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USS Colorado ARC-7 - History

USS Colorado ARC-7 - History


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USS Colorado ARC-7

Colorado II

(ARC-7: dp. 13,780, 1. 604'; b. 69'6~", dr. 24'1"; s. 22
k.; cpl. 825, a. 4 8", 14 6", 18 3", 2 18" tt.; cl.
Pennsylvania)

The second Colorado (CA-7) was launched 26 April 1903 by William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Co., Pennsylvania, Pa.- sponsored by Miss C. M. Peabody, and commissioned 19 January 1905, Captain D. Kennedy in command.

Joining the Atlantic Fleet 11 October 1905, Colorado trained and took part in drills along the east coast and in the Caribbean, as well as participating in ceremonies until 7 September 1906, when she sailed for duty on the Asiatic Station. After cruising to Japan and China to represent American interests in the Far East, she returned to the west coast 27 September 1907 for exercises along the Californian and Mexican coasts, in the Hawaiian Islands, and off Central and South America. She served again in the Far East between September 1909 and February 1910.

Ceremonial Visits and receptions for dignitaries highlighted the next 2 years, and from November 1911 to July 1912 Colorado returned to the Far East for duty. Between August and November, she sailed to land and support expeditionary troops at Corinto, Nicaragua then patrolled Mexican waters until placed in reduce commission at Puget Sound Navy Yard 17 May 1913.

Once more in full commission from 9 February 1915 to 26 September, she continued on active duty as flagship of the Pacific Reserve Fleet, patrolling in Mexican waters during the revolution and then returned to reserve status. She was renamed Pueblo 9 November 1916 while in overhaul, after which she returned to Mexico, to blockade interned German ships. She returned to full commission upon the entry of the United States into World War I, and as flagship of the Scouting Force patrolled the South Atlantic, protecting shipping, paying diplomatic calls to South American ports, and preventing the sailing of German and Austrian ships interned at Bahia, Brazil.

Pueblo returned to Norfolk 18 January 1918, and between 5 February and 16 October made seven voyages to escort convoys carrying men and supplies to England. After carrying the Brazilian ambassador to the United States to Rio de Janeiro, she returned to transatlantic duty, making six voyages between Hoboken and Brest, France, to bring veterans of the American Expeditionary Force home. She arrived at Philadelphia 8 August 1919 and was placed in reduced commission until decommissioned 22 September 1919.

In commission for the last time between 2 April 1921 and 28 September 1927, Pueblo served as receiving ship in the 3d Naval District. She was scrapped 2 October 1930.


PHOTOS: The USS Colorado, four ships through history

Crew on deck of U.S.S. Colorado, ca. 1861-1865, printed between 1880 and 1889.

Photo courtesy of USS Colorado Commissioning Committee

USS Colorado (1858-1876) The first USS Colorado was a 3500 ton three-masted steam frigate commissioned in 1858 and named after the Colorado River. During the Civil War she participated in the Union Navy's Gulf Blockading Squadron. She participated in the first Naval engagement of the Civil war when she attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida. She captured several vessels and engaged four Confederate steamers. In October 1864, she joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and cruised off the coast of North Carolina until 26 January 1865. During Colorado's participation in the bombardment and capture of Fort Fisher from 13 to 15 January 1865, she was struck six times by enemy fire which killed one man and wounded two. After the war she served as flagship of the European Squadron from 1865 until 1867 and from 1870 to 1873 as flagship for the RADM Rodgers squadron on the Asiatic Station. During this time she came under an unprovoked attack by Korean shore batteries then participated in a punitive expedition destroying the forts. She arrived back in New York in 1873 and after a period of decommission sailed the North Atlantic Station after which she was decommissioned for the last time in 1876.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

U.S.S. Colorado, screw steam frigate, ca. 1888-1900.

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

US sailors aboard the USS Colorado during World War One. Portsmouth, Great Britain, circa 1914-1918.

Photo courtesy of USS Colorado Commissioning Committee

The second USS Colorado was an Armored Cruiser of the 13,900 ton Pennsylvania class and was commissioned in 1905. After initial operation on the east coast she served in the Pacific alternating between the Asiatic Station and the eastern Pacific. Between August and November 1912, she sailed to land and support expeditionary troops at Corinto, Nicaragua, then patrolled Mexican waters. After a period of inactivation, she later serving as flagship of the Pacific Reserve Fleet, patrolling in Mexican waters during the revolution and then returned to reserve status. She was renamed Pueblo on 9 November 1916 to free up the name for the new battleship Colorado. After a yard period she returned to Mexico, to blockade interned German ships. After the start of WWI she served as flagship of the Scouting Force patrolled the South Atlantic, protecting shipping, paying diplomatic calls to South American ports, and preventing the sailing of German and Austrian ships interned at Bahia, Brazil. Later made seven voyages to escort convoys carrying men and supplies to England. At the end of the war she made six voyages to bring American veterans of the American Expeditionary Force home. She was placed in reduced commission and then decommissioned in September 1919. She was reactivated and served again as receiving ship in the 3d Naval District from 1921 to 1927.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The second U.S.S. Colorado, June 10, 1913.

American battleship USS Colorado being pushed into the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, May 2, 1927, where she will undergo examination in a dry dock.

Photo courtesy of USS Colorado Commissioning Committee

USS Colorado (BB-45), 1923-1947, was the lead ship of the class and was commissioned on August 30, 1923. She displaced 32,600 tons with a length of 624 feet. She served in European waters in 1923 and 24 before transferring to the Pacific. Prior to WWII she served with the Pacific fleet and helped in the search for missing aviator Amelia Earhart in 1937. She earned seven battle stars for her service in WWII. She supported operations in the Gilberts, Marshalls (Enitwetok and Kwajalein), Marianas (Saipan and Guram), Leyte, Luzon (Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf), Okinawa and Tinian. On 24 July 1944, while bombarding Tinian, she was hit by enemy shore batteries, suffering serious casualties to topside personnel. Colorado's next combat duty was off Leyte in November 1944, where she was hit by two Kamikaze suicide planes. She was tied up net to USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the signing of the surrender of Japan. She was decommissioned in 1947.

Photo by Ed Maker, The Denver Post

OCT 9 1961 - Gov. Steve McNichols, left, Looks over Bell of USS Colorado At center is Cmdr. Howard K. Hickman and, at right, John L. Griffith.

The bow section of the Virginia class attack submarine Colorado (SSN 788) is slowly rolled off the barge that transported it from Newport News Shipbuilding Monday, July 27, 2015. The Colorado will be the 15th in the Virginia class and 5th in the Block III construction featuring a re-designed bow section and will not acquire the navy designation USS until it is commissioned. The bow section arrived Friday night just as the Illinois (SSN 786), the 13th in the class, was being rolled-out of the construction building at EB to Graving Dock 3 in preparation for float-out later this summer.

The Virginia class attack submarine Colorado (SSN 788), right, is rolled to the graving dock for float-off while the South Dakota (SSN 790) awaits completion, center, and a hull section of the Vermont (SSN 792) is moved off a barge, at left, on the waterfront at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton Monday, Dec. 19, 2016.

Annie Mabus, daughter of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus christens the 15th Virginia Class, fast-attack submarine Colorado as General Dynamics Electric Boat President Jeffrey S. Geiger watches on at Electric Boat in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

Hundreds gather as General Dynamics Electric Boat hosts the Christening Ceremony for the 15th Virginia Class, fast-attack submarine Colorado at the Electric Boat campus in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

The Virginia class fast attack submarine USS Colorado passes the shore of Groton as it travels down the Thames River toward Long Island Sound on Jan. 9, 2018.


Service history

Pre-World War I

Joining the Atlantic Fleet on 11 October 1905, Colorado trained and took part in drills along the east coast and in the Caribbean — as well as participating in ceremonies – until 7 September 1906, when she sailed for duty on the Asiatic Station. After cruising to Japan and China to represent American interests in the Far East, she returned to the west coast on 27 September 1907 for exercises along the Californian and Mexican coasts, in the Hawaiian Islands, and off Central and South America. She served again in the Far East from September 1909 – February 1910. [3]

Ceremonial visits and receptions for dignitaries highlighted the next two years, and from November 1911 – July 1912, Colorado returned to the Far East for duty. Between August and November, she sailed to land and support expeditionary troops at Corinto, Nicaragua, then patrolled Mexican waters until placed in reduced commission at Puget Sound Navy Yard on 17 May 1913. [3]

Once more in full commission from 9 February-26 September 1915, she continued on active duty as flagship of the Pacific Reserve Fleet, patrolling in Mexican waters during the revolution and then returned to reserve status. [3]

World War I

She was renamed Pueblo---in order to free up her original name for use with the Colorado-class battleship USS Colorado (BB-45)--- on 9 November 1916 while in overhaul, after which she returned to Mexico, to blockade interned German ships. She returned to full commission upon the entry of the United States into World War I, and as flagship of the Scouting Force patrolled the South Atlantic, protecting shipping, paying diplomatic calls to South American ports, and preventing the sailing of German and Austrian ships interned at Bahia, Brazil. [3]

Pueblo returned to Norfolk, Virginia on 18 January 1918, and from 5 February – 16 October made seven voyages to escort convoys carrying men and supplies to England. After carrying the Brazilian ambassador to the United States to Rio de Janeiro, she returned to transatlantic duty, making six voyages between Hoboken and Brest, France, to bring veterans of the American Expeditionary Force home. [3]

Post war

Pueblo arrived at Philadelphia on 8 August 1919 and was placed in reduced commission until decommissioned on 22 September. She was redesignated CA-7 in 1920. In commission for the last time from 2 April 1921 – 28 September 1927, she served as receiving ship in the 3rd Naval District. She was scrapped on 2 October 1930. [3]


USS Colorado in the Pacific Theater

In May of 1942, she was ordered to stand guard near the Golden Gate Bridge, which she did until she departed for Fiji to help cut off further Japanese advances in the Pacific. Her presence in the Pacific became more important as American troops started to land in Tarawa, the Marshall Islands, Guam, Tinian, and Saipan.

USS Colorado (BB-45) during the bombardment of Okinawa

After suffering major damage during the shelling of Tinian, she continued her duties in the South Pacific. On November 20th, 1944, she arrived in the Leyte Gulf, supporting American landing troops. Five days later, she sustained more damage when two Kamikazes slammed into her deck. Still, she pressed on, this time sailing to Luzon in January, 1945. From the Lingayen Gulf to Okinawa, the Colorado supported American ground troops until the war’s end in August of 1945.

On October 15th, she returned to San Francisco and three months later, she was decommissioned. With no further activity planned for the USS Colorado, in 1959, she was broken down and sold for scrap, her seven battle stars providing a lasting legacy for the mighty American battleship.


U.S.S. COLORADO

USS Colorado entered service upon her commission in August 1923. After a kickoff voyage to Europe, the ship reported to the Pacific in 1924. That was her home for much of the rest of her life. She took part in various operations designed to maintain naval combat readiness for the next couple of decades. She was part of the naval visit to New Zealand and Australia in 1925. She also participated in the search for Amelia Earhart in 1937. Due to a scheduled overhaul, USS Colorado missed the attack on Pearl Harbor.

With her overhaul complete, USS Colorado patrolled the West Coast in 1942. Later that year, she reported for duty at Pearl Harbor. For the next few months, her job was to deter any further Japanese offensive actions while forces at home prepared. Beginning late in 1943, the ship participated in the invasions of Tarawa, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, the Marianas, and Tinian. USS Colorado sustained casualties at Tinian when enemy fire hit the top deck. In November 1944, she was part of the force at Leyte. During that time, two kamikaze planes hit her. However, she continued operations with action at Mindoro, Lingayen Gulf, and Okinawa. Once the war ended, the Navy decommissioned her in January 1947 and sold her for scrap in 1959.


USS Colorado ARC-7 - History

(BB-45: dp. 32,600 1. 624'6" b. 97'6" dr. 80'6" S. 21 k. cpl. 1,080 a. 8 16", 12 5", 8 3", 2 21" tt. cl. Colorado)

The third Colorado (BB-46) was launched 22 March 1921 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J., sponsored by Mrs. M. Melville and commissioned 30 August 1928, Captain R. R. Belknap in command.

Colorado sailed from New York 29 December 1923 on a maiden voyage that took her to Portsmouth, England Cherbourg and Villefranche, France Naples, Italy and Gibraltar before returning to New York 14 February 1924. After repairs and final tests she sailed for the west coast 11 July and arrived at San Francisco 16 September 1924.

From 1924 to 1941 Colorado operated with the Battle Fleet in the Pacific, participating in fleet exercises and various ceremonies, and returning to the east coast from time to time for fleet problems in the Caribbean. She also cruised to Samoa, Australia and New Zealand (8 June-26 September 1925) to show the flag in the far Pacific. She aided in earthquake relief at Long Beach, Calif., from 10 to 11 March 1933 and during an NROTC cruise from 11 June to 22 July 1937 she assisted in the search for the missing Amelia Earhart.

Based on Pearl Harbor from 27 January 1941' Colorado operated in the Hawaiian training area in intensive exercises and war games until 25 June when she departed for the west coast and overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard which lasted until 31 March 1942.

After west coast training, Colorado returned to Pearl Harbor 14 August 1942 to complete her preparations for action. She operated in the vicinity of the Fiji Islands and New Hebrides from 8 November 1942 to 17 September 1943 to prevent further Japanese expansion. She sortied from Pearl Harbor 21 October to provide preinvasion bombardment and fire support for the invasion of Tarawa, returning to port 7 December 1943. After west coast overhaul, Colorado returned to Lahaina Roads, Hawaiian Islands, 21 January 1944 and sortied the next day for the Marshall Islands operation, providing preinvasion bombardment and fire support for the invasions of Kwajalein and Eniwetok until 23 February when she headed for Puget Sound Navy Yard and overhaul.

Joining other units bound for the Mariana Islands operation at San Francisco, Colorado sailed on 5 May 1944 by way of Pearl Harbor and Kwajalein for preinvasion bombardment and fire support duties at Saipan, Guam, and Tinian from 14 June. On 24 July during the shelling of Tinian, Colorado received 22 shell hits from shore batteries but continued to support the invading troops until 3 August. After repairs on the west coast Colorado arrived in Leyte Gulf 20 November 1944 to support American troops fighting ashore. A week later she was hit by two kamikazes which killed 19 of her men, wounded 72, and caused moderate damage. Nevertheless as planned she bombarded Mindoro between 12 and 17 December before proceeding to Manus Island for emergency repairs. Returning to Luzon 1 January 1945, she participated in the preinvasion bombardments in Lingayen Gulf. On 3 January accidental gunfire hit her superstructure killing 18 and wounding 51.

After replenishing at Ulithi, Colorado joined the preinvasion bombardment group at Kerama Retto 25 March 1946 for the invasion of Okinawa. She remained there supplying fire support until 22 May when she cleared for Leyte Gulf.

Returning to occupied Okinawa 6 August 1945, Colorado sailed from there for the occupation of Japan, covering the airborne landings at Atsugi Airfield, Tokyo, 27 August. Departing Tokyo Bay 20 September 1946 she arrived at San Francisco 16 October, then steamed to Seattle for the Navy Day celebration 27 October Assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty she made three runs to Pearl Harbor to transport 6,357 veterans home before reporting to Bremerton Navy Yard for inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve then 7 January 1947, and sold for scrapping 28 July 1959.


USS Colorado (BB 45)

USS Colorado (BB 45) was the name ship of the Colorado class of battleships, the last US battleships built before the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. She was undergoing a refit when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and thus escaped damage. She took part in the invasions of Tarawa, the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Guam and Tinian, the landings at Leyte Gulf and the invasion of Okinawa

The Colorado was launched in 1921 and completed in 1923. After a maiden voyage to Europe she joined the Battle Fleet (then the name for the US Pacific Fleet), and served with that fleet from 1924-41.

On 24 June 1941 the Colorado left Pearl Harbor to sail for Puget Sound Navy Yard where she underwent a significant refit. The main change made at this point was the addition of a torpedo bulge which both increased protection against torpedoes and increased her buoyancy, making up for the extra weight that had been added since her launch. Other planned changes were cancelled after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the refit was completed on 31 March 1942. It still took some time to prepare for action and she didn't return to Hawaii until 14 August. In November Colorado and Maryland moved to Fiji, and they spent most of the next year guarding the South Pacific against any Japanese raids that might cut the links with Australia. The two ships returned to Pearl Harbor on 17 September 1943. During 1942 a shorter tower mast was built for her but due to a lack of time it wasn't installed until 1944. Instead the crew of the Colorado cut down most of their cage mainmast, which was considered to block the view of the anti-aircraft guns.

The Colorado was one of the less modified battleships, and ended the war with her pre-war 5in/51 and 5in/25 guns as well as eight quadruple 40mm mountings and eight twin and one quad 20mm mounting.

In November 1943 Tennessee, Maryland and Colorado formed the Southern Attack Group (TG 53.4) under Admiral Kingman. This group took part in the invasion of Tarawa (Operation Galvanic). The bombardment lasted from 20-28 November.

The same three battleships form the Northern Attack Force (FSG 53.5, Rear Admiral Oldendorf) for Operation Flintlock, the invasion of the Marshall Islands. The Colorado provided a pre-invasion bombardment and direct fire support during the invasion of Kwajalein, bombarding Roi Island in particular (31 January-7 February 1944). They then formed the Fleet Support Group for Task Force 51 during the invasion of Eniwetok, Operation Catchpole (17-23 February 1944).

Next came Operation Forage, the invasion of the Mariana Islands. This time Colorado, Maryland, California and Tennessee formed TG 52.17 (Oldendorf). The pre-invasion bombardment of Saipan began on 14 June, and the Colorado was also used for the bombardments of Guam and Tinian. On 24 July she was hit by 22 shells fired from Tinian, but was able to remain in action until 3 August. She then returned to the west coast for repairs.

The Colorado returned to the fleet in November 1944 when she joined TG 77.2 (Rear Admiral Weyler), along with Maryland, West Virginia and New Mexico. This task group operated in Leyte Gulf in support of the ground troops. On 27 November she was hit by two kamikazes. Nineteen men were killed and seventy two wounded but the Colorado was still able to take part in the planned bombardment of Mindoro on 12-17 December before leaving for emergency repairs. She was back at the start of January 1945 and formed part of Unit 2, TG 77.2 (Oldendorf) during the landings at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon (Operation Mike I). The Colorado was struck by shellfire during this battle, but didn't have to retire.

Next was the invasion of Okinawa. The ten active old battleships formed Task Force 54 (Rear Admiral Deyo). This was split into five groups of two, with Colorado and Arkansas in Group 2. The bombardment began on 25/26 March and Colorado provided fire support for the troops on Okinawa until 22 May.

After the end of the fighting the Colorado took part in the occupation of Japan, covering the landings at Tokyo on 27 August. She witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay and then departed for San Francisco. After three Magic Carpet runs in which she carried 6,357 veterans home from Pearl Harbor she was placed into the mothball fleet before being sold for scrap in 1959.


USS Colorado ARC-7 - History

Professional Development Opportunity
The USS Colorado Educator Experience: Examining Literacy, History, and Technology through Primary Sources

Join TPS at MSU Denver, Denver Post Education Services, History Colorado, and the USS Colorado Commissioning Committee for a series of unique events leading up to the commissioning of the USS Colorado, the 15th Virginia class submarine.

Part 1: “Colorado History’s Greatest Hits” Online Series
View Archived Playlist – bit.ly/co-greatest-hits | Additional Hangouts Coming Fall 2015
Provided by TPS and Metropolitan State University of Denver, this series of Google Hangouts connects you to historians and scholars, and provides key historical context.

Part 2: USS Colorado Classroom Experience
July 28, 2015 | 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM – History Colorado Center | $25.00
Explore classroom-ready primary source materials and teaching ideas with Common Core and Literacy connections. Access History Colorado educational opportunities and a temporary USS Colorado historic artifacts exhibit.

Part 3: An Evening with Historians, Scholars, & Veterans
July 29, 2015 | 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM – History Colorado Center | $25.00
Attend a reception at the History Colorado Center, hear presentations by historians, scholars, and military veterans, and have access to a temporary USS Colorado historic artifacts exhibit. *Save $10 when you attend Part 2 and 3

Part 4: The USS Colorado Social Media Experience
TPS Teachers Network – www.tpsteachersnetwork.org/register
Share teaching ideas and activities with other educators, interact online with historians and scholars, and access a variety of professional interest groups and experts.

Interesting Facts

USS Colorado 1858-1876
The first ship named USS Colorado was a 3500 ton three-masted steam frigate commissioned in 1858 and named after the Colorado River. During the Civil War, she participated in the Union Navy’s Gulf Blockading Squadron and successfully captured several vessels and engaged four Confederate steamers.

USS Colorado (ACR-7) 1905-1927
The second ship was an Armored Cruiser of the 13,900 ton Pennsylvania class and was commissioned in 1905. After initial operation on the east coast she served in the Pacific alternating between Asiatic Station and the eastern Pacific. She was renamed Pueblo in November 1916 to free up the name for the new battleship Colorado.

USS Colorado (BB-45) 1923-1947
The third iteration was the lead ship of the class and was commissioned on August 30, 1923. She served in European waters in 1923 to 1924 before transferring to the Pacific. Prior to WWII she served in the Pacific fleet and helped in the search for missing aviator Amelia Earhart in 1937. She earned seven battle stars for her service in WWII.

USS Colorado (SSN-778) 2016 –
The current USS Colorado is the 15th Virginia Class attack submarine and the top of her class. She is currently under construction in Groton, CT and will be commissioned in mid- to late-2016


Turboelectric Drive in American Capital Ships

Between 1913 and 1919 the United States Navy designed battleships with a unique propulsion system to meet its operational demands for great range and survivability. This highly successful system, turboelectric drive, has gained an undeservedly checkered reputation in recent years and many of its benefits have been forgotten.

The direct drive steam turbine was introduced into capital ship propulsion by the HMS Dreadnought, the first ship completed with a uniform heavy caliber armament and the namesake of the type. In a direct drive system, the boilers create steam which is routed to turbines acting directly upon the head of the propeller shaft. Waste steam is then run through condensers and returned to the boilers as feed water to complete the cycle. Direct drive turbines transfer mechanical energy very efficiently, but mate the high fuel-efficient rotation rate of a turbine with the low fuel-efficient rotation rate of a propeller very poorly. Running the turbine slowly either wastes fuel or energy is lost through cavitation when the propeller turns too quickly.

Direct drive turbines were fitted with separate high and low-pressure stages in an effort to provide both fuel-efficient cruising and maximum speed tactical capability. This necessarily expands the footprint of a direct drive turbine system. To make matters worse, the need for backing power requires yet another turbine stage. The extensive steam piping to serve three turbines and the multiple combinations of valves to enable cross connection do much to destroy the simplicity of the system.

Besides the conflicting efficient rotation speeds at either end of the propeller shaft, the direct drive turbines developed weak backing power and risked damage to the turbine rotors if backing steam was introduced too abruptly. The problems of conflicting efficiency were not solved until the introduction of complex single and then double reduction gearing between the turbine and the propeller shaft. Unfortunately, reduction gearing added further to the footprint of the system and presented yet another mechanical item that could be deranged by physical shock effects.

As Norman Friedman reports in his seminal design history of US battleships, the General Electric company proposed an alternative to direct drive turbines. Like direct drive steam turbine plants, the turboelectric drive plant uses boilers to generate steam and turn a turbine, then returns waste steam via a condenser for reuse. There the similarity ends. There is only a single turbine, and rather than driving the propeller shaft, it turns one or two electric generators. The electricity created is then routed via a bus bar system to electric motors mounted to the propeller shaft heads. The turbine spins at a single constant, highly efficient rotation rate, while the electric motors, mechanically divorced from the turbines, turn at the rate most efficient for the propellers.

To achieve full backing power, the electric motors are simply reversed, there being no physical need for a separate reverse stage. This eliminates several redundant pieces of equipment and much steam piping.

  1. There is no mechanical connection between the turbogenerator shaft and the propeller shaft, allowing both to turn at their disparate efficient speeds. This reduces propeller rotation speeds and increases fuel efficiency.
  2. The motor rooms can be placed nearer the stern than can reduction-geared turbines, eliminating the need to lead the propeller shafts farther forward in the ship.
  3. The machinery components are more easily segregated into multiple compartments, and require fewer steam line penetrations of watertight bulkheads.
  4. The turbo-electric drive consumes less beam, allowing more hull breadth to be devoted to the torpedo defense system.
  5. The propeller shafts can be immediately reversed by simply switching the direction of the electric motors without the need to reroute steam to a separate reversing turbine.
  6. Equal power (but not speed) is available for ahead or astern steaming. Astern steaming can also be maintained indefinitely.
  7. The machinery is more easily cross-connected in the event of battle damage through the switching of electrical loads between different turbogenerators and motors, and the elimination of propulsive steam lines.
  8. More steam is available at all power levels for the ship's service turbogenerators (SSTGs), making more power available for ancillary systems (including main battery elevation and training) and electronics.
  9. Most major electrical components are reparable by the ship's company at sea.
  1. It is heavier and more expensive than a direct drive or reduction geared turbine installation.
  2. It is susceptible to turbogenerator room damage.
  3. It is susceptible to damage to the main control compartment containing the bus bar system.
  4. It is susceptible to shorting out from shock damage to the bus bar system.

Turboelectric drive ships realized fuel economies of as much as 20% compared to comparable turbine ships, according to Freedman's report of the difference in fuel consumption between USS New Mexico (BB-40) and her two direct drive turbine sister ships USS Mississippi (BB-41) and USS Idaho (BB-42).

In compartmentation, the turboelectric drive was typically twice as segregated as a direct drive plant and four times as segregated as later reduction geared turbine plants in US service. The machinery in the direct drive turbine USS Idaho (BB-42) was divided into eight main spaces, while the machinery in the turboelectric USS Tennessee (BB-43) was divided into fifteen main spaces. This increase in compartmentalization meant that there would be less flooding in the ship in case of battle damage such as from a torpedo. The later reduction geared USS North Carolina (BB-55) had only four main spaces and required each propeller shaft to be led progressively farther forward in the hull.

Turboelectric machinery also permitted more rapid development of accelerating and decelerating power on the shafts. It made the last ditch maneuver of "twisting" a ship out of a torpedo's path by backing down one side's shafts while running the opposite side full ahead and applying full rudder toward the backing side more effective. It also permitted extended periods of backing. After suffering a torpedo hit in the extreme bow while at anchor off Saipan in 1944, USS Maryland (BB-46) backed to Pearl Harbor at 10 knots so as not to strain the collision bulkhead forward.

The same ship also escaped two collisions in a matter of minutes during a close order fleet maneuvering exercise between the wars. When USS Oklahoma (BB-37) sheered out of column to avoid running down an errant destroyer, she intruded on the next column of ships, crossing the Maryland's bow. The Maryland performed an immediate "crash back" to avoid the Oklahoma, decelerating and letting the other battleship pass ahead, only to be confronted with the direct drive turbine USS Arizona (BB-39) vainly trying to back down behind her. Maryland's electric motors were immediately thrown back to flank speed ahead and the turboelectric ship accelerated ahead of the less responsive Arizona.

The Maryland also escaped an aerial torpedo at Leyte Gulf by "twisting" the ship out of the torpedo's path. When the order was given to put the helm over to evade the torpedo, the steering gear shorted out, leaving the rudder amidships. The captain then directed maneuvering by the motors while a damage control team attempted to restore the helm. The ability to maneuver effectively prior to the restoration of helm control saved the ship from being hit. Helm control was restored prior to the weapon crossing Maryland's track and placing the helm hard over near the end of the maneuver may have assisted in moving the ship's stern out of the path of the weapon which passed close aboard. Had the ship not commenced its maneuver under motor control prior to recovering helm control the ship would have been hit.

The matters of cost and weight led to the demise of the turboelectric drive under Washington Treaty tonnage limitations and Depression Era fiscal stringency. Reduction geared turbines were lighter and less expensive for the horsepower generated.

The vulnerability of the turbogenerator rooms and main control space was problematic at best. Shielded by the boiler rooms, the torpedo defense system and the vertical armored belt to outboard and by the armored deck, splinter deck and armored uptakes above and by a deep triple bottom beneath, the turbogenerators were nestled protectively in the very center of the ship. If weapons could reach the turbogenerators, then the magazines were also similarly vulnerable, making the point largely moot. However, since the turboelectric system provided large reserves of electric power, virtually all systems, including main battery training, elevation, stabilization and loading gear were run electrically. So, the potential did exist for a ship to be crippled through a total power loss in the event of damage to these compartments. However, no turbogenerator room or main control space was ever penetrated by an enemy weapon during WWII.

Shorting out of the bus bar system could knock out the turboelectric drive. This occurred only once, as a result of a torpedo hit exactly between the frames of the main control space housing the bus bar system in USS Saratoga (CV-3). The serendipitous location of the hit transmitted the physical shock of the hit in sufficient force to defeat the vibration damping shock mounts of the busbar system which produced a short that took the turboelectric system off-line. Power was restored within minutes and although several more shorts and brief power losses (all lasting less than five minutes) took place, the Saratoga was able to proceed under her own power for three hours. At that time, the engines were deliberately stopped to allow the shorted turbogenerator and a second one that the first one had damaged to be electrically isolated. A third generator was also isolated as it kept overloading the first generator. This shutdown for two and a half hours under tow was only necessary because the fourth, undamaged turbogenerator was not available due to an unrelated condenser casualty. From this single incident the turboelectric system derives its reputation for being dangerous and unreliable. One author goes so far as to describe this as "typical" of the system's vulnerability to battle damage. For a single incident out of 21 to be described as typical is highly questionable.

US turboelectric ships were battle damaged in 21 separate cases by 16 torpedoes, 13 bombs, 13 Kamikazes and more than 26 medium and light caliber shells. Of these incidents, only seven had the potential to effect the turboelectric drive in any way, and only three actually did. The torpedo hit on the Saratoga on 31 August 1942 succeeded in knocking the system off-line for less than five minutes before damage control measures restored power. The two torpedo hits on USS California (BB-44) at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 contaminated the fuel lines, causing the boiler fires to go out, thus producing a power loss. This would have produced a power loss in any steam-propelled ship and cannot be counted against the turboelectric drive components. The nine torpedo hits on USS West Virginia (BB-48), also at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, so overwhelmed the ship that immediate counterflooding was necessary to prevent capsizing. Between flooding from the torpedo damage and counterflooding, the machinery plant was knocked off line. As this would also have crippled any other steam-propelled ship, this incident, too, cannot be counted against the turboelectric powerplant.

Four other cases produced sufficiently violent shocks to have potentially effected the turboelectric drive, but all failed to do so. The two torpedo hits on USS Lexington (CV-2) at the Coral Sea battle, 8 May 1942, the torpedo hit on Saratoga on 11 January 1942, the torpedo hit in the extreme bow on Maryland off Saipan on 14 June 1944 and the kamikaze hit on Maryland off Leyte on 29 November 1944, all produced violent shocks, whipping of the hull and/or flooding. However, none of these hits caused any disruption to the turboelectric drive.

Thus, the system, while repeatedly proven reliable, has been damned for a five-minute failure due to a very lucky torpedo hit on Saratoga on 31 August 1942.

The US Navy ordered turboelectric drive for the USS New Mexico (BB-40), but not for her sister ships USS Mississippi (BB-41) and USS Idaho (BB-42). This plant was installed in the existing geared turbine subdivision shared with the other two ships, consisting of three boiler rooms from fore to aft, an auxiliary machinery room next aft, and four engine rooms positioned abreast each other. The turbogenerators were probably mounted in the two inboard engine rooms and additional SSTGs in the outboard engine rooms. Electric motors were attached to the propeller shaft heads at the rear of each engine room. When New Mexico was rebuilt in the 1930s, her turboelectric plant was replaced with a geared turbine installation of greater power. This was felt necessary to offset speed lost due to additional weights added during reconstruction, and buying three identical plants saved $300,000 over providing a separate turboelectric plant for New Mexico.

The next two US Navy battleship classes shared a common plant. USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS California (BB-44) and their near sisters USS Colorado (BB-45), USS Maryland (BB-46) and USS West Virginia (BB-48), subdivided their machinery spaces into fifteen compartments. Two turbogenerator rooms occupied the centerline, each containing one turbine, two generators and three SSTGs. The main control space was also on the centerline immediately aft of the second turbogenerator room and immediately forward of the centerline motor room. Outboard on either side of these compartments were, fore to aft, an evaporator room (to port) or an auxiliary machinery room (to starboard) and four boiler rooms. Immediately aft of the outboard boiler rooms were the outboard motor rooms, driving the outboard shafts. The inboard shafts shared the centerline motor room.

The two Lexington Class ships were converted from planned battlecruisers (CC-1 and CC-3) and completed as carriers. USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3) had the largest turboelectric plants ever built. The installations were very similar to the Tennessee and Colorado Classes. However, each turbogenerator room contained two turbines, each driving a single generator, versus one turbine driving two generators as in the battleships, and additional SSTGs were fitted. There were sixteen boiler rooms, eight on either side, buffering the two turbogenerator rooms and the main control space. There were also three motor rooms, arranged similarly to the battleship classes, but each shaft had two drive motors versus one. Maximum speed was thus 33 knots, as compared to 21 knots in the battleships.

The aborted South Dakota Class (BB-49 through BB-54) was also planned for turboelectric drive. The plant would have repeated the Tennessee arrangement, but with six boiler rooms on either side versus four.

Turboelectric drive was a unique and elegant solution to the propulsion and range problems faced by the US Navy in the 1920s and 1930s. It performed well, and permitted a minute form of subdivision that rendered ships fitted with it highly resistant to torpedo damage. On the whole, it was a success and a good investment, abandoned only because of the cost in weight and money in an environment of Treaty limitations and later in an environment in which no limits mattered.


U.S.S. HUNLEY

The USS Hunley (AS-31) keel was laid 28 November 1960 at the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia. Hunley was sponsored by Mrs. J. Palmer Gaillard, wife of the Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, launched on 28 September 1961 and commisioned on 16 June 1962.

AS-31 was named for Horace Lawson Hunley (1823-1863), designer of the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley. Horance Hunley, along with the entire crew of the CSS Hunley, was drown when the Hunley was swamped during testing. The CSS Hunley was salvaged and went on to sink the USS Housatonic of the Union blockade force at Charleston SC.

Hunley was the first of a class of submarine tenders designed to support the Polaris Missle Submarines coming into service.

USS Hunley (AS-31) sailed from Hampton Roads in July 1962 for shakedown training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She continued with post-commisioning training and detailed fit out until late Decmeber 1962 when she departed for Holy Loch, Scotland. Hunley continued as tender to Submarine Squadron 14 at Holy Loch until April 1964. Hunley was upgraded to support a modified version of the Polaris Missle and returned to duty at Holy Loch in June 1964.

USS Hunley moved to her new homeport of Charleston SC in 1966. Overhauled in late 1967, Hunley steamed to Guam to relieve USS Proteus for overhaul. Hunley returned to Charleston in June 1968.

In July 1971 Hunley again transited to Guam to relieve USS Proteus for maintenance. Hunley returned to the the US in early 1973 and underwent overhaul in the Puget sound NSY. The overhaul included modifications to support the Posideon Missle then in service. Once out of the shipyard, USS Hunley voyaged to Charleston SC, touching at San Francisco, San Diego, Acapulco, the Panama Canal, Guantanomo Bay, Ft. Lauderdale and Cocoa Beach, Florida as she progressed back into service.

USS Hunley again relieved Proteus as the submarine tender on Gaum in November 1978, returning to Charleston in July 1980. Upon return she was overhauled in the Charleston NSY.

In January 1982 Hunley crossed to Atlantic to take up station at Holy Loch, Scotland. After spending five years on station at Holy Lock, she was relieved by USS Simon Lake and headed for the US in July 1987. Shortly after arriving in Charleston, Hunley was sent to Florida to assist in Hurricane Andrew Recovery.

Hulney shifted homeport to Norflok in July 1992. In November 1993 she sailed to Cape Canaveral, stopped at Key West and returned to Norfolk. This proved to be her last sailing.

USS Hunley (AS-33) was decommissioned on 30 September 1994. Hunleys hulk as sold for scrapping in 2007.

The USS Hunley (AS-31) operational history and significant events of her service career follow:



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