Delaware Class Battleship (1908)
The Delaware Class were the United States Navy's first real "Dreadnoughts", carrying an "all-big-gun" main battery at a speed of over twenty knots, thus enabling them to deliver a greater volume of heavy shell fire than previous battleships, while keeping outside the range of those ships' numerous medium-caliber guns. Their Congressional authorization did not specify a maximum size, so the Navy designed Delaware and North Dakota to be a quarter larger than their immediate predecessors, with two more twelve-inch guns, a secondary battery of five-inch rather than three-inch guns, and two-and-a-half knots greater speed. To test the relative virtues of competing machinery types, Delaware was fitted with the older triple-expansion reciprocating engines, while her sister got direct drive Curtiss turbines. The latter were replaced in 1915 with more efficient geared turbines of 31,300 horsepower.
Both battleships were widely-travelled, making trips to Europe both before and after the First World War. Delaware served with the Grand Fleet in the North Sea during 1918, while North Dakota remained at home training sailors for participation in the conflict. Despite being only a decade old, their design was obsolescent by the late 'teens and early 'twenties, and they spent their final years largely employed on training duties. They were demilitarized in 1923, when completion of new battleships rendered them excess to Washington naval limitations treaty limits. Delaware was scrapped in 1924. North Dakota, reduced to an auxiliary rôle, lasted until 1931.
|Overview of 2 vessels|
|Citations for this data available on individual ship pages|
|Delaware||Newport News||11 Nov, 1907||6 Feb, 1909||4 Apr, 1910||Sold 5 Feb, 1924|
|North Dakota||Fore River||16 Dec, 1907||10 Nov, 1908||11 Apr, 1910||Sold for scrap 16 Mar, 1931|
- Friedman, Norman (1985). U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-715-1. (on Amazon.com).
|Delaware Class Dreadnought|
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