New England coast. On 16 December 1907, she departed Hampton Roads as one of the 16 battleships President Roosevelt sent on a voyage around the world. The cruise of the "Great White Fleet" deterred hostile actions toward the United States by other countries, primarily Japan; raised American prestige as a global naval power; and impressed upon Congress the importance of a strong Navy and a thriving merchant fleet. During the circumnavigation, Louisiana visited Port of Spain; Rio de Janeiro; Punta Arenas and Valparaíso, Chile; Callao, Peru; San Diego and San Francisco; Honolulu; Auckland; Sydney; Tokyo; Manila; Amoy, China; Hong Kong; Manila; Colombo; Suez Canal and Port Said; Smyrna; and Gibraltar before returning home on 22 February 1909.

After overhaul and maneuvers, Louisiana joined the 2nd Division of the Atlantic Fleet on 1 November 1910 and sailed for European waters to visit English and French ports before returning to the United States in the spring of 1911. During the summer, she paid formal visits to the north European ports of Copenhagen; Tralhafuet (Trälhavet), Sweden; Kronstadt, Russia; and Kiel, Germany, and was inspected by King Frederick VIII of Denmark, King Oscar II of Sweden, Kaiser William II of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

From 6 July 1913 through 24 September 1915, Louisiana made three voyages from east coast ports to Mexican waters. Her first—from 6 July – 29 December 1913—had her standing by to protect American lives and property and to help enforce both the Monroe Doctrine and the arms embargo which had been established to discourage further revolutionary disturbances in Mexico. In October 1913 she was serving as flagship to Admiral Frank F. Fletcher at Veracruz.[5]

Her second voyage—from 14 April – 8 August 1914—came at a time when tension between Mexico and the United States was at its peak during the shelling and occupation of Veracruz.

Louisiana sailed a third time for Mexican waters again to protect American interests, from 17 August – 24 September 1915.

From May 1914 to June 1916 the ship was captained by George Franklin Cooper.

World War I[edit]

Returning from the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana was placed in reserve at Norfolk and, until the United States entered World War I, she served as a training ship for midshipmen and naval militiamen on summer cruises.

During the war, Louisiana was assigned as a gunnery and engineering training ship, cruising off the middle Atlantic coast until 25 September 1918. At that time she became one of the escorts for a convoy to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Beginning on 24 December, she saw duty as a troop transport, making four voyages to Brest, France to carry troops back to the United States.

After the War[edit]

Following her final trip back from Brest, Louisiana reported to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she was decommissioned on 20 October 1920 and was sold for scrap 1 November 1923. The figurehead was preserved and is on display at City Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

References[edit]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

  1. ^ Chesneau, Koleśnik & Campbell 1979, p. 143.
  2. ^ a b Friedman (1985), p. 43
  3. ^ a b c Friedman (1985), p. 46
  4. ^ Friedman (1985), pp. 45 and 47.
  5. ^ A Diplomat's Wife in Mexico by Edith O'Shaughnessy, ch.1
  • Alden, John D. (1989). American Steel Navy: A Photographic History of the U.S. Navy from the Introduction of the Steel Hull in 1883 to the Cruise of the Great White Fleet. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-248-6. 
  • Chesneau, Roger; Koleśnik, Eugène M.; Campbell, N.J.M. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 
  • Friedman, Norman (1985). U.S. Battleships, An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-715-1. 
  • Reilly, John C.; Scheina, Robert L. (1980). American Battleships 1886–1923: Predreadnought Design and Construction. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-524-8. 

External links[edit]