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ACR-2 New York / CA-2 Rochester

ACR-2 New York was authorized in 1888 and was the first American armored cruiser. New York began what may be termed the second epoch of naval reconstruction. Prior to the NEW YORK, 4,500 tons displacement and 10,000 indicated horse-power had been the maximum of aspirations in cruising ships. The (old) MAINE and TEXAS, authorized earlier, were somewhat larger than that, but one of them was designed as a battleship pure and simple, while the other was a sort of compromise between a second-class battle-ship and an armored cruiser ; so that their existence did not impair the force of the NEW YORK.

In 1888 Congress authorized six more protected cruisers and one more armored cruiser, the New York. All were to be fitted out with the newly adopted type of twin screw vertical triple expansion engines. The Act authorizing the construction of the NEW YORK was approved September 7, 1888, and provided for an armored vessel of about 7,500 tons displacement, to have the highest speed attainable by that class of ships, and to cost, exclusive of armament, not more than $3,500,000. The election of that year resulting in a change of administration, Secretary Whitney left this ship for his successor to deal with.

Plans for a ship of 8,150 tons displacement were prepared. Much deliberation was observed in designing this ship, so that the contract for her construction was not signed until August 28, 1890, or within ten days of two years from the approval of her authorizing act. The contract was awarded to the Cramp Company on the Department-s plans, except that the boiler arrangement was modified from two sets three abreast to three sets two abreast, and the boilers themselves were slightly enlarged. The contract price was $2,985,000, the speed requirement 20 knots per hour for four consecutive hours, and the premium $50,000 for each quarter knot in excess of the guaranty.

The NEW YORK was 380 feet, 6 inches long, 64 feet, 10 inches extreme beam, and, at her normal displacement, drew 23 feet, 3 inches of water. Her battery is composed of six 8-inch guns, four of which are protected by barbettes and shields of heavy armor, and twelve 4-inch guns, while her heavy protected deck and armor in the wake of the engine spaces form additional defence. She was not only constructed to destroy commerce, but to destroy commerce-destroyers, and of these there were few who would be able to meet her on equal terms.

Her main battery was six 8-inch B.L. rifles on the upper deck, four of which were mounted in pairs in two turrets forward and aft on the middle line and two in barbettes on the broadside amidships, and twelve 4-inch rapid fire guns mounted in sponsons on the gun-deck ; her secondary battery being eight 6-pounder and four 1-pounder rapid fire guns and four Gatlings in her fighting tops. She had no sail-power, but was equipped with two military masts, each of which carries two fighting-tops, and a crow-s nest surmounted by signal-poles.

Her armor was a water-line belt of 4-inch nickel steel extending for about half the length of the vessel amidships, and 8 feet, 6 inches wide. Her protective deck is 3 inches thick on the flat and 6 inches on the slope, the top layer of the slope being of 3-inch nickel-steel plates. Her gun-protection was 10-inch barbettes, surmounted by 5-inch revolving turrets for the 8-inch guns, and 4-inch sponsons for the 4-inch rapid-fire guns, all of nickel steel.

The design of the NEW YORK was a considerable departure from the policy hitherto pursued with the new Navy. Her predecessors had been either fast protected cruisers like the BALTIMORE, or comparatively slow armored ships like the MAINE. The NEW YORK presented in essential features a combination of the two, but excelling both. While her armor has been lightened considerably as compared with the MAINE, her speed was increased about five knots, but she still retained effective protection to her vital parts and strong cover for her main battery. Her accommodations for both officers and enlisted men and her general equipment were among the most elaborate and complete ever designed, and there was no vessel of her class and rate in any foreign navy to compare with her in efficiency and economy.

The ship was divided into 184 water-tight compartments, and there was a double bottom 3 feet 6 inches in depth amidships, divided into eleven water-tight compartments, and extending from frame 27 to frame 81, and about 29 feet outboard at the midship section. There was also a coffer dam on each side outboard, 3 feet 6 inches wide, between the protective and berth decks, extending the entire length of the ship. Aft of the machinery spaces the coffer dams extend up only about half way to the berth-deck. The coffer dams are filled with cellulose. There were fore-and-aft passages on each side, one two feet wide next the coffer dams, and one four feet wide below the protective deck underneath the coffer dams, and both extending the entire length of the machinery spaces. Both passages are divided up by water-tight bulkheads, and together with the coffer dams form practically an extension of the double bottom, as the bottoms of the lower passages were the tops of the outboard extremities of the double bottom. In effect the double bottom is further extended by water-tight compartments forward and aft beneath the ram-plate and steering-engine flats, which serve also as trimming tanks.

There were 63 coal bunkers, two tiers of 10 each on each side and one midship bunker above the protective deck, and one tier of 1 1 on each side below the protective deck. Their total capacity in tons of 42 cubic feet was 1,279.66. The bunkers can be filled either through adjustable chutes which deliver into the inboard upper bunkers from the spar-deck, or through coaling ports on the berth-deck which deliver into the outboard upper bunkers and into the passages. There are hinged sections of the protective deck underneath the coaling ports for filling the lower bunkers. The coal in the upper bunkers is struck below through these openings in the protective deck. There are elaborate overhead trolleys throughout the bunkers. There are no outside ash-chutes, the ashes being discharged through inside pipes which lead down from the gun-deck near the side and pass through the side near the berth-deck.

Her power consisted of four vertical, triple-expansion engines, working in pairs on two shafts, with disconnecting gear for ordinary cruising. In the New York America possessed the fastest steel-armored cruiser. She was the first of the new cruisers to be tried at sea, off the coast of New England, between Cape Ann and Cape Porpoise, under the new standard contract-trial conditions. She developed speed of 21 knots on 17,401 total horse-power and displacement of 8,480 tons.

The noteworthy feature of the NEW YORK's machinery is the arrangement of four separate engines in indedendent water-tight compartments working in pairs on two shafts, and provided with sliding collar-couplings by means of which the forward engine on each shaft can be engaged with or disengaged from the after engine in a few minutes. These couplings are located in the after engine-rooms, but can be operated from either room at will. The coupling-length of shafting passes through the water-tight bulkhead separating the forward and after engine compartments in a stuffing-box. The manipulating gear of all four engines is inboard, and the arrangement of the compartment doors is such that when they are all open the engineer in charge can observe the operation of all four gears from a station at the middle intersecting door. Collective I. H. P. of all main engines, air and circulating pumps 17,025. Total I. H. P. of all machinery in use 17,401.

In surveying the NEW YORK's performance, the attention of engineers was first drawn to the enormous slip of her screws at maximum power. It was nearly twenty-five per cent. as a mean of the four-hour run, and in the shoalest water it was considerably more than twenty-five per cent. The speed curve, when it reached the highest point, became so nearly a straight line that its sweep was imperceptible to the naked eye, showing that the maximum of screw propulsion for that form of immersed body in that depth of water had been nearly reached. The experienced engineers who conducted the trial estimated that not less than 12,000 additional indicated horse-power would have been required to drive her one knot faster than she was then running.

The radius of action of the New York and her speed were the same as those of Cruiser No. 6, the Olympia. Cruiser No. 6, whose contract speed is twenty knots for four hours in the open sea, carries 400 tons of coal, at the designed water-line, but has a bunker capacity of 1,300 tons, which gives her an estimated endurance at ten knots, with full coal supply, of 13,000 miles. The New York, having the same speed, carries 750 tons of coal at the designed water-line, and has a bunker capacity of 1,500 tons, giving her an estimated endurance, under similar condidions, of 13,500 miles. While the English proceeded upon the theory that one ton of coal will drive the Blake~ ten miles at ten knots speed, the American estimate was that one ton would drive the New York nine miles at the same speed.

The New York was rated by the Americans as an armored cruiser. She was of a type somewhat between British first-class cruisers of the Edgar class and the Blake and Blenheim, being practically of the same length and breadth as the latter. Compared with the Edgar class, this vessel was much more powerfully armed and much better protected.

The NEW YORK having been completed and the Secretary of the Navy notified by the Cramp Company of readiness for the contract trial, a Board, of which Admiral George E. Belknap was President, assembled at the Shipyard on May 10, 1893, to conduct the trial, and on May 16th the ship sailed for Boston, where she arrived the 18th. The measured course off the south shore of Long Island on which the PHILADELPHIA was tried having proved inadequate, the Department selected a new one between Cape Ann and Cape Porpoise, on the New England Coast, where a distance of 41.6 knots land Coast, where a distance of 41.6 knots was triangulated, and marked by terminal buoys. The depth of water on this course, as shown by the hydrographic chart, varies from 23 to 57 fathoms. The trial draught of the ship being 24 feet or four fathoms, it follows that the water she had to run in varied from less than six times to fourteen times her draught. The highest authorities on propulsion and resistance agree that for high speeds (say above 16 knots) a vessel should have not less than twenty times her own draught of water under her to guarantee her best performance ; that is to say, the best ratio of speed to power developed.

This fact was emphasized by the experience of the NEW YORK to an extent which attracted the attention of the members of the Board, as exhibited by an extract from the elaboration of their Report, by P. A. Engineer, E. R. Freeman, and Assistant-Engineer M. A. Anderson, U. S. N., published in the "Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers." The synopsis of the steam log having shown that the maximum indicated horse-power was attained with less than the maximum of revolutions, the engineers naturally sought the cause, with the following results, as stated by themselves : "It will be observed that there is an apparent anomaly in the data of the maximum performance, the revolutions being less than the average for the whole four hours. An investigation of this led to the discovery that the data for another period in the trial showed the same anomaly, and, furthermore, that during these two periods, the ship passed over the same part of the course. The anomaly was then very reasonably explained by the fact that the depth of water, at this particular part of the course (as made by the ship) was from fifteen to twenty fathoms less than elsewhere. Thirty -seven fathoms was the depth (according to the chart) at this part."

At the beginning of the war with Spain, the NEW NORK was selected as the flag-ship of the North Atlantic Squadron, at first under command of Rear Admiral Montgomery Sicard, who was soon succeeded by Commodore and Acting Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, her commander being Captain French E. Chadwick. On the 3d of July, when Cervera-s squadron attempted to escape from the Port of Santiago, the NEW YORK was some distance off the station, the Admiral being on his way to confer with the Commander-in-Chief of the land forces. This unfortunate circumstance deprived the NEW YORK of the opportunity of participating actively in the engagement, though she arrived upon the scene soon after the last of the Spanish ships - the COLON - had been beached by her commander to avoid capture.

After the war the NEW YORK remained the flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron. Between 1905 and 1909 she was refitted. The armament was changed to four 8"/45 guns in twin turrets, ten 5"/50 guns and eight 3"/50 guns. The torpedo tubes were removed and the boilers were replaced with twelve Babcock & Wilcox units.

By the end of WW1, two of the 8" and six of the 3" guns had been removed. On 16th February 1911 she was renamed Saratoga, and again renamed Rochester on 1st December 1917. In 1927, six boilers and a funnel were removed, reducing output to 7700ihp. She decommissioned on 29th April 1933, and was eventually scuttled in Subic bay in the Philippines on 24th December 1941 to avoid capture by the Japanese.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2011 17:36:22 ZULU