The American Battleship Indiana (1895-1919)
Article Excerpt from Munsey’s Magazine October 1896
In the navy which the United States have now been thirteen years constructing, the Indiana is recognized as the highest type of the battleship class, while the New York is the medium between the heavy, comparatively slow going, and thickly armored battleships on the one hand, and on the other the light heeled, triple screw commerce destroyers like the Columbia and Minneapolis.
There is no ship afloat, of her size and tonnage, which could whip the Indiana in a fair fight. This is a sweeping statement. It means that American designers, shipbuilders, and engineers, have turned out the finest vessel of her class afloat; but it is substantiated by the opinion of too many well known naval experts to be doubted. This splendid battleship is one of a class of three, the other two being the Oregon, now on the Pacific Coast, and the Massachusetts, which was expected to join the North Atlantic squadron during its recent evolutions. She was built by contract, and cost a little more than $3,000,000.
It is not in speed that the Indiana is preeminent, although for a ship 340 feet long, with sixty nine feet of beam, twenty four feet of depth below the water line, and 10,200 tons displacement, her speed of fifteen knots an hour – which can be exceeded in case of special need – is very creditable, and would enable her to catch and destroy many a formidable enemy. It is in her ability to carry on a steady platform, handle with terribly destructive effect, her battery of four thirteen inch guns, each weighing sixty tons, and throwing a shot weighing 1,100 pounds to a distance of eleven miles, sending it through eight inches of steel at that range, that her strength lies. These guns, the largest in use in the American navy, are seconded by 8 guns of eight inches caliber, 4 of six inches, 20 throwing a six pound shot, 6 throwing a one pound shot, and four Gatling guns, which hail a storm of bullets upon the decks of an enemy.