Find a Security Clearance Job!

Military


BM-7 Arkansas

The ARKANSAS class was the last group of monitors to be constructed for the U.S. Navy although the navies of Great Britain and Italy built and used monitors for shore bombardment during World War I and the former used them during World War II as well. Single turreted monitors, they mounted the most modern heavy guns in the U.S. Navy at the time they were built, 12 inch 40 calibre weapons.

In the spring of 1898, when the country found itself at war and its seaports liable to attack, the old Ericsson monitors were hastily fitted for service and distributed as harbor-defense vessels along the Atlantic coast. This awakened public interest in the uses of monitors, and Congress, as if to make amends for neglect during the long years of peace, immediately directed the building of four harbor-defense vessels of the pure monitor class, of small size, and carrying only one turret.

In the Naval Appropriation Bill of 1898 four other single-turreted monitors, of small size and eleven feet draft, were provided for. These were to sit low in the water, having a 20-inch freeboard, while their light draft would enable them to navigate shallow waters and avoid more powerful antagonists. Their speed was to be the same as that of the Puritan, and while they would have only half as many large guns, their secondary batteries would be fully up to date and make them nearly as powerful as the Terror and the others of her class.

These were named Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, and Wyoming (later renamed Ozark, Tonopah, Talahassre, and Cheyenne, respectively). The use of states as namesakes was indicative of their status as capital ships, equal in rank to battleships and armored cruisers. Along with the later, they were renamed for cities when the battleship emerged as the sole capital ship type.

As designed, they were 252 feet long, 50 feet beam, and had a mean draft of between twelve and thirteen feet. The turret, of elliptical pattern, is placed well forward and mounts two 12-inch rifled guns. Unlike the original monitors, these have a superstructure deck and a military mast, on which would be placed four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, three 6-pounders, and four 1-pounders and a numerous battery of machine-guns.

The maximum calculated speed is only 11 knots, but this is sufficient if the vessels were restricted to their proper sphere as harbor-defenders, and not sent on long sea-voyages or put to chasing blockade-runners. A large deck-house or superstructure abaft the turret furnished a position for the smaller guns, but prevented the stern fire of the turret guns ; its shape, however, is such that the latter can be trained all around the horizon except over an arc of sixty degrees directly astern.

These monitors (numbers 7-10, respectively) were built under the 1898 ship construction program. Connecticut (Monitor # 8) was renamed Nevada in January 1901, after launching but more than two years before completion. Built by the Union Iron Works at San Francisco, California, USS Wyoming was the only one of her four-ship class to be constructed on the West Coast. Her keel was laid on 11 April 1899 and she was launched on 8 September 1900, sponsored by Miss Hattie Warren, daughter of a U.S. Senator from the state of Wyoming. Following outfitting and trials she was placed in commission at the Mare Island Navy Yard on 8 December 1902.

The ARKANSAS class did not see any combat during World War I and instead served as submarine tenders. Monitors found their final employment as submarine tenders in World War I for which their low freeboard hulls made them well suited. It is significant to note, however, that in this humble capacity they were ministering to the needs of that type of craft which had logically replaced them for as initially envisaged monitors were designed to combine heavy striking power with concealment and the presentation of a negligible target area.

The ARKANSAS class was the last group of monitors to be constructed for the US Navy although the navies of Great Britain and Italy built and used monitors for shore bombardment during World War I and the former used them during World War II as well. The ARKANSAS class did not see any combat during World War I and instead served as submarine tenders, for which their low freeboard hulls made them well suited. It is significant to note, however, that in this humble capacity they were ministering to the needs of that type of craft which had logically replaced them for as initially envisaged monitors were designed to combine heavy striking power with concealment and the presentation of a negligible target area.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list