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USS Connecticut (BB-18)

Pre-Dreadnought Battleship

United States | 1906

"As a turn-of-the-century Pre-Dreadnought battleship, USS Connecticut BB-18 served only a few decades with the U.S. Navy."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/17/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Prior to the British Royal Navy's HMS Dreadnought rewriting the blueprint of what constituted a battleship (by way of its wholly-steam-based power scheme and "all-big-gun" armament), what would become the "Pre-Dreadnought" existed as the ultimate ocean-going warship solution. In the United States, the Connecticut-class was drawn up as a dimensionally larger version (with slightly updated gun arrangement) of the preceding Virginia-class hulls and preceded the Mississippi-class in turn. Six Connecticut-class battleships were ordered to the standard and these were constructed from 1903 until 1908 with commissioned service spanning 1906 until 1923. All six were retired with none lost to combat action or accident.

USS Connecticut (BB-18) naturally became the lead ship of the class, built by the Brooklyn Naval Yard with her keel laid down on March 10th, 1903. Launched on September 29th, 1904, she was formally commissioned into service with the USN on September 29th, 1906. Before long, sisters USS Louisiana, USS Vermont, USS Kansas, USS Minnesota, and USS New Hampshire all followed in the latter half of the decade.

The vessel's design centered around a proven balance of twin masts bookending three inline smoke funnels at midships. The beam was wide enough so as to accommodate the superstructure and armament while providing the needed sea-worthiness for Blue Water operation. Main turrets were set fore and aft while the superstructure featured secondary guns of smaller-caliber at all four corners and close-in weapons were positioned all along the main hull line.

As designed, displacement reached 16,000 tons under normal loads and this increased to 18,000 tons under full loads. Overall length was 456.3 feet with a beam of 76.9 feet, and a draught down to 24.6 feet. Power included 12 x Babcock & Wilcox boiler units developing 16,500 horsepower to 2 x Triple-expansion steam engines driving 2 x Screws astern. All told, the warship could make headway at 18 knots under ideal conditions.

Aboard was a complement of 827 officers and enlisted personnel.

The armament suite involved 4 x 12" (305mm) /45 caliber Mack 5 series guns in two twin-gunned electrically-driven primary turrets. This was backed by 8 x 8" (203mm) /45 caliber guns in four twin-gunned electrically-driven secondary turrets. Following this were 12 x 7" (178mm) /45 caliber tertiary guns with 20 x 3" (76mm) /50 caliber guns. Close-in work would be handled by 12 x 3-pounder and 4 x 1-pounder guns. As with most other turn-of-the-century warships, Connecticut was given 4 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes as an alternative ranged solution.

As with the earlier Virginia-class ships, Connecticut continued the mixed three-caliber main gun battery approach but revised the original 6" (152mm) weapons to be 7" (178mm).

Armor protection at the belt reached 6 to 11 inches with the barbettes given up to 10 inches each. The main turrets were covered over in 5 to 12 inches of armor with the secondary guns protected by 7 inches. The conning tower held a maximum armor thickness of 9 inches.

When compared to contemporaries emerging from European shipyards, both armor and armament were consistent.

Once in service, USS Connecticut served as the flagship of the "Great White Fleet" in promoting American naval power to potential global adversaries in a voyage spanning December 1907 until February 1909 under President Theodore Roosevelt's order. Prior to America's involvement in World War I (1914-1918), she added Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns for defense from air attack in 1916. At the conclusion of hostilities, she was used to ferry troops and supplies from Europe back stateside. From 1921 to 1922, the vessel was arranged with the Pacific Fleet until decommissioned in 1923.

With the restrictions enacted under the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, USS Connecticut was no longer viable for near-future USN actions thus her now-stripped hulk was sold for scrap on November 1st, 1923. Her name was then struck from the Naval Register on November 10th - bringing about her formal end.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for USS Connecticut (BB-18).
12 x Babcock & Wilcox boiler units feeding 2 x Triple-expansion steam engines developing 16,500 horsepower to 2 x Shafts astern.
18.0 kts
20.7 mph
Surface Speed
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of USS Connecticut (BB-18).
456.3 ft
139.08 meters
O/A Length
76.9 ft
23.44 meters
24.5 ft
7.47 meters
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of USS Connecticut (BB-18).
4 x 12" (305mm) /45 caliber Mark 5 guns in two twin-gunned primary turrets.
8 x 8" (203mm) /45 caliber guns in four twin-gunned secondary turrets.
12 x 7 (178mm) /45 caliber tertiary guns.
20 x 3" (76mm) /50 caliber guns.
12 x 3-pounder guns.
4 x 1-pounder guns.
4 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes.
Ships-in-Class (6)
Notable series variants as part of the USS Connecticut (BB-18) family line as relating to the Connecticut-class group.
USS Connecticut (BB-18); USS Louisiana (BB-19); USS Vermont (BB-20); USS Kansas (BB-21); USS Minnesota (BB-22); USS New Hampshire (BB-25)
Global operator(s) of the USS Connecticut (BB-18). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.

Shipbuilder(s): Brooklyn Navy Yard / New York Navy Yard - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States ]
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Image of the USS Connecticut (BB-18)
Image from the Naval Historical Center; Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to seaborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
USS Connecticut (BB-18) Pre-Dreadnought Battleship appears in the following collections:
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