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ACR-3 / CA-3 Brooklyn

In 1891 congress provided but for one addition to the navy-the protected cruiser Minneapolis - a sister ship of the commerce destroyer Columbia. In 1893 however congress added the armored cruiser Brooklyn and the firstclass battleship Iowa to the navy. Both ships represented a distinct advance in naval construction. The Iowa had a displacement of 11,340 tons as against the 10,288 tons of the Indiana, Massachusetts, and Oregon. Both ships rendered valuable service in the Spanish-American war. The Brooklyn was larger and more heavily armed than the New York, the only armored cruiser in the navy at that time. An improved version of the New York-class armored cruiser, USS Brooklyn was the first American ship whose contract specified that all major components be made in the United States rather than being imported from abroad-the rule before the country's industrial maturity. The Brooklyn was influenced by French design, and was extensively modified in 1908.

Though her hull was distinguished by a pronounced tumblehome and ram bow, Brooklyn's design was innovative in several respects. More heavily armed than other cruisers, she carried eight rather than four 6-inch guns, mounted in turrets forward, aft, and two wing turrets amidships. This configuration enabled her to train six guns forward, aft, or on either broadside. In addition, Brooklyn was the first ship to employ electricity to turn the turrets, which were previously trained by either hydraulic or steam power. The experiment was a great success and electric-powered turrets were adopted for subsequent warships.

THE Act of July 19, 1892, provided for an additional armored cruiser of the general type of the NEW YORK, fixing the cost limit, exclusive of armament, at $3,500,000. The Navy Department, in carrying this Act into effect, did not adhere closely to the type of the NEW YORK. As offered for the consideration of bidders, the new plan, officially known as " Armored Cruiser No. 3," represented a ship 400 feet, 6 inches long ; 64 feet, 8 inches beam, and 41 feet, 3 inches moulded depth; having at 24 feet mean draught a displacement of 9,150 tons.

The BROOKLYN was powered with four triple-expansion engines working in pairs on twin-screws. The dimensions and arrangement of the working parts of the machinery were similar to those of the NEW YORK. The battery consisted of eight 8-inch guns mounted in four turrets, two on the middle line, forward and aft, and two amidships sponsoned on the sides ; ten 5-inch guns mounted in sponsons on the gun-deck similar to the 4-inch gun mounts of the NEW YORK, and sixteen 6-pounder rapid-fire and machine guns.

Her protection was a nickel-steel deck, 6 inches thick on the slope, and 3 inches on the flat ; a water-line belt of 3-inch plates backed by a double streak of hull plating extended over the whole of the machinery space. Her 8-inch guns were protected by 10-inch barbettes, enclosing the bases of revolving turrets 6 inches thick. The sponsons for her 5-inch guns were 4 inches thick, and those for the rapid-fire guns 2 inches.

The BROOKLYN was 20 feet longer than the NEW YORK, and her midship section is modified by an extreme tumble home of her top sides for a considerable distance amidships, to facilitate the construction and support of the barbettes and turrets for her four 8-inch guns on the broadsides. She also adds a top-gallant forecastle to the plan of the NEW YORK, and the barbette and turret for her forward pair of 8-inch guns are carried up through that deck so as to fire over it, thus bringing the axis of that pair of guns about thirty feet above the water-line. Her military masts were larger than those of the NEW YORK, the foremast in particular being carried up to the first fighting top the full size of the conning tower.

Another peculiarity of the BROOKLYN was the extraordinary height of her smoke-stacks, the tops of which were 100 feet above the lower grate-bars. The object of this device was to secure approximately the benefits of forced draught without air-pressure in the fire-rooms.

The distinguishing feature of the BROOKLYN is her enormous berthing space for the crew. The NEW YORK was exceedingly commodious and well ventilated, having two complete living decks - the berth-deck and gun-deck - extending the whole length of the ship; but the BROOKLYN exceeds her in this respect not only by twenty feet additional length on both these decks, but by a top-gallant forecastle 119 feet long, the space being clear fore and aft, except that taken up by the forward barbette, which occupies a circle on the middle line 19 feet, 8 inches outside diameter. Under the berthing-space regulations of the Navy the BROOKLYN could easily berth 1,000 men, or about double the number of her regular crew. This characteristic gave her unusual value for war service on distant stations, by enabling her to carry comfortably a considerable reserve force of enlisted men for a considerable reserve force of enlisted men for any squadron of which she may be flagship.

Though the machinery of the BROOKLYN is similar in type to that of the NEW YORK, there were some modifications worth noting. All the main columns are of cast steel, instead of cast iron as in the NEW YORK, whereby their weight was reduced about twenty-five per cent. The boiler arrangement differed entirely from that of the NEW YORK. The BROOKLYN had four double-ender, four-furnace boilers 18 feet long by 16 feet 3 inches diameter ; one double-ender 20 feet long by 16 feet 3 inches, and two single-enders 9 feet, 5 inches long by 16 feet, 3 inches. The total grate surface was 1,017.76, and the total heating surface was 33,415 square feet, a ratio of nearly 33 to 7. She had no donkey boilers above the protective deck, steam for the auxiliary machinery being supplied from the single-ender main boilers. This arrangement involved 33,415 square feet of total heating surface, as against 31,005 square feet, and 1,018 feet of grate surface, as against 988 for the main boilers in the NEW YORK. The bunker capacity was about the same, but the BROOKLYN had arrangements for increased stowage of coal on the protective deck, making her maximum coal capacity about 300 tons greater.

The official speed trial of the BROOKLYN took place on Thursday, August 27, 1896, on the measured course off- the New England coast, between Cape Ann and Cape Porpoise. The weather was fine and the sea smooth, making the conditions most favorable. The first run over the course was made in 1 hour, 54 minutes, and 42.52 seconds. The turn, made without change in the speed of the engines, occupied 20 minutes and 53.85 seconds. The return run was made in 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 26.34 seconds. A tidal correction, applied to the 83-mile course, reduced the latter to 82.953 nautical miles. The machinery worked smoothly and without water on any journal, except that circulating through the bearings. Indicator diagrams were taken every half hour from each main cylinder, and once an hour from the main air and circulating pumps. No difficulty was found in keeping the steam pressure up to the desired point without running the blowers at too high a speed. The ease with which the steam pressure was maintained was no doubt due, in a great measure, to the high smoke-pipes. All boilers were in use and under forced draught. The performance of the BROOKLYN was a mean speed for four hours of 21.9 knots, exceeding the guarantee by 1.9 knots, and earning a premium of $350,000.

Soon after the trial she was commissioned by Captain Francis A. Cook, U. S. N., and her first service was to represent the navy in the international naval demonstration at Portsmouth, England, on the occasion of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

In the Spanish War the BROOKLYN was Flagship of the second in command of the North Atlantic Squadron, Commodore and Acting Rear-Admiral Winfield Scott Schley. When the Spanish fleet came out of Santiago, Rear Admiral Schley was temporarily in command by reason of the absence of the Commander in Chief previously mentioned. The direction taken by the Spanish fleet brought all the powers of the BROOKLYN and of her officers and crew into full requisition, and it was universally conceded that her part in the action was the most conspicuous and effective of all, she being the only ship whose personnel suffered any casualties whatsoever ; also the only one to any appreciable extent damaged by the enemy's fire. Her successful pursuit and destruction of the COLON - a ship although somewhat smallerthe COLON - a ship although somewhat smaller still much more heavily armed and armored - was the most striking event of the day. She was vigorously and effectively supported by Captain Charles E. Clark in the Battleship OREGON.

After the peace the BROOKLYN was sent to reinforce the Asiatic fleet, and was the Flagship of the Commander-in-Chief there.

Between 1908 and 1914 she was refitted, the only major modifications being the addition of fire control and the removal of the torpedo tubes. By the end of WW1, all of the 5" guns had been removed and two 3" added. From January 1920 she was flagship of the Pacific Fleet destroyer squadrons until being decommissioned on 9th March 1921. She was sold for scrapping on 20th December 1921.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2011 17:36:26 ZULU